British Newspapers and the Oregon Treaty of 1846


In 1846, the United States and Great Britain finally settled their long-standing dispute over the boundary between the U.S. and British Canada in the Oregon Country, a dispute that became known as the “Oregon Question.” The first official attempt by the two nations to settle the dispute was in 1818. Unsuccessful, they agreed to joint occupation of the region for ten years. Failing to reach a settlement again at the end of that decade, they continued joint occupation indefinitely with the provision that if either nation wished to terminate the arrangement it must give the other a year’s notice.

The two nations found it so difficult to reach a settlement because the boundary each proposed was so unacceptable to the other. Great Britain maintained that it should hold all of the region north of the Columbia River from the point where it crossed the forty-ninth parallel to the Pacific, thus awarding Britain all of Puget Sound and present-day western Washington. The U.S. eventually would claim all lands south of 54° 40″ of north latitude — that is, the southern boundary of Russian Alaska. Ironically, both nations had favored the forty-ninth parallel as a compromise, but prior to 1846 one or the other party had always rejected it.

In the 1840s, however, developments occurred in both nations that finally made a settlement possible. Probably most crucial was Lord Aberdeen’s return to the office of the British foreign secretary. In addition, both nations were under great pressure to settle the dispute. In Great Britain, for example, there was a growing fear of war because of the demand by increasingly vocal expansionists in the U.S. for “Fifty-four Forty or Fight” and the bellicose tone of President James Polk’s inaugural address in March 1845 and other pronouncements. In the U.S., war with Mexico appeared to be inevitable, and there was growing pressure on the government to reach a peaceful settlement on the Oregon Question. As a result of these and other developments, President Polk forwarded the forty-ninth parallel compromise proposed by Aberdeen to the U.S. Senate as a treaty, though without his endorsement. The Senate ratified it without change on June 18, 1846.[1]

Was the compromise also favorably received in Great Britain, at least as revealed by the reactions of magazines and newspapers? According to Richard S. Cramer, although British magazines “staunchly upheld British rights to Oregon almost to the end,” they then accepted “with scarcely a murmur” the compromise Aberdeen had proposed. Frederick Merk, the American historian who has provided the most detailed account of the thirty-year effort to settle this territorial dispute, concluded that the “whole British press” greeted the news of the Senate’s ratification of Aberdeen’s proposed treaty with “a sigh of relief” and “universal satisfaction.”[2]

Merk may have been correct, but the evidence he provided is hardly persuasive. Not only did he cite only one British newspaper, the London Times, but, as Merk himself acknowledged elsewhere, no other British newspaper would have been expected to be as favorable to the Oregon Treaty as the Times.[3] The young editor of the Times, John T. Delane, had been carefully cultivated by Lord Aberdeen for just such a purpose.[4] According to Arthur Dasent, in his biography of Delane,

Shortly after he became editor, Delane was admitted to the confidence of a Minister for whom he conceived an enduring admiration and respect. This was Lord Aberdeen…. The communications which passed between Lord Aberdeen and the editor of the Times were verbal, and hardly a day passed without their meeting.[5]

Aberdeen’s communications to Delane were inside information concerning planned diplomatic and other initiatives by the Peel government, information that would have been eagerly sought by any member of the press.[6]

The foreign secretary’s efforts had been well rewarded. On January 3, 1846, Delane published a long editorial on the Oregon territorial dispute in the Times. After a rather detailed discussion of the reasons why “joint occupation of the [sic] Oregon by British and American settlers is no longer judged expedient” and, thus, why “partition is recommended and desired,” Delane informed his readers:

We think, then, that every purpose both of honour and interest would be answered, if the British Minister [Lord Aberdeen], on whom now devolves the duty of making fresh proposals to the Government of the United States, were to renew on his part the offer made to England [in 1826] by Mr. Gallatin [at that time a special envoy to London] in the presidency and under the direction of Mr. Adams. That proposal was to take the 49th degree of north latitude as far as the sea [Puget Sound] as the boundary line, reserving to Great Britain Vancouver’s Island, the harbour of St. Juan de Fuca [?], and the free navigation of the Columbia.[7]

It was no coincidence that the compromise terms proposed by Lord Aberdeen and presented by Richard Pakenham, British minister to the United States, to U.S. Secretary of State James Buchanan the following June were virtually the same as those suggested by Delane.[8] Aberdeen’s terms would be forwarded to the U.S. Senate, where the treaty was ratified on June 18, 1846, without change.[9]

