Message from the President of the United States: In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 13th instant, respecting an Annexation of Texas to the United States: 25th Congress, First Session: Document No. 40 and 42 Reprinted [Digital Version]

Bibliographic Information

Van Buren, Martin, 1782-1862, Message from the President of the United States (Thomas Allen, October 10, 1837)

File description (Bibliographic Info)Encoding description (Editorial Principles)Profile description (Subject Terms)Revision description (Revision History)
Title: Message from the President of the United States: In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 13th instant, respecting an Annexation of Texas to the United States: 25th Congress, First Session: Document No. 40 and 42 Reprinted [Digital Version]
Alternate Title: Annexation of Texas and Boundary with Mexico
Funding from: Funding for the creation of this digitized text is provided by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Author: Van Buren, Martin, 1782-1862
Statements of responsibility:
  • Creation of digital images: Center for Digital Scholarship, Rice University
  • Creation of transcription: Carolyn Adams, Project Coordinator, Humanities Research Center
  • Conversion to TEI-conformant markup: textbooks
  • Parsing and proofing: Humanities Research Center and Fondren Library, Rice University
  • Subject analysis and assignment of taxonomy terms: Alice Rhoades
Publisher: Rice University, Houston, Texas
Publication date: 2010-06-07
Identifier: aa00008a
Availability: This digital text is publicly available via the Americas Digital Archive through the following Creative Commons attribution license: “You are free: to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work; to make derivative works; to make commercial use of the work. Under the following conditions: By Attribution. You must give the original author credit. For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. Any of these conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder. Your fair use and other rights are in no way affected by the above.”
Digitization: Page images of the original document are included. Images exist as archived TIFF files, JPEG versions for general use, and thumbnail GIFs.
Provenance: The Humanities Research Center at Rice University, under the direction of Dr. Caroline Levander, purchased this material from a manuscripts dealer in 2005. The Gilder Foundation funded the development of the physical archive. Original materials are housed at the Woodson Research Center, Rice University.
Description: U.S. Congressional publication. 18 pp. Includes correspondence by John Forsyth, et al. Bound with "Boundary - United States and Mexico. Message from the President of the United States of America," 25th Congress, First Session: Doc. No. 42 Reprinted, 96 pp.
Abstract: The U.S. Serial set is a specially bound, consecutively numbered version of all House and Senate reports and documents. Many, but not all, of the government documents in the Americas archive come originally from the U.S. Serial set, although were bound together at some later point into the collection that is now represented in this collection.
Source(s): Van Buren, Martin, 1782-1862, Message from the President of the United States (Thomas Allen, October 10, 1837)
Source Identifier: Americas collection, 1811-1920, MS 518, Box 3 folder 15 item 52.03, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University. Contact info:
Description of the project: This digitized text is part of the Our Americas Archive Partnership (OAAP) project.
Editorial practices
This text has been encoded based on recommendations from Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Any comments on editorial decisions for this document are included in footnotes within the document with the author of the note indicated. All digitized texts have been verified against the original document. Quotation marks have been retained. For printed documents: Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved. No corrections or normalizations have been made, except that hyphenated, non-compound words that appear at the end of lines have been closed up to facilitate searching and retrieval. For manuscript documents: Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved. We have recorded normalizations using the reg element to facilitate searchability, but these normalizations may not be visible in the reading version of this electronic text
Languages used in the text: English
Text classification
Keywords: Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus
  • Government publications
Keywords: Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • Texas--Politics and government--1836-1846
Keywords: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
  • Texas (state)
  • Mexico (nation)
Revision/change: Dr. Lisa Spiro, Director of the Digital Media Center, Fondren Library, Rice University 2009
  • Converted from P4 to P5

25th CONGRESS, 1st Session. [Doc. No. 40 and 42 Reprinted]

In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the
13th instant, respecting an Annexation of Texas to the United States.

OCTOBER 10, 1837.
Ten thousand copeis ordered to be printed.

To the House of Representatives of the United States:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of
the 13th instant, respecting an annexation of Texas to the United States,
I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, and the documents by
which it was accompanied.

M. VAN BUREN. WASHINGTON, September 30, 1837.

To the President of the United States:

The Secretary of State, to whom was referred a resolution of the
House of Representatives, dated the 13th instant, requesting “the President
of the United States to communicate to that House, if in his opinion
it should be compatible with the public interest, whether any proposition
has been made on the part of the republic of Texas to the Government
of the United States, for the annexation of the said republic of
Texas to this Union; and, if such proposition has been made, what
answer has been returned, and all correspondence which has taken place
relating thereto,” has the honor to lay before the President copies of all
the correspondence which has taken place between this Government
and that of Texas, on the subject of the resolution referred, and to
represent that the inquiry made in that resolution is answered by the
documents now respectfully submitted.

Washington, September 30, 1837.

Thomas Allen, print.



  • General Hunt to Mr. Forsyth, 4th August, 1837.
  • Mr. Forsyth to General Hunt, 25th " "
  • General Hunt to Mr. Forsyth, 12th September, 1837.

General Hunt to Mr. Forsyth.

Washington city, August 4, 1837.


The undersigned, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary
of the republic of Texas, in conformity with instructions from his
Government, asks the consideration of the honorable John Forsyth, Secretary
of State of the United States, on the subject of a proposition for the
annexation of Texas to the United States, and which proposition he has
now the honor most respectfully to submit.

In presenting the question through the honorable the Secretary of State
of the United States to this Government, the undersigned solicits, in advance,
the greatest indulgence for the latitude which it will be necessary
to take in opening this negotiation. The subject is one of so much magnitude
that it is impossible, in a single paper, to exhibit even its general
outlines, and the undersigned will perhaps have sufficiently trespassed upon
the attention of the honorable the Secretary of State, when he shall
have in the first place, briefly set forth a comparative history of Texas
and Mexico, which has been so much misrepresented by the recent envoy
of Mexico to this Government, and when, in the second place, he shall
have stated the main ground upon which the union of the two republics is
proposed by Texas, and shall have concluded by suggesting some few of
the great advantages, both national and social, which would result to the
two contracting parties from the proposed amalgamation of their respective

With the exception of the first presidency under the federal constitution,
that of Victoria, Mexico has exhibited a series of revolutions, attended
with the most disastrous civil wars. Iturbide, who was chosen and proclaimed
by a licentious soldiery, was dethroned and put to death, after a
short reign, too turbulent to be regarded, even during that brief period, as
a government. The rights of property were not respected, and foreign
merchants as well as native were exposed to his rapacity. Witness the
seizure of money at Perote.

