Claim of James Magoffin

To secret and personal services in the Mexican War under special engagement with President Polk, commencing from the 18th of June, 1846, when I left Washington City in the employment of the Government until I got back in February, 1849, being two years and eight months of time and extending to Santafe, Chihuahua, and Durango.

The service being secret, accounts and vouchers could not be kept, but the items which make up the above amount are as follows:

1st. My time, a merchant in business which I had to neglect for two years and eight months, pr. mo. $300 $ 9,600.00

2nd. My expenditures, to wit from Washington to Independence, Mo 50.00
for 1 small wagon with springs 150.00
for 1 pair horses 160.00
for an escort of 6 Mexicans to El Paso, after leaving Genl. Kearney 150.00
of money received in Chihuahua as per certificate of V. Commercial Agent of the U. States, which was expended in bribes in that city in order to extricate from the military judge, Genl. Kearney, written statement of my services in Suntafe, New Mexico directed to the Secretary of War, Washington 3,800.00
Ford. $14,070.00
Amount brot forward $14,070.00
Expenditures continued of money recd, in Durango, as pr letter of J. Beldin Durango, with my acceptance inclosed, which was paid to the Auditor of War of that City for releasing me from my imprisonment 1,100.00
of money recd, from J. Randell & Co. as pr. bill and recpt. given to a Mexican friend for making the arrangement with the Auditor 500.00
for entertainments to officers military and civil and influential citizens at Santafe, Chihuahua and Durango, to accomplish the object of promoting the interests of the United States 2,000.00
Claret wine being worth per dozen $18.00
Champagne being worth per dozen 36.00
Paid for subsistence during the time for self, horses and servants, wages and clothing, charged as for a Colonel of Cavalry, my duties keeping me with officers of all ranks up to the Governors and generals, 2 years, 8 months, per mo., $118.50 3,792.00

3rd. Sufferings. nine months’ imprisonment at Chihuahua, and Durango, (can’t be estimated).

4th. Losses. sustained by an attack made by the Apache Indians, whilst traveling from Santafe to Chihuabua, consisting of a waggon, (before charged) trunk, clothing and money 350.00
Ford. $21,812.00
Amount brot forward $21,812.00
Losses, continued. Sustained at Chihuahua, during my imprisonment as pr statement of Mr. Jno Potts, certified by the Vice Commercial Agent of the United States, being a suffering in purse as well as in body, for that imprisonment 15,968.96


The above is submitted, not as an account against the United States, but as data to assist in forming an opinion of the amount that ought to be paid me for my services, by showing what they cost me, as for the services themselves they cannot be valued in money. The bloodless conquest of a province and the conciliation of the feelings of an invaded people, are services above money value and these I rendered at great cost, loss and danger to myself. I had peculiar means to be serviceable, and that was known to the Government. I had been consul at Satillo and Chihuahua fifteen years. I was a merchant in a large business: I spoke the language of the country, was married to a Mexican lady; had a general acquaintance with the inhabitants and had the influence which attaches to such a position in such a country. I went ahead of Genl. Kearney and secured his unopposed march into Santafe. I went down the country and conciliated the people. The bloodless conquest of N. Mexico and the easy advance of our troops was the finest [finish]; and these are services which cannot be estimated in money, I only show what they cost me.

General Kearney gave to my brother Saml. Magoffin at Santafe, a written statement of my services addressed to the Secretary of War, a letter all in his own handwriting to be forwarded to me at Chihuahua by the first safe opportunity. My brother forwarded by Dr. Connelly. He was taken prisoner at El Paso and all his papers seized and forwarded to the military judge at Chihuahua, where I was then prisoner, and the authorities on the search for testimony against me. The military judge brought the letter to me, (Genl. Kearney’s was one inclosed in one from my brother) without having shown it to the Governor or General. We understood one another he told me to tear it up, which I did in his presence, for I was a prisoner and it was not safe for either of us that I should keep it. That affair cost me $3,800 and deprived me of General Kearney’s statement to lay before the Government. He wrote it as a matter of precaution and justice to me just before he left for California, and his death had prevented me from ever seeing him again.

The whole $50,000 mentioned in the law I might well claim, but the sum of $40,000 will be received in full satisfaction.

J. W. Magoffin.

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