New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

Things This Morning Really Wear the Aspect of War

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From the blog at

The border between New Brunswick and Maine was finally established by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842 and, before that, much of northern New Brunswick was in dispute. Negotiations leading to the treaty were carried on between the U.S. Secretary of State and the British Ambassador, but this left the people and politicians of Maine dissatisfied. They did not like the prospect that they could lose some of the disputed land through negotiations to which they were not a party, and, by the way, they were in no mood to negotiate either.

The diplomats agreed at an early stage that neither side would interfere with the status quo while negotiations were in progress. Interference by both sides was common, however. The Governor and Legislature of Maine were especially truculent and they sent a party of lawmen to evict New Brunswick loggers on the occasion chronicled in this blog posting. The loggers should not have been there according to the non-interference agreement, and neither should Maine have responded with lawmen. In any case, New Brunswick arrested several of the intruders and sent them off to jail in Fredericton.

Further background on these times can be found in three other postings in this blog. These are entitled The Ashburton Treaty, and Trouble at Madawaska, and The Disputed Territory Between New Brunswick and Maine. The links are:

Today’s blog is from an 1839 special edition of the Albany, New York Evening Journal, and outlines the American perspective on the events. It shows how close the dispute came to armed conflict. In the end, the diplomats restrained the politicians on both sides of the border and conflict was avoided.

John Harvey

Sir John Harvey

From Collections Canada, via Dictionary of Canadian Biography. N.B. Lieut. Governor, and a principal in this story

The following is all taken from the newspaper, from which I have selected one quote as a title:

“Things This Morning Really Wear the Aspect of War”


[From the Bangor Democrat, Extra.]

Saturday evening, Feb. 16, 7 o’clock

The mail from Houlton this evening brought the Fredericton Gazette, Extra of the 13th, containing the subjoined Proclamation issued by Sir John Harvey. It will be seen that the Lieutenant Governor has ordered out a militia force for the purpose of repelling an invasion from a neighboring state and other purposes. The reader will make his own comment.

By his Excellency Major General Sir John Harvey, K.C.B. and K.C.H. Lieut. Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Province of New Brunswick, &c , &c. JOHN HARVEY.


WHEREAS, I have received information that a party of armed persons to the number of two hundred, or more, have invaded a portion of this Province, under the jurisdiction of His Majesty’s Government, from the neighboring State of Maine for the professed object of exercising authority, and driving off persona stated to be cutting timber therein; and that divers other persons have without any legal authority, taken up an arms with the intention of resisting such invasion and outrage and have broken open certain stores it Woodstock, in which arms and ammunition belonging to Her Majesty were deposited, and have taken the same away for that purpose,— I do hereby charge and command all persons concerned in such illegal acts forthwith to return the Arms and Ammunition, so illegally taken, to their places of deposits, as the Government of the Province will take care to adopt all necessary measures for resisting any hostile invasion or outrage that may be attempted upon any part of Her Majesty’s Territories, or subjects.

And I do hereby charge and command all Magistrates, Sheriffs, and other officers to be vigilant; aiding and assisting in the apprehension of all persons so offending, and to bring them to justice. And in order to aid and assist the civil power in that respect if necessary, I have ordered a sufficient military force to proceed forthwith to the place where these outrages are represented to have been committed, as well to repel foreign invasion, as to prevent the illegal assumption of arms by her Majesty’s subjects in this province.

And further, in order to be prepared, if necessary, to call in the aid of the Constitutional Militia Force of the country, 1 do hereby charge and command the officers commanding the first and second battalions of the Militia of the county of Carleton, forthwith to proceed as the law directs to the drafting of a body of men, to consist of one fourth of the strength of each of those battalions, to be in readiness for actual service, should occasion require.

Given under my hand and seal at Frederickton, the thirteenth day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty nine, und in the second year of her Majesty’s Reign.

By His Excellency’s Command, God save the Queen. WM. F. ODELL.

A slip from the Augusta Age, dated Feb. 17th, at noon, states that the above proclamation was received by express from Houlton, (where a small U.S. force is posted) on Saturday evening. The messenger also brought information, on the authority of the Woodstock Times, that at a portion of the N. Brunswick militia, had on the 14th taken up their line of march for the Aroostook.

Immediately upon the receipt of this intelligence, (says the Age), it is understood that Gov. Fairfield issued a proclamation calling out 1,000 rank and file of the militia, to be detached from the Third (Penobscot) Division, under command of Maj. General Hodsdon; to rendezvous forthwith at Bangor und proceed thence o the Aroostook.

The additional volunteer force raised under the Resolve of January 21th is on its way to the Aroostook. Charles Jarvis, Esq. the provisional Laud Agent, has arrived before this, at the scene of operations.

It would seem that the crisis has arrived which Maine has long been anxiously awaiting. She will not falter until her rights are established, and her jurisdiction extended to the utmost limits of her territory. And may God protect the right!

