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to that territory, who had never been accustomed to any other than American law, administered by American courts. There they found their rights of property and person subject to the uncertain, and frequently most oppressive, operation of laws written in a language they did not understand, and founded on principles, in many respects, new to them. They complained that the alcaldes, or judges, most of whom had been appointed or elected before the immigration had commenced, were not lawyers by education or profession; and, being Americans, they were, of course, unacquainted with the laws of Mexico, or the principles of the civil law on which they are founded.

« "As our own laws, except for the collection of revenue, the transmission of the mails, and establishment of postoffices, had not been extended over that territory, the laws of Mexico, as they existed at the conclusion of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, regulating the relations of the inhabitants of California with each other, necessarily remained in force ;* yet, there was not a single volume containing those laws, as far as I know or believe, in the whole territory, except, perhaps, in the governor's office at Monterey.

"The magistrates, therefore, could not procure them, and the administration of justice was, necessarily, as unequal and fluctuating as the opinions of the judges were conflicting and variable.

"There were no fee-bills to regulate costs; and, consequently, the most cruel exactions, in many instances, were practised.

"The greatest confusion prevailed respecting titles to property, and the decision of suits involving the

See American Insurance Company, et al. vs. Canter, 1st Peters' Supreme Court Reports, 542.

most important rights, and very large sums of money depended upon the dictum of the judge.

"The sale of the territory by Mexico to the United States had necessarily cut off or dissolved the laws regulating the granting or procuring titles to land; and, as our own land-laws had not been extended over it, the people were compelled to receive such titles as were offered to them, without the means of ascertaining whether they were valid or not.

"Litigation was so expensive and precarious that injustice and oppression were frequently endured, rather than resort to so uncertain a remedy.

"Towns and cities were springing into existence; many of them without charters or any legal right to organize municipal authorities, or to tax property or the citizens for the establishment of a police, the erection of prisons, or providing any of those means for the protection of life and property which are so necessary in all civil communities, and especially among a people mostly strangers to each other.

"Nearly one million and a half of dollars had been paid into the custom-house, as duties on imported goods, before our revenue laws had been extended over the country; and the people complained bitterly that they were thus heavily taxed without being provided with a government for their protection, or laws which they could understand, or allowed the right to be represented in the councils of the nation.

"While anxiously waiting the action of Congress, oppressed and embarrassed by this state of affairs, and feeling the pressing necessity of applying such remedies as were in their power, and circumstances seemed to justify, they resolved to substitute laws of their own




for the existing system, and to establish tribunals for their proper and faithful administration.

"In obedience, therefore, to the extraordinary exigencies of their condition, the people of the city of San Francisco elected members to form a legislature, and clothed them with full powers to pass laws.

"The communities of Sonoma and of Sacramento city followed the example.

"Thus were three legislative bodies organized; the two most distant being only one hundred and thirty miles apart.

"Other movements of the kind were threatened, and doubtless would have followed, in other sections of the territory, had they not been arrested by the formation of a State government.

"While the people of California were looking to Congress for a territorial government, it was quite evident that such an organization was daily becoming less suited to their condition, which was entirely different from that of any of the territories out of which the new States of the Union had been formed.

"Those territories had been at first slowly and sparsely peopled by a few hunters and farmers, who penetrated the wilderness, or traversed the prairies, in search of game or a new home; and, when thus gradually their population warranted it, a government was provided for them. They, however, had no foreign commerce, nor any thing beyond the ordinary pursuits of agriculture, and the various branches of business which usually accompany it, to induce immigration within their borders. Several years were required to give them sufficient population and wealth to place them in a condition to require, or enable them to support, a State government.

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