National Geographic : 1899 Nov
THE ALASKAN BOUNDARY that the Emperor's final decision was " that they must continue to insist upon the demarcation as described by them," he an nounced that he should " consider the negotiations as necessa rily suspended," and they were accordingly broken off.* Count Nesselrode sent to the Russian ambassador in London an account of the negotiations and their abrupt termination, a copy of which was handed to Secretary Canning. In this re port he insists that Russia had gone to the extreme of liberality in its concessions to Great Britain. These were, first, an agree ment to disavow the maritime jurisdiction; second, to yield its claim to territory from latitude 510 to 540 40'; third, to grant free access to the British posts in the interior by the rivers which may cross the Russian strip on the mainland; and, fourth, to open Sitka to British trade. The count, after showing that his country was only seeking to hold what its enterprise had gained, and, contrasting the spirit of the two nations, " we wish to keep and the English company wish to obtain," referred to the point upon which the negotiations were broken off-the strip of terri tory on the mainland-and impressed upon the ambassador the necessity which impelled the Emperor to insist upon it, and then made the following emphatic declaration : " Russia cannot stretch her concessions further. She will make no others, and she is authorized to expect some concessions on the part of England." t The expectations of Russia were not to be disappointed, for in the month following Secretary Canning informed the Rus sian ambassador in London that Sir Charles Bagot would be instructed " to admit, with certain qualifications, the terms last proposed by the Russian government." The qualifications re lated to the width " of the strip of land required by Russia on the continent," to the boundary in the vicinity of Mt St Elias, and the free use of the rivers, seas, straits, and waters which the limits assigned to Russia would comprehend.+ In his instruc tions to Sir Charles Bagot, Secretary Canning said : " There are two points which are left to be settled by Your Excellency :" the first, " the eastern boundary of the strip of land to be oc cupied by Russia on the coast," and, second, the right of resort ing to the territory and waters conceded to Russia.a The second negotiations were mainly confined to the second point. In the interval a treaty had been signed between Russia and the United States, whereby the latter had secured the right * Ib., 425. t Ib., 401. f Ib., 432. Ib., 433.