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would contain an express acknowledgment of the right of Great Britain to a portion of the territory, and would necessarily preclude the United States from claiming the whole before the arbitrator. This, too, in the face of the note of the undersigned to Mr. Pakenham of the 30th of August last, by which the President had asserted, in the most solemn form, the title of the United States to the whole territory. Even if there were not other conclusive reasons for declining the proposition, this alone would be deemed sufficient by the President.
"The President heartily concurs with the British government in their regret that all attempts to settle the Oregon Question by negotiation have hitherto failed. He can not, however, concur with that government in the opinion that a resort to arbitration, and especially to an arbitration on the terms proposed, would be followed by happier consequences. On the contrary, he believes that any attempt to refer this question to a third power would only involve it in new difliculties.
"In declining this proposition, the President refers to the sentiment expressed in the note of the undersigned of the 30th of August last, to which allusion has already been made, that he i cherishes the hope that thus long-pending controversy may yet be finally adjusted in such a manner as not to disturb the peace or interrupt the harmony how so happily subsisting between the two nations.'
"The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to Mr. Pakenham assurances of his distinguished consideration.
"Bight Hon. Rtchard Pakenham, &c., &c., &c."
"Mr. Pakenham to Mr. Buchanan.
"Washtngton, January 6, 1846.
"The undersigned, her Britannic majesty's envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, has had the honor to receive the note of the Secretary of State of the United States, dated the 3d instant, in answer to that of the undersigned, dated the 27th ultimo, containing a proposal for referring the question of an equitable partition of the Oregon Territory to the arbitration of some friendly sovereign or state.
"The undersigned will take an early opportunity to transmit this communication to her majesty's government.
"The undersigned has the honor to renew to Mr. Buchanan the assurance of his distinguished consideration.
"The Hon. James Buchanan, &c., &c., &c."
"Mr. Pakenham to Mr. Buchanan.
"washington, January 16, 181C.
"With an anxious desire to contribute, by every means in his power, to a satisfactory conclusion of the question pending between the two governments respecting Oregon, the undersigned, her Britannic majesty's envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, has reflected on the contents of the note addressed to him on the 3d instant by the Secretary of State of the United States, in answer to that which the undersigned had the honor to address to him on the 27th of lost month.
"The note of the undersigned proposed to the government of the* United States that the whole question of an equitable partition of the Oregon Territory should be referred to the arbitration of some friendly sovereign or state.
"In his answer, the Secretory of State informed the undersigned that his proposition could not be accepted; that it did not propose to refer to arbitration the question of the title to the Oregon Territory, claimed by the two powers respectively. That in proposing to refer to a friendly sovereign or state merely the partition or equitable division of the territory between the parties, it assumes the fact that the title of Great Britain to a portion of the territory is valid, and thus takes for granted the very question in dispute. That under this proposition tho very terms of the submission would contain an express acknowledgment of the right of Great Britain to a portion of the territory, and would necessarily preclude the United States from claiming the whole territory before the arbitrator; and this, too, the Secretary of State goes on to observe, in the face of his note to the undersigned of the 30th of August, by which tho President had asserted, in tho most solemn form, the title of the United States to the whole territory.
"It is not the purpose of the undersigned, in the present note,'to renew the discussion as to the title of either party (Great Britain or the United States) to the whole or to any part of the Oregon Territory. He must, however, beg leave, with reference to the observation which he has just quoted, to remind the United States Secretory of State, that if the government of the United States have formally advanced a, claim to the whole of the Oregon Territory, it is no less certain that Great Britain has, in a manner equally formal, declared that she, too, has rights in the Oregon Territory incompatible with the exclusive claim advanced by the United States.
"Thh? declaration, arising from a conviction equally sincere, will, the undersigned is persuaded, be viewed with the same consideration by the government of the United States as they expect that their own declaration should receive at the hands of the government of Great Britain.
"This premised, the object of the undersigned in addressing to Mr. Buchanan the present communication, is to ascertain from him whether, supposing the British government to entertain no objection to such a course, it would suit the views of the United States government to refer to arbitration, not (as has already been proposed) the question of an equitable partition of the territory, but the question of title in either of the two powers to the whole territory; subject, of course, to the condition, that if neither should be found, in the opinion of the arbitrator, to possess a complete title to the whole territory, there should, in that case, be assigned to each that portion of territory which would, in the opinion of the arbitrating power, be called for by a just appreciation of the respective claims of each.
