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ing to the rules prescribed by the law of nations and of war, well considered in his situation of prisoner.
The rumor was current in this place, also, that the colonel in question had disappeared from your camp; but I have been able to learn nothing certainly, so that I cannot answer satisfactorily the respectful request in your note on the subject.
The particular circumstances in which we are placed should not prevent me, in my private capacity, yielding to the sentiments of humanity, from manifesting to a certain point my sympathy for the feelings of the family of Colonel Cross, caused by his disappear
I renew to you, on this occasion, the consideration due. God and liberty! Head-quarters in Matamoras, April 16, 1846.
PEDRO DE AMPUDIA. Sr. Gen. D. Z. TAYLOR.
OCCUPATION OF MEXICAN TERRITORY.
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,
In answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the
15th instant, relative to the occupation of the Merican territory.
DECEMBER 22, 1846.
To the House of Representatives of the United States:
In compliance with the request contained in the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 15th instant, I communicate herewith reports from the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy, with the documents which accompany them.
These documents contain all the orders or instructions” to any military, naval, or other officer of the government, “in relation to the establishment or organization of civil government in any portion of the territory of Mexico which has or might be taken possession of by the army or nary of the United States."
These orders and instructions were given to regulate the exercise of the rights of a belligerent, engaged in actual war, over such portions of the territory of our enemy as, by military conquest, might be taken possession of” and be occupied by our armed forces-rights necessarily resulting from a state of war and clearly recognised by the laws of nations. This was all the authority which could be delegated to our military and naval commanders, and its exercise was indispensable to the secure occupation and possession of territory of the enemy which might be conquered. The regulations authorized were temporary, and dependent on the rights acquired by conquest. They were authorized as belligerent rights, and were to be carried into effect by military or naval officers. They were but the amelioration of martial law, which modern civilization requires, and were due as well to the security of the conquest, as to the inhabitants of the conquered territory.
The documents communicated also contain the reports of several highly meritorious officers of our army and navy, who have conquered and taken possession of portions of the enemy's territory.
Among the documents accompanying the report of the Secretary of War, will be found a “form of government," "established and organized” by the military commander who conquered and occupied with his forces the territory of New Mexico. This document was received at the War Department in the latter part of the last month, and, as will be perceived by the report of the Secretary of War, was not, for the reasons stated by that officer, brought to my notice until after my annual message of the 8th instant was communicated to Congress.
It is declared on its face to be a “temporary government of the said territory;" but there are portions of it which purport to “establish and organize” a permanent territorial government of the United States over the territory, and to impart to its inhabitants political rights which, under the constitution of the United States, can be enjoyed permanently only by citizens of the United States. These have not been “approved and recognized” by me. Such organized regulations as have been established in any of the conquered territories for the security of our conquest, for the preservation of order, for the protection of the rights of the inhabitants, and for depriving the enemy of the advantages of these territories, while the military possession of them by the forces of the United States continue, will be recognised and approved.
It will be apparent from the reports of the officers who have been required by the success which has crowned their arms to exercise the powers of temporary government over the conquered territories, that if any excess of power has been exercised, the departure has been the offspring of a patriotic desire to give to the inhabitants the privileges and immunities so cherished by the people of our own country, and which they believed calculated to improve their condition and promote their prosperity. Any such excess has resulted in no practical injury, but can and will be early corrected, in a manner to alienate as little as possible the good feelings of the inhabitants of the conquered territory.
JAMES K. POLK. WASHINGTON, December 22, 1846.
WAR DEPARTMENT, December 21, 1846. Sir: In compliance with your request to be furnished with all the information in the War Department in regard to the objects of inquiry embraced in the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 15th instant, I have the honor to report that the accompanying papers, numbered from 1 to 24, contain all the orders and instructions which have issued from this department to any officer of the army "in relation to the establishment or organization of civil government in any portion of the territory of Mexico, which has been or might be taken possession of by the army or navy of the United States. They also furnish all the information in this department in relation to any form of government which any such
officer has established or organized, and also in relation to any approval or recognition of such government.
