no date [29 July 1846] · [Monterey]
Following his momentous raising of the American flag over Monterey on 7 July 1846, Commodore Sloat did little actually to secure still-divided, still-fractious California for the U.S. On 23 July Commodore Stockton, the grandson of Signer of the Declaration of Independence Richard Stockton, took over command from Sloat of the U.S. Pacific Squadron and embraced the task. The => inaugural document in hand sets the tone in both substance and style for the efforts by which Stockton, and his combined land and sea forces, were by various stratagems and successes on the battlefield to fulfill their mission in the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga on 13 January 1847.
¬†¬†¬†¬†In this ¬ďAddress¬Ē and in contrast to Sloat's slow, diplomatic, and we might now say "inclusive" approach, Stockton¬ís words and tone are not conciliatory in any way: ¬ďThe Mexican Government and their Military Officers have without cause for a year past been threatening the United States with hostilities. . . . General Castro the Commander in Chief of the Military forces of California has violated every principle of international law and national hospitality by hunting and pursuing with several hundred Soldiers, and with wicked intent, Captain Fremont of the U.S. Army who came here to refresh his men (about forty in number) after a perilous journey across the Mountains on a scientific survey.¬Ē He further accuses Castro and his men of murder, rapine, desertion, ¬ďrepeated outrages and hostilities.¬Ē
¬†¬†¬†¬†Stockton therefore announces that he ¬ďcannot . . . confine my operations to the quiet and undisturbed possession of the defenseless ports of Monterey and San Francisco, whilst the people elsewhere are suffering from lawless violence, but will immediately march against these boasting and abusive Chiefs who have not only violated every principle of national hospitality and good faith towards Captain Fremont and his surveying party, but who unless driven out, will with the aid of hostile Indians keep this beautiful Country in a constant state of revolution and blood.¬Ē
¬†¬†¬†¬†He concludes by saying, ¬ďThe Commander in Chief does not desire to possess himself of one foot of California for any other reason then [sic] as the only means to save from distruction[sic], the lives and property of the foreign residents, and Citizens of the territory, who have invoked his protection.¬Ē
¬†¬†¬†¬†=> Less than a month later, martial law was formally declared.
¬†¬†¬†¬†There is no census of copies of this important Anglo-Californian foundation document. Using the Online Archive of California, NUCMC, and the OPACs of the Bancroft and Hungtington libraries and the California Historical Society, we locate => only the copy contained among the Templeton Crocker manuscripts at the CHS, this in a retained copy of a letter from Stockton to Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft. However, we do know of a a copy, signed by Stockton, in a private collection.
¬†¬†¬†¬†Provenance: The Pacific School of Religion (properly released).
¬†¬†¬†¬†As a side- or footnote not always recalled, Stockton's success in California must have been savorable not only as professional and patriotic triumph, but as redemption as well; his career had somehow *not* been wrecked by an incident in which a faulty cannon of his design had a few years before killed the Secretary of the Navy and a number of other dignitaries during its demonstration! Written on unruled blue wove paper with no watermark or embossed logo. Old folds with some browning along fold lines; small fold tears, repaired; very good condition. One interlinear correction of a word left out and an erasure of the word "the" replaced with "a." A note in a different, heavier hand: "Como. Stocktons Proclamation Aug, 1846." In a quarter blue leather clamshell case. (Inventory #: 34855)