31st CONGRESS, I SENATE. ] Ex. Doc
1st Session. No. 34.
THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR,
IN ANSWER TO
./I resolution of the Senate calling for information in relation to the opera-
tions of the commission appointed to run and mark the boundary between
the United States and Mexico.
FEBRUARY 28, 1850.
Referred to the Committee on Finance.
MARCH I, 1850.
Ordered to be printed.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Washington , February 27, 1850.
' SIR: In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 19th instant,
I herewith transmit a copy of all the correspondence on file in the depart-
ment relating to the operations of the commission appointed, pursuant to
the fifth article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, to run and mark the
boundary between the United States and Mexico, showing the progress
made in executing said commission, and embracing a detailed statement
of the amount of money expended therein.
The reports of the commissioner are very vague and unsatisfactory, and
I am not in possession of the necessary data on which to found an estimate
of the amount which may be required for the completion of the work.
Among the papers herewith, is a letter from Colonel Abert, of the corps
of topographical engineers, enumerating the difficulties in the way of
making up sucli estimate here. For the current fiscal year, it is supposed;
tli at the sum of fifty thousand dollars will be necessary.
I am, sir, with much respect, your obedient servant,
T. EWING, Secretary.
v Hon. MlLLARD FlLLMORE,
President of the Senate.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington City, January 19, 1849.
GENTLEMEN: You will receive herewith the list of instruments belong-
ing to this department furnished by Major Graham on the 29th December
[ 34 ] 2
Major Graham and Major Emory will proceed immediately to New York,
and, if they should deem it advisable, to the other cities where these instru-
ments are deposited; and Major Graham, in whose custody they now are,
will deliver such of them to Major Emory, the chief of the corps of topo-
graphical enginers designated to accompany the commissioner and sur-
veyor under the 5th article of the late treaty with Mexico, as he may deem
necessary for correctly running and marking the boundary line between
the two republics, taking duplicate receipts for the same. Major Graham
will deliver one of these receipts to the department, and preserve the
Major Emory will then proceed at once to cause any or all of the instru-
ments so delivered to him to be repaired, if need be, and fitted for the
survey of the Mexican boundary, and to be packed and placed in boxes
for transportation on mules.
All the actual expenses incurred in executing these instructions, as well
as the personal expenses of Majors Graham and Emory, will be paid out
of the appropriation made on the 12th August last, not exceeding .$50,000,
"for the expenses of running and marking the boundary line between the
United States and Mexico, and paying the salaries of the officers of the
commission." Accounts of these expenses, properly vouched, will be
settled by the Fifth Auditor.
Major Emory, after having received and examined such instruments as
he may require, will report immediately to this department what other
instruments he may deem necessary for the survey, together with their
probable cost, and where they may be obtained the most speedily and
upon the best terms.
I am, gentlemen, respectfully, your obedient servant,
. Major J. D. GRAHAM and Major WILLIAM H. EMORY,
of the Topographical Engineers of the U. S. Army.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
WusJdngton, January 24, 1849.
SIR: The fifth article of the treaty requiring that the commissioners and
surveyors of the United States and Mexico respectively should meet at San
Diego before the 30th May, 1849, no time should be lost in organizing the
commission on our part, preparatory to its departure for the place of desti-
nation. As you will be held responsible for the able and faithful execu-
tion of the important public trust confided to you by this article of the
treaty, the President deems it proper to leave to you the organization of
the commission, enjoining it upon you, at the same time, to employ as few
persons to assist you as may be compatible with the successful and effi-
cient performance of your duties, and to study economy, as far as practi-
cable, in all your expenditures.
The organization will be effected solely with a view to run and mark
the boundary line between the two republics, although the selection of
individuals for this purpose may be made with reference to the incidental
collection of information relative to the construction of "a road, canal, or
railway" along the river Gila, as provided for by the sixth article of the
In organizing the commission, you are referred for any information
which you may deem necessary to Andrew B. Gray, esq., who has been
appointed surveyor under the treaty, and Major William H. Emory, of the
topographical engineers, whom the President has designated to be " chief
astronomer and head of the topographical scientific corps of the commis-
Congress, by the civil and diplomatic act of August 12, 1848, has
appropriated, "for the expenses of running and marking the boundary line
between the United States and Mexico, and paying the salaries of the
officers of the commission, a sum not exceeding fifty thousand dollars;"
and the President considers that he will best effectuate the intentions of
Congress by directing that the expenses of the commission, for one year,
shall be so graduated as not to exceed this appropriation.
You will be charged exclusively with the disbursement of the money
thus appropriated, with the exception of the sum which maybe necessary
to execute my instructions of the 19th instant to Majors Graham and
Emory, relative to the delivery of astronomical instruments from the
former to the latter, for the use of the commission.
