Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

The original Agreement was made the 6th February, 1839, the lease to commence the 1st June, 1840, and to last ten years. A supplementary Agreement was entered into the 17th May, 1842. The lease was renewed in 1819, and on the 28th December, 1858, the lease between the two Companies was extended to the 1st January, 1862. It was further extended till June, 1865, and in May, 1866, again for one year, terminating on the 31st May, 1867 (see Declaration on 306 of Appendix I). As the Treaty of 1867 was concluded on the 30th March, 1867, it will be seen that, until after the cession of 1867, the lisière was under lease to the Hudson's Bay · Company.

There is no evidence that Great Britain either approved or disapproved of the lease, nor was the Hudson's Bay Company, during the period in question, in any sense a representative of the British Government, and no action of the Company could possibly affect the question at issue.

The proceedings of the Select Committee of the British House of Commons in 1857, “to consider the state of those possessions in North America which are under the administration of the Hudson's Bay Company, or over which they possess a licence to trade," lend no countenance to United States' contention..

In 1838 the Hudson's Bay Company had been granted the licence of exclusive trade over that north-western portion of British America known as the Indian Territory. In 1857 this licence was about to expire, and the Committee met to consider the conditions of the territory which the Hudson's Bay Company had administered under its licence. The people of Canada east of Lake

Superior felt that the means of extension and regular settlement should be afforded to them over a portion of this

great territory, particularly the Red River Valley and the Valley of the Saskatchewan. The Canadian western boundary in 1857 did not extend much beyond Lake Superior in the centre of the continent. As a matter of fact, the territory in question was not then a part of Canada, and Canada was at that time in no way concerned in that remote part of British North America. The question of the boundary-line between the lisière and British territory was in no way the subject of the inquiry.

In passing from the period extending from 1825 to 1867 to that extending from 1867 to the date of the present Convention, the

88

24th January, 1903, the relations of Great Britain and the United States, become the subject of consideration.

It is, perhaps, not strictly necessary that the facts bearing on these relations should be taken up in the original presentation of the British Case. They might be more properly dealt with in reply. It is only because it may be more convenient that the Tribunal should be made conversant, in the first instance, to some slight extent, at least, with the contentions of both sides in this connection, that any effort is made to deal with them now. Anything that is advanced at this stage of the Case, dealing with these subjects, is therefore given with a full reservation of the right to deal with the same subjects more fully in reply.

The facts as to the occupation of the territory after the acquisition by the United States are as follows:

The formal occupation of the newly-ceded territory is described in Bancroft's “History of Alaska,” at pp. 594–600 et seq. It appears that with some ceremony the United States' flag was unfurled at Sitka on the 18th October, 1867. Fort Tongass appears to have been established in 1867, and was visited by transports with garrison supplies. A United States' military force was sent to Cook's Inlet in 1868. There were also some troops at Wrangell.

Sitka, Tongass, and Wrangell were all situated on islands, 89 and Cook's Inlet lies far to the west of the territory in dis

pute, and on the Russian side the 141st meridian. In his letter of the 23rd May, 1877, ordering the return of the troops from Alaska, the Assistant Adjutant-General concludes with these words:

[ocr errors]

“Upon the departure of the troops, Sitka and Fort Wrangell will be discontinued as military posts,” and “all control of the military department over affairs in Alaska will cease."

There is nothing to show that upon the transfer a detachment was stationed at any time on the strip of mainland.

As to the extent to which legislation and the enforcement of law and order had been developed in Alaska generally up to a recent day, the following quotations from Bancroft may be made:--

“The Company and the Imperial Government gave them at least protection, sufficient means of livelihood, schools, a church; but in this vast territory, there never existed, since 1867, other than a semblance even of military law. There was not in 1883 legal protection for person or property, nor, apart from a few regulations as to commerce and navigation, had any important Act been passed

by Congress, save those that relate to the preservation of seals, the collection of revenue, and the sale of fire-arms and fire-water." and

“As there was no legal title to land in Alaska, there could be no legal conveyance nor mortgage, though conveyances were made occasionally and recorded by the Deputy Collectors at Wrangel and Sitka, the parties concerned taking their own risk as to whether the transaction might at some distant day be legalized.

“Miners and others whose entire possessions might lie within the territory, and who might have become residents, could not bequeath their property, whether real or personal, for there were no Probate Courts nor any authority whereby estates could be administered. Debts could not be collected except through the summary process by which disputes are sometimes settled in mining camps. In short, there was neither civil nor criminal jurisdiction in any part of Alaska."

Schools have not been maintained in Alaska from the time 90 of the Treaty of Cession, or to any extent during any con

siderable period. Petroff, Special Agent of the United States, in his Report of the 7th August, 1882, to the Superintendent of the Census, says:

"At present the only schools in all western Alaska where English is taught are on the Pribilof Islands and Iliuliuk settlement, Unalaska, both being maintained at the expense of a trading firm.”

