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LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Washington, D. C., January 14, 1904. Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith, for publication as a bulletin, a revised (third) edition of the “Boundaries of the United States and of the Several States and Territories,” as defined by treaty, charter, or statute. Besides giving the present status of these boundaries, I have endeavored to present an outline of the history of all important changes of territory, with the laws appertaining thereto.
This work was first published as Bulletin No. 13, in 1885. A second edition, much enlarged, constituted Bulletin No. 171, published in 1900. Very respectfully,
Geographer. Hon. CHARLES D. WALCOTT, Director United States Geological Survey.
BOUNDARIES OF THE UNITED STATES AND OF THE SEVERAL STATES AND
TERRITORIES, WITH AN OUTLINE OF THE HISTORY OF ALL IMPORTANT CHANGES OF TERRITORY.
By HENRY GANNETT.
BOUNDARIES OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ADDITIONS
TO ITS TERRITORY.
BOUNDARIES OF THE UNITED STATES.
PROVISIONAL TREATY WITH GREAT BRITAIN.
The original limits of the United States were first definitely laid down in the provisional treaty made with Great Britain in 1782. The second article of that treaty defines its boundaries as follows:
From the northwest angle of Nova Scotia, viz, that angle which is formed by a line drawn due north from the source of St. Croix River to the highlands; along the highlands which divide those rivers that empty themselves into the river St. Lawrence from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean, to the north westernmost head of Connecticut River; thence down along the middle of that river to the forty-fifth degree of north latitude; from thence, by a line due west on said latitude until it strikes the river Iroquois or Cataraquy (St. Lawrence); thence along the middle of said river into Lake Ontario, through the middle of said lake until it strikes the communication by water between that lake and Lake Erie; thence along the middle of said communication into Lake Erie, through the middle of said lake until it arrives at the water communication between that lake and Lake Huron; thence along the middle of said water communication into the Lake Huron; thence through the middle of said lake to the water communication between that lake and Lake Superior; thence through Lake Superior northward of the Isles Royal and Phelippeaux to the Long Lake; thence through the middle of said Long Lake, and the water communication between it and the Lake of the Woods, to the said Lake of the Woods; thence through the said lake to the most northwestern point thereof, and from thence on a due west course to the river Mississippi; thence by a line to be drawn along the middle of the said river Mississippi until it shall intersect the northernmost part of the thirty-first degree of north latitude. South by a line to be drawn due east from the determination of the line last mentioned, in the latitude of thirty-one degrees north of the Equator, to the middle of the river Apalachicola or Catahouche; thence along the middle thereof to its junction with the Flint River; thence straight to the head of St. Mary's River; and thence down along the middle of St. Mary's River to the Atlantic Ocean. East by a line to be drawn along the middle of the river St. Croix, from its mouth in the Bay of Fundy to its source, and from its source directly north to the aforesaid highlands which divide the rivers that fall into the Atlantic Ocean from those which fall into the river St. Lawrence; comprehending all islands within twenty leagues of any part of the shores of the United States and lying between lines to be drawn due cast from the points where the aforesaid boundaries between Nova Scotia on the one part and East Florida on the other, shall respectively touch the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Ocean, excepting such islands as now are, or heretofore have been, within the limits of the said province of Nova Scotia.
TREATY WITH SPAIN OF 1798.
The boundary between the United States and the Spanish Possessions, known as the Floridas, is reaffirmed in the treaty between the United States and Spain, made in 1795, in the following term
The southern boundary of the United States, which divides their territory from the Spanish colonies of East and West Florida, shall be designated by a line beginning on the river Mississippi, at the northernmost part of the thirty-first degree of latitude north of the equator, which from thence shall be drawn due east to the middle of the river Apalachicola or Catahouche, thence along the middle thereof to its junction with the Flint; thence straight to the head of St. Mary's River, and thence down the middle thereof to the Atlantic Ocean.
DEFINITIVE TREATY WITH GREAT BRITAIN.
The definitive treaty of peace with Great Britain, concluded September 3, 1783, defines the boundaries of the United States in terms similar to those of the provisional treaty.
The northern boundary became at once a fruitful source of dissension between the two countries. From the time of the conclusion of peace almost to the present day this line has been the subject of a series of treaties, commissions, and surveys for the purpose of interpreting its terms.
The following is in outline a history of the settlement of this boundary:
TREATY OF LONDON, 1794.
The fourth article of the treaty of London, signed November 19, 1794, provided that-,
Whereas it is uncertain whether the river Mississippi extends so far to the northward as to be intersected by a line to be drawn due west from the Lake of the Woods in the manner mentioned in the treaty of peace between His Majesty and the United States, etc., the two parties will proceed by amicable negotiation to regulate the boundary line in that quarter.
This matter was not settled, however, until 1818.
The fifth article of the same treaty makes provision for settling another doubtful point, as follows:
Whereas doubts have arisen what river was truly intended under the name of the river St. Croix mentioned in the said treaty of peace, and forming a part of the boundary there'n described, that question shall be referred to the final decision of commissions to be appointed in the following manner, viz.