Adding to the value of Delane’s editorial for Aberdeen in his efforts to prepare the nation for a compromise settlement of the Oregon Question was his offer of a detailed rationale for such an agreement. He insisted, for example, that both nations had “an equal right to the disputed territory — a right arising from occupation nearly identical in time and similar in purpose.” He also acknowledged that

if a greater share of land is to be accorded to one than to the other, this award must be made, not as a recognition of right, but of those considerations which the proximity, numbers, and the past labours of American settlers introduce as necessary elements in the adjustment of the dispute — considerations which, in all such important matters, it is impossible to merge in the technicalities of law or the minutiae of title.[10]

Delane also addressed the possibility of war between the two nations if a settlement could not be reached, a concern that was widely shared in the British press at the time. Although Delane acknowledged that “there are men in America who long for a war with Great Britain” and also “men in this country to whom a war with the United States would be by no means unwelcome,” he expressed the hope that

the statesmen of the Republic are no more amenable than the Ministers of England to the influence of the most violent or the most thoughtless among their countrymen. And, more than this, we firmly believe that in both countries the real strength of public opinion is arrayed against a belligerent policy. The relations of commerce — the affections of kindred — identity of origin, of language, and laws — the common pursuit of similar objects, the common prevalence of similar sentiments, and the common deference to the same principles of moral action — bind the two nations together by ties which it would be atrocious to sever by the sword. We are two people, but we are of one family.[11]

Aberdeen obviously was pleased with Delane’s editorial and immediately called it to the attention of Edward Everett — former U.S. minister to Great Britain (1841–1845) and soon to become president of Harvard College (1846–1849) — describing it as “temperately written.”[12] Everett, correctly interpreting Aberdeen’s carefully chosen words as an approval of the terms Delane had called for, informed the Polk administration that the editorial “was evidently written under the inspiration of the Foreign Office.”[13]

It may seem puzzling that Aberdeen would use the London Times as his chief means of preparing the public for a compromise in settling the Oregon territorial dispute, since it had been as critical of the Tories as the Whig newspapers had been. Why had he not taken into his confidence such Tory newspapers as the Standard, the Morning Herald, or the Morning Post? The answer is simple. At the time, the Times had an influence over public opinion in England that Merk described as “proverbial.”[14] Among the reasons for this influence was the Times’ political independence in a period when most other leading newspapers still maintained strong ties to one of the two major parties.[15] Also contributing to its influence, according to Merk, was “the brilliance of its editorial page” and “the enterprise of its newsgathering.”[16]

In January 1846, Aberdeen found it necessary to seek support for a compromise on Oregon from Tory newspapers. It had become public knowledge that the Peel government had decided to depart from the traditional Tory position and propose free trade by repealing the protectionist Corn Laws, a decision that would split the party and subsequently bring about Prime Minister Robert Peel’s resignation. [17] In an effort to persuade the dissident Tories to temper their outrage and refrain from attacking Peel and repudiating his diplomacy, including a settlement of the Oregon Question, Aberdeen turned to the Quarterly Review, a leading Tory journal. He did so through J.W. Croker, an influential Tory politician and a founder and regular contributor to the Review. [18] Croker — a longtime close friend of Peel’s and an anonymous supporter of his policies in the pages of the Quarterly Review— had broken with Peel over the repeal of the Corn Laws but remained an Aberdeen supporter. [19]

When Croker told Aberdeen of his support and expressed special interest in the Oregon negotiations, Aberdeen began supplying him with “explanations of obscure points, used his influence to assist Croker in obtaining information from the Hudson’s Bay Company, and instructed the Foreign Office to loan him confidential documents.”[20] Once again, Aberdeen’s clandestine efforts to use the press to prepare the public for an Oregon compromise settlement were successful. In an anonymous article in the March 1846 Review, Crocker proposed the forty-ninth parallel as the boundary.[21] In doing so, however, he used somewhat different justifications than Delane had in the Times. For example, giving up the Columbia River below that parallel would be no great loss, Croker asserted, because the mouth of the river was inaccessible for nine months of the year and a long stretch of the river was unnavigable. Moreover, he reported, the fur trade below the forty-ninth parallel was in decline.[22] Still, although he endorsed the forty-ninth parallel compromise, he could not resist continuing the Review’s criticism of the United States by questioning the U.S. claims to the region and blaming “most of the difficulties for the Oregon problem on the ‘inexorable despotism of democracy’ in the former colony.”[23]

