The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950 Page: 6
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
which the government had based its claim to the Neches as the
boundary intended by the Treaty of 1819 was incorrect. He in-
structed Overton to examine all the facts, and to act accordingly.
The result of a preliminary examination of the question made
by Overton before the commissioners assembled was reported to
Forsyth by letter in January, 1840. Overton saw "little hope of
being enabled to sustain the pretentions of the United States to
Neches as the boundary"; but said that he would submit the
decision to the commission.'l
Before a decision on this matter was reached, the question of
what should be judged the mouth of the river came up for dis-
cussion. The Neches and the Sabine followed a common course
southward from the northern part of the so-called Sabine Lake,
into which the Neches flowed through a single mouth at the
extreme northwestern portion, and into which the Sabine flowed
through three mouths at the north central part. This sixteen-mile
long and seven-mile wide (at its broadest expanse) lake flowed
into Sabine Pass, seven miles in length and varying in width from
a half mile to a mile, which carried the waters from the two
rivers into the Gulf.
Memucan Hunt, commissioner on the part of Texas, argued
that Sabine Lake and Sabine Pass were not portions of the Sabine
River. By taking this position Texas hoped to gain a boundary
following the middle of the pass and lake rather than the western
bank as provided for along the river.
These questions were referred to the respective governments
of the joint commission. The United States yielded the Neches
in favor of the Sabine, but would not concede the point that
Sabine River did not extend to the Gulf. Forsyth wrote to Over-
ton stating the final position of the Department of State in regard
to the boundary as follows:
The claim set up by the Texan commissioner to the centre of that
part of Sabine river called Sabine pass, and to Sabine lake, is pre-
posterous, and must not be entertained a moment. The river pre-
scribed by the treaty as forming the boundary is the Sabine, having
its mouth on the sea in the gulf of Mexico, and the line is to run
along its west bank from the point at which it empties into the sea.
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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/m1/24/: accessed September 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.