On Saturday the 15th, [before the arrival of the above mentioned express, Governor Fairfield transmitted to the Legislature of Maine the following


To the House of Representatives:

In compliance with the request of the House of Representatives, I herewith communicate such information as I have in relation “to the reported abduction of the Lund Agent.”

Under the Resolve of the 24th of January last, entitled “Resolve relating to trespassers upon the public lands,” the Land Agent repaired with about two hundred chosen men to the scene of operation on the Aroostook River. Prior to his reaching there, it is understood that the trespassers, amounting to about three hundred in number, had combined and were determined to resist every effort to break them up. Finding, however, that the Land Agent had prepared himself with a six pounder, they chose to retire from the ground, passing down the river.

The Land Agent with his company also passed down the Aroostook to near its mouth, finding the several places of operation abandoned by the trespassers. On Monday last, they captured a gang of about twenty who had been operating further up the river, and sent several who were considered the ringleaders to Bangor, where it is supposed they are now in jail. On Monday the Land Agent sent a letter to Mr. McLaughlin, the Land Agent of the Province of New Brunswick, inviting a meeting with him at the house of a Mr. Fitzherbert, about four miles from where the company were then stationed, and on the same evening, with four others, Mr. McIntire repaired to the house of Mr. Fitzherbert, intending to pass the night there. The trespassers, however, in some way became possessed of the acts, and detached a company of about fifty, who seized the Agent and those accompanying him, and transmitted them, it is believed, beyond The bounds of the state.

Our company is now at No. 10, on the Aroostook, fortified, und anticipating an attack, in case any attempt should be made on our part to execute the Resolve of the 24th of January by destroying the timber which has already been cut.

I have advised the sending of an enforcement of three hundred men, as it is probable the number of the trespassers will be constantly augmenting— and if a Resolve to that effect be passed, shall appoint an agent to supply temporarily the place at Mr. Mclntyre, and lead an the expedition, I have also despatched a special messenger to Sir John Harvey, Lt. Governor of New Brunswick, for the purpose among other things, of ascertaining whether these highhanded proceedings of the trespassers are authorized or in any way countenanced by the Provincial Government; and to procure the release of the Agent and those taken with him. The Agent was also, charged with other matters pertaining to this most extraordinary and outrageous proceeding.

The facts above related, except in the matter of my own doings, have been communicated out verbally by the Sheriff of Penobscot, who formed one of the company of the Land Agents.

This is the only communication from the Land Agent or his company, which I have had verbally or otherwise, that could be relied upon.


Council Chamber, Feb. 15, 1829 [sic.]

Annexed is the resolution under which Mr. M’Intire (the Land Agent) and his party were sent to the Aroostook. It was occasioned by a confidential message to the Legislature, on the 23rd of January by Governor Fairfield, communicating information that trespassers from New Brunswick were extensively engaged in the work of devastation and plunder upon the lands belonging to Maine.

Resolved, That the Land Agent be and is hereby authorized and required to employ forthwith sufficient force to arrest, detain ant imprison all persons found trespassing on the territory of this State, as bounded and established by the treaty of 17??, and that the Land Agent be and is hereby empowered to dispose of all the timber, lumber and other materials in the hands and possession of said trespassers in such way and manner as he may deem necessary and expedient at the tune, by destroying the same or otherwise. And that the sum of ten thousand dollars be and hereby is appropriated for the purpose of carrying this Resolve into effect, and that the Governor with the advice of the Council be and is hereby authorized to draw his warrant from time to time for such sums as may be required for the purpose aforesaid.

January 24, 1839—Approved:




The Augusta Journal of Tuesday, after copying the Proclamation of Gov. Harvey, holds this language:—

One thing seems clear, that he claims to exercise exclusive jurisdiction over the territory where these trespasses were committed. Now as this territory is m the Counties of Penobscot and Washington on townships located fourteen years ago in the vicinity of the Aroostook River, where Maine and Massachusetts have exercised jurisdiction for half a century, we think this question of jurisdiction should be met at once; and if after Mr. Rogers has an interview with Governor Harvey, he shall not immediately release the Land Agent, or if he shall attempt to repell the American force by British troops, let us have the issue at once.— let the sword be drawn and the scabbard be thrown away; and if the General Government at Washington will not sustain us, let us call Massachusetts to our aid, and beat up for volunteers in all the other States. We have suffered indignities and insults enough. If our Land Agent cannot be sent to protect the property of the State … without being seized aa a culprit and put into Fredericton jail, it is time that we showed a little of the spirit of ’76 and not only rallied to defend our territory, but peradventure demolish the prison at Fredericton which has for years been a standing monument of our disgrace.

Governor Fairfield on Sunday sent a special message to Washington, am issued orders calling out one thousand men from the Eastern Division of the militia of this State.

A volunteer corps of 50 men left this town on Sunday forenoon, under the command of Capt. John Ford, an energetic ant efficient man.

If we must come to blows, let there be no Child’s play about it—no backing out. Let officers have the command who are brave and discreet; who will no waste human blood needlessly, but above all, who will not bring dishonor on the State.

