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PRE FATORY REMARKS.
The instructions given to me August 15, 1854, by the Hon. Robert McClelland, Secretary of the Interior, direct that, “in all cases where they do not conflict with the stipulations of the treaty, or the specific directions contained in these instructions, you will be guided by the instructions issued by the Department of State, and those of this department, to the Commissioner, for running and marking the boundary line under the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo."
The instructions referred to, given to one of my predecessors, and not repealed, directed an examination of the country contiguous to the line to ascertain its practicability for a railway route to the Pacific, and also directed information to be collected in reference to the agricultural and mineral resources, and such other subjects as would give a correct knowledge of the physical character of the country and its present occupants.
A compliance with these instructions has necessarily extended this report very much beyond the limits of the record necessary to show the official acts of the joint commission.
Fifteen thousand extra copies of this report have been ordered by Congress. It consists of two volumes, divided into four parts. The first part comprises the personal narrative; general description of the country; journal of the joint commission; the astronomical work; barometrical levels; meteorological record, and magnetic observations. The second part consists of the geological researches, with annotations, and a review of the whole by Professor James Hall. The third part comprises the general botanical features of the country, by Dr. John Torrey, described from memoirs of the assistants, and from the plants themselves, and a separte description of the cactaceæ, by Dr. George Engelmann, of St. Louis. The fourth part embraces the natural history of the country, by Spencer F. Baird, based upon the notes and memoirs by the assistants, and upon the specimens themselves.
The first two parts, forming volume I, are now presented to the government; the third and fourth parts, forming volume II, are delayed in consequence of the difficulty of getting the illustrations engraved.
Accompanying the first volume are five maps: first, a general map on a scale of Tootoo, and maps numbered from 1 to 4, on a scale of a dooo, showing the boundary line and topography of the country contiguous, as far as information has been obtained from actual survey or reconnoissance. If these maps were placed in the hands of department commanders, with directions to fill up the intervals not covered by actual survey, from the best information within their reach, which, from the numerous expeditions sent out under intelligent officers of the army, is very great, the government would be in possession of delineations of our whole southern frontier, more authentic in character than the maps of many of the old States.
I have confined myself in all these maps, except the general map, to actual information, derived from instrumental survey, and in doing so, have sacrificed considerable general interest which might have been given them had I incorporated all the loose information which exists upon the subject; but I have considered that the time has come when hypothetical geography should cease, particularly when the graphic representation of a country is confided to the hands of officers of the United States army.
In all cases where I have used surveys other than those made under my orders, I have endeavored to give full credit to the officers by whom the labor was performed; and in cases where the work has been done under my own supervision, the name of each assistant has been given.
The system of borrowing, without acknowledgment, hitherto adopted, has tended very much to obscure and distort the history of the explorations and surveys of the western portion of the American continent, and has led Baron Humboldt into grave errors, and to commit personal injustice, when, in his Aspects of Nature, he attempts to present the progress of discovery in this region.
Besides the maps named in the preceding part of these remarks, fifty-four maps have been constructed, and are nearly completed, on a scale of Totoo, showing the boundary line in detail from the mouth of the Rio Bravo across the continent to where the line terminates on the Pacific ocean. These maps, to be signed jointly by the Mexican commissioner and myself, are to be deposited in the Department of the Interior, to form the official record of the boundary. They are too voluminous to admit of publication, and it is believed all the information which they contain is condensed in the five maps which are published.
Since the orders first given for this work, which contemplated, in addition, an exploration of a route for a railroad, a series of surveys have, by act of Congress, been organized under the
All the information derived by the survey of the boundary line, including astronomical determinations, topography, and barometrical levels, have been placed at the disposal of the War Department in reference to its researches as to the routes for the railway. The thoroughness, completeness, and fairness, with which all these investigations have been conducted by the War Department, and the able manner in which all the reports and reconnoissances have been collated, have rendered it necessary for me to say but little of the practicability of the southern route, and have necessarily relieved me of the duties expected of me in this respect.
The reports from that department clearly demonstrate the practibility of a railroad route through the newly acquired territory, and go to confirm the opinion heretofore expressed by me, that it is the most practicable, if it is not the only feasible route, by which a railway can be carried across the “Sierra Nevada” and its equivalent ranges to the south.
In my report of the proceedings of the joint commission, I have omitted the correspondence which passed between the Mexican commişsioner and myself, and our respective governments, upon the subject of paying the three millions of dollars, the balance of the indemnity due Mexico, and claimed by her representatives when the field-work of running and marking the boundary line was completed. That correspondence has already been printed by Congress, and will be found in Senate Ex. Doc. No. 57, 34th Congress, 1st session. It is sufficient for me to state here that I considered the claim of Mexico premature, and that the money should not be paid until the plans delineating the boundary were completed.
I conclude these remarks by appending extracts from the treaties defining the boundary between the United States and the republic of Mexico, and a copy of the commission conferring upon me the authority to run and mark the line.
Extract from treaty, dated Guadalupe Hidalgo, February 2, 1848.
