George P. Garrison.

Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1908 online

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positive information that the Texas question has been foAHyrahly
mooted in the higher circles of Mexico. A French Gentleman assured
me he had received a letter to that effect. Keep this as a cabinet

Your communications had better pass through the Lizardi's as
they have constant intercourse '
Respectfully Your

Obedient Servant

Babnabd E Bee

Bee to Webb.*

1st. May.
I leave to morrow in the Woodbury for Vera Cruz, where I will
get on board Comde. Shubricks vessel, and remain until I hear from
the Mexican GoVt.

I send you my son — ^he is very fond of you — and you must keep
him in your eye. Advise him as you would your own.

I have not yet seen Mr. Slocum. I presume he may have a letter.
Genl Lamars family are all in this House. They will follow in the

with great esteem Yours

B E Bee
The Padre accompanies me. He appears very solicitous.

Hammaken to Lamar. ^

[Giving unfavorable evidence as to Sebring's record, and stating
that Hammaken himself was to follow Bee.^]

Bee to Webb.<*

UNrrED States Schooner Woodbury

Vera Cruz, May 9th 18S9.
My Dear Sir,

I arrived yesterday after a propitious voyage, and immediately
commenced operations, but I enclose my sons letter and beg you
voll read it, as my conmiunication to you. It gives you the mate-
rial points. If I am not received this afternoon I have informed
Genl. Victoria I shall avail myself of the hospitality of the French

• A.L.S.

»A.L. 8., May 1,1830.

e As secretary.

dSes Records of Departinent of State (Texas). Book 41, p. 190.

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Commodore (Admiral Baudin having sailed). Since writing to my
son it has been intimated through the Bishop (Padre Muldoon*
who I assure you has evinced the utmost anxiety) and the American
Consul, that upon my stating that this vessel was about to sail, and
that I should have no domicil, that General Victoria would infonn
me I could take rooms in the city. I accordingly informed him I
had only to claim the hospitality of the French, or be indebted to
him until the Secretary of State of Mexico could be heard from,
observing at the same time, I left it entirely optional with him
which course was to be pursued, but that if allowed to have rooms
in Vera Cruz, I should feel bound to comply with such regulations
as he might deem prudent. I wait his reply.

General Lamar will deeply lament the fate of Genl. Mexia! ^ it
is only however the course he meant to pursue if Santa Anna had
ever fallen into his hands. Be kind enough to forward my sons

I am with infinite regard
Yours Sincerely

Barnard E Bee

James Web&
Secty of State

On board the French Fleet May 10th ^39

Genl Victoria seems so undetermined what course to take that I
have availed myself of the hospitality of the Conunodore of the
French; I am delightfully situated and will probably remain ten
days. I wrote yesterday by mail to Secty State of Mexico, and
the Bishop left this morning in the Stage.
Sincerely Yours

Barnard E. Bee

Bee to Webb.*

French Frigate la Gloire

Vera Cruz May ISth 1839
Mr Dear Sir,

My packet of letters were sealed, the Woodbury's sails up, and I
on board the French Commodore's barge; when a Mexican boat
hailed, saying they had a letter for Don Barnard. It proved to be a
formal authority from Genl. Victoria permitting me to land. I
immediately jumpped on board the Woodbury and repUed courteously
for the privilege, but stated I was imder an engagement to dine on
board the fleet, but would pay my respects the next day. I had no

a It is not meant here that Padre Muldoon was the bishop.
b See Quarterly of the Texas State Historical A stociation, VI, 186.
cSee Records of Department of State (Texas), Book 41, p. aOQ-201,

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time to write to you, but was assured by Capt Nicholas the Orleans
papers should spread it far and wide. It was the more gratifying as
the "El Censor" the day before after abusing the Texians said "if the
Fellow attempts to land a prison awaits him"

Sunday I waited on the Governor of Vera Cruz and was received
with great frankness. The moment he heard of my arrival he
assured me he had communicated with Mexico by express, thought
he should very soon know the result, and J-oped aU would he toeUt
Thus my Dear Sir, I have got fooOwld, But this is not all — I found
a Secret Agent^ of the Government here, waiting an opportimity for
New Orleans, for the purpose of conferring there with me upon the
natiu^ of my instructions in order if they proved satisfactory, the
cue might be given to the Mexican Congress before my arrival. I
informed the Agent that having already communicated with the
Secretary of State, and my arrival universally known, I should
reserve myself for his ear. Indeed I am very glad he did not meet
me in New Orleans, I greatly prefer treating openly with tiiese people.
But the fdct is important, it proves they are disposed to listen. They
tell me here, with money I can do every thing, — without it nothing.
You must under your own hand give me power to draw on Genl. H.
With this authority I can manage through the Merchants of N. Orleans.
There is a Vessel ready to sail. I shall keep this open to the last, in
order that I may mform you, should Genl. Victoria hear from the

I am my dear sir, with great regard
Yours etc

Barnