Mr. Everett to Mr. Calhoun.
Sir: * * * * * * *
I have anticipated in some degree another point to which Lord Aberdeen has given great prominence in all our conversations, viz, the entire impossibility that England should accept terms which she has already refused. I do not think I can be mistaken in saying that, unless it comes in the form of an award, she will never agree to the naked proposition of the forty-ninth degree. I have, however, a pretty confident belief that she would accept that line with the modification alluded to in my dispatches above mentioned, viz, the southern extremity of Quadra and Vancouver’s Island, though cut off by the forty-ninth parallel, to be theirs. Lord Aberdeen has never told me they would agree to this; but I am still of the opinion expressed in my former dispatches, and for the reasons therein stated, that they would do so, and I am confident that this is the best boundary which we can get by negotiation. The concession of the southern end of the island, while of little importance to us, would be a great boon to them, as giving them a passage through the Straits of Fuca; and on the ground of this advantage, I am of opinion that they would consider themselves justified in acceding in other respects to the forty-ninth degree; but if the expectation prevails that they can be led by negotiation to agree to a boundary which we should regard as more favorable than this, I am confident that expectation will prove delusive. At the same time I have spared no pains to impress upon Lord Aberdeen’s mind the persuasion that the utmost which the United States can concede is the forty-ninth parallel with the modification suggested, taking care always to add that I had no authority for saying that even that modification would be agreed to. * * *Mr. Everett thinks that the line of 40°, defected so as to give the whole of Vancouver to Great Britain, is all that either party will concede.
John G. Calhoun, Esq., Secretary of State.[Page 36]