CHAPTER XI. BOUNDARY COMMISSION SURVEY AND GADSDEN PURCHASE.


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John B. Weller—John C. Fremont—John Russell Bartlett—Major W. H. Emory—Gadsden Purchase and Treaty—Proposition Submitted to Congress by Mr. Gadsden.

According to the terms of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the Commissioners of the Boundary Survey were to be appointed within one year from the signing of the treaty. Mexico appointed General Pedro Garcia Conde, and President Polk, early in 1849, appointed John B. Weller, who had served in Congress from Ohio, and afterwards in the United States Senate from California, and also as Governor of the last mentioned State.

In February, 1850, after establishing the initial point for the survey, the Commission adjourned. Soon thereafter Weller was superseded by John C. Fremont who, having been elected Senator from California, during that year resigned from the position of Commissioner, and John Russell Bartlett of Massachusetts, in June, 1850, was appointed in his place. Bartlett organized his force and a military escort was provided by the Government for the Commission. There was a large corps of engineers, surveyors and assistants over whom Lieut. A. W. Whipple, of the Topographical Engineers, was placed. Lieut. Whipple also


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performed the astronomical duties, while John Bull was the principal surveyor in charge of this department of the work. They selected their assistants and entered upon the performance of their duties on the 3d of September, 1850.

Part of the duty of this Boundary Survey Commission was to make notes of the northern part of Chihuahua and Sonora and the adaptability of that country to a railroad route.

At San Antonio, an advance party was sent ahead with a view to reaching El Paso on the first Monday of November, the 4th day of the month, the day fixed upon for the meeting of the joint Commission. Commissioner Bartlett was in charge of this party and selected to accompany him Thomas H. Webb, Secretary of the Commission, Robert C. Murphy, Asst. Secretary and Clerk, George Thurber, Botanist and Commissary, Theodore F. Moss, Geologist, John C. Cremony, Interpreter, Edward C. Clark, Quartermaster, Robert E. Matthews, John B. Stewart, Thomas Thompson, S. P. Sandford, J. Thomas McDuffle, Thomas Dunn, George C. Garner, J. E. Weems, Jr., Clement Young, C. Neville Sims, George S. Pierce and A. P. Wilbur, assistants in the engineering and surveying corps, with a mason, blacksmith, a harnessmaker, a carpenter, a tailor, and cooks, hunters and teamsters, making altogether a party of thirty persons. This party reached El Paso November 13th, a distance from San Antonio to that place of six hundred and thirty-five miles. It was found impracticable to conduct the survey to the east on account of the expense and difficulty in


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obtaining supplies, and, therefore, the start was made from the eastern border. Commissioner Bartlett issued the following:

‘‘

General Order for the government of the Advance Party of the U. S. Mexican Boundary Commission, on its march from San Antonio to El Paso del Norte.

As this portion of the Commission is entering a country inhabited by warlike tribes of Indians, where no resources can be had beyond what the prairies supply, it is absolutely necessary that a rigid observance be kept of the following order:

The same organization of the cavalry company formed at Indianola, will be continued to El Paso.

Mr. Geo. S. Pierce, commanding the cavalry, will act as master of the camp, detailing for the guard whatever force may be deemed necessary for the safety of the train.

Every member of the Commission, the teamsters and cooks excepted, is expected to do guard duty.

The train and escort will keep as close together as possible; and after leaving Fredericksburg, no one will be permitted to leave the train beyond a short limit.

Mr. Cremony will take charge of the ammunition, inspect the arms, and report in what manner every man is armed. Economy must be used in the ammunition, as the quantity in the train is limited.

As there is one jornada of seventy miles without water, and we may suffer inconvenience elsewhere, every man who has not already provided


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himself with a canteen or gourd, will do so before leaving Fredericksburg.

In case of any difficulty or accident to the wagons, it is expected that every one will lend all the aid in his power to remove it, and hasten the movement of the train.

Mr. E. C. Clark, the acting quartermaster, will arrange the encampment, and direct the distribution of the forage. It is absolutely necessary that there should be an equal distribution of corn, and no one will be permitted to take more than is assigned or delivered to him. On this depends the safety of our animals, and consequently our own. A limited quantity of corn can only be taken, and great economy must be used in its distribution.

On coming into camp, holes must be dug for the fires, which must, when the ground permits, be placed in hollows, or beneath a hill, in order to conceal the encampment as much as possible.

John R. Bartlett,

Commissioner.

