Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

official information, which, I suppose, is common to all who have cared to make inquiries on that subject.

Seeing, then, that the question which now excites such painful sensations in the country will, in the end, certainly be settled by the silent effect of causes independent of the action of Congress, I again submit to your wisdom the policy recommended in my annual message, of awaiting the salutary operation of those causes, believing that we shall thus avoid the creation of geographical parties, and secure the harmony of feeling so necessary to the beneficial action of our political system. Connected as the Union is with the remembrance of past happiness, the sense of present blessings, and the hope of future peace and prosperity, every dictate of wisdom, every feeling of duty, and every emotion of patriotism, tend to inspire fidelity and devotion to it, and admonish us cautiously to avoid any unnecessary controversy which can either endanger it or impair its strength, the chief element of which is to be found in the regard and affection of the people for each other.

Z. TAYLOR. WASHINGTON City, D. C., January 21, 1850.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, January 7, 1850. The Secretary of State, to whom has been referred a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 31st ultimo, requesting the President of the United States to communicate to that body, as early as he conveniently can, “whether, since the last session of Congress, any person has been by him appointed either a civil or military governor of California and New Mexico: if any military or civil governor has been appointed there, and their compensation: if a military and civil governor has been united in one person, whether any additional compensation has been given for said duties, and the amount of the same. Also, that he be requested to communicate to this House whether any agent or agents, or other persons, have been appointed by the President or any of the departments of this government, and sent to California or New Mexico, or recognised in said Territories by this government, authorized to organize the people of California or New Mexico into à government, or to aid or advise them in such organization; or whether such agent, civil or military governor, was instructed or directed to aid, preside over, or be present at, the assembly of a body of persons called a convention, in California, to control, aid, advise, direct, or participate in any manner in the deliberations of that body of persons: if any, the names of such agent or agents, and their compensation. Also, that the President be requested to inform this House whether the Executive or either of the departments have sent any agent or agents, on the part of this government, to California or New Mexico, te aid or advise the people of those Territories as to the formation of a government for themselves; and, if such agent or agents have been sent, who they are, and their compensation. Also, that the President be respectfully requested to communicate to this House all the instructions given to such governor, civil or military, in California or New Mexico, or to any officers of the army of the United States, or any other persons who may have been sent by this government to New Mexico or California, and the proclamations and communications by them made to the people of said Territories, as well as the entire correspondence of such agents or governor with this govern. ment. And, also, whether any person or persons have been authorized by this government or any of its departments to appoint and direct the elections in said Territories, and determine the qualifications of the voters at the same; and whether any laws have been created by any supposed government in California: and, if so, what laws. And that the President be requested to communicate to this House all correspondence held by this government with any persons in California and New Mexico relative to the formation of a government for the said Territories by the inhabitants thereof; and whether any census of the citizens of said Territories has been made; and that the same, if made, be communicated to this House. Also, all similar instructions that were given to similar efficers or agents by the late Executive, and all similar information of which the Department of State had possession, and similar matters, at the expiration of the term of office of the late President,'s. has the honor to report to the President the accompanying papers, on file in his department, embraced by the resolution. Copies of so much of the correspondence of this department during the last administration with officers and agents in California, after the treaty of Guadalupe, as was deemed proper or useful to be communicated to Congress, will be found among the papers accompanying the message of President Polk of December 5, 1848, from page 45 to page 69, inclusive. (See volume 1 Executive Documents, 2d session 30th Congress.) Prior to that period, T. 0. Larkin, esq., was appointed confidential agent of the department in California, and received for his services the sum of $6,107. The sum of $1,000 has been paid to Mr. King.

The Secretary of State has the honor to add, that no official report has yet been received at this department from Mr. King, who, on the 30 day of April last, was appointed bearer of despatches to California and agent to collect information necessary to the proper execution of the treaty with Mexico, as well as to communicate information to the people of that Territory, as is fully stated in the copy of his instructions herewith sent. Private advices from California have informed us that he was confined by severe illness, not long after his arrival at San Francisco, but that he had recovered; and his arrival in the United States may, therefore, soon be expected. A report will then, doubtless, be made by him, in obedience to his instructions. Respectfully submitted.

JOHN M. CLAYTON. To the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, October 7, 1848. Sir: Previons to your departure for California, the President has instructed me to make known, through your agency, to the citizens of the United States inhabiting that Territory, his views respecting their present condition and future prospects. He deems it proper to employ you for this purpose, because the Postmaster General has appointed you an agent, under the Act to establish certain post routes," approved August 14, 1848, “to make arrangements for the establishment of post offices, and for the transmission, receipt, and conveyance of letters in Oregon and California."

The President congratulates the citizens of California on the annexation of their fine province to the United States. On the 30th of May,, 1848, the day on which the ratifications of our late treaty with Mexico were exchanged, California finally became an integral portion of this great and glorious republic; and the act of Congress to which I have already referred, in express terms recognises it to be “ within the territory of theUnited States.'

May this union be perpetual!

