The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 186
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
latitude and longitude engraved upon its edges and having that line
[the southern boundary of New Mexico] traced upon it; that one
line and NOTHING ELSE. Its eastern extremity rests on a river bank,
namely that of the Rio Grande.82
He continued warmly:
in order to the marking out upon the ground, the limits which
shall geographically correspond to the representations made of them
in the map, what then is to be done consists in going upon the
right bank of the Rio Grande and there finding the point of begin-
ning, "laid down on the map," that is, the spot whose latitude is 320
Thus, according to Trist, Commissioner Bartlett's interpreta-
tion of the treaty had been the correct one. The words "north of
the town called Paso" were dismissed as having been inserted to
insure the "good faith" of the United States to Mexico."' Only
the uncertainty of the length of the boundary west of the river
was left unresolved, for if it depended upon the coordinate posi-
tions, then the three degrees length as drawn by Trist was impos-
sible. Trist, himself, appears confused on that point, but for Gov-
ernor Lane, the Army, and the Democrat-Expansionists he had
a curiously emphatic message:
A war began for the Mesilla Valley might last an age until at
length our eagle, our most democratic and truly Christian eagle,
perching herself upon the southernmost cliff of Cape Horn, should
begin to weep after the fashion that eagles are used to weep, at there
being nothing more left to civilize.85
With the aid of the Trist letter it is possible to resolve the
dilemma of Disturnell's map and thus determine the exact mean-
ing of Article V of the treaty. In order to avoid merely specifying
a line of latitude, Trist and his Mexican counterparts drew a line
on Disturnell's map where they had agreed the boundary should
run, and apparently recognizing that the map was incorrect, they
guaranteed that the line would run "north of the town called
Paso." Whig Commissioner Bartlett had thus correctly inter-
preted Trist's meaning with respect to the initial point, and his
s4Ibid., XXXII, in.
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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/m1/229/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.