Jones, Anson, 1798-1858, Memoranda and official correspondence relating to the Republic of Texas, its history and annexation (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1859)
BARRINGTON, TEXAS, June 28th, 1849.
ANSON JONES, the son of Solomon and Sarah Jones, was
born at the little settlement or neighborhood of Seekonk, [or
Seekonkville,] in the township of Great Barrington, Berkshire
county, Massachusetts, on the 20th day of January, A. D. 1798,
[another record says 1799.]
My father was a native of Weathersfield in the State of Connecticut,
but was brought up at Worcester, Mass. My mother,
whose maiden name was Strong, of East Windsor in the same
State (Conn.) My paternal grandfather was Joel Jones, of
Weathersfield, Conn., whose wife's maiden name was Hannah
Brewer. They both died when my father was a child, and he
was brought up by one of his maternal uncles, Mr. Brewer, of
Worcester, Mass. [My maternal grandfather was Timothy
Strong, of East Windsor, Conn., whose wife's maiden name was
Sarah Stricklin. The family still live in the old paternal mansion,
which descended, first, to my maternal uncle, David Strong,
and then to my cousin, David Strong, who, dying in youth, the
property now belongs to the heirs-at-law.] I am the youngest
but one of ten children, (seven daughters and three sons,) of
whom four of the daughters and myself survive at the time of
My own earliest recollections are of the village of Great
Barrington. Here my father resided until about the year 1805,
when he removed to a country part of the township of Great
Barrington, known as "Root Street," to a small farm which he
rented. Here, when quite small, I attended school kept by my
sister, Sarah Jones. The school-house was almost a mile from
my father's house, and on the line between Sheffield and Great
Barrington townships. Here I obtained the rudiments of my
education. [Grandfather T. Strong's children were by the first
wife, Eli, Samuel, Sarah, and David: by the second wife, Martin,
Levi, Timothy, and Deborah, (or Abi,) beside two who died
in infancy.] A little later, I went to school about two miles and
a half, "Egremont Plains," walking the distance summer and
winter, but do not now recollect the names of any of my teachers.
Here I obtained a fair English education. At a little later
period, and when about ten or eleven years of age, I went to
school to the Rev. Mr. Griswold, the rector of the Episcopal
Church in Great Barrington, and brother of Bishop Griswold,
and completed my English studies. In 1812, my father removed
to the township of West Stockbridge, in Berkshire county, to
a small farm which he rented there. [My father was five years
in the service of the United States during the Revolutionary
War, the whole of which service was in the army. He volunteered
In 1817 I took leave of my father, and never saw him but
twice afterward. I went to Litchfield, where my sisters were,
and made an arrangement to read medicine with Dr. Daniel
Sheldon of that town, and entered his office accordingly. He
put me into Boerhaave and Van Swieten, and I made no progress.
A year was thus lost. Finding myself incurring debts
more than was pleasant, I went to Goshen in the same county,
and engaged in teaching a country school, occupying my intervals
of leisure in reading such medical or other books as I could
borrow, for I was not able to buy any. Concluding my engagements
in Goshen I determined to go to Utica, N. Y., where my
eldest brother resided, which I did in 1818. He was engaged
in mercantile business on a small capital, and I entered his store
in the capacity of a clerk, at the same time I entered myself as
a student in the office of Dr. Amos G. Hull of that town, and
read whenever my other duties permitted. The only compensation
I received for my services in the store was my board. I
was obliged still to go in debt, and at the termination of one
year I again found it necessary to resort to teaching. My
brother's business in the mean time went badly, and on my resuming
my studies with Dr. Hull, after my school term had expired,
I went to board with a man by the name of Hinman, in
Utica, who professed some friendship for me. In 1820 I completed
my term of studies, and was licensed to practice, (by
Oneida Medical Society.) Soon afterward I went to Bainbridge,
in Chenango county, and failing of success in my profession at
this place, in consequence of the ground being entirely occupied
by an old and experienced physician, I was persuaded, after a
trial of little more than one year, and most unfortunately for
me, as it afterward proved, to purchase a stock of drugs and
medicine on account, and open a store in Norwich. I went to
the city of New York with flattering letters from Dr. Hull and
others, and, without difficulty, purchased the necessary stock
of medicines. I rented a store in Norwich and commenced
business. So soon as I got fairly under way my friend (?) Hinman
"There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough hew them how we will."
Looking backwards and forwards at my life from this point,
this seems emphatically true of myself. For sixteen years previously
I had struggled almost in vain against innumerable obstacles,
and finally abandoning myself to a fate which it appeared
I could not control or direct, I passively floated as it were upon
the tide which bore me to Texas; and the sixteen following
years have been to me comparatively prosperous and
successful ones. It is true I have encountered many hardships,
and suffered much physically and mentally; but I have succeeded
in every thing I attempted, and accomplished every
thing I undertook. My sixteen years previous to 1833 had
given me that schooling in the knowledge of the world at
thirty-five, which men properly trained in early life generally
have at twenty-five. In Texas, therefore, I commenced the
world anew, profiting by my severe experience in its roughest
ways. I have also had constantly before my eyes a conviction
from which I have been unable to escape, that somehow or
other the destiny of Texas was interwoven with my own, that
they were indissoluble, and that the one depended materially
upon the other. Every thing for the last sixteen years has
tended to confirm and strengthen this conviction.
When I landed at Brazoria, I had just seventeen dollars in
money, and a small stock of medicine worth about fifty dollars
more, and I owed more than two thousand dollars, principally
security debts, which I have since paid. I became involved in
these security debts in consequence of my connection with
Spear of a few months, and the villany of a man by the name
Having concluded to give Texas a trial, I immediately commenced
the practice of my profession at Brazoria, and soon
took the lead of all competitors in that county. I devoted
myself exclusively and earnestly to business, and soon had to
ride over a space of from 20 to 40 miles in each direction from
Brazoria. In the spring of 1834, the prevailing sickness set in
very early, and from that time to the 1st of September, I was
constantly occupied every day, and frequently at night, in
riding about and attending upon the sick; and scarcely a person
in the community escaped an attack more or less severe.
At the date above, I was at the house of Mr. Rhea Phillips,
on the Bernard, attending a case there, when I was myself
attacked with bilious remittent fever of a violent type. I rode,
however, to "Bell's Landing," where there was a steamboat
about to leave for Brazoria; and on her I went home, and
took my bed, which I did not leave again for more than two
months. I had two relapses, and came very near dying; made
my will, and felt perfectly resigned to leave the world, and had
no fears of the future. Contrary to my most confident expectation,
however, from the extremest point of depression and
debility, I began to get better, and finally recovered my health
entirely, but was a long time in regaining my strength. During
my sickness, my business was attended to by Dr. Berryman,
a gentleman who had just completed his medical studies in my
office, and who was, not long after, killed in a duel with R. A.
Stevenson. Late this fall, or early in the winter, (1834,) my
sister Mary came out from New York; and I rented and furnished
a house in Brazoria, and went to housekeeping. I sent
also to New York for my cousin, Dr. Ira Jones of N. Y., who
came out in the spring of 1835, completed his studies under my
care, and subsequently was associated with me in business.
[In 1834–'5, a charter or dispensation (the first in Texas)
was obtained for a Freemason's Lodge, to be called Holland
Lodge No. 36, from the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, to be held at
Brazoria. Of this lodge I was Master, from the time of its
formation until the winter of 1837–'8, at which time it was
removed to Houston, in Harris county. This winter, viz.,
At the close of this year, (1834,) I found myself apparently
permanently established, and in possession of a practice worth
in money and available property about five thousand dollars a
year, with a prospect of its increasing; and had I continued at
my business, and not been induced to join the army, and go
into public life, I might and probably would at this time have
been worth an independent fortune, and as wealthy as any man
in Texas; not, it is true, from the practice of medicine alone,
but from that and the investment of its proceeds in property,
which now would in most cases have yielded me an increase of
from ten to twenty fold.
[Up to this year (1834) my habit of body had been spare,
my weight being about 120 or 121 pounds. After my sickness
at Col. Wharton's, in 1836, I began to grow fleshy, and my
weight since has been increased to 150 or 155 pounds—height,
5 feet 8½ inches.]
This year (1835) the difficulties between Texas and Mexico
assumed a character which made it quite apparent that a separation
must take place, and that a protracted war would ensue.
I was one of those, however, who counselled forbearance, and
the maintenance of peace as long as the one was proper or the
other possible. I consequently did not join in the war-cry
early, and was not one of those who early this year secured the
appellation of "war-dogs," most of whom afterwards, when
the struggle actually came on, showed themselves true disciples
of Falstaff, and that they believed "discretion the better part
of valor," by leaving the country. I resisted all applications to
take part in premature proceedings of rashness, satisfied that
"sufficient for the day," when it came, would be "the evil
thereof." I therefore attended closely to my professional duties,
and was this year again eminently successful in business, though
My impressions of the Consultation, taken as a whole, were
unfavorable—it was near the close of the session. There
appeared to me a plenty of recklessness and selfishness, but
little dignity or patriotism. Still there were some good men
there. But I felt sick at heart at the prospect. I was introduced
to Bowie—he was dead drunk; to Houston—his appearance
was any thing but decent or respectable, and very
much like that of a broken-down sot and debauchee. The first
In taking the active and responsible part I did in the Columbia
meeting, I had no personal motive of any kind in view.
Office was then the farthest thing from my mind. I felt solicitous
to give a right direction to affairs, and perfectly willing to
let whoever wished have the carrying of them into execution.
I had kept aloof, and taken no part in bringing about or
accelerating the public difficulties, but now they were upon us,
I had no disposition to shrink from duty or responsibility. The
crisis had come, and it was time for every patriot to speak out;
but I solemnly declare, I was actuated by motives wholly
There was no mistaking the portents of things when the
year 1836 dawned upon Texas. Santa Anna and the Mexican
people were thoroughly aroused by the events of Bexar, and
evidences of an early and formidable invasion came with every
breeze from the west. I began to prepare for the storm. I
broke up housekeeping, and sent my sister home to New York
in February. In March came the news of the fall and massacre
of the Alamo, and I immediately enlisted as a volunteer
private soldier in Capt. Calder's company, 2d Regiment infantry,
and joined the army at the Beeson crossing of the Colorado,
two days before the retreat to the Brazos commenced. My
cousin, Ira Jones, I left at Brazoria to look after my interests,
and herewith instructions, as requested by him, that if the
place should have to be abandoned, he should join me in the
army, which he subsequently did. During the time the troops
were encamped in the Brazos bottom, the dysentery and
measles broke out, (April, 1836,) and at the very urgent solicitations
of Col. Sherman, and many of my friends and former
patients in the army, I consented to take the post of surgeon
to the 2d Regiment. It was necessary, in fact, for me to do so,
but I made it a condition of accepting, that I should be permitted
to resign so soon as the necessity of my acceptance of
the place should cease; and that, in the mean time, I should
be permitted to hold "my rank" as a private in the line. In
I saw but little of Gen. Houston, and had not much conversation
with him until the evening of the day we crossed the
Brazos at Groce's, when we took supper together with some
relatives of Mr. Groce, who were occupying his house temporarily.
He asked me, after supper, privately, what I thought
of the prospects. I told him the men were deserting, and if
the retreating policy were continued much longer, he would be
pretty much alone. He said there was a "traitor" in the army
among the officers, and asked me to guess who it was. I
immediately, without a moment's hesitation, replied that I
"guessed" it was one of his volunteer aids, Col. Perry. The
General said, I have intercepted a letter of his to the Cabinet;
he is endeavoring to have the command taken from me, and
wants it himself. I told him I had no confidence in Perry, and
thought him a reckless fool, but that he (Houston) might depend
upon it, there was a deep and growing dissatisfaction in
the camp, and that Perry's conduct was but an index of that
feeling. He seemed thoughtful and irresolute; said he hoped
yet to get a bloodless victory; and the conversation dropped,
with an expression of an earnest hope on my part, that the
next move he made would be towards the enemy. (April
On the morning of the day we left camp at Harrisburg and
crossed the bayou, a "general order" was issued, and a detail
was made to stay with the sick; and I and Dr. Phelps (hospital
surgeon) were of the number. I resolved, as I have done
on subsequent occasions, to "disobey the order." I, therefore,
having attended to my daily routine, handed over my sick to
On my return, after my long sickness at Col. Wharton's, I
found every thing in disorder; my office had been broken open,
and every thing taken from it that was portable and valuable,
even to my saddles, bridles, and blankets. My desk had also
been robbed of what money I had. Two lawyers had "squatted"
in one room of my office, and I was unable to get them
out for several weeks; when I succeeded, it produced a "challenge"
from my friend, the Chief Justice J. Collinsworth,
which I accepted, to fight with pistols at ten steps. It was,
however, settled, his object having been to "bluff," which,
when he found would not succeed, he got his friend, T. F.
McKinney, to get him out of the scrape. He ever after, however,
hated me, and being in the habit of drinking to excess,
threw himself away, and was finally lost in Galveston Bay the
following year. At the close of this year, (1836,) having
resigned my office in the army, I again prepared to resume my
practice, which now for some ten months had been interrupted.
There were many impolitic acts passed by the 1st Congress,
—such as the one reviving the corruptly purchased charter of
the "Agricultural Bank," [V. Act for relief of McKinney &
Williams, 1st vol. Laws of Texas]—but the one to which I have
more particularly alluded above, is the "Land Law," of this
year. The passage of that law vested, in my opinion, certain
rights and privileges which made it incumbent on the next
legislature to pass the land law of 1838, which, objectionable
though it may have been, was the best, under the circumstances,
which could have been passed at that time, without conflicting
with the equitable rights which had grown up under the former
[January, 1850.—I have been blamed for voting for the land
law of 1838. The reasons are partly stated above. There are
many others which influenced me. The colonization laws of Mexico
and of Coahuila had vested rights—also the Consultation and
Provisional Government, which had to be respected; and the
country would not have submitted to a disregard of them by
Congress. The evils are manifest which have grown out of that
law. The Committee (of which I was one) foresaw and predicted
them in their Report. The object was to make as good
a law as possible under the circumstances, which we did, and
presented it. Amendments were made which I disapproved
of; but I defy any man now, after twelve years' experience of
the law with its resulting evils, to draw up a bill which Anglo-Saxon
land-stealers cannot take advantage of, without violating
the rights which had inured to citizens of Texas under former
legislation by Mexico, Coahuila, and Texas herself. The Mexican
colonization system, which we had to carry out, was not
The called session of the 2d Congress was merged in the
regular session, and this lasted until January, at which time
Congress adjourned to meet again in May. In the recess between
the regular and adjourned sessions I visited Brazoria, and
spent the time partly in settling up my old business there, intending
to be ready to resume the practice after the adjourned
session. That came on, and I again returned to Houston, and completed
my term of service with the close of that session in June.
At this period I became engaged to be married to my present
wife, Mrs. Mary McCrory. The marriage was fixed for the last
of the month; in the mean time I again made a visit to Brazoria
on private business. While here I received a message from
the President, requesting me to come to Houston immediately,
—that he wished me to accept the appointment of Agent to the
United States for the purpose of procuring a navy for Texas. So
soon as I could arrange matters I returned to Houston, and when
I called on the President, he told me that he had changed his
mind about the service he wished to employ me in—that he had
tendered the appointment of Minister to the United States to P.
W. Grayson, (then a candidate for President,) but that he having
declined accepting it, he wished me to accept it, and let S. M.
Having despatched Col. Reilly to Washington City with
instructions on the subject of annexation, and given instructions
to Gen. McIntosh at Paris for settling the French difficulty,
I turned my attention to the Legislature for such action
as our situation required, and principally to the all-important
subject of finance. The currency of the country, or promissory
notes, had sunk so low that they no longer circulated as money.
A rigid economy was therefore enjoined, and an expenditure
based upon, while it should be within, the actual receipts of the
Government. As a temporary expedient, the issue of a limited
amount of exchequer or treasury bills was recommended, for
the double purpose of meeting a present emergency, and for facilitating
the operations of the revenue department of the Government.
Retrenchment was the watchword of the administration,
and rigidly was it enforced, as the pockets of all
[Oct., 1842. From this time I was never absent from the
seat of Government, except on (public) business. Note.—Jan.
1st, 1850. Having, during a period of more than ten years,
been called upon to act much in conjunction with Gen. S.
Houston, justice to myself, as well as to him, requires I
should give a summary of this connection, and an estimate of
his character. In 1835, I formed a very unfavorable opinion
of him on first acquaintance, regarding him as a miserable sot,
without dignity of character, and without principle of any
kind, and altogether reckless. In the campaign of 1836 I
became partially reconciled. From the time of his election to
the Presidency, I wholly disapproved many of his prominent
public acts, particularly during the 1st Congress in 1836–'7,
and continued opposed generally until 1842. His course that
winter (1841–'2) restored him to my confidence; but from that
time, and the close of that session of Congress, we gradually
drifted apart, until in 1848, when he joined the "free-soil
party," we separated forever. I have therefore, at two periods,
About this time (1842) I removed with my family to Washington,
and commenced boarding with J. L. Farquhar. This
year I made a purchase of M. Austin Bryan, of his quarter of
a league of land, near Washington, on which I now reside,
known as Barrington. I paid him about $400 in money, and a
medical bill for a small amount which he owed me. In Jan.,
1844, I rented the plantation of Gen. James R. Cook's widow,
adjoining my Barrington tract, and commenced farming on a
small scale; and at the same time building and making other
improvements on my own tract. I contracted with Mr. John
Campbell to build a house, kitchen, and smoke-house, and to
pay him $700, and furnish all the materials on the ground.
(Details omitted here, v. original.)
On the 5th of March, 1845, I removed to my new home,
"Barrington," named after my native town in Massachusetts.
On the 19th Feb., 1846, I surrendered the Government of
Texas into the hands of Gen. J. P. Henderson, Governor, and
Texas ceased her career as a Republic, and began that of a
State of the American Union. May she never have cause to
regret the change.
[52 pp. original. A page for each year of my life. Jan. 20th, 1850.]
THE Congress of Texas (2d) adjourned on the 24th of May.
This body, though not characterized by great talent, have done
much towards impressing a character on the institutions of the
country. The land business was found by them in confusion,
and surrounded by difficulties, and they did the best they could
under the circumstances. Much litigation must ensue; they
did all they could to prevent it. The national faith and credit
were sustained—these were all-important considerations.
Gen. Houston wrote me June 9th, tendering me the appointment
of Navy Agent, and requested me to return immediately
to Houston from Brazoria. [I had an interview with
him on the 22d June. I remained in Houston until 15th
NEW ORLEANS, July 25th.—The Collector of the port, or
the one acting as such, showed he was a genuine republican, by
treating me with the utmost rudeness and indifference; had
difficulty and delay in getting a permit to land one trunk;
and a small package he would not permit me to land without
sending it to the Custom House for inspection, so I abandoned
it; and he, at my request, scratched it off the baggage entry I
had made. [Note.—1852. So poorly stood Texas in 1838.
The Collector knew I was her accredited Minister.]
July 29th.—I shall be surprised at no one's committing suicide
after hearing of Col. Grayson's doing so. It is the first
time in my life that any one in the circle of my acquaintance
has done such an act; and it has shocked me more than the
death of a dozen others would have done in the usual course.
I believe party abuse has been the cause, acting upon some predisposition
to morbid melancholy. Col. Collinsworth's drowning
himself was a thing in course. I had expected it, as I knew
him to be deranged, and, when excited by liquor, almost mad.
In all the annals of suicide, perhaps no parallel to these two
cases can be found. Two years ago they were in this house,
and on their way to Washington together, as Commissioners
on the part of Texas to procure recognition, &c.; and, at the
time of their deaths, both candidates for the highest office in
the republic. Both committed suicide about the same time,
and at the distance of 2,000 miles from each other; both at
the time holding high and responsible offices in the Republic of
ON BOARD THE BUCKEYE, July 31st.—Find travelling on the
Mississippi much pleasanter than I expected. We have about
40 passengers, including two ladies, and all very civil, genteel,
and agreeable. There must have been an immense improvement
here since the days of the "Broad Horns."
NATCHEZ, August 1st.—I did not see the town on the hill,
which I very much regret, as I was disappointed in the lower
town; it is a mere lodge on the side of the bluff, and much
smaller than I had anticipated. This part is so notoriously
infamous, that I had fancied it much larger, not expecting that
a spot so small could have held vice and profligacy enough to
WASHINGTON CITY, August 28th.—The "People" says my
appointment was a reward for supporting the Administration!
The Journals will show that I never supported the administration;
my votes will uniformly be found opposed to every
measure I did not approve. I only supported the country and
its President, opposing error and extravagance.
Read the essays of Americanus in the St. Louis Beacon,
August, 1829, and La Salle, October, 1829, both by Col. Benton,
on the bad policy of having lost Texas, and the policy and
importance of reannexing it to the United States. These essays
are strong and incontrovertible. Mr. Adams is acting a double
part. He has lost Texas to the United States, and is trying to
hide the blame for the loss in smoke.
WASHINGTON CITY, October 2d.—The important right which
belongs to Texas of a free navigation of the Red and Arkansas
Rivers to the Mississippi, and thence by that river to the
ocean, appears to have been forgotten. By the law of nations
(nature?) she unquestionably has that right. No wonder that
the United States were averse to the recognition of our independence.
Annexation, as her statesmen foresaw, would have
been much more advantageous. Owing to Northern fanaticism
and the blind spirit of abolition, we remain a "spunky little
independent republic," with all our "blushing honors thick
October 8th.—Mr. Catlett called at the State Department at
12 M., with my letter of credence (copy.) Mr. Vail sent for
him at 2 P. M., and tomorrow at 2 P. M. was arranged for my
presentation to the President. Mr. Van Buren requested,
through the Secretary of State, a copy of my intended address,
which Mr. Catlett made out and sent him.
November 6th.—Dined with Mr. Poinsett, (Secretary of
War;) party very similar to that at the President's. Mr.
Poinsett agrees with me on the impolicy of offensive operations
against Mexico. He says that Mexico will not invade
Texas, unless Texas, invading, should meet with a reverse,
when Mexico, enheartened, would follow. All the northern
States of Mexico, now disposed to be friendly, would also become
November 22d.—Called at the State Department, saw Mr.
Forsyth, spent a few minutes very pleasantly with him (unofficial.)
He proposed that we should make peace with Mexico,
by agreeing to furnish them their supplies through Texas, and
thus enable them to withstand the French. I told him I
thought it would not be good treatment towards our friends
the French. He laughed, and said no, if indeed they were our
November 24th.—Should the northern States of Mexico
separate from the southern, it will be our policy to cultivate
the most friendly relations, but not to join them to us. On
this account invasion would not be advisable, if there were no
other reasons. But whether they separate or not, the most
friendly relations should be sedulously cultivated.
November 29th.—Read the article in McCulloch's Dictionary
of Commerce on the subject of Cotton and its manufactures.
If England does not take the "blind staggers," she cannot
much longer remain indifferent to the growing importance of
Texas to her in this respect. [Note.—I have lost no opportunity
to impress this matter upon the foreign Ministers here;
and indeed upon every one, both in my correspondence and
[My attention was chiefly directed during the winter to procuring
the passage of laws by the U. S. Congress for appointing
Commissioners, and making an appropriation for running and
marking the boundary line between Texas and the United States
—for procuring admission for our cotton free of duty—and I also
was much employed in the matter of depredations committed
by Indians from the United States upon the frontiers of Texas.]
WASHINGTON CITY, April 2d.—In conversation with Mr. J.
W. Houston of this city, he informed me he was present at an
interview between Gen. Samuel Houston and Gen. Jackson before
the former went to Texas, and that it was the understanding
between them that Gen. Jackson would claim the Neches
as the true Sabine!!!
April 8th.—No intelligence from the cabinet at home, each
and all of whom appear to be exclusively engaged in the promotion
of their own private interest and advancement; every
thing else seems neglected.
April 9th.—A foolish project appears to be on foot to send
a minister (Col. Bee) to Mexico; a shallow proceeding, which
will probably result in no good. It will take about one year
for the present administration of Texas to demonstrate its weakness
and its.... Every honest and tried friend of the country
has been removed out of the way, to give place to a few
newly-imported politicians, who intend to reap the profits of
others' toils and sufferings.
April 12th.—No Gen. Dunlap has come to hand. I do not
understand the shuffling at home—"something is rotten in the
State"—selfishness and intrigue appear to be the order of the
day; little attention is paid to the great interests of the country;
but there certainly appears to be a most "plentiful lack"
April 13th.—It is a strong evidence of the poverty of worth
or talent, when such a man as L. is called for the head of a
country. He is, a very weak man, and governed by petty passions
which he cannot control, and by prejudices which are the
result of ignorance (of the world). Obstinacy he possesses, and
what his friends call honesty. The financial affairs of Texas are
in a most ruinous train; the recklessness of the present administration
is most astonishing in this respect. Congress have made
the most extravagant as well as unlimited appropriations, without
providing any means. The repeal of the cash tariff system
will have a most unfavorable effect also. Years of suffering and
misery are entailed upon Texas if she persist in her present financial
course. Individual ruin, and loss of national credit and
character, must be the certain result. I thank God I on all
occasions voted and used my exertions against the issuing a
April 15th.—Every Texas shin-plaster now issued is a fraud
and a national crime, and all confidence either in the wisdom
or honesty of the government must soon be lost. Received
papers from Texas, but no letters. Every thing attests the weakness
and imbecility of the administration. The lawyers are like
to have fine harvesting, and many are gathering to the field.
The government must soon come to a stand still for want of
funds. Their foolish extravagance is incredible, horrible. An
unlimited amount of promissory notes have been appropriated
for public buildings, when the present ones are sufficient for five
or ten years to come, or even for twenty if necessary.
April.—The result of the Texas system (?) of finance will be
to throw millions of shin-plasters into the hands of individuals
at 10 cents on the dollar, which the Government will have to
redeem at 100 cents, and 10 per cent. interest thereon (or repudiate.)
This is the great swindling plan, and the bubble will
burst one of these days. The situation of the diplomatic representative
of such a government as Texas is above all others the
most irksome and unpleasant. If there were any decent system
of government, or one properly administered, this would be
different. I will hold no other office until a change, and a radical
one, is produced, as nothing but disgrace can come of it.
