CHAPTER IV:Historical Sketch Of New Mexico—Concluded
Result of Rebellion of 1680.—Interval of Peace.—War with Camanches.—Conspiracy of 1814. —Nabajos killed at Jemez.—Expulsion Law.—Revolution of 1837.—The Cause of it.—Plan of Rebels.—Authorities defeated.—Death of Governor Perez.—Cruel Conduct of Indians.—Rebel Governor.—General Armijo.—General Kearney marches for New Mexico.—Country conquered.—Revolution of 1847.—The Leaders and their Plans.—First Conspiracy discovered.—The People taking up Arms.—Revolution put down.—Territory organized.—Organic Law.—Mexican Courts.—Baston de Justicia.—Fueros.—Will New Mexico become a Slave State?—History of State Government in New Mexico.
The result of the Indian rebellion of 1680 taught the Spanish government a useful lesson, and which it had the good sense to profit by. It became evident that the natives must be treated with greater leniency, which course was finally adopted when the authorities saw there was no other alternative. Although they were, as formerly, compelled to embrace the Catholic religion, yet in other respects the yoke of the conqueror was rendered more easy; they were better secured in their social rights, the grants of land were confirmed to the pueblos, and they were not compelled to undergo the same severe labor in the mines as before. But while this state of things had a tendency to neutralize their hostility, it by no means rendered them entirely contended with the Spaniards as masters.
While peace was maintained with the Pueblo Indians, there was hostility between the Spaniards and some of the wild tribes living in and around the territory almost up to the time the country fell into the hands of the Americans. Among others, the Camanches, one of the most warlike and numerous of the neighboring tribes, kept up a desperate war upon the country from the reconquest of Diego de Bargas up to near the close of the eighteenth century. During this time several severe battles were fought between them, among which may be mentioned the action of Green Horn, about the middle of the last century, and that of El Rito Don Carlos, which took place in 1783. The last and most desperate action was fought at Rabbit Ear in 1785. The Camanches were on their return from an expedition against the village of Tomé, in Valencia county, and had met in grand council for the purpose of having a war-dance over the scalps they had taken. They had also obtained a large amount of booty, and made prisoners two sisters of the name of Pino. The territorial troops, numbering two hundred and fifty men, commanded by Lieutenant Guerrero, made an attack upon the Indians while they were assembled in council. The Camanches kept up the fight for three hours, when they were forced to retire, with the loss of a large number in killed and wounded, with all their spoils, the captives, and their animals. The Indians drew off to a short distance and held a council of war, after which they renewed the fight, when they retook their own horses and compelled the troops to retreat. The loss of the Camanches in these two actions
In the year 1814, a rebellion against the authority of Don Alberto Maynes, then governor of the province, was put on foot by Corporal Antonio Armijo and Dionicio Valdez. The conspiracy was discovered before they had time to arrange and establish well all their plans, and they were arrested, tried, and sentenced to ten years' imprisonment at Ensinillas (known as the Trias farm, twenty-five miles northwest of Chihuahua).
In 1815, a soldier of the name of Cora stole a few articles from the public store-house at Santa Fé, then under the charge of the paymaster of the place, Lieutenant Don Valentino Moreno. He was arrested, tried, and sentenced to be shot, and, notwithstanding some of the most influential persons of the province interceded in his behalf, the sentence was carried into execution. This is given as an evidence of the iron rule that prevailed in those days in the country. No influence was able to shield the culprit from the punishment that had been awarded him, but the law, with all its rigor, was carried into effect; and even this species of tyranny was not wholly without a good influence upon the population of the country.
