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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/220

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212 FREDERICK V. HOLM AN "Should a treaty be concluded with Great Britain and a reciprocal restitution of territory be agreed on, you will have in mind that the United States had in their possession at the commencement of the war a post at the mouth of the River Columbia, which commanded the river, which ought to be comprised in the stipulations should the possession have been wrested from us during the war." Henry Clay, of Kentucky, one of these plenipotentiaries, on February 7, 1838, then an United States Senator, said in a debate on Oregon in the Senate, that he himself had intro- duced the word "possessions" in this stipulation for mutual surrender for the express purpose of securing the restoration of Astoria, if it had been captured. (Marshall's "Acquisition of Oregon," Part I, pages 143, 144.) In the first article of the Treaty of Ghent it was agreed that: "All territory, places, and possession, whatsoever, taken by either party from the other during the war, or which may be taken after the signing of this treaty, excepting only the islands hereinafter mentioned [in the Bay of Fundy] shall be re- stored without delay." Without going into the diplomatic details it is sufficient to say that J. B. Prevost, an agent for the United States, was taken to Astoria in 1818, by the British frigate Blossom. October 6, 1818, Capt. Hickey, the Captain of the Blossom, and J. Heath, of the Northwest Company, as joint-commis- sioners on the part of Great Britain, presented to Prevost a paper declaring that, in obedience to the commands of the Prince Regent and in conformity to the first article of the treaty of Ghent, they restored to the Government of the United States, through its agent Prevost, the settlement of Fort George on the Columbia. Prevost thereupon, in return, gave these joint commissioners another paper, signed by him, which is as follows : "I hereby acknowledge to have received, in behalf of the Government of the United States, the possession of the set- tlement designated above, in conformity to the first article of the Treaty of Ghent. Given under my hand, in triplicate, at Fort George (Columbia River), this 6th of October, 1818."