BRAZORIA, July 20th.—Dined with the citizens of Brazoria
county. [On my passage homeward an election had been held
in this county for senator, and I was elected. My friends, in
their zeal and devotion, had pledged me to serve if elected, and
I was compelled to redeem their pledges, and to accept, contrary
to my wishes, and contrary to a previous fixed determination
August 14th.—The folly of Lamar is in nothing more apparent
than his threats of offensive war against Mexico—and
whenever a campaign is set on foot it will be disastrous.
15th.—Texas is overwhelmed with army and navy officers—
there are enough for Russia—and poor Texas is without the
means to support them many weeks longer. 16th.—Borrowing
may serve to protract the crisis awhile, but come it must
with a tremendous crash, ere long. 20th.—Gen. Lamar may
mean well—I am not disposed to impugn his motives—he has
fine belles-lettres talents, and is an elegant writer. But his mind
is altogether of a dreamy, poetic order, a sort of political Troubadour
and Crusader, and wholly unfit by habit or education for
the active duties, and the every-day realities of his present
station. Texas is too small for a man of such wild, visionary,
HOUSTON, September 13th.—The administration is operating
like certain fevers upon the constitution—bringing the patient to
the extremest point of exhaustion possible, and then leaving him
either to die, or recover, (as chance dictates;) this is the only way
Gen. Lamar can do with the country. The only chance for the
promissory note system is for it to "go through its course," and
exhaust itself (by a plentiful eruption.) All we can now hope
for is to save the patient's life. 15th.—It is an old saying, that
"when things get at the worst they begin to mend:" this is
likely to be the only chance for Texas; but where can the men
be found bold enough to undertake the herculean task of raising
the country from her depression.
September 16th.—No policy could possibly have been more
unwise than the removal of the seat of government to Austin,
and corrupt means were used to place it there; but now that
so much money has been expended, I shall be for its remaining
at that place. 17th.—"Two removes are as bad as a fire,"
November 19th.—Gen. H. is not so strong in what he does
himself, as in what his enemies do: it is not his strength, but
their weakness—not his wisdom but their folly. Cunning, Indian
cunning, is the secret of his success. Old Bowles, the
Cherokee Indian chief, learned him all he knows—though he
has native tact, was an apt scholar, and learned Indian well.
November 21st.—I was inquired of by an influential friend
of the President's, to know on what terms I would be his friend.
My reply was, "Bid him disband his legions, submit his conduct
to the general censure, and stand the judgment of a Senate,
and I was his friend.
November 22d.—Gen. H——n in his administration of the
Government diverged at a large angle from the true course, but
as he travelled on it but a little way, the effects did not become
apparent to careless, or inattentive observers. Gen. L——r's
following the same wrong course, makes the evil prominent, and
the effects felt by all.
November 25th.—D. G. Burnett is a good, honest man
enough, has patriotism, and means well enough, and has decided
talent; but he lacks tact and judgment, and is always too
much under the influence of his prejudices, which are very
powerful. He has every kind of sense but common sense, and
consequently will never do for a statesman.
December 3d.—The framework of the Government has
been and is being shattered, weakened, and wasted so completely,
that we shall have to abandon it, and by and by remove
the rubbish and wreck, and begin to build anew from the
foundation, if happily we shall have the means. We may
patch up the shaking concern for a year or two, but it is a discouraging
and a thankless task. I have no patience with the
authors of the country's ruin.
December 6th.—Nothing since the days of the Crusades, it
seems to me, has been more extravagant and foolish than the
idea of Texas carrying on an offensive war with Mexico. 7th.—I
have ever been opposed to making war upon our Indians. We
had better buy their friendship.
December 10th.—In conversation with the President and
his cabinet, I expressed the opinion that our scale of operations
was too large; and that this was a great fault, thinking and
acting as a great nation, when we were but a first rate county;
and that there were counties in the United States ahead of us
in wealth and population, and that we were about to realize the
fable of the frog and the ox—and burst. I was hooted at by
Judge Burnett for this opinion: "nous verrons."
December 16th.—Committee of two Houses on Foreign Relations
prepared the joint secret resolutions. There is again a
faint hope of peace with Mexico, and independence. 17th.—
Committee on Foreign Relations further discussed the secret
resolutions for negotiation with Mexico. 18th.—(Joint) Committee
on Foreign Relations reported the resolutions for peace
signed by Lawrence and myself. 19th.—Passed the same to
third reading. 21st.—The most important measures passed the
Senate in secret session finally upon the (joint) report made by
Lawrence and myself. I hope peace may be the consequence.
December 24th.—Gen. Houston, I fear, does not care how
completely L——r ruins the country, so that he can hide the
errors, the follies, and wide-spread ruin of his own past administration,
and have it to say, "I told you so; there is nobody but old
Sam after all."
January 1st, 1840.—The prospects of the country are gloomy
enough. If it were not for appearing to yield too easily to adverse
circumstances, I would resign my seat in the Senate today,
for I can do little good. The 1st Congress took an immense
stride towards the ruin of the country. I served in the
2d Congress, (three sessions,) and trusted I had succeeded in
shutting the floodgates of destruction. But the evils were only
temporarily arrested. The 3d Congress opened the gates again
and wider than ever, and now the flood of ruin must exhaust
itself before they can ever be closed. The "Crevasse" is too
large to be stopped. Hamilton's scheme is a desperate one. If
it bring peace with Mexico, I shall not regret having voted to
intrust him with powers which, under almost any other circumstances,
I most certainly should have declined doing. But
"desperate diseases require desperate remedies."
I had hoped something from General Houston, but he appears
only intent upon making L——r's administration as odious
as possible, in order that the contrast with his own may be favorable
to him. He is willing the Government should be a
failure, in order that he may have it to say there is no one but
"old Sam" that the people can depend upon, and that he is the
only man that can successfully administer the Government of
Texas. L——r is certainly no statesman, and he and his friends
are ruining the country and going to the —— as fast as General
H. can possibly wish. This he sees, and chuckles at; hence
nothing can be expected from him more than to save appearances.
He is skilful to destroy his enemy, but will do nothing
to stay the impending ruin. These are mournful but true reflections
to commence the "New Year" with.
March 13th.—Woke up at night with the alarm of "Indians."
The suburbs of the town were plundered of all the
horses, and Ward and Hedley killed and scalped; heard the
cries of the latter while under the hands of the Indians. 14th.—
The town was again thrown into a panic by another alarm.
March 22d.—News came in from San Antonio of the destruction
of the Comanches, who came in for the purpose of
celebrating a treaty, and of the death of eight of our most
valuable citizens, whose lives appear to have been most wantonly
December 14th.—Elected President pro tem. of the Senate.
—On the 20th of November, offered in the Senate a resolution
to repeal all the laws authorizing the issue of promissory
notes of the Government; which was refused by a vote of
10 to 2.
GALVESTON, October 29th.—Arranged with M. Le Vicompte
de Cramayel, (Chargé d'Affaires of H. M. the king of the
French,) the terms of the Convention about the royal line of
packets touching at Galveston.
December 31st.—The close of the year 1843, the conclusion
of Gen. H.'s second year of Ms second term of office, and of
the second year of my term as Secretary of State. Affairs in
the main have been managed agreeably to my wishes and
advice, and the country has recovered from its extreme depression.
I have had nothing to do with the "seat of Government
policy," and have been opposed to Gen. H.'s course upon it;
knowing this, he has ceased to counsel with me upon it. I
have also strenuously opposed his system of petty and, vindictive
warfare upon individuals, and the "Honorable Congress,"
which are gotten up by him to make political capital for himself,
but are injurious to the interests and character of the
country. Gen. H. and myself are drifting away from each
other hourly. He has not kept faith with me in relation to
Cabinet appointments. It was understood between us that I
should have "worthy associates," or, in other words, men who
would assist and sustain me, and who possessed the necessary
abilities. The Cabinet officers associated with me are good,
decent men enough, but, with one exception, have not the
requisite qualifications,—have no strength or force; and they
have been selected more with a view of subserviency to the
President, than of their ability to subserve the country's welfare
and interests. Appointments are now made to those
offices without consultation with me; and this is a breach of
Holding the position I do in the Cabinet of Gen. H., I am
not at liberty, nor would it be proper for me, publicly to oppose
any of his acts, or any part of his policy, however much I may
be opposed to them privately. There are but two courses I
can take—either to resign, or to hold my peace where I cannot
openly approve. Were the country out of her difficulties, I
should not hold office under Gen. H. an hour; indeed, I should
never have taken office. The same inducement which caused
me to accept, still causes me to continue. If I resign, all is
lost for which I have so long labored; if I hold on, I must do a
violence to my sense of what is right, and appear to sanction
measures which I heartily disapprove. I must, in the language
of Scripture, "do evil, that good may come"—but the evil is
small, and the good may be great. I have, however, lost no
opportunity to dissuade him from his petty wars upon Austin,
Congress, and individual citizens, who will not fall down and
worship him; and to some extent have succeeded;—but to the
world, who little understand the relations existing between me
June 4th, 1845.—Wednesday, 4th, issued Proclamation of
Peace with Mexico; same day received proposals of peace from
the Comanche Chief, Santa Anna, the last enemy which Texas
had—accepted them. Now, my country, for the first time in
ten years, is actually at peace with ALL the world.
December 31st.—I very much fear I have given mortal
offence to Gen. Houston, in having succeeded in my administration
thus far, He will only omit to persecute and hate me, as
he has so many others, on condition that I will let him appropriate
all the credit of my acts as President to himself, as he is
now endeavoring to do; and as he has already pretty successfully
done, those I performed as Secretary of State. (V. vol.
ii. pp. 267–8).
That Gen. H. preferred Gen. Burleson to me as his successor,
is well known to me; and I suppose for the reason that he
believed Gen. B. would break down, as L——r did, and leave
Gen. H. a triumph, in enabling him to say, as he is so over-fond
of doing, "There is nobody in Texas, after all, capable of governing
the country, but old Sam." But I have prevented Gen.
H. of this triumph, and of course may prepare for his vengeance.
I have no objection to his taking as much of the
credit as he pleases, if it will gratify his vanity or his ambition,
so long as he makes a proper use of the capital so obtained, and
appropriates it to the welfare of Texas; but if ever he fails to
do this, I shall be obliged to vindicate the truth of history
against him, as well as the ten thousand others who are interested
BARRINGTON, November 14th.—From 1836 to 1846, I continued
to serve the country, with slight exceptions, in various capacities,
as Soldier, Representative, Minister, Senator, Secretary
of State and President; my salary in the latter station for fourteen
months was the only one which served to cover actual personal
expenses. Still the Legislature of Texas (1st) in voting
down a proposition of Thanks, indirectly thereby passed a vote
of Censure; and the Government at Washington City through
its organ, the Union, denounced me as a "traitor." So much for
contemporary justice; and so much for having saved General
Houston's second administration from the errors, the follies, and
the wide-spread ruin of the first, and for having subsequently
obtained for my adopted country peace, prosperity, independence,
December 13th.—The following extract of a letter from
Hamilton Stuart, Esq., Editor of the Civilian at Galveston,
dated November 20th, 1847, expresses the opinion of a disinterested
person upon some of my official acts. "Your letters
for publication," (alluding to my letters in reply to Ex-President
Tyler,) "and private note reached me yesterday. The former
will be cheerfully awarded a place in our columns. The latter
was welcome and gratifying. I am glad to see you emerge so
far, both politically and personally, from the seclusion you appear
to have courted since your retirement from a long and
successful public career—traduced, but triumphant—resting
from your labors now completed, and with little prospect that
you or any other man in Texas will ever be again called upon
to discharge duties so difficult, so responsible, and so important
to the State, or so far affecting the Union, the whole of North
America, and the leading powers of Europe. The events you
write of belong to the History of the Age, and I am glad you
have come forward to vindicate the integrity of that history
which so many are interested in perverting." * * *
January 2d.—In communicating to the public, as I did in
the fall of 1848, Gen. Houston's official order to me as Secretary
of State, to close with the proposition of England and France,
(of 24th September, '44,) I was actuated by a sense of duty to
the people of Texas. I was alarmed at his course when that
order was given, and resolved either to avoid a compliance
with it or resign. Vested, as I was, with the actual discharge
of the Executive functions from that date to the end of his
term, and already elected his successor in the office, I felt at
liberty to disobey the order, and I did so; although it had previously
been communicated verbally to me several times, by
Gen. H——n, to whom I had, again, in consequence tendered
my resignation. I also resolved to keep the order a secret, so
far as the public generally was concerned, and only showed it
in confidence to some few persons. But when he joined the
"free soil party," in his vote with Mr. Benton on the Oregon
Bill, I became satisfied of his unfaithfulness to Texas, and felt no
longer at liberty to withhold from the people so important a
fact with respect to his course on the subject of annexation; I
therefore published it with a short letter from myself in the
Western Texian. Anxious as Capt. Elliot was to defeat annexation,
even he would have been unwilling to have seen it
defeated at such a risk to the peace and harmony of the powers
concerned; for, when I showed him the order of 24th September
1844, he exclaimed, "Thank God! that you have disobeyed it,
for I tremble to think of the consequences which otherwise
would have resulted. War! between the United States, on the
one side, and Great Britain and France on the other, would inevitably
have resulted from a compliance on your part with that
order." Such also was the opinion of others, and of myself—an
event at the time (war) I looked upon as the greatest possible
disaster which could have happened to the cause of humanity,
civilization, and to civil and religious liberty, throughout the
world. His friends have charged me with ingratitude towards
him in publishing that order, but the charge is wholly false, for
I ought to have published it before I did. It was public property,
and I had no right to withhold it. Besides, I was under
no obligations to him, I never asked or received a favor from
him. The obligations which did exist, were of a reciprocal
character, and bound neither to do what was wrong, or omit
any public duty. * * (The proof of all this follows in the original
Had I have been as well satisfied of his treachery to Texas
in 1844, as I was in 1848, and am now, I should not have with-held
a knowledge of his course in the matter of annexation from
the public a single day after I came into the Executive chair,
or at least not a single day after the measure was consummated
and out of danger of all contingencies. * * * (the rest
omitted.) V. Waco, 10th No. "Ranger."
I saved it subsequently from the destructive violence of
some potent enemies; as well as of its best friends in the
United States and Texas, who, like the boys in chase of the
butterfly, would have crushed it in their imprudent and impatient
grasp. The exciting and balancing, of the constantly
acting and re-acting rival influences of England, France, Mexico,
and the United States, and converging them all to the one
In 1836, '7, '8 and '9, the tables of the United States Congress
were loaded with petitions and remonstrances against the
admission of Texas and against slavery; nor did the feeling of
opposition to the measure abate, to a degree which appeared to
afford any hope for its accomplishment, until England and
France were brought to bear upon the morbid jealousy and
sensibility of the American people, and their leading statesmen.
Among these last was Gen. Andrew Jackson, (v. p. 79.) His
hatred, jealousy, and fear of the grasping power of England,
particularly, was always proverbial, and in the latter years of
his life became a kind of monomania. Of the feelings on the
part of this very influential statesman every proper use was made
which was possible; and so of many others. In 1839, '40, '41,
'42, and '43, however, had any one spoken of annexation as a
measure likely to be accomplished, (in 1845-6,) he would have
been regarded as a madman. Nothing daring this period appeared
more improbable, no political proposition more absurd.
Still, in the first of those years, (1839,) I had begun to turn my
attention to that train of measures, and course of policy, by
which I ultimately succeeded. I addressed in April, 1839,
through the agency of Hon. C. Hughes, American Chargé at
Stockholm and the oldest American Diplomate in Europe, a
memorial to Lord Palmerston, H. B. M. Secretary of State,
on the subject of the prospective importance of Texas in an
agricultural point of view, and pointing out the way in which
she might be useful and serviceable to the commercial and
manufacturing interests of Great Britain. To this I subsequently
received a reply through the same channel, from his
Lordship, saying, the subject was one of importance, and should
receive due attention from him. This was among the first in
the series of those acts, among the first trembling steps in that
course of policy, which seven years after resulted in the annexation
of Texas to the United States. C. Hughes was an efficient
friend of Texas, now dead, and history will not do justice
to his memory, if it do not give him his share of merit in annexation.
I have had no connection with the grasping war policy of
Mr. Polk's administration; and because I would not lend my-self
to his views, I was denounced by his organ, the "UNION,"
and suffered the whole weight of his adverse influence. I have
ever been the advocate of peace, and opposed to war as long as
it could be avoided. In 1835 I opposed premature excitement.
Every practicable scheme of pacification with Mexico I subsequently
advocated for ten years. But, being in war, forced to
resort to hostilities, I would advise as vigorous a prosecution of
them as the means of the country would permit. I always opposed
offensive war upon Mexico by Texas, as she had no means
to enable her to prosecute hostilities in an enemy's country,
unless she resorted to plunder and robbery. I have always
maintained the policy of maintaining peace with the various
Indian tribes in the country, and the faithful observance of all
treaty stipulations with them. And in 1845, when I called Congress
together to act upon the propositions of the United States,
I was enabled to announce to them the gratifying fact that
"Texas was at peace with all the world," Indians, and every
body else; and it was the first time for ten years that this had
been the case.
The advocate for peace for ten years, I naturally turned
with disgust and abhorrence from a proposition of Mr. Polk's
through Com. S——n, "that I should manufacture a war for the
United States." * * * * The anxiety of Mr. Polk for a pretext
for a war with Mexico had been known to me for some
time, through the agency of employees of the Texan Government
at Washington city. That he was predetermined to have
a war with that country so soon as the pretext was found I also
well knew, and that such also was the feeling of a large party
In May, 1845, Commodore Stockton, with a fleet of four or
five vessels, arrived at Galveston, and with him Hon. C. A.
Wickliffe, ex-Postmaster General of the United States. These
gentlemen had various interviews with Major Gen. Sherman,
the chief officer of the militia of Texas, the character of which
is not precisely known to me; but the result of which was
active preparations at Galveston for organizing volunteer forces,
the ostensible (and no doubt real) object of which was an invasion
of Mexico. A party, it appears, was anxious that the expedition
should be set on foot, under the auspices of the Major-General
and Com. Stockton; but these gentlemen, it appears,
were unwilling to take so great a responsibility: it was therefore
resolved that the plan should be submitted to me and my
sanction obtained—(quere, forced?) indeed such, as afterwards
became apparent, were the Commodore's instructions; and the
organizing, &c., had been gone into for the purpose of forcing
my assent to the proposed scheme. On the 28th May, Gen.
Sherman for himself and associates in the militia, and Dr.
Wright, surgeon of the steamer Princeton, and secretary of the
Commodore, (as he informed me,) took three days in unfolding
to me the object of their visit. Dr. Wright stated that
he was sent by Com. Stockton to propose that I should authorize
Major Gen. Sherman to raise a force of two or three thousand
men, or as many as might be necessary, and make a descent
upon the Mexican town of Matamoras, and capture and hold it;
that Com. Stockton would give assistance with the fleet under
his command, under the pretext of giving the protection promised
by the United States to Texas by Gen. Murphy; that he
would undertake to supply the necessary provisions, arms and
munitions of war for the expedition, would land them at convenient
points on our coast, and would agree to pay the men
and officers to be engaged; that he had consulted Gen. Sherman,
Many had been engaged and promised offices in the campaign
to Matamoras, who were disappointed, and laid all the
blame on me, (I came near having one or two street-fights with
drunken fellows who swore they would have been captains or
majors but for me.) The public too were disappointed, and
the excitement against me was increased by this circumstance.
I could have been very popular if I had sanctioned the war
scheme, and allayed all excitement against myself; and probably
there was no personal advantage which the United States Government
had it in their power to bestow, or no emolument
which I could not have stipulated for and received if I had so
chosen, by acceding to involve the country afresh in a war with
That this scheme had the sanction of the United States, I
have the direct and positive assurance of the Texan Chargé at
Washington City in September, 1845; besides which, Mr.
Donelson, the United States Minister here, in his published despatches
to his Government, alludes to the matter more than
once in unmistakable terms; and to the passage of a law placing
the militia under the command of Gen. Sherman. (See his
letters of July 2d and 11th, 1845, among many others.) He in
one instance censures me for not being "willing to fight" for
our Rio Grande boundary, in allusion to my refusal to sanction
Com. S.'s plan for seizing Matamoras. I never refused or was
February 2d.—In conclusion, therefore, of what I have to
leave on record, (now,) in justice to myself and the integrity
of history in regard to my own administration, and that of Mr.
Polk, of two Governments now merged in one by our immediate
instrumentality, I am bound to say, the war between the
United States and Mexico grew directly out of annexation;
that it was the "foregone conclusion" of Mr. Polk when he came
into office, to have that war with Mexico; that, failing in his
most cherished scheme of inducing me to take the responsibility
of provoking and bringing it about, he blundered into it by
other means, and was finally very glad to blunder out of it, as
he did. The war was begun without law, and in like manner
ended without law; and a feeble, distracted, and imbecile
nation, by it were divested of an immense territory, which, as
a component part of Mexico, never could have been of use to
her or anybody else, but which, in the possession of the United
States, may and probably will become of incalculable importance
to that country and the world—if it does not unfortunately
dissolve the Union.
February 4th.—There was no subject more explicitly agreed
upon, understood, and settled, between Major Donelson and
myself, in 1845, than that the Rio Grande, from its mouth to
its source, was the true and rightful boundary of Texas, (as
defined in the act of 1836,) and that the United States would
never agree to any other adjustment of the boundary with
February 6th.—An additional reason I have for believing
the Government of J. Polk was, in 1845, determined upon
a war with Mexico, was the strong disapprobation which he
and his friends evinced to the preliminary treaty negotiated by
me with the Mexican Government of Gen. Herrera, in the
spring of that year, by which Mexico agreed to acknowledge
the independence of Texas; and to my Proclamation of June
4th, declaring a consequent cessation of hostilities with Mexico.
Had the United States wished to consummate the measure of
annexation in peace, that acknowledgment of our independence,
and that cessation of hostilities, with wise and prudent management,
would have been promotive of such a result, at least.
But such, unfortunately, was not the case; and as these acts
appeared opposed to Mr. Polk's belligerent policy, they were
condemned, and violently censured by his friends; and the
"Union" denounced them as "Treason!" in tones of thunder,
which were reverberated far and wide over the country.
February 5th.—Some newspapers in Texas have expressed
an inability to understand why one so strenuous for obedience
to constituted authority as myself, should have disobeyed the
Executive instruction of September 24th, 1844, given me as
Secretary of State, to close with the proposition of England
and France. The reasons are to be found in the extraordinary
character of that order; the fatal effect which would have
resulted from a compliance with it, to the cause of peace as
well as that of annexation; and the fatal embarrassments it
would have given to my administration, then about to commence.
February 11th.—That a compliance with the Executive
order of 24th September, 1844, on my part, would either have
defeated annexation altogether, or produced a war between the
United States on the one side, and England, France, and Mexico
on the other, or perhaps both of these results, I think there
can be but little doubt, (v. p. 44;) and my means of knowing
are, from the position I occupied towards all these powers at
the time, probably better than any other man's in America.
France and England at that moment were cordially united in a
desire and a determination to defeat annexation, if possible;
all that was wanting, was a plausible PRETEXT for interfering.
With France and England, all the monarchical Governments of
Europe sympathized on this subject, for all partook of the existing
jealousy of the growing power of the United States.
This PRETEXT would have been furnished, if I had complied
with that fatal order. The condition was, that if France and
England would procure an acknowledgment of our independence,
Texas would pledge herself in a "Diplomatic Act" (v.
Dr. Smith's despatch of June, 1844) to those powers she
would never annex herself to any other country. To this
diplomatic act the consent of the people of Texas would not
have been necessary, or at least France and England would
neither have waited for or troubled themselves about this consent,
but immediately addressed themselves to carrying into
full effect the agreement on their part. We have seen that an
official of the English Government, without instructions from
his Government, at least of a specific character, but merely at
my request, went to Mexico, procured such an acknowledgment,
and returned with it to Texas in something less than 90
days, (I allude, to Capt. Elliot's trip, begun in March, 1845.)
How much sooner, then, could the authorized agents of those
two Governments, acting under the sanction of their sovereigns,
have accomplished the object. No more time would
have been necessary than to have gone to Mexico, and made
the demand. The first thing, therefore, the people of Texas
would have known of the matter, would have been that it was
un fait accompli—" a thing done!"—the price would have
been paid; the condition performed on the part of France and
England, who would then have demanded a corresponding performance
It has been said, the Diplomatic Act and the Preliminary
Treaty amount to the same thing. It is far otherwise.
The Preliminary Treaty was understood by all parties to be
only the Mexican proposition to be submitted to the people of
Texas, together with the Resolutions for Annexation, who
would choose between the alternatives, independence or annexation.
* * * The submission of the Preliminary Treaty to
the people of Texas, and the perfect understanding that it was
to become null in the event of their adopting the proposition
of the United States, are matters specifically set down in the
agreement between Capt. Elliot and M. de Saligny, on the
part of England and France, and A. Smith on the part of
Texas; and the "additional article or declaration" by Mr.
Cuevas, contains the expression of a similar understanding on
the part of Mexico. On the occasion, therefore, of declining
a compliance with the order of September 24th, as before mentioned,
and in consequence of so declining, I saved the measure
of annexation from defeat, or even from a worse fate; and
that, too, by a man who has travelled over the United States,
announcing himself as the author of, and sole agent in accomplishing,
that great measure.
The sum of the whole matter is, England and France, influenced
by the strongest desire to prevent annexation, and ensure
the separate independence of Texas, conjointly resolved upon
the Diplomatic Act in June, 1844, as a means of carrying out
their mutual determination to defeat annexation; and for that
purpose to secure a pretext, or, if you please, a right, to interfere
in the matter. Gen. Houston, finding annexation could
not be effected during his Presidential term, resolved it should
not be effected at all; (v. his letter to me of 8th July;) and
gave the "Order" to accept the proposition of England and
France, and for the negotiation of the Diplomatic Act. France
would have been willing, under the rights she would have acquired,
by a compliance on her part with the conditions of that
February 13th.—Excitement never was carried to so high a
pitch in Texas as it was in 1845, when it was found that the
ponderous and hitherto hermetically sealed doors of the United
States were, in reality, opened wide to the measure of annexation.
