No. 241.

Mr. Boutwell to Mr. Fish.

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a letter, dated the 23d ul timo, from the collector of customs at Pembina, Minnesota, relative to a change effected by a survey recently made by a United States military commission, under Major General Sykes, United States Army, in the line heretofore recognized as the proper boundary between the United States and the British Possessions in that region, fixed by treaty at the forty-ninth parallel of latitude. It is therein stated that the line now established is 4,600 feet north of that heretofore recognized, and the results of the change are, in one respect, at least, noted therein.

I will thank you for any information upon the subject you may be able to furnish; and whether said newline has been established by competent authority binding upon the two governments of Great Britain and the United States.


Sir: I have the honor to call your attention to the fact that the United States military commission, under Major General Sykes, United States Army, and Captain Heap, United States Corps of Engineers, while here this spring for the purpose of locating the new fort and military reservation, have by a series of careful solar and lunar observations, located and established the forty-ninth parallel, or international boundary line upward of 4,600 feet north of the old established post, and that from the initial point established on the west bank of the Red River, by the said military commission, a careful survey of the said boundary line was made for military purposes as far west as St. Joseph, and the same distinctly marked, and stakes driven at every mile. This change brings the Hudson’s Bay Company’s trading post, north of here, within our lines, on United States territory, which, in case the said last established location shall be recognized as the actual boundary line, would subject the whole of said Hudson’s Bay Company’s stock of goods on hand at said trading post, and all future importations thereto, to the payment of duty. I have therefore ordered a full inventory of all their goods and effects for the purpose of assessment of duty, in case the said last established line shall be recognized as the true boundary.

I would, therefore, in view of these facts, respectfully request instructions in the premises, and. beg to be advised as to which of the two different lines established I am to recognize as the true boundary line for customs revenue purposes.

I am, sir, very respectfully your obedient servant,

J. C. STORER, Collector.

Hon. Secretary of the Treasury, Washington, D. C.