Today in History:

112 Series I Volume XLI-II Serial 84 - Price's Missouri Expedition Part II


Feeling to regret that the itching to make himself a martyr, or to be notorious in some way, on the part of this man Knapp, has put the War Department to so much trouble,

I have the honor to be, respectfully, our obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.

NOTE.- Inclosed please find a certified copy* of the passport this day issued to Judge Knapp, and also the general-in-chief's approval* of the passport system.

J. H. C.

[Inclosure Numbers 1.]

SANTA FE, N. MEX., July 8, 1864.

Brigadier General JAMES G. CARLETON,

Commander, &c.:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 5th instant, which contains the following:+

In answer, I must remark, firstly, that I regret you adopted the mode of addressing me in my official character as chief justice touching the matters referred to in the quotation made, as also those mentioned in other parts of your letter. Your having so addressed me creates the necessity, upon my part, of writing a few words to prevent my being inferred into a false position, and to guard the judicial rights, powers, and independence from a sacrifice to a portion of the Government that has no revising power or control over the judiciary, and to which the latter is in no way responsible for its official acts. The supreme court cannot admit that the commanding officer of this military department can interrogate its members to an account to him as to their judicial acts in the performance of their duties, or the manner of their performance. Our systems of governments everywhere recognize and maintain three distinct departments of powers and duties - the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. The military in the Constitution and the laws is a branch of the executive power and authority to aid the executive, of which the president is the head, in the execution of his high powers, trusts, and duties.

From these remarks do not suppose, sir, that I for a moment entertain the though that you, in the portion of your letter quoted, were prompted by any of the spirit or motives the language might readily be constructed to imply. My long acquaintance with you and the prompt assistance since the fall of 1853 ([since] when you have been in New Mexico) you have ever rendered me in the execution of my official trusts, and the respect you have manifested toward the judicial authority in my hands, when your authority and mine have come in conflict, forbid that I should indulge any other opinion than that you have intended in a friendly and direct manner to obtain from me the information as to whether the supreme court at its late session was prevented or obstructed by you, or by any of your orders, from transacting any or all of the business pending at the term. I say cheerfully that I am of an unhesitating opinion that you would be as far from attempting to obstruct, interfere with, or control the action of the supreme court, or the district courts where I preside, as I would be from submitting to any such attempts from any unauthorized source whatever. Having


* Omitted.

+ See p. 55.