The people had suffered so much and so long from Mexican
and Indian disturbances and depredations, and from the
misrule of former administrations, and were so anxious for rest
and security and for an escape, with honor and advantage, from
the long pressure of past adversity and war, that they ran perfectly
wild and frantic when the hope of a so-long-desired consummation
was presented. Besides this feeling was another
which politicians seized upon to further excite the public mind,
and that was the one of direct interest, arising from the false assurance
that the lands held, in immense quantities by citizens
would immediately become valuable, and that every man would
thereby be made suddenly affluent. Demagogues indeed used
every art to further inflame and madden the popular excitement,
which sound policy required should rather have been allayed
and quieted. The consequence was, that to their heated
imaginations every act of mine appeared slow; and the cry was
raised that I was opposed to the measure, and using every
means, in conjunction with England and France, to defeat the
public will. I, of course, had a storm of the utmost fury and
intensity to encounter, and such as no other chief magistrate
of a nation ever experienced. The consequence was, that when
the doors of the Union were opened by me, the rush of the
people from the outside was so great and furious that I came
very near being run over and trampled to death by the excited
and impatient crowd, whom I had been the means of admitting.
But I managed to escape from it with only severe bruises, and
a few hearty maledictions from a part of those already inside,
for having let in these "outsiders" upon them.
In addition to the large party of landholders who contributed
so materially to increase public excitement, it was still further
inflamed by another party who took advantage of my peculiar
position towards the United States, France, England, and
Mexico, (which prevented me from declaring a preference for
I could have silenced all clamor, and defeated the hopes of
demagogues, if I had consented to violate my faith towards
France and England; and, by leading in the excitement, have
been the most popular man in Texas. But by so doing the
measure might have been defeated. The faith and honor of the
nation would certainly have been violated—the position of the
country lowered to that of a suppliant—the recipient instead of
the dispenser of a favor, and the promises of ultimate advantages
to Texas by the United States would not have been obtained.
I, however, did not take this course, and the storm of
popular excitement having no other object to beat upon, spent
all its fury and broke all its waves against me. * * * When
it is considered, however, how much I accomplished for Texas
during my secretary of stateship, and my short term as president,
taken in connection with the extreme paucity of the
means and facilities at my disposal with which to operate, and
February 14th.—I have placed upon record (v. Valedictory)
my objections to the terms of annexation as proposed by the
United States, and my wish that they "might have been more
favorable" to Texas, and for the welfare and harmony of both
parties "more definite," and consequently "less fraught with
subjects of future dispute." Still my individual opinion, as frequently
expressed since, and to friends, in confidence at the
time, was that, taking all things into consideration, Texas would
best subserve her permanent interests and those of the mother
country, by accepting her offer and rejecting that of Mexico,
at least that the argument in favor of that alternative was predominant
in my mind, and I thought it necessary (from experience
of some former administrations of the government, and
fear of like ones in future) to save Texas from herself and her
demagogues. The immense and immediate benefits which were
to accrue to the country on the consummation of annexation, as
so fondly and willingly believed by thousands of our citizens,
received no credence from me, and had consequently no influence
with me in forming my opinions of the measure. As I did
not partake of the popular credulity on these points, when annexation
was proposed, so I have not in any degree partaken
of the popular disappointment since, when it was discovered
that this whole matter of "sudden affluence" was a mistake.
February 16th.—In the manner of placing before the people
of Texas the alternatives of "Peace with the world and Independence,
or annexation and its contingencies," (v. Proc. June
4th, 1845,) which embrace the offers of the United States, on
the one hand, and of England and other powers, on the other;
I acted as was my duty to do, with strict reference to preserving
my plighted faith towards all parties. I knew well that
England, France, Mexico, &c., were to be the losers in the
race, and I did not think it any thing more than right to show
then, at least, that it was not because I had failed of doing
them entire and perfect justice, so far as I was concerned. In
stating the propositions to the people of Texas, as above, there
was an inference drawn by them that I rather leaned to the alternative
of "independence." This, however, was not the fact,
the statement was perfectly fair, and already it has been discovered
that annexation has its contingencies like every thing
else, thought stoutly denied at the time. In this instance, as
in every other where France and England were concerned, I
did strict justice—fulfilled perfectly every promise to their
Ministers—of which, happily, they are entirely satisfied; while
at the same time, I did not express a preference for one party
or one alternative over the other—a thing which, situated as I
was, I had no right to do. As judge and umpire between rival
friends, it was my duty to act with entire disinterestedness and
impartiality; though I might sympathize with the loser a little,
or seem to do so. The Ministers of France and England were
deceived, it is true, but it was by their own over-sanguine
hopes. They believed the people of Texas would prefer the
alternative of independence, and, indeed, that it was their interest
to maintain their separate existence. I always felt satisfied
the people of Texas would decide differently, and would
prefer the alternative of annexation to any and every thing else,
if a tolerable certainty of it was presented them. I, therefore,
felt at liberty to make the promise that I would not interfere
in the matter, one way or the other; that I would impartially
present the different proposals in good faith, and let them
decide, satisfied how that decision would be given. Had there
been any doubt on the subject, I would not have given the
pledge I did, not to interfere, but would have reserved the
February 18th.—In reference to the subject of "protection"
(v. p. 53) to Texas by the United States, as against Mexico, I
always believed the moral force of that Government sufficient;
and so I always told their Ministers, and particularly Major
Donelson; still in asking their protection I could not officially
specify the kind, but left that to their intelligence. What I
wanted was, in the event of an invasion of Texas by Mexico,
brought on by our negotiations for annexation, that the United
States should interpose with the necessary means, fair words at
first, and blows, if blows were necessary, and could not be
avoided. The protection, therefore, asked for was prospective,
and contingent upon an aggressive movement by Mexico. Her
threats and braggadocios I disregarded, knowing perfectly well
that they meant nothing but, to gratify the national vanity and
pique. One word from the United States, at least, would have
been always sufficient to prevent the execution of her gasconading
and unmeaning threats. In 1845, when Major Donelson
met Mr. E. Allen, the Secretary of State, at Galveston, and over-persuaded
him to ask protection, Mexico had ceased even her
threats. The Preliminary Treaty had been negotiated, and Mexico
had thereby acknowledged the independence of Texas, though
at the moment, the news had not reached me. It was known to
all the world, however, on the 4th of June, and before any forward
movement had been made by Gen. Z. Taylor. After this
the protection which the United States were so anxious to give,
and subsequently did give, was aggressive as towards Mexico,
and given with the predetermined view of bringing on a collision
The excuse that Mexico renewed her threats after our acceptance
of the proposition for annexation, and rejection of the
Preliminary Treaty, thereby making it necessary to move an
army into Texas, was only a pretext, and as idle as it was false.
Five or six companies of Texas Rangers, provisioned and paid
by the United States, would have been all-sufficient for the
protection of our frontiers from Indians as well as Mexicans—
and would have obviated this cause of war. [On the 23d August,
1845, I wrote Gen. Z. Taylor, in reply to a letter from him of a
date shortly previous, (which letter had, for its real object, the
design to throw upon me the responsibility of recommending
a movement of United States troops to the Rio Grande,) designating
certain points then occupied by our own Rangers,
as suitable ones for him to station troops at for the defence of
the country; I designated no point beyond Corpus Christi, and
but one company there, it being the same force I had previously
maintained there. Failing in his object with me, Gen.
Taylor took the responsibility on himself of a forward movement,
and so produced the Mexican War.] V. p. 47.
February 19th.—It is now upwards of two years since my
letters in reply to Mr. Tyler were written and published; and
from a careful review of them I find nothing therein contained
but what is strictly in accordance with facts, or that I would
wish to change. I believe the archives of this and other governments
to which they relate will substantiate, materially, all
that is therein said. That some of the agents of these foreign
governments here, or some of those sent abroad by Texas, may
have occasionally misunderstood my views in relation to the
two alternatives of independence and annexation, or my course
in connection with those alternatives, and, consequently, in some
instances, created wrong impressions concerning those views and
that course, may indeed be true; but the cause of this will be
found in the prudence and secrecy which, under the peculiar
February 19th, (Fourth Anniversary of the birth of the
"State of Texas.")—From 1835 to 1846 I had considerable
agency in the most important public affairs of the country; and
from 1841 to the spring of 1846, an almost exclusive control
and direct management in all of general and permanent importance
belonging to the Executive department of the Government.
I am, and have been willing for posterity to decide upon
all my acts during this period of nearly eleven years, my toils,
my labors, and their results. I have had no "pruriency of
fame." * * * During parts of this period I have been associated
with Gen. Samuel Houston, whose first and greatest
object has been office and political distinction. In fact, he has
lived and acted for these alone. He possessed in perfection the
art of appropriating all the merit of the good deeds of his associates,
and of shifting on to them the odium of his own bad
ones. He has made this art the study of his whole life, knowing
it would oblige him. I have been willing he should take
to himself, for the moment, the credit, if any, I may have
deserved for my achievements in behalf of the country, though
I was always careful to place myself in a position not to allow
him to make me a "scapegoat" to bear any of his political sins.
Had he not proved faithless to Texas, as I conceived he did in
1848 in his coalition with Freesoilism, he might still have possessed
what he coveted. * * (But truth and justice require
I should now place our several acts for these eleven years in a
proper light.) * * Hence I have been compelled to say that
annexation was consummated "in direct opposition to his
policy," that he had "no agency in my administration," and
that "I saved HIS second administration from most of the errors
and follies, and from all the wide-spread ruin of the first." The
archives of the country, when carefully examined, will to some
extent show this to have been the case. What these lack will,
I trust, be supplied by the testimony of our cotemporaries, (and
[They are part of the history of the country, and it is
proper I should record them for such use as may hereafter be
judged expedient. I have not, nor shall I, "aught extenuate,
or set down aught in malice."]
General Houston came to the country about the same time
I did, and at once sought and obtained office, which was his object
in coming. I neither sought nor held office until circumstances
compelled me to, nor had I the least view of such a thing in
coming to Texas, (v. p. 14.) Up to the battle of San Jacinto
he had produced nothing but discord and disaster. That battle
was an achievement for which the world (right or wrong) will
always give him credit, though, in my opinion, he is only en
titled to the 783d part of what he has received. It was a rout
and a slaughter; and with or without a leader we should have
defeated the Mexicans as we did in that battle, if, indeed, ten
minutes' conflict can be called a battle, and but for him pressed
on, captured Felisola and the whole Mexican army, and probably
ended the war. He omitted more than he achieved (v. p.
From this time until his first administration commenced he
continued to inflame and distract the public mind by his intrigues.*
He had been in office but a short time until measures
of the most disastrous character to the interests of the country
were adopted by Congress, and received his official sanction.
* * * * The resources of the country were squandered
That Gen. Houston used his influence to increase the storm
during Gen. Lamar's administration, I have abundant reason to
believe; and he was also incessant in his endeavors to create
the impression on the public mind that all the evils, manifold as
they were, which the country suffered, were produced by the
administration of Gen. Lamar; and in this he was tolerably successful,
though history will tell with her iron pen that this was
During Gen. Houston's whole course, early and late, sectional,
party, and personal strifes were kept at the very highest
pitch to which he could raise them. His quarrels with Congress
and individuals appeared to be his meat and his drink, because
he possessed the unfortunate cunning always to make capital
for himself out of these difficulties. The country, however,
always was to the same extent the loser. Situated as we were,
we needed union and harmony among all, not strifes and divisions.
From this brief review of the course of Gen. Houston, and
this estimate of his character as a statesman, the reluctance with
which I undertook a prominent part in his second administration
may be readily appreciated. Appalling and repugnant as
was the task to my feelings, I undertook it in order to save the
country from utter ruin and annihilation. The results are
known, I will not dwell upon them; the task properly belongs
to other hands than mine, and to other hands I am willing to
leave it, satisfied that truth will finally prevail over error.
February 19th.—In the severe struggles of the past I have
been often forced to act, not as I would wish in all instances,
but as compelled to do by the circumstances with which I was
surrounded. In 1837-'38 I breasted, as best I might, the untoward
progress of events which I foresaw was leading the
country to ruin, I trust to some purpose. But I stood alone.
I soon found I was only "saving at the spigot," while others
whose higher position and longer acquaintance with public
affairs gave them greater power, "were wasting at the bunghole."
All this time, however, I did all I could; I uniformly
resisted the issue of paper money beyond what had been authorized
before I took my seat in Congress. But I was swept
away on the tide of self-interested opposition. * * * In
1839-'40 and '41, the "crevasse" was too great to be stopped,
and the Mississippi of ruin had to exhaust its tide. When in
February 19th—During our struggles for a settlement of our
national difficulties, I have from time to time expressed myself as
in favor of annexation or independence, as the hopes and the
prospects of one or the other of these alternatives predominated.
In my own career as Secretary of State and President I sought
both at the same time, and made each subservient to the acquisition
of the other, by which means both were finally presented
to the choice of the country. In my intercourse with parties
interested exclusively in one or the other of these modes of
adjustment, I have said all the good I could, so far as truth and
justice would permit, of their favorite mode, and stimulated
them by turns to its accomplishment. Either would have been
of the highest service to Texas, and I was always willing to
take the one if the other could not be obtained. But I never
expressed to any one, either verbally or in writing, a preference
of one over the other if both could be obtained, until after both
were obtained, and I had derived all the advantages I could for
A party in the country have accused me of being opposed
to annexation, basing the charge upon the assumed fact that the
members of my Cabinet and the other officers of the Government
were opposed to it, and reflected my sentiments. As for
the members of my Cabinet and the ministers sent abroad,
there may have been some diversity of sentiment, individually,
as was natural; and so far as the last class were concerned, I
did not think it good policy to send a violent friend of annexation
to Europe, any more than a violent friend of separate independence
to the United States. When my Cabinet was first
made up, the alternatives were not yet presented to the country;
and I did not ask or know what their opinions would be
upon an uncertain and unknown future event, any more than
they themselves did, or that I knew what my own would be.
The terms upon which annexation and independence would,
severally, be offered, if offered at all, were unknown, and consequently
no one could tell what opinion he would have upon a
matter he knew nothing about. But after the offers were made,
Mr. Allen, I believe, was the only member of my Cabinet who
preferred independence over annexation; and when I called
him to that station I was almost a stranger to him personally,
having never seen him but once or twice, and knew nothing of
his opinions on this or scarcely any other subject. I approved
him because he had the character of possessing great ability
and honesty. * * * Col. William G. Cooke I understood
as having no very decided opinion either way * * * though
both he and Mr. Allen were perfectly ready and willing to do
all in their power in carrying out the will of the people. * *
Judge Ochiltree, Dr. Ashbel Smith, and Col. Green were avowed
friends of annexation as proposed by the United States. The
subordinate officers of the Government, as was natural enough,
were generally in favor of independence. But I did not think
The charge of my opposition to annexation has also been
based upon the tone of the only newspaper published at the
seat of Government, which was therefore styled my official
organ, and which at first opposed the measure. This is all a
mistake. The paper, if an organ at all, was the organ of Gen.
Houston: it was neither established nor continued under my
auspices, though, of necessity, official papers from the different
departments were published in it. The editor and proprietor
of it was long before and since the private secretary of Gen.
Houston, in and out of office, and his confidential friend and
But these are wholly unimportant matters, and long since
passed and probably forgotten by everybody but myself, and
only interesting at all as indications of the morbid state of the
public mind at that eventful period, when the smallest trifle
sufficed to increase and further inflame the general excitement,
and as specimens of the kind of food demagoguism fed upon.
February 21st.—In the American Minister's letters to the
Secretary of State of the United States, there is one fact disclosed,
which, while it reflects unfavorably upon the fair fame
of the whole country, must ever remain a source of mortification
to Texas in particular. This is that he, and the emissaries
of Mr. Polk sent to act with him, had so far succeeded with the
Congress of Texas and the Convention, that both those bodies
were believed to be perfectly subservient to him, and that they
would do his bidding in every thing. The secret of this belief
in his influence was the lavish promise of office to members. I
have been told by very reliable authority that there was not a
single member who was not thus assailed. In his letter to Mr.
Buchanan of 2d July, 1845, he speaks of the passage of a law
over the veto of the President, placing the militia under the
command of Gen. Sherman, as a tiling which would have been
done if he had insisted on it, at least such is the plain inference.
This letter also discloses the fact of his whole knowledge of
Com. Stockton and Gen. Sherman's scheme. Other letters written
about the same time fully corroborate this fact, (v. letter of
June 11th, 1845.)
February 22d.—"The proclamation of a truce between the
two nations founded on propositions mutually acceptable to
them, leaving the question of boundary not only an open one,
but Mexico in possession of the east bank of the Rio Grande,
By the first article, Preliminary Treaty, (or Cuevas Treaty,)
"Mexico recognizes the independence of Texas," in these words.
This was done in view of the fact, that we had always claimed
the Rio Grande as a boundary, and that this claim had been recorded
everywhere on our statute books, (and that "Texas"
was defined by this boundary.) The great question, therefore,
in dispute for ten years, must be considered and taken as having
been yielded up by Mexico by the express terms of that
treaty; for if she had been disposed to cavil afterwards,
she might as well have cavilled for the Sabine as the Nueces, or
for any other stream. But there was no room for cavilling
left so far as a river was concerned. The Rio Grande was fixed
upon, and understood as the one.
June 3d.—On page 45 I have alluded to Gen. Jackson, and
his influence having, through my instrumentality, been brought
to bear in 1844-'45, upon the matter of annexation. This influence
was so great in operating upon public opinion in the United
States, that it deserves a more extended notice, though he was
a follower, strictly speaking, and not a prime mover in the accomplishment
of this measure. In 1837 he was President of
the United States, and all the reasons which he afterwards, in
It had always been my prime object, in procuring the interference
of these European powers, to arouse the slumbering
jealousies of the people of the United States. In this I succeeded
even to my utmost wish. All the sensibilities and susceptibilities
of Gen. Jackson were aroused, and the influence
which he exerted upon his fellow-citizens was immense, as I well
knew it would be. This truly great man believed, doubtless,
as his friends have claimed for him, that he acted a prime part
in the drama of annexation. This, however, is a mistake; the
prime part was played by Texas herself.
It was doubtless important to the United States that Texas
should be annexed. This, however, they ought to have seen
and known as well in 1838 as in 1845, for Texas was in reality
as valuable at the former as at the latter period. The attitude
which foreign powers might assume towards her, was a contingency
which should have been foreseen. The United States
should not have been frightened into the measure, but led to it
at the propitious moment, by a sober conviction of its value and
by sound sense and reason. As it was finally accomplished it
In the commencement of 1842, Mr. Tyler being President
of the United States, the subject of the annexation of Texas
was brought to his attention by Col. Reilly, acting under instructions
from me as Secretary of State. Mr. Reilly was in
possession of the views of the Government, and verbally authorized
to announce to Mr. Tyler that the then newly elected
President was in favor of the measure if it could be brought
about; and also that he would have been instructed to renew
the proposition which had been withdrawn in 1838, if a reasonable
prospect of success had been presented. But Mr. Tyler
repulsed our advances with the same coldness and apathy which
Gen. Jackson and Mr. Van Buren had evinced to the measure,
and continued to maintain this attitude of indifference or hostility
to it, until near the close of 1843; and would not have
woke up to a different appreciation of the matter doubtless,
until he went out of office in 1845, if I had not made a lever of
England, and a fulcrum of France, and "prized" open his eyelids.
This, however, succeeded; Mr. Tyler was the first to become
frightened, and sounded an alarm the chorus of which was
taken up by Gen. Jackson and others, and like the music of
Tarn O'Shanter, it grew constantly, from hour to hour, "more
fast and furious," until the spell was only dissolved by the consummation
of the measure in 1846. Seriously, the attitude of
the United States Government towards the Texas question, from
1836 to 1843 inclusive, (seven years,) was one of weak and
The subject of domestic slavery, about which so much alarm
existed in 1844–'45, was never once so much as mentioned or
alluded to by the British Minister to the Government of Texas,
except to disclaim in most emphatic terms any intention on the
part of England ever to interfere with it here. Indeed, that
constituted no part of the policy of that far-reaching nation.
She might be willing to tickle her abolitionists, (a somewhat
numerous, but not very respectable or influential class of her
citizens,) but had no idea of going on a crusade with them to
abolish slavery in Texas or anywhere else. Her Texas policy
was, to build up a power independent of the United States, who
could raise cotton enough to supply the world; of which power
slavery would be a necessary element, and this not primarily
to injure the United States, but to benefit herself, not from enmity
to brother Jonathan, but love to John Bull; and so with
June 3d.—In my memoranda for 1839, of April 2d, (p. 32,)
is a note of a conversation with Mr. J. W. Houston of Washington,
D. C., an intimate and confidential friend of Gens. Jackson
and Houston, in which he informed me that Gen. Jackson
agreed to claim the Neches as the true Sabine and as the boundary
between the United States and Mexico under the treaty
of 1819, with Spain, and that he would defend and fight for
that line. * * * The retreat of General Houston in 1836,
was, therefore, doubtless with a view to that understanding, and
to place his army behind that line. It was anticipated that
Santa Anna would not regard this pseudo claim, and would, in
pursuit of the Texans, if the retreating policy were long enough
continued, cross the Neches, which would have afforded the
Government of the United States a pretext for making common
cause with Texas, and produced the same state of things
June 3d.—I would not be understood as saying that Gen.
Jackson attached no importance to the annexation of Texas
previous to 1844–'45; but he had come to think that the settlement
and occupation of this country, almost exclusively by
Americans, made its ultimate reversion sure, or in the language
of Col. Benton in 1844, that "any time in twenty years would
be soon enough," for in that time Texas would be so worn down
by her difficulties and dissensions, which last Gen. Houston was
so happy in producing and continuing, that she would be glad
enough in the course of that time to seek security and repose by
falling into the arms of the United States upon their own terms.
But California was not so situated, and for a foothold there Gen.
Jackson would have paid liberally, Texas being considered as a
contingent remainder; or he would have engaged in a war
with Mexico for the same purpose, and to settle old scores and
collect an old debt, if the pretext could have been found for
commencing it. The retreat of Gen. Houston to the country
between the Sabine and the Neches, the pursuit of Santa Anna
and his crossing the latter stream, would have been considered
an invasion of the territory of the United States, by their President,
and by the Taylor of that day, Gen. E. P. Gaines—a conflict
would have ensued between some of his troops and some
of those of Santa Anna—blood would have been spilled upon
(disputed) American ground—and "war commenced by the act
of Mexico!" Then Gen. Jackson would have accomplished
I have frequently thought the recklessness of Gen. Houston
and his disregard for the true interests of Texas, in 1836, '37, and
'38, was in consequence of his coinciding with Gen Jackson and
Col. Benton, in their views of the ultimate destiny of Texas,
and that he treated her as some people do their riding horse,
hobbled her to keep her from leaving home.
June 3d.—Gen. Jackson was, doubtless, the architect of the
scheme for acquiring California, &c. Disappointed, however,
in effecting his object, and in a pretext for a war with Mexico,
he thought little of Texas, and cared nothing for her until she
had got her hobbles off. Then when he saw her situation and
her power—saw that she had become an object of lively interest
to European Governments—saw that, so far from struggling
for existence in the wild torrent of war and revolution, she had,
by their kindness, found a plank to support her, and that she
could land in safety on either bank of the stream, and might
land on the Wrong one, then, when she no longer needed his
assistance, he, like Lord Chesterfield with Dr. Johnson, "encumbered
her with help;" being scared well-nigh to death, not lest
she might get drowned, (for like Paddy by hanging, she had
got used to that,) but lest she should be incontinently swallowed
by that insatiate monster, the "British lion," or have her entrails
devoured by that promethean vulture, the "cock of
France." Inde hœc lachrymœ. Really, the position of this
great friend of "immediate annexation" in 1845, annexation
which was so "absolutely and imperatively necessary to the
prosperity, harmony, and even the very existence of the American
Union," cannot but be regarded as a little ludicrous, especially
if viewed in contrast with his well-known sentiments on the
subject previous to that period. The same may be said of very
The acquisition of the ports and harbors of San Francisco,
was a great and important object to the United States, and
Gen. Jackson was wise in wishing to effect it. * * * It
would have resulted in the further acquisition by the United
June 3d.—I have said Gen. Houston's policy was to retreat
beyond the Neches and beyond the line which Gen. Gaines, of
the United States Army, would have defended; but that he
was forced by the men of his army to depart from this policy,
and to go to Lynchburg, from which resulted the battle of
San Jacinto. (V. p. 83.) Among many reasons of a positive
and conclusive character, which I have for this fact, are others
of a circumstantial kind, among which I mention one. On the
morning he retreated from, the Colorado, he had, by the official
report of the day, over 1,500 effective men. It was well known
that many more were on their way to join him, and that in ten
days his force would certainly amount to 2,000, or perhaps more.
He was only opposed by a small detachment on the right or
west bank of the Colorado, and the other detachments of the
Mexican Army were scattered from Goliad to San Antonio,
and could not have been concentrated under two weeks, and
when concentrated, would not have amounted to more than 4,500
effective men. Supposing that Gen. Santa Anna could have
crossed the Colorado without loss, which would not have been
an easy matter, Gen. Houston could then have opposed a greater
proportionate force to him than he afterwards had at San Jacinto,
and with more than equal prospect of success. The excuse
he has given the country about cannon is idle, for Texans never
yet killed anybody in the open prairie with cannon, nor were
they necessary either to frighten the enemy, or keep up the
courage of our own men, for we relied upon the rifle, pistol,
and bowie-knife. And if cannon had been so really necessary,
we could have taken them from Sesma very easily any hour at
Beason's, on the Colorado. We had 1,500 effective men there
—Sesma not more than five or six hundred. He had several
pieces of cannon which we could have taken any day for a week,
in five minutes.
June 4th.—The affair at the Coletto, under Fannin, was the
only adverse one that has ever happened on our soil, (for in this
particular connection I do not consider Santa Fé on our soil,)
and the fault here was that they were not Texans at all. They
were, nearly every one of them, strangers in the country, and
knew nothing of the art of war. They were undoubtedly brave,
but had no experience of frontier, or Indian, or Mexican warfare,
—had not been accustomed to hardship or privation, and
were unfit to encounter or endure them. Without the experience,
therefore, which all Texans had, necessarily, in 1836, and
without the discipline which among regular troops supplies its
place to a great extent, badly appointed, Fannin, surrounded as
he was by a force so superior as was that of Urrea, might possibly
have fought his way out, (and doubtless would have done so if
he could have foreseen the perfidy of which he was to be the
victim,)—but may be excused for having surrendered as he did,
upon terms, in order to save the effusion of blood. It is much
to be regretted that he had not taken precautionary means to
cover his retreat from Goliad.
