National Geographic : 1899 Nov
450 THE ALASKAN BO UNDAR Y tions of the war. This fact is shown by the Alaska archives and by the testimony of Sir George Simpson before the Parliament ary committee.* About the time of the cession of Alaska to the United States gold was discovered in the Cassiar region of British Columbia, reached through the Stikine river, and the passage of miners made it desirable to have the eastern boundary of the strip where it crosses that river more accurately marked, and this led to a movement, in 1873-'4, on the part of the British and United States governments, for a joint survey of the boundary. In a conference at Washington, February 15, 1873, between Secretary Fish and the British minister, Sir Edward Thornton, it was stated by Mr Fish that a survey of the entire boundary, as esti mated by the engineers, would cost, for the United States alone about $1,500,000, and it was suggested that it would be found sufficient to fix the boundary at certain determined points, and there were named the head of Portland canal, " the point where the boundary line crosses the Rivers Skoot, Stakine, Taku, Isel cat, and Chilkaht, Mount St. Elias," etc. The legislative assembly of British Columbia, in petitioning the Canadian government for a survey, refers to it as " the boundary of the 3 0-mile belt of American territory." Sir Edward Thornton communicated to th8 Foreign Office the result of his conference with Secretary Fish, and it was then submitted through the Colonial Office to the Canadian government, by whom it was referred to the surveyor general, Dennis, who reported favorably upon the plan. He restated the points to be determined and enumerates the rivers " Skoot, Stakine, Taku, Iselcat, and Chilkaht," and says that in his opinion "it is unnecessary at present (and it may be for all time) to incur the expense"' of any other survey than that named. It was thereupon determined that such a joint survey should be made, the total cost of which the British boundary commissioner, Major Cameron, estimated might reach $2,230,000. The plan was not at that time carried into execution because of * Report, etc,, p. 140: "1738. During the late war which existed between Russia and England, I believe that some arrangement was made between you and the Russians by which you agreed not to molest one another? Yes; such an arrangement was made. "1739. By the two companies? Yes; and government confirmed the arrangement. "1740. You agreed that on neither side should there be any molestation or interfer ence with the trade of the different parties ? Yes. "1741. And I believe that that was strictly observed during the whole war? Yes. "1742. Mr. Bell, which government confirmed the arrangement, the: Russian or the English, or both? Both governments."