After the downfall of Iturbide, and the adoption of the constitution of
1824, which is a transcript of that of the United States, affairs were, for
some time, conducted peaceably, and were only interrupted by the episode
of the revolt of General Bravo, the Vice President. Yet, during that period,
the laws of nations were repeatedly violated, and the property of foreign
preyed upon by the corrupt and venal agents of the Government.
(See the history of the claims of American citizens.)

The termination of Victoria's presidency was disgraced by the quarrel
between the rival candidates for the succession, which, after a bloody contest,
terminated by elevating to the presidency the unsuccessful candidate,


General Guerrero, and the banishment of Pedrazo, his competitor. A short
year, marked with disorder and misrule, terminated the career of this
revolutionary hero. The struggle cost him his power and his life, and
the whole country was convulsed by this civil strife. The Vice President,
Bustamente, succeeded Guerrero, but the war continued in different parts
of Mexico, rendering life and property insecure. After a short period of
convulsions, Bustamente was banished and Santa Anna succeeded to power.
He was elevated by the joint efforts of the aristocracy and the priesthood,
who made use of the successful soldier of fortune to overthrow the
free institutions of the country. His reign of misrule and career of blood
will be presently noticed. He is now at Mango de Clavo, the tiger in his
lair, ready to go forth seeking whom he may devour. It is true Bustamente
is again in power, but it is notorious that the people have been juggled
out of their liberties, and are dissatisfied. The Government which
was their choice has been overthrown, and centralism forced upon them
by the sword; this change sanctioned by mock acts of a spurious legislatare,
and the States reduced to submission by force.

With this brief view of the factious struggles of Mexico, the undersigned
approaches the exposition of the history of Texas, which he conceives
to be an important preliminary to the due consideration of the subject
of annexation.

Until the settlement of Austin's first colony in 1821, Texas, for the
most part, was an unexplored wilderness. The Spaniards had endeavored,
in vain, to rescue it from the wild tribes of the forest. So
early as the year 1698 the old Spanish town of Bexar was founded; in
1716 La Bahia, afterwards Goliad; Nacogdoches in 1732; Victoria at a
later period. But these old Spanish settlements continued to be surrounded
by prowling parties of savage Indians, and, up to the year 1821, Texian
civilization was only to be found within the narrow precincts of their
respective jurisdictions.

On the 17th of January, 1821, Moses Austin obtained permission from
the Supreme Government of the eastern internal provinces of New
Spain, at Monterey, to settle a colony of emigrants in Texas, and in the
month of December following, his son, Stephen F. Austin, who had undertaken
the enterprise in obedience to the testamentary request of his
father, appeared upon the river Brazos with the first Anglo-American
settlers. From that period may be dated the Anglo-American history o
a country which has grown into notice with unexampled rapidity, and
already psesents itself as another monument of the indomitable energy of
the extraordinary race by which it was populated.

In the mean time Mexico had shaken off the Spanish yoke, and established
herself as a sovereign and independent Government. Anxious,
however, to increase her political influence and resources by every means
in her power, and prompted by a desire to repress the Indians on her
northern frontiers, observing, too, the beneficial effects resulting from the
liberal system of naturalization adopted in the United States, she determined
to pursue a similar course of policy in relation to aliens.

Accordingly, on the 4th of January, 1323, a national colonization law
was adopted by the Mexican Congress, and approved by the Emperor
Don Augustin Iturbide, and on the 18th of February a decree was issued,
authorizing Austin to proceed with his colony; which decree, after the


abdication of Iturbide, and the change of government consequent thereon,
was confirmed by the first Executive Council, in accordance with a special
order of the Mexican Congress.

On the 2d of February, 1824, the Federal constitution of Mexico, based
upon that of the United States, was proclaimed as the established polity
of the land; and, by a decree of the 7th of May, of the same year, the
provinces of Texas and Coahuila were provisionally united, to form one of
the constituent and sovereign States of the Mexican confederacy.

On the 18th of August another general colonization law was passed
and ratified, by the Supreme Government at the city of Mexico, and
foreigners emigrating to the country, and complying with the terms of
the said law, were guarantied in the protection of their persons and property,
and all the rights, liberties, and immunities of Mexican citizens.
Moreover, by the State colonization law of Coahuila and Texas, of the
24th of March, 1825, they were specifically invited to come and settle
within the limits of that especial state jurisdiction.

Under these various enactments, but particularly after the adoption of
the federal constitution, the current of emigration continued to flow in and
spread itself with accelerated rapidity over the fertile domain of the then
province of Texas. The forest gave way to the axe of the pioneer; the
wild prairie to the ploughshare of the husbandman. Plantations were
opened. Villages sprung up on the hunting-ground of the savage. New
colonies were introduced, planted, fostered, and matured; and in the brief
period of nine years from the first settlement under Austin, the enterprise
of the Anglo-American settler had explored the whole southern moiety of
the province, redeemed it from the wilderness of the wild beast and the
savage, covered it with a hardy and industrious population, and intermixed
his labor with its most valuable soils.

True, in emigrating to Texas the enterprising colonist had expatriated
himself, and foregone the well-tried institutions of his mother-land, but
the institutions he now lived under were modelled upon those he had reluctantly
abandoned. His spirit, and his habits, and his inbred and uncompromising
republicanism continued the same, and he was as ready to resist
the invasion of his chartered rights under the Mexican constitution of '24,
as he would have been to have thrown himself into the breach in behalf of
that sacred instrument under which he had been born and educated.