June 4th.—The defence of the Alamo by Travis is one of
the most splendid instances of bravery and noble devotion to
the cause of one's country on the page of history, and has no
parallel except the defence of the pass of Thermopylæ by Leonidas
and his little band of Spartans. Although it resulted in
the death of every man, though not one was left in the former,
as in the latter instance, to tell the tale of their chivalric and
patriotic deeds; though all perished, and the country sustained
a heavy and irreparable loss in them, still the example of high
and elevated heroism they left behind was of priceless value,
and constituted a legacy, the benefits of which will last while
Texas has a name. It nerved at the time the heart and the
arm of every Texan, while the conduct of the cruel Mexican
filled every bosom with indignation, as well as with high and
noble resolve to avenge their countrymen and to imitate their
example. These feelings reached beyond Texas, and thousands
urged by them hurried to join the banner of the single star.
There is yet another fact to show conclusively that the argument
brought forward to justify the retreat from the Colorado,
on the score of its affording an opportunity to attack the Mexicans
"in detail," is without application or force. On the morning
of the 20th of April, at 8 o'clock, we arrived at the forks
of the road, the left one of which led to Lynchburg, distant
some two or three miles, and the right or straightforward one to
New Washington, distant about seven. The despatches taken
from the Mexican courier on the 18th, and the Mexican officer
taken with him, informed us that Gen. Santa Anna was in front
with 750 men, and Cos in our rear with about 850 more. The
smoke of New Washington, to which fire had been set in the
early morning, told us exactly where Santa Anna was. New
Washington is on a peninsula, and Santa Anna was in as perfect
a cul de sac as ever was formed, from which there was but one
way of escape, and that was by the road on which we were, and
on which we halted half an hour on the morning of the 20th at
8 o'clock. Instead, therefore, of waiting for Santa Anna to return
to where we were, or pushing on towards New Washington,
where he was, we turned off to Lynchburg, left the road
some two or three miles off, upon which the two detachments
of the Mexican army were marching, and thus gave an opportunity
for Santa Anna to escape back to the Brazos and to form
a junction with Gen. Cos, (as he did,) besides leaving the way
open to him to hold free communication with his main body of
troops on that river. Had he adopted the policy of withdrawing,
he could, when he arrived at the forks of the road above
mentioned, have pushed on to the "bridge on the only road
leading to the Brazos," some five miles off, crossed, and then
destroyed it; he would therefore have avoided a pursuit, joined
Gen. Cos, and then concentrating his forces, brought his whole
power together on or near that river. And if Gen. Houston
finding that Santa Anna would not take the door which he had
left wide open for his escape, had even then wished to prevent
the enemy from concentrating his force, he could have cut down
the "bridge" himself either on the morning, afternoon, or evening
of the 20th, (for Santa Anna had taken a position which
gave us access to it,) and thereby prevented the union of Cos
with his chief. And further, if Gen. Houston had wished for
Had Gen. Santa Anna, on the 20th and 21st April, adopted
the policy of retiring upon his main army, and concentrating
his forces, as he could and should have done, Houston would
not have pursued; but crossing the San Jacinto at Lynchburg,
and taking the lower road, reached the Neches in safety, thus
effecting his original object in retreating from the Colorado, and
defeating the will and wishes of the Texans under his command,
by whom he was forced, malgré lui, to deflect from the road
leading to Nacogdoches on the 15th, or six days before. (V.
On the 20th Santa Anna offered him battle from 10 o'clock
A. M. until night, in the open prairie, on Houston's own ground,
and with only 750 men. On the 21st he was reinforced with
850 men under Cos; and we fought him in a fortified encampment
June 4th.—It has been contended that Gen. Houston's delay
of two weeks on the Brazos is an evidence that he did not wish
or intend to retreat across the Neches; but this is very idle. He
needed a plea or pretence of necessity in order to enable him to
retreat, and waited for Santa Anna to afford him this plea by
crossing the river below, to which he offered no obstacle. So
soon as a sufficiently plausible excuse was furnished by the crossing
of the Mexicans, the retreat to the Neches was re-commenced,
but defeated by the means I have mentioned, (on the
I have said I did not regard the affair of the 21st at San Jacinto
as a battle, but rather a rout and a slaughter, * * *
as there was no resistance on the part of the enemy. I examined
a number of Mexican cartridge-boxes, and in no instance
was there more than one cartridge used from them, and half
their escopets taken on the field were loaded. * * * The
soldiers could not have fired more than once apiece on an
average, and in no instance could a soldier have fired his gun
more than twice. The fact is, as a general rule, "they brought
their pieces to their faces, shut their eyes, fired, then run away
as fast as they could," as a Mexican officer, whose wounds I was
dressing, afterwards told me.
It is not pleasant for me to say these things of one whom I
would not wrong, and whom I have praised whenever I could,
and sometimes too highly; and for whom I have entertained no
unkind feelings. But the cause of truth and justice demands it
Falsehood should not forever prevail over truth; and that
I may contribute, as is my duty, so far as facts are in my possession,
to the final triumph of the right, I have recorded these
things in sorrow, and not in anger.
June 4th.—I have spoken of the unfortunate course pursued
after the 21st April, (v. p. 71.) The Mexican army were then
panic struck, divided into separate detachments, disheartened,
and offered to surrender to Col. Karnes, (as he told me,) and
were perfectly willing, ready and anxious to surrender to any
officer of the Texan army who would agree to recognize them
as prisoners of war, and guarantee their personal safety. If
proof of this fact were wanting, there are hundreds who can
attest it; and the very precipitate and headlong retreat of Filisola
from the country, and his official report of his condition
after the 21st April, made to the Mexican Government, most
abundantly proves this to have been the case. But Gen. Houston
acted on this occasion as he has on so many others, playing
the dog in the manger; that is, not being able to pursue and
capture Filisola himself, he determined no one else should gain
the credit of such an exploit, which he too plainly saw would
shade his furtive laurels. The country he appears never to have
thought of, unfortunately, except when it could be made wholly
subservient to his selfish views.
Giving credit to Gen. Houston, therefore, for all he justly
and unjustly claims in his campaign of the spring of 1836, it
may truthfully and rightfully be said, he deserves more censure
for his omissions than praise for what was performed. And in
all his public life since that time, acting upon the same principle
of absorbing selfishness, he has ever exerted himself to prevent
the country from being benefited in any way, unless the credit
of the act producing the benefit could in some way or other be
appropriated by him. So wanting has he been in patriotism, so
intensely selfish and aspiring, and so jealous of every man in
Texas who might by any possibility ever come in his way.
The crossing Buffalo Bayou the afternoon of the 19th April,
from the north to the south side, has been used as a strong argument
that Gen. Houston did not intend to go to the Sabine.
This is without force—he could not stay where he was: he dared
not attempt a further retreat, and was forced by his troops to
cross the bayou. The same power which made him take the
road to the bayou on the 15th April, made him cross it on the
19th of that month. When he could no longer retreat himself,
he tried to induce Santa Anna to do so by leaving the road
open from New Washington to the Brazos. But when he could
not retreat any longer, and when he found Santa Anna would
not, he consented to be compelled to fight; and had we have
been unsuccessful at San Jacinto, would have laid all the blame
of the disaster to our forcing him. He held in his own hands
the most abundant and explicit proof that he went to San Jacinto
and fought the battle there against his judgment and his
wishes. This proof it was easy for him to destroy, as he did,
when it no longer suited his purposes to retain it.
December 31st, 1851.—(Extract.) "The tranquil and pervading
influences of the American principle of self-government
was sufficient to defeat the purposes of British and French interference,
and the almost unanimous voice of the people of
Texas has given to that interference a peaceful and effective rebuke,"
&c., (J. K. Polk's Annual Message, 1845.) All this is a
mistake. There was no "interference" as stated, or in the
sense implied. Texas over and over again, with the full and
entire consent and approbation of all her people, sought the
friendly offices of England and France for a period of five years;
and had those offices been made effective a few months earlier
even, the almost "unanimous voice" would have decided in
their favor, and given "a peaceful and effective rebuke" to Mr.
Polk's intrigues. Nor would the United States have had any
right to complain, for they too were invited and urged for
many, very many years, to use their good offices with Mexico,
and informed that we preferred annexation to any other alternative;
but they turned towards us "the cold shoulder." Mr.
Polk forgets also that it was that very "interference" of which
he so unjustly complains which proved the means, the lever, the
battering-ram that opened the door to annexation in the United
States. Jealousy of those powers growing out of this very
"interference" proved the effective cause of that mighty, that
almost miraculous change which public opinion on this subject
then underwent from 1843, when it had almost no friends, to
the latter part of 1844, when it had a majority of the people in
its favor. Mr. Polk also chooses to forget that it was this same
"interference" which made him President of the United States,
by bringing to the cause of annexation, which was the great
issue in this election, a majority of votes. Mr. Polk should not
have abused the bridge which carried him so safely over.
January 15th, 1852, (v. pp. 48 to 52, 54 and 76. Missions of
Gov. Yell of Arkansas, Gov. Wickliffe of Kentucky, Com. Stockton
and Dr. Wright of the U. S. Navy, and A. J. Donelson of
Tennessee, in 1845.
The missions of all the above had but one object—that
of persuading or compelling me to assist Mr. Polk in manufacturing
a war with Mexico, covered up, however, under a professed
zeal to accomplish annexation, which stood in no need of
their aid, and of protecting Texas from Mexican invasion when
there was no danger of such an invasion, except from their intrigues.
I have elsewhere in this volume (v. pp. 48 to 52) given
a sufficient account perhaps of the acts of Com. Stockton and
Surgeon Wright. Gov. Yell remained but a short time, and
probably becoming disgusted with the mission, returned home.
But Gov. Wickliffe remained as long as he had any hope, and
left just in time to escape a legal investigation of his acts. * *
From Galveston to Austin, (where he went soon after his arrival,
and where he ascertained I would not sanction Com.
Stockton's scheme,) he everywhere urged violence and rebellion
against the Government of Texas, encouraged the dissatisfied
and the mischievous; and this, too, after the Executive, the Congress,
and the Convention had accepted the proposals of the
United States on the subject of annexation, and that great and
glorious measure had been by me placed beyond danger, except
from the machinations of such men as Gov. Wickliffe, and those
with whom he thought proper to associate himself, viz., demagogues,
military aspirants, restless, disappointed politicians, personal
and political opponents of myself and my administration,—
and all who from anarchy and war alone had any hope of bettering
their condition or gratifying their passions. Major Donelson,
though originally engaged in the same cause, yet stood rather
aloof himself, probably because, as he was the authorized minister
of the United States, he was so instructed, lest he might
compromit the Government in a scheme which, although they
desired its success, they dared not too openly avow; and finally,
no doubt, because he became alarmed at the bold infamy of the
plan. * * * He has not, however, been quite able to conceal
his chagrin and mortification at my defeat of all the
schemes of this cabal; for this appears too plainly in his letters
to Mr. Buchanan in 1845, where he evidently, after exhausting
the realms of truth, ransacks those of error and falsehood for
causes of censure against me. I need only cite his charge of
"delay in calling Congress and the Convention," (v. his despatch
Had these emissaries ceased their efforts to overthrow my
administration when they found the measure of annexation
was secure in Texas, they might with some plausibility have
claimed the peaceful and safe consummation of this measure as
the object of their mission; but their opposition towards me
increased exactly in proportion as the certainty of this peaceful
and safe consummation became apparent.
Mr. Donelson saw in the precipitate flight of Mr. Wickliffe
from the country, as well as from other indications too palpable
not to be perceived by him, that he was greatly mistaken when
he told Mr. Buchanan that he could safely interfere with my
constitutional functions, as he saw that violence was the next
thing to be expected, probably anarchy; and that not only
their hopes of driving me into their war scheme would be defeated,
but that annexation itself would be prevented. So he
took counsel of his fears.
January 19th.—While the President of the United States
was acting the pious "mawworm" in reference to pretended
"interference" on the part of France and England in the affairs
of Texas, he was himself actively engaged in carrying on the
most disgraceful system of intrigue. * * * *
These emissaries pretended great anxiety to protect Texas
from Mexico, and complained that I did not act with sufficient
promptness in this matter; but unfortunately for their sincerity,
their clamor against me increased a hundredfold when I proclaimed
a cessation of hostilities between the two countries. * *
January 20th.—I have abundant reason to thank Almighty
God, daily, night and morning, that he gave me the WILL and
the POWER to resist all efforts on the part of the Government
of the United States and their emissaries here, to induce me
to aid them in their unholy and execrable design of "manufacturing
a war with Mexico," by taking the initiative, and
With J. Polk and Zachary Taylor rests the responsibility,
in chief, for the war which was finally got up, and for the lustful,
reckless, and rapacious spirit engendered by it, so portentous
of future ill to this country. They have both gone to
their great and final audit, and, having repented ere they died,
their friends are allowed to hope (none more sincerely than myself)
that they have obtained the clemency of that great Executive
to whom they have now "rendered an account for the
deeds done in the body." * * * * And for myself, however
misunderstood and abused for my part in the great drama
of annexation, still I would not exchange my "calm and quiet
conscience" for all the "pomp and circumstance" which recently
surrounded either the President of the United States
who initiated, or the poor old General * * * who became President
of the United States by his conduct in this Mexican
I may have judged too harshly of some, or all these missions;
but I have only given, as nearly as possible, an account
of the impressions they made upon me at the time, 1845, and I
can truly say with Burns:
"Time but the impression deeper makes,
As streams their channels deeper wear."
January 20th, (Mexican War and Preliminary Treaty of
1845.)—By some I have been censured (V. National Intelli-ligencer,
1846) for counselling a "vigorous prosecution of the
war," when I was opposed to the manner of its commencement.
In this, however, I was right.
There were great causes of complaint against Mexico, (though
two wrongs never make a right,) and, the war having begun,
no matter how, it was not only good policy, but mercy to all
concerned, that it should be speedily terminated. This was all
I counselled. Of course I could not wish success to the enemies
of my country, but my desire was to see her victorious, and
victorious from the start. She was obliged to conquer in the
In placing (as I did in 1845) Texas at peace with the world,
I believe I did more for her true interests and ultimate welfare
than could "ten thousand men, armed in proof and ready for
the battle." Humanity will never learn its true glory, dignity,
and well-being, until it learns to place a proper estimate upon
war. * * * * There are doubtless occasions when war becomes
necessary * * Such have been our wars of independence.
* * * The United States have now become a great
and powerful nation, and by just and prudent conduct need
have no more wars, having now a moral force sufficient to cause
their rights to be respected throughout all lands and seas. The
"pen" with her is literally "mightier than the sword," and she
needs, hereafter, to use no other weapon, if she will take care
to use this properly, and to do justice always. Let us have agricultural,
commercial, manufacturing heroes, legislative and
cabinet heroes, heroes in science and the arts of peace; but
Heaven save us from another deluge of military ones for the
next century at least. Rather break up the button moulds, and
let the feathers stay on the animals to whom they belong of
right, and to whom they are useful as well as ornamental.
"Turn your swords into ploughshares and your spears into
January 26th.—I have seen enough of war to despise it
heartily. It is a miserable, wretched game at the best, and
should, only be resorted to when all other means have been
faithfully tried and exhausted. War becomes a stern necessity
sometimes, but not half so often as weak or wicked rulers wish
to make the people believe. It is a relic of barbarism—and
civilization, religion, and humanity should set their "canons"
against it. I came to Texas in 1833, with no view of attempting
to separate her from Mexico. * * * My sole and exclusive
object was to find a suitable field for the exercise of my
profession, and to make myself useful in the prosecution of pursuits
altogether peaceful, in this new and young country of my
adoption. Indeed, I came in an hour when there appeared little
expectation of a war, or but little probability of it, at least on
the surface of things; though, doubtless, scheming politicians
were then at work in Texas and the United States preparing
such an event. * * * I knew nothing of their plans in this
respect. No whisper of them had ever reached my ears. * *
For two years after my arrival, I steadily opposed all violent or
aggressive movements towards Mexico—counselled forbearance,
struggled faithfully to have friendly relations maintained with
the parent country. But in May or June, 1835, war broke out
—by whose fault or act it does not concern me, at this time, to
inquire—and in October of that year Santa Anna overthrew the
Constitution of 1824; establishing a central military despotism
in its place, (which he afterwards told me he thought the only
kind of government under which Mexico could ever prosper;)
and these two events, and their consequences, left me no alternative
but to stand up for the actual independence of the country
—which I did for about ten years, and which I finally
January 27th, (Cuevas Treaty.)—In my letters to H. Stuart
of the Civilian, in 1847, I have pretty fully explained the facts
and the reasons influencing me in making the Preliminary Treaty
with Mexico; and thereby obtaining from that government the
full acknowledgment and recognition of Texan independence,
with the boundary of the Rio Grande as we had claimed it. In
agreeing to wait, as I did, ninety days for the completion of
that treaty before I should conclude negotiations for any other
settlement of the question of the nationality of Texas, I in nowise,
or in the least degree, compromitted the safety and immediate
success of annexation. On the contrary, I promoted both these
objects, more particularly the safety of that measure. The ninety
days gave time to develop public opinion here; and as the
Congress of the United States (as I was well assured) would not
be convened in special session, and consequently could not meet
until December, it gave me upwards of nine months in which to
assemble a Convention and have a State Constitution adopted;
and all of six months after the expiration of the time allowed
for the negotiations at the city of Mexico, even if I had obligated
myself to wait that time before issuing a call for Congress
and the Convention to assemble, which I did not. Now, as I
performed every thing on the part of Texas required by the
Joint Resolutions of the United States Congress for the annexation
of Texas, and had the new State Constitution placed in
the hands of the President of the United States more than two
months before the expiration of the time required, I think it
rather unjust that it should be imputed to me as a crime, because,
in the mean time, I achieved the actual independence of
Texas and placed her at "peace with the world." But if this
was a fault, "most grievously have I answered it." During a
connection with the Government of Texas, of the most weighty
and responsible character, for nearly ten years, it is the only
fault, as I know of, ever even imputed to me; and it might seem
that if I did wrong in this instance, all my other acts in behalf
January 28th.—By that Treaty, and my other acts, I removed
every possible danger which threatened the cause of annexation,
that could be removed; while, at the same time, I
fully vindicated the honor, the integrity, and the scrupulous
good faith of Texas in the eyes of France, Great Britain, Europe,
and the world—a consideration, in my opinion, of the very highest
importance. Time will abundantly demonstrate all these
things; not, however, in my lifetime. I renew my appeal from
cotemporary malice, selfishness, jealousy, and injustice, to the
truth of history, and the calm judgment of posterity.
February 17th.—I have just seen a letter written by Gen.
Duff Green, of Washington city, to Mr. A. J. Donelson, editor
of the "Union," and published in the "Southern Press," in
which he states that Mr. Donelson told him, in 1845, that I had
sent Mr. E. Allen, then Secretary of State, to visit Gen. S. Houston
in order to induce him to join me in defeating annexation.
I never sent Mr. Allen or anybody else to Gen. Houston while
I was President, on this or any other errand, and never consulted
him or asked his advice on any subject during the time; for
I well knew, from the 8th of July, 1844, that he had "changed
his front" on the subject of annexation, and did not wish ME to
consummate it; but preferred breaking down my administration,
which I took excellent care he should not have the pleasure of
doing. I knew Gen. Houston too well to advise with him on
any matter connected with my administering the government.
February 23d.—Since writing the above, Col. Ward and
Hon. E. Allen and lady arrived here from Austin, and spent the
night at Barrington. Mr. Allen states that there is no truth in
Gen. Duff Green's statement, (or rather Mr. Donelson's,) as
above, about him. That he did not go to Gen. Houston's house
that year—nor was he ever, to his knowledge, "followed" anywhere
"by the American Minister"—that I never requested him
to use any influence with Gen. Houston, or any one else, in opposition
to annexation, or in persuading any one to oppose that
Mr. Allen further states, that the despatch of Major Donelson
of 31st March, 1845, and shown to him next day, was not
delivered to him until about two weeks afterward; and that
Major Donelson made various alterations in the original paper
after the 1st of April, resuming it for that purpose. (This last
I also know to have been the case.)
February 28th.—"East and West." In 1839, a bill was
brought into the Congress of Texas to divide its Supreme Court
so as to give a branch of it to "Eastern Texas." The Constitution
of the Republic provided there "should be one Supreme
Court, which should hold its sessions annually," &c. The Bill
making, in effect, two Supreme Courts, and its sessions to be semi-annual,
I conceived to be a clear violation of the provision of the
Constitution above referred to; and, on that account, I voted
against the bill, (in the Senate,) and it was defeated (after having
Thursday, May 6th.—By a memorandum recently found
among my papers, I ascertain the date of my first arrival in
Texas to have been the 20th of October, 1833, when I landed
from the "Sabine," (schooner,) at Velasco. I arrived at Brazoria,
November 1st, 1833.
In the "Texas Republican," a newspaper published at Brazoria,
of the date of 15th August, 1835, is a recommendation of
a call for a convention of the people of Texas, "to consult upon
their affairs," signed by myself and others. The date of the
document is 9th August, 1835. It was republished in the
"Texas State Gazette," in 1850. (This document did not appear
to embrace any war measure.) There was a great division
in the minds of people at the time, and two parties existed, a
"Peace" and a "War Party." I thought we were too few to
divide, and, therefore, wished to bring about union and concert
of thought and action.
On the 23d of August, 1845, I wrote to Gen. Zachary Taylor,
(late President of the United States,) in reply to a letter of
his of a date shortly previous, that I had no intelligence of any
hostile demonstrations on the part of Mexico—that I did not
apprehend any—that her concentrating troops at Matamoras
was in self defence, and in consequence of the United States
concentrating forces at Corpus Christi, and not for the purpose
of invading Texas; but, as a matter of precaution and safety
to our frontiers against Indians, as well as the possibility of a
Mexican attack, it would be well to keep up a force of five or
six companies of men at the different points in the line, from
Corpus Christi to Fannin county, on Red River, which, at the
time, (and previously,) were occupied by Texan Rangers. The
most South-western point indicated was Corpus Christi. This
letter more fully and perfectly throws all the responsibility of the
Mexican War upon Mr. Polk and Gen. Taylor. Gen. Taylor's
object, in his correspondence with me, (as I have good means of
knowing,) was to obtain a recommendation for a movement of
troops to the Rio Grande. Failing in this, he took the fatal
step himself!! (V. his letter to the War Department.)
Tuesday, June 1st.—have ever been opposed to banks and
banking of all and every kind: not but that with proper guards
and restrictions, and with suitable management, they may be
useful to a commercial and manufacturing community, and a
convenience to all classes; but that they are so liable to abuse,
that the practical evil of their existence will always be greater
than the practical good thereof. Among the first political
essays I ever wrote was one printed in "Poulson's Advertiser,"
Thursday, Aug. 26th.—Wrote his Excellency, Gov. P. H.
Bell, in behalf of railroads and other internal improvements; in
which I expressed the opinion, that if a proper system could be
agreed upon and suitable agents found to carry it out, Texas
needed works to be now or soon commenced, which would cost
fifty millions in their ultimate construction—that is, I thought
it time to lay the foundation of such a system if practicable, &c.
While at Austin I proposed two important enterprises to the
Legislature, to carry out which I had already engaged the necessary
capital. One was the "Texas Steamship Company," the
other the "Texas Iron, Steel, &c., Manufacturing Company."
The first had in view the establishment of a healthy competition
in the carrying trade of the Gulf of Mexico, by the introduction
of a first-class LINE OF STEAMSHIPS between Galveston,
Matagorda, and New Orleans, which should be extended (by
means of small steamers) to Aransas, Corpus Christi, and the
mouth of the Rio Grande; and ultimately, as necessity should
require, the line of ships should be further extended to Charleston,
Philadelphia, and New York, via Havana, asking for it, the
fostering care of the Government at its inception.
The second had in view the early development of the COAL,
IRON, and other mineral resources of Texas, looking especially
at present to the manufacture of railroad iron, and the consequent
facilitation of the construction of our proposed RAILWAYS.
Both of the above enterprises failed of success before the Legislature,
which was characterized by great timidity; and a want
Wednesday, Aug. 2d.—Attended at the office of the Secretary
of State at Austin. Examined the bids for the construction
of the A. & P. Railroad, which were this day opened, and
the contract awarded. New York Pacific scheme exploded by
Robert J. Walker!
November.—In 1852–'3 I directed much attention to the
subject of a railway to the Pacific Ocean through Texas, which
I considered the best, most desirable and useful route. Reflection
satisfied me the scheme was now quite practicable, and especially
if the Federal Government would do its duty. The
amount of my labor in reference to this matter had been very
considerable, and, as I believe, not unproductive of much good;
and in the summer of 1853 I visited New York and the other
northern cities, partly with a view of ascertaining in person
whether men and capital could be had to accomplish the enterprise,
and, if so, to enlist them in it. Since 1834–'5 I had reflected
much on the subject, and was induced to believe that,
sooner or later, the road would be built, and that it would be
(or should be) the first to connect the Atlantic with the Pacific
through our own territory, regarding it as a question of time
In July, 1853, the State of New York passed a charter incorporating
the "New York Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company,"
with a capital of $100,000,000, and public attention was
much attracted by it. In October and November the commissioners
named in the act proceeded to organize, and my friends
concluded they would wait the result of the operations of this
company before they would do any thing. They were influenced
to this course (which I did not approve) by the great
weight of character possessed by many of the gentlemen connected
with the New York Company, and partly also by the
incipient pressure in the money market, consequent upon the
prospect of a European war, and other causes. In this situation
of affairs I was invited and very strongly urged to unite with
the New York Company, and it having become evident that
this would, for the time, be the only associated effort made for
the construction of the work, I very reluctantly consented; for,
though there were in its number many men of high character
and reputed wealth, there were others of no character and
means at all—mere speculators; and there was about the whole
thing a rather evident odor of gas. Mr. R. J. Walker's subscription
of ten millions, it was confidently said, was for English
capitalists; and the other large amounts were excused upon various
grounds, which, if they had been correctly stated, would
have been sufficient. Much stress was laid upon the necessity
of an early organization, in order that the company might act
efficiently in view of the approaching session of the Legislature
of Texas, (which everybody knew would make a liberal donation
of the public lands for the road,) as the New York act required
the whole capital stock should be subscribed before the
company could elect its officers. There was very great force in
this argument, and I hoped (to say the least) that this company
might succeed. I was therefore willing to contribute aid in
this fond hope, to accomplish what there appeared to be no
other means of accomplishing. I was assured the company
should, at the earliest possible moment, be purified of its dross,
and that every thing should be to my satisfaction when we
I visited Austin in May in pursuance of my duty as commissioner,
to be present at the award of the Government of the
contract under his first proclamation; but I did not sign the
proposal then submitted by the company, having then little remaining
In July or August last Messrs. Walker and King (being
every thing left of the "New York Atlantic and Pacific Company")
suddenly appeared in Austin and secretly connected
themselves with fifteen Texans, and made a proposal for the
contract with the State, (all without my knowledge.) Messrs.
