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Checked May 1913


ent, 1849-1950 (Paris)





To the House of Representatives of the United States :

I transmit to the House of Representatives, in answer to a resolution of
that body passed on the 31st of December last, the accompanying reports
of heads of departments, which contain all the official information in the
possession of the Executive asked for by the resolution.

On coming into office, I found the military commandant of the depart-
ment of California exercising the functions of civil governor in that Terri.-
tory; and left, as I was, to act under the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo,
without the aid of any legislative provision establishing a government in
that Territory, I thought it best not to disturb that arrangement, made
under my predecessor, until Congress should take some action on that sub-
ject. I therefore did not interfere with the powers of the military com-
mandant, who continued to exercise the functions of civil governor as be-
tore; but I made no such appointment, conferred no such authority, and.
have allowed no increased compensation to the commandant for his ser-

With a view to the faithful execution of the treaty, so far as lay in the
power of the Executive, and to enable Congress to act, at the present ses--
sion, with as full knowledge and as little difficulty as possible, on all matters
of interest in these Territories, I sent the honorable Thomas Butler King
as bearer of despatches to California, and certain officers to California and
New Mexico, whose duties are particularly defined in the accompanying
letters of instruction addressed to them severally by the proper departments.

I did not hesitate to express to the people of those Territories my desirea
that each Territory should, if prepared to comply with the requisitions of the
constitution of the United States, form a plan of a State constitution and suba
mit the same to Congress, with a prayer for admission into the Union as

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State; but I did not anticipate, suggest, or authorize the establishment of any such government without the assent of Congress; nor did I authorize any government agent or officer to interfere with or exercise any influence or control over the election of delegates, or over any convention, in making or modifying their domestic institations or any of the provisions of their proposed constitution. On the contrary, the instructions given by my orders were, that all measures of domestic policy adopted by the people of California must originate solely with themselves; that while the Executive of the United States was desirous to protect them in the formation of any government republican in its character, to be, at the proper time, submitted io Congress, yet it was to be distinctly understood that the plan of such a government must, at the same time, be the result of their own deliberate choice, and originate with themselves, without the interference of the Executive.

I am unable to give any information as to laws passed by any supposed government in California, or of any census taken in either of the Territories mentioned in the resolution, as I have no information on those subjects.

A3 already stated, I have not disturbed the arrangements which I found had existed under my predecessor.

In advising an early application by the people of these Territories for admission as States, I was actuated principally by an earnest desire to afford to the wisdom and patriotism of Congress the opportunity of avoiding occasions of bitter and angry dissensions among the people of the United States.

Under the constitution, every State has the right of establishing, and, from time to time, altering its municipal laws and domestic institutions, independently of every other State and of the general government; subject only to the prohibitions and guaranties expressly set forth in the constitution of the United States. The subjects thus left exclusively to the respective States were not designed or expected to become topics of national agitation. Still, as, under the constitution, Congress has power to make all needful rules and regulations respecting the Territories of the United States, every new acquisition of territory has led to discussions on the question whether the system of involuntary servitude which prevails in many of the States should or should not be prohibited in that Territory. The periods of excitement from this cause which have heretofore occurred have been safely passed; but during the interval, of whatever length, which may elapse before the admission of the Territories ceded by Mexico as States, it appears probable that similar excitement will prevail to an undue extent.

Under these cireumstances, I thonght, and still think, that it was my duty to endeavor to put it in the power of Congress, by the admission of California and New Mexico as States, to remove all occasion for the unnecessary agitation of the public mind.

It is understood that the people of the western part of California have formed a plan of a State constitution, and will soon submit the same to the judgment of Congress, and apply for admission as a State. This course on their part, though in accordance with, was not adopted exclusively in consequence of, any expression of my wishes, inasmuch as measures tendjog to this end had been promoted by the officers sent there by my predecessor, and were already in active progress of execution before any com

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