Map of the Indian Stream Republic with Rare New Hampshire Commissioners Report
Complete Report of the Commissioners To Indian Stream Nov. 1836, with the map illustrating the lands claimed by the so-called Republic of Indian Stream, a short lived constitutional republic which existed on the U.S.-Canada Border, from 1832 to 1835.
The entry in Sabin provides the following quote from Henry Stevens:
“On the 18 June, 1836, the Legislature of New Hampshire resolved to continue possession of the Indian Stream Territory, and maintain its jurisdiction, until the question of boundaries in dispute between the united States and Great Britain affecting the limits of said territory should be settled. Commissioners were appointed to visit that country and collect such information as they could find, and report in print. This is their report.---”H. STEVENS.
The present map was prepared to illustrate this New Hampshire Legislative Report on the lands in question. The Legislature of New Hampshire resolved to continue possession of the Indian Stream Territory, and maintain its jurisdiction, until the question of boundaries in dispute between the United States and Great Britain affecting the limits of said territory should be settled. Commissioners were appointed to visit that country and collect such information as they could find, and report in print.
As noted by Streeter in describing the report:
This is an account of the Indian Stream War, so called, arising from the effort of the sheriff of Coos County, New Hampshire, to serve a writ in the Indian Stream district of northern New Hampshire which was resisted by citizens of Canada who claimed the Indian Stream district as part of Canada. On July 9, 1832, a few years before the troubles narrated in full in this report, the inhabitants of the district had adopted a constitution for an independent government with a legislature called "The General Assembly of Indian Stream." This report of the Commissioners appointed by the state of New Hampshire to proceed to Indian Stream and collect evidence to rebut the claim of Lord Gosford, Governor of Lower Canada, tells the story.---TWS.
The Republic of Indian Stream was an unrecognized constitutional republic in North America, along the section of the US-Canada border that divides the Canadian province of Quebec from the US state of New Hampshire. It existed from July 9, 1832 to 1835. Described as "Indian Stream Territory, so-called" by the United States census-taker in 1830, the area was named for Indian Stream, a small watercourse. It had an organized elected government and constitution, and served about three hundred citizens.
The establishment of Indian Stream as an independent nation was the result of the ambiguous boundary between the United States and Canada, as defined in the Treaty of Paris. There were three possible interpretations of where "the northwesternmost head of the Connecticut River" might be. As a result, the area (in and around the three tributaries that fed into the head of the Connecticut River) was not definitively under the jurisdiction of either the United States or Canada.
The Republic was located in northern New Hampshire, including the four Connecticut Lakes. While the British claimed the southeasternmost branch (the chain of Connecticut Lakes), the U.S. claimed the border as we know it today (Hall's Stream, to the west, which is, arguably, the "northwesternmost headwater" of the Connecticut). Both sides sent in tax-collectors and debt-collecting sheriffs. The double taxation angered the population, and the Republic was formed to put an end to the issue until such time as the United States and Great Britain could reach a settlement on the boundary line.
The Republic ceased to operate independently in 1835 when the New Hampshire Militia occupied the area, following a vote by the Indian Stream Congress authorizing annexation to the United States. The vote arose from disquiet regarding a prior incident in which a group of "streamers" invaded Canada to free a fellow citizen who had been arrested by a British sheriff and magistrate. The reason for the arrest was an unpaid hardware-store debt, and the offender faced confinement in a Canadian debtors' prison. The invading posse shot up the judge's home where their comrade was being held, and this international incident caused a diplomatic crisis. The British ambassador to the United States was appalled at the idea of a war over a matter so trivial as a hardware-store debt and quickly agreed to engage in negotiations to resolve the border disputes that had remained outstanding since the time of the Treaty of Paris (1783).
Britain relinquished its claim in January 1836, and American jurisdiction was acknowledged in May 1836. The area was still described as Indian Stream at the time of the 1840 United States Census taken on June 1, 1840. In 1842, the land dispute was definitively resolved by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, and the land was assigned to New Hampshire. However, the 1845 Lewis Robinson Map of New Hampshire based on the latest authorities, shows the boundary north of the town of Clarksville but just south of modern-day Pittsburg.
The map is of the utmost rarity. We note only the Streeter Sale, where the map was sold with the pamphlet.
We previously handled the map only in 2015.