Walker and King sent for me, and I went to Austin, when Mr.
Walker, to my astonishment, informed me he had brought the
$300,000 for the purpose of making the deposit required by the
Texas act. He did not say in what it consisted; but my impression
obtained from him was, that the cash was on hand for
the purpose. My astonishment was removed, however, the
next day, when I learned the true character of the worthless
funds intended, and I immediately quitted Austin that day for
home, refusing most emphatically to have any thing to do with
the matter or the new company, one way or the other.
From Austin I proceeded direct to New York for purposes
connected with the road, similar to those which had induced
my visit in 1853, i.e. to see if I could form a company of the
right kind of men to undertake the Pacific enterprise. * * *
It is not necessary to advert to the embarrassments which surrounded
and continue to surround this project. The bad management
of Messrs. Chatfield, Walker, King, &c., the continued
stringency of the financial affairs of the world, the disastrous
continuance and progress of the European war, and the diminished
confidence of capitalists consequent upon these and other
causes, are but too well known. I may have sown seed which
will ripen into fruit, but this time alone will, show; but I am
not without considerable hope. I spent (in this last trip) between
three and four months in unwearied efforts to succeed;
and if I have not achieved success, I think I have "deserved it."
Of the one thousand shares capital stock of the New York
Company delivered to me in blank for distribution, I distributed
three hundred and fifty in this State to bona fide subscribers,
without solicitation on my part in any instance: the remaining
six hundred and fifty shares I returned to the secretary of the
company on my arrival in New York, last September, which
completed my official duties, and dissolved all connection on my
part with the company of every kind and description; nor am
I interested, directly or indirectly, in a single share even of its
P. S.—I have for years considered that Texas, more than
all other of the States, needed railways. Without them her
vast resources will not be developed for a century: with them
she would, in a very short time, become the most important
State in the Union—the common meeting ground for the merchants
of western Europe and eastern Asia, and a mart for the
commerce of the world! Her rivers, it is true, are many, and
penetrate far into the interior, but do not afford sufficient water
for the purposes of navigation. They will not do to depend on,
even for local uses, much less as channels for a great commerce.
Not until Texas has fifty millions worth of railways constructed
will she reach the point of a full development of her resources,
and a full fruition of the advantages of her local position on the
map of the world.
"In the history of our separate nationality, we find the name
of Anson Jones conspicuous among those who set the ball of
revolution in motion, and nailed the flag of independence to
every liberty-pole in the land. He was the author of the preamble
and resolutions, which we present below, and which were
the immediate cause of the assembling of the Convention at
Washington—the Declaration of our Independence—the formation
of our present Constitution, and the establishment of our
existing Government. Unassuming and unobtrusive as he is in
his intercourse with men, he was, at that eventful period which
As you are publishing some very interesting
sketches of the early history of Texas, I have copied for your
use, from an old Brazoria paper, published about the 1st of January,
1836, the proceedings of a public meeting which was held
on Christmas-day, A. D. 1835, which are herewith enclosed. After
much search I have been enabled to find a single copy of
these interesting and important proceedings, (which was in the
possession of our esteemed fellow-citizen, James F. Perry, Esq.,
the brother-in-law of the late Gen. Stephen F. Austin,) and this
was mutilated in such a manner that the preamble could not be
correctly made out. I have therefore been compelled to omit
all but the concluding sentence of the same. The resolutions
are, however, complete; and a full list of the thirty-five citizens
who in 'the time which tried men's souls' were willing to affix
their names to what were then, by all, considered bold, and by
many, rash measures, is also given. Perhaps you will have it
in your power, by means of the Gazette, to procure a copy of
the preamble entire. If so, I think it would be an important
acquisition to the civil history of Texas, as it will show the true
grounds upon which the people of Texas (at least those of this
county) thought it necessary to resort to force, and to a separation
from the mother country. The resolutions are energetic
and bold, and the first adopted in Texas recommending the call
of a convention of the people, a declaration of absolute independence,
and the formation of a separate constitution for the
permanent government of the country.
With great respect,
Your obedient servant, &c."
Pursuant to public notice, a meeting of the citizens of Columbia
was held at the town of Columbia on Friday the ——
instant. Josiah H. Bell, Esq., was called to the chair, and St.
Clair Patton appointed Secretary. An address explanatory of
the objects of the meeting was delivered by J. Collinsworth,
Esq., on whose motion the following committee were appointed
to draft resolutions, viz: Wm. H. Patton, Asa Brigham, Anson
Jones, Edwin Waller, and M. C. Patton. On motion, the chairman
was added to the committee, and the meeting adjourned
until 3 o'clock P. M.
The meeting having re-assembled pursuant to adjournment,
Dr. ANSON JONES, on behalf of the committee, presented and
read the following preamble and resolutions, (which he advocated
in a speech which was listened to with profound attention,)
when, on motion, it was resolved, that those who concurred
in the opinions therein expressed should attach their names
—"for driving us from Texas, and confiscating our
lands and property. And Whereas, the original articles of compact
and confederation between the different component parts
of Mexico, as they existed in the constitution of 1824, have
John Sweney, John D. Patton, Jas. Collinsworth, B. C.
Franklin, John Foster, A. B. Smeltzer, G. Tenille, T. S. Alsbury,
James Welch, R. Bledsoe, J. T. Harsell, Thos. McDugal, J.
Gordon, L. C. Manson, John Chaffen, Cyrus Campbell, S. M.
Hale, C. R. Patton, D. Jerome Woodlief B. J. Jyams, R. D.
The meeting then adjourned.
JOSIAH H. BELL, Chairman.
ST. CLAIR PATTON, Secretary.
COLUMBIA, Dec 25th, 1835.
[NOTE.—In accordance with the above preamble and resolutions,
(the first on the subject of a total separation from Mexico
ever passed in Texas,) a convention was called for the 1st
of March; a constitution prepared, adopted, and submitted to
the people; and Texas declared a sovereign and independent
Republic. The ball was put first in motion by "old Brazoria"
(then called Columbia) at this meeting.]
The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was referred
a joint resolution on the subject of authorizing the President to
withdraw the proposition of Annexation to the United States
of North America, having had the same under consideration,
beg leave to submit the following report:
Texas, deriving her origin from the United States of North
America, and allied to her by the strong ties of consanguinity,
common origin, similar government, and language, feels for that
nation a deep and filial regard. So powerful has been this feeling,
and so intimate has been the connection and the intercourse
between them and us, that we have still thought and felt
as if we were yet a part and portion of them. We have not
realized the fact that ours was a foreign nation, that we had
separated ourselves from them, and had once become a part
and portion of the Mexican Republic. Reason told us we
were Mexicans by adoption, but feeling still showed us we
were in every thing else Americans, and descendants of the
Anglo-Saxon race. Having been driven by military and religious
despotism to take up arms for the defence of our rights
and liberties, we have, after a sanguinary struggle, achieved a
separation from Mexico, and established our independence. So
soon as this was accomplished, we naturally turned our eyes
[NOTE, February 5th, 1850.—I find this imperfect copy of a
report written by me in April or May, 1838. It ended with a
recommendation to authorize the President to withdraw the
proposition for annexation. A resolution to that effect passed
the House, but was lost in the Senate, (through mere timidity.)
The reasons for withdrawing the proposition, were, that it
had been definitely acted upon by the United States (Jackson
and Van Buren) and rejected; and that it would allay excitement
to have it withdrawn; and that its remaining at that time
before the Government of the United States could be of no use,
but was doing positive injury to the cause.]
Moved to defer the consideration until the amount of debt
can be ascertained. Showed the importance of the bill. The
finance of the country is its very life and soul—like the healthy
circulation of the blood in the natural system, the political one
depends upon it. The issue will not stop at three millions, and
the expenses of Government, army, and navy, will be increased.
The effect of a large issue will be to depreciate the currency.
You cannot relieve the necessities of the country by an issue
of rags; the country is not to be enriched by such means, but
will be impoverished by the extravagance it will occasion.
Property is the only standard of value, &c., &c. Increase the
quantity of the circulating money, and every thing rises in proportion;
If this be true of gold and silver, how much more will its
effects be seen in a paper currency like the present, based upon
nothing but a precarious and uncertain foundation. It cannot
go out of the country, and must fall, necessarily, to a par with
the present price of government scrip, (8 cents.)
Take all the resources of the country, and the expenses of
the government must be double its income. Consequently the
debt is increasing, and no means left to redeem the issue of from
three to seven millions. Paper money must fall—will not raise
the military scrip, but depress the civil; increase the expenses
of the government more than five-fold, half a dozen prices must
be paid for every thing. Ruin must and will ensue.
Ten or fifteen thousand dollars thrown away to make the
paper look pretty—to gull the simple, and to sink the money
still lower than at present. Will the soldier be benefited?
No! only deceived. I respect the soldier, have shared his toils,
and know his sufferings, and am more than willing to relieve his
distresses, &c., &c. * * * * *
I have clearly shown that the market value of this money
must go down, inevitably, to 10 or to 5 cents. It is as plain as
the sun at noonday. The author of the bill knows it—there is
his confession of distrust in sec. 5th. He is willing to violate
the constitution, impair the obligation of contracts, and lead us
finally to the enactment of "stop laws," made only to enable
the rogue to swindle the plain-dealing honest man. * *
National faith should be observed—it is the foundation of
national credit—it is our best interest to promote it. Its destruction
is detrimental in the highest degree, injurious alike to
the character, the honor, the welfare, and the ultimate prosperity
of the country.
Our whole public property nearly has already been pledged;
there is only sufficient left unpledged to raise means upon to
defray the pressing and urgent expenses of the Government.
The country is in war,—vicissitudes may occupy; something
should be saved to meet emergencies and for a "rainy day."
And how came this bill into the House? who is its author?
who dared to pen its provisions? Was it the intelligent joint
committee? Sir, it was conceived in darkness, and brought
forth in secret. No one knows, or can know its father; but
whoever he may be, he has not, as yet, claimed the credit due
him. And what, sir, are its objects? What will be its practical
results? Who will be its beneficiaries? I will tell! A
land bill has just passed! Gentlemen have "got horses," and
now they come in for "saddles, bridles, and blankets," to ride
them with. The "land" is secured in prospective, and now
the dues must be got up and paid? Poverty is the mother of
ingenuity; wits have been racked, brains cudgelled, the midnight
oil consumed, the Genii and the spirits of speculation consulted,
and this bill is the result!! and if carried, the object will
be accomplished. The Government dues can then be paid in
"chips and whetstones"! * * * And is it for this we violate
national faith, character, and credit! Shall we "sell the
mighty space of our large honors for so much trash as can be
The bill of the committee possesses not one of these objections;
it provides for a fulfilment of all previous promises.
* * * It has been drawn up with great care after mature
deliberation, and by the best talent which this country possesses;
this must recommend it to honest minds. * * * I
have no views of speculation. My private and personal interests
are with the other, my duty and conscience with this. I
will never yield! I shall dispute every inch of ground, burn
every blade of grass; the last entrenchment I can find shall be
[NOTE.—The bill was defeated at the time, but passed the
next winter, and all the evils of the Promissory Note System
which I predicted, came to pass soon after. The money fell to
five cents, and finally ceased to circulate as a medium in 1841.
The public debt was increased about five-fold by this unwise
CITY OF AUSTIN, Feb. 5th, 1842.
Texas is not at this time in a condition to pay either principal
or interest. It is no less true that its public domain of
200,000,000 of acres of land will furnish, in time, abundant resources
to pay the debt. It only remains to make a wise application
of these resources.
The first duty of a debtor is to insure the creditor the future
payment of the debt, to the full extent of the means he may
have and possess. Now it is sufficient for the Government, at
present, to proclaim to the world: That her public domain is a
sacred and inalienable pledge to her creditors; and that its
product in some form shall be applied to the payment of the
debt in full, and that the incessent solicitude of the Government
is directed to this object.
Such a principle, clearly avowed and invariably followed,
would preserve the public faith in all its purity, and would
prove that Texas, now so calumniated by its enemies, is still
worthy the confidence and support of honorable men. This
The first consists in calling immediately on all the holders
of these liabilities, to present them at the treasury for the purpose
of obtaining a provisory certificate of indebtedness. The
term of three years should be fixed for this operation, after
which the right to the interest which we propose, to pay should
cease on claims not presented. The year following, bonds
should be issued of $100 to $1,000, redeemable in thirty years,
and bearing interest at 3 per cent. per annum, with the privilege
of using them under all circumstances in payment for the
By this measure, the Government would gain fairly four
years, during which it would have time to prepare its means
of payment. There now exists a law to the effect that the
lands belonging to the public domain may be taken by the
public creditors at $2 per acre. From the necessity of realizing
from its domain the means of satisfying its creditors, the Government
should cause to be surveyed in sections of 640 acres,
say 500,000 acres of its best lands, in the most eligible locations,
and these to be offered at public sale at the minimum of $1 25
the acre, payable in specie or treasury bonds.
It is natural to suppose that competition would raise the
price above $1 25; for every bondholder would prefer a good
section of land which he could dispose of forthwith, and in such
manner as should suit him, to a bond bearing only 3 per cent.
interest. By this system regularly pursued five or ten years, it
is probable the whole debt would be paid off.
The Government, to be consistent with itself, should sell its
lands for specie only, fixing a price in accordance with the wants
of the inhabitants of the country and their resources. These
sales might be extended to Europe by means of agencies already
established. And in this case the entire net receipts from
the land should be primarily applied in payment of the interest
on the funded debt. * * * * * The excess would
serve, on the 1st of January of each year, for cancelling the obligations
or treasury bonds, at par, in specie, by means of a lottery,
which would give an equal chance to every bondholder.
In this manner the burthens of State would be gradually lessened
by the cancelling. And as the price of the land might,
without danger, be increased as the system progresses, the canceling
would be more rapid in proportion, and the bonds would
soon attain to a par value.
Whatever, in fine, shall be the manner adopted, it is evident
the immense wealth of the public domain furnishes the means
of paying, without effort, the public debt, and of developing, at a
time not remote, the resources of the country by works of public
utility, and of building up a system of popular instruction.
Respectfully submitted by
FEBRUARY 1st, 1842.
The country is absolutely without present means of any
kind: her resources are large, though prospective, but her
credit is utterly prostrate. She has impending a floating, promiscuous
debt of, say six millions, and a funded one of two and
a half. Her annual income will not suffice to pay the interest
on the latter alone, if it were all directed to that object.
It is absolutely necessary that a Government should be sustained:
our existence as a people depends upon it; and the present
income of Texas is not more than sufficient for this purpose,
and with the sternest economy.
But one course presents itself. The public debt must be
postponed for the present, and the revenues collected in gold
and silver. The expenses of the Government must be reduced
to a sum within the probable amount of these revenues.
To obviate the great difficulty of the scarcity of specie in
the country at this time, the revenues must be anticipated by
treasury drafts or notes, to be received and paid by the collectors
of customs, dues, and taxes, and to be receivable by them
as an equivalent for specie.
The Indians should be conciliated by every means in our
power. It is much cheaper and more humane to purchase their
friendship than to fight them. A small sum will be sufficient
for the former; the latter would require millions.
By a steady, uniform, firm, undeviating adherence to this
policy for two or three years, Texas may and will recover from
her present utter prostration. It is the stern law of necessity
which requires it, and she must yield to it, or perish!
In the mean time, Texas must adopt some plan for the ultimate,
just payment of her public debt, with the interest from
the proceeds of her immense public domain; and she must declare
to the world her fixed purpose to do this as soon as practicable.
Respectfully submitted by
AUSTIN, Dec. 22, 1841.
(V. Letters, p. 172.)
Whereas, The Republic of Mexico, having in 1812 thrown
off the authority of the mother country, Spain, and by a most
sanguinary revolution achieved its independence, and in the
year 1824 established a federal government and a constitution
for the safety and welfare of its people:
And Whereas, Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna in 1835,
then constitutional President, did by force and violence subvert
and destroy the established Constitution and Government
of the country, and introduce Centralism in their place, and
constitute himself sole despot and dictator, demanding the citizens
to surrender up their private arms, and waging a war of
extermination upon those who refused—first in Zacatecas, where
all who opposed his will were indiscriminately slaughtered, and
afterwards in Coahuila and Texas:
And Whereas, in the year 1836, he invaded Texas with a
large army for the purpose of carrying his design into full effect,
where, after committing a series of atrocious cruelties and murders,
until then unknown in the history of the world, he was
And Whereas, subsequently, by violence and crime he again
ascended to power, and, sustained by bayonets, trampled upon
the sacred institutions and liberties of his country, in opposition
to the wishes of the Mexican nation, who were and still are
opposed to his usurped despotism, though they have not arms
to resist it:
And Whereas, this usurper of the rights of eight millions
of people, governed by no principles and owning no obligations,
human or divine, continues to disturb the peace of the
continent without just cause, and to endanger, by his unwarrantables
outrages, the quiet of Christendom:
And Whereas, by persevering in a course of conduct so opposed
to the spirit of the present age, he can only be considered
a monster whom it is the right, the duty, and the interest of
civilized nations no longer to tolerate or endure:
Therefore, Be it resolved, That in the opinion of this House,
the Government established in Mexico by Gen. Santa Anna,
founded in violence and crime, and conducted in opposition to
all international rules, in contempt of humanity, and in violation
of the principles of the age, and being calculated in its consequences
to disturb the peace of the American Continent, and
the quiet of Christendom, ought no longer to be tolerated by
Be it further Resolved, That it be recommended to the
President of the United States to recall our Minister, now
resident at Mexico, and to discontinue all diplomatic intercourse
with this scourge to humanity, this disgrace to civilization.
[Endorsement.—These Resolutions are very ultra, and it was
expected that, if offered at all, they would be modified by the
mover to suit the views of a majority of the United States Congress.
—A. J.] V. vol. ii., p. 222.
1st. The matter has again to be acted on by Congress of
the United States. The alternative adopted had not the sanction
of the United States: in some respects it is the worst alternative.
The Government of Texas has not the power to
amend the Constitution, except in the manner pointed out therein.
Texas (in the matter of Annexation) is passive, not active.
She would equally advance the cause of "free Government"
standing alone. She is in no danger from the "friends of a different
system." Texas can sustain herself. * * * The Indian
policy of the United States should be extended over Texas
in the event of annexation. Ask Mr. Donelson for the "guarantees."
* * * Will the United States insist on the boundary
of the Rio Grande for Texas? Public debt of Mexico.
Will the United States assume the ratable proportion of it, if
Mexico should insist on it? * * * Will Mr. D. stipulate
that Texas shall absolutely be admitted if she accept the
proposition for annexation? * * * The President cannot
accept or reject the proposition. He will act in conformity
with the public will. He must act with prudence and caution.
Very grave considerations are involved. * * * He
will hasten to convoke an extra session of Congress. * * *
If Texas is so "necessary to the welfare, safety, and prosperity
of the United States," they should give an equivalent for the
boon. * * * Texas may well fear that, if the United States
are close when wooing, they will prove niggardly when married.
Mr. D. thinks the terms are hard, but thinks they will
be made more favorable hereafter. The President sees no hope
SAN FELIPE, Head-Quarters,
March 29th, 1836.
The army is on the retreat, and I purpose
remaining with it at present. Our force at this time is ten or
eleven hundred; recruits are daily arming, and I think we shall
be able to meet the enemy in a few days. As it will be necessary
for some persons to remain in the lower country, I wish
you to continue at or near Brazoria as long as anybody stays
there, or until you hear from me again.
Very truly yours,
SATURDAY, March 19, 1836.
I start for the seat of war this morning. I
think of nothing in addition to the instructions I left with you,
except to repeat the request that in case of any accident you
will take charge of the negro woman Sally, now at Mr. Andrews',
and see that a proper disposition is made of her. I
place her under your control, and subject to your order. Do
not fail to write me occasionally.
Very truly yours,
CAMP NEAR CUMMINGS, March 30th, 1836.
News has this morning arrived that the
Mexicans have crossed the Colorado; their destination is not
known. Should it become necessary to evacuate Brazoria, I
wish you to make the best disposition possible of my property
there, my writing-desk, papers, and trunk particularly, so that
their ultimate safety may be insured. Dr. Parrott goes express
to Brazoria, and will be able to advise you of the best course
to be pursued. I requested Mr. Pleasant D. McNeel, who went
down a day or two since, to consult you in regard to the negress
Sally. Mr. Andrews must either give her up or give a receipt
for $600, or $15 per month for her hire, on account of the Estate
of John Graham. I depend upon you to attend to my interests
below the same as I should do if there myself. Please
write me by the first opportunity. Dr. P. will communicate all
CAMP ON THE BRAZOS, April 2d, 1836.
To Lt. Col H. MILLARD,
You will proceed forthwith to summon eleven commissioned
officers, who, with yourself as President and Anson
Jones as Judge Advocate, will compose a Court-Martial. You
will try private Scales of Capt. A. Turner's Company (B) on the
enclosed charges. You will make a record of your proceedings,
and transmit a copy duly authenticated to the Adjutant-General.
By order of the Commander-in-Chief,
JOHN A. WHARTON, Adjt. General.
To Lieut. Col. MILLARD:
By order of the Commander-in-Chief,
JOHN A. WHARTON, Adjt. Gen.
[Endorsed.—Private Scales and private John Garner were
tried and found guilty of mutiny, &c., and sentenced to be shot
next day, (April 3d.) Scales was pardoned on account of supposed
mental aberration; the other was marched to the place
of execution, and the shooting party were at a "present," when
a pardon was brought by Col. Wm. G. Cooke. It had a good
effect: there was no more mutiny.]
COLUMBIA, Oct. 28th, 1836.
Dr. ANSON JONES:
By order of the President, Gen. HOUSTON.
A. EWING, Surgeon-Gen. Texas Army.
P. S.—I have some papers in my hands which belong to
your department. There are many complaints entered against
the department. I endeavored to rectify them with the Old
Man; your presence is required here very much.
A. EWING, S. G. T. A.
HOUSTON, 20th Oct., 1887.
Your note of yesterday, requesting me to
deliver a eulogy upon our brethren, Fannin, Travis, and Crocket,
who have gloriously fallen in defence of our common country,
has been received. I will cheerfully comply with that request
on Sunday week, business of importance preventing me
from doing so to-morrow.
I am truly yours,
THOMAS J. RUSK.
Hon. ANSON JONES, House of Representatives, Houston.
BRAZORIA, Oct. 12th, 1837.
I acknowledge, with pleasure, the receipt of
your favor of the 2d inst., and have shown it to many of your
friends. The subjects mentioned as being before the House are
certainly of the utmost importance to the country, and will, I
trust, be disposed of in such a manner as to redeem our national
credit abroad, and restore order, union, and confidence at home.
I notice with pride the appointment of one of our Representatives
as Chairman of the Committee to repeal the Bank Charter;
for as the stain of originating it rests on us, the honor of
wiping it away should be ours. The propriety of reducing the
number of civil and military officers must, I think, be acknowledged
by all. * * * * * *
I remain, very respectfully, your friend,
Hon. ANSON JONES.
CHINA GROVE, Residence of Col. Hall, 9th Nov., 1837.
Messrs. J. W. BURTON and ANSON JONES,—Galveston Island
is advertised to be sold, as you know, on the 15th inst., for one-third
cash. Now if sold in this way it will bring little or nothing,
for there is no cash in the country. Had the terms better
not be altered to three or six months or six and twelve? In
this way it will certainly bring five or ten times as much.
God bless you. Yours truly,
WM. H. WHARTON.
CITY OF HOUSTON, 12th June, 1838.
MY DEAR JONES,—
Hoping it may not be counter to your
wishes and interest, I have resolved to appoint you the agent
from this Government, for the purpose of procuring a navy in
the United States, conformably to the act of this Government,
passed in 1837. There has no circumstance occurred which
When I see you, I will explain to you some things, harmless
and at the same time amusing. You will doubtless have to be
absent for some nine or twelve months. Some time will be necessary
to arrange your private business; so, come as soon as
you can, and in the mean time let me know if the situation will
be agreeable to you. It will meet the approbation of all the
members of the cabinet.
Very truly yours, as ever,
Hon. ANSON JONES.
PARIS, Oct. 6th, 1838.
His Excellency Mr. JONES:
Allow me to congratulate you upon your appointment
to the distinguished station you hold, which I do
most cordially, as a countryman, if not as a friend and acquaintance.
How far I have a right to claim either of the latter, I
am at a loss to know, as I have only been informed by our Government
and through the newspapers that "Dr. Jones is appointed
Minister to the United States," and inasmuch as I know
two Dr. Jones' in Texas personally, and have heard of one other.
But however that may be, allow me to congratulate you.
The last interview I held with Count Molé, the Minister of
Foreign Affairs, gave me more satisfaction than I had received
by any previous. I had urged him about the middle of August
to give me a decisive answer to the application which I made
to his Government in June last, to recognize Texas, for the first
time, and continued to talk to him on the subject, without urging
a definite answer, until then, when he informed me he was
preparing a report upon the affairs of Texas for the King and
Yours with regard, &c.,
J. PINCKNEY HENDERSON.
PARIS, Oct. 28th, 1838.
MY DEAR SIR,—
Some weeks since I had the honor to address
you a letter, but at that time was not certain that it was
you that I addressed. A few days since I had the pleasure of
receiving your letter from New York which gave me the first
knowledge of the "Dr. Jones" appointed Minister, &c., &c. I
am happy to hear that it is yourself. I gave you in the letter
alluded to all of the interesting news connected with my mission
at that time. Since then nothing has transpired worthy of your
attention. I have seen Count Molé only once since, but did not
press the subject upon him, though I have been lately expecting
an answer from him on the subject of the commercial arrangement.