Just a year prior to the publication of Croker’s article and Delane’s editorial, articles calling for a compromise settlement had appeared in two journals of the Whig opposition, the weekly London Examiner and the quarterly Edinburgh Review. Although both articles were published anonymously, it was soon discovered that they were by the same author, Nassau Senior, a distinguished economist and prominent Whig politician who frequently contributed to the Review.[24] The article in the Edinburgh Review was the most useful for Aberdeen, according to Merk, because it was “the principal organ of the Whig party.”[25] Aberdeen had not personally inspired Senior’s articles, however. Rather, his old friend Edward Everett, then serving as U.S. minister to the Court of St. James, has been assigned most of the credit.[26]

To the foreign secretary’s great satisfaction, Senior concluded his very long article, which appeared in the July 1845 Edinburgh Review, with a call for the partition of the Oregon Country at the forty-ninth parallel.[27] He reported his agreement with U.S. special commissioner Albert Gallatin’s “prophecy” that “under whatever nominal sovereignty Oregon may be placed, whatever its ultimate destinies may be, it will be almost exclusively peopled by the surplus population of the United States.”[28] In acknowledging his agreement, however, Senior could not resist the opportunity to denigrate those American frontiersmen who would be fulfilling that prophecy:

It seems probable that in a few years all that formerly gave life to the country, both the hunter [Indian] and his prey, will become extinct; and that their place will be supplied by a thin white and half-breed population, scattered along a few fertile valleys, supported by pasture instead of by the chase; and gradually degenerating into the barbarism, far more offensive than that of the savage, which degrades the backwoodsman.[29]

The justification for the forty-ninth parallel boundary, Senior wrote, was that most of the Oregon Country would be of little or no value to Great Britain. He had reached this conclusion by consulting the available published information on the region and had begun his article by listing ten publications describing Oregon. The descriptions of the region in those publications included negative and misleading information, and Senior relied on them to build most of his case for the forty-ninth parallel boundary. He reported, for example, that

down the whole coast of the Pacific, from latitude 48 [degrees] to Port San Francisco, far within the Mexican frontier, there is no refuge except Bulfinch harbour [Grays Harbor] and the Columbia — the former of which can be entered only by small vessels, and the latter is inaccessible for eight months of the year, and dangerous at all times.[30]

Furthermore, he wrote, “the climate is severe except in the southwestern valleys,” and “only a very small portion of the land is capable of cultivation.” The fur trade, Senior continued, is a “decreasing trade.” In calling for the forty-ninth parallel boundary, Senior proposed that all of Vancouver Island should be British, but he also acknowledged that “its distance from Europe would render it a costly, unprofitable encumbrance” and “that objection applies with equal force to every part of Oregon.” Consequently, he concluded, “The great error of all parties has been the importance attached to Oregon.”[31]

When word reached Britain in June 1846 that the U.S. Senate had accepted Lord Aberdeen’s forty-ninth parallel boundary proposal, the reaction of the British newspapers and magazines was dramatic evidence that Lord Aberdeen’s efforts to prepare the British public for a compromise settlement had been remarkably successful. It was on June 28, 1846, that the Royal Mail steamship Hibernia arrived in Liverpool from America with the news that the U.S. Senate had ratified the Oregon Treaty and, in the days immediately following, the leading British newspapers published their reactions.

One of the first editorials to appear and, to no one’s surprise, one of the most enthusiastic was Delane’s in the London Times. In briefly listing the general terms of the new treaty, he reminded his readers that those were the very terms he had called for the previous January and reported the “natural satisfaction” he took “in the accurate fulfilment [sic] of the views we then” expressed. Consequently, he reported,

Whatever may hereafter be said of the precise terms upon which the Oregon controversy has been settled, there can be but one feeling of satisfaction throughout the two great nations which are thus restored to amity and peace at the termination of a dispute which had threatened to sacrifice some of the principal interests of the civilized world for the sake of one of the least important tracts upon the surface of the globe.[32]