Up to the year 1830, the people of Texas had taken but little concern
in the series of political convulsions which had so closely followed one
another in the interior of Mexico. So long as they were left unmolested
in the enjoyment of their own rights, their natural disposition for peace
restrained them from participating in the internal commotions of the other
States. But their rapidly growing strength, and steady adherence to
republican principles, began now to attract the notice and excite the jealousy
of the Supreme Government. This was plainly evinced by the passage
of the arbitrary law of the 6th of April, 1830, by which the further
introduction or immigration of American settlers into Texas was expressly
and totally prohibited for the future. Military posts were established over
the province; the civil authorities were trampled under foot, and the people
of Texas, for a time, were subjected to the capricious tyranny of unrestrained
military misrule.

In 1832, Bustamente had established himself upon the ruins of the


federal constitution. The colonists now flew to arms. On the 26th of
June, with greatly inferior numbers, they besieged and took the fort at
Velasco. They then attacked the garrison at Anahuac, and reduced that
also. This achievement was shortly followed by the reduction of the garrison
at Nacogdoches, and, in December of the same year, upon the suspension
of hostilities between Generals Santa Anna and Bustamente, the
colonists found themselves once more in the quiet enjoyment of the rights
guarantied to them by the constitution and the laws under which they
consented to become Mexican citizens.

1833. Texas, now conscious of her integral strength, and anxious to be
erected into a separate State, in conformity with the decree of the 7th of
May, 1824, which had promised and secured to her a separate constitution,
so soon as she was in possession of the necessary elements of self-government,
assembled a general convention at San Felipe, for the purpose of
drafting an instrument suited to the wants and peculiar character and habits
of her people. Accordingly, in the spring of the same year, Stephen
F. Austin was commissioned to present the constitution agreed upon, with
a petition for the fulfilment of the said decree of the 7th of May. The respectful
petition of the people of Texas was treated with disdain, and their
commissioner incarcerated in a dungeon.

1835. Affairs were now verging to an important crisis. General Antonio
Lopez de Santa Anna had openly declared in favor of centralism,
which, however specious in its pretences, was really based upon the downfall
of the State Governments, and the consolidation of all power, civil
and military, in the hands of a single individual. Many of the States had
recourse to arms, in support of their sovereignty, and Santa Anna took the
field against them. The blood-stained march of the usurper was invariably
attended with the most triumphant success. One by one, the States
toppled and fell. The Legislature of Coahuila and Texas was dissolved at
the point of the bayonet. The noble State of Zacatecas, battling to the
last for her liberties, and weltering in the life-blood of her butchered citizens,
was forced to yield to the relentless terms of the dictator. Mexican
liberty fled, and found her only place of refuge among the Anglo-Americans
of Texas.

Corresponding committees of safety and vigilance were now formed in
all the municipalities of the province. With a single voice, they declared
for the support of the constitution, and an immediate appeal to arms.
There was no alternative left them, and the people of Texas plunged into
the contest for the protection of their liberties. On the 28th of September,
1835, they defeated a detachment of Mexicans at Gonzales. On the
9th of October, they stormed and took the strong fortress of Goliad. In
the same month, they invested the city of San Antonio de Bexar. On the
28th, they fought the battle of Conception, and with ninety-two men obtained
a signal victory over four hundred Mexican regulars. On the 3d
of November, they captured the garrison at Sepantillan. Shortly after,
they defeated the enemy at San Patricio. On the 8th, the Mexicans were
again discomfited, in the vicinity of San Antonio. On the 26th, they were
once more routed, with very considerable loss. On the 5th of December,
the town of San Antonio was stermed by three hundred Americans, under
the gallant Milam, and, after five days' incessant fighting, General Cos
was forced to capitulate, and thirteen hundred Mexicans were set at liberty,


on their parole of honor “that they would not, in any way, (thereafter,)
oppose the re-establishment of the federal constitution of 1824.” Thus ended
the first campaign, and the tri-colored flag of the constitution still continued
to wave in Texas—but of all Mexico, in Texas alone.

November 3, 1835. In the mean time, the delegates of the people had
assembled in “general consultation” at San Felipe de Austin. Their
deliberations resulted in a solemn declaration that they had taken up arms
in defence of the republican principles of the federal constitution of 1824;
that they would continue faithful to the Mexican confederacy, so long as it
should be governed by the constitution and laws that were framed for the
protection of their political rights; that they were no longer morally or
civilly bound by the compact of union, but that, stimulated by the generosity
and sympathy common to a free people, they offered their support
and assistance to such of the members of the confederacy as would take up
arms against military despotism. This declaration met with no response
from the interior, and Texas was left alone and single-handed to carry on
the war against the forces of the dictator.

Before the dissolution of the “Consultation,” a provisional government
was organized, and the 1st of March, 1836, appointed for the meeting of a
new convention.

In the month of February, 1836, General Santa Anna appeared on the
river San Antonio, in Texas, at the head ofa well-appointed army of
eight thousand men. On the 21st he entered the town of San Antonio de
Bexar, and the Texian garrison, one hundred and fifty in number, retired
within the walls of the Alamo. On the 6th of March, after an incessant
bombardment of several days, the Alamo was taken by assault, and Travis,
Bowie, and Crockett, with their little band of heroes, were all put to
the sword. The Mexican loss before this fort, in killed and wounded,
amounted to near fifteen hundred. On the 18th of March, near Goliad,
the Texians under Fannin were surrounded and attacked by a much superior
force of Mexicans under Urrea, in the middle of an open prairie.
The enemy were at first beaten off, but the next morning receiving a strong
reinforcement with artillery from Goliad, the Texian troops, being completely
hemmed in, and cut off entirely from water, surrendered on condition
of being released on parole, and transported to the United States.
The terms of the capitulation were shamefully violated, and Fannin and
his comrades were treacherously massacred in cold blood.