The Cabinet have been very much engaged of late in
important domestic matters, and I suppose have not reached my
communication. They have the reputation of being very dilatory
upon all business connected with foreign governments.
Gen. Cass and Lord Granville have related to me several extraordinary
When will the line between the United States and Texas be
run and marked? What are your instructions upon the subject
of the navigation of Red River? That is a very important
matter to our citizens in that region. The exportation of their
produce will, or can be more easily provided for than the importation
of goods. They may bond their cotton, for instance,
in the custom-house in New Orleans; but can you devise any
means by which the Government of the United States would
think their revenue laws could be made certain against smuggling?
They will, no doubt, urge as a reason against any arrangement
with Texas on that subject, that goods cannot be
bonded for exportation and shipped up Red River into Texas,
without placing it in the power of the merchant to land them
on the United States side of that river, and thus avoid paying
duty to either Government. And, indeed, I am not well enough
acquainted with commercial matters to see how we can arrange
the business so as to avoid paying a double duty, and secure at
the same time the revenue of the United States from frauds.
You will readily perceive that the United States alone has reason
to fear such a state of things, as there is no danger of goods
being smuggled into that part of Texas after having paid the
duty in the United States, provided there is a means of getting
goods in that quarter by paying the United States duty alone.
Your friend and obedient servant,
J. PINCKNEY HENDERSON.
PARIS, Nov. 12th, 1838.
MY DEAR SIR,—
I received with pleasure, a few days since,
your letter of the 13th ultimo, informing me that you have, under
instructions from the Government of Texas, withdrawn the
application for her annexation to the United States. Being able
now to inform this and the British Government of that fact upon
official authority, it will remove one obstacle in the way of the
recognition by those Governments. I fully informed you, a few
days since, of the true state of affairs here. Since that time I
have received from Count Molé, the Minister of Foreign Affairs,
a communication announcing to me that the King had determined
to accept the proposition which I submitted to his Government
on the first ultimo to establish commercial arrangements
between Texas and France, whereby the ports of the two
countries should be opened to the vessels and goods of each
other upon reciprocal terms. He communicated to me the
terms, * * * which are, that "the vessels, seamen, and merchandise
of each country shall be received into the ports of each
other, and enjoy all of the privileges, advantages, and immunities
which are now enjoyed, or which may hereafter be enjoyed,
by the most favored nation; and that this arrangement shall
continue until the matter is arranged in a more formal and definitive
manner," (which latter clause evidently contemplates
recognition.) The terms being as favorable as I could desire, I
did not hesitate to accept of them without delay. All therefore
Your friend and obedient servant,
J. PINCKNEY HENDERSON.
PARIS, Dec. 5th, 1838.
MY DEAR SIR,—
* * * * * In viewing
the English and French shipping in the different ports of the
respective countries, I have been struck with the fact of the
very large number of negro and mulatto sailors employed, particularly
by such ships as trade principally with the West Indies
and the South American States and Mexico. Regarding, too,
at the same time, the important fact that the whole of the slaves
of the British West Indies have been liberated lately at our
very door, I have been impressed with the importance of providing
in the outset, in all treaties of commerce which Texas
shall establish with other nations, against vessels entering her
ports, manned in part or in whole by free negro or mulatto
sailors. I regard it as a favorable circumstance that the first
regular and formal treaty made by Texas with a foreign nation
will probably be made by yon with the United States, as I presume
that government will have no great objection to make the
necessary restrictions upon that subject, particularly as many
* * *Please present my kind salutations to Mr. Catlett,
and accept for yourself my warmest wishes for your happiness.
J. PINCKNEY HENDERSON.
GALVESTON, Dec. 19th, 1838.
I remember my promise and will now fulfil it.
* * * Congress met on the 5th. Mr. Frazier, the late chaplain,
died on the 9th inst.; while he was sick I performed his
duties, and since his death have been appointed in his place. I
came down on Friday to spend the Sabbath here, and am now
detained by a rousing norther, and know not when I shall get
back again. The inauguration on the 10th was quite a pageant.
Sam. Houston made quite a racy speech; he stood up for his
prerogative, objurgated the last Congress for not sufficiently
respecting it, and entreated the present Congress to treat his
successor better. You know, perhaps, that he and the present
Congress have been in a snarl most of the present session. The
old chief has a good many friends yet, I think. I fear Lamar's
friends have made pledges for him greater and more numerous
than he will be able to fulfil, with all the aid of Col. B——and
Gen. J——, and your predecessor, Gen. Memucan, to help him.
At the ball which wound up the grand affair 'tis said there
was some excess of riot, and some shameful spreeing, towards
the breaking of the day. One Hon. Representative, our friend
from Jasper; had his nose pulled by a certain military dignitary.
* * * Burnet's address on taking the chair as President of
the Senate was very sensible. * * * Rusk, as you probably
will have heard, was chosen Chief Justice on the 17th ballot.
He had 29 votes—John A. Wharton 19. Judges Birdsall and
WM. Y. ALLEN.
Hon. ANSON JONES, Washington City.
HOUSTON, Nov. 28th, 1838.
Early in the session the President submitted the appointments
which had been made during the recess of Congress to
the Senate for confirmation. That honorable body refused
either to reject or confirm them, postponing the subject till the
third Monday of December next; upon which Col. Hockley,
Secretary of War, Col. Wm. G. Cooke, Quartermaster-General,
G. W. Poe, Stock Commissioner, and other nominees who
happened to be present, resigned.
This extraordinary proceeding is, to say the least of it, an
instance of marked disrespect to the President and nominees.
The nominees are highly respectable gentlemen, and certainly
deserved some consideration.
This Congress commenced by passing a resolution prohibiting
the President from delivering his message in person, and has
pursued towards him ever since the line of conduct dictated by
the feelings and policy which prompted their first action. He
has kept cool, and in return has treated them with dignified
courtesy and * * *
Hastily, your friend,
R. A. IRWIN.
Hon. ANSON JONES,
Minister of the Republic of Texas, Washington City.
AUSTIN, Nov. 28th, 1838.
MY DEAR SIR,—
I presume you see all the Texas papers, and can learn more
fully and correctly the proceedings of Congress than I can tell
you, as I am not able to leave the office much while they are in
session. There appears to be much discord between the President
and both Houses of Congress, and not unfrequently between
the Houses themselves, all originating in a resolution
whereby a committee was to wait on the President and inform
him that Congress had organized and were prepared to receive
any written communication he might be pleased to make. The
President heard the word "written" in high dudgeon, and sent
in a very short letter—import not to be mistaken—accompanied
by documents that might consume two days in reading,—saying,
that if Congress had not "prescribed the mode," he had
prepared himself to lay before them matters of great importance;
but now he should defer it for the present, and lay
before them the documents from his subordinates, which would
contain the purport of his message, and at the same time evince
that the trust committed to each of them had not been improperly
discharged. The Senate did not confirm any of the
appointments made by the President during the recess of Congress;
as I have heard, deferred them till the new Administration
comes in. Of course Colonels Hockley, Cooke, Thruston,
and Poe, have sent in their resignations. What will be the
result I am unable to say; but one thing is certain, if I am
rightly informed, Lamar will "clear the kitchen" from the
highest to the lowest,—consequently I am making every preparation
to be in readiness. The President has been called upon,
by a resolution from the lower House, to give his views on the
financial system of the country. He has gone largely into the
matter, as usual, and I hope will be treated with more courtesy
Your friend and obedient servant,
Hon. ANSON JONES, Washington City.
WASHINGTON, May 6th, 1839.
Hon. R. G. DUNLAP, &c., &c.:
* * * * * Having more than two months
since understood that a person was appointed to supersede me
as Minister to this Government, and not having then received,
as I expected, a letter of recall to be presented to the President
of the United States on my taking leave of this Government,
finally I wrote about seven weeks ago to the Secretary of State
at home, requesting that if a letter had not been sent as above,
that it might be immediately done. As none, however, has been
forwarded me either through you or the ordinary conveyances,
I presume it has been the intention of the Government to with-hold
it. This, independent of personal considerations, I very
much regret, as a contrary course would have been in accordance
with propriety and the usages of friendly nations, respectful
to this Government, and is due to the character and dignity
of Texas, in which I have ever felt the strongest possible
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 11th, 1838.
Much to our surprise, regret, and mortification,
at the very moment when we expected to close with Mr. Biddle
for our loan, he has been compelled by the anti-Texas and anti-Slavery
feelings of his board, to decline any thing to do with the
Texas loan, on any terms, much to his astonishment and mortification.
However mad you may be, say not a word about the
causes which have unexpectedly produced our defeat. When
I see you I will satisfy you they are the true causes of our discomfiture,
and tell you all about it; but our policy requires
that it should not be known that Mr. Biddle's board, for the
first time, have controlled his wishes and intentions, especially
that they should not be abused for it by us or our friends. We
do not blame Biddle at all. He has yet the power and the inclination
to do more for us than any man in the United States.
I spent an hour with him last night at his house, and had a
very satisfactory conversation about the future. He means
that Texas shall get the money in some way if possible. We
are doubting whether to start for England immediately, or to
delay a while to produce some results here. Biddle strongly
advises the delay, and thinks the results can be produced, and
will aid mainly in producing them. We are also trying to buy
and fit out complete in all respects, for a cruise of six months, a
first-rate steamboat, with a Texas bond for $120,000. This is
rather exceeding our powers, but the necessity of the case
induces us to take the responsibility, and I believe we shall
succeed. * * * Can't you come on and see us, and give us
the benefit of your advice?
In haste, your friend,
A. T. BURNLEY.
Dr. ANSON JONES, Washington City.
PARIS, Dec. 28th, 1838.
MY DEAR SIR,—
Since my last, nothing has transpired here
upon Texan affairs calculated to enable me to judge of future
events. I still await the report of the Agent who has been
sent to Texas, as well as the issue of the French demand upon
Mexico with interest. I hope in a few days to learn from you
the name of the person sent to Texas by the French Minister at
Washington. General Cass, the American Minister at this
Court, called on me a few days since, and in the conversation
which passed between us, said to me that he had just received
a letter from Mr. Forsyth, which informed him that all difficulties
would speedily be settled between the United States and
Mexico—that they have entered into a treaty which had restored
the best feelings between them; and that although the
United States Government could not directly offer her mediation
to settle the difficulties between Texas and Mexico, yet he
thought he was authorized to say that no further difficulties
would take place between the two countries: which I understand
as meaning that the Mexican Government has assured
the United States that she will not again molest Texas. This
you will see is confidential.
Will not the Government of the United States consider that
part of the treaty between herself and Mexico (I mean the
treaty of 183–) as still binding upon her so far as it regards her
Indians, who are daily making inroads upon Texas? Texas
ought to insist upon her recalling all of her Indians who have
intruded themselves into Texas without the consent expressly
given either by Mexico previous to Oct., 1835, or subsequently
by Texas. It might readily be made to appear which tribe has,
and which tribe has not such a license. I have been told that
none have. The Government of the United States cannot
justly refuse to accede to such a proposition. I learn that they
(the United States) disclaim the Caddo tribe? It matters not
to Texas from whence they originally come; it is sufficient for
both to know that they recently resided within the territory
of the United States, and claimed land, which land the United
States purchased, and that they came to Texas from that region.
The Chamber of Deputies have been in session for ten days.
Many think the Ministry will be thrown into a minority, and
be forced to resign. The combination against them is strong,
but I think they will be sustained. Please present me kindly
to Mr. Catlett.
J. PINCKNEY HENDERSON.
His Excellency, ANSON JONES.
BALTIMORE, March 11th, 1839.
MY DEAR SIR,—
* * I have the pleasure to announce to
you the safe arrival in Galveston harbor of the English barque
Ambassador, and some pride in saying that this is the vessel
which has sailed from Europe direct to Texas, and without
doubt will be the first to convey a cargo from Texas to Great
Britain, which I expect will form an item among the numerous
crimes which I have committed, and the innumerable evils with
which I have inflicted the country. It is probably well for a
man to be notorious for something—and if not for good, why
for evil. The Ambassador was towed into port on the 25th
February, by the steam packet Columbia. Gen. Houston, and
all the big men of Galveston, went out and escorted her in, and
made quite a frolic of it. The captain was pleased to find that
he had gotten among white men who spoke the English language.
* * * If this country stumbles upon a contest with
England, it will operate seriously for some time against the
negotiation of our loan, for the capitalists of England have a
vast amount locked up in State, and other securities of this
country, which will be rendered unavailable during the existence
of the contest. Mr. Dawson is of opinion that Mr. Biddle
Truly and cordially yours,
S. M. WILLIAMS.
ANSON JONES, Esq.
PARIS, June 20th, 1839.
MY DEAR SIR,—
I received your last letter a few weeks
since, announcing your intention of departing for Texas. I do
not know whether to understand from it, whether you considered
yourself reformed, or whether you asked the Government
to relieve you by appointing another. I wrote to the
Secretary of State some time since, announcing my desire to
be permitted to return to Texas this coming fall, and requested
the President to appoint another in my stead who could relieve
me by the 1st September, by which time I hope to be able to
obtain answers from this and the British Government upon the
subject of recognition. * * * I have seen and conversed
several times with Mr. Pontois since his return from Washington.
He told me that he had seen you frequently, and conversed
with you on Texan affairs. I was glad to find him so
favorably disposed towards Texas. He informed me he had
had a conversation with the king since his arrival in Paris upon
Texan affairs, and that he told his Majesty that France must
recognize Texas without further delay. The king is anxious to
recognize, provided Mr. Saligny's report will warrant that step;
and from all that passed between the king and Mr. Pointois, I
doubt not that France will recognize us as soon as that report
is received, provided it is favorable. Mr. Pontois seems to
think there is no doubt it will warrant immediate recognition.
I am sorry to learn that Gen. Lamar is not as popular as he
was in the commencement of his administration. I have not
learned the cause, and therefore cannot decide whether he is
unjustly assailed or not. I wish it was otherwise, as our Government
at this time needs the assistance and support of its
J. PINCKNEY HENDERSON.
Hon. ANSON JONES, Brazoria, (Texas.)
PARIS, Sept. 27th, 1839.
MY DEAR SIR,—
When I last wrote you a few weeks since,
I had just obtained the consent of the French Government to
treat with and recognize the independence of Texas. On the
day before yesterday I completed the negotiation by signing a
treaty with Marshal Soult, and on the same evening I was
* * * * * I am pleased to hear you will be in
the next Congress, as I have no doubt you will be able to
remedy many defects which now exist in our laws. * * *
Hoping to meet you in Texas, I must beg you until then to
excuse me for not again addressing you, as I shall be much
engaged. * * * I will leave here for the United States on
the 1st November next, in the British Queen steamer.
I remain yours, very truly,
J. PINCKNEY HENDERSON.
Hon. ANSON JONES, Austin City.
NEW YORK, April 24th, 1839.
MY DEAR SIR,—
The good wishes which you have at different
times expressed in behalf of Texas, and the promises of
your kind offices in her behalf with your friends in Europe, are
duly appreciated by me, and I shall take much pleasure in
making them known to my Government. The recognition of
You, my dear sir, have it in your power, in the course of
your connection and friendly intercourse with many of the
leading men in both of those countries, to give correct information
in regard to these matters, and to disabuse Texas of many
unfounded slanders, and consequent prejudices, which the press
of this country unfortunately have given currency to. This I
need not ask you to do, as you have already promised it in
advance, and I only make these suggestions to recall the matter
to your recollection on your arrival among your friends in
Europe. Should your leisure serve, I should be happy to hear
from you occasionally. Letters under cover to James Treat,
Esq., of this city, will reach me in safety. With my best wishes
for your happiness, I remain, with great regard,
To CHRISTOPHER HUGHES, Esq.
Memorandum Enclosed.—Memorandum for Hon. C. Hughes,
&c., April 24th, 1839; v. letter of this date. Texas has now sustained
herself as a separate and independent nation, de facto and
de jure, for more than three, and has been virtually separated from
Mexico for more than four years. She can never be resubjugated
to the power of Mexico, nor is it probable Mexico will ever make
an actual effort for this purpose, notwithstanding her threats,
which are understood to be made by her rulers for certain
effects at home, and to gratify the pride and vanity of her people
alone. The war may be protracted for years, but Texas can
never be reunited to Mexico, nor would it be for the interests
of either party for this to be effected. The people of the two
Were Mexico to drive the present population of Texas out
of the country, (which is utterly impossible,) the country would
be of no use to her, as it is not adapted to Mexican colonization,
and would soon be occupied by savages from the United
States, who would always be troublesome to Mexico, and
might, sooner or later, overrun and subdue all her Northern
Texas contains upwards of two hundred millions of acres of
good land, much of it equal to any in the world. She has at
least one hundred millions of acres of cotton land, and is capable,
when her resources are developed—as they will be within
the next quarter of a century—of producing enough of that
great staple for the supply and consumption of the world. She
has more cotton lands than all the Southern States together.
Beef and wool can be raised cheaper and easier than in any
part of the United States, and these must, in a few years, become
immense staple products of the country, second only in
importance and value to her cottons!
The range of country skirting the Gulf of Mexico, and for
one hundred miles in average breadth, is well adapted, in its
soil and climate, to the growth and culture of the sugar cane.
Texas will add the article of sugar to her staple productions,
and export an immense amount of it within the next twenty-five
To say nothing, therefore, of the other natural resources of
Texas, her mines, her mild and salubrious climate, &c., it cannot,
I think, be denied by any one, that she will shortly become an
object of interest to European nations, who must perceive, upon
a little consideration of the matter, how vastly important and
beneficial her progress is, and may become, to their great commercial
and manufacturing interests. Particularly does this
appear to me to be true as it regards Great Britain and France.
I need not specify the other respects, in which her progress may
be useful to the communities of Europe. Yourself and their
LONDON, 10th June, 1839.
To ANSON JONES, Esq., Texan Minister U. S. A.:
MY DEAR SIR,—
The enclosed will prove I have not neglected
my promise. With your, own Government you are at
liberty to communicate the enveloped, and to inform them of
my willing and friendly interposition in their affairs and behalf.
But you will understand, and literally, that you are not to
allow any person whatsoever, connected with my Government,
to have any knowledge whatsoever on the subject. It might
compromise me; for, a diplomate who steps out of the bounds
of his own immediate care and trust, commits a great (and culpable,
with pedants, and such there are) irregularity. I have
not yet seen Gen. Henderson.
G. Ryder Street, St. James, Monday, 10th June, 1839.
In confidence I enclose the memorandum of Mr. Jones,
Texan Minister at Washington. I believe the views given in
it are just and true. With very many of my countrymen, I
believe it not improbable that the day may and will come, and
not so remotely as it may seem, when, instead of being subdued
by Mexico, Texas will conquer Mexico.
At all events, I venture to enclose Mr. Jones' memorandum,
and to recommend it to your consideration, and to that
of Lord Melbourne. The subject is really one of great and
growing interest, and I don't see why Johnathan has not a
right to nurse and dandle John's grandson. More in the family
way I will not say.
A new "feature" has shown itself in this matter, and very
lately, id est, several of our most prominent and able and valued
citizens have lately become citizens of Texas, without ceasing
to be citizens of the United States. They have in a degree
espoused its cause and embarked its reputations in its concerns.
I will merely mention Judge White, of Florida, and Gen. Hamilton,
of South Carolina, and I assure you that there are few
higher and more honored names and men in my country.
However, I have perhaps said more in a case where I have no
right to say any thing, than may be admissible, but not more
than may be excusable, seeing the nature of the case, of my
motives, and the kind indulgence with which you have long
honored, your true and attached friend,
To Lord Viscount PALMERSTON.
LONDON, Stanhope Street, 10th June, 1839.
MY DEAR SIR,—
C. HUGHES, Esq., &c., &c., &c.
LONDON, 10th June, 1839, (Midnight.)
To Dr. ANSON JONES, Texan Minister, &c., &c., &c.
MY DEAR SIR,—
My first conveyed to you a copy of a letter I addressed to
Lord Palmerston on the subject of Texas, agreeably to my
promise to you (made at New York in April) to do what I
could to serve your young and glorious adopted country.
Within the hour I received the above answer from Lord Palmerston,
and hasten to transmit to you the copy. It will show
you the spirit and feeling of Lord Palmerston quoad the subject.
From the "some difficulties" I augur well and hopefully on the
interests and futurity of your country. They must be fostered
and promoted by the recognition of this; and I really believe
that that recognition will be soon accorded to you; and more-over,
I believe that if it were my lot to remain here a short
time, I might be in some small degree useful and instrumental
in accelerating and achieving this desirable consummation. As
it is, I rather think what I have done will do your cause no
I shall like to hear that you have received these two letters;
you will oblige me by acknowledging them. Put your letters
under cover, addressed to my agent thus:—To Mr. John
Miller, Bookseller, 26 Henrietta St., Covent-Garden, London.
I am truly yours,
Chargé d' Affaires of United States of America, Stockholm.
STOCKHOLM, 24th March, 1840.
MY DEAR SIR,—
The English mail is just setting out, and
this must be a short letter in answer to a long and very agreeable
and welcome one from you, dated "Austin, 30th November,
1839," which I received to-day! How it can have been so
long on the way I cannot understand, for we have New York
You had received my letters dated London, June last,
through Mr. Treat, and you very kindly acknowledge the interest
I had shown in endeavoring to promote an "object of so
much importance as the recognition by England of your adopted
country;" and I am pleased, my dear sir, that you should
be convinced of my having kept my promise made to you in
the United States in April last, to do any thing in my limited
power to advance this certainly "important object" in Europe;
and I am equally pleased that Gen. Lamar and Gen. Houston
should know that I had done this.
You go on to say that your recent accounts as regarded the
recognition by England were favorable; and that these accounts
came by Gen. Hamilton and your "successful negotiator or
agent at Paris, Gen. Henderson." Now, my dear sir, I am very
glad to hear this from you; for, since my departure from Paris
on the 1st last August, I have had no direct news on the subject.
But you do not say one word as to your accomplished recognition
by the French Government in connection with the share
I took in effecting that work; and from your silence as regards
France, I am warranted in believing that nor you, nor the President,
nor Gen. Houston, are accurately and fully informed of the
details and history of that much wished for consummation of
one of your great objects and interests in Europe, and for certainty
cannot be fully informed of my part in the transaction,
or you would not have thanked me for the comparative little I
was enabled to do in England, and leave entirely unnoticed the
very effective much I actually did for you in FRANCE. It is my
wish, and I conceive it to be a very fair one, that especially you
(for it was my acquaintance and conversations with you in the
United States that interested me in your cause, and induced me
to give you the promise I gave you at New York on embarking
for Europe,) that you should be fully informed on this subject,
and also that your President, and the gallant Gen. Houston,
should understand the matter. I include also in this wish Gen.
Hamilton, for whom I have a very high respect. * * * To
effect this object, and by way of contributing something to the
archives of your new and noble republic, (if it be thought worthy
The fact is, it was my accidental presence at Paris and my
personal standing with several of the most powerful and influential
French diplomatists, (who happened to be at home, old
colleagues of mine,) and my success through them in gaining
the confidence of Marshal Soult. It was to these causes that
we owed our success; and I conscientiously believe, (and why
should I not say what I believe?) that if I had not taken up the
subject as I did, and when I did, Texas would still be unrecognized
by France. If I were to name the European to whom
you are most indebted for the success, I should name the Marquis
de Rumigny, now French ambassador at Madrid, with
whom I have been on brotherly terms for twenty-four years,—
the most able of French diplomatists, and the most cherished
and confided in by the king. Proof,—he is at Madrid. Your
Government would do only an act of justice and of gratitude
if they were to write by your Secretary of State a letter of
thanks to the Marquis; and if you have any Texan interests to
advance in Spain, you will find a friend in my friend M. de
Rumigny, (if he be at Madrid.)
Hon. ANSON JONES, Senator, Austin, Texas.
[Endorsed—NOTE.—General Henderson, in his letter to me
of June 20th, 1839, (v. p. 146,) speaks of the efficient aid he received
from Mr. Pontois through my instrumentality. Mr.
Hughes arrived in Paris about the same time; and by their
joint aid the recognition was accomplished, for up to this period
Gen. Henderson had done nothing by his two years' residence
abroad. This aid of Mr. Pontois and Mr. Hughes was
procured mainly by my influence with them while at Washington
in the winter of 1838-'39.—V. p. 159.]
LONDON, Nov. 6th. 1840.
MY DEAR SIR,
* * * * I have only a moment
to inform you that in point of fact I have procured the recognition
of England, having agreed with Lord Palmerston on the
preliminaries of a treaty last night, which I have no doubt will
pass the Cabinet Council to-morrow. I have written the President
informing him of this gratifying fact.
With esteem, my dear sir, yours faithfully,
The Hon. ANSON JONES, Texas.
NEW ORLEANS, 30th November, 1840.
Dr. ANSON JONES:
I take the liberty of placing you in possession
of some news that may have a bearing on the action of Congress.
The difficulties which have existed between the centralists
and the northern provinces of Mexico have been adjusted.
You will probably have heard of this, and the sacrifice and
slaughter of our misguided citizens who were rash enough to
put faith in a misguided Mexican.
The Government of Mexico is making preparations for invasion,
and in order to effect that object are concentrating their
means and forces. General Woll has just arrived here from
the city of Mexico, and sails the first opportunity in an American
They have vessels now building at Baltimore which are to
be delivered at Vera Cruz in the month of March,—there are
three brigs and some schooners; their agent is now in England,
and having constructed a steamship for their service, it is expected
to be completed in March. All this intelligence I derive
from a gentleman of high standing who is familiar with their
affairs, and who believes they will make a movement upon us.
We need not fear, and cannot doubt the result. And it should
remind us, that whilst we feel very secure we may be on the
point of danger. I enclose two letters arrived to-day from
Vera Cruz and Yucatan; they are to the Secretary of State,
and probably give some information of interest.
I am in receipt also of a letter from Mr. Burnley of the 1st
of November from London. The treaty of peace and recognition
is under discussion, and agreed upon with Lord Palmerston,
and no doubt entertained of its being effected, and, I suppose,
is done before now. That done, the prospect of the negotiation
of the loan is much advanced, and the probability is the
whole of it will be taken—a part of it, certainly. Give us but
one million, with a little prudence, wise legislation, strict accountability,
and we may flourish and be happy. God only
knows how we can get along without it. * * * * The
contemplated action of Congress on the tariff, taxes, treasury
notes, and the recall of the commissioners, has greatly affected
our credit, and has had a serious effect on emigration; the sooner
the action of Congress is known the better, and I hope you will
meet again in March or April. Mr. Burnley leaves London on
the 7th of November for Texas, and you may look for him at
Austin about the 20th December.
