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August 2011

Perfectly Notorious

To those who doubt the extent of corruption in New Mexico today, a look at the history of land grants may be enlightening. The troubling outcome of claims was well known when President Grover Cleveland appointed George W. Julian as Surveyor-General of New Mexico in 1885.  Julian was seventy years old at the time.

In a series of articles published in 1887, Julian broadly castigated the method and motives of previous Surveyors General charged with investigating grant claims and on Congressional action taken to confirm them.  Grant owners, beneficiaries of these judgments and Acts, such as Maxwell Land Grant beneficiary Thomas B. Catron, replied that Julian was motivated by "politics."  Julian replied, in part:

The influence of these claimants over the fortunes of New Mexico is perfectly notorious. (...) To a fearful extent they have dominated governors, judges, district attorneys, legislatures, surveyors-general and their deputies, marshals, treasurers, county commissioners, and the controlling business interests of the people.  They have confounded political distinctions and have subordinated everything to the greed for land. (...) They are simply traffickers in land and recognized captains of this controlling New Mexico industry."

 Hard to believe that was written so long ago.

(Source: Maxwell Land Grant: A New Mexico Item. William A Keleher, 1942. The Rydal Press.)