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The laws of California and New Mexico, as they existed at the conclusion of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, regulating the relations of the inhabitants with each other, will necessarily remain in force in those Territories. Their relations with their former government have been dissolved, and new relations created between them and the government of the United States; but the existing laws regulating the relations of the people with each other will continue until others, lawfully enacted, shall supercede them. Our naval and military commanders on those stations will be fully instructed to co-operate with the friends of order and good-government, so far as their co-operation can be useful and proper.
An important part of your duty will be to acquire, and to transmit to this department, the best and fullest information in regard to the population, the productions, and the resources of the country; the extent and character of all grants of land made by Mexico prior to the late treaty; the quantity and condition of the public domain, and especially of those portions which are rendered valuable by their metallic and mineral wealth; and the general fitness and capacity of these new acquisitions for the great purposes of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures. The development of the resources of this vast and interesting region, in all that concerns the interests and welfare of its present and future occupants, is a cherished object of this government; and all information which you can obtain in relation to these subjects will bo most acceptable to this department.
It is desirable to know the numbers of the various Indian tribes which form a portion of the population of the Territories; their power, character, and modes of life; and the number of Mexicaus held as captives there by any savage tribes, whose release and restoration to their own country this goveniment is bound to exact by the 4th and 11th articles of the treaty: also, as nearly as may be, the number of Mexicans who, within the year after the exchange of the ratifications of the treaty, have withdrawn from the Territories; and the number of those who have declared their intention to preserve the character of citizens of the Mexican republic, agreeably to the 8th article of the treaty.
It is not credited by this government that any attempt will be made to alienate either of these portions of the Territories of the United States, or to establish an independent government within their limits. But should the existence of any such project be detected, you will not fail to bring it to the immediate notice of your government, that proper measures for the protection of the interests of the people of the United States may be promptly adopted.
You are fully authorised to confer with our military and naval commanders within these Territories, who will be instructed to assist you in the ac. complishment of the object of your mission.
Your compensation will be at the rate of eight dollars per diem, from the time of your departure on the business of your mission until your return home; and you will be allowed your travelling and other expenses during your absence, for which you will be careful to take vouchers iu all c ases where they can be obtained.
The sum of one thousand dollars is advanced to you on account.
JOHN M. CLAYTON.
Hon. Thomas Butler King,
Appointed agent of the United States to California.
Letter of Mr. Swing, Secretary of the Interior, to the Secretary of State, and instructions of the Commissioners of the Land Office to Win. C.Jones, and Letter of Instructions of Mr. Ewing to Wm. C. Jones.
Sir: That I may be enabled to lay before Congress at their next session, something reliable as to the condition of land titles in California, it is important that the archives in that Territory and also in the city of Mexico (so far as they touch those titles) be examined and reported upon by a competent person.
To this end, I desire that such person be sent with official authority to make the necessary examination, to collect and secure the original archives in California, and to procure the necessary copies in the city of Mexico. This latter duty must necessarily be performed under authority from the State Department.
For this mission I propose William Cary Jones, Esq., well known to you as an adept in the Spanish language, and as a lawyer well skilled in the Spanish colonial titles. I propose, if it meet your approbation, that you commission him to visit the city of Mexico for this purpose, and that he be permitted to go by San Francisco, Monterey, and San Diego, and othor places in California, and make at those points the necessary investigations.
For his goverment while engaged in California, I have caused the accompanying instructions to be prepared at the General Land Office; and I propose, if you approve it, that he be governed by them, so far as they be applicable, iu his examination at the city of Mexico also.
I am, very respectfully, yours,
Hon. John M. Clayton, Secretary of State.
General Land Office, July 5,1849. Sir: By a communication of the 29 th ultimo, the Secretary of the Interior advised this office of your appointment as confidential agent of the gov
eminent to visit Mexico and California, in order to obtain information, " a* early as practicable, of the character and extent of the titles and claims to lands within the limits of the tract of country acquired by the United States by the late treaty with Mexico, purporting to have emanated from the former authorities of that country." At the same time, the Secretary has requested that such instructions and information may be given to you as the objects in view may render necessary. It is a principle of public law, now acknowledged and recognised by the usage of modern nations, that, though the sovereignty changes, private rights remain unaffected by that change; and consequently that the relation of the people to each other under such circumstances, and " their rights of property, remain undisturbed." This principle is explicitly recognised and sanctioned in the treaty between the United States and Mexico, as ratified on the 4th July, 1848, which in the most solemn form, and as the supreme law of the land, makes it obligatory upon our government to respect the valid and bona fide titles of individuals; and, in reference to the future management of the public domain within the limits of our newly acquired territories, to make it incumbent upon us to take such measures as will enable our government to separate from the mass of public lands all private property resting upon such titles derived from the former government. To this end, therefore, and in view of the directions from the Secretary, you are hereby instructed:
1. To proceed without delay to Upper California, and visit such places as Monterey on the Pacific, San Francisco, San Diego, or any other points you may deem necessary, in order to obtain full and authentic information to enable you to have access to all the provincial, departmental, or other records and archives connected with titles and claims to land in California, seeking facilities and aid from the United States military officers in command there, or from such persons as may be officiating judicially or in other civil capacities, for the time being, under the existing customs of the community.