I do not expect to have the pleasure of seeing you this
winter, and hope your labors may result in good to our common
country. I write you now because my situation enables me to
acquire information not accessible to all. Will you show this
to my friends Smith and Pilsbury?
Very truly your friend,
CITY OF AUSTIN, December 9th, 1840.
To the Hon. B. T. ARCHER, Secretary of War:
I deny that the forms usually observed among gentlemen,
"under the circumstances, rendered such a communication necessary."
The time which elapsed between "the notification to
you of a civil department of this Government as Secretary of
War and the date of your communication, and the daily and
usual intercourse between us as gentlemen during that time, in
my opinion, (and that of others competent to judge,) rendered
such a course entirely inadmissible. You complain of no personal
wrong or injury which I have done you, nor ask of me
any redress. I can therefore only regard your note as intended
to make a gratuitous, wanton, and unprovoked attack upon me,
and more in the character of a malignant assassin seeking life
than that of an honorable gentleman demanding satisfaction for
The charge in your note that I am a plunderer of public
property is as false as it is contemptible—facts well known to
yourself. You may perhaps be the defender of public property,
but you will recollect it was not by my vote, and I sincerely
regret that the defence of my country's interest has not fallen
into better and abler hands. Your definition of the relation in
which we stand is therefore incorrect. I will avail myself, however,
of the light thrown upon the subject by your note, and
define it truly.
You are the father of the "Texas Railroad, Navigation, and
Banking Company;" I the constant and efficient opposer, and
one of the destroyers of an institution which I conscientiously
believed would otherwise have proven destructive to the interests
and the liberties of Texas. You were last Monday week a
nominee before the Senate for the office of Secretary of War.
I, believing you incompetent and unfit for the office, and in the
honest and faithful discharge of a high and responsible duty as
Senator, was unwilling to "advise and consent" to your nomination.
"The first Congress of the republic convened at Columbia
in 1836,—gave to one company for speculation the town of
Houston, to another the town of Galveston, and the balance of
the country to the 'Texas Railroad, Navigation, and Banking
Company.' This last was a mammoth scheme of speculation
upon the country, which was detected and prevented by the intelligence
and firmness of Gen. Houston and the Hon. Anson
Jones. A communication, written and published by the latter
gentleman in the Matagorda Bulletin, in August, 1836, [Franklin,]
first awoke public attention to the evils threatened by this
institution, and proved in the end a death-blow to its existence.
"The charter for this company was granted to 'Branch T.
Arthur, James Collinsworth, and their present and future associates,
successors, and assigns.' Among the 'associates' who
originally formed this company, we believe the only ones now
living and in the country are Messrs. Thomas F. McKinney, T.
I. Green, A. C. Allen, and Mosely Baker. (V. note below, 2d.)
[NOTE 2.—March, 1855, Gen. Thomas I. Green, in his printed
reply to Gen. Sam. Houston's speech in the Senate of the United
States on the subject of the "History of the Mier Expedition,"
states at pp. 57 et sequent, that Gen. J. P. Henderson and Gen.
S. Houston, with others, held shares in the "Texas Railroad,
Navigation, and Banking Company," amounting to one-sixteenth
each, some of which shares had been sold at $20,000; that Gen.
Houston was induced, as President of Texas, to approve and
sign the act of incorporation in consequence of this ownership
of a share, and at a late period offered the share to Hon. B. T.
Archer for $4,000, which offer Archer declined, &c., &c.—A. J.]
HOUSTON, 7th August, 1841.
Doctor ANSON JONES:
We are sorry to say we do not coincide in opinion with you
in regard to withdrawing your name from the present canvass
for the Vice-Presidential election, and much less relative to our
coming to an honorable and just compromise with the friends
of the other two candidates, (Gen. Edward Burleson and Gen.
Memucan Hunt;) such amalgamation is equal to that of oil and
After the receipt of your said communication, we met and
interchanged our opinions on the subject mentioned therein,
and we find no reasonable excuse for your positions assumed in
your said letter; and much less for that part relating to pecuniary
means; for "where there's a will there's a way." Your
doctrine of not making an electioneering tour through the
The result of the interchange of our opinion is (to request)
that you make some suitable arrangements at home, both in a
pecuniary and domestic point of view, to leave your peaceful
fireside, and to come without delay to this place, where, after a
few days' stay, a personal interview with your friends and interchange
of opinion, will dictate the course necessary to be pursued
to carry out our point, "a tout prix." The press—personal
services, industry and labor, and pecuniary means— * *
all will be necessary to be called into requisition. You have
some very warm friends here, some not so very, and some who
do not know you at all, personally, but by reputation. Your
presence will unite all, and a united, strong pull, will carry the
point without fail. You must arise from your lethargy— * *
there are many who are of opinion that you care not for the
office, because you will not say or do any thing to insure your
election. * * * In regard to pecuniary means, we, in common
with you, are afflicted with the same disease, (poverty.)
Yet, if we can do any thing for you on your arrival here by way
of "anticipation," we will cheerfully do so, even if it should be
with some sacrifice. Some arrangement may be made with
the Houstonian to put your name at the head of his columns;
* * * and although we deprecate, in common with you,
"Talia augilia and defensores istos," yet the time and circumstances
We are very truly yours,
THOS. G. WESTERN,
F. R. LUBBOCK,
J. N. MORELAND,
GEORGE FISHER, and
Hon. ANSON JONES:
I have seen with much pleasure your name announced
for the Vice-Presidency, and I can sincerely say you
have my decided preference before any other candidate before
the people. * * * Now I am a friend of Gen. Burleson,
and entertain towards him the kindest feelings, but really I
should dislike to see him in the Vice-President's chair, because
of his great want of qualifications. You have friends in the
East and throughout the country who highly appreciate your
talents and moral worthy and who will support you; but you
are not sufficiently known among the common people, for the
simple reason that you have never fought a battle! i.e., you
are not distinguished as a military chieftain, * * * Would
it not be well for you to travel through the eastern counties,
and mingle freely with the people? * * * The present
condition of the United States teaches us the importance of
making a wise choice in relation to the Vice-Presidency; and
particularly, as owing to the habits of the individual (Gen.
Houston) who will, in all probability, be elected President, it
is quite probable he will not survive during the term.
I assure you, that although a humble—very humble—citizen
of the republic, I feel a deep interest in the welfare of our
rising country, and am solicitous to have our offices filled with
our ablest and best men.
All that is wanting for your success, is that you should become
known to the mass of the people; for although all the
reading part of our people have all heard of you through the
papers, yet it is a truth deeply to be regretted, that a large
majority of our fellow-citizens do not belong to that class. I
would again recommend, and would even venture to urge, that
you issue a circular, and have it published in all the papers of
the republic, setting forth your political views, and the leading
measures you would advocate.
HOUSTON, 7th August, 1841.
Hon. ANSON JONES:
With this will be handed you a letter from
some of your friends in this place, and the expression of my
sentiments would be a repetition of nearly the same words. I
was present with the persons in consultation, and can say I
never saw persons more zealous in any cause than they appeared
to be in yours. * * * I am authorized to say to you for
Col. Fisher, that any thing he can do towards forwarding your
election in a pecuniary point of view, will be done with pleasure;
(and you know he is not slow.) I advise you to come over by
I could say much to encourage you, but it is late in the
evening, and the boy is waiting to start, and I have a letter to
write to Mr. Cloud, and some business to attend to. With the
confident hope that you will visit this place immediately, I will
bid you adieu. Wishing you health and prosperity,
WM. HENRY H. JOHNSTON.
SAN AUGUSTINE, June 15th, 1841.
MY DEAR SIR,—
* * * I must advise you without
delay to visit the East. My good friend Hunt has been here,
and, I can assure you, has made many friends and voters for
himself. You know sufficiently well the effect the presence of
a candidate has on the sovereigns; therefore you should come
to the East if you wish to have an equal chance; moreover, a
majority of the active politicians in this quarter have been
busily engaged heretofore in anticipation of this event in giving
currency to the report that you have in all cases, since our existence
as a nation, shown yourself to be opposed to the interest
of the East, and disposed to excite sectional feelings between
the west and centre against the east. I have endeavored on all
occasions, more especially last summer and fall, when the public
mind was being prepared to nominate candidates for Vice-President,
to resist that impression, but have not been successful,
chiefly because our own people, I think, entertain themselves
something of that disposition, and therefore are more ready to
fix it upon others. Moreover, I have been met by those who
could say to me that I have not had the same opportunity to
know your disposition in that regard, as they who have been
constantly in the country with you. I am satisfied that you
have not exhibited more of sectional feeling than others who
Yours, very truly,
Hon. ANSON JONES, Senator, Austin.
[NOTE.—Gen. Henderson is correct. I was never opposed
to the interests or welfare of the east any more than of the
middle or west. I was never sectional in my feelings or course.
My object was, and is, and ever will be, to promote the best
interests and the highest good of all—all sections of Texas.
My position as a citizen of middle Texas, enables me to be perfectly
impartial as between the east and the west, and my disposition
and my wishes accord with my local position. The
cry about my opposing the East arose in 1839–'40, when I resisted
a division of the Supreme Court. I did this because I
knew the proposed division was entirely unconstitutional, and
I deemed it my sworn duty to oppose an infraction of the Constitution.
It was a favorite measure in the East, and my opposition
defeated the bill in the Congress of 1839, and in that of
1840, or at least its defeat was attributed to my opposition.
But my only object was to protect and defend the Constitution.
This is the only instance, as I know of, in which I was accused
of being opposed to the East. It was the opinion of all our
ablest jurists, that the division of the Supreme Court, as proposed,
was unconstitutional, and the opinions of several were
given to that effect in writing, and not a single opinion, as
I know of, was given to the contrary. Gen. Rusk declined
giving an opinion when asked. After I left Congress, and in
1841–'2, the bill was passed, and signed by Gen. Houston. To
show that I was right all the time, I refer to the decision of the
Supreme Court of Texas. That body unanimously (I believe)
decided the law to be unconstitutional, and it became a dead
letter, and the judgment was acquiesced in everywhere. It
was for doing simply my duty, and regarding my oath of office
as a Senator, that I was ostracized by certain men in the
AUSTIN, 26th May, 1841.
Hon. ANSON JONES:
* * * I have waited long and anxiously
to hear from you, especially after having heard it reported
that on your way down, at O. J.'s, at San Felipe, after conversing
with him, you decided on not running. This, in a
measure, nonplussed me. I knew not what to do, whether
run you to mast-head or not. Governor Smith's letter, however,
to the Houston Committee, decided the point, and I immediately
gave your banner to the breeze, as you will see per today's
paper. * * * Do bestir yourself, visit the East, and
at least show yourself; tell them in the West that "Richard's
himself again." Buckle on your armor, and take the field.
* * * Believe me to be yours, very truly and sincerely,
GEORGE K. TEULON.
AUSTIN, Oct. 7th, 1841.
Dr. ANSON JONES:
I cannot permit the present opportunity to
pass without dropping you a line. Houston is elected by
about —— majority, and Burleson by about 1,000. * * *
I have been requested by several of the old General's friends in
and about these parts, to ask of you, as a particular favor to
them, and as a duty you owe your country, that you will use
your personal and political influence with the General to have
sober, honest, and practical men in his cabinet. (I wish you
may be there.) Most of the well-wishers of Houston are of the
opinion that he will appoint H——to the War Department.
Now he is, as you know, altogether antiquated and visionary
in his notions. He is, I believe, attached to H——; but that
is not enough; the country expects something more—it looks
for an economical cabinet—for the appointment of men of energy,
of business habits—men who will curtail every possible
expense in their department. Now you have as much, if not
more influence over him than any other man; as such, I conjure
you to use it, not to oppose Hockley or any other person,
Believe me to be yours, very truly,
GEORGE K. TEULON.
CITY OF HOUSTON, 24th Nov., 1841.
When I came here, I was about to send
over for you, if you could come, so as to have a personal interview
with you. I then heard you would be, as you then were,
at Austin. Now all this preface is, to ask you if you will be so
good as to accept the station of Secretary of State. I hope you
will find it agreeable. Should you do so, I will assure you that
you will find worthy associates in the cabinet. Though my
plan, since I first thought of whom I wished to compose the
cabinet, has undergone a slight change, yet you were always
embraced in the plan. Don't say you are "poor." I am—all
are so! The officers shall have salaries, and in good money.
It can be done—and shall be done!!!
Thy friend, truly,
Doctor ANSON JONES, Austin.
Hon. K. L. Anderson urges me personally to accept, and
promised in that event to take the Treasury Department. His
persuasions, more than any other man's, induced me to accept;
but at the close of the session of Congress, Gen. Houston gave
the office to another, and it soon became vacant.—A. J.]
EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, AUSTIN, Dec. 14th, 1841.
The President requests the Hon. Anson Jones, at his earliest
convenience, to take charge of the Department of State of
the Republic of Texas, and to proceed to the organization and
discharge of the duties thereof, the business of the Department
requiring early attention.
Your obedient servant,
COLUMBIA, Dec. 20th, 1841.
Doct. ANSON JONES:
I learn, with much regret, that there is a probability
of your accepting an office in the cabinet. I can only say
that you must be governed in so doing by feelings of PATRIOTISM,
not of INTEREST. A wide field is open for your professional
skill here, in the rich county of Brazoria, which your reputation
would turn to the best account. I do assure you I am also
somewhat selfish in wishing you to make your permanent residence
among us. * * * Please write me and inform me
relative to your future intentions, to taking office, &c.
I remain your friend, &c.,
CITY OF AUSTIN, May 27th, 1841.
* * * Every thing here is alive with the
Santa Fé expedition, which will probably start about the 10th,
and cost the Government about half a million. Things are getting
on worse than ever in the departments, they paying no
attention to any of the acts of Congress. It is an awful state
of things that our Government should be in the hands of such
men. They have sent to New Orleans for another half million
of the notes, which are to be given out before the next Congress
meets, in addition to what may be collected, &c., &c. * * *
A. C. HYDE.
[Endorsement.—The Santa Fé expedition was not only unauthorized
by Congress, but, in effect, positively inhibited. I
voted against it on all occasions, and the project received but
few votes. The appropriations for its expenses were made with-out
the authority of law, and by the despotic exercise of executive
power, which no monarch would have dared venture upon
in these times. This Administration will be described by the
poet in two lines, as "a chase of silly hopes and fears, begun in
folly, closed in tears."—A. J.]
LEGATION OF TEXAS, June 17th, 1842.
Dr. ANSON JONES:
On the 14th of May I addressed a note to the
Department of State upon the subject of a draft for $1,200,
drawn by me upon James Erwin, Esq., of New Orleans, and
which was due on the 9th instant, and requesting that funds
would be placed there to meet it. No reply has been made to
my letter. You will confer a great favor if you will let me
know the determination of the Government in regard to my
requests. I have money enough to keep me, with economy,
about five weeks; after that, should I receive no money, and
my draft remain unpaid, the Texas Legation must "go by the
board," for in debt I never will plunge. Please take this matter
President Houston, I perceive, has issued his proclamation
convening Congress on the 27th inst. War or no war, I suppose,
is the question. We can get men, but no money, for invasion.
Our friends think the measure impolitic. The excitement
is doing us great injury here. Men with property will
not now emigrate to Texas. They know Mexico to be utterly
powerless, and dread the result of the excitement. They think
us partaking too much the revolutionary character of the Mexicans.
The excitement of war against Mexico, and the late
movements, and the dissensions between the Executive and the
people, have completely destroyed all hopes or expectations or
probabilities on one point, which I was instructed to press and
watch. Texas will now have to stand alone. * * *
Please write me soon, and believe me ever yours,
CITY OF AUSTIN, Feb. 5th, 1842.
To the Hon. ANSON JONES, Sec'y of State:
I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
AUSTIN, 13th Feb., 1842.
I avail (myself) of the opportunity by the express to
write a line, though unable to give you much news. All business
in the department has been suspended for the week past,
except placing the archives in security, which was done by burying
them under the Post-office Bureau, but from the present
prospect we shall in a day or two have them taken up and refixed
in their proper places in the department, or on the road
to the lower country, the latter of which I think the most advisable.
We only buried the records and uncopied letters and
papers, thinking that if the place was taken, they (the Mexicans)
would suppose by finding so many papers and documents
in their arranged situation in the various offices, that they had
got all the archives of the Government, and would not likely
look for any thing hidden. We are every moment looking for
an express from the President, or himself in person. I presume
Col. Hockley has given all the war news. Gen. Burleson is
about to start for the West to join the troops from the lower
counties, in Bexar, determined, as the ball is in motion, to keep
it rolling to some purpose. Hall (clerk in the department) is
attached to a company here, which will remain in this place.
Mr. Miller was this morning elected captain of it in the place
of Tom Green resigned.
Yours with respect,
Hon. ANSON JONES, Galveston.
AT MR. JONES', Saturday, April 9th, 1842.
Hon. ANSON JONES:
I anticipated your instructions to repair to Houston,
which I received yesterday fifteen miles from here. I left Austin
last Tuesday, expecting to arrive at Houston to-day; but finding
the roads very bad and heavy, has retarded my progress somewhat.
I have the "GREAT SEAL" and the "SEAL OF THE DEPARTMENT"
I am, with great respect,
Your obedient servant,
GALVESTON, 11th March, 1842.
Hon. ANSON JONES, City of Houston.
BUFFALO BAYOU, Tuesday, March 14th, 1842.
Hon. ANSON JONES, City of Houston.
(V. Doc., p. 125.)
SAN ANTONIO, 25th March, 1842.
To the Hon. ANSON JONES:
I arrived here on the 17th, to take command of the forces
in the field, in accordance with the order of the President. The
men and officers refused to obey, claiming the right as volunteers
to elect their own officers, which they did, and Burleson
was elected without opposition. I have no doubt political intrigue
has been at work, with the view to block out the next
President. It is a rough concern, and no glory that can be won
in the field will ever polish it. I think there is a move for the
Vice-Presidency also. The hobby on which they ride is, invasion
of Mexico, to give peace and happiness to poor suffering
Texas, and thereby achieve immortal glory for themselves.
Sincerely your friend,
NEW ORLEANS, 21st Nov., 1841.
I have been very unwell the whole summer,
which alone prevented me from writing you, as I was willing to
do. I am much better now, and will soon have the pleasure to
see you, as I am getting ready to return to Texas.
The formal and official information I have from home do not
agree at all with the declarations contained in Gen. Lamar's
message in relation to the controversy between your Government
and myself. In a note received on the 4th of July from
Mr. McIntosh, complaining of me, and asking for my recall, a
reply was formally made on the 18th of August. In that reply
my Government most energetically vindicated me from the various
charges urged against me. Each and all of my acts are
emphatically and unreservedly approved; the conduct of your
I remain, my dear sir, truly yours,
A. DE SALIGNY.
NEW ORLEANS, Dec. 6th, 1841.
MY DEAR SIR,—
Your letter of the 1st inst. was handed to
me yesterday. Having no doubt whatever, as you say, of my
friendly feelings towards Texas, you must be convinced at the
same time, that my Government's views are equally favorable
and as conciliating as my own. But while the Government of
the King have no disposition to require any thing from the
Texan Government inconsistent with the honor of your country,
it is not to be expected they will consider themselves satisfied
with what should be looked upon as a nugatory reparation, or
rather no reparation at all. I fully understand your remarks
about the judicial forms prescribed by your laws, for the prosecution
of any offence, of whatever character, within the territory
of your Republic; but in the mean time I beg leave to submit
to your judgment some few reflections on that subject. Had
the Government of Texas, as soon as they heard of an insult
It is most painful to me, I assure you, my dear Sir, to recur
to such recollections. I know they have always been deeply
regretted and loudly execrated by yourself and every honest
man in the Republic. But they have, nevertheless, received the
sanction of your Administration, and thus imposed upon my
Government the imperious duty of insisting on the punishment
thereof. Convinced as they are that nothing except the undue,
illegal, and criminal interference of the Administration could
have protected the perpetrator of the offences complained of,
and secured his impunity; they are absolutely bound to require
that he should ultimately be punished. * * *
I understand from one of your high public officers that the
intention of your new President is, immediately after the inauguration,
to have an official note addressed to me by the Secretary
of State, condemnatory of the course of the preceding
Administration, conveying expressions of strong sympathy towards
France, and of respect to her Minister, as well as the
assurances of the desire of the Government to afford a prompt
and full reparation, and inviting me to return to my post. It is
very desirable that such a step should be taken by the Administration,
and upon their own impulse. I think it would greatly
tend to soothe the difficulties. Were I certain to find such an
official note at Galveston on my arrival there, I would very soon
return to Texas, without waiting for further orders from the
Government of the King, whose indignation must have been
increased, and conciliatory dispositions lessened by the receipt
of several numbers of the Texas Centinel, which have been sent
to Paris some time ago. * * * * *
Believe me, dear sir, with great esteem and respect, yours
A. DE SALIGNY.
[Endorsement.—This letter and the one of the 21st November
were written to Col. Love, and by him sent to me as requested
by the writer. They show the complicated and unfriendly
condition of the relations between Texas and France.
This vexed and irritating business is bequeathed to me by the
Administration of Gen. Lamar,—indeed, a few such troubles constitute
about all they had left to bequeath.—A. J.]
NEW ORLEANS, March 2d, 1842.
MY DEAR SIR,—
As I think Texas has quite enough on her
hands without keeping open any longer, as a source of irritation,
the difficulties with Saligny, as a sincere well-wisher to the
country, I would suggest your immediate attention to the subject.
I am satisfied that a transmission of a copy of your dispatch
to McIntosh will answer every purpose, which, as it has
gone forward, I do not think you ought to hesitate to afford.
I remain, my dear sir, with sincere esteem,
Very respectfully and truly yours,
Hon. ANSON JONES.
[Endorsement.—Col. Reilly was, in January, directed to
show the Count de Saligny the despatch to Mr. McIntosh, and
to give him a copy if insisted upon. I did not think it proper
to make a direct official communication of the kind required by
the Count, as I deemed it most expedient to treat on the matter
with his Government, with whom I adjusted the same without
condemning my own Government.—A. J.]
GALVESTON, le 28 Juin, 1842.
MON CHER MONSIEUR,—
J'ai été et j'ai envoyé plusieur fois
à la douane pour réclamer les objets appartenant à MM. Dubuch
frères, et dont vous m'avez dit avoir ordonné qu'on me fit restitution.
M. Borden prétend que vous ne lui avez donné aucuns
ordres à cet effet; et de plus l'autorité judiciaire a m'a-t-on dit,
que, ordres ou non, elle s'opposerait à la restitution des dits
objets avant la decision des Tribunaux competents sur l'affaire
de la Goelette Mary Elizabeth. Il m'importe d'être definitivement
fixé à cet egard; si les objets reclamés par MM. Dubuch
et dont la saisie ne saurait être regardé comme légale, en ce qui
concerne ces messieurs n'etaient pas rendus à leurs propriétaires,
je me verrais dans la nécessité de vous adresser une reclamation
officielle à ce sujet; à que je voudrais éviter dans l'intérêt de
nos deux gouvernments.
A. DE SALIGNY.
A l'Hon. ANSON JONES, &c., &c., &c.
TEXAS LEGATION,WASHINGTON, March 25th, 1842.
Hon. ANSON JONES, Secretary of State:
Accompanying this you will receive an official
letter. * * * I would rather die than to remain here. *
* * You can see from my official letter that nothing can be
done here in the way of any negotiation for Texas. * * *
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,HOUSTON, 19th July, 1842.
* * * * It is desirable you should be
here. Letters have been received from Major Reilly and Judge
Eve, [American Minister,] which require attention. Mr. Reilly
has sent in his resignation, to take effect from the 1st of August.
* * * The President is much harassed and perplexed. If I
could be permitted to advise or have any influence with you, I
would very much desire you would not resign, at all events,
without visiting this place, for I know your presence here would
have a desirable influence at this time. I am about half sick.
Very respectfully yours,
Doct. ANSON JONES.
HOUSTON, 2d December, 1842.
There had, been up to my arrival a determined opposition
towards the Government through Col. Hockley. All parties
appeared satisfied on my explanation of the views of Gen.
H—— in sending Col. H——, was for a specific purpose. I
remained on the island some two weeks, and returned to this
place. I am compelled to return to the island by the first boat,
as Col. H—— writes requesting my return. He says he is
deep in h—1; I am at least on its confines. Keep the old dragon
in spirits; he is on the top, and must and will, remain there.
D—n all opposition. He is now and then wrong, BUT ALWAYS
RIGHT. * * * * * * Hard times stares one full in
Yours with high regard, &c.,
Hon. ANSON JONES.
CITY OF AUSTIN, 9th December, 1842.
I shall be unable to leave here before the 1st
January, as I feel myself under obligations to assist the Major
in finishing packing up. I have to-day made partial arrangements
with Thompson to haul my books down.
I have headed this confidential, as I wish to give you a
friendly piece of advice, but do not wish my name to be known
in any way in the matter. [Should Congress pass a law ordering
the President to remove the archives, he or you had better
at once, on the passage of the law, despatch up a body of men
in whom reliance can be placed to protect the removal, for fear
that by any accident they might be destroyed, there being a
few men whom the course pursued by Houston has rendered
desperate, and such a thing might occur as a bonfire, which
would ruin the whole republic. Should such occur, it will be
in defiance of all the respectable portion of the community, but
you well know that one or two desperate men can achieve much
harm, and it is well always to guard against surprise. If any
men do come up for the purpose, their destination should be
kept secret, and they should come up on the outside of the line
of settlements. I have shown this to the Major, and he informs
me that he has ascertained that a majority of the citizens are
determined to sustain the authorities in the removal, provided
they act under an act of Congress.]
* * * Yours ever faithfully,
GEORGE K. TEULON.
Hon. ANSON JONES, Washington, Texas.
AUSTIN, December 10th, 1842.
