The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 27, July 1923 - April, 1924 Page: 3
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The Negotiation of the Gadsden Treaty
tion sent James Gadsden to Mexico in July, 1853. Gadsden
was perhaps not a bad choice for the mission. True, he had grad-
uated from Yale without imbibing the first principles of diction
or style and he persistently and uniformly employed high-sounding
and redundant phrases whose meaning he did not fully compre-
hend; but he had gained some little practical experience as a land
speculator and a promoter of southern railways; he had been a
Nullifier in 1829 and a Secessionist in 1850; and he was a friend
of Jefferson Davis, sharing all this great Southerner's eagerness
for a southern Pacific railway and the southward flight of the
American eagle. Moreover, he was a man of considerable energy
and persistency, with a fair amount of acumen and with few
scruples as to the means of attaining the particular ends he had
Gadsden's instructions were much more moderate than might
have been expected under the circumstances. After assuring the
newly appointed envoy that his government earnestly desired a
pacific settlement of the outstanding difficulties with Mexico,
Marcy dwelt upon the rights of the citizens of the United States
in Tehuantepec; the southern boundary of New Mexico and the
acquisition of a practicable route for a Pacific railroad; release
from responsibility for Indian depredations; mutual claims; and
means of improving the commercial intercourse of the two
The main portion of the instructions was devoted to the boun-
dary difficulty, the railway, and release from Article XI of the
treaty of 1848. With reference to the boundary, Marcy maintained
that the line surveyed and agreed upon by the commissioners of
the governments concerned, was not final because it did not have
the concurrence of the surveyor of the United States. Lieutenant
Whipple, who had acted as surveyor ad interim while the line was
being run, had been appointed without authority by the American
commissioner. The fact that the survey had received the approval
of the secretaries of state and of interior in no way affected the
matter. If the line had been run in accordance with the stipu-
lations of the treaty of 1848, their approval would not be neces-
'For this characterization I am partially indebted to Mr. Paul N. Garber,
of the University of Pennsylvania, who is collecting data for a life of
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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/m1/9/: accessed February 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.