In the year 1820, a most cruel and brutal outrage was perpetrated upon a party of Nabajo Indians in the village of Jemez. They had been hostile, but at this time they came in for the purpose of making peace. After their arrival, having been received in a friendly manner by the inhabitants, the corporation of the village, headed by one Juan Antonio Baca, the alcalde, assembled in council and resolved to put them to death. For this purpose the people were collected, who fell upon the defenseless
In 1826, while a large number of Utah and Jicarilla Apache Indians were assembled in the town of Don Fernandez de Taos, a Camanche warrior and two boys of the same tribe came into the Ranchos, a village within about three miles. When the Utahs and Apaches heard of the arrival of the latter, they demanded them of the authorities in order to put them to death. Upon this becoming known to the inhabitants, they opposed their being given up, and insisted upon their being protected. The Indians were very angry at the people because they opposed the surrender of the Camanche and boys, and told them that unless they were given up to them they would take them by force. This alarmed the alcalde, Juan Antonio Martines, and he resolved to surrender the warrior to appease the wrath of the savages; and to make his conduct more dastardly, he caused the gun of the Camanche to be discharged and loaded with dirt, thus depriving him of the means of self-defense. He was then turned over to his enemies, who fell upon him with great fury; he defended himself as well as he could with his bow and arrows, but was soon overpowered by numbers and put to death.
The next and only serious disturbance that has taken place in New Mexico since the revolution of 1680 was the rebellion of 1837, which for a time was crowned with complete success, and promised an entire change in the administration of the country. The rebellion broke out in August of that year, and resulted in the murder of Governor Perez and his executive officers. A combination of circumstances, among which is included the intrigue of a party in the territory who desired to ride into power regardless of the means, led to the outbreak. The first cause of discontent was created in 1835 by Santa Ana sending into the country a new governor, named Perez, a creature of his own, which caused great dissatisfaction among the people, as they had been accustomed
In the year 1836, the disbursing officers of the territory were charged with peculation, and were arrested and brought to trial. At that time there was a district court in the territory composed of Judges Nafere, Santiago Abreu, and Juan Estevan Pino, before which the case was brought for hearing; but Nafere and Abreu, being both accused as accomplices, were not permitted to sit upon the trial, and Pino alone composed the court. The disbursing officers were found guilty, but before sentence was passed upon them the case was removed from the court by Governor Perez. This arbitrary act caused great dissatisfaction throughout the territory, and greatly increased the opposition to the administration. During the suspension of the principal disbursing officer, his duties were discharged by General Manuel Armijo, and when the former was restored to his office, the latter returned to his residence in Albuquerque, but was full of discontent. He was much pleased with the office the short time that he held it, and he determined to possess himself of it again, if possible. He first attempted to get it by intrigue and bribery, but, failing in this, he changed his plans, which resulted favorably, being materially aided by circumstances which produced terrible consequences. He took into his confidence Juan Estevan Pino and Juan Rafael Ortiz, declared enemies to the administration, and who had the influence of wealth and standing in the territory. They took advantage of a favorable event which happened about this time, and which was the means of giving success to their operations.
In 1837 the Congress of Mexico passed a general tax law, which made it the duty of the governor to carry it into effect in New Mexico. As soon as this was known, the opposition took strong ground against it, and denounced it in the most violent terms. They represented the measure in the most objectionable manner possible, and, among other obnoxious features they said it contained was that of compelling husbands to pay a tax for the privilege of sleeping with their own wives; and they exhorted the people not to submit to such an unjust law. This appeal to a people who had never been accustomed to a tax of any kind, and too ignorant to inquire into the truth of the matter, served to arouse them to the highest pitch of exasperation against the government. The leaders dispatched secret agents into all parts of the country to excite the populace and induce them to resist the law, while they themselves matured their plans for the rebellion. The people of the northern part of the territory were the most active in their opposition, and the leaders had the promise of large assistance from the Pueblo Indians of that section. About the same time, the prefect of the northern district caused an alcalde to be imprisoned for some real or pretended misdemeanor in office by order of the governor. This brought matters to a crisis; the alcalde was released by a mob, and the Indians and other malcontents flew to arms.
