The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 27, July 1923 - April, 1924 Page: 6
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
past has very much diminished our trade with the country. The
constantly occurring political revolutions there rendered commer-
cial intercourse unsafe; the frequent changes in her tariff and
the severe penalties for the non-compliance with it,-even when
imperfectly promulgated-was vexatious and often ruinous to our
merchants. . . . You will make known to Mexico the desire
of the United States to establish with her intimate commercial
relations on liberal terms. Such relations would in every respect,
be advantageous to both countries.3
Whether the moderate views set forth in these instructions con-
stituted a true representation of Marcy's attitude in mid-summer,
1853, it is difficult to say. They certainly did not satisfy the
ambitions of the agent to whom they were addressed, and who,
perhaps disposed to conform to the desires of the secretary
of war, appears to have had little notion of confining himself to
the modest aims set forth therein.4 On two occasions before leav-
ing the United States Gadsden urged that A. B. Gray, who had
been connected with the boundary survey, be employed to explore
not only the section in the vicinity of the disputed area, but also
the Gulf of California and adjacent regions; for, said Gadsden,
"any settlement of the boundary question which may envolve a
change from that defined (or rather so undefined) in the Treaty
of Guadaloupe; should be made so discreetly and advisably as to
preclude the necessity of a revisal hereafter. We must settle on
a Zone which will give satisfaction to both parties; preclude neigh-
borhood feuds by securing to the State what she requires, and as
you probably know she will have."5
'Marcy to Gadsden, No. 3, July 15, 1853, Mex. Inst., Vol. 6 (Department
of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives).
'Jefferson Davis seems to have been the dominating figure in Pierce's
Cabinet. His views with reference to Mexico may be judged from the fact
that he was not satisfied with the territory acquired in 1848, that he pro-
posed a mountain and desert boundary far south of the Rio Grande, and
that he was in favor of occupying Yucatan in the spring of 1848. He was
the first to notify Gadsden of his appointment to the Mexican post,
Gadsden corresponded with him while in Mexico, and the ideas expressed
by the minister with reference to a natural boundary lead one to suspect
that Davis is speaking through him. On this point see Dodd, Jefferson
Davis, chapter on the cabinet, and "The West and the Mexican War," in
Trans. of the Ill. State Historical Soc. (1912), pp. 19-23; Gadsden to
Marcy, May 19, 1853; Senate Ex. Journal, VII, 322-323.
'Despatches of July 12 and 19, Mex. Desp., Vol. 18. Unless otherwise
indicated all of Gadsden's correspondence referred to in this paper will be
found in this volume, in the State Department.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 27, July 1923 - April, 1924, periodical, 1924; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101086/m1/12/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.