The people of California may feel the firmest conviction that the government and people of the United States will never abandon them or prove · unmindful of their prosperity. Their fate and their fortunes are now in

dissolubly united with that of their brethren on this side of the mountains. How propitions this event both for them and for us! i the other nations of the world are distracted by domestic dissensions, and are involved in a struggle between the privileges of the few and the rights of the many, Heaven has blessed our happy land with a government which secures equal rights to all our citizens, and has produced peace, happiness, and contentment throughout our borders. It has combined liberty with order, and all the sacred and indefeasible rights of the citizens with the strictest observance of law. Satisfied with the institutions under which we live, each individual is therefore left free to promote his own prosperity and happiness in the manner most in accordance with his own judginent.

Under such a constitution and such laws, the prospects of California are truly encouraging. Blessed with a mild and salubrious climate and a fertile soil, rich in mineral resources, and extending over nearly ten degrees of latitude along the coast of the Pacific, with some of the finest harbors in the world, the imagination can scarcely fix a limit to its future wealth and prosperity.

We can behold in the not distant future one or more glorious States of this confederacy springing into existence in California, governed by institutions similar to our own, and extending the blessings of religion, liberty, and law over that vast region. Their free and unrestricted commerce and intercourse with the other States of the Union will confer mutual benefits and blessings on all parties concerned, and will bind us all together by the strongest ties of reciprocal affection and interest. Their foreign trade with the west coast of America, with Asia, and the isles of the Pacific, will be protected by our common flag, and cannot fail to bear back to their shores the rich rewards of enterprise and industry.

After all, however, the speedy realization of these bright prospects depends much upon the wise and prudent conduct of the citizens of California in the present emergency: If they commence their career under proper auspices, their advance will be rapid and certain; but should they become entangled in difficulties and dissensions at the start, their progress will be greatly retarded.

The President deeply regrets that Congress did not at their late session establish'a territorial government for California. It would now he vain to enter into the reasons for this omission. Whatever these may have been, he is firmly convinced that Congress feel a deep interest in the welfare of California and its people, and will at an early period of the next session provide for them a territorial government suited to their wants. Our laws relating to trade and intercourse with the Indians will then be extended over them, custom-houses will be established for the collection of the rev. enue, and liberal grants of land will be made to those bold and patriotic citizens who amidst privations and dangers have emigrated or shall emigrate to that Territory from the States on this side of the Rocky mountains.

The President, in his annual message, at the commencement of the next session, will recommend all these great measures to Congress in the strongest terms, and will use every effort, consistently with his duty, to insure their accomplishment.

In the mean time, the condition of the people of California is anomalous, and will require, on their part, the exercise of great prudence and discretion. By the conclusion of the treaty of peace, the military government which was established over them under the laws of war, as recognised by

the practice of all civilized nations, has ceased to derive its authority from this source of power. But is there, for this reason, no government in California? Are life, liberty, and property under the protection of no ex. isting authorities? This would be a singular phenomenon in the face of the world, and especially among American citizens, distinguished as they are above all other people for their law abiding character. Fortunately, they are not reduced to this sad condition. The termination of the war left an existing government, a government de facto, in full operation; and this will continue, with the presumed consent of the people, until Congress shall provide for them a territorial government. The great law of necessity justifies this conclusion. The consent of the people is irresistibly inferred from the fact that no civilized community could possibly desire to abrogate an existing government, when the alternative presented would be to place themselves in a state of anarchy, beyond the protection of all laws, and reduce them to the unhappy necessity of submitting to the dominion of the strongest.

This government de facto will, of course, exercise no power inconsist. ent with the provisions of the constitution of the United States, which is the supreme law of the land. For this reason, no import duties can be levied in California on articles the growth, produce, or manufacture of the United States, as no such duties can be imposed in any other part of our Union on the productions of California. Nor can new duties be charged in California upon such foreign productions as have already paid duties in any of our ports of entry, for the obvious reason that California is within the territory of the United States. I shall not enlarge upon this subject, however, as the Secretary of the Treasury will perforin that duty.

The President urgently advises the people of California to live peaceably and quietly under the existing government. He believes that this will promote their lasting and best interests. If it be not what they could desire and had a right to expect, they can console themselves with the reflection that it will

endure but for a few months. Should they attempt to change or amend it during this brief period, they most probably could not accomplish their object before the government established by Congress would go into operation. In the mean time, the country would be agi. tated, the citizens would be withdrawn from their usual employments, and domestic strife might divide and exasperate the people against each other; and this all to establish a government which in no conceivable contingency could endure for a single year. During this brief period, it is better to bear the ills they have than fly to others they know not of.

The permanent prosperity of any new country is identified with the perfect security of its land titles. The land system of the general government has been a theme of admiration throughout the world. The wisdom of man has never devised a plan so well calculated to prevent litigation and place the rights of owners of the soil beyond dispute. This system has been one great cause of the rapid settlement and progress of our new States and Territories. Emigrants have been attracted there, because every man knew that when he had acquired land from the government, he could sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and there would be none to make him afraid. Indeed, there can be no greater drawback to the prosperity of a country, as several of the older States have experienced, than disputed land titles. Prudent men will be deterred from emigrating to a State or Territory where they cannot obtain

« PředchozíPokračovat »