The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950 Page: 5
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Concerning the Texas-Louisiana Sabine Boundary
During the early stages of negotiations with Texas concerning
boundaries in general, the United States did proceed on the
assumption that the eastern boundary of Texas was the Neches
rather than the Sabine. Secretary of State John Forsyth held this
view as late as January, 1838, at least; yet it was Forsyth and
General Memucan Hunt, resident minister of Texas to the United
States, who worked out the agreement which became the conven-
tion of April 25, 1838. The convention specifically called for the
Sabine as the boundary; still, when the boundary commissioners
met to survey the line, the question as to whether the Sabine or
the Neches was the true boundary again came up for discussion.'"
In 1840-1841, that portion of the line between Texas and the
United States from the Gulf to Red River was surveyed by a
joint commission representing the two countries.17 One of the
controversies in which the joint commission became involved
before the actual work of surveying was begun concerned the
meaning of the call for "the Sabine" as used in the convention.
First, what river was meant by the Sabine? And, second, since the
boundary was to extend "from the mouth of the Sabine," what
constituted the mouth?
The problem really involved an interpretation of the Treaty
of 1819, because the Treaty of Limits in 1828 was based on it,
and the convention of 1838, in turn, on the treaty of 1828. As
already noted, the United States had previously claimed that the
boundary intended by the Treaty of 1819 was the Neches rather
than the Sabine. This claim was not pressed, however, as the
time approached for the actual survey, which was begun in 1840.
In fact, the government in Washington had not been insistent
on this point after it recognized the independence of Texas.
Nevertheless, the Neches River question was still pending in
late 1839 and early 1840.
Forsyth wrote to the boundary commissioner of the United
States, John H. Overton, in October, 1839, pointing out that
recent examinations made of the rivers in question by the War
Department revealed the fact that some of the information on
e6Marshall, History of the Western Boundary of the Louisiana Purchase, 2og,
171bid., chap. 12, "The Survey of the Texas-Louisiana Boundary," 225-241, deals
in detail with the problems connected with this survey.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950, periodical, 1950; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101126/m1/23/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.