The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 24, July 1920 - April, 1921 Page: 242
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
we avoid the scandal of seeing two neighboring and sister republics
in discord at every step and presenting horrifying scenes of blood."
The envoy with apparent joy asked the government what value
it placed upon the territory of Mesilla.
"You shall soon know; in cash I value it at fifty million pesos."
Mr. Gadsden sprang from his seat and, astonished, exclaimed,
"Oh! fifty million pesos is a great deal of money!"
"My dear Sir, when a powerful nation has interest in the pos-
session of another, it pays well."
"To-morrow I shall answer," and he left.
On the following day the envoy explained himself thus: "Con-
vinced of the interest of my government in the early settlement of
the matter which occupies us, I have determined to use the ample
power with which it has invested me, and in its name, I propose
that the treasury of the United States shall pay to the government
of Mexico at the conclusion of the question of the Valley of Mesilla,
twenty million pesos on these terms: upon approval of the treaty,
ten million pesos. and the other ten at the end of a year."
The proposition exceeded by far what I had expected and I did
not offer any objection: the trade was made. The Minister of
Foreign Affairs, Don Manuel Maria Bonilla, was charged with the
duty of arranging the terms of the treaty in agreement with the
envoy; concluded, it was examined and approved in a meeting of
In Washington twenty million pesos appeared a high price for
the Valley of Mesilla. A senator said, "Mr. Gadsden lost his head,
I am acquainted with the territory in question and am able to
assure you impartially that it is not worth one-fourth of the stip-
ulated sum." After much debate the Senate approved the treaty,
after having subtracted ten million from the price agreed upon and
something from the territory purchased.
My government, upon again considering the boundary treaty,
reasoning with regard to the reduction made by the Senate at
Washington, recognized that if it was impolitic to refuse their
consent, there remained the satisfaction of having obtained for a
piece of wild country relatively what they [the United States]
gave for half of the national territory.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 24, July 1920 - April, 1921, periodical, 1921; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101078/m1/248/: accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.