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council of his officers, submitted to them his documents, at the same time expressing his belief that the British squadron was there on its way to Panama, “ where it will be reinforced by troops, &c., from the West Indies (!!) destined for the occupation of California.” Under these circumstances, he asked for the advice of his three captains, as to the “employment of the small naval force (three vessels), at my disposal so as to best promote the interests and honor of our country, thus suddenly jeoparded !The three marine statesmen assembled in the cabin of the United States frigate, thus intrusted by the Commodore with the weighty question of peace and war, advised that the squadron, already “crowding all sail” for California, should continue its course; and moreover announced, as the result of their deliberation, that, “in case of war between the United States and Mexico, it would be their (the officers) bounden duty to take possession of California,” and that they “should consider the military occupation of the Californias by any European power, but more particularly by our great commercial rival England, and especially at this particular juncture, as a measure so decidedly hostile to the true interests of the United States as not only to warrant, but to make it our duty, to forestall the designs of Admiral Thomas, if possible, by supplanting the Mexican flag with that of the United States at Monterey, San Francisco, and any other tenable points within the territory said to have been recently ceded by secret treaty to Great Britain.”

These naval expounders of the laws of nations would have regarded the expression by any European power of a doubt of the right of the United States to purchase territory in either of the four quarters of the globe, as an insult to the national sovereignty ; but they calmly determine, without consulting their own government, to rob England of a territory they supposed she had acquired by treaty, although they well knew that by such a robbery they would, of course, involve their country in a war with their great and powerful "commercial rival."

The three officers composing the Council, as well as the Commodore, and the Secretary of the Navy under whom they were acting, were all from the slave States.

On the 19th October, the Comniodore entered the harbor of Monterey. The Mexican and not the British flag met his sight, and of course he achieved an easy conquest. He landed, and, without opposition, took possession of the fort, and unfurled the stars and stripes. The provident Commodore had brought with, him for the edification of the Californians, whom he intented instantly to transform into American citizens, printed proclamations in the Spanish language, which were without loss of time distributed among the inhabitants. “These stripes and stars,” said the proclamation, “ infallible emblems of civil liberty, of liberty of conscience, with constitutional right and lawful security to worship the great Deity in the way most congenial to each one's sense of duty to his Creator, now float triumphantly before you, and hence and for ever will give protection and security to you and your children, and to countless unborn thousands.” Amid all this fustian we distinctly discover, that the immediate and permanent annexation of California was the object of the expedition.

It does not appear where this magnificent proclamation was prepared and printed. Printing presses are not, it is believed, included in the ordinary equipments of ships of war, and it is therefore a natural inference that the proclamation was printed either in Washington, or at Callao, the port from which the Commodore had departed for Monterey. In either case, it seems that the conquest of California was deliberately resolved on before the Commodore convened his officers to sanction by their advice the enterprise he had already commenced. On the 13th September, six days after he had left Callao, and while on his course to Monterey, he wrote to Mr. Upshur, “ In all that I may do (in reference to California), I shall confine myself strictly to what I may suppose would be your views and orders, had you the means of communicating them to me.” Mr. Upshur's well-known sentiments, and the character of the ultra pro-slavery party to which he belonged, leave no doubt that the Commodore perfectly comprehended his wishes.

The day after Jones had distributed his proclamation with all its fine promises, he discovered that, instead of robbing Great Britain of a territory she had purchased, he had seized upon a possession of a neighboring Republic still at peace with his own country. The “infallible emblems of civil liberty,” &c., &c., were therefore lowered, and a due apology was made to the Mexican commander; and the succeeding day, the Commodore, abandoning the task of converting the Californians into American citizens, returned to the more inglorious but more innocent occupation of exploring the coast and bays of California, preparatory to another and less transient conquest.

The Government at home was, of course, compelled to disavow Jones's act; but in vain was his punishment demanded by Mexico. She was informed that he “intended no indignity to the government of Mexico, nor anything unlawful to her citizens."




The treaty concluded with Great Britain in 1842, by removing all apprehension of collision with that power respecting the north-eastern boundary, gave a fresh impetus to the partisans of annexation. It had been foreseen that a war with England, by diverting the forces of the United States, and by giving Mexico a powerful ally, might enable the latter to repossess herself of Texas. This danger being passed, Messrs. Tyler and Upshur determined that annexation should no longer be delayed. Texas, moreover, had been acknowledged by France and England. With the latter she had entered into a treaty for the suppression of the slave-trade, thus nominally yielding what the United States had sternly refused. This very treaty was alarming to the slaveholders, who became apprehensive that, if Texas was left to herself, owing to emigration from abroad, the time might come when słavery would be abolished within her borders, and this apprehension seems to have been shared by some of the Texan leaders themselves. General Lamar, recently President of the Republic, about this time addressed a letter to his friends in Georgia warning them that, unless annexation shall be effected, “ the anti-slavery party in Texas will acquire the ascendancy, and may not only abolish slavery by a constitutional vote, but may change the whole character of the constitution itself.

“At present the anti-slavery party is in the minority ; but it would be dangerous, even now, to agitate the question with much violence, for the majority of the people of Texas are not owners of slaves. Texas, if left to stand alone, there is every probability that slavery will be abandoned in that country. The negroes are yet but few in number, and would be emancipated in the country without the slightest inconvenience, and indeed would continue to be useful in the capacity of hirelings.” He then goes on to remark that, as to the southern States, annexation “would give stability and safety to their domestic institutions, and thereby save them for EVER from the unparalelled calamities of abolition.” The very

idea of freedom in Texas aroused the slave. holders to new and more resolute efforts for immediate annexation. So unequivocal had become the indications of a determination on the part of the south, to brook no longer delay, that at the close of the session of Congress in March, 1843, J. Q. Adams, and twelve other representatives published an address to the people of the United States, warning them of the machinations of the administration to secure the extension of slavery, by adding Texas to the Union—pointing out the gross violation of our neutral obligations towards Mexico, and calling upon the free States for renewed and increased activity to avert the calamity with which the country was threatened. Subsequent events speedily confirmed the foresight of this address, with a single exception. The address declared that the annexation of Texas would be a measure in such violation of the Constitution, and for a purpose so odious and profligate, as “not only inevitably to result in a dissolution of the Union, but fully to justify it.” How far this prediction was uttered in the spirit of prophecy, it is yet too soon to determine.

Mr. Upshur, whose sympathies for Texas were, as we have seen, connected with the price of Virginia negroes,

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