Article 2 of the Treaty of Paris (1783) hoped “that all disputes which might arise in future on the subject of the boundaries of the said United States may be prevented…” In reality, that article generated endless disputes. Which is the real St. Croix River, the starting point of the boundary? What about the “highlands” separating the waters emptying into the St. Lawrence and the Atlantic? Multiplying commissions and maps, the two sides were preparing for a real war in 1839. Maine built Fort Fairfield and Fort Kent. The British responded with military installations in Grand Falls, Little Falls, Dégelé, and Cabano (Ingall).
What if Acadia of the Lands and Forests had ended completely within the United States?
In 1838, Edward Kent, Governor of Maine, mandated a Commission to locate the northeast border of the state. On the map produced, the Commission emphasized in broad strokes that Madawaska and Témiscouata belonged to Maine based on the Royal Proclamation of 1763 (blue line), the Quebec Act of 1774 (yellow line), and the Treaty of Paris of 1783 (red line). A thin green line shows discreetly the British perspective and its reference, Mars Hill, more recognizable today by numerous wind turbines.
A British eye on Little Falls at the time of the confrontation
Philip John Bainbrigge (1817-1881) was an officer in the British Army with the talent of an artist. Stationed in Canada since 1836, the army entrusted him with reconnaissance tasks on the defense capabilities of the enemy and mandated him to examine the issue of the border dispute. Between 1838 and 1842, in the midst of the “Aroostook War,” Bainbrigge travelled to Madawaska and Témiscouata several times. Among his surviving watercolors and drawings, a few are indeed rare images of Acadia of the Lands and Forests at the time.