Your salary as commissioner, as well as that of the surveyor, will com-
mence from this date. In case Congress should not declare by law what
these salaries shall be, they will be fixed by the President, before the depar-
ture of the commission from the United States. Under the head of con-
tingent expenses of the commission will be embraced your reasonable
personal expenses while in service, and those of the surveyor, chief
astronomer, and the other officers of the topographical engineers who may
be detailed to assist you in the field ; the pay and subsistance of assistant
surveyors, chain carriers and laborers; and the incidental arid necessary
expense of exploring parties; the purchase of stationery, of tents and
camp equipage; and the purchase or hire of horses, mules, and vehicles for
the transportation of the same.
Of all these expenses you will keep a regular account, which, together
with the necessary vouchers, you will render and transmit quarterly to the
Fifth Auditor of the Treasury for settlement; and to meet the same, as
likewise the payment of the salaries, you will, from time to time, as occa-
sion may require, draw upon the department, taking care not to exceed in
the amount drawn at any one time the sum which will be required to meet
the actual and necessary expenses of the commission.
After the commission on the part of the United States shall have been
properly ^organized under your direction, and before your departure from
the country, you will receive further instructions.
I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN B. WELLER, Esq., t( Commissioner for running the boundary line
between the United States and the Republic of Mexico, under the fiftk
arti-le of the treaty with that republic concluded on the 2d February,
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, 13th February, 1849.
SIR: In my instructions of the 24th ultimo, I promised to send you
further instructions before your departure from the United States. I now
proceed to perform this duty. The fifth article of the treaty with Mexico
of the 2d of February, 1848, as amended by the Senate, (two copies o-f
which are herewith transmitted,) clearly prescribes your duties.
This article places you in a highly responsible position; because it de-
clares that the boundary line between the two republics which shall be
run and marked by the joint commission shall be deemed a part of the
treaty, " and shall have the same force as if it were inserted therein."
The action of the commission, therefore, will be final and conclusive^
and the President has full confidence that, in the discharge of your im-
portant duties, your conduct will be characterized by prudence, firmness,
and a conciliatory spirit. While he desires no advantage over the Mex-
ican government, you will take care, in running the boundary, that all
our just rights under the treaty shall be maintained. Your first duty
-will be to run and mark that part of the boundary consisting of a straight
line from a " point on the coast of the Pacific ocean, distant one marine
league due south of the southernmost point of the port of San Diego/ r
to " the middle of the Rio Gila, where it unites with the Colorado."
It is not apprehended that you will encounter much difficulty in deter-
mining either of these points. This southernmost point of the port of
San Diego is to be ascertained by the treaty "according to the plan of
said port made in the year 1782 by Don Juan Pantoja, second sailing-
master of j;he Spanish fleet, and published at Madrid in the year 1802,
on the atlas of the voyage of the schooners Sutcl and Mex-icawi, of which
plan a copy is herewith added, signed and sealed by the respective pleni-
potentiaries." You are furnished with a certified copy of this plan,
which appears to fix precisely what is the southern limit of the port of
San Diego; and a point on the Pacific " one marine league south of this
is the place of beginning."
The middle of the Rio Gila, where it unites with the Colorado, being a
natural object, there can be but little difficulty in ascertaining this point.
The duties of the surveyor are sufficiently indicated by the treaty itself.
Those of Major William H. Emory, the chief astronomer, will be to
determine all astronomical points, arid to direct the mode of running all
astronomical lines on the boundary.
Lieutenant J. W. Whipple, arid Brevet Captian E. L. F. Hardcastle,of
the corps of topographical engineers, have been designated, under the
authority of the President, to accompany Major Emory, as his assistants,
The remainder of the boundary runs along the middle of the Rio Gila
and the Rio Grande, with the exception of that portion of it between
" the point where the Rio Grande strikes the southern boundary of JNew
Mexico; thence westwardly along the whole southern boundary of New
Mexico, (which runs north of the town called Paso,) to its northern termi-
nation; thence northward, along the western line of New Mexico, until
it intersects the first branch of the Rio Gila, (or, if it should not intersect
any branch of that river, then to the point on the said line nearest to such
branch, and thence in a direct line to the same.") In regard to this lat-
ter portion of the line it is impossible to give you specific instructions,
for the want of accurate geographical information. It can only be ascer-
tained by examinations and surveys upon the ground. Besides, the
treaty itself declares that the " southern and western limits of New Mex-
ico mentioned in this article are those laid down in the map" of the United
Mexican States published at New York, in 1847, by J. DisturnelJ of
which a copy was added to the treaty, bearing the signatures and seals of
the plenipotentiaries. You are now furnished with, a certified copy of
You are also furnished, as bearing upon this subject, with the copy of
a map of New Mexico which was attached to the atlas to Thompson's
edition of the Geographical and Historical Dictionary of America and of
the West Indies, by Colonel Don Antonio de Alcedo, published at Lon-
don, in 1812 a work of the highest authority.
