The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 168
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
map were based upon a plagiarism in 1828 by White, Gallaher,
and White, of Tanner's 1825 map of Mexico.6 The only changes
made by Disturnell had been the incorporation of some new
data in the northern areas,7 and though it was probably the best
commercial map of the Southwest available, its errors were to
provide a basis for an extensive diplomatic controversy over the
position of the boundary line.
In deriving the line, Trist had taken great pains to search
for a proper set of cartographic authorities upon which to base
his treaty projdt. During the negotiations, Captain Robert E.
Lee furnished Trist with a geographical memorandum of Mex-
ican and other foreign versions of the country in question.8 It
included, among other things, a notation which quoted Moscaro
on the latitude of El Paso del Norte, placing it at 32 9' o",
within eleven minutes of the position accorded it on Disturnell's
map." Other authorities on this point were J. A. Escudero,
Noticias Estadisticas del Estado de Chihuahua, which had El
Paso at 32 5o', and Ojeada sobre Nuevo Mexico formada por el
licenciado Antonio Barreiro . ., in which the town was at
320 40'.1o All of these were known to be inaccurate, and Trist
himself wrote a memorandum attached to the compilation which
indicated his awareness of these errors. It read, "All these geo-
graphical notes are replete with errors; for nothing is positively
known and the only basis for them consists of ill-formed conjec-
tures and worse information.""
Some accurate information was supplied to Trist by Secretary
of State James Buchanan. In the dispatch of July 19, 1847, he
sent Emory's recently determined latitude of San Diego.12 But
since neither Emory nor J. W. Abert had gone to El Paso, and the
Topographical Bureau had sent no officer with Alexander W.
7Carl I. Wheat, "Mapping the American West, 1540-1857," Proceedings of the
American Antiquarian Society, LXIV, logn.
sMemorandum, January, 1848 (MS., Nicholas P. Trist Papers, Library of Con-
gress), XXIX, January 28, 1848-February 13, 1848.
12John Bassett Moore (ed.), The Works of James Buchanan (12 vols.; Phila-
delphia and London, 19o8-1911), VIII, 369.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959, periodical, 1959; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/m1/210/: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.