Notwithstanding the near approach of the Mexican forces, reeking as
they were from their recent victories in the interior, and headed by a leader
whom they believed to be invincible, the newly-elected convention met at
Washington at the appointed time, and, in conformity with their instructions,
on the 2d day of March, 1836, made a formal and absolute declaration
of independence. They then proceeded to frame a constitution, to be
submitted to the people of independent Texas for adoption; and, after
organizing a Government adinterim, composed of a President, Vice President,
and Cabinet, they adjourned in time for many of their number to
join the patriot army under General Houston before his meeting with the
enemy. On the 21st of April Texian independence was sealed and consecrated
by the blood of its enemies on the field of San Jacinto. The Mexican
General and President was there met by General Houston, the division
he commanded in person totally annihilated, he himself was made


prisoner, and became a suppliant for the poor boon of his forfeited life,
at the hands of a magnanimous victor. On the 24th of April the shattered
remnant of the Mexican army, amounting in all to only four thousand
wornout and dispirited wretches, commenced their retreat in the most
miserable condition, and were permitted to leave the country with all
possible celerity, in accordance with the terms of the armistice agreed
upon with their captive leador and his next in command.

It is thus that Texian independence has been achieved. The justice of
this Government has proclaimed to the world its acknowledgment of that
independence, and its recognition of Texas as one of the sovereignties of the
earth. The undersigned feels emboldened by these high reflections, and
approaches, with an anxious solicitude, but a just confidence, the proposition
to unite the two people under one and the same Government.

Numerous examples of the amalgamation of sovereignties may be found
in the history of nations, but force, and not a mutual affection and interest,
has been the general inducement to the formation of such bonds, and it is,
perhaps, impossible to find in the annals of any age a complete precedent
of the one now under discussion. Texas seeks to be annexed, first and
foremost, because she is a nation of the same blood with the people of the
United States. The history of this country is her history. She claims
annexation by the kindred ties of blood, language, institutions; by a common
origin, by a common history, and by a common freedom. Her gallant
sons were born upon your soil, and they exult in the conviction that at
Goliad, San-Antonio, Conception, and San Jacinto, they attested the legitimacy
of their Anglo-American blood; and, appealing to victories in the
cause of liberty, they ask if the single star of Texas is not worthy to be
added to the brilliant cluster on their mother flag.

In the short period of two years Texas has revolted, formed a provisional
Government, declared her independence, achieved it by the sword,
formed and adopted a civil constitution, established a permanent Government,
and obtained at the hands of one of the most powerful Governments
in the world an acknowledgment of her independence. She has a territory
estimated at near two hundred thousand square miles; a population of one
hundred thousand, capable of promptly throwing into the field an army of eight
thousand strong; and such is the fertility of her soil, and the industry of
her people, that, besides the productions necessary for the support of her
population, her exports of cotton will probably this year amount to fifty thousand
bales. Her revenue, arising from imposts and taxes under a law of the
late Congress, without reference to the income accruing from the sales of
the public domain, has been estimated at half a million of dollars. The
great extent of her public domain, capable of sustaining a population of
ten millions, embracing every variety of soil, and blessed with a climate
most propitious for agricultural pursuits, justifies the assertion that Texas
is, for her population, a nation of equal resources with any other on the
globe. The undersigned, therefore, feels confident that the honorable the
Secretary of State will at once perceive that the people of Texas, in
assigning their affection for the people of the United States as their principal
reason for desiring annexation, are amply provided with all the resources
to become of themselves a powerful nation.

Thus, then, it is that Texas, in seeking to place herself among the States
of the Union, is prompted mainly by a filial reverence for the constitution


and the people of the United States. She has no expectation of an invasion,
much less of a reconquest, at the hands of Mexico. The humiliating
defeat and capture of General Santa Anna at San Jacinto is too fresh upon
the memories of her soldiery to justify the indulgence of any such apprehensions.
Nor does she seek annexation as a shield of protection against
the interference of European monarchies. Since the recognition of her
independence by the Government of this country, she has too much reliance
upon the wisdom and the justice of England and France to suppose
that either of the crowned heads of those two nations will occupy any other
than positions of the most decided neutrality with reference to the difficulties
between Mexico and herself; and should this proposition of annexation
not be acceded to by this Government, she confidently expects at the hands
of every civilized nation of Europe the honors of a recognition as a preliminary
step to the formation of treaties of amity and commerce.

In reviewing the interests of the two republics, involved in this question
of annexation, the undersigned cannot concede that the United States encounters
an equal sacrifice with the people of Texas. Texas brings to this
negotiation not only the resources already recapitulated, but her sovereignty.
She brings too, that which in the eyes of the naval Powers of
Europe, will constitute the material ground for the formation of the most
liberal commercial treaties, viz: her immense forests of live oak, comprising,
according to the estimate of President Houston, in his message of the
5th of May, 1837, “four-fifths of all that species of timber now in the world.”
She brings too, a market for all the various manufactures and for all the agricultural
products of the United States, excepting those of cotton and sugar,
and these she will contribute from her own soil to swell the already colossal
amount of the exports of this nation. The territory, and with it the enterprise
of the country will be extended; her political power will be increased,
and the undersigned trusts that he will not be considered intrusive in expressing
his deep conviction that the Union of these States will be strengthened
by the annexation of a people whose proudest impulses are for its
continuance and glory.

What advantage the United States brings to this negotiation, the undersigned
will not presume to suggest. Her immense resources, her splendid
fleets, her power to raise armies, her magnificent government, her
unexampled career of prosperity, her incomparable administration of justice,
and finally, all her attributes of greatness, are sources of as much congratulation
to the people of Texas as they can possibly be to herself.
What Texas wishes at the hands of the Government of this Union is simply
annexation, an amalgamation of flags; and the undersigned assures the
honorable the Secretary of State that this is the solitary advantage
which he seeks to gain in this negotiation, but which, he begs leave to say,
he hopes to accomplish upon the high principle of a strict adherence to the
just rights and dignity of the sovereignty of the Texian nation.

The undersigned will not conceal from the honorable the Secretary of
State, his apprehensions that any delay in the conclusion of the treaty of
annexation may be fatal to its ultimate accomplishment. Diplomatic relations
with foreign Powers are now in the progress of being established, and
the result of these interchanges will be commercial treaties, involving difficulties
which may be insurmountable in any subsequent arrangement of
the question, and, therefore, the undersigned is especially instructed to urge,


with as little delay as possible, the immediate discussion and negotiation of
a treaty of annexation. Texas is not disposed to yield to any foreign nation
the privileges of her coast, involving the command of the Gulf of Mexico,
nor can she concede them to the United States, unless in a treaty of
Union. As an independent Power, her interests would conflict with those
of the United States, and without annexation, her struggle in the formation
of commercial treaties would most naturally be directed to the establishment
of the principle of a preference of her cotton and other products in
foreign markets over those of the United States, and such relations, when
once established, would, it will be at once perceived, very much embarrass
if not render totally impracticable, a treaty of annexation.

