Memoir of the Proposed Territory of Arizona

Political Science/
#Political Science #History & Theory
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Excerpt "The NEW TERRITORY of ARIZONA, better known as the GADSDEN PURCHASE, lies between the thirty-first and thirty-third parallels of latitude, and is bounded on the north by the Gila River, which separates it from the territory of New Mexico; on the east by the Rio Bravo del Norte, (Rio Grande), which separates it from Texas; on the south by Chihuahua and Sonora, Mexican provinces; and on the west by the Colorado River of the West, which separates it from Upper and Lower California. This great region is six hundred miles long by about fifty miles wide, and embraces an area of about thirty thousand square miles. It was acquired by purchase from Mexico, during the mission of General Gadsden, at a cost of ten millions of dollars. In the original treaty, as negotiated by General Gadsden, a more southern boundary than the one adopted by the Senate of the United States in confirming the treaty, was conceded by Santa Anna. The line at present is irregular in its course, and cuts off from our Territory the head of the Santa Cruz river and valley, the Sonoita valley, the San Bernardino valley, the whole course of the Colorado river from a point twenty miles below the mouth of the Gila river, and, worse than all, the control of the head of the Gulf of California, and the rich and extensive valley of Lake Guzman, besides a large and extremely valuable silver region, well known both to Mexicans and Americans—the planchas de la Platte. General Gadsden's line included nearly all the territory south of the Gila river to the thirty-first parallel of latitude—all the advantages above mentioned—gave us the mouth of the Colorado river, and probably a port near the head of the gulf at Adair's Bay. We have no accurate survey of the west coast of the Gulf of California, but I am strongly of opinion that the original line conceded by Mexico would have thrown a portion of the gulf into American hands, by cutting off an arm of it extending east and north from the main body of water. A port on the gulf is of great and immediate necessity to our Pacific possessions. Of this hereafter. The proposed boundaries, of the Territory of Arizona, are the 34th parallel of latitude, with New Mexico on the north, from the 103d meridian west to the Colorado; Texas on the east; Texas, and the Mexican provinces of New Mexico and Sonora on the south; and California on the west. The new Territory would thus contain within its borders the three largest rivers on the Continent, west of the Mississippi—the Rio Grande, Gila, and Colorado of the west, and embrace 90,000 square miles. The Gadsden purchase is attached by act of Congress to the Territory of New Mexico. At the time of its acquisition there was scarcely any population except a few scattering Mexicans in the Mesilla valley, and at the old town of Tucson, in the centre of the territory. The Apache Indian, superior in strength to the Mexican, had gradually extirpated every trace of civilization, and roamed uninterrupted and unmolested, sole possessor of what was once a thriving and populous Spanish province. Except the report of Col. A. B. Gray, there is scarcely anything in print with reference to the early history of Arizona, beyond the scanty but valuable notes of Major Emory and Hon. John R. Bartlett, in their reports, and in the appendix to Wilson's late book, "Mexico and its Religion." To this last I beg to refer any reader who desires accurate information respecting the Northern Mexican provinces, presented in a straightforward common-sense style. In the possession of the writer of these notes is a map drawn in 1757, just one hundred years ago, presented by the Society of Jesuits to the King of Spain. The original of this map is now in the archives of the Mexican Government. It was copied, with the notes relating to the Territory, and to Sonora, Chihuahua, and Sinaloa, by Capt. C. P. Stone, late of the United States Army. The map bears the inscription, "Carte levee par la Societe des Jesuites, dediee au Roi d'Espagne en 1757." The copy of the map and the accompanying notes are certified as accurate by the officer of the Mexican Government in charge of the archives. My information, therefore, upon the early history of this comparatively unknown domain, is accurate and reliable. As early as 1687, a Jesuit missionary from the province of Sonora, which, in its southern portion, bore already the impress of Spanish civilization, descended the valley of Santa Cruz river to the Gila. Passing down the Gila to its mouth, after exploring the country, he retraced his steps, penetrated the country north of the Gila river for some distance, and ascended the Salinas or Salt river, and other northern branches of the Gila. The explorations of this energetic priest did not stop here. Proceeding east, he explored the valley of the San Pedro and its branches, thence along the Gila to the Mimbres, and probably to the Rio Grande and the Mesilla valley. Filled with the enthusiasm of his sect, he procured authority from the head of the order in Mexico, and established missions and settlements at every available point....
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