The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 185
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The United States-Mexican Boundary Survey
guage of their speeches that they were not unmindful of its value
as a campaign issue for the coming elections three months hence.79
The Whigs were on the defensive. President Millard Fillmore's
message to the second session of the Thirty-second Congress and
Secretary Stuart's rebuttal attached to the same message were
weak replies. Fillmore lamented the inevitable cessation of field
activities, while Stuart merely denied Gray's right to protest the
Bartlett-Cond6 agreement. Fillmore refused, however, to consider
the real point at issue, which was whether or not the Bartlett-
Cond6 agreement correctly fulfilled the provisions of the treaty.80
The Whigs were thus easily labeled the party of the great land
giveaway, and, much worse for their time, an obstacle in the path
of Manifest Destiny.
In all the heat of conflict no one thought to turn to the obvious
source to find what the treaty-makers had meant when they com-
posed Article V. Nicholas P. Trist, the actual negotiator, was, at
the time, a resident lawyer in Washington, D. C., but apparently
no one consulted him. It was not until after Governor William
Carr Lane's bold proclamation of American jurisdiction over the
disputed Mesilla Valley that Trist was moved to speak out. Among
his personal papers is the draft of an interminable letter to the
New York Evening Post in which he emphatically scorned the
idea that there was any boundary question at all.81 He termed
the "pretended" boundary dispute merely a vote-getting device
for the Democratic party, and then launched into a tirade on how
it had betrayed American principles and Jeffersonian ideals. He
also managed to explain the basis upon which the boundary line
and the map ought to be interpreted:
What was this map? [he asked] and what is it now? Let all geog-
raphers answer. Let the little boys and girls of the geography classes
in the ward schools of this city answer: for not one of them who has
become accurately and distinctively possessed of the fundamental
notions of the science will be at a loss for the reply. . in a word
it is to be regarded as a large sheet of blank paper with scales of
791bid., note particularly Weller's speeches.
so"Message of the President," Senate Executive Documents, 3and Cong., 2nd Sess.
(Serial No. 657), Document No. 1, pp. 50-55.
s8Nicholas P. Trist draft of letter to the New York Evening Post (MS., Nicholas
P. Trist Papers, Library of Congress), XXXII, 1848 Miscellaneous, and XXXIV,
June 20o, 1849-February 23, 1853.
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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/m1/228/: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.