’’

This survey of the boundary line under the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, was not permanently established, because in 1853, under the Gadsden purchase, Mexico ceded to the United States a strip of land south of the river Gila, from the Rio Grande on the east to a point twenty miles below the mouth of the Gila on the west, on the Colorado, estimated to contain 45,535 square miles, or 29,142,400 acres, 14,000 square miles of which are now contained in the State of New Mexico, and 31,535 square miles in the State of Arizona, for the sum of ten millions


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of dollars. The boundary line under the Gadsden treaty was established in 1855–56.

These surveys, as we have seen, began in 1849, and continued, with many interruptions, until 1856. During the establishment of the boundary line agreed upon by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, four different commissioners were appointed, four of astronomer, and two of surveyor. These changes, and the want of means to properly carry on the work, with differences of opinion as to the proper initial point on the Rio Grande, caused much delay.

Major W. H. Emory, in 1856, succeeded Bartlett as Commissioner, and completed the survey under the terms of the Gadsden purchase, fixing the boundaries as established at present.

The line finally established under the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, extended up the Rio Grande from its mouth to latitude 31° 54' 40" north; thence west along that parallel to the meridian of 109° 37' west; thence due south to the Rio San Domingo; thence down that stream to the Gila; thence down the Gila to its mouth; thence in a straight line to the point on the Pacific, in latitude 32° 32' north.

Many reconnaissances were made by different parties in going to and from various points on the line, and the Rio Grande was surveyed up as far as the parallel of 32° 22' north, and a portion of that parallel was run by Lieutenant Whipple, as directed by Mr. Bartlett, commissioner at that time.

The treaty of 1853, by which the tract of territory known as the Gadsden purchase was acquired from Mexico, changed the boundary line


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so as to make it commence on the Rio Grande at latitude 31° 47' north; thence due west 100 miles; thence south to latitude 31° 30' north; thence due west to the one hundred and eleventh meridian; thence in a straight line to a point on the Colorado twenty miles below its junction with the Gila; thence up the Colorado to the former line.

To establish this boundary, Major Emory, then Brevet Major Corps Topographical Engineers, was appointed Commissioner and astronomer on the part of the United States, and Jose Salazar Ilarregui, was appointed commissioner on the part of the republic of Mexico, and the work was accomplished during the years 1855–56.

Major Emory was assisted in this work by Lieutenant N. Michler, Topographical Engineers, and others. Captain G. Thom, Topographical Engineers, had charge of the office in computing the work and projecting the maps of both boundary surveys.

What is known as the Gadsden Purchase, mention of which has been made, was acquired by the United States under a treaty made by the United States with the Republic of Mexico, which, together with an explanatory note, I give in full:

‘‘

Under the administration of President Pierce, December 30, 1853, a treaty was entered into by James Gadsden, United States minister to Mexico, and Don Manuel Diez de Bonilla, Secretary of State, Jose Salazar Ylarregui, and J. Mariano Monterde, as scientific commissioners on behalf of the Republic of Mexico, for the purchase of the tract of land now lying in the southern part of the territories of New Mexico and


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Arizona, then in the Republic of Mexico and adjoining the United States, south of the river Gila, and from the Rio Grande on the east to a point twenty miles below the mouth of the Gila on the west, on the Colorado River. The Gila River and branches from this point eastward was the boundary fixed by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, in 1848. This purchase was for the purpose of more correctly defining and making a more regular line and certain boundary between the United States and Mexico.

The treaty was as follows:

Treaty with Mexico. Concluded December 30, 1853; ratifications exchanged June 30, 1854; proclaimed June 30, 1854.

In the name of Almighty God:

The Republic of Mexico and the United States of America, desiring to remove every cause of disagreement which might interfere in any manner with the better friendship and intercourse between the two countries, and especially in respect to the true limits which should be established, when, notwithstanding what was covenanted in the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in the year 1848, opposite interpretations have been urged, which might give occasion to questions of serious moment: to avoid these and to strengthen and more firmly maintain the peace which happily prevails between the two republics, the President of the United States has, for this purpose, appointed James Gadsden, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the same, near the Mexican Government, and the President of Mexico has appointed as Plenipotentiary 'ad hoc' his excellency Don Manuel


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Diaz de Bonilla, cavalier grand cross of the national and distinguished order of Guadalupe, and Secretary of State and of the office of Foreign Relations, and Don Salazar Ylarregui and General Mariano Monterde, as scientific commissioners, invested with full powers for this negotiation; who, having communicated their respective full powers, and finding them in due and proper form, have agreed upon the articles following:

ARTICLE I.

