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U.S. STEAM PROPELLER EDITH, August 26, 1849. Sir: I am under the painful necessity of reporting this vessel on Point Conception. On Friday night last, near 10 o'clock, surf was discovered lose aboard; all haste was used to alter the course, but without availng anything. She struck frequently and heavily; but the bottom being sand, she was a long time before any leak was made. Yesterday, finding t impossible to get off, and the hold having three feet of water in it, I hought it prudent to cut away the masts. In the afternoon she leaked so last that both the pumps and the engine pumps could not keep her free.
I shall now in a few moments despatch Mr. Carnes with Major Garnet to arrange an express to carry this. This I hope you will consider only the announcement of this disaster. When I have time I will draw up a more detailed report. I will proceed to get on shore all that I can. I think there is only a remote hope that the vessel might be saved by the use of the balzas now on board the Fredonia. We have now under the stern about ten feet of water; at the bows six to seven; but it is rather low tide. If she was got off she might be towed to some port to the southward and repaired, provided the balzas could be kept under her. The boiler and engine can be got out by the use of the above article. I think she may be considered a wreck.
I suppose you will expect to hear how those under my command acted. I have only to say, well; they have obeyed all orders cheerfully and with alacrity. As for myself, I am greatly mortified at the result, but I am cheered by the knowledge of having done my duty; nothing but circumstances over which I had no control, brought about this disaster. We had no sun, and from that circumstance had to depend on dead reckoning. I considered myself in the middle of the passage.
I suppose it would appear out of the way to appear over-ready in asking that the loss may be made the subject of investigation before a proper court; but I do ask inquiry, and as soon as possible.
I have no time to write more now, as I wish to despatch Mr. Carnes to Santa Barbara, and then go on with the duty of discharging. Very respectfully, &c.,
Lieutenant U. S. Navy. Com. Thos. AP C. JONES,
Commander-in-chief, Pacific squadron.
FLAG SHIP SAVANNAH,
San Francisco, October 31, 1849. Sır: The failure of the United States mail-steamers to bring forward the mails from Panama has become so habitual as to destroy all confidence in that channel of communication with the Navy Department, as may be inferred by reference to my several acknowledgments of letters—some, for instance, of June dates reaching me before others of February and March; and I have good reason to suppose that mine to the department may not have been more regular in their transit: consequently, I have deternrined to employ a special messenger, as I much desire to keep the department fully posted in relation to naval operations in this quarter, that you may be at all times prepared to answer any calls that Congress may make con cerning what is doing or has been done by the navy out here.
Mr. Beale, of the navy, the bearer hereof, is also bearer of a treaty just concluded by Mr. Eames, our commissioner for the Sandwich Islands, with Dr. Judd, one of the King of the Sandwich Islands' ministers of state, who has been sojourning here for a month, on his way to Washing
а ton, London, and Paris, charged with high diplomatic functions to those courts. I also send herewith a printed copy of the constitution formed by the convention which recently assembled at Monterey for that purpose. The constitution is now before the people, and is well received; it will probably be adopted. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
THOS. AP C. JONES,
Commander-in-chief, Pacific squadron. Hon. WM. BALLARD PRESTON,
Secretary of the Navy.
SAN FRANCISCO, June 19, 1849. Sır: I have the honor to report my arrival at this place on the 4th instant, in company with Mr. King. I found Commodore Jones here, with his flag on board the sloop Warren, to whom I immediately delivered the despatches in person, with which you intrusted me.
I am happy to state that, in my humble opinion, Mr. King's arrival -evidently gave great satisfaction, and a committee of the citizens promptly called upon him, and requested he would meet the citizens publicly, and express his views in regard to the affairs respecting the Territory, &c. A very respectable meeting soon followed, and received and welcomed Mr. King. Resolutions were adopted recommending a convention for the purpose of forming and adopting a constitution and State government, and measures taken to conter with all portions of the Territory. From present appearances, I have no doubt every measure in conformity with the wishes of the President and cabinet, and the best interests of the republic, will be secured in due season. I consider the arrival of Mr. King most opportune and fortunate, and an impetus, confidence, and direction given to affairs, which will greatly promote the important objects confided to him. It is clear that the strong arm of the general government, and salutary laws, must at the earliest possible moment be extended over this. immense and magnificent land, in order to prevent bloodshed, confusion, and a sad state of affairs. Foreigners are flocking in, goods smuggled in along the coast, and jealousy and deep hostility engendered between these hordes of intruders and our interprising and adventurous countrymen. A large fleet of merchantmen are at anchor here, exceeding a hundred sail, requiring an effective squadron to regulate and keep them in order.
By the mail from Monterey, we learn that the people have responded favorably to the resolutions originating here, in public meeting, and every .sign is favorable.
I will address you again by the steamer of July 1, and apprize you
of Il matters of interest in connexion with the Territory. I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,
United States Navy. Hon. WM. BALLARD PRESTON,
Secretary of the Navy, Washington.
SAN FRANCISCO, August 31, 1849. Sir: The departure of the steamer Panama to-morrow affords me the ccasion of again addressing you. I regret to inform you of the very evere illness of the Hon. T. B. King, who was assailed two weeks since vith a violent attack of dysentery. For a length of time he was in great langer, with but slender hope of recovery. The skill of Dr. Bowie, of he navy, has prevailed, and Mr. King is now out of danger, and will, it s hoped, recover.
The moment for the assembling of the convention is at hand, and the delegates with great unanimity are in attendance. Major Garnett left here a week ago in the Edith for San Diego, for the purpose of conveying the southern delegates to Monterey, while Mr. King and myself were to have proceeded down to Monterey in company with those from the northern districts. It is a matter of universal regret that Mr. King cannot be present when the convention organizes, as great respect and importance are attached to his opinions, and his counsel sought very extensively.