As the information called for by the resolution of the House of Representatives is contained in various despatches which relate principally to military operations, I have preferred, in most instances, to give the whole document, though parts of it have little or no direct relation to the matters embraced in that resolution. What is omitted does not relate to any branch of the inquiry, but chiefly to the plans of the campaign, and contemplated military movements, which it would not be proper to make public.
You will perceive that I stated, in my letter of the 3d of June last, to General Kearny, that a proclamation in the Spanish language would be furuished to him for the purpose of being distributed among the Mexican people. A few copies of the proclamation prepared for General Taylor were sent to General Kearny; but, owing to the different circumstances under which the two generals might be placed, it was afterwards deemed proper to instruct General Kearny not to use them, and I am not aware that he did so in any instance. My letter to him on this subject, dated the 6th of June, is one of the papers herewith transmitted.
Among the accompanying documents you will find two proclamations issued by General Kearny, but neither the form nor substance of them was furnished from this department.
In relation to the annexed paper, No. 24, called the “ Organic Law of the Territory of New Mexico," it is proper that I should state that it was received at the Adjutant General's office on the 23d of November, and thence sent to me. As the document was voluminous, and my whole time was required for the indispensable current business of the department, then unusually pressing, and for preparing my annual report to accompany your message to Congress, I did 'not, at that time, nor until a few days since, examine it, and it was not laid before you to receive your directions in regard to it. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. L. MARCY. To the PRESIDENT.
List of papers accompanying the report of the Secretary of War to
the President, in answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 15th of December, 1846.
No. 1. Letter of the Secretary of War to General Kearny, dated
June 3, 1846. No. 2. Extract of a letter of the Secretary of War to General
Taylor, dated July 9, 1846. No. 3. Letter of the Secretary of War to General Taylor, dated
July 6, 1846, enclosing the circular of the Secretary of
the Treasury. No. 4. Circular of the Secretary of the Treasury, dated June 30,
1846. No. 5. Letter of the Secretary of War to Colonel Stevenson, da
ted September 11, 1846. No. 6. Letter of the Secretary of War to General Kearny, dated
September 12, 1846. No. 7. Letter of the Adjutant General to the Secretary of War,
dated December 17, 1846. No. 8. Letter of Major General Scott to General Kearny, dated
November 3, 1846. No. 9. Letter of the Secretary of War to General Taylor, dated
June 4, 1846, with a proclamation in Spanish. No. 10. Translation of the proclamation. No. 11. Letter of the Secretary of War to General Kearny, dated
June 5, 1846. No. 12. Proclamation of General Kearny to the citizens of New
Mexico, dated July 31, 1846. No. 13. Letter of General Kearny to the Adjutant General, dated
August 24, 1846. No. 14. Proclamation alluded to in the preceding letter, dated Au
gust 22, 1846. No. 15. Letter from General Kearny to General Wool, dated Au
gust 22, 1846. No. 16. Appointment by General Kearny of treasurer for Santa Fe,
dated August 28, 1846. No. 17. Appointment by General Kearny of collector for Santa Fé,
dated August 29, 1846. No. 18. Letter from General Kearny to the Adjutant General, da
ted September 1, 1846. No. 19. Order of General Kearny abolishing the use of stamp
paper, dated August 29, 1846. No. 20. Order of General Kearny regulating licenses for stores,
&c., and duties on wagons, &c., dated August 27, 1846. No. 21. Letter of General Kearny to the adjutant general, dated
September 16, 1846. No. 22. Letter of General Kearny to the adjutant general, dated
September 22, 1846, (received at the War Department
November 23,) enclosing No. 23. A list of officers appointed by him; also, No. 24. Copy of the organic law, compiled under his direction, of
the territory of New Mexico.