This denigration of the Oregon Country in support of the treaty had been used earlier by Nausau Senior and J.W. Croker to justify British concessions, and it would also appear in the editorials of other newspapers that praised the new treaty. The Manchester Guardian, for example, reporting the “highly gratifying intelligence of the final settlement of the Oregon question,” concluded that the Oregon Country “neither is now, nor is likely ever to become, of much importance, commercially or politically, to either of the two contending parties.” [33]

British newspapers were even more in agreement with the London Times in what Merk described as a “sigh of relief” that war had been avoided. According to the Morning Chronicle, “The great calamity of a war between two powerful and civilized countries has thus been averted.” The Observer agreed: “This great instrument of peace — this treaty of compromise … has averted the impending calamity of war between the two nations.” The Morning Herald told readers that “the Oregon Question is at length settled, and without war,” and the Yorkshire Gazette reported that “the Foreign news of the week … is the settlement of the Oregon territory question, and the consequent continued preservation of peace between this country and the United States.”[34]

British newspapers also generally agreed that President Polk should be condemned for his role in the controversy, particularly the belligerency of his statements on the Oregon Question. According to the Morning Sun,

Having emphatically pledged himself to “the whole to 54 minutes 40 seconds,” Mr. Polk was placed in a remarkably invidious and embarrassing position by the ultimatum dispatched from London on May 19 [Lord Aberdeen’s compromise proposal], and submitted to the decision of the United States Government by the British Minister in Washington [Pakenham]. As might have been presumed from the character of the President, he recoiled from the acceptance of such terms. He had committed himself too much, not merely by inuendo [sic] or insinuation, but by solemn announcements and official declarations of principle, to descend individually from an extortionate to a rational and moderate behaviour. Nevertheless, something in the way of conciliation or acquiescence was necessary, as the Mexican warfare must have thoroughly demonstrated. What course does Mr. Polk adopt in this embarrassing dilemma? Why he … forwards the obnoxious proposition to the Senate, intimating that he leaves its adoption or rejection entirely in their hands, and by so doing, cunningly removes from himself the responsibility of such a decision.[35]

The Standard described Polk’s response to Aberdeen’s proposed settlement in similar terms:

The position of the President now became embarrassing in the extreme; his ambitious hopes had been completely blasted by the Senate, in the comparatively moderate view taken by that body of the matter. By rejecting an overture, understood to be the last, and shutting the door upon all negociation [sic], he would be sure to unite opposition against himself in a quarter where support is essential to carry on his administration, and to involve himself in consequences from which his party could not recover; while, on the other hand, to accept the proposition would be a complete abandonment of all positions distinctly and repeatedly announced to the country, assumed through ignorance, adhered to through obstinacy, and just now discovered to be wholly untenable. To escape these alternatives the President determined to abandon the line of duty prescribed to him by the constitution of his country; he dodged the responsibility , gave up the management of the matter, declined giving judgment in the case, and sent the quasi proposition into the Senate for adjudication. [36]

Other newspapers expressed similar critical assessments.[37]

Although British newspapers were almost unanimous in their praise of the treaty, however, they did not always agree in their interpretations of the final negotiations. There was a sharp contrast, for example, between how the Liverpool Times and the Morning Sun assessed the role of the United States in the negotiations. According to the Times,

Thus, then, this controversy of half a century is at length settled without injury or discredit either to England or the United States. The people of the two countries owe this happy result to the wisdom and moderation of the British Government and of the American Senate, both of which have acted in the difficult matter with a temper and judgment which entitle them to the thanks of their fellow-countrymen, and of all civilized nations. After the extreme rash conduct of President Polk, it required extraordinary firmness on the part of the American Senate, and great self-command on the part of the British Government to bring the question to a peaceful settlement. Happily, the leading men in the American Senate have preferred the interests of their country to the promptings of party spirit, and the British Government has preferred the blessings of peace to a false point of honour.[38]

In contrast, the Morning Sun was unwilling to give credit for the treaty to any individual or group in the United States:

although the text of the treaty yet remains unpublished, it is certain that the American Government has conceded in all important particulars to the requisitions of the mother country. The manner, however, in which these concessions have been made is, to designate it by the gentlest epithets, wonderfully bungling and amazingly ungraceful. Nothing whatever can gloss over the rough circumstances of this acquiescence; no sophistries, however adroit, can cajole the public into a belief that such a settlement as the present [one] has not been wrung from the councils of the Presidency. Everything tends to demonstrate this fact, yet, notwithstanding these considerations, we are prepared to congratulate both empires upon having thus emerged, unscathed, from such a stormy ordeal to their international friendship.[39]