The Mexican Republic agrees to designate the following as her true limits with the United States for the future: Retaining the same dividing line between the two Californias as already defined and established, according to the 5th article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the limits between the two republics shall be as follows: Beginning in the Gulf of Mexico; three leagues from land, opposite the mouth of the Rio Grande, as provided in the fifth article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; thence, as defined in the said article, up the middle of that river to the point where the parallel of 31° 47' north latitude crosses the same; thence due west one hundred miles; thence south to the parallel of 31° 20' north latitude; thence along the said parallel of 31° 20' to the 111th meridian of longitude west of Greenwich; thence in a straight line to a point on the Colorado twenty English miles below the junction of the Gila and Colorado rivers; thence up the middle of the said river Colorado until it intersects the present line between the United States and Mexico.


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For the performance of this portion of the treaty, each of the two Governments shall nominate one commissioner, to the end that, by common consent, the two thus nominated having met in the city of Paso del Norte, three months after the exchange of the ratification of this treaty, may proceed to survey and mark out upon the land the dividing line stipulated by this article, where it shall not have already been surveyed and established by the mixed commission, according to the treaty of Guadalupe, keeping a journal and making proper plans of their operations. For this purpose, if they should judge it necessary, the contracting parties shall be at liberty each to unite to its respective commissioner scientific or other assistants, such as astronomers and surveyors, whose concurrence shall not be considered necessary for the settlement and ratification of a true line of division between the two republics; that line shall be alone established upon which the commissioners may fix, their consent in this particular being considered decisive and an integral part of this treaty, without necessity of ulterior ratification or approval, and without room for interpretation of any kind by either of the parties contracting.

The dividing line thus established shall, in all time, be faithfully respected by the two Governments, without any variation therein, unless of the express and free consent of the two, given in conformity to the principles of the law of nations, and in accordance with the constitution of each country, respectively.

In consequence, the stipulation in the 5th article of the treaty of Guadalupe upon the


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boundary line therein described is no longer of any force, wherein it may conflict with that here established, the said line being considered annulled and abolished wherever it may not coincide with the present, and in the same manner remaining in full force where in accordance with the same.

ARTICLE II.

The Government of Mexico hereby releases the United States from all liability on account of the obligations contained in the eleventh article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; and the said article and the thirty-third article of the treaty of amity, commerce and navigation between the United States of America and the United Mexican States, concluded at Mexico on the fifth day of April, 1831, are hereby abrogated.

ARTICLE III.

In consideration of the foregoing stipulations, the Government of the United States agrees to pay to the Government of Mexico, in the city of New York, the sum of ten millions of dollars, of which seven millions shall be paid immediately upon the exchange of the ratifications of this treaty, and the remaining three millions as soon as the boundary line shall be surveyed, marked and established.

ARTICLE IV.

The provisions of the 6th and 7th articles of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo having been rendered nugatory for the most part by the cession of territory granted in the first article of this treaty, the said articles are hereby abrogated


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and annulled, and the provisions as herein expressed substituted therefor. The vessels and citizens of the United States shall, in all time, have free and uninterrupted passage through the Gulf of California, to and from their possessions situated north of the boundary line of the two countries. It being understood that this passage is to be by navigating the Gulf of California and the river Colorado, and not by land without the express consent of the Mexican Government; and precisely the same provisions, stipulations and restrictions, in all respects, are hereby agreed upon and adopted, and shall be scrupulously observed and enforced by the two contracting Governments, in reference to the Rio Colorado, so far and for such distance as the middle of that river is made their common boundary line by the first article of this treaty.

The several provisions, stipulations, and restrictions contained in the 7th article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo shall remain in force only so far as regards the Rio Bravo del Norte, below the initial of the said boundary provided in the first article of this treaty; that is to say, below the intersection of the 31° 47' 30" parallel of latitude, with the boundary line established by the late treaty dividing said river from its mouth upwards, according to the 5th article of the treaty of Guadalupe.

ARTICLE V.

All the provisions of the eighth and ninth, sixteenth and seventeenth articles of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo shall apply to the territory ceded by the Mexican Republic in the first


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article of the present treaty, and to all the rights of persons and property, both civil and ecclesiastical, within the same, as fully and effectually as if the said articles were herein again recited and set forth.

ARTICLE VI.

No grants of land within the territory ceded by the first article of this treaty bearing date subsequent to the day—twenty-fifth of September—when the Minister and subscriber to this treaty on the part of the United States proposed to the Government of Mexico to terminate the question of boundary, will be considered valid or to be recognized by the United States, or will any grants made previously be respected or be considered as obligatory which have not been located and duly recorded in the archives of Mexico.

ARTICLE VII.

Should there, at any future period (which God forbid) occur any disagreement between the two nations which might lead to a rupture of their relations and reciprocal peace, they bind themselves in like manner to procure by every possible method the adjustment of every difference; and should they still in this manner not succeed, never will they proceed to a declaration of war without having previously paid attention to what has been set forth in article 21 of the treaty of Guadalupe for similar cases; which article, as well as the 22d, is here re-affirmed.

