James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Jacob Ten Broeck, 13 April 1813

From Jacob Ten Broeck

State of New York
Kingston Esopus
April 13th 1813

Honrd. Sir

My Father in law—Matthew Watson from the City & County of New York some time before his decease having made a location on Carlton Island—an Island lying not far from our shore in the River St. Lawrence—which said location is regurally entered in the surveyer Generals office & Mr Wm. Cockburn has been employd to make the survey: but being prevented by British soldiers who were stationed there in order to keep possession of several Barracks built in the time of our revolution. Have applied to Govr. Tompkins & told me nothing had been done as yet. Have understood that Commissioners would be appointed in order to settle the line between Great Britain & us—since have not heard—this is several Years ago.1 So will thank Your honor if we should be so fortunate as to have our differences settled to appoint Commissioners as they are destroying all the Timber. It has pleased your honor to appoint Genrl. John Armstrong secretary at war—whose honesty & brobity has been exemplary on all occasions & nothing on his part will be wanting as he is a person well calculated to fill the office for am well acquainted with him. However must say the truth when I heard of his appointment felt sorry we had to spare him from the harbour of New York. Am Yours with respect

Jacob Ten Broeck

RC (DNA: RG 59, ML).

1Daniel D. Tompkins informed Robert Smith on 10 Dec. 1810 that disputes had arisen over the ownership of islands in the St. Lawrence due to the wording of the 1783 Treaty of Paris regarding the boundary between the United States and Canada. The state of New York, he wrote, had “become deeply interested in having the middle of the River ascertained and the title to the Islands put out of dispute by an official designation of those which belong to the parties respectively.” On Carleton Island, which in Tompkins’s opinion unquestionably belonged to the United States, the British had “stationed and maintained a military guard.” Tompkins had heard that funds had been appropriated “to defray the expense of Commissioners to settle the line,” and asked that the government give the subject “early and prompt attention” (Hastings, Public Papers of Daniel D. Tompkins, 2:303–5). The 1814 Treaty of Ghent stipulated that commissioners would be appointed to decide the question of the St. Lawrence border. In 1822 commissioners Peter B. Porter and Anthony Barclay rendered their decision, which included Carleton Island among the U.S. possessions (Miller, Treaties, 2:578–79; 3:65–69).

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