Negations for the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

On the first of January, 1848, the United States was in possession of the City of Mexico, the city of Chihuahua, and of the eastern seaports of Mexico, as well as of the territory now forming the States of New Mexico, Arizona and California, together with Lower California. California was the pawn which several European countries claimed and were trying to secure, and England, in particular, had she secured California, in all probability would have held all the coast territory west of the Rocky Mountains, including what is now the States of Utah, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada. She would probably have allowed Mexico or the United States to hold the Apache infested country of New Mexico and Arizona.

In order that my readers may be informed of the circumstances concerning the war with Mexico, and the subsequent acquisition by the United States of that part of the territory of Mexico in Arizona north of the Gila River, I quote here from Donaldson’s “Public Domain” as follows:

“The treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, between the United States and the Republic of Mexico, February 2nd, 1848, added to the national and public domain the territory lying between the Rio Grande River north along the one hundred and sixth meridian of longitude west from Greenwich to the forty-second parallel north latitude, and along that parallel to the Pacific Ocean. Prior to the time that Commodore Sloat took possession of California, she had been the object of jealous attention on the part of several foreign nations. The Russians established themselves at Bodega, on the coast of California, in the year 1812, by permission of Spain, for the purpose of fishing and obtaining furs. Then, after this, they brought cattle, raised herds, and produced wheat. Forty miles from Bodega, beyond the San Sebastian River, they built Fort Slawianski, called by the Mexicans ‘Fort of Ross.’ They flew the Russian flag, and the military governor appointed by the Czar of Russia was in command. During the Mexican Revolution, they assumed to be the actual owners of the territory thus occupied. In the year 1842, through the fostering care of the Russian home government, this colony possessed one-sixth of the white population of California. After the United States finally acquired California, this military colony was withdrawn.

“In the year 1835 President Jackson proposed to the government of Mexico to purchase the territory lying east and north of a line drawn from the Gulf of Mexico along the eastern bank of the Rio Grande, up to the thirty-seventh parallel north latitude, and thence along that parallel to the Pacific Ocean. This would have obtained the Bay of San Francisco, but the negotiation failed. Fremont’s expedition by land, and Wilke’s exploring expedition by sea and land, all under Government auspices, gave much information to the country at large of the Pacific Coast.

“In 1841, by order of Marshal Soult, minister of war of France, an attache of the French mission to Mexico, M. Duflot de Mofras, visited California and made a thorough exploration. He remained there two years.

”In 1846 an informal meeting of citizens and natives of California was held at Monterey to consider annexation. The consuls of England (Forbes), of France (Guys), and of the United States (Larkin), were working during this period to encourage in the Californians a desire for annexation to one of their respective countries. Members were elected to a convention to consider annexation, but it never met.

”It was claimed that Great Britain intended to seize California as an equivalent for the Mexican debt due to British subjects. She had a fleet in the Pacific waters watching the American fleet, and it entered the harbor of Monterey a few hours after Commodore Sloat had their raised the American flag, July 7, 1846. It is presumed from official action on the part of the naval and other officers of the United States Government, that our navy was to see that no foreign government took possession of California. (See Mr. Buchanan’s letter to Minister Slidell, April 10, 1845, as to the French and English designs.)

“After the terms of annexation offered to Texas by the United States had been accepted by Texas, President Polk, in 1845, ordered the army of the United States to occupy the western portion of Texas, between the Nueces and Rio Grande rivers, and to hold it. A strong naval force in the Gulf was ordered to cooperate with the army. Under date of November 10, 1845, Mr. Buchanan, Secretary of State, instructed John Slidell, United States Minister to Mexico, to offer the Mexican Government, for the cession of New Mexico and a boundary line on the Rio Grande and to the forty-second parallel north latitude, the assumption of claims of American citizens against Mexico and $5,000,000; for the cession of the province of California, the assumption of claims of American citizens against Mexico, and $25,000,000; and for the bay and harbor of San Francisco and north of it, $20,000,000.

“On the 13th of May, 1816, Congress passed a law declaring that ‘war existed by the act of Mexico,’ and the war with Mexico ensued.