The prospect of a successful accomplishment of the duties that become good citizens, no one seems to doubt. The delegates are generally selected from among the common sense class of the community; and if I judge from the resolute tone and manner of many of those who have passed through, they are resolved to act promptly and prudently, and with a just sense of duty to the Union and themselves. All seem impressed with exalted ideas of public duty and a strong desire to assemble in good feeling, execute the high trust confided to them, and return without unnecessary delay to their homes. Territorial government has its advocates, on the plea of the inability of a State situated as California is to support herself. The great majority, I think, are in favor of State government, and I trust the results of the convention will fully confirm my opinions. I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,
United States Navy. Hon. WM B. PRESTON.
P.S.-Mr. King is recovering slowly, and now no fears whatever are entertained; he will, I trust, yet be able to attend at Monterey during the session of the convention. He charges me to say to you, and to ask you to say also to the honorable Secretaries of State and War, that his severe illness will account for the omission of any communications from him by the steamer which leaves to-morrow.
DEPARTMENT OF THE POST OFFICE.
Post OFFICE DEPARTMENT,
January, 1850. To the President of the United States:
In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the United States of the 17th ultimo, I have the honor to report that the third section of the act of 14th August, 1848, authorizes the Postmaster General to employ an agent to make arrangements for the establishment of post offices and for the transmission of the mails in California; and that, in pursuance of said authority, the Postmaster General, on the 1st of November, 1819, appointed William Van Voorhees the agent for that Territory, to whom the fol lowing instructions were addressed:
Post Office DEPARTMENT,
November 1, 1848. Being authorized by an act of Congress, approved 14th August, 1848, to employ an agent in making arrangements for the establishment of post offices and for the transmission, receipt, and conveyance of letters in California, I hereby appoint you such agent. The duties with which you are to be charged will not be confined to any one branch of the department. They will embrace whatever may appertain to the operations of the contract, appointment, and fiscal bureaus of this department in California.
A route having been created by law, and the same being put in operation by the employment of steamships extending along the whole coast of California, your first duty will be to proceed to the selection of suitable persons for postmasters at San Diego, San Pedro, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Monterey, and at such other points on the Pacific, at which the United States steam mail packets shall touch, as may need such appointments.
For San Francisco a postmaster has already been appointed, Samuel Yorke At Lee, esq., who will repair, by the first opportunity, to that place. Of course, you will not take steps for appointing postmasters at any of the above-named places on finding that such appointment would be inexpedient or unnecessary by reason of not having a mail supply or from any other cause. On making such selection you will report the same to the department at Washington for appointment, in the mean time placing the nominee in the performance of the duties of his office by a temporary letter of appointment, signed by yourself, to cease on receiving a commission from the Postmaster General, or official information that the appointment has been resused. With your report of the nomination of any postmaster, you will forward his bond, duly executed by himself and sureties, and certified by you to be sufficient, and filled with such an amount as you shall deem adequate for the case. You will also cause him to be duly sworn on entering upon his duties. You will furnish him with proper blanks for post bills, accounts of mails sent, accounts of mails received, quarterly returns, and whatsoever else may be necessary to enable him properly to discharge his duties of postmaster, and to keep and render full and faithful accounts.
You will also instruct each postmaster how to perform his duties, and especially that he render his acounts for each quarter immediately after the expiration thereof to the Postmaster General of the United States at Washington. The collection of the balances arising at each office is a duty that will demand your utmost care and vigilance.
Before selecting postmasters for offices not receiving theirsmails by the government packets, you will ascertain by what road and from what point on the coast the same is to be supplied; and as no route into the interior of California has yet been created by act of Congress, you will have to make the supply of each office situated in the interior, conditioned upon the expense thereof being defrayed out of the net proceeds of such office. This restriction will necessarily keep the post-route arrangements which you may create upon an economical footing. With or without this restriction, the observance of economy in this respect is important; otherwise one or two points might absorb all the means which could arise in California for the support of mail service, leaving the others destitute. At present no more can be contemplated than semi-monthly or weekly transportation by the cheapest mode of conveyance, unless the same can be obtained at any favorable terms within the yield of the offices. You will bear in mind that no contract can be made for a longer period than four years, that the quarterly periods are for three months, commencing on the 1st of January, Ist of April, 1st of July, and 1st of October, and that arrangements, accounts, and settlements should be made to conform to these divisions of time, unless the circumstances be such as to render it impossible. On making such arrangements, you will immediately report the same to the department at Washington, for such order and contracts as the Postmaster General may make in the premises, in the mean time giving a letter of authority to perform the duties required.
Whether the compensation is restricted to the proceeds of the office or not, you will first determine in your mind a limit for that compensation by the rate per mile per annum. Horseback conveyance of the mails on the present routes in the United States, for weekly conveyance, will vary from three to six dollars per mile per annum. T'here
may be some few instances, in the cotton-growing regions, where the wealth of the country is considerable, but the population very sparse, where the compensation will rise perhaps as high as ten dollars per mile per annum for weekly horseback conveyance.
You will make the contracts at the lowest offers the competition will produce, and not rise above the scale of prices indicated by the foregoing remark; the distance is to be counted but one way.
You will make provision in the contract that payment is not to be made until service is performed and certified to, and in every instance of omission there is to be an abatement of price.
A proper supervision is to be established and maintained, to insure performance, or deduction of pay. William Nelson, esq., United States consul at Panama, will be the mail agent of the United States for the Pacific mail. You will promptly advise him by the earliest opportunity of every office put in operation upon the coast, with those in the interior, depending on them respectively for their supply, so that he may properly bag the mails for those places.
You will prepare before leaving the l'nited States, and take on with