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This treaty divided the Oregon country between the United States and Canada at the 49th parallel. It granted to the United States land that would later comprise the entire states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, as well as portions of Montana and Wyoming. Pictured is the signature page and President Polk's proclamation announcing the treaty.
James K. Polk,
President of the United States of America,
To all and singular who shall see these presents, greeting!
Whereas a Treaty between the United States of America and Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, - whereof the original is hereunto annexed, - was concluded and signed, in this city, by their respective Plenipotentiaries, on the fifteenth day of June, instant.
And whereas the Senate of the United States, by their resolution of the eighteenth day of the present month, - two thirds of the Senators then present concurring, - did advise and consent to the ratification of the said Treaty.
Now, therefore, I, James K. Polk, President of the United States of America, having seen and considered the said Treaty, do, in pursuance of the aforesaid advice and consent of the Senate, by these presents accept, ratify, and confirm the same, and every clause and article thereof.
In faith whereof, I have caused the seal of the United States of America, to be hereunto affixed. Given under my hand, at the city of Washington, this nineteenth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-six, and of the Independence of the said States the 70th.
[signed] James K. Polk
By the President
[signed] James Buchanan Secretary of State.
[written in lower right corner of page] #120
By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.Whereas a treaty between the United States of America and Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was concluded and signed by their Plenipotentiaries at Washington, on the fifteenth day of June last, which treaty is, word for word, as follows:
The United States of America and Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, deeming it to be desirable for the future welfare of both countries that the state of doubt and uncertainty which has hitherto prevailed respecting the sovereignty and government of the Territory on the northwest coast of America lying westward of the Rocky or Stony Mountains, should be finally terminated by an amicable compromise of the rights mutually asserted by the two Parties over the said Territory, have respectively
named Plenipotentiaries to treat and agree concerning the terms of such settlement, that is to say, the President of the United States of America, has on his part, furnished with Full powers, James Buchanan, Secretary of State of the United States, and Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, has, on her part, appointed the Right Honorable Richard Pakenham, a Member of Her Majesty’s most honorable Privy Council and Her Majesty’s Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States, who after having communicated to each other their respective full powers found in good and due form, have agreed upon and concluded the following articles:
Article I.From the point on the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude where the boundary laid down in [squiggly line] existing treaties and conventions between the United States and Great Britain terminates the line of boundary between the territories of the United States and those of Her Britannic Majesty shall be continued westward along the said forty-ninth parallel of north latitude to the middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouver’s Island; and thence southerly through the middle of the said channel, and of Fuca’s Straits to the Pacific Ocean provided, however, that the navigation of the whole of the said channel and Straits south
of the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude remain free and open to both parties.
From the point at which the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude shall be found to intersect the great northern branch of the Columbia River, the navigation of the said branch shall be free and open to the Hudson’s Bay Company and to all British subjects trading with the same, to the point where the said branch meets the main stream of the Columbia, and thence down the said main stream to the ocean, with free access into and through the said River or Rivers, it being understood that all the usual portages along the line thus described shall in
like manner be free and open. In navigating the said River or Rivers, British subjects with their goods and produce, shall be treated on the same footing as citizens of the United States, it being however always understood that nothing in this article shall be construed as preventing, or intended to prevent, the Government of the United States from making any regulations respecting the navigation of the said river or rivers, not inconsistent with the present treaty.
Article III.In the future appropriation of the territory, south of the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude, as provided in the first article of this Treaty, the possessory rights of the Hudson’s
[red ribbon attached to left side of page]
Bay Company and of all British subjects who may be already in the occupation of land or other property, lawfully acquired within the said Territory, shall be respected.
The farms, lands, and other property of every description belonging to the Puget’s Sound Agricultural Company on the north side of Columbia River, shall be confirmed to the said Company. In case however the situation of those farms and lands should be considered by the United States to be of public and political importance, and the United States’ Government should signify a desire to obtain possession of the whole, or any part
thereof, the property so required shall be transferred to the said Government, at a proper valuation, to be agreed upon between the parties.
The present Treaty shall be ratified by the President of the United States by and with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof, and by Her Britannic Majesty; and the ratifications shall be exchanged at London, at the expiration of six months from the date hereof, or sooner if possible.
In witness whereof, the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed the same, and have affixed thereto the seals of their arms.
[red ribbon and wax seals of both signers affixed to left side of page]
Done at Washington the fifteenth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-six.
[signed] James Buchanan
[signed] Richard Pakenham
And whereas the said treaty has been duly ratified on both parts and the respective ratifications of the same were exchanged at London on the seventeenth ultimo, by Louis McLane, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States and Viscount Palmerston, Her Britannic Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, on the part of their respective Governments:
Now, therefore, be it known that I, James K. Polk, President of the United States of America, have caused the said treaty to be made public, to the end that the same and every clause and article
[seal and red ribbon affixed to left side of page]
thereof, may be observed and fulfilled with good faith by the United States and the citizens thereof.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my [hand?] and caused the seal of the [United States to be?] affixed.
Done at the city of [Washington], this fifth day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-six, and of the Independence of the United States, the seventy-first.
[signed] James K Polk
By the President:
[signed] James Buchanan
Secretary of State.
This primary source comes from the General Records of the United States Government.
National Archives Identifier: 299808Full Citation: Oregon Treaty; 08/05/1846; General Records of the United States Government, Record Group 11. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/oregon-treaty, September 30, 2016]
Rights: Public Domain, Free of Known Copyright Restrictions. Learn more on our privacy and legal page.