“April 15, 1845, President Polk commissioned Nicholas P. Trist, Esq., chief clerk of the Department of State, to proceed, as the confidential agent of the Government and commissioner to Mexico. He was furnished with a project of treaty stating the purchase prices to be paid for the extension of our boundary. Upon his arrival in Mexico, Mr. Trist opened his negotiations with the Mexican authorities. On the 2nd of September, 1847, he met the Mexican Commissioners and tried to arrange a treaty, but failed. A temporary armistice was granted. September 6, General Scott notified Santa Anna that he would resume military operations the next day, as the armistice had been repeatedly broken. On the 17th, the war was resumed.

“November 22nd, proposals were received from the Mexican authorities for negotiations for a treaty.

“It was made by Nicholas Trist, Esq., on behalf of the United States (although a long time before recalled), and Luis G. Cuevas, Bernardo Couto and Miguel Atristain on the part of Mexico. This treaty was done at the city of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico, February 2nd, 1848. Mr. Trist submitted it to Mr. Buchanan, Secretary of State, and President Polk sent it to the Senate with a message, on Wednesday, February 23rd, 1848. He recommended that the tenth article should not be ratified. The Senate, after debate, amended it. It was finally adopted, with amendments, March 10, 1848, by a vote of yeas 38 nays 14.

”By and with the advice of the Senate, President Polk appointed Hon. Ambrose H. Sevier (United States Senator), of Arkansas, and Hon. Nathaniel Clifford (Attorney-General), of Maine, commissioners to Mexico, as envoys extraordinary and ministers plenipotentiaries. They took with them a copy of the treaty, with the amendments of the Senate duly ratified by the President, and had full powers to ratify the same. The protocol to the treaty was their work. They arrived at the city of Queretaro May 5, 1848. The amended treaty was submitted to the Mexican Senate on that day, and it passed by a vote of 33 ayes to 5 nays. It had previously passed the House of Deputies.

“On the 30th of May, at the same city, ratifications were exchanged, and afterwards the commissioners at the city of Mexico paid over the $3,000,000 cash payment.

“Treaty of peace, friendship, limits and settlement, with the Republic of Mexico, concluded February 2, 1848; ratifications exchanged at Queretaro, May 30, 1848; proclaimed July 4, 1848.

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo


“In the city of Queretaro, on the twenty-sixth of the month of May, eighteen hundred and forty-eight, at a conference between their excellencies, Nathan Clifford and Ambrose H. Sevier, Commissioners of the U. S. of A., with full powers from their Government to make to the Mexican Republic suitable explanations in regard to the amendments which the Senate and Government of the said United States have made in the treaty of peace, friendship, limits and definitive settlement between the two Republics, signed in Guadalupe Hidalgo, on the second day of February, of the present year; and his Excellency Don Luis de la Rosa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Mexico; it was agreed, after adequate conversation, respecting the changes alluded to, to record in the present protocol the following explanations, which their aforesaid excellencies the Commissioners gave in the name of their Government and in fulfillment of the commission conferred upon them near the Mexican Republic:

“1st. The American Government by suppressing the IXth article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and substituting the IIId article of the treaty of Louisana, did not intend to diminish in any way what was agreed upon by the aforesaid article IXth in favor of the inhabitants of the territories ceded by Mexico. Its understanding is that all of that agreement is contained in the 3d article of the treaty of Louisiana. In consequence all the privileges and guaranties, civil, political, and religious, which could have been possessed by the inhabitants of the ceded territories, if the IXth article of the treaty had been retained, will be enjoyed by them, without any difference, under the article which has been substituted.

“2d. The American Government by suppressing the Xth article of the treaty of Guadalupe did not in any way intend to annul the grants of lands made by Mexico in the ceded territories. These grants, notwithstanding the suppression of the article of the treaty, preserve the legal value which they may possess, and the grantees may cause their legitimate (titles) to be acknowledged before the American tribunals.

“Conformably to the laws of the United States, legitimate titles to every description of property, personal and real, existing in the ceded territories are those which were legitimate titles under the Mexican law in California and New Mexico up to the 13th of May, 1846, and in Texas up to the 2d March, 1836.

“3d. The Government of the United States, by suppressing the concluding paragraph of article XIIth of the treaty, did not intend to deprive the Mexican Republic of the free and unrestrained faculty of ceding, conveying or transferring at any time (as it may judge best) the sum of the twelve millions of dollars which the same government of the United States is to deliver in the places designated by the amended article.