The revolutionary movement began about the first of August, and extended through several of the northern pueblos, and differed from all previous outbreaks in that it had the countenance and support of the disaffected portion of the Mexican population. The rebels made the village of La Cañada, twenty-five miles north of Santa Fé, the centre of their operations, where they placed on foot their active measures. Among the Indian villages
Viva, God and the nation, and the faith of Jesus Christ; for the principal points which we defend are the following:
When news of these proceedings reached Santa Fé, the authorities were in great alarm, and took immediate steps to quell the insurrection. The governor called upon the alcaldes to assemble the militia, but few of them showed any disposition to turn out. Among those who took up arms to sustain the government were the warriors of the pueblos of Santa Domingo and San Juan, the latter of which, it will be remembered, remained faithful to the Spaniards in the general rebellion of 1680.
While the pulse of life was yet beating in his body they cut off his head, which they carried in triumph to the camp of the rebels, which was now established near La Capilla de nuestra Senora del Rosario (about five hundred yards west of the Plaza of Santa Fé). The same day the Indians captured and killed Don Jesus Maria Alaria, secretary of state, whom they took in his own
On the tenth instant the rebel force entered and took possession of Santa Fé, when they repaired to the parish church and offered up thanks for the victory they had achieved. The same day they elected one of the boldest of their number, a Taos Indian named José Gonzales, governor, who was duly installed into office, and began the administration of public affairs. The property of the murdered officials was confiscated and distributed among the rebels, and of the effects of the late Governor Perez a large portion fell to the share of Gonzales. The same afternoon the insurgents left town and returned to their villages, the new governor and a few of his most confidential friends remaining. A general assembly, composed of the alcaldes and other leading men of the counties, was now called, which convened in the palace in Santa Fé on the twenty-seventh day of August, and proceeded to deliberate upon the condition of the country. One of their first legislative acts was the confirmation of
At this stage of the proceedings General Armijo stepped forth upon the theatre of action, to play out the part he had commenced, and for which purpose he had to resort to more intrigue and bad faith. Having thus far contributed to the success of the rebellion, he now changed his tactics, and in order to secure for himself the supreme power of the country, which he had aimed at from the first, he projected a counter-revolution in the Rio Abajo, and marched to Santa Fé with a considerable body of troops. When Gonzales received information of the approach of the troops from below, he left the capital and retired to Rio Ariba, where there was still a considerable body of the rebels under arms in La Cañada and the neighboring pueblos. No sooner had Armijo reached Santa Fé than he glided into the vacant chair of state, and assumed the control of the government, causing himself to be proclaimed Comandante General of the province. He immediately dispatched a courier to the supreme government at the city of Mexico with an account of affairs, not forgetting to rate his own services at their full value. For the part he played and the treachery he exhibited to his co-conspirators he was subsequently confirmed in the office he had seized upon, which he maintained for eight years, ruling the country with a rod of iron.
In the mean time, the supreme government of Mexico took proper steps effectively to crush the rebellion. A re-enforcement of troops, numbering four hundred men, were sent up from Chihuahua and Zacatecas, who reached Santa Fé the beginning of the year 1838. The rebels, meanwhile, had been kept in a state of comparative peace by the authorities, under the pretext of desiring
These briefly-narrated facts form the leading historical events of the country from the first explorations by the Spaniards down to the year 1846, when it was taken possession of by the United States troops, since which time it has formed a portion of our Union.
