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15. [BAYARD, Samuel J.]. A Sketch of the Life
of Com. Robert F. Stockton...His Correspondence with the
Navy Department...Together with His Speeches.... New
York: Derby & Jackson, 1856. 210, 131 [1, blank] [2,
ads] pp., engraved frontispiece portrait. 8vo, original
embossed brown cloth, gilt lettering and decoration on
spine (rebacked, original spine preserved). Gilt lettering
on spine dull, some darkening to binding, text with mild to
moderate foxing (mainly affecting first signatures).
First edition. Connor & Faulk, North America Divided 711. Cowan, pp. 616-17. Garrett, The Mexican-American War, p. 192. Hill, p. 19. Howell, California 50:1460: "With an Appendix containing his official naval correspondence concerning the conquest [and] his defense of Frémont." Howes B259. Plains & Rockies IV:271b. Rocq 1667. Tutorow 3743. This book contains a chapter on Stocktons activities in Texas. Stockton, for whom Fort Stockton, Texas, was named, is one of those figures in U.S. history who does not have a Big Name, but who had a hand in many pivotal events. As early as 1825, Stockton was politically active, delivering stirring speeches promoting liberation of America from its Spanish "oppressors" and urging colonization societies in Africa. In the 1840 election Stockton actively campaigned against Van Buren, whom he saw as a usurper of democratic principles and states rights.
After Congress adopted the resolution annexing Texas to the Union on February 28, 1845, Tyler ordered Stockton to command the squadron that sailed to Texas to deliver the annexation papers and to prevent Mexican invasions while annexation was deliberated. Once in Texas, Stockton busily promoted annexation to the Texans, plotted to occupy the Rio Grande Valley with Texas volunteers, proposed that Republic President Anson Jones make war with Mexico as a prelude to annexation, and urged General Sidney Sherman to attack Matamoros, promising to support him with U.S. naval force. Stocktons superiors warned him against rashness, and then gave him command of the Pacific fleet. Stockton sailed to California with sealed orders (to "help," however appropriate). On July 15, 1846, Stockton prematurely seized Monterey, commissioned Frémont and Gillespie as high-ranking officers of the California Battalion, captured Santa Barbara and Los Angeles without resistance, declared California to be U.S. territory, and named himself governor and commander-in-chief. Charged with exceeding his authority, he resigned his Navy commission in 1850, later serving as New Jersey Senator (1851-1853). Handbook of Texas (Robert Stockton).