2. Having gained access to those archives, you will then, after a careful and thorough examination of them, prepare a complete and perfect abstract, in such a form, as to arrangement and classification, as will exhibit the particulars—
First. As to all grants or claims in the territory derived from the government of Spain when her authorities held dominion'over the country, showing the dates of such; the names of the original grantees; the area of each claim, with its front and depth; the name of the water-ciurse, or other natural object indicating locality; whether or not surveyed; the date of survey, with the name of the officer making the grant, stating whether such grants have been sanctioned; and if so, when and by what officer or authority under the Mexican government, designating such as are in regular and legal form and appear prima facie to be bona fide valid titles, and such as are fraudulent or suspicious, reporting the reasons and grounds of the discrimination you may make.
Second. A similar abstract of such titles as were derived from the authorities of Mexico since the separation of that country as an independent republic from Old Spain, indicating the names of the granting officers in each case; dates of, &c., of each element of title from the inceptive to the survey, and to the concession or title in form, showing whether the same emanated direct from the supreme government of Mexico, or from the departmental authorities, with information as to the titles and powers of the granting officers ; dates of their commissions and periods of incumbency, with such data as you may be able to procure touching their powers, and how derived, for alienating the national property; specifying such grants as appear to be regular and valid, and such as are of an opposite character. You will be pleased to discriminate between such as are perfect titles, clothed with all legal formalities, and such as are inceptive or inchoate, and in all cases designating the names of the parties appearing in the archives, land or judicial records, as " present claimants," or whom, from authentic and reliable sources, you may find to be so, with a reference to the evidence you may have before you of present proprietorship.
Third. You will also make a separate classification and abstract of all grants or titles made about the time of the revolutionary movements in California— say in he months of June and July, 1846-^and up to the period when actual hostilities between.the United States and Mexico were known in California, and also of any which may have been subsequently made; showing the dates of sales ; area of tracts ; names of original grantees; when and by whom made ; whether surveyed or not; whether to residents, non-residents, or foreigners; whether or not clothed with the usual legal formalities, specifying such as may have been made without legal authority, with an abstract of the evidence of transfer by the grantors, and of such evidence to others from the grantees.
Fourth. You will obtain a copy of all the different authentic forms of title, from the first element up to the consummation of the grant—such as the petition, decree, order of survey, return of actual survey, concession grant, with the denomination of the various allotments, from a square league " un titio de granado mayor" or square league of 4,428 acres, down to the smallest farm, or village, or town lot, with the ratios usual between the fronts and depths, and will prepare a comparative statement of the land measures formerly used in California under Spain and Mexico, and those now employed in the United States. .
Fifth. You will direct particular attention to the extensive tracts or bodies of land covered by what are known as " mission*." You will ascertain as fully as possible the extent, locality, and value of each of them, and of the buildings or improvements thereon; will trace out their early history, origin, and date of the establishment of them, respectively, and their transition, and under what authority from the ecclesiastical to the civil power, or national authorities; their condition as to the title and possession at the commencement of hostilities between the two republics; the dates of any Bales made about that time, previously or subsequently; the circumstances under which, to whom and by whom made, and under color of what authority, with the dates of any subsequent sales by parties claiming under grants from the California authorities; with the particulars in each case as to date, consideration, &c, accompanied by plats or sketches exhibiting their actual location and relative position to places now laid down on maps of the country.
Sixth. You will carefully examine and report all the information you can obtain as to whether any titles were granted to " mines" cither of the precious metals, quicksilver, or other minerals; when and to whom made; the considerations ; conditions; whether or not surveyed; localities; and all matters in regard to the same, particularly in respect to the validity or invalidity of any individual titles or claims which may be alleged to the same.
Seventh. You will also extend your researches so as to ascertain whether any claim has been set up or alleged to the islands or keys, or any of them, on the coast, or in the bays or harbors; and if so, the nature of such claims; whether or not in legal forms and from competent authorities of the former governments, or whether invalid, as against the title of the United States to all the public property under treaty—this inquiry being special, in view of the importance which some of these islands may be to the United States for fortifications and light-houses.
FAghth. You will make an inquiry into the nature of the "Indian rights" as existing under the Spanish and Mexican governments, and as subsisting when the United States obtained the sovereignty, indicating from authentic data the difference between the privileges enjoyed by the wandering tribes and those who have made " actual settlements" and established "rancherias," and will report their general form, extent, and localities; their probable number, and the manner and form in which such rights have been regarded by the Spanish and Mexican governments.
In returning you are authorized, if you can do so without protracting too long your stay, to proceed to Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico, and there obtain access to the archives of that country, and to furnish similar information as to all titles which havo emanated from the authorities when New Mexico was a province of Spain, and subsequently under the govern, ment of the Mexican republic.
Information has reached here that the perfecto at El Paso del Norte, since we acquired the country, had been actually engaged in disposing, for his own benefit, of the most valuable lands on the Rio Grande bottom, antedating titles to purchasers. You will, therefore, make a thorough inquiry