It is not surprising that there were such disagreements among British newspapers about the treaty and the negotiations that produced it. What is remarkable is how few disagreements there were. Of eight leading London dailies and six “provincials,” most of which were weeklies, only four expressed reservations, none very substantive. Certainly, the mildest and most general reservation was expressed by the Morning Herald:

We certainly do not wish to quarrel with the terms of the contract [treaty], but they really differ so little from those that have already been offered to and refused by Great Britain, on more than one occasion, that we cannot partake in the enthusiasm of the Peelites.[40]

Considerably more critical was the reaction of the Morning Chronicle:

All this [the Treaty] is favourable. Nevertheless the plain truth that, in respect to the details of the negotiation, England has been over-reached, must not be concealed from us. A national lie on the part of America has won her the boundary that she has obtained. The national lie, repeated and repeated until it passed current as a gospel truth, that the whole Oregon was the right of America, made every demand short of that enormous pretension look like a concession. This is the secret of the extent of territory that America has thereby secured. We have insisted upon this too often to again urge it. All that can now be hoped is that so gross a manoeuvre may not deceive us a second time. As things stand, the peace of the world is undisturbed. The price of this is a maximum amount of concession on the part of England. Such credit as she claims for the conduct of the affair is the credit, not for skill, but for moderation. Let the language of the press imitate the language of the best statesmen in the two countries, and the spirit between the old monarchy and the new republic may still be that of good will and mutual respect.[41]

The reservations expressed by the other two British newspapers concerned one specific article of the treaty, Article II, which states that navigation of the Columbia River south of the forty-ninth parallel “shall be free and open to the Hudson’s Bay Company, and to all British subjects trading with the same.” The papers were concerned because they had learned that American newspapers — which had heard about the provisions of the treaty at least ten days before the British press had — appeared to be interpreting Article II quite differently than the British government was. According to the Sheffield Independent,

It is a singular fact … that the terms as to the navigation of the Columbia River are differently understood on different sides of the Atlantic. The American papers say, that the river is to be free to us while the charter of the Hudson’s Bay Company lasts — some 17 years. Our Government says that we are to have the right in perpetuity. We trust this discrepancy arises only from misinformation on the part of the American press.[42]

The Globe began a long editorial on Article II by reprinting a letter it had received from a reader who had expressed concern about the interpretation of the article by the American press. “We agree with our correspondent,” the Globe continued,

as to the apparent limitation of our rights on the Columbia to the period, whatever it may be, of the existence of the Hudson’s Bay Company, and we moreover agree with him that this is something materially different from what would, at first sight, be understood by the free navigation of the Columbia river …
But we can see nothing on the face of the Convention, as stated in Parliament, to justify the American construction of its limitation to the term of the Company’s present charter [sic]. What is to prevent Parliament from renewing the Charter of the Hudson’s Bay Company, as they have renewed that of the East India Company, or the Bank, or any other privileged corporation? …
We think with our correspondent that some explanation of the terms of this Convention is due from its framers, or putative parents. We have every pre-disposition to be satisfied with almost any conclusion of this barren controversy. But we wish to see the terms of that conclusion relieved from all possible ambiguity.[43]

It is ironic that of the four articles of the treaty, all of which would lead to controversy between the two nations, the issue of the free navigation of the Columbia River by the Hudson’s Bay Company was the first to be raised by the press, since it would be the most quickly resolved. As historian E.E. Rich has reported, by 1846 the HBC was reducing its trading activities south of the forty-ninth parallel because its fur trade was becoming increasingly less profitable and because the American settlers were arriving in growing numbers. As a result, the company had become much less reliant on the Columbia and, thus, placed little importance on this article.[44]

In contrast, the other three articles of the treaty would prove to be extremely controversial, taking almost three decades to be resolved. Articles III and IV provided that if the “possessory rights” (i.e., property) of the Puget’s Sound Agricultural Company and of the Hudson’s Bay Company below the forty-ninth parallel were transferred to the United States, then the compensation they received should be based on a “proper evaluation.” From the beginning of negotiations, the two powers were far apart on what they considered a “proper evaluation.” In 1863, after almost twenty years of negotiations, they agreed to appoint a joint commission to determine fair compensation. In 1869, the commissioners finally reached a decision, awarding $450,000 to the Hudson’s Bay Company and $200,000 to the Puget’s Sound Agricultural Company.[45]

