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authorities of the former govemments, 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.

6. You will make an inquiry into the nature of the “ Indian rights" as existing under the Spanish and Mexican goverments, and as subsisting when the United States obtained the sovereignty, indicating from authoritative data the difference between the privileges enjoyed by the wandering tribes and those who have made is actual settlements!' and established “rancherias;' and will report their general form, extent, and locality, their probable number, and the manner and form in which such rights have been recognised by the Spanish and Mexican govem inents.

7. 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 fornish similar information as to all titles which have emanated from the anthorities when New Mexico was a province of Spain, and subsequently under the government of the Mexican republic.

Information has reached here that the prefecto 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 and report in this matter, and prepare a complete abstract of such fraudulent grants.

An important object in your appointment is to obtain for our government reliable and authentic information in regard to the whole land system of the former governments while operating in the country comprised within the limits of our new acquisitions; and to this end, you are authorized, either in going or returning, to visit the city of Mexico, for the purpose of examining the archives and obtaining the data desired, and will regard the points specified as intended to guide, but not confine your powers, which you will consider sufficiently expansive to accomplish all the purposes contemplated.

You will keep a journal of all your proceedings as the confidential agent of the government, noting the places in which the archives are deposited, and in whose custody, with minutes of every transaction or incident connected with the subject which you think would be important or useful to the government in determining upon an enlightened and just policy, not only in respect to iudividual titles, but in the management and disposal of the public domain. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Commissioner. WM. CAREY JONES, Esq., Confidential Agent, fic.


July 11, 1849. 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 Carey 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 other places in California, and make at those points the necessary investigations for his government while engaged in California. I have caused the aceompanying 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 may be applicable, in his examination at the eity of Mexico also. I am, very respectfully, yours,


. Hon. John M. CLAYTON,

Secretary of State.


July 12, 1849. Sır: I have examined and approved the instructions prepared for you in the General Land Office, and I desire information on all the matters therein named; but it is important that your report should come in prior to the termination of the next session of Congress; and you are charged with duties so extended and diversified, that you will probably not be able to make, in time, the detailed examination contemplated by those instructions.

You will, however, obtain all the information in your power on all the subjects referred to therein; but direct your attention, in the first place, to the mode of creating titles to land, from the first inception to the perfect title, as practised by Mexico within the province of California; what kind of paper issued in the first instance, from what officer, when filed, and how and by whom recorded. So also with the subsequent steps, embracing the proceedings as to survey up to the perfecting of the title; and if there be record books, files, or archives of any kind whatsoever, showing the nature, character, and extent of these grants, endeavor to find and secure them, so that they may be placed in the hands of the acting governor of the Territory for safe custody and future reference. In descending to details, you will examine chiefly the larger grants, as the missions, and find whether the title to them be in assiguees, or whether they have reverted and vested in the sovereign.

It is also understood that there are large grants, and grants of islands, keys, and promontories, points of great value to the public, which purport to have emanated just prior to the occupation of the territory by the United States, but which are probably fictitious and really entitled to a later date.

These you will examine carefully, and note down fully all the information which can be had on the spot which will throw light on them when they shall be hereafter the subjects of investigation, stating the nature of the alleged title, whether purporting to be inchoate or complete. If there be any alleged grants of lands covering a portion of the gold mines, you will also give to that your careful consideration. It will be a question worthy of examinaton, when in the city of Mexico, whether in all grants in general, or in California in particular, there are not conditions and limitations, and whether there is not a reservation of mines of gold and silver, and a similar reservation as to quicksilver and other minerals.

It is also important in all large grants, or grants of important or valuable sites, or of mines, to ascertain whether or not they were actually surveyed and occupied under the government of Spain, or Mexico, and when publicity was first given to such grants, particularly as to such as are of a suspicious or doubtful character.

Tliis department has no authority to pay you anything on account of your services; but you will be paid out of the contingent fund of the General Land Office á sum sufficient to cover your expenses while in California, and also your necessary expenditures in procuring information, and finding and putting in a place of security any books of records of land titles or other archives relating thereto, for which your drafts, not exceeding twenty-five hundred dollars, in the whole, accompanied by a letter stating the special objects to which it has been, or is about to be, applied, will be duly honored.

You will be pleased to keep an account of your personal expenses, and also of the expenditures required in the execution of your duties, and make a rendition of the same to this department, to which, as to titles, &c., in California, you will make your report; and in reference to your examinations in Mexico you will make a separate communication to the State Department, a notice of which should be given in your report to this department. An application will be made by this department to Congress for an appropriation as an allowance to you of a fair compensation for your services.