'Tis a long time indeed since I have had
the pleasure of seeing you. Poor me, I have gone through
troubles enough since you left here to have put an end to almost
any other mortal man living, independent of being closely
housed by sickness for nearly all the time in the last nine
months. I have nearly had my life teased and fretted out by
duns of printers for work done for last year's Congress, and for
which our worthy President will not suffer me paid, although
Congress had appropriated the means to pay me. Another
trouble now stares me in the face—have lost all hopes of the
seat of Government remaining here, and I must away, but
where to go God only knows. I have some $7,000 of stock,
printing materials, &c., and they are safe here no longer, and
me without a dollar to remove them. My last hope is to get
my accounts that are approved audited, and I may be able, at a
sacrifice, to pay transportation with them, as it appears I cannot
get my pay. May I entreat you as a brother and friend, to aid
me in this last effort. My account for printing laws and journals
of Senate I will bring down with me on receipt of a letter
from you. Mr. Shaw, Comptroller, has some accounts approved
for different departments, work that I have requested him to
have audited. Will you be so kind as to assist him, should he
find any difficulty in doing so from orders of His Majesty. The
transportation of my establishment of printing apparatus will
be not less than $600, should I come down to Washington. *
* * I am now in as tight a place as I wish ever to be, and
require your friendly aid to extricate me. Pray put your
shoulder to the wheel and help me out of this suck.
Ever truly yours,
Hon. ANSON JONES.
[NOTE.—Major Whiting's buildings and other property at
Austin cost at least $20,000, nearly all of which he lost in consequence
of Gen. Houston's course on the Seat of Government
question. He had been a warm and efficient friend and supporter
of Gen. Houston; and although residing in the west and
among those who opposed Houston's election, he, at a great
sacrifice, supported him and aided materially in his election.
But because Major Whiting complained of being ruined, as he
was by the man he had so long, so warmly, and so efficiently
served, Gen. Houston immediately became his bitter enemy,
and persecuted him with the most relentless severity and
[Endorsement.—I have been opposed to Gen. Houston's
whole "Archive war," and his other petty wars; and, indeed,
to all wars. This is a fair specimen (and Mr. Teulon's) of the
thousand and one letters of a similar kind I have received within
the year, and a fair sample of the times in 1842.—A. J.]
103 JERMYN STREET, LONDON, June 8th, 1842.
MY DEAR SIR,—
It is now a month since I arrived in London,
and the ratifications of the treaties are not yet exchanged. I
am, however, authorized confidently to anticipate that the exchange
will be made in a few days. The circumstances of this
delay have been fully related in my official despatches. The
Earl of Aberdeen was disposed, at first, to make an immediate
exchange of the ratifications, apparently; and although he
may have found weighty reasons subsequently for his delay, I
cannot but regard his course towards Texas in this matter as
The sympathies of England are decidedly in favor of Mexico
and adverse to Texas. English sympathy, you know, is apt
to accompany the interests of English commerce. The numerous
population of Mexico, destitute of manufactures, furnishes
a better market for the manufactured goods of England, than
Texas will for some time to come. This leads to a subject that
has commanded my most careful attention and inquiry. From
sources that I can fully rely on, I learn, that if any assistance
The blockade has produced much excitement here, especially
among the merchants. Heretofore they were satisfied
in reviling Texas in terms of blind denunciation. Now the
underwriters inquire into the real condition of our country,
and our ability to maintain the blockade. Mexican stocks,
which had been regularly rising, are, since the publication of
the proclamation of the blockade, going down. A protest
against recognizing the blockade has been presented to Lord
Aberdeen. He has not yet answered it. I am certainly informed
that the old Earl is sadly bothered. Maintain the
blockade in fall efficiency by all means. The interests of
foreign commerce will compel these powers to say peremptorily
to Santa Anna, that he must no longer pursue a line of
conduct which justifies Texas in keeping up this "infernal"
afflictive blockade. But look out for the steamers of war. I
furnished Mr. Kennedy, who is a truly warm friend of Texas,
with a list of our maritime force; he communicated it to the
Morning Chronicle in an article over the signature of "Pax"
with good effect.
So soon as the exchange of ratifications shall place me on a
proper footing with other ministers, I shall endeavor to learn
the disposition of other powers to establish friendly relations
with Texas. I shall, however, allude to this subject only in
very general terms, unless invited, for I anticipate finding much
more favorable sentiments towards Texas in the diplomatic
circle at Paris than here. As it regards Spain, much cannot be
looked for from the good offices of Lord Aberdeen at present
with Espartero. Individually, Lord A. is, I believe, well disposed;
but the merchants engaged in Mexican commerce, the
Mexican bond-holders, and anti-slavery men, are a nest of hornets,
which no discreet person would willingly rouse. Mrs.
Vander Wager, the lady of the Belgian Minister, is the
daughter of Mr. Bates, the head partner of the house of
Barings, which firm is largely interested in Mexican bonds,
and hostile to Texas. With the French Ambassador I am
very well. Mr. Everett is affable, &c.; but the cause of Texas
receives no countenance from the American Minister. He is
supposed to be sore from the opposition made to him by the
Southern Senators for his alleged opinions on slavery.
I fear you will regard this as but a sad picture of our position
here—it is such. I am getting a good footing in society,
and labor incessantly to remove the false impressions with
which Mexican bond-holders and abolitionists interested in
British colonial land speculations, have abused the public
mind in England.
Yours, very truly,
Hon. ANSON JONES, City of Houston, Texas.
CITY OF HOUSTON, 2d Aug., 1842.
MY DEAR SIR,—
You no doubt have all the particulars of Congress. "It got
through," as some of the members said, while others, in my
opinion, thought that they had only got their "foot into it."
They are gone, and no war, nolens volens, but as much as can
be had of the willing kind. I do sincerely hope that, it may
and will go on. It is the only kind of war that the country
can sustain. Had I sanctioned the war bill, I could not have
commanded any means within twelve months, and the ardor of
our people while it is restrained, is most impetuous. I would
have been in a state of constant vexation, and threats of revolution
would have been constant. As things now stand, there
can be no censure upon the Executive. All that has been desired
is embraced in the project; and for my country's sake, and
for the credit of those who have been so anxious, I sincerely
hope there will be volunteers enough to answer the design of a
visit to the Rio Grande. We will see! [V. Mier Expedition.—
This moment I have learned that our Santa Fé prisoners
have been released, and will soon return to Texas. At this I
am much rejoiced for various reasons. First, because the sufferings
of our countrymen are ended, and they are again free.
We have one cause less of irritation, and so much the less food
for demagogues and agitators. When the matter is understood
of their release, it may give us a squint into the affairs of Mexico
which we have not before enjoyed.
In the expectation of seeing you here, I did not send you
letters from Major Reilly, touching our affairs with Mexico.
The main point was, that Mr. Webster had written to Gen.
Thompson a pretty strong letter, and in substance that Mexico
ought to make peace with Texas—that those powers which had
recognized Texas would rather expect to see such a result; and
among other things, the Major sent his resignation, which I, of
Mrs. Houston has been quite ill, and is not yet able to sit
up. I am just as busy as usual. I pray you to commend me
with best wishes to Madam, and kiss for me your auburn-pated
urchin. I have the "Diplomatist" on my back, so you may
imagine how much time I have for my friends. Poor Hunt, I
am half angry, with him; but he is so amiable a simpleton, that
I really pity and forgive him. If —— he would only let me
alone. He writes all but what duty compels me to write.
Now I will close that. When you can in safety come, I will
be very happy to see you.
Truly thy friend,
Hon. ANSON JONES, Brazos, Texas.
[NOTE IN 1844.—In this letter are seen the germs of the
"Somerville Campaign," out of which, naturally enough, grew
the equally unwise "Mier Expedition." I constantly opposed
these war movements of the President, though I was obliged
to seem, publicly, to yield, as on some other occasions. I recommended
him early in the session to urge a heavy "war tax"
for the purpose of rendering offensive movements unpopular,
(which I knew the war tax would do,) but he would not adopt
my suggestions. I took, and maintained the ground, that
nothing since the days of the Crusades was more absurd, than
offensive war with Mexico. The President adopted this view
of mine, and expressed it, at my special instance, to the Committee
HOUSTON, 12th April, 1842.
I enclose you herewith all the dispatches
and other communications received since your departure to
your address. You will perceive that Major Reilly is (or was)
exceedingly anxious to return, to participate in the warlike
operations of his government and country.
We have had no news of interest from the West. Gen.
Somerville, we understand, will return. A corps of observation
will be kept up on the frontier. The President will, in a
few days, issue his proclamation and instructions for the formation
and equipment of companies in the several counties, to be
in readiness to unite in the first general movement against
Your most obedient servant,
W. D. MILLER.
Hon. ANSON JONES, Secretary of State.
NEW ORLEANS, April 12th, 1842.
Not knowing whether you were in peace
or war, I have not written you since my arrival here. Our information
from Texas has been such, that I could not tell
whether you were, west of the Rio Grande, or east of the Sabine.
All has been doubt and uncertainty. I believe, however,
matters are more settled at present. I have written you
officially by this mail, and therefore this letter is private.
I have just returned from Natchez. I saw many of our old
friends there who are with us, heart and soul. I went there on
private business, but was compelled to take part publicly in
Texas matters. Some people in Galveston have written to
Natchez, that the people of Texas and the General were at
open rupture in regard to the war. I do not know who has
done this, except a Mr. Alsbury, whose inflammatory and prejudicial
letter to Gen. Quitman I saw. He abused the General
(Houston) much, and said the people had driven him into the
war. He also said, "Houston was parading the streets of Galveston
like a mad man, raving and swearing against all who advocated
war." You may imagine my contempt for such a willful
lie. I spoke of it freely to Gen. Quitman and others, and
took especial pains to make some corrections about this and
the Hamilton matter. I send you a Natchez paper, containing
an account of my course, and the proceedings of the meeting.
I flatter myself my presence there was productive of good; as
an evidence of which, about sixty men are now here from that
place, under Capt. Hickey, destined for Texas, when Col.
Washington orders them to move.
I have written Gen. Houston frankly and freely, and have
no doubt he appreciates my good intentions. I may sometimes
err in defending him; but if I do, the error affects me, and not
him. I know I am enthusiastic for a friend when I hear him
traduced behind his back. I say damn a man who ain't of the
Dr. ANSON JONES, Secretary of State.
LONDON, 25th June, 1842.
Hon. ANSON JONES:
DEAR SIR AND FRIEND,—
This leaves me still in London's
smoky town, instead of enjoying the fresh, pure air; for this,
however, I can assure you, I am not to blame; and if I still
stay here, it is because "my poverty, and not my will, consents."
The government here have purposely been humbugging
the pair of us, until they have eased me of all my money
and patience, so that sundry small presents laid in for some of
my friends have disappeared to stay the cravings of an outraged
belly, or, in plain English, have been sold to pay board expenses.
Dr. S. is, or says he is, as badly off. My only dependence
for passage out is by drafts on Galveston.
I have no faith in the ministry; they are evidently biased
in favor of the yellow bellies, and have, to say the least, connived
at the building and fitting out of two war steamers, to
be employed against Texas. It is a pity Vera Cruz is not in
possession of the Texans; once take that place, and the war
will soon be ended.
We are teetotally ignorant of all movements in Texas, and
I suppose the first information I shall get, will be an arrival. I
shall start as soon as I can, and hope to be with you in a little
while after this comes to hand.
Your sincere friend,
GEORGE K. TEULON.
GALVESTON, 25th February, 1842.
Hon. ANSON JONES:
I addressed a letter on the 23d inst. to a friend of
mine in Austin, requesting him to inquire of you whether you
were the author of a certain communication signed A., which
appeared in the Weekly Texian of the 26th ult., or whether
you had any agency in advising, or any connection whatever
with said publication previous to its appearance. Having understood,
since writing said letter, that you will shortly be in
this city, (Galveston,) I deem it my duty to make the same
inquiry of you here; and for this purpose have left this note in
the hands of a friend to be presented to you upon your arrival,
to which I must demand a prompt reply, and an unequivocal
answer to the above question.
MIRABEAU B. LAMAR.
GALVESTON, Feb. 27th, 1842.
Gen. MIRABEAU B. LAMAR:
I have the honor to be, your most obedient servant,
[NOTE.—Endorsed on copy of above. Gen. Lamar had no
right to make the request of me he did, and I should have been
justified in giving it a flat refusal; but I had promised Gen.
Hunt, in the event of inquiry for the authorship of "A." being
made of me, that I would refer the inquirer to him (Gen. H.)—
A. J.]—Sent by Thos. F. McKinney.
HOLLAND LODGE, NO. 1, CITY OF HOUSTON,
19th May, A. L., 5842.
"A communication was received from brother Anson Jones,
requesting permission to demit. On motion, duly seconded,
Brother Anson Jones' communication was received, and permission
granted him to demit from this Lodge."
C. F. DUER, Secretary.
AUSTIN, 9th March, 1842.
MY DEAR SIR,—
Gen. Harrison says that if Mr. Ransom, or any one else,
gave a name as the author of the communication signed A. in
the Weekly Texian of the 26th January, it was without authority
from him; that he never mentioned the name of the
person given to him as the author; that if Gen. Lamar wishes
In great haste, yours very truly,
GEORGE W. HOCKLEY.
AT OLIVER JONES', April 13th, 1842.
MY DEAR SIR,—
I arrived here yesterday, and received the
letter you wrote me at this place on your way down. I had
purposed leaving here to-morrow morning with my family for
Columbia, but being quite indisposed myself to-day, I expect
my departure will be delayed a day or two.
I do not contemplate visiting Houston until my presence
there may become necessary; in the mean time I wish you to
act. If any thing of particular moment occurs please let me
know. I wish you to write me fully every week, and send me
every thing which is printed, either by the way of Richmond
or Galveston: the mail by the latter place continues to be carried
regularly. Present my best respects to the President, also
to Mr. Miller, and believe me
Very truly yours,
To J. WAPLES, Esq.
HOUSTON, 3d July, 1842.
The President is himself quite unwell to-day, complaining of
the fatigues of business, together with an attack of diarrhœa,
&c.: he speaks of going to Black's for a few days to recuperate.
He desired me to request you to repair to this place as early as
practicable, as business of importance requires your presence.
What that business is he did not communicate. I presume he
wishes your counsel in the cabinet.
Hon. ANSON JONES.
CITY OF HOUSTON, July 19th, 1842.
To Dr. ANSON JONES:
I have been much embarrassed in consequence
of your absence during the session of Congress now near its adjournment.
Many subjects with which you have had connection
have been brought upon the tapis, and your presence would
have relieved me from reflections which have been ventured
against me. At one time I have heard that you were ill, at another
that you were not. Is it in your power to make me a
visit? Your doing so would afford me much gratification. Do
so if you can, and if not, please apprise me what I am to expect
or calculate upon. Please present me, with my compliments, to
Truly your friend,
TEXAS SLOOP-OF-WAR HOUSTON,
OFF CAMPECHE, 25th April, 1842.
Dr. ANSON JONES:
MY DEAR SIR,—
It was not until the other day that I have
seen your appointment to the State Department, although I
expected it would take place. I am happy to have the pleasure
now to congratulate, to our common country, this circumstance,
and I hope that you will be in a situation more effectually to
serve Texas in your present station, as the right-hand man to
the old chieftain in directing the helm of the State, than you
would have been, provided our efforts to place you in the second
magistracy would have enabled you to do.
I have from time to time, since my sojourn in this country,
directed Yucatan papers, with a key, (in my own manuscript,)
to the State Department, for the information of the Government
of Texas, of passing events in this country, whose relations with
Mexico, in a political and commercial point of view, are about in
the same situation as those of Texas, and which, both countries
uniting their energies at the present auspicious moment, could
coerce Mexico to come into measures to insure the peace and
happiness of their citizens. For particulars I respectfully refer
to Com. Moore, who is "au fait" with all the passing events
of this country, as well as Mexico, and whose information to the
Executive will no doubt be of great service in the taking of
suitable measures for conducting the operations of the war, now
to be waged by land and by sea against our invading foe.
I am happy to see that the enthusiasm prevailing in all parts
of the United States in favor of Texas, at this moment, will have
a very favorable tendency of prosecuting an offensive war against
Mexico, in the midst of an exhausted public treasury; also that
our people, far from desponding, are anxious for a fight to secure
our independence. For particulars of my sojourn here, I
respectfully refer to our worthy friend, Com. Moore.
I am yours truly,
CAMPECHE, 3d May, 1842.
Dr. ANSON JONES:
MY DEAR SIR,—
I have addressed you a few lines, per Com.
Moore, which I hope will have reached you safe before this.
The Commodore sailed from here on the morning of the 28th
inst. [? ult.] with the whole squadron, viz.: Austin, Wharton,
San Bernard, and San Antonio. The day previous the Yucatan
squadron sailed to the westward. On the arrival of our squadron
at Sisal, there was the Spanish frigate Isabell, two days from
Havana. She left there on the 25th ult. for this port, where we
found her on the 26th. She again left here on the same day for
the westward. Some pretend to say that inasmuch as Spain
has not recognized our independence and our flag, she will protect
her commerce, and force the blockade. Whatever the
object of her visit may be into this gulf, it would be well enough
for our Government to commence negotiations with Spain for
our recognition, and as a measure of precaution and momentary,
an agent ought to be despatched immediately to Havana to
arrange this matter, as well as our direct commerce with Cuba.
I doubt not that, under the present circumstances, Spain would
be willing to enter into negotiations with our Government, and
CITY OF HOUSTON, Sept. 19, 1842.
To Dr. ANSON JONES, Sec'y of State, &c.:
During your absence, business has greatly accumulated
in the Department of State. There is much of high
importance that should be attended to immediately. Not a
single member of my Cabinet is present, and events are thickening
and pressing upon me.
I regret that you have not been with me since your health
was sufficiently restored. Gen. Terrell, before his departure
for home, occasioned by the extreme indisposition of his family,
gave some attention to the business of the department, and
communicated to our Ministers abroad what was at the time of
the most urgent necessity. The assistance of my Cabinet will
be for the future not only desirable, but indispensable to the
administration of public business.
Truly your friend,
[Endorsed.—Requests me to come to Houston. I have done
every thing necessary in the Department of State, though a
good deal absent from Houston during the summer. The claims
of my family I cannot wholly pretermit. General Houston
promised when I took the office I should be paid in par funds.
NOTE.—On the receipt of the above letter I started for
Houston. On the way I learned the President, in a pet at that
place, had packed up and gone to Washington on the Brazos,
whither I followed him shortly afterwards, and was not again
absent from the seat of Government except on public business
during my three years' secretaryship. The President and all
the other members of the Cabinet were frequently absent, and
I have been consequently for months left to administer the Government
"solitary and alone," (1845.)
CITY HOTEL, NEW ORLEANS, June 28th, 1842.
Hon. ANSON JONES:
Excuse my addressing you a short letter at this
time to ask how you are, and have enjoyed your health—to
congratulate you on your appointment to the very responsible
and important office as Secretary of State, and feel well assured
Texas will not lose by such an appointment advantages at home
I have addressed a long and tedious letter to Gen. Houston
in relation to my observations in Mexico, and this will be my
excuse for a short one at this time to you, and I hope in two or
three weeks to have my business settled here, to permit me to
return to Texas.
My letter to the President, although perhaps it may not be
deemed important, yet it would be quite enough to cost me
much risk if I should go to Mexico again; and as I may have
to go on private money matters, I have requested the President
not to mention my name in any way connected with it; as
a matter of course yourself and Col. Hockley will know it, but
I had reference to officers or to citizens, and particularly to McKinney
or Williams, or any private citizen, my reasons for
which I will give at another time, and the President and yourself
will approve them.* * * * *
In haste, your obedient servant,
NEW ORLEANS, July 8th, 1842.
Dr. ANSON JONES:
Per Com. Moore, on last New York, I addressed
a letter to Gen. Houston and a short one to you,—the
length of the one to the President prevented me within my
time to say more to you, and I trust the variety and particulars
detailed in my letter addressed to Gen. Houston, and
my intention to benefit our common adopted country, will be
deemed sufficient excuse for trespassing upon the time of yourself
and Gen. Houston in perusing said letter, and trust some
of the information contained in it may be of service.
My visit to Mexico was to obtain payment of my claims of
a large amount against the Federalist, and being delayed, as is
usual in that country, I sought every opportunity of obtaining
information that might be serviceable on my return; and I assure
you my surprise was great at finding out that direct communications
were kept up between Arista and certain men in Texas
who profess friendship for Texas; and when I have mentioned
it here, I was told that the same men gave information to Texas
of the Mexican movements, and that if I should name my impressions,
or what I consider as proofs of their treachery, it
would not be available, so confidently are they believed to be
true to Texas; this being the case renders it useless for me to
detail the circumstances that led me to conclusions of their
guilt, and the names of the persons; but when I see you we
will speak upon the subject. * * * * *
I remain, sincerely, your friend, &c.,
HOUSTON, December 3d, 1842.
Some short time before the President left here
I submitted to him my plan and application for the privilege of
peopling a district of country running from the west fork of
Trinity to the Brazos River, including Noland's fork of the
Brazos. He deferred confirming the same to you and myself
until he had an interview with you upon the subject, and led me
WM. N. BRONAUGH.
Dr. ANSON JONES.
GALVESTON, 28th December, 1842.
MY DEAR DOCTOR,—
I have finally come to the conclusion
that you have either retired to the high timber, or going through
with a deputation on Rip Van Winkle. I am here without the
pale of domestic news, save now and then a newspaper, and
was in hopes you would have been so kind as to drop me a line
from the seat of Government.
There is but little moving in this city. All are anxiously
waiting to hear from the city of laws. The former over-heated
politicians of this section have cooled off most prodigiously. It
is but seldom they are enabled to utter over a monosyllable in
opposition to the Executive, in place of their previous long sermons.
It may be caused by hard times, or they may only be
resting their wearied lungs.
From all accounts your pleasant and agreeable Washington
has not been permitted to rest in peace and quietness. But on
the contrary there must have been more or less unnecessary excitement.
This place, called Galveston, is one of the most dull
and dreary places on the face of the earth. The citizens have
assumed the right to obey or disobey an order from the Government
as best may suit their particular fancy. They refuse to
The new French Minister is here. I should judge from his
manly, good, and cheerful expressions, that he is one of the right
stuff. I am desirous of visiting Washington before the session
of Congress closes, (if permission can be had.) Be pleased to
present my kind regards to Gen. H——and lady—my sincere
respects to your family.
With high respect I have the honor to be, &c.,
To the Hon. ANSON JONES, Secretary of State, Washington.
Take, I beg, one moment of your time, and waste it in
RICHMOND ON THE BRAZOS, Feb. 24th, 1842.
MY DEAR SIR,—
Mr. Castro expresses an anxious desire that you should redeem
your pledge to meet us at Houston, where we hope to be
to-morrow afternoon. I need not say that my wishes fully
coincide with his, not more on public than on personal grounds.
If you can conveniently manage it, steal a day from your present
circle and let me have the solace of exchanging with you a
viva voce adieu. Our stay in Houston must necessarily be very
Believe me, my dear sir, with sincere esteem yours,
HON. ANSON JONES, &c., &c., at O. Jones's.
NEW ORLEANS, April 1st, 1842.
Hon. ANSON JONES, Secretary of State:
Your official communication of the 26th March, 1842,
requesting the publication of the authenticated order of blockade
of Mexican ports contained therein, has been received, and
a request made by me of P. Edwards, Esq., the consul of this
port, to have the same published under the authority of his
official seal: this will be done to-morrow, though the blockade
has been published unofficially for several days in this city. I
have also requested the consul, by notice sent him to-day, to
certify officially to the Department of State the time and manner
of the publication. I have been thus particular, because as
these matters of blockade are frequently very delicate and
ticklish questions, it is as well that every form and ceremony
should be observed. This must and will be the official notice. I
rejoice at the measure. It has done much to elevate the character
and credit of the country, but it must be most prudently
I have the honor to be yours,
WILLIAM HENRY DAINGERFIELD.
NEW ORLEANS, April 15th, 1842.
MY DEAR SIR,—
Your kind letter of the 31st March has remained
up to this time unanswered, because I have been most
actively engaged in carrying out the orders of the Secretary of
War, which direct me to co-operate with Col. H. Washington
in his intended descent upon the Mexican coast. Under any
other state of circumstances in the United States this expedition
would meet great aid and assistance. There is no lack of spirit
and enterprise on the part of the citizens of this country, nor
is their enthusiasm in our behalf in the least degree dormant.
But, sir, you can form no idea of the extreme depression and
hopeless pecuniary embarrassment of the citizens of this country.
Their condition is in every way much worse than that of
Texas. The papers, I see, state that large contributions have
Other portions of the country have endeavored to do all
that lay in their power. Philadelphia has acted nobly; and at
a large and most respectable public meeting, an account of
which you will find in the newspapers, has taken the true and
philosophic ground that our independence is de facto established,
and that the attack of Mexico is an unwarrantable
aggression, and contrary to the laws of nations. I have responded
to the committee, pointed out to them the true situation
of our affairs, stated to them our more pressing wants, and
requested that all their aid in furnishing provisions, munitions
of war, and other sinews of a similar character, will be most
gratefully received, and will best reach us through the hands of
our consul in that city, Francis Gurney Smith, Esq. I believe
much can be done by giving a proper direction to the contributions
which we may receive. Men can be had in any number
for the war. But of what use are these without the means of
putting them in action. I concur most fully in the views of the
President on this subject, and have used the general authority
which he sent me as commissioner, for the sole purpose of obtaining
aid in these essential articles of provisions and munitions
I am going up the river as far as Nashville on Monday. I
leave Col. Washington here as my representative. I believe
I could be of essential service to the republic by extending my
visit to the north. Do write me by the next boat, and direct
to the care of our consul here. The new issue will be ready
in a few days. It will then be sent according as the President
may direct. I am glad to see that he entertains the view of restricting
its issue to the lowest possible amount. This is the
only true policy. The affairs of the Treasury Department will
be exceedingly simple during the balance of the summer, and
All that can be done at home is to limit the issue (of exchequers)
by every means possible. * * * The mere details
of this can be managed by the chief clerk, who is a practical
man, under the direction and control of any member of the
Cabinet, but especially by yourself, whose views of currency I
know are most correct. * * * * *
I am most sincerely yours,
WM. HENRY DAINGERFIELD.
CITY OF HOUSTON, June 10th, 1842.
To the Hon. ANSON JONES:
You are hereby constituted and appointed a commissioner
on the part of the Government of Texas, and empowered
to negotiate a loan under an act, entitled an act to authorize
the President to negotiate a loan of $1,000,000 of dollars, approved
January 22d, 1839. You will proceed forthwith to the
United States in the discharge of the above duty,