Puslapio vaizdai

would not expose him to censure. On no other supposition would it be possible for him to escape the personal application of the principle laid down by General Jackson, that “any individual of any nation making war against the citizens of another nation, they being at peace, forfeits his allegiance, and becomes an outlaw and a pirate.” If he acted, as there is little reason to doubt, as the agent of the President, and in accordance with his wishes, upon that officer rests the perfidy and turpitude of secretly instigating this rebellion and civil war, while professing friendly intentions towards Mexico, and soliciting a renewal of diplomatic intercourse with her. Had Mexico paid all our claims to the last cent, had she yielded the Valley of the Rio Grande without a murmur, and had there consequently been no war, still, Fremont's “Republic of California,” like Houston's “ Republic of Texas," would have become ours by “joint resolutions” of annexation, and Mr. Polk, or some other President in his words would have congratulated Congress that “This accession to our territory," like that of Texas, “ has been a bloodless achievement. No armed force has been raised to produce the result. The sword has had no part in the victory.

It is curious to observe with what wonderful clairvoyance the naval officers in California understood and executed their instructions, long before they were received. It appears officially* that the despatch of the 13th May, 1846, announcing the declaration of war, did not reach the Squadron till about the 28th of August; and of course up to that time these officers had been acting on their own discretion. Let us now see what instructions were sent to them after the war, and how exactly they had been anticipated before their receipt.

* Report of Secretary of Navy, 19th Dec., 1846. Appendix to Cong. Globe for 29th Cong., 2d Sess., p. 45.

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On the 15th May, two days after war was declared, Commodore Sloat was directed to " consider the most important object to be, to take and hold possession of San Francisco.” On the 19th July, San Francisco was taken, and the inhabitants were informed by proclamation, that “henceforth California will be a portion of the United States."

The next despatch, June 8th, instructs Sloat to “take such measures as will best promote the attachment of the people of California to the United States.” Sloat, in his proclamation, dated 7th July, assures the Californians that “peaceable inhabitants will enjoy the same rights and privileges as the citizens of any other portion of that territory (the United States), with all the rights and privileges they now enjoy, together with the privileges of choosing their own magistrates and other officers for the administration of justice among themselves, and the same protection will be extended to them as to any other State in the Union.” Thus the proclamation had already annexed them to the United States.

On the 12th July, Sloat is told, “The object of the United States is, under its rights as a belligerent nation, to possess itself entirely of Upper California,” and if,* at the conclusion of peace, “the basis of the uti possidetis shall be established, the Government expects through your forces to be found in actual possession of Upper California. This will bring with it the necessity of a civil administration - Such a Government should be established under your protection.” Sloat had retired on account of ill health, and been succeeded by Commodore Stockton who, long before the receipt of this despatch, issued a proclamation making “Known to all men,” that the territory known as Upper and Lower California, is a territory of the United States, under the name of the territory of California. “I do, by these presents," continues the proclamation, “ further order and decree, that the Government of the said territory of California shall be, until altered by the proper authority of the United States, constituted in manner and form as follows ;” and then follows a form of Government consisting of a Governor, Secretary, Legislative Council, &c.

* That this hypothetical statement was mere affectation, is evident from the indiscreet disclosures of the intentions of Mr. Polk, contained in the instructions to Stockton, of 11th January, 1847 : “At present it is needless, and might be injurious to the public interests, to agitate the question in California, how long those persons who have been elected for a prescribed time, will have official authority. If our right of possession shall become absolute, such an inquiry is needless And if by treaty or otherwise, we lose the possession, those who follow us will govern the country. The President, however, anticipates no such result. On the contrary, he foresees no contingency in which the United States will ever surrender or relinquish the possession of California.” Of course Mr. Polk had thus early, and without consulting the Senate, determined at all hazards to make the eersion of California the sine qua non of a treaty of peace,

On the 17th August, Commodore Shubrick was sent to relieve Sloat, from whom not a word had yet been received. He was ordered to take immediate possession of Upper California, especially of the three ports of San Francisco, Monterey, and San Diego," if not already captured, and also, “to take possession, by an inland expedition, of Pueblos de los Angelos.” All four places were captured before a line was received from Washington, and Pueblos de los Angelos was taken by an inland expedition four days before the date of the instructions. Shubrick was farther directed that “all United States vessels and merchandize must be allowed by the local authorities of the ports of which you take possession, to come and go free of duty ; but on foreign vessels and goods reasonable duties may be imposed.” But Commodore Stockton had already anticipated this instruction two days before it was written. On the 15th August, he had imposed a duty of fifteen per cent. ad valorum on all goods imported from foreign ports, and a tonnage duty on foreign vessels of fifty cents per ton, but no duties were imposed on American vessels and merchandize.

On finding these various instructions so exactly anticipated, so minutely fulfilled by officers who had not received one line of intelligence from their government subsequent to the commencement of the war, it is impossible to resist the conviction, that the seizure of California had long before been deliberately planned, and that the intentions and wishes of the Government had been fully made known to the officers, the plan of proceeding agreed on, and the squadron stationed off the Californian ports, awaiting news from the Rio Grande as a signal for instantly seizing and securing the prize for which the war was to be commenced on the Rio Grande.




The receipt of Taylor's letter of the 26th April, relating to the capture of Thornton's party which had, as we have seen, “ become engagedwith the Mexicans by attacking them, gave the administration its first intelligence that the march to the Rio Grande had led to its intended result. The letter reached Washington on Saturday the 9th May. Its contents were speedily made known, and on Sunday evening a meeting of members of Congress, partisans of the President, was held, and war was decided on.* On Monday morning, the President sent a war message to Congress, which from its lengtht must either have been written on the day devoted by the Creator to holy rest, or else prepared some time before in anticipation of the success of Taylor's mission. In this message, after adverting in the usual style to the grievous wrongs perpetrated by Mexico upon our citizens throughout a long period of years, he closed the mournful catalogue by announcing to the representatives of the nation, “Mexico HAS PASSED THE BOUNDARY OF THE UNITED STATES, HAS INVADED OUR TERRITORY, AND SHED AMERICAN BLOOD UPON THE AMERICAN



* Spoech of C. J. Ingersoll. App. to Cong. Globe, 29th Cong., 2 Sess., p. 125.

† Ocoupying six pages in print.

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