The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 187
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The United States-Mexican Boundary Survey
compromise with General Conde over the length of the southern
boundary of New Mexico provided an intelligent answer to the
question Trist had left unresolved. But though this evidence
vindicates Bartlett, it did not necessarily condemn the expan-
Conceivably, it was possible to assert that Trist, himself, had
erred in making the treaty, and that he had not secured all the
territory to which the United States was legitimately entitled. It
is clear that when the scientific parties arrived in the field they
saw, as Trist had not, that the traditional boundary of New Mexico
was, in fact, "A line touching the northern limit of the town of
Paso del Norte, 'with the jurisdiction it had always possessed.' "s8
That jurisdiction, as Gray pointed out, "extended to El Paso del
Norte, the point at which the Rio Grande breaks through the
mountains, a natural frontier about eight miles above the central
part of 'the town called Paso.' "87 This argument, actually directed
at Bartlett by Gray in his report to Congress, was a powerful one.88
It rested upon the authority of trained scientific observers, upon
the reputations of celebrated soldier-engineers who had every
reason to be objective. Nevertheless, they were all in the wrong.
The disputed Mesilla Valley had been colonized by Mexican set-
tlers from Chihuahua, and the land had been granted under
authority from Chihuahua. One of the Mexican officials involved
in making the grant testified in 1873, that:
the lands embraced in the limits of this grant to the colony known
as the civil colony of Mesilla are situate in the present limits of the
county of Dofia Ana. ... At the time this grant was made the
grantees immediately entered into possession of same without moles-
tation and have continued in possession ever since. My acts as
commissioner aforesaid were approved by the general government of
the Republic of Mexico; also by the officials of the State of Chi-
huahua, and have been recognized as legal and binding by everyone.89
Moreover, anyone wishing to familiarize himself with the New
Mexico of that time should have had recourse to Josiah Gregg's
86A. B. Gray, "Report and Map, relative to the Mexican Boundary," Senate
Executive Documents, 3rd Cong., and Sess. (Serial No. 752), Document No. 55, p. 6.
s9Quoted in Ralph Emerson Twitchell, The Leading Facts of New Mexican
History (5 vols.; Cedar Rapids, 1917), III, 198-199n.
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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/m1/230/: accessed September 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.