The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 24, July 1920 - April, 1921 Page: 13
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Question of Texan Jurisdiction in New Mexico, 1848-50 13
to figure as public functionaries themselves," and therefore, that
he entertained no doubt as to his ability to organize under the
jurisdiction of Texas when the military government established by
Kearny should be removed."4 In support of his opinion he stated
that General Armijo, whom he considered as the leading man of
the region, "espouses our cause with great zeal."
The Struggle for Civil Government in New Mexico.-During
this same period the people of New Mexico had likewise become
active. When it was found that the legislature which had been
provided for in the Kearny Code was powerless if any of its meas-
ures did not meet the approval of the military commander, no
effort was made to hold a second meeting, and dissatisfaction be-
gan to develop." It was felt that the stipulations of the code and
of the treaty of Guadalupe Iidalgo had given them the right to a
civil government, and a movement was begun to have the military
control replaced by a territorial form of government. The Presi-
dent had advised that they should live peaceably and quietly under
the military government until Congress could act deliberately and
wisely."' Senator Thomas H. Benton assumed a different point
of view, however, and in August, 1848, he addressed a letter to
the people of both California and New Mexico, suggesting to them
that since they had no civil government, the best move to make
would be to. provide for themselves a simple form of government
until Congress should provide one for them. He believed that
they would need only a governor, judges, and peace and militia
officers, and very little in the way of laws.47
Following this suggestion, a convention met at Santa F6 on
October 10, 1848, and formulated a petition to, Congress, asking
for the establishment of a civil government of a territorial nature,
and stating, among other subjects, that they were opposed to
slavery, and that they firmly protested against the dismemberment
of their territory in favor of Texas, or for any other cause.48 It
was exactly one month later that Baird arrived in Santa F6, and
he reported that even then "the convention excitement was still
alive, and there was much dissatisfaction as to the manner in which
"Baird to Miller, September 21, 1849, in Ibid.
"Baird to Miller, September 23, 1849, in Ibid.
4"Prince, New Mexico's struggle for Statehood, 6.
7Niles' Register, LXXIV, 244.
"Congressional Globe, 30th Cong., 2nd sess., 33.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 24, July 1920 - April, 1921, periodical, 1921; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101078/m1/19/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.