"The undersigned has suggested a reference, on the above principle, to some friendly sovereign or state.
"This the undersigned beriaves to be the course usually followed in such cases: it is that which has already been resorted to by the two governments (and more than once). But there may be other forms of arbitration, perhaps, more agreeable to the government of the United States.
"There might be, for instance, a mixed commission, with an umpire, appointed by common consent, or there might be a board composed of the most distinguished civilians and jurists of the time, appointed in such a manner as should bring all pending questions to the decision of the most enlightened, impartial, and independent minds.
"In the present position of affairs, and feeling how much the interests of both countries require an early as well as an amicable aad satisfactory adjustment of existing difficulties, the undersigned earnestly invites the Secretary of State to take the subject of this note into consideration, with a view to such an arrangement, on the principle of arbitration, as may seem to the government of the United States to be most just, wise, and expedient.
"The undersigned takes advantage of this opportunity to renew to the Hon. James Buchanan the assurance of his high consideration. R. Pakenham.
"hod. James Buchanan, &£., Sic., &c."
"Mr. Buchanan to Mr. Pakenham.
"Department or State, Wathington, February 4, 184G.
"The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the note of Air. Pakenham, her Britannic majesty's envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, dated on the 16th ultimo, by which he again proposes a reference of the Oregon Question to arbitration. Under his present proposition, the powers of the arbitrator would not, as in his last, bo limited in terms to the division of the territory between the parties, but would extend to the question of their conflicting titles. There is, however, a condition annexed to this offer which exposes it to the same objection, in point of fact, if not in form, which was prominently presented in the answer of the undersigned to Mr. Pakenham's last proposal. This condition is, 'that if neither [party] should be found, in the opinion of the arbitrator, to possess a complete title to the whole territory, there should, in that ease, be assigned to each that portion of territory which would, in the opinion of the arbitrating power, be called for by a just appreciation of the respective claims of each.' If the government of the United States should consent to an arbitration upon such a condition, this might, and probably would, be construed into an intimation, if not a direct invitation, to the arbitrator, to divide the territory between the parties. Were it possible for the President, under any circumstances, to consent to refer the subject to arbitration, the title, and the title alone, detached from every other consideration, is the only question which could be submitted. If not confined to a single point, so strong is the natural disposition of arbitrators to please both parties, that, in almost every instance, whether of national or individual controversies, they make a compromising award. We have a memorable example of this in our last arbitration with Great Britain. Notwithstanding that the arbitrator, under the terms of the submission, was clearly and explicitly confined to the decision of which was the line of highlands described in the treaty of peace of 1783, yet, instead of pursuing any range of highlands whatever, he advised that the line should run along the bed of a river, and actually divided the territory in dispute between the parties by ' the middle of the deepest channel of the St John's.'
"The undersigned might content himself, in answer to the present proposition, with a reference to the observations contained in his last note to Mr. Pakenham, of the 3d ultimo. In that it was plainly intimated, not only that there are 'other conclusive reasons for declining the proposition,' independently of the one which had been prominently stated, but it was expressly asserted as the belief of the President' that any attempt to refer this question to a third power would only involve it in new difficulties.'
"The undersigned will, however, proceed to state a single reason, which, apart from the intrinsic difficulty of selecting a suitable arbitrator, as well as other considerations that might be adduced, is conclusive on the mind of the President against a reference of this question to arbitration, in any form which can be devised, no matter what may be the character of the arbitrator, whether sovereign, citizen, or subject. This reason is, that he does not bolieve the territorial rights of this nation to be a proper subject for arbitration. It may be true that, under peculiar circumstances, if the interest at stake were comparatively small, and if both parties stood upon an equal footing, there might be no insuperable objection to such a course. But what is the extent of territory in dispute on the present occasion? It embraces nearly thirteen degrees of latitude along the northwest coast of the Pacific, and stretches eastward to the summit of the Rocky Mountains. Within its limits several powerful and prosperous States of the Union may be embraced. It lies contiguous, on this continent, to the acknowledged territory of the United States, and is destined, at no distant day, to be peopled by our citizens. This territory presents