“And these explanations having been accepted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Mexican Republic, he declared, in name of his Government, that with the understanding conveyed by them the same Government would proceed to ratify the treaty of Guadalupe, as modified by the Senate and Government of the United States. In testimony of which, their Excellencies, the aforesaid Commissioners and the Minister have signed and sealed, in quintuplicate, the present protocol.

(Seal) A. H. Sevier.
(Seal) Nathan Clifford.
(Seal) Luis de la Rosa.

Articles Referred To In The Fifteenth Article Of The Preceding Treaty.
First and Fifth articles of the unratified convention between the United States and the Mexican Republic of the 20th November, 1843.

All claims of citizens of the Mexican Republic against the Government of the United States which shall be presented in the manner and time hereinafter expressed, and all claims of citizens of the United States against the Government of the Mexican Republic, which, for whatever cause, were not submitted to, nor considered, nor finally decided by, the commission, nor by the arbiter appointed by the convention of 1839, and which shall be presented in the manner and time hereafter specified, shall be referred to four commissioners, who shall form a board, and shall be appointed in the following manner, that is to say: Two commissioners shall be appointed by the President of the Mexican Republic, and the other two by the President of the United States, with the approbation and consent of the Senate. The said commissioners, thus appointed, shall, in presence of each other, take an oath to examine and decide impartially the claims submitted to them, and which may lawfully be considered, according to the proofs which shall be presented, the principles of right and justice, the law of nations, and the treaties between the two republics.

“All claims of citizens of the United States against the Government of the Mexican Republic, which were considered by the commissioners, and referred to the umpire appointed under the convention of the eleventh April, 1839, and which were not decided by him, shall be referred to, and decided by, the umpire to be appointed, as provided by this convention, on the points submitted to the umpire under the late convention, and his decision shall be final and conclusive. It is also agreed, that if the respective commissioners shall deem it expedient, they may submit to the said arbiter new arguments upon the said claim.

“The Evacuation Of The City Of Mexico By The United States.

“At 6 o’clock, A. M., June 12, 1848, the flag of the United States was taken down from the National palace in the city of Mexico, and the colors of Mexico hoisted in their stead, the customary honors being paid to both. The last division of the American army was withdrawn, and the occupation of Mexico by the United States was at an end. July 4, 1848, President Polk issued proclamation of the foregoing treaty.

“Boundaries, Area, And Cost Of Cession:

“By this cession the United States obtained the acknowledgment of the boundaries of Texas, annexed in 1845, and the territory west of the Rio Grande, and of a meridian north from its course to the forty-second parallel on the north, the Pacific Ocean on the west, and the national boundary on the south established by this treaty. (See Article V.) This boundary was afterwards altered by the addition of the land purchased by the Gadsden treaty of 1853, and the present national boundary was established. The area of territory obtained by this treaty (exclusive of the Texas cession, in doubt as to part) was estimated at 522,568 square miles, viz.;

Square miles. Lying now in the State of California, being the entire State 157,801
The entire State of Nevada 112,090
Arizona (except the Gadsden purchase of 1853) 82,381
New Mexico west of the Rio Grande and north of the Gadsden purchase of 1853) 42,000
Utah, entire 84,476
Colorado, west of the Rocky Mountains. 29,500
Wyoming, the southwest portion 14,320
In all estimated at 522,568 or 334,443,520 acres.

“All of this became national and public domain, and the land laws of the United States were extended over it by congress (for disposition and sale), excepting certain grants made therein by Spanish and Mexican authorities. It cost principal sum under the treaty, $15,000,000.

“The southern and western boundary of this cession is (west of Texas) the boundary of the public as well as of the national domain. The boundary lines were settled and surveyed by a joint commission.

Delivery Of The Cession.

“The United States being in possession, by military force, no formal delivery of the territory was had other than by the payment of the sum stipulated and fixing and determining the boundary line.

Notes About Book:

Source: History Of Arizona Volume 1, By Thomas Edwin Farish, 1915, Printed and Published by Direction of the Second Legislature of the State of Arizona, A. D.

Notes about Online Publication: This manuscript has been ocr’d and heavily edited. Many of the Native American words have been reproduced as clearly as online publication will allow us, but not all are exactly the way they were in the original work. The structure of this manuscript has been changed to allow better online presentation.

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