The controversy over Article I required even more time to be finally settled and at one point almost led to armed conflict. The issue was the proposed boundary in Puget Sound between Vancouver Island and the U.S. mainland to the east. According to the article, that boundary should be “the middle of the channel,” but it was discovered that there were two channels, Canal de Haro near Vancouver Island and the Rosario Channel near the mainland. Moreover, between the two channels was the San Juan Islands. Before the two nations could settle this dispute, the Hudson’s Bay Company established a ranch on the largest of the San Juans and several Americans settled on it as well. The long-standing rivalry in the region between the nationals of the two countries probably made at least minor disputes on the island almost inevitable. In 1852, however, when an American settler shot an HBC pig, U.S. troops arrived to occupy part of the island and British armed vessels appeared offshore. Thus began the bizarre “Pig War.” Fortunately, the two nations eventually agreed on joint occupation of the San Juans until the boundary dispute could be settled. Finally, in 1871, they agreed to settle the dispute by arbitration. Emperor William I of Germany was selected as the arbiter, and he decided the following year that the Canal de Haro should be the boundary. Consequently, the San Juans would belong to the United States.[46]

Needless to say, British newspapers could not have anticipated the prolonged controversies over the treaty, and Frederick Merk’s statement that the “whole British press” greeted the news of the Senate’s ratification of Lord Aberdeen’s proposed treaty with “a sigh of relief” and “universal satisfaction” comes close to being accurate. The Whig, Tory, and independent newspapers agreed in their expressions of satisfaction with the treaty. Though a few newspapers had at least mild reservations, completely absent was the strong condemnation that had greeted the earlier Webster-Ashburton Treaty (which determined the northeast boundary between the United States and Canada). Lord Aberdeen had been determined to prevent such a response to the Oregon Treaty, and obviously he was extremely successful in doing so.


1.� For a detailed discussion, see Frederick Merk, The Oregon Question: Essays in Anglo-American Diplomacy and Politics (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press, 1967).

2.� Richard S. Cramer, “British Magazines and the Oregon Question,” Pacific Historical Review 32 (1963): 369–82; Merk, The Oregon Question, 280, 308. See also Albert Gallatin and the Oregon Problem (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1950); Manifest Destiny and Mission in American History (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1963); and The Monroe Doctrine and American Expansionism, 1843–1849 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1966), all by Frederick Merk, and Thomas C. McClintock, “Frederick Merk,” in John R. Wunder, ed., Historians of the American Frontier: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook (New York: Greenwood Press, 1988), 426–39.

3.� Merk, Oregon Question, 297.

4.� Ibid., 297–300; Muriel E. Chamberlain, Lord Aberdeen: A Political Biography (London: Longman, 1983), 300; Sir Edward T. Cook, Delane of The Times (London: Constable, 1915), 15–16; A.W.W. Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel (London: Constable, 1928), 319n1. For a somewhat different interpretation of the Aberdeen-Delane relationship, see Wilbur Devereux Jones, The American Problem in British Diplomacy, 1841–1861 (London: Macmillan, 1974), 52–3.

5.� Arthur Irwin Dasent, John Thaddeus Delane, Editor of “The Times”: His Life and Correspondence, vol. 1 (London: John Murray, 1908), 43, 51.

6.� Stephen Koss, The Rise and Fall of the Political Press in Britain (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1981), 1:62–3, Merk, Oregon Question, 297–300.

7.� The London Times, January 3, 1846, 4. It is interesting to note that Harry Allen, distinguished British authority on U.S. history, has gone so far as to suggest that Delane’s editorial “might lay claim to constitute the most important turning point in the history of Anglo-American relations.” Harry C. Allen, Great Britain and the United States: A History of Anglo-American Relations (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1955), 413.

8.� Chamberlain, Lord Aberdeen, 338–9.

9.� Wilber D. Jones and J. Chal Vinson, “British Preparedness and the Oregon Settlement,” Pacific Historical Review 22 (1953): 364; Merk, Oregon Question, 279–80, 307–8, 335; Chamberlin, Lord Aberdeen, 339; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 347.