It is a matter not to be disguised, that Texas must chiefly people her
extensive domain from the United States. With a soil better adapted to
the cultivation of cotton and sugar than that of this country, and with all
the benefits of commercial treaties concentrated upon the advancement of
these two interests, she would present herself as a powerful rival to the
agriculture of this Union. With the same political institutions, a cheaper
soil, and superior advantages to the cotton and sugar planter, she would
drain this country of much of its most valuable labor and population, but
whether to such an extent as seriously to affect the interest of the United
States, the undersigned will not presume to suggest. Texas, too, as an
independent nation, must, in the regulation of her land system, present, in
the cheapness of her prices, the highest inducements to emigration; and
will, no doubt, soon claim the attention of that trans-Atlantic enterprise
and capital which now flow into the United States.

The undersigned begs leave most respectfully to suggest to the honorable
the Secretary of State, that in the event of Texas remaining in the
attitude of an independent Power, there will arise, from the very strict
resemblance of the people and the institutions of the two countries, many
questions of conflicting interest, the adjustment of which will be most
difficult and painful. It would be impossible for the people of Texas to
regard those of the United States in the character of foreigners and separated
from one another by only an imaginary line. It may fairly be
predicted that the local authorities of the two Powers would come into
frequent and violent collision. The administration of the law would be
interrupted or its penalties evaded; and, in the general entanglement of
jurisdictions upon the frontier, it is feared that public justice would not be
well sustained. It would be impracticable for either Power to enforce its
revenue system, and should the tariffs of the two countries differ essentially,
as must be the case, nothing but the enforcement of the most cruel and
unpopular laws could possibly secure the just collection of custom-house

The undersigned, in discussing this question, begs to call the attention
of the honorable the Secretary of State to the fact, that the annexation of
Texas would ensure to the United States the complete command of the
Gulf of Mexico. There is no point on the whole coast of that magnificent
sea more admirably suited to the purposes of a naval depot than
Galveston, and, situated as it is, in the midst of interminable groves of live
oak, ships of war might be built and equipped for sea, as it were within
sight of the very forests out of which they were constructed. This country
having already a vast interest to protect on the shores of the Gulf of


Mexico, the concentrated trade of the West, at New Orleans, of Alabama,
at Mobile, and of the Florida cities, would find, in the possession of Texas,
the means of occupying a position of decided supremacy over the waters
of the Gulf; and it is questioned whether even the possession of Cuba
would bring with it those facilities of controlling and keeping in check
the pretension of a rival Power, which would accrue from the extension of
the limits of the United States to the line of the Rio del Norte.

It is most respectfully suggested whether the annexation of Texas would
not contribute to ensure the peace of the Indian frontier of the two countries,
and thus extend to the farthest southwest the boundaries of civilization
and the protection and privileges of order and good government. By
her admission into the Union, the present Southwestern States could be
easily protected from the numerous tribes of the Camanches and other
savages now accumulated on their frontier, and it is questioned whether
any thing would so impress the minds of the Indian warriors with a sense
of our power as the union of two people, whom, even divided and singlehanded,
they found to be invincible in arms.

The undersigned most respectfully represents to the honorable the Secretary
of State, that in this paper he does not presume to have presented all the
inducements to the union of the two republics. He has not thought it respectful
to trespass upon the attention of the honorable the Secretary of State, either
by an extended detail of the resources of Texas, or of the mutual benefits
involved in a treaty of annexation. The mineral wealth of the country,
comprising valuable mines of silver and lead, immense strata of iron and
coal, and salt-springs in great abundance, has not been properly appreciated.
Nor has the undersigned thought it necessary to allude to the immense
fur trade which would be thrown into the lap of the enterprise of
the United States by the annexation of Texas. The great aid and facilities
which Texas, as an integral part of this Union, might render to the
adventurous traders, who, in caravans, penetrate from Missouri to Santa
Fé, and in general to the inland trade of the United States, with the
countries bordering on the Pacific, have all been left unexplained; and
the undersigned throws himself upon the courtesy ef the honorable the
Secretary of State in desiring him to believe that, as he has not entered
into any of the details of such a treaty of annexation as Texas might propose,
but confined himself to the submission of the proposition itself, so he
has not thought fit to discuss severally all the various interests involved,
but merely has subjected them to a general, and, he trusts, a candid

In closing this paper, the undersigned appeals to the honorable the Secretary
of State, and referring him to the details of the history of the Texian revolution
herein set forth, asks in the name of national honor, humanity, and
justice, if a nation whose career has been marked, like that of Mexico, by
a constant violation of the most solemn treaty obligations, by a series of
the most licentious revolutions, by a most shameful prostitution of the
lives, the liberties, and the property of her people, and, in short, by
every act of perfidy and cruelty recorded in the history of barbarians, has
not thereby forfeited all claims to the respect of the Goverments of civilized
nations? Look to her continued interruptions of the peaceable citizens
of Texas, industriously engaged in the improvements of their estates
and in the actual aggrandizement of the Mexican empire; to her demolition


by military force of the constitution of 1824; to her bloody war of
extermination under President Santa Anna; to her butchery of those gallant
Texians who surrendered their arms under the sacred flag of a capitulation
in which their lives were guarantied; and pronounce, if the cnormity
of her misdeeds entitles to be any longer considered, the undersigned
will not say a nation of responsibility, but even of humanity. The undersigned,
however, forbears to continue this appeal, so irrelevant, and perhaps
so unnecessary, to the due consideration of the subject under discussion.
The world will do ample justice to the magnanimity of Texas in
forbearing to visit upon the heads of the recreant tyrant and his captured
host that retaliation which their offences against the laws of nations and
the rights of mankind so signally deserved.

