British-American Diplomacy
Webster-Ashburton Treaty - Note

[Her Britannic Minister Plenipotentiary on Special Mission to the Secretary of State]

WASHINGTON 9th August 1842

SIR, It appears desirable that some explanation between us should be recorded by correspondence respecting the fifth Article of the Treaty signed by us this day for the settlement of Boundaries between Great Britain and the United States.

By that Article of the Treaty it is stipulated, that certain payments shall be made by the Government of the United States to the States of Maine and Massachusetts. It has of course been understood that my negotiations have been with the Government of the United States, and the introduction of terms of agreement between the General Government and the States would have been irregular and inadmissible, if it had not been deemed expedient to bring the whole of these transactions within the purview of the Treaty. There may not be wanting analogous cases to justify this proceeding, but it seems proper that I should have confirmed by you, that my Government incurs no responsibility for these engagements, of the precise nature and object of which I am uninformed, nor have I considered it necessary to make enquiry concerning them.

I beg, Sir, to renew to you the assurances of my high consideration



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Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America.
Edited by Hunter Miller
Volume 4
Documents 80-121 : 1836-1846
Washington : Government Printing Office, 1934.
127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511.