10.� London Times, January 3, 1846, 4.

11.� Ibid.

12.� Paul R. Frothingham, Edward Everett: Orator and Statesman (New York: Kennikut Press, 1971), 265.

13.� Merk, Oregon Question, 303–4.

14.� Ibid., 297. See also Alan J. Lee, The Origins of the Popular Press in England, 1855–1914 (London: Croom Helm, 1976), 46–7.

15.� Merk, Oregon Question, 297-8. Ibid., 297. For more on this, see Arthur Aspinall, Politics and the Press, c. 1780–1850 (London: Home & Van Thal Ltd., 1949), v; Koss, Rise and Fall of the Political Press, 3–12; Ivon Asquith, “The Structure, Ownership and Control of the Press, 1780–1855,” in Newspaper History from the Seventeenth Century to the Present Day, ed. George Boyce et al. (London: Constable, 1978), 111–13.

16.� Merk, Oregon Question, 297.

17.� Peel announced the ratification of the Oregon Treaty by the U.S. Senate on the same day that he informed the Commons of his resignation. Norman Gash, Sir Robert Peel: The Life of Sir Robert Peel after 1830 (London: Longman, 1972), 602–3; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel., 347; Merk, Oregon Question, 309–36; London Times, June 30, 1846, 3, 4.

18.� “John Wilson Croker,” Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 13 (London: Smith Elder & Co., 1888), 123-32.

19.� Ibid., 130; Merk, Oregon Question, 304; Ramsay, Sir Robert Peel, 338.

20.� Merk, Oregon Question, 305.

21.� Croker, “The Oregon Question,” Quarterly Review 78 (March 1846): 563–602.

22.� Merk, Oregon Question, 306.

23.� Cramer, “British Magazines,” 379.

24.� Merk, Oregon Question, 287.

25.� Ibid., 291; Cramer, “British Magazines,” 375.

26.� Merk, Oregon Question, 287–90; Chamberlain, Lord Aberdeen, 300.

27.� Senior, “The Oregon Question,” Edinburgh Review 82 (July 1845): 238–65.

28.� Ibid., 263. Gallatin made this “prophecy” during the diplomatic efforts to settle the Oregon Question in 1826-1827. See Charles H. Carey, General History of Oregon (Portland: Binfords & Mort, 1971, 444-5.

29.� Senior, “Oregon Question,” 248.

30.� Ibid., 239.

31.� Ibid., 240, 246, 261, 265.

32.� London Times, June 30, 1846, 4.

33.�Manchester Guardian, July 1, 1846, 4.

34.�Morning Chronicle, June 30, 1846, 4; Observer, July 12, 1846, 5; Morning Herald, July 1, 1846, 4; Yorkshire Gazette, July 4, 1846, 5.

35.�Morning Sun, June 30, 1846, 2.

36.�The Standard, June 29, 1846, 1. Virtually the same editorial appeared in the Yorkshire Gazette, July 4, 1846, 2.

37.� See Morning Post, June 29, 1846, 5; Liverpool Times, June 30, 1846, 2; Morning Herald, July 1, 1846, 4; Leeds Mercury (weekly), July 4, 1846, 4.

38.�Liverpool Times, June 30, 1846, 2.

39.�Morning Sun, June 30, 1846, 2.

40.�Morning Herald, July 1, 1846, 4.

41.�Morning Chronicle, June 30, 1846, 4.

42.�Sheffield Independent (weekly), July 4, 1846, 8. Actually, the position of the U.S. government was that the free navigation of the Columbia would last only until the Company’s current License of Exclusive Trade expired in 1859. See E.E. Rich, The History of the Hudson’s Bay Company, 1670–1870, vol. 2 (London: Hudson’s Bay Record Society, 1959), 744.

43.�Globe, July 1, 1846, 2.

44.� Rich, History of the Hudson’s Bay Company, 2:731, 737.

45.� Ibid., 747–8; Dorothy O. Johansen, Empire of the Columbia, 2d ed. (New York: Harper & Row, 1967), 208–9.

46.� Johansen, Empire of the Columbia, 209–10; Robert H. Ferrell, American Diplomacy: A History (New York: W. W. Norton, 1975), 293.



By: Thomas C. McClintock