The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 24, July 1920 - April, 1921 Page: 3
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Question of Texan Jurisdiction in New Mexico, 1848-50 3
government in New Mexico. Information concerning the nature
of Kearny's occupation had reached the state officials of Texas
through the newspapers, and after looking in vain for a contra-
diction of the statement that the general government claimed the
right of jurisdiction over the region as a conquered country, the
authorities began to feel apprehensive over their claims. Accord-
ingly, Governor J. Pinckney Henderson wrote to, Secretary
Buchanan, asking to be informed concerning the accuracy of the
newspaper accounts, especially in regard to any claims of the gen-
eral government to any portion of the territory lying within the
limits of Texas as named in her boundary act of December 19, 1836.
He solemnly protested against any action on the part of the United
States which might interfere with the rights of Texas, but con-
cluded by saying:
Inasmuch as it is not convenient for the State at this time to
exercise jurisdiction over Santa Fe, I presume no objection will
be made on the part of the government of the State of Texas to
the establishment of a territorial government over that country by
the United States, provided it is done with the express admission
on their part that the State of Texas is entitled to the soil and
jurisdiction over the same, and may exercise her right whenever
she regards it expedient.3
This letter reached Washington early in February, and in the
meantime information was also arriving concerning the attitude
in Texas which had impelled the sending of the protest. Through
their press the Texans denounced the establishment of a separate
territorial government over Santa F6 and the surrounding country
as a violation of the "compact of annexation," and they professed
inability to understand how Polk could reconcile his military move-
ments with his assumption of the Rio Grande as the boundary.
They argued that "Santa Fe is equally a part of our annexed ter-
ritory [on this assumption] as that opposite Matamoros," and yet
General Taylor was sent to occupy and defend the latter as United
States soil, while General Kearny was sent to conquer and estab-
lish a government over the former.' A spirit of this nature had
to be placated, and in reply to Governor I-Ienderson's letter Polk
assured him that the military government in New Mexico was only
I-Ienderson to Buchanan, January 4, 1847, in Sen. Ex. Doc. 24, 31st
Cong., 1st sess. (Ser. no. 554), p. 2.
4Niles' Register, LXXI, 305.
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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/m1/9/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.