The troops took up the line of march for Santa Fé on the sixteenth day of June. Their course lay across the almost boundless plains that stretch westward to the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, a distance of nearly a thousand miles. The little army was about fifty days making the march, and, on the eighteenth of August, they entered and took possession of Santa Fé without opposition. The enemy had assembled, in some considerable force, a few miles from the city to resist our troops, but they fled on their near approach without firing a shot, and the conquest was a bloodless one. Kearney took possession of the country in the name of the United States, and issued a proclamation to the people, assuring them that they would be protected in their persons, property, and religion, and that henceforth they would be considered American citizens. He immediately organized a form of territorial government, had a code of laws drafted to suit the wants of the people, and appointed suitable persons, Americans and Mexicans, to administer
Notwithstanding the people had apparently submitted with good grace to the rule of the Americans, and appeared to be well satisfied with the condition of things, there was much discontent among a portion of the population, who resolved not to give up the country without a struggle. These were principally of the wealthy class, with the addition of a few unquiet spirits, who saw their dreams of ambition dashed to the ground should the Americans retain possession of the country, and incorporate it permanently into the Union. These discontented ones soon began to mature their plans of rebellion, and, like Catiline and his co-conspirators, held meetings in retired places at the dead hour of night to plot the expulsion of their conquerors. The two leading spirits in the enterprise were Tomas Ortiz and Diego Archuleta, men of talent and enterprise, and of great ambition, whom gambling and intemperance had rendered desperate. They had the countenance and support of Manuel Chavez, Miguel E. Pino, Nicolas Pino, Pablo Dominguez, and Tomas Baca of Peña Blanca, all men of influence. A number of the priests joined in the conspiracy, and some even preached rebellion in the pulpit. The two who took the lead were the Vicar Juan Félipe Ortiz and Padre José Manuel Gallegos. Priest Ortiz, upon pretense of going to the town of Jolla, in Rio Ariba, in order to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, visited the upper country to excite the people to rebellion. The same day that he left Santa Fé, Priest Gallegos arrived in town from Albuquerque, by agreement
The first meeting was held on the twelfth of December, 1846, and the nineteenth of the same month was fixed upon as the time of rising, which was to be general all over the Territory. All the Americans were to be either killed or driven from the country, as also those Mexicans who had accepted office under General Kearney. This accomplished, they were to seize upon the government and establish themselves in power. To each of the ringleaders a distinct duty was assigned, and they mutually pledged themselves upon the cross. So confident were they of success that they had even named the chief officers of the new government, among whom Tomas Ortiz was fixed upon for governor, and Archuleta to be the commandant general. The master spirits went into different sections of the country to stir up the people to resistance. Every thing looked propitious, and promised success to the enterprise.
A final meeting was held in Santa Fé on the evening of the eighteenth to arrange the plan of attack upon the garrison, but not finding their organization complete, they agreed to postpone the time of taking up arms until Christmas eve. This was considered a more fitting time to make the attempt, inasmuch as it would be a season of amusement, when the soldiers would be generally off their guard, scattered about the town unarmed, and could be easily overcome. The following was the plan of attack as agreed upon, and as sworn to before the court upon the trial of some of the conspirators: ‘‘On Saturday evening, the nineteenth of December, all were to assemble with their men at the parish church.
The conspiracy was discovered in time to place the troops upon their guard, and prevent it being carried into effect at the time agreed upon. Three days before the time of rising, Augustin Duran informed Governor Bent of the plan of rebellion, who immediately caused several of the leaders to be arrested.2 The conspirators, being aware that their movements had been made known to the Americans, made no attempt at outbreak, and, for the time being, the rebellion was suppressed.
The discovery had only smothered, not quenched the revolutionary spirit, and a new and more extended conspiracy was almost immediately placed on foot. Religious fanaticism was made use of to excite the people against the Americans, and they were called upon to arm themselves in defense of their holy faith, their homes, and their country. Some of the Pueblo Indians were enlisted in the cause, which added greatly to its strength. Great secrecy was observed, and no suspicion was entertained that another outbreak was so near at hand.
The time fixed upon was the nineteenth day of January, 1847, when the people took up arms in various parts of the country. Governor Bent, supposing that the rebellion was quelled, left Santa Fé for his home at Don Fernandez de Taos, where he arrived about the middle of the month. A large body of the rebels, composed mainly of Pueblo Indians, and incited to the act by Priest Martinez and others, attacked his residence, and murdered him and several others in cold blood. The same day seven Americans were attacked at the Arroyo Hondo, who, after defending themselves for two days, were most cruelly butchered. Four were killed at the Moro, and two on the Rio Colorado. A large rebel force had assembled at La Cañada for the purpose of advancing upon Santa Fé, but General Price, being aware of their movements, marched against them with four hundred men and four pieces of mountain howitzers. He attacked them on the afternoon of the twenty-fourth, and routed them with the loss of near a hundred men. They retreated toward Taos, closely followed by our troops. They made a stand at El Embudo, where they were again defeated with loss. They continued their retreat to Taos, followed by the Americans, who arrived there on the third day of February. They found the Mexicans and Indians strongly fortified in the pueblo of the latter, the main body having intrenched themselves in the church. An attack was made upon them the next morning, and the action continued all day with great fierceness and considerable loss. The following morning they capitulated, and surrendered the place into the hands of the Americans. In these actions the enemy lost some three hundred killed and wounded, while our loss was about sixty.