My successor in office will most probably obtain farther information in
regard to this portion of the line, and, as the work progresses, will doubt-
less deem it proper to give you further instructions. I deem it unneces-
sary, therefore, to say more at present on this subject. I need scarcely
add that the President expects you will perform your duties under the
treaty with as little delay as practicable, consistently with accuracy.
As it is indispensable that each government should be furnished with a
full and circumstantial record of the proceedings of the commissioners,
they will doubtless order such record to be kept in duplicate. This duty
will naturally devolve upon the clerks appointed on both sides, under the
supervision of the respective commissioners, who will be responsible for the
accuracy of such records, and for their safe delivery, properly certified,
to the respective governments, at the expiration of the commission. You
will, with that view, provide the clerk appointed on the part of the United
States with suitable instructions respecting this and any other duty which
it shall be deemed proper to assign to him.
As soon as the boundary shall have been ascertained and marked, you
will cause a true and accurate map to be made of the country through
which it passes, in its entire extent. A duplicate copy of said map, certi-
fied by the commissioners and surveyors on both sides, will accompany
the records of the proceedings of the commission.
The joint report or declaration by the commissioners of " the final re-
sult agreed upon by them," under the fifth article of the treaty, will also
be transmitted to the Department, to be filed with the journal or record
of their proceedings and the map.
As soon as the commission shall be organized, you will transmit to this
department a list containing the names of the several persons composing
it, the nature of the duties assigned to each individual, and the compen-
sation allowed to them respectively; and will also from time to time in-
form the Secretary of State of any change which you may, by circum-
stances, be induced to make in its organization. The sixth article of the
treaty provides that "if, by the examinations which may be made, it
should be ascertained to be practicable and advantageous to construct a
road, canal, or railway, which should in whole or in part run upon the
river Grla, or upon its right or its left bank, within the space of one marine
league from either margin of the river, the governments of both republics
will form an agreement regarding its construction, in order that it may
serve equally for the use and advantage of both countries." Although
you are not required to make the examinations referred to in this article
under the appropriation made by Congress on the 12th of August last,
which is limited to " the expenses of running and marking the boundary
line," yet the President would be gratified if you could cause these ex-
aminations to be made incidentally, without seriously interfering with
your appropriate duties. The inquiry is one of great importance to the
country; and any information which you can communicate to the depart-
ment on the subject will be highly appreciated by our fellow-citizens.
Major Emory has received from Major Graham, under my instructions; all
the instruments belonging to the department which he believed to be
suitable for running the boundary line between the two republics.
In a report which he made to the department, dated at New York on
the 4th instant, he states that these are not sufficient, and furnishes a list
of those which will be required. Several of the latter he deems it indis-
pensable that he should carry with him, to wit:
1 box chronometer $285
1 heliotrope 100
1 reconnoitring glass 50
1 portable astronomical telescope 190
4 Nautical Almancs, 1849 10
1 copy Catalogue Stars, British Association 20
1 set of charts coast of California 2
1 Daniels's hygrometer 15
4 Hassler's Logarithms, at $1 4
6 thermometers, at $4 24
6 observing lamps 15
4 cases drawing instruments 40
4 bottles ether (sulphuric.)
^ bushel plaster of paris.
2 observing tents, at $40 80
1 equatorial stand, price estimated 100
In your absence, the President has not hesitated to advise him to pur-
chase these instruments, not doubting that you would promptly pay for
them out of the appropriation. As it Avill be impossible for him to reach
New Orleans before the 28th instant, you will not take your departure
thence until after his arrival.
The President has determined that your salary shall be at the rate of
$- per annum, and that of the surveyor at the rate of $ per an-
num; but should Congress before its adjournment fix your salaries at
different rates, this will be the guide in settling your accounts from the
The military escort, on the part of the United States, to accompany the
commission, has been placed by the President under the direction of the
Secretary of War.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN B. WELLER, Esq.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, March 15, 1849.
SIR: I have to inform you that Congress, at its late session, omitted to
pass any act prescribing the amounts of the salaries of the civilians attached
to the commission of which you are the head. Consequently, until this
omission be remedied, compensation for your services as commissioner,
^ for those of Mr. Gray as surveyor, cannot be lawfully paid; and no
charge for salary, on the part of either of you, can properly form an item
in the statement of your account to the Treasury. It will, therefore, be
necessary, in any drafts which you may have occasion to make on this
department for the purpose of carrying your instructions into effect, to
make them, on their face, chargeable solely to the appropriation for the
"expense* of running and marking the boundary between the United
States and Mexico" leaving the salaries to be settled at some future day
I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN M. CLAYTON.
JOHN B. WELLER, Esq ,
Commisiomr of the United States under the
fifth article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
PANAMA, March 24, 1849.
