CHAPTER XI. BOUNDARY COMMISSION SURVEY AND GADSDEN PURCHASE.
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 Soon thereafter Weller was superseded by John C. Fremont who, having been elected Senator from California, during that year resigned from the position of Commissioner, and John Russell Bartlett of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
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
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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)||Manuel Diez de Bonilla.|
|(Seal)||Jose Salazar Ylarregui.|
|(Seal)||J. Mariano Monterde.|
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
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.