Today in History:

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


Of course, sir, as the court made no order with reference to yourself nor any resolution whatever, and had nothing before it bringing you within its jurisdiction, no notice was directed to be served upon you. You yourself know as well as I possibly can know, that no formal or other notice went to you from the court touching Judge Knapp's determinations and action. It was not a matter about which I would have consented to open formal communications with the officer commanding the department.

I find this letter is assuming great length, and I believe I have substantially replied to your inquiries. Upon your reflecting more maturely, I doubt not you will not expect me in this to detail any further the exact words and sentences used by Judge Knapp upon the occasions alluded to, and you surely cannot anticipate any affidavit from me in replying to your letter. A circumstantial statement of the entire discourses uttered by Judge Knapp, with respect to yourself, from his seat upon the bench, with all of the incidents and circumstances attending, would require yet another long letter.

From this you will see clearly that the court, as such, had nothing to do with the matter. Had it have had I could not have given you the explanations I have given.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Chief of Justice, &c.

[Inclosure Numbers 2.]

SANTA FE, N. MEX., July 7, 1864.


Santa Fe, N. Mex.:

SIR: I am in receipt of yours of the 6th instant, requesting me to make a statement in regard to the reasons assigned by Judge Joseph G. Knapp for refusing to transact the business of the supreme court at its late session.

What he may have said on Monday, the 4th instant, I am not able to state, as I was not present, but on Tuesday, the 5th, he stated from the bench that he would not consent to hear anything in the way of business of the court, for the reason that he felt himself under restraint, and not free to act independently, by reason of the existence of a military order requiring citizens to take passports in order to travel from one point to another in this Territory; that the existence of such an order was a usurpation and despotism on the part of the general commanding, and destructive to the freedom and liberty of the people, and that he would not consent to transact any business as judge of the supreme court until that order was revoked; that for the sake of the liberty and freedom of the people of New Mexico he would stake his commission upon the result; that it appeared from the conduct of General Carleton that he desired to break up the civil courts so that he could have the sole and absolute power in his own hands.

I must say, that so far as my knowledge of your conduct extends, which is to the extent of the first and second districts of this Territory only, you have interposed no embarrassments to the civil courts exercising their whole jurisdiction; but, upon the contrary, you have upon some occasions afforded them facilities for traveling when it was dangerous to travel in small parties.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,