The success of the American arms quelled the rebellion and restored the country to a state of peace. Most of the leaders fled and could not be captured. Ortiz and Archuleta succeeded in reaching the city of Mexico, where they remained until the close of the war. Montoya, one of the chiefs of the conspiracy, was tried by a court-martial, convicted, and on the seventh of February he was executed in presence of the army. He styled himself the Santa Ana of the North, and was a man of influence. At Taos fourteen were tried for the murder of Governor Bent, convicted, and executed. Several others were convicted of treason and sentenced to be hung, but were pardoned by the President upon the ground that, as actual war was existing between the two governments, a Mexican citizen could not commit treason against the United States.
New Mexico was made a portion of the American Union by the treaty of Guadalupe de Hidalgo, and a territorial government was erected over it by the Act of Congress, approved September 9th, 1850. The first Legislative Assembly was convened in Santa Fé in June of the next year, when the different departments of the new government were organized and put into operation. This act of Congress, known as the Organic Law, is the fundamental law of the Territory, and stands in the place of a Constitution in the respective states of the Union. All the political power conferred upon the people is derived from this source, and it is quoted both in the halls of legislation and in the courts of justice as the ultima thule beyond which they can not go. It provides, among other things, for the appointment by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, of a governor for the Territory, who shall hold his office for four years, unless sooner removed. He is ex officio superintendent of Indian affairs, and is also the commander-in-chief of the militia. He has an absolute veto on all laws passed by the Legislative Assembly, and is empowered to grant pardons for offenses against the laws of the Territory, and reprieves for offenses against the laws of the United States until the pleasure of the President can be made known. His annual salary is three thousand dollars.
PUEBLO OF TAOS.—NORTH PUEBLO.
There is also a secretary of state for the Territory, appointed in the same manner, and for the same length of time as the governor. His general duties are about the same as those that pertain to that office in the respective states, with the addition of some others that belong exclusively to the territories. By virtue of his office he is made the disbursing agent of the United States for the Territory, as far as the money annually appropriated by Congress for legislative expenses is concerned. The amount thus appropriated is twenty thousand dollars,
The second branch of the territorial government provided for in the Organic Law—the law-making power—is vested in the governor and the Legislative Assembly, the latter consisting of the Council and House of Representatives. The Council consists of thirteen members, and the House of Representatives of twenty-six; the former being elected for two years, and the latter annually. The qualification of voters, as prescribed in the Organic Law for the first election, embraces all free white male inhabitants above the age of twenty-one years who were residents of the Territory at the time of the passage of the act, but the Legislature subsequently fixed the time of residence at one year.
The judicial power of the Territory is vested in a Supreme Court, District and Probate Courts, and justices of the peace, the jurisdiction of which tribunals, both original and appellate, is limited by law. Justices of the peace have no jurisdiction where the title to land comes in question, nor where the amount in controversy exceeds one hundred dollars. Appeals and writs of error are allowed from the District to the Supreme Court of the Territory, and from the latter to the Supreme Court
The jurisdiction of the Probate Court, as well as that of the alcaldes, or justices of the peace, is conferred by statute, except in the two instances already referred to, in connection with the latter tribunal, as being contained in the Organic Law. The judge of probate, known as the prefect, is elected for two years, and holds six terms of his court annually. He has original jurisdiction in
The alcaldes are elected annually in the respective counties, each precinct being entitled to one. The civil jurisdiction is substantially the same as that which usually belongs to justices of the peace, but the criminal jurisdiction is more extensive. They have cognizance of all larcenies, except the stealing of horses, asses, hogs, and goats, where the goods stolen do not exceed one hundred dollars in value; of the offense of buying, receiving, or aiding in the concealment of stolen goods within the same amount; and also of all assaults, assaults and batteries, and breaches of the peace. These several offenses are tried before a jury in the alcalde's court, and, upon conviction, he has the power to punish by fine and imprisonment; but the accused has the right to appeal to the District Court. A sheriff is elected in each county for two years, who is also ex officio collector of taxes. There are likewise an auditor of public accounts, treasurer, and attorney general for the Territory, all of whom are appointed for the term of two years by the governor, by and with the advice of the Legislative Council.