Later on in the same Report he says:

"At the location of all parish churches it is supposed or expected that schools will be maintained by the Church authorities, but as already mentioned, there is much laxity in this respect, and at least 20,000 natives are entirely without the remotest influence of church or school-a fact our Board of Foreign Missions might take into consideration.

This appears, then, to have been the condition of educational development seventeen years after the Treaty of Cession.

Presbyterian missionaries, according to Petroff, had established schools on several of the outlying islands and at some of the Chilkat villages on Lynn Canal, but he nowhere claims that they were recognized by the United States' Government or supported by public money.

The very slight nature of the control occasionally exercised by the United States over the inhabitants of Alaska may be illustrated by reference to the incidents of 1869 and 1890.

The events of 1869 are described in the Report of Ivan Petroff, Special Agent of the United States, before referred to:

“On the 1st January, 1869, the Chief of the Chilkat tribe was on a visit to Sitka with sixty or seventy warriors, and paid his respects to General Davis, who made him a present of a few bottles of whisky.”

The Special Agent proceeds to describe the effects of the whisky on the Chief, the subsequent collision with the military, the shooting of some Indians and prospectors, the excitement caused by the news that the crew of the wrecked schooner Louisa Downs" had been

massacred, the prompt burning of three deserted villages in 91 which “not a hostile warrior was seen,” and adds:

“Some time later it was discovered that the shipwrecked crew had not been killed, but rescued by these savages and treated kindly."

The only other reference to 1869 is the following:

“In the month of July of the same year, the Chilkat Indians, who had still a life to their credit on account of the trouble in Sitka in the month of January, boarded a small trading vessel, and demanded a life or money. A written guaranty for the settlement of the claim was given, and the matter reported to the Commanding Officer at Sitka, who, however, refused to have anything to do with it. l'pon this, the trader who had given the security paid the claim, thus securing peace to the country, and after this the Indians submitted to the General's demands."

It does not appear that any even of these events occurred on the territory now in dispute. The United States' trading vessel does, , however, appear to have submitted to the Indian demands, and another United States' trader seems to have paid the Indian bill.

In 1890, as it has been alleged, some cannery owners sent to Sitka for aid against some Indians in Lynn Canal.

in Lynn Canal. A vessel arrived, and the Indians were invited on board and feasted. Nothing further appears to have been done.

Another passage from Petroff may be quoted in this connection:

“In 1878 the Sitka Indians began to comport themselves in the most insolent manner, defacing the graves in the Russian cemetery, pulling down the stockade, separating the town from the Indian Settlement, and committing other similar outrages. At that time not even a revenue cutter was present in the harbour, and the inhabitants, becoming very much alarmed, sent an appeal for immediate protection to the Commander of an English man-of-war in the harbour of Victoria. The assistance was promptly rendered, just in time, it was claimed, to prevent disaster; opinions on that subject were, however, divided. In due time the English man-of-war was relieved by a similar vessel of the United States' navy, and since that time a vessel of that class has been constantly stationed in the harbour of Sitka, affording protection and assisting the inhabitants of SouthEastern Alaska in various ways."

It thus appears that an American ship interfered to save 92 life on Lynn Canal, and a British ship performed the same

office for the Americans at Sitka. Both England and Canada were unaware of these events; nor does Great Britain lay claim to Sitka because of the timely aid her vessel was able to afford.

With reference generally to the claims of occupation set up hy the United States because of certain isolated acts of her citizens, as, for instance, the establishment of a mission school by the Presbyterians at Pyramid Harbour about 1881, a private store at Taiya Inlet in 1882 or 1883, and of one or two canneries at Pyramid Harbour about 1883, it cannot be contended that these individual acts of possession are of any importance as bearing on the Case. The United States had officially declared that “all claims of preemption and settlement in Alaska were not only without the sanction of law, but were in direct violation of laws applicable to the public domain.” Individual acts of possession in Alaska therefore would be in violation of American law. It cannot be presumed in the absence of proof that the people who located in the territory now in dispute did so in assertion of or in reliance on the sovereignty of the United States.

Up to this point this account has been taken up with the annals of an unknown region. Apart from the visits of occasional Alaska tourists, who found their way north to escape the summer heat and enjoy the novel scenery of the cloud-drenched coasts, and snow-capped mountains, and beyond the few engaged in the canning industries no one came to disturb the silence of the lisière or the peace of the aboriginal inhabitants. It was as unknown as the interior of Africa or possibly Greenland when Mr. Sumner spoke in 1867. For years conditions remained unchanged, and until 1896 the Governments of Great Britain or Canada knew little or nothing of the movements of the people along that remote north-west coast.

Reference will now be made to the cases of Dyea and Skagway, two Settlements at the head of the Lynn Canal. It is understood

that it is claimed, on the part of the United States, that 93 their possession of these places arose and continued under

circumstances which should influence the Tribunal to so delimit the boundary as to leave these places within United States territory.

This contention is wholly disputed.

When in the summer of 1896 rich gold-fields were discovered in the Canadian-Klondike district upwards of 500 miles in the interior from the head of Lynn Canal, and the news gradually reached the outer world during the next six months, the eyes of the people

« AnteriorContinuar »