No. 240.
Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Lowell.

No. 640.]

Sir: The United States commercial agent at Woodstock, New Brunswick, has recently forwarded to this Department a complaint under oath of Mr. John D. Baird, a citizen of the United States and resident of Bridgewater, Me., stating that a British firm, Hale & Murchie, who own a lumber mill at Woodstock, and are extensively engaged in the logging and lumber trade, have constructed a boom in the Saint John River immediately north of that town, and that for more than a mile of the stream they occupy it from bank to bank with their spring cut of logs, completely obstructing the passage of rafts, loose logs and boats to their destination at Woodstock and points south of that place, to the great inconvenience and serious loss and damage of the man who complains, and all others engaged in the logging business in the Saint John and its tributaries north of Woodstock. Mr. Baird, at the date of his complaint (5th ultimo), had in the river north of this obstruction a raft of logs containing a million and a half feet, valued at $12,000, all cut in Aroostook County, Maine, and rafted on the Meduxnikeag, a tributary of the Saint John; this raft, as he states, was engaged under contract to be delivered at Woodstock, but, owing to the obstruction referred to, he found himself unable to get the logs to their destination, and he adds the practice is kept up yearly by Messrs, Hale & Murchie, to the great injury of himself and other citizens of the United States engaged in the same business. Mr. Baird’s statements are supported by a statement numerously signed by resident business men of Woodstock and of Houlton, Me. I transmit a copy of two documents. If the facts as presented are correctly stated, the matter is one that certainly affords just grounds of complaint, and the proceedings of Messrs. Hale & Murchie appear to be clearly in contravention of the rights and privileges secured to citizens of the United States in common with the people of New Brunswick by the stipulations of the third article of the treaty of 1842.

You will therefore take early occasion to bring the subject to the attention of Earl Granville, with a view to the adoption of such measures by Her Majesty’s Government as may be deemed proper and effective to remedy the existing evil and prevent any recurrence of it in the future. The question assumes additional importance from the fact that the incident which gives rise to it occurred on the common boundary between the United States and Her Majesty’s North American dominions, and if left unheeded might lead to angry controversies between the people on either side of the lines.

I am, &c.,

[Page 446]
[Inclosure 1 in No. 640.]

Mr. Baird to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

A statement of facts connected with John D. Baird’s (of Bridgewater, Me.,) drive of spruce logs, containing one and a half millions (valued at $12,000), from headwaters of Meduxnikeag stream, down to river Saint John at Woodstock, New Brunswick, this lumber having been cut on Letter D. Town, Aroostook County, State of Maine, United States, and en route to its constructive destination, A. Gibson, esq., Fredericton, New Brunswick.

The drive arrived at Woodstock June 1, 1883, found the stream there and passageway obstructed by solid jam of spruce logs for a mile or more, extending up the stream from the town and local boom for accommodation, sorting logs for mills there, owned by Hale & Murchie, which jam of logs containing millions, and owned by them, is yearly allowed, after being driven in the spring, to remain above said boom and sorting place, instead of being put through, and thus occupying the whole of said stream from shore to shore, to the complete exclusion of all loose lumber, rafts, boats, or other property seeking a water conveyance down the stream; and that the said Hale & Murchie do yearly occupy the said stream in like manner, until they saw and remove the same at their own convenience during the summer, and that such usage has been a source of great loss and serious discomfort to myself heretofore and other American operators in getting their drives through into the river Saint John, in many cases ending ruinously, and in others so injuring as to deter them from operating there again, which seems to be the object sought by said Hale & Murchie; the local boom act governing, made in 1874, and of which said Hale is president, is by them used obstructively and utterly inconsistent with the Washington treaty and spirit thereof, subjecting American operators to heavy expense and detention of large drives passing through, and endangering the delivery and value thereof during the short period of freshet. And that whereas the treaty has given to American citizens free and unrestricted right to pass along with lumber and other products this tributary of the Saint John, we do not feel justice is meted out to us or can be obtained if left alone under local laws here to obtain it, with local prejudice, Boom Company, mill-owners, and employers to contend against, and that the boom act in its provisions and omissions shows great inconsistency with the treaty act, no provision being made compelling Hale & Murchie or others to remove their logs out of the channel above boom into side booms made and provided, but to arbitrarily occupy the whole as they now do for a mile or more above said boom, and that the said John D. Baird, now aggrieved and like to be ruinously dealt with, feels in his urgent necessity called upon to claim protection of Government, feeling they will not allow or subject its citizens to stop and damage by such invasion of their rights.

That the drive now spoken of, lying in rear of Hale & Murchie’s jam of logs, is likely to get aground and remain there for a year, subject to stop depreciation and damage of various kinds, or turned out by them to take the chances of an ice freshet next spring, and that the detention is costing the said Baird heavily, and that the said Hale & Murchie, though called on to open a channel, will not do so, but say if I want a channel I must put on men and make one myself, and that they have not any one day put on more than six men, or just enough to stand on the boom and pass their logs in; I having to do all the work on the jam with my men, they, when not occupied, sitting down, claiming the gap and boom across was their limit. So that unless I make a channel myself through the whole length of their logs up into my own, at great expense, and then drag my drive through (the water permitting), and contending with them all the way, I might as well abandon it. Therefore seek such assistance from Government as in your power, and the urgency of my case demands.


Province of New Brunswick,
Dominion of Canada, to wit:

Be it remembered that, on the 7th day of June, A. D. 1883, personally came and appeared before me, George Connell, a notary public duly commissioned and sworn, and practicing at Woodstock, county of Carleton, John D. Baird, the person named in the foregoing document marked A, who signed the same in my presence, being duly sworn before me, stated that the facts and statements in said paper are true.

A Commissioner for taking affidavits in the Supreme Court, and Notary Public, Province of New Brunswick.
[Page 447]
[Inclosure 2 in No. 640.]

Petition of Francis P. Sharp and others.

Hon. F. T. Frelinghuysen,
Secretary of State, Washington:

The petition of the undersigned showeth, that your petitioners living at Woodstock, N. B., and at Houlton, Me., United States, and in vicinity of Meduxnikeag River and tributaries, a river heading in United States territory (Aroostook County), and thence passing through Houlton, Me., into river Saint John at Woodstock, N. B., and that this large water-power as a carrier of lumber and other products is of great importance to the extensive country and towns through which it passes, more especially to citizens of the United States as owners of timber lands and mills, operators in lumber, stream-drivers, &c., and that the free and unobstructed passage-way of the same (consistent with other interests in milling) is of first importance to the inhabitants and all those interested therein. But, that owing to non-observance of Ashburton treaty rights guaranteed, piers of wood unnecessarily obstruct the passage-way at Woodstock, N. B., and mill-owners there allow large masses of logs to remain in bed of stream for miles above the mills, effectually closing up the channel until the same is sawed out through the summer. And as those obstructions are noted and continuous, and of a nature too difficult and expensive for single individuals to remove, now call on the United States Government as most interested for the benefit of its citizens to take such action under the treaty of Washington as will lead to a removal and final adjustment of the same, and more especially at this time, as a drive of American logs considerable in amount and value, being obstructed at high water in getting through, now remains there, subjecting the owner to serious stop and damage, and that the large value in timber lands predicated on the right of removal by said waters is seriously affected.

Therefore pray your earnest attention to the matter herein set forth.

[And forty-five other signatures.]