The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915 Page: 30
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
be said that the American commander, convinced by various re-
ports that the United States and Mexico were at war'7 and that
the latter was on the point of ceding California to Great Britain,48
sailed as rapidly as possible from Callao to Monterey, which he
took possession of without opposition, beyond a formal protest
from the California officials. The next day, realizing that he had
made a mistake, Jones surrendered the town to its former owners
with formal apology for his error.
The seizure of Monterey, so far as the Californians themselves
were concerned, seems to have been taken pretty much as a matter
of course. A full report was forwarded to the Mexican Govern-
ment" and the authorities at Los Angeles availed themselves of
the opportunity to charge the captain of one of Jones's vessels,
the Alert, with spiking the artillery at San Diego and injuring
the harbor.60 American residents were naturally uneasy for a
time lest they should suffer from the ill-will engendered among the
Californians by the occurrence," but their fears were entirely
Holst, The Constitutional and Political History of the United States
(Ohicago. Callaghan and Company. 1881), II, 615-620; H. Ex. Does.,
27 Cong., 3 Sess., No. 166, for official account. Many of the secondary
accounts were written with a decided bias against the American com-
mander. For example, Jay (pp. 82-86) described it as wholly a move
on the part of the slave-holding South.
'"Jones obtained his information from a letter written by John Parrott,
the United States consul at Mazatlan, on June 22. Enclosed was a copy
of El Cosmoplita of June 4, containing the threatening letters of Boca-
negra to Webster concerning the Texas difficulties. Rumors of war were
common all along the Pacific coast at the time (Johnson to Larkin,
Hono.lulu, May 26, 1842-"word received from the United States that
wa.r may be declared any day." Larkin MSS., I, No. 276; Davis to Lar-
kin, May 30, 1842-"war declared against Mexico." Ibid.). Larkin's
Official Correspondence is designated as such; his private correspondence
will hereafter be referred to. simply as above-Larkin MSS.
"8A copy of a Boston paper, with an extract from the New Orleans
Courier of April 19, stating that Mexico had ceded California to England
for $7,000,000, had fallen into 'his hands. The departure of Admiral
Thomas with a British fleet under sealed orders from Callao, lent addi-
tional weight to -the rumor.
"Bocanegra to Thompson, Dec. 28, 1841. MS., State Department.
"I. C. Jones, a resident of Santa Barbara, wrote that he considered the
seizure of Monterey the act of a madman, which would be followed by
deplorable results for all Americans in California. He was, however, a
confirmed pessimist. Jones to Larkin, Larkin MSS., I, No. 357.
"Larkin to Secretary of State, April 16, 1844-Contra.ry to expecta-
tions Jones's action did not engender any ill-will among the Californians
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915, periodical, 1915; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101064/m1/36/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.