The administration of justice in New Mexico, before the country fell into the hands of the Americans, was rude and uncertain, and the people had very little security for their persons and property. The system of government they were made subject to was, in all its bearings, a miserable tyranny; and in the various changes that took place in the central government no relief was given to this and other provinces. On the establishment of the republic, New Mexico was erected into a separate province, and was allowed a political organization that made some little pretension to a regular government, but the pretension was about all. The chief executive officer was called gefe politico—political chief; and a kind of Legislature was allowed—a poor affair at best—known as the Diputacion Provincial. When the central system was adopted, the names of the respective branches of the government were changed, but their power remained about the same as before. A governor was appointed by the President of Mexico for the term of eight years, and the legislative power was vested in a kind of executive council called the Junta Departamental. The powers of this body were very limited, and, in fact, they were no more than the creatures of the governor, who was the lord and master of the whole department. He imitated the early kings of England, and whenever he saw the members were disposed to become troublesome, he would "prorogue" the Junta and send them to their homes, the country, for the time being, having no further need of their services. In this easy manner he got rid of those who might have become unwelcome advisers.
The only tribunal of justice was the alcalde's court, none of whom were ever accused of knowing any thing about law. Under certain restrictions, appeals were carried up to the Supreme Court in the city of Mexico; but the distance was two thousand miles, and the expense so
When the defendant failed to appear at the verbal summons of the plaintiff, the alcalde dispatched after him the regular process of the court. This was a large cane, dignified with the name of baston de justicia, or staff of justice, which was held in much more dread than a modern warrant. If he did not respond to the mandate of the cane, he was considered in contempt of court, and was sure to be punished accordingly. The jurisdiction of the alcalde was very limited, and certain persons were beyond the pale of himself and his cane. These were called fueros. According to the Spanish ecclesiastical law, no member of priesthood, of the rank of curate and upward, could be made to appear before a civil tribunal, but they were alone to be judged by their peers—the clergy. The military were also exempt from trial before a civil tribunal, which extended to both officers and men. These exemptions maintained privileged classes in the community, which proved a dead weight against any advance toward freedom.
The second section of the Organic Law provides that whenever New Mexico shall be received into the Union as a state, she may be admitted with or without slavery, as her Constitution may prescribe at the time of admission. This is fair and just, and allows the people to determine for themselves what shall be the nature of their domestic institutions, and, moreover, is in accordance with the principles of our government. In spite of the fears of the abolitionists, and others who wish to prescribe the institutions the territories shall have at the time of their admission into the Union, there is every probability of New Mexico becoming a free state. The whole matter has been more wisely regulated by Nature than can be ordered by man. The greater portion of the country is not adapted to slave labor, which would be found too unprofitable to warrant its introduction. The main branch of agriculture which the Territory at present supports—and the same must be the case in future—is grazing. In
New Mexico not having a representative in Washington to look after the interest of the country, the people resolved to send an agent there for that purpose. A movement to this effect was put on foot in May, 1849, which resulted in Hugh N. Smith, Esq., being sent to the federal capital to watch over the affairs of the Territory, his expenses being borne by an association of private individuals. This movement begat an opposition on the part of certain gentlemen, who coveted the position for
In the mean time the country became greatly agitated as to the terms upon which California and New Mexico should be admitted into the Union, the slavery question having been thrown in as a bone of contention. Texas also began to assert her claim anew to all that part of New Mexico east of the Rio del Norte; and to carry out this purpose, that state sent Spruce M. Baird, Esq., under the appointment of judge, into the Territory, to erect all that portion of the country into the county of Santa Fé, and to extend the jurisdiction of the laws of Texas over it. The people of New Mexico being averse to Texas rule, they disregarded this assumed jurisdiction, and refused obedience thereto; and the mission of Mr. Baird being barren of consequences, he returned again to Texas. Early in the spring of 1850, Texas sent a commissioner, Robert S. Neighbors, Esq., into New Mexico, with instructions to divide the country east of the Rio del Norte into several counties of that state, and to hold elections in them for county officers. Upon the mission