SIR: Your note of this date, informing me that a whaler would be here
in about ten days upon which I can secure passage for my party, at $250
each, to San Francisco, has been received. As I would probably have
great difficulty in obtaining transportation from thence to San Diego, the
point of destination, I cannot engage the vessel to which you allude.
As my party numbers some thirty-live persons, and a considerable
amount of supplies, I prefer obtaining, if possible, transportation direct to
San Diego. I will be obliged to you if you can facilitate my movements in
this particular. As it is of the last importance to my government that the
surveyor and myself should be at San Diego previous to the 30th of May
next, I will thank you to secure passage for us on the first steamer which
may come in.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN B. WELLER,
U. S. Commissioner.
WILLIAM NELSON, Esq.,
United States Consul.
PANAMA, March 27, 1849.
SIR: On the 16th January last, I was appointed by the President of the
United States, with the consent of the Senate, to run the boundary be-
tween that government and the republic of Mexico, under the fifth article
of the treaty concluded at Guadalupe on the 2d February, 1848. By
the terms of that treaty, the commissioners are required to meet at San
Diego, on the Pacific, previous to the 30th May next, and, under instruc-
tions to proceed to that point without delay, I reached this city on the 16th
I have with me a full complement of engineers and employes, all of
whom are necessary to enable me to execute the orders of the government.
This party now numbers thirty-three persons, and three or four more may
probably arrive in a few days. I have made every reasonable effort to
secure transportation to San Diego, but thus far have wholly failed. You
are aware that the treaty under which 1 am appointed terminated a bloody
war; and a failure to meet the commissioner on the part of Mexico at the
time designated will produce delay, which may result in serious difficulty
between the two governments.
The emigration to California is increasing so rapidly that it is of the
utmost importance that the boundary should be established at once. The
friendly relations between the two governments can only be maintained
by clearly defining the rights of each. You will see, upon reflection,
that delays and difficulties of the most harassing character will probably
result from a failure on my part to meet the requisitions of the treaty. A
steamer (the " California") belonging to Messrs. Aspinwall & Co., for
whom, I understand, you are agent, is expected here daily. This vessel
is connected with the government of the United States by a contract to
transport the mail. I doubt not more than a sufficient number to fill her will
be here, on her arrival, holding tickets from the company. I would regret
very much to see those enterprising citizens delayed or disappointed; but
it is, in my opinion, a case where private interest should yield to the pub-
lic good. Seeing no other practicable way of getting to San Diego, I have
to request that passages may be secured for myself and party as soon as she
You, as the representative of the United States here, will, I doubt not,
feel every disposition to aid me in executing a most important commission ;
and I am confident, from their high reputation, that Messrs. Aspinwall
& Co., if they were present, would not hesitate in directing room to be
made for us.
I am, dear sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN B. WELLER,
United States Commissioner.
United States Consul, Panama.
PANAMA, NEW GRANADA, May 14, 1849.
SIR: As you have advised me that you cannot find transportation for
more than ten of my party on the steamship "Panama," I desire that the
following persons may be registered as passengers:
John B. Weller, Dr. E. K. Chamberlin, James Nooney, jr., William
A. Taylor, D. Gahagan, A. B. Gray, William R. Kinder, H. H. Robin-
son, C. J. Whiting, Gilbert Murdoch, and two servants, (colored.)
So many inconveniences and delays will result from leaving a portion
of my party here, that I must again request that every effort maybe made
to secure transportation on the "Oregon" for the remainder of the party.
Nearly if not all the employes will be required very soon after I reach
San Diego, and I dislike the idea very much of separating from them.
Yery respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN B. WELLER,
United States Commissioner.
Agent for Aspimcatt cj* Co.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, June 20, 1849.
SIR: The President having thought proper to appoint you the commis-
sioner on the part of the United States for running and marking the
boundary line under the fifth article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo,
I transmit your commission in that character. You will also receive
herewith a copy of the several instructions which this department has
addressed to your predecessor. It is not considered that you will need
any further instructions at this time; I would, however, invite your special
attention to the necessity of the regular transmission of your accounts
and vouchers for settlement at the Treasury Department, as those in-
structions require. Any drafts, also, which you may have occasion to
draw on account of the expenses of the commission, must be addressed to
the Secretary of State, and not to the Secretary of the Treasury.
You will also forward to this department a full list of the pers ns (other
than military or naval) in the service of the commission on our part, with
the rates of compensation allowed to each; and will apprize the depart-
ment of any changes therein which may from time to time take place.
Your compensation, as well as that of your predecessor, will be settled
by Congress at their next session.
1 am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN M. CLAYTON.
To J. C. FREMONT, Esq.,
San Francisco , California.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, June 26, 1849.
SIR: Your letter from Panama, under date the 20th March last, marked
No. 1, has been received.