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Northeastern boundary, the

A dispute concerning the exact boundary between the United States and the British possessions on the east, as defined by the treaty of peace in 1783, remained unsettled at the close of President Jackson's administration, in 1837. In conformity with the treaty of Ghent (1814), the question concerning that boundary was, in 1829, submitted to the King of the Netherlands for arbitration. Instead of deciding the question submitted to him, he fixed a new boundary (January, 1837) not contemplated by either party. The American minister at The Hague immediately protested against the decision, but, as it gave territory in dispute to Great Britain, that government accepted the decision. The State of Maine, bordering on the British territory of New Brunswick, protested against the award. Collisions occurred, and the national government began negotiations with Maine with a view to an amicable settlement of the affair. An agent appointed by Maine recommended that State to cede to the United States her claim beyond the boundary-line recommended by the arbiter, for an ample indemnity. The subject passed through the various stages of discussion and negotiation, until the irritations caused by the sympathy of the Americans for the Canadians who had broken out into open rebellion against the British government caused great heat concerning the boundary.

The people of Maine were much excited, and armed in defence of what they deemed their rights. In fact, there were preparations for war in both Maine and New Brunswick, and the peaceful relations between Great Britain and the United States were threatened with rupture. President Van Buren sent General Scott to that frontier in the winter of 1839, and, by his wise and conciliatory conduct, quiet was produced and bloodshed was prevented. The whole dispute was finally settled by [491] the Ashburton-Webster treaty (Aug. 20, 1842) negotiated at Washington, D. C., by Daniel Webster, Secretary of State, and Lord Ashburton, acting for Great Britain, who had been sent as a special minister for that purpose. Besides settling the boundary question, the treaty provided for the final suppression of the slave-trade and for giving up criminal fugitives from justice in certain cases.

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