About this time two opposite parties sprang up in New Mexico, one being in favor of a state, and the other a territorial government, which engendered a deal of excitement and ill feeling. Several large public meetings were held by the respective parties in Santa Fé. The state party took sides with Mr. Neighbors, while the territorial party, composed of the mass of the people, were opposed to the dismemberment of the Territory by Texas. At one of these meetings the excitement ran so high that it almost led to bloodshed. The agitation of the question of a state government originated with the then national administration. President Taylor and his cabinet desired to avoid the responsibility of acting upon the slavery question, which would be required of them if Congress should establish governments for the new territory acquired under the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo from Mexico. Hence the desire, on their part, to induce the people of California and New Mexico to form governments for themselves, and, in so doing, to settle the vexed question, so far as they were concerned, in their own way. In the spring of 1849, James S. Calhoun, Esq., went to New Mexico, under an appointment as Indian agent, but upon his arrival he declared that he had secret instructions from the government at Washington to induce the people to form a state government.
For a time the plan of a state government received but little support, but in the course of the summer and fall an excitement was raised upon the subject, and both parties, state and territorial, published addresses to the people;
In view of the present condition of political affairs—Congress neglecting to organize a territorial government on the one hand, and Texas threatening to dismember the country on the other, with the presence of military rule daily becoming obnoxious to the people—the territorial party at last yielded their preference, and joined in the advocacy of a state government. Accordingly, resolutions to that effect were adopted at a meeting held in the city of Santa Fé on the 20th of April, 1850, and also requesting Colonel John Monroe, the civil and military governor, to issue a proclamation calling upon the people to elect delegates to a convention to be convened on the 15th of May following at that place. The delegates, elected in pursuance of the proclamation, assembled in convention on the day therein mentioned, and remained in session for ten days, during which time they adopted, with great unanimity, a Constitution, which had been drafted by Joab Houghton and M.F. Tuley, Esquires. It assimilated, in its general features, to the Constitutions of the new states of the Union; and, among other things, contained a clause prohibiting slavery, in order to meet the
At the state election Henry Connelly was elected governor, and Manuel Alvarez lieutenant governor. Dr. Connelly being absent in the States, Mr. Alvarez was acting governor for the time being, who, backed by the Legislature then in session and the newly-elected officials, attempted at once to put the state government into full operation without awaiting its adoption and approval. This movement caused a lengthy and quite angry correspondence between Mr. Alvarez and Colonel Monroe, who forbade any assumption of civil power by the new officials. Among other things, the Legislature provided for the election of county officers, which Acting Governor Alvarez attempted to carry into effect by issuing writs of election, which Colonel Monroe also forbade by proclamation to the people, in which he declared all such elections null and void. In consequence of this opposition on the part of the military authority, the elections were not held, and matters moved on for some months the same as before the state organization was effected.
In the mean time Mr. Weightman, one of the senators elect, went to Washington to present the Constitution of New Mexico, ask for her admittance into the Union, and claim his seat. Upon his arrival, he found that the Compromise Bill of 1850, in which was included the act organizing a territorial government for New Mexico, had just passed Congress, and which at once took precedence of the state organization. The new territorial government went into operation the 3d of March, 1851, Mr. Calhoun being sworn in as governor. Thus originated, and ceased to exist, the state government of New Mexico.
1. The above "plan" is a true translation from an original manuscript copy in Spanish in possession of the author.
2. It is said by some that the conspiracy was divulged by a mulatto girl. She is alleged to have been the wife of one of the conspirators, and gradually drew from him their plan of operation, which she communicated to General Price in season to prevent the outbreak.