The first news we had of the capture of the Land Agent by the trespassers, and their offer to exchange prisoners by swapping hire, or his Aid, Cushman, for a yoke of steers, was well calculated to throw an air of ridicule over the expedition; but subsequent intelligence makes the matter too serious for levity; and we hope our State authorities will take care to make serious business of it at all events, and not permit it to be settled in a manner derogatory to our interest and honor.


Since the above was written, a messenger arrived on Sunday night from Sir John Harvey, demanding, of the Governor the recall of the forces sent by our Governor to the Aroostook, asserting that he (Sir John Harvey) was instructed to maintain ELCLUSIVE JURISDICTION over the territory in dispute and that he should do so with the military force under his command. This message was laid before the Legislature yesterday by the Governor, and in the meantime, on Sunday evening, orders were issued to the Major Generals of the several Divisions of the State to hold their commands in readiness to detail each one thousand men.

We understand that Mr. M’Laughlan, the British Warden of the Territory, (or British Land Agent) had gone to the camp of Capt. Rines, and warned him of his trespassing on Her Majesty’s territory, and ordered him off. Rines detained M’Laughlan and one or two men who accompanied them and sent them to Bangor, where they now are in custody.


[Correspondence of the Portland Advertiser.]


SUNDAY, Augusta, Feb. 17, 1839.

Mr. Stanley has parade his company this morning in and about the Kennebec Hotel. It looks here like any thing but Sunday. As 1 am writing, I can hear the word of command from without— front fact, right about, &c. There were no Sundays in the revolution, and there is none here this morning. All is bustle and confusion— horses, carriages, men and munitions of war, preparing for the Aroostook country, which is soon to become the seat of war. An express arrived last night about 12 o’clock, bearing a Proclamation of Sir John Harvey, which breathes a little of war. He says the timber and territory shall he protected, and calls upon all his loyal subjects to be in readiness for the battle. This is surely talking pretty large. Our Governor was culled from his peaceful slumbers at dead if night to hear this … of war sounded. I understand he immediately issued orders to cull out the third division of the militia, and they will probably repair to the borders to protect our citizens and territory. Things this morning really wear the aspect of war. If the Provincial authorities intend to take the disputed territory into their keeping, there will be but one opinion in Maine, and I hope but one in the whole Union; and that is, to battle for our rights.

We will not be trifled with any longer. There is a spirit in the American people which will not brook insult from Sir John Harvey or the British Queen, and this fact they will soon learn if they persist in their unrighteous claims. If England is determined to hold on to this territory, then let us have War, if we must. We cannot—we shall not yield our rights to any foreign power. Our Governor ought to … forthwith to Washington, and call upon the General Government to come to the rescue. We ought not to be compelled to fight alone—the Government ought to protect us. The plea of “embarrassing the General Government has now, I hope, lost its power. But if our Government will not come to our aid, then the people of Maine must and will defend their territory. We can take Canada und the Provinces single-handed, especially in the present state of public feeling there. “Thrice is he armed who hath his quarrel just.” Our cause is a righteous one, and we will defend it with our best blood. The drums begins to beat, and the “spirit stirring fife” sends out its shrill tones through the valley of the Kennebec. The company collected here have just commenced their march to the sound of martial music. They will march across the bridge, and then be conveyed in wagons to the scene of action. This company is commanded by Captain Ford, of …. What the result of all this will he, I cannot tell. I cannot yet believe England will ever be willing to have a War. And the affair may yet be settled amicably. We cannot and we will not bark out, come what may. There is but one party, one. cause, and that is our country’s. The cry is raised— We are American citizens, and by this name we will be called, and by no other.

Your,                                                   O

[From our Correspondent]


Sunday, 12 o’clock, M

Major General HODSON of the 3d Division of the Militia of Maine, has been ordered by the Commander in Chief, to detach one thousand men from the Division under his command, and proceed at the earliest possible moment to the place occupied by the force under command of the Land Agent, to aid him in carrying into effect the resolve of the 24th of January, in relation to the trespassers on the public lands.

General Hodson, with a promptness that deserves all praise, has issued his orders for the troops to be at Bangor, the place of rendezvous, in readiness to march on Wednesday morning at 8 o’clock.

Each man detached has, by law, 24 hours in which to obey the summons or supply his place with a substitute. The Independent Companies of this city are ordered out entire.

General Hodson has already given notice to the Selectmen of the several towns in this county, that the Officers, non-Commissioned officers and privates having been ordered into service by the Commander in Chief, they will cause such detachments to be attended on their march with suitable rations, camp utensils, and equipage for their use, until they shall be ordered by the Commanding Officer of the detachment to desist.

Sunday Evening, 6 o’clock.


Mr. McLaughlin, the Warden of the Public Lands in New Brunswick and Capt. Tibberis of the Tobique Settlement, have been brought into the city prisoners.


Written by johnwood1946

March 25, 2015 at 8:54 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

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