No. 244.

M. Motley to Mr. Fish.

No. 490.]

Sir: Deferring to your No. 245, of 15th August, (which dispatch I beg to note did not reach me until 28th ultimo,) I have now the honor to transmit the copy of a letter which I have this day addressed to Earl Granville, notifying him of the discovery made this spring by the United States military commission under General Sykes, as to the true location of the boundary line along the forty-ninth parallel between the British North American possessions and the United States.

Copies of the documents, transcripts of which were sent me in your above-cited dispatch, were annexed to my communication with Lord Granville.


Mr. Motley to Earl Granville.

My Lord: I have the honor, by direction of my Government, to call your attention to a discovery which has been made by the engineer officers of the United States, in [Page 403]regard to the true location of the boundary line between the British possessions in North America and the United States, as ascertained by the usual scientific method of determining such matters.

It appears by a communication from the honorable the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States to the State Department, inclosing a letter of the 23d June last from the collector of customs at Pembina, Minnesota, that the United States military commission under Major General Sykes, United States Army, had 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 one hitherto recognized. The result of this change in one respect at least your lordship will find noted in the above-cited letter of the collector of Pembina, copy of which I annex among other documents.

The question arising at the Treasury Department, whether the said new line has been established by competent authority binding upon the two governments of Great Britain and the United States, has been answered, as you will observe, by inclosed copy of a letter from the acting Secretary of State of the United States, that no joint action of the two governments had been taken for marking upon the surface of the ground that portion of the boundary along the forty-ninth parallel which extends from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky or Stony Mountains.

It has therefore been suggested by the State Department that no proceedings be adopted by the custom-house authorities which will disturb the existing condition of things on the border until the British government can be informed of the discovery which has been made by the United States military commission and General Sykes.

I have accordingly the honor herewith to notify your lordship of said discovery.

I have the honor, &c.,


The Right Hon. the Earl Granville, &c., &c., &c.