National Geographic : 1899 Nov
THE ALASKAN BOUNDARY The remaining article to be noted is the seventh, which pro vides "that for the space of ten years . . . the vessels of the two powers, or those belonging to their respective subjects, shall mutually be at liberty to frequent, without any hindrance whatever, all the inland seas, the gulfs, havens, and creeks on the coast mentioned in article 3 for the purposes of fishing and of trading with the natives." I have already referred to the fact that the negotiations were broken off because the British plenipotentiary insisted that the liberty to frequent those "in land seas, gulfs, havens, and creeks " should be made perpetual, and that the negotiations were renewed upon the basis of the privilege granted in the Russo-American treaty of 1824, the lan guage of article IV of which, as Secretary Canning informed Sir Charles Bagot,* was copied into the British treaty. This ten years' privilege is inconsistent with any other interpretation of the treaty than the complete sovereignty of Russia over, not only a strip of territory on the mainland which follows around the sinuosities of the sea, but also of the waters of all bays or inlets extending from the ocean into the mainland. This is the more manifest when the subsequent history respecting the provision of article IV of the American and article VII of the British treaty is recalled. At the expiration of the term of ten years the Russian minister in Washington gave notice to the Government of the United States that the privilege had expired, and a notification to that effect was made in the public press of the United States.t Persistent efforts were made by the United States to have the privilege extended for another period of ten years, but it was firmly refused by Russia.t The British privi lege was likewise terminated upon the expiration of the ten years mentioned, and this article of the treaty was never again revived. Having reviewed the negotiations preceding the treaty of 1825 and examined the provisions of that instrument now in dispute, I pass to a statement of facts since the celebration of the treaty, showing the views of the high contracting parties and those claiming under them as to the stipulations of that conven tion. As soon after the treaty as the data could be compiled, to wit, in 1827, a map was published in St Petersburg, " by order * Ib., 434. Secretary Canning, in his instruction to Sir Stratford Canning, used this language: " Russia cannot mean to give to the United States of America what she withholds from us, nor to withhold from us anything that she has consented to give to the United States." t Senate Ex. Doc. No. 1, Twenty-fifth Congress, third session, p. 24 . $ Ib., 69.