ARTICLE V. The boundary line between the two republics shall commence in the Gulf of Mexico, three leagues from land, opposite the mouth of the Rio Grande, otherwise called Rio Bravo del Norte, or opposite the mouth of its deepest branch, if it should have more than one branch emptying directly into the sea ; from thence up the middle of that river, following the deepest channel, where it has more than one, to the point where it strikes the southern boundary of New Mexico; thence, westwardly, along the whole southern boundary of New Mexico (which runs north of the town called Paso) to its western termination; thence, northward, along the western line of New Mexico, until it intersects the first branch of the river Gila ; (or if it should not intersect any branch of that river, then to the point on the said line nearest to such branch, and thence in a direct line to the same ;) thence down the middle of the said branch and of the said river, until it empties into the
The southern and western limits of New Mexico, mentioned in this article, are those laid down in the map entitled " Map of the United Mexican States, as organized and defined by various acts of the Congress of said republic, and constructed according to the best authorities. Revised edition. Published at New York, in 1847, by J. Disturnell.” Of which map a copy is added to this treaty, bearing the signatures and seals of the undersigned plenipotentiaries. And, in order to preclude all difficulty in tracing upon the ground the limit separating Upper from Lower California, it is agreed that the said limit shall consist of a straight line drawn from the middle of the Rio Gila, where it unites with the Colorado, to a point on the coast of the Pacific ocean distant one marine league due south of the southernmost point of the port of San Diego, according to the plan of said port made in the year 1782 by Don Juan Pantoja, second sailingmaster of the Spanish fleet, and published at Madrid in the year 1802, in the Atlas to the voyage of the schooners Sutil and Mexicana, of which plan a copy is hereunto added, signed and sealed by the respective plenipotentiaries.
In order to designate the boundary line with due precision, upon authoritative maps, and to establish upon the ground landmarks which shall show the limits of both republics, as described in the present article, the two governments shall each appoint a commissioner and a surveyor, who, before the expiration of one year from the date of the exchange of ratifications of this treaty, shall meet at the port of San Diego, and proceed to run and mark the said boundary in its whole course to the mouth of the Rio Bravo del Norte. They shall keep journals and make out plans of their operations ; and the result agreed upon by them shall be deemed a part of this treaty, and shall have the same force as if it were inserted therein. The two governments will amicably agree regarding what may be necessary to these persons, and also as to their respective escorts, should such be necessary.
The boundary line established by this article, shall be religiously respected by each of the two republics, and no change shall ever be made therein, except by the express and free consent of both nations, lawfully given by the general government of each, in conformity with its own constitution.
Extract from treaty, dated City of Mexico, December 30, 1853.
.: 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 5th 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 * 310 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 river 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.
* In the copy of the 4th article of this treaty, filed in the Department of State and published, this parallel is described as the parallel of 31° 47' 30''; but it was so clearly an error of transcribing that the Mexican commissioner, with that good sense which characterized all his proceedings, agreed to ignore it.
W. H. E.
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 ratifications 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 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.
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.
FRANKLIN PIERCE, President of the United States of America :
To all who shall see these presents, greeting : Know ye, that, reposing special trust and confidence in the integrity, ability, and diligence of William H. Emory, of the District of Columbia, I do appoint him to be commissioner, on the part of the United States of America, to run the boundary line between the United States and the Mexican republic according to the treaty between the two nations entered into the 30th day of December, 1853, and do authorize and empower him to execute and fulfil the duties of that office according to law; and to have and to hold the said office, with all the powers, privileges, and emoluments thereunto legally appertaining unto him, the said William H. Emory, during the pleasure of the President of the United States for the time being. In testimony whereof, I have caused these letters to be made patent, and the seal of the Department of the Interior of
the United States to be hereunto affixed. Given under my hand, at the city of Washington, the fourth [SEAL.] day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-four, and of the independence of the United States of America the seventy-ninth.
FRANKLIN PIERCE. By the President :
Secretary of the Interior.
ORGANIZATION OF THE COMMISSION FOR RUNNING THE BOUNDARY LINE BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND THE REPUBLIC OF MEXICO,
UNDER THE TREATY OF AUGUST, 1848.--CHANGES IN THE HEAD OF THE COMMISSION. ---GOLD MANIA IN CALIFORNIA.----FAILURE OF THE GOVERNMENT TO KEEP ITS ENGAGEMENTS.- MISAPPLICATION OF THE PUBLIC MONEY.--GENERAL MISMANAGEMENT OF THE AFFAIRS OF THE COMMISSION.--FINAL REORGANIZATION CORRECTION OF STATEMENTS IN MR. BARTLETT'S NARRATIVE.
The narrative of the connexion which different individuals have had with the Boundary Commission would no doubt be instructive, but the commission organized under the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was changed so frequently, and the controversies between different members of the commission were so acrimonious, as to make the task both complicated and unpleasant, and the execution of it might, perhaps, be attended with injustice.
I will, therefore, confine myself to such accounts as will enable the government, should occasion require it, to trace the history of the work, or any particular portion of it, and to the correction of some erroneous impressions which have gone abroad, not under authority of the government, but of books published as a private venture.
There have been two boundaries agreed upon with Mexico-that provided for in the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, August, 1848, and that which now exists as the boundary, agreed upon in the city of Mexico, December 30, 1853, and usually known as the Gadsden treaty.
The treaty under which the first commission was organized required the appointment of a commissioner and surveyor, to run and mark the boundary from the Pacific to the Atlantic, a distance following the sinuosities of the boundary of several thousand miles, extending over a portion of the Continent but little known, and diversified with much variety of climate and topography, and infested throughout its whole extent with formidable and hostile bands of Indians.
I traversed a considerable portion of the line, in the campaign of 1846 and 1847, and made a reconnoissance of the country adjacent. The information obtained formed the basis of Mr. Buchanan's specific instructions to our minister in Mexico, in reference to the boundary, which instructions, unfortunately for the country, were not carried out.
It was, no doubt, from my supposed knowledge of the country that President Polk tendered me the office of commissioner, but attached the condition that I should resign from the army. This I respectfully declined. Colonel Weller was then appointed commissioner, and I was attached to the commission as chief astronomer and commander of the escort of United States troops, which was to accompany it.
The commission was organized on a moderate plan, and proceeded, according to the terms of the treaty, to commence at a point south of San Diego, on the Pacific side. The only way to get there was by Cape Horn or by the Isthmus of Panama. Most of the commission took the latter route, and reached Panama in March, 1849, expecting to meet one of the line of mail
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