ARTICLE VIII.

The Mexican Government having on the 5th of February, 1853, authorized the construction


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of a plank and rail road across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and to secure the stable benefits of said transit way to the persons and merchandise of the citizens of Mexico and the United States, it is stipulated that neither Government will interpose any obstacle to the transit of persons and merchandise of both nations; and at no time shall higher charges be made on the transit of persons and property of citizens of the United States than may be made on the persons and property of other foreign nations, nor shall any interest in said transit way nor in the proceeds thereof, be transferred to any foreign government.

The United States, by its agents, shall have the right to transport across the isthmus, in closed bags, the mails of the United States not intended for distribution along the line of communication; also the effects of the United States Government and its citizens, which may be intended for transit, and not for distribution on the isthmus, free of customhouse or other charges by the Mexican Government. Neither passports nor letters of security will be required of persons crossing the isthmus and not remaining in the country.

When the construction of the railroad shall be completed, the Mexican Government agrees to open a port of entry in addition to the port of Vera Cruz, at or near the terminus of said road on the Gulf of Mexico.

The two Governments will enter into arrangements for the prompt transit of troops and munitions of the United States which that Government may have occasion to send from one


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part of its territory to another, lying on opposite sides of the continent.

The Mexican Government having agreed to protect with its whole power the prosecution, preservation and security of the work, the United States may extend its protection as it shall judge wise to it when it may feel sanctioned and warranted by the public or international law.

ARTICLE IX.

This treaty shall be ratified and the respective ratifications shall be exchanged at the city of Washington within the exact period of six months from the date of its signature, or sooner if possible.

In testimony whereof we, the Plenipotentiaries of the contracting parties, have hereunto affixed our hands and seals at Mexico, the thirtieth (30th) day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-three, in the thirty-third year of the Independence of the Mexican Republic, and the seventy-eighth of that of the United States.

(Seal) James Gadsden.
(Seal) Manuel Diez de Bonilla.
(Seal) Jose Salazar Ylarregui.
(Seal) J. Mariano Monterde.

’’

Mr. Gadsden returned from Mexico with the drafts of three treaties, either of which, if accepted by the United States, to cause the others to be of no effect.

These treaties were numbered according to the quantity of territory and amounts mentioned in them.


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First: Starting from a point in the center of the Rio Grande, thence west on the parallel of latitude 30° north to the Gulf of California, thence to take in the whole of Lower California, for which the United States were to pay the sum of $25,000,000.

Second: Starting, as now, from the center of the Rio Grande some eight miles above El Paso, north latitude 31° 37'; thence west one hundred miles; thence south to north latitude 31°; thence west to the Gulf of California, for which the United States were to pay Mexico the sum of $15,000,000.

Third: This was the "Skeleton Treaty," finally agreed to, which embraced all the country ceded by Mexico to the United States under what is generally known as the "Gadsden Purchase" for which the United States were to, and did, pay the sum of $10,000,000.

The argument advanced for the adoption of the treaty which gave us the land embraced in the Gadsden Purchase, was that the United States would have a port on the Colorado River. At that time the Gila River was also supposed to be navigable, and the land embraced within the purchase, according to the surveys which had been previously made, and the expedition of Capt. P. St. George Cooke, with his wagon train, proved it to be easily adapted for a railroad. The whole country was thought to be barren; great statesmen of that day declared that Arizona was almost exclusively a desert, and so also was New Mexico; that neither of these great States could ever support any large population. This, however, was the argument advanced by


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those who were opposed to the extension of slavery and regarded all territory that might be acquired by the United States, south of the 33rd parallel, as future slave territory. Could they have realized that in the short period of twelve years thereafter slavery would have been abolished in the Southern States, there is little doubt but that the first treaty submitted by Gadsden would have been adopted. This would have given to us the port of Guaymas on the Gulf of California, and the major portion of what is now Sonora and Chihuahua, and all of Lower California.

The war with Mexico, conceding that it was one of conquest, changed the map of the American continent very much in favor of the United States. There is no doubt that had not President Polk acted with promptness in the outset of his administration toward the settlement of the disputes between the United States and England, the colonization of Oregon and the annexation of Texas and the vast territory ceded by Mexico to the United States as a war indemnity, that England would have acquired a permanent holding in California, and, possibly all the Western States adjacent thereto. In her magnanimity, she may have left Arizona and New Mexico to the Republic of Mexico. The United States would have acquired a much larger slice of what is now Mexican territory, and a harbor upon the Gulf of California, and all of Lower California, had it not been for the slavery question, which obtruded itself at that time into all legislation by Congress.

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