Wishing you a pleasant voyage, and health and success in your arduous undertaking, I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



September 30, 1849. DEAR Sır: I arrived here on Monday night two weeks since, after a passage of twenty days from Panama. The old archives are here, and I commenced immediately the investigations with which I am charged. Gen. Riley promptly gave directions for all the archives to be open to me; and I hope to be able to make a pretty full report, and with as much despatch as we had originally supposed possible. The archives, however, are very imperfect, and in utter confusion: so much so, that I think a competent person ought to be employed to go over them, sheet by sheet, and collate and arrange them. I do not find any book of records earlier than 1839. The two which I understood from you Col. Mason spoke of, extend from that year to the close of 1845. Whether any book was commenced for 1846 I have not learned; but hope to do so when at Los Angeles, where all the records were at that time kept, and the persons who were employed in the public offices reside In the hurried reading which I gave to Mr. Halleck's report previous to leaving, I did not observe what is stated in a note of Col. Stevenson's in the appendix, namely: that "two large boxes, said to contain the archives of the Departinental Assembly," were delivered to Commodore Stockton in August, 1846, and“ supposed to have been put on board the Congress." The records of the Departmental Assembly are particularly deficient, and the above suggestion may account for it. I would suggest that Commodore Stockton be applied to for information. His r-ply might possibly reach me from the department and be of use to me before I shall be ready to leave.

There is one thing in regard to grants in this country which will call for more liberal legislation than Congress has hitherto accorded, in confirming grants in territories acquired from foreign powers. I allude to the size of the grants. They are nearly all large. The Mexican colonization laws, under which the bulk of the grants have been made here, allow as high as eleven sitios (eleven leagues square) to be granted to individuals. In many instances the full privilege has been used, and there are very few grants, under those laws, of less than two sitios, while four, five, six, eight, and ten, are quite common.

Touching politics, I found a convention in session here, engaged on precisely the work which I suppose will meet your views-forming a State constitution. The convention will finish its work this week, and, I believe, hope to have their Senators and Representatives elected ready to send everything up to you by the steamer which leaves the 1st December. I find there is no lack of candidates for the high offices. A number of persons seem to have come out during the past summer, with no other view than to go back with a title to four thousand miles of mileage in their pockets.

If I should find a good opportunity to exchange the bill, I shall take the liberty of drawing upon you, by the present steamer, for the sum of one thousand dollars. I hope still to keep within the sum (fifteen hun- . dred dollars) for which you originally proposed to give me authority to draw. Very respectfully, sir, your obedient servant and friend,


Secretary of the Interior.

OCTOBER 1. Dear Sir: I have only drawn by this steamer for two hundred dollars, in favor of my wife Having received the money here and appropriated it, I shall have to draw in the course of this month for probably eight hundred more.

Yours, truiy,


Report on the laws and regulations relative to grants or sales of public

lands in California, by H. W. Halleck.

Monterey, March 1, 1849. Sır: In compliance with your instructions, I have collected together and examined all archives of the government of California which can be found, and have the honor to report as follows:

1st. On the laws and regulations which govern the granting or selling of public lands in California.

2d. On the laws and regulations respecting the lands and other property belonging to the missions of California.

3d. On the titles of lands in California which may be required for fortifications, arsenals, or other military structures, for the use of the general government of the United States.

The translations of the laws are made by Mr. W. E. P. Hartwell, the government translator, and are almost literal versions of the original. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brevet Captain and Secretary of State. Colonel R. B. Mason,

Commanding 10th military department, and Governor of California. 1. Laws and regulations governing grants or sales of public lands in California.—The first authority for granting land in Upper California is contained in the viceroy's instructions to the commandant of the “ New Establishments of San Diego and Monterey,” dated August 17, 1773. By articles 12, 13, 14 and 15 of these instructions, the commandant is empowered both to designate common lands, and to grant titles to individuals, whether Indians or new settlers, in the vicinity of the missions or pueblos. He might also, if he deemed it expedient, change any mission into a pueblo, and subject it to the same civil and economical laws as governed the other pueblos of the kingdom.—(Vide appendix No. 1.).

On the 21st of September, 1774, the viceroy wrote to the commandant in Upper California, granting permission to the soldiers of the garrisons to marry the baptized Indian girls of the missions, and authorizing the assignment of lands to the soldiers so marrying. The first grant of this kind was that of a piece of land in Carmel Valley, of one hundred and forty varas, to Manuel Butron, who had married an Indian girl of the mission of San Carlos.

In order better to carry out the wishes of the Spanish government in reference to the establishment of depots of provisions, &c., in Upper Cal. ifornia, for refreshing the Spanish vessels from the East Indies, and to furnish supplies to the garrison of the presidios, directions were sent by the viceroy to Governor Neve in June, 1777, to establish two pueblos, one on the “ Rio Guadalupe," and the other on the “Rio Porcincula,” and to · portion out ground to the new pobladores, or colonists.

On the 1st of June, 1779, the governor drew up a new set of regulations for the government of California, which was approved by the King in a royal order of October 24,1781. Title 14 of these regulations contains instructions respecting colonization, and the government of the new colonists. Each publador was to receive a bounty of $116 44 per annum for the first two years, and $60 per annum for the next three years; and also

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