In conclusion, the undersigned most respectfully begs leave to congratulate
the honorable the Secretary of State upon the spectacle exhibited in
this discussion, and which is so honorable a commentary upon the excellency
of the Government of this country, viz: a sovereign, free, and warlike
people, fresh from the field of their own victories and glory, sceking
to surrender their nationality as the price of a place among the United
States, to become participants of the wisdom of its laws, and the renown of
its arms.

The undersigned, minister plenipotentiary and envoy extraordinary
of the republic of Texas, apologizes to the honorable the Secretary of
State of the United States, for the great length of this note, and begs to
tender to the honorable the Secretary of State renewed assurances of his
most distinguished consideration.

Secretary of State of the United States.

To General MEMUCAN HUNT, &c.:

The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has had the
honor to receive the note of his excellency General Hunt, envoy extraordinary
and minister plenipotentiary of Texas, dated the 4th instant,
proposing a negotiation for the purpose of annexing that country to the
United States.

That communication has been laid before the President, who has considered
it with just sensibility. In giving to the undersigned instructions
to present, in reply, a prompt and decisive indication of the course
it has been deemed necessary to adopt, the President indulges the confident
expectation that no unfriendly spirit towards the Government or the
people of Texas will or can be imputed to the United States.

Neither the duties nor the settled policy of the United States permit
them to enter into an examination of the accuracy of the historical facts
related by General Hunt, nor to allow them, if even admitted to be correct,
to control the decision of the question presented by him. The
United States were foremost in acknowledging the independence of
Mexico, and have uniformly desired and endeavored to cultivate relations
of friendship with that Power. Having always, since the formation of


their Government, been exempt from civil wars, they have learnt the
value of internal quiet, and have consequently been anxious yet passive
spectators of the feuds with which their neighbor has been afflicted.
Although in the controversy between Texas and Mexico, circumstances
have existed, and events have occurred, peculiarly caculated to enlist the
sympathies of our people, the effort of the Government has been to look
upon that dispute also, with the same rigid impartiality with which it has
regarded all other Mexican commotions.

In determining with respect to the independence of other countries, the
United States have never taken the question of right between the contending
parties into consideration. They have deemed it a dictate of duty
and policy to decide upon the question as one of fact merely. This was
the course pursued with respect to Mexico herself. It was adhered to
when analogous events rendered it proper to investigate the question of
Texian independence. That inquiry was made with due circumspection,
and the result was not arrived at until its probable consequences had been
accurately weighed. The possibility of a collision of interests, arising,
among other causes, from the alleged superior aptitude of the climate and
soil of Texas for the growth of some of the staples of the United States,
was not overlooked. A sense of duty and a reverence for consistency,
however, it was considered, left this Government no alternative, and it
therefore led the way in recognising Texas. A hope was certainly entertained
that this act, and the motives that conduced to it, even if no other
considerations were to have influence, would point out to the Government
of Texas the propriety not only of cherishing intimate and amicable relations
with this country, but of abstaining from other connexions abroad
which might be detrimental to the United States. Apart from this, however,
it was presumed that Government would enter upon the execution of
the intentions intimated by its envoy extraordinary, with respect to connexions
with foreign Powers, with a full understanding of the just and
liberal commercial stipulations existing between the United States and
other nations. A pervading principle of those compacts is impartial
treatment of the citizens, vessels, and productions of the parties in their
respective territories. As it was not to be believed that the commercial
allies of the United States would swerve from their engagements, no apprehension
was felt that the interests of this country would suffer from
the arrangements which Texas might enter into with them.

The question of the annexation of a foreign independent State to the
United States has never before been presented to this Government.
Since the adoption of their constitution, two large additions have been
made to the domain originally claimed by the United States. In acquiring
them this Government was not actuated by a mere thirst for sway
over a broader space. Paramount interests of many members of the
confederacy, and the permanent well being of all, imperatively urged
upon this Government the necessity of an extension of its jurisdiction
over Louisiana and Florida. As peace, however, was our cherished
policy, never to be departed from unless honor should be perilled by adhering
to it, we patiently endured for a time serious inconveniences and
privations, and sought a transfer of those regions by negotiations and not
by conquest.

The issue of those negotiations was a conditional cession of these countries


to the United States. The circumstance, however, of their being colonial
possessions of France and Spain, and therefore dependent on the metropolitan
Governments, renders those transactions materially different from
that which would be presented by the question of the annexation of Texas.
The latter is a State with an independent Government, acknowledged as
such by the United States, and claiming a territory beyond, though bordering
on the region ceded by France, in the treaty of the 30th of April,
1803. Whether the constitution of the United States contemplated the
annexation of such a State, and if so, in what manner that object is to
be effected, are questions, in the opinion of the President, it would be inexpedient,
under existing eircumstances, to agitate.

So long as Texas shall remain at war, while the United States are at
peace with her adversary, the proposition of the Texian minister plenipotentiary
necessarily involves the question of war with that adversary.
The United States are bound to Mexico by a treaty of amity and commerce,
which will be scrupulously observed on their part, so long as it
can be reasonably hoped that Mexico will perform her duties and respect
our rights under it. The United States might justly be suspected of a
disregard of the friendly purposes of the compact, if the overture of General
Hunt were to be even reserved for future consideration, as this would
imply a disposition on our part to espouse the quarrel of Texas with Mexico;
a disposition wholly at variance with the spirit of the treaty, with
the uniform policy and the obvious welfare of the United States.

The inducements mentioned by General Hunt, for the United States to annex
Texas to their territory, are duly appreciated, but powerful and weighty
as certainly they are, they are light when opposed in the scale of reason to
treaty obligations and respect for that integrity of character by which the
United States have sought to distinguish themselves since the establishment
of their right to claim a place in the great family of nations. It is
presumed, however, that the motives by which Texas has been governed
in making this overture, will have equal force in impelling her to preserve,
as an independent Power, the most liberal commercial relations with the
United States. Such a disposition will be cheerfully met in a corresponding
spirit by this Government. If the answer which the undersigned has
been directed to give to the proposition of General Hunt should unfortunately
work such a change in the sentiments of that Government as to
induce an attempt to extend commercial relations elsewhere, upon terms
prejudicial to the United States, this Government will be consoled by a
consciousness of the rectitude of its intentions, and a certainty that
although the hazard of transient losses may be incurred by a rigid adherence
to just principles, no lasting prosperity can be secured when they are

The undersigned avails himself of the occasion to offer General Hunt
renewed assurances of his very distinguished consideration,

Washington, August 25, 1887.


General Hunt to Mr. Forsyth.

Washington city, September 12, 1887.


The undersigned, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary
of the republic of Texas, has the honor to acknowledge the receipt
of the note of the honorable Mr. Forsyth, Secretary of State of the United
States, of the 25th of August, in reply to the proposition which he had the
honor to submit on the 4th of the same month, to negotiate a treaty for the
annexation of Texas to the United States.

The undersigned was aware that, in recognising the independence of
Texas, the question of right was not taken into consideration by the Government
of the United States. It was with a proper understanding of the
settled policy of this Government in similar cases, that the claim of Texas
to the justice of a recognition was placed by his colleague and himself upon
her actual existence as an independent Power, and the impossibility of a
reconquest at the hands of Mexico. Although, by the issue of that negotiation,
the question of fact was satisfactorily determined, it was not deemed
inappropriate, after the misrepresentations of the late envoy extraordinary
and minister plenipotentiary of Mexico, to preface the proposition for the
annexation of Texas to the United States with a plain statement of the
causes which led to, and the events which grew out of, her separation from
Mexico, so conclusively showing that they can never be reunited;
and, for an additional reason, which he will presently show, the undersigned
adheres to the opinion that the simple narrative of facts which the honorable
Secretary of State declines examining into, cannot be regarded as
irrelevant in a proposition for the annexation of Texas to the United States.

The venerable ex-President General Jackson was so strongly impressed
with a belief, at one time during his administration, that the negotiation
then pending for the acquisition of Texas would be brought to a
speedy and favorable issue, that he tendered the office of Governor of the
Territory of Texas to the late Governor H. G. Burton, of North Carolina,
to be entered upon so soon as the treaty of cession should be completed.
See a publication on the subject of Governor Burton's appointment.
The same principles, it appears to the undersigned, were involved in the
negotiation for the acquisition of Texas from Mexico, previously to the
recognition of the independence of the latter by Spain, which are now presented,
by the question of the annexation of Texas to the United States previously
to the recognition of her independence by Mexico; and had his excellency
the President of the United States entertained any inclination to
negotiate a treaty for the annexation of Texas, a hope which had been
fondly cherished, as he had expressed a determination to carry out the
measures and conform to the general policy of his venerable predecessor,
it does appear to the undersigned, but with distinguished deference to the
honorable Mr. Forsyth's opinions to the contrary, that neither a sense of
duty nor the settled policy of this Government, during the administration
of the venerable ex-President, would have prevented an examination into
the accuracy of the historical facts accompanying the proposition. That brief
compendium, which is believed to be correct, will show that there is as little
prospect of the recovery of Texas by Mexico at this time as there was of


the reconquest of Mexico by Spain, at the time that General Jackson believed
that the charge d'affaires (Mr. Butler) of this Government had succeeded
in negotiating the acquisition of Texas. If the act of the annexation of
Texas would involve the U. States in a war with Mexico at this time, the
undersigned is at a loss to perceive why a similar result was not anticipated
with Spain in event of a cession of Texas by Mexico. Texas asked nothing
more of the United States, in proposing to negotiate for her annexation,
than the United States had previously desired of Mexico, when General
Jackson was at the head of this Government; for Mexico was then as much
at war with Spain as Texas now is with Mexico; and it is believed that
as friendly treaty and commercial relations existed between Spain and the
United States at that time as are now maintained between the United
States and Mexico.

In addition to the fact that this Government, when administered by the
sage of the Hermitage, proposed the acquisition of Texas by purchase from
Mexico, many years before the recognition of her independence by Spain,
the undersigned most respectfully invites the attention of the honorable
the Secretary of State to the report of the House of Representatives of
the State of Mississippi, contained in a newspaper which he herewith presents.
That report, which is said to have been adopted unanimously,
alludes in strong terms to the subject of the right of this Government to
admit Texas into its confederacy; and the undersigned refers to it
thus particularly, that he may be sustained by high authority, when he
assures the Secretary of State of the United States, that, in submitting
the proposition of annexation, it was far from his intention to ask the Government
of the United States to accede to a measure which Mr. Forsyth
was instructed to say was believed to involve unjust principles. The
undersigned assures the Secretary of State of the United States, that he
could not knowingly consent to be the medium of presenting any proposition
asking of the United States a disregard of just principles.

The honorable Mr. Forsyth will pardon the undersigned for expressing
the opinion which appears to him undeniable—that a sovereign Power has
as perfect a right to dispose of the whole of itself, and a second Power to
acquire it, as it has to dispose of only a part of itself, and a second Power
to acquire that part only; and that the acquisition of the whole territory
of a sovereign Power could no more be objected to on the ground of constitutional
right, than the acquisition of a part of that territory only. The
material difference alluded to by Mr. Forsyth, between the annexation of
independent Texas, by her own voluntary act, and the acquisition of the
colonial provinces of Louisiana and Florida, by the act of their respective
Governments, is acknowledged. But the difference is conceived to be altogether
in favor of the former, for the reason that the annexation of Texas
would be an act of free will and choice on the part of the Government and
people, who own, and actually occupy the very territory proposed to be
transferred, while the latter would seem to have been the result of an arbitrary
right on the part of the metropolitan Governments, to dispose of the
territorial possessions ceded by them, without regard to the wishes of the
inhabitants residing thereon.

After the assurance of the honorable Mr. Forsyth, that a sense of duty
and a reverence for consistency, left his Government no alternative in
leading the way in recognising the independence of Texas, the undersigned


confesses some surprise at the intimation of Mr. Forsyth, that the circumstance
of her having been first recognised by the United States, should in
any manner influence the foreign intercourse of Texas. However much
the Government of Texas may be disposed to encourage the most friendly
relations with the Government of the United States, the undersigned assures
the honorable Secretary of State, that the Government of Texas
does not consider that any particular foreign policy was implied or made
binding upon her by the circumstance of her independence having been
first recognised by the Government of the United States. The representatives
of Texas, in their interchanges with foreign Powers, will not accept
the recognition of her independence, unless it is unconditional in this respect.
In all their negotiations and treaties with foreign Powers, the best
interests of their own Government and people will doubtless be consulted,
and must indicate the policy which they will be directed to adopt. With even
the same permanent policy in its commercial interchanges with the United
States, which may exist with the most favored nation, the undersigned
cannot guaranty for his Government that any advantages accrue
therefrom to the manufacturing interests of the United States; for it is
understood that that great interest is mainly sustained in the United States
by the protection afforded by high duties against the competition of similar
interests in foreign nations, where labor and the facilities for manufacturing
are more available, and at cheaper rates. Such being the case, it is
apparent that, even should no detriment accrue to the manufacturing interest
of the United States from the vicinity of Texas as an independent
nation, certainly no advantages affecting that interest can be anticipated.

The apprehension of the honorable Mr. Forsyth, that the refusal of this
Government to negotiate for a treaty of annexation, thereby declining all
the commercial and other advantages which would be secured by that
measure, may induce an attempt on the part of the Government of Texas
to extend its commercial relations elsewhere on terms most favorable to
its own welfare and prosperity is perfectly natural; but the undersigned
assures Mr. Forsyth that such endeavors will not proceed from any unkind
feelings to the Government and people of the United States; and he
would take this occasion to reiterate the friendly disposition of the Government
and people of Texas towards the Government and people of the
United States, which he had the honor to communicate in his note of the
4th of August. Should, however, the foreign commercial and other relations
of the republic of Texas necessarily become such as seriously to
affect the interests of the United States, or any portion thereof, the undersigned
conceives that it would be unreasonable for the Government and
people who had been freely proffered all she could bestow and yet declined
the offer, to complain of her on the ground of looking to her own interest
primarily. Texas has generously offered to merge her national sovereignty
in a domestic one, and to become a constituent part of this great confederacy.
The refusal of this Government to accept the overture must
forever screen her from the imputation of wilfully injuring the great interests
of the United States, should such a result accrue from any commercial
or other relations which she may find it necessary or expedient to
enter into with foreign nations.

Should it be found necessary or expedient hereafter, for the proper promotion
of the interests of her own citizens, to lay high duties upon the


cotton-bagging so extensively manufactured in the Western States, and
upon the pork and beef and bread-stuffs, so abundantly produced in that
region, such as would amount to an almost total prohibition of the introduction
of those articles into the country, much as her Government and
people would regret the necessity of the adoption of such a policy, she
would be exculpated from the slightest imputation of blame for taking care
of her own welfare and prosperity after having been refused admission
into this Union.

The efforts which the Government of the undersigned is making to open
a commercial intercourse with Great Britain and France, it is believed,
will succeed. Apart from the disposition of those two Powers to avail
themselves of the great advantages which must result to every nation with
which Texas may form intimate commercial relations, it is believed that
they, as well as the United States, cherish a liberal sympathy for a people
who have encountered the most cruel treatment at the hands of Mexico—
a nation which has so little regarded the laws of civilized countries, in
prosecuting a savage war of extermination against the citizens of the
Government of the undersigned, and that too, against a people who
proudly claim the realms of Britain and France as the homes of their ancestry.
And the undersigned expresses a belief that the crowned heads of
England and France, and their majesties' ministers, will not be without
some feelings of gratification when they become apprized of the successful
civil and military career, although on a limited scale it is true, of the descendants
of British and French progenitors in Texas. General Houston,
the President of the republic, is a native of the United States, but descended
from English and Irish parentage. He commanded at San Jacinto,
in one of the best battles, it is supposed, which have been fought
since the introduction of fire-arms. The valiant General Mirabeau Lamar.
Vice President of Texas, who commanded the cavalry in the same
fight, is likewise a native of the United States, but claims his descent with
pride from the French. And the undersigned again avows his persuasion
that the crowned heads of England and France, and their majesties' ministers,
will not be altogether insensible to feelings of sympathy and regard
for a people whose Government is headed by individuals boasting their
descent from the distinguished races over which their majesties preside.

Reason would seem to indicate that the foreign policy of Texas will be dissimilar
to that of the United States. Texas is now, and, it is believed, will
continue to be, an almost purely agricultural country. The agricultural interest
will claim the almost exclusive attention of the Government. Possibly,
from the circumstance of her climate and soil being so well adapted
to the growth of hemp, and the great demand for rope and bagging in a
cotton-growing country, the manufactures of these solitary articles may be
encouraged at an early period, but with these single exceptions, it is not apprhended
that the capital and labor of the country can be so profitably
employed in any other species of industry as in the planting interest. On
the other hand, the interests of the United States are numerous and greatly
diversified; and it is presumed that it was found necessary to establish
such a foreign policy as would best reconcile them and redound to the advantage
of each.

With the most rigid adherence to whatever is just and right, the Government
of Texas will naturally pursue such a course of policy, foreign


and domestic, as will best conduce to the increase of her wealth and population,
and thereby her national power and consideration. In its intercourse
abroad, it will endeavor to find those markets where her agricultural
products, cotton, sugar, rice, tobacco, &c., will obtain the highest prices,
and where such articles as may be needed for her home consumption may
be procured at the lowest rates. If these advantages are presented in a
commercial intercourse with the United States, the undersigned need not
say that the warm predilection of the Government and people of Texas for
the Government and people of the United States would render such an intercourse
as agreeable to the former as it would doubtless be advantageous
to both.

The undersigned most respectfully assures the honorable Mr. Forsyth,
and through him his excellency the President of the United States, that
the prompt and decisive rejection of the proposition for the annexation of
Texas to the United States will not be imputed to an unfriendly spirit to
the Government and people of Texas.

The undersigned, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of
the republic of Texas, with the greatest satisfaction, renews to the honorable
Mr. Forsyth, Secretary of State of the United States, the assurances
of his most distinguished consideration and regard.

Secretary of State of the United States.

Rice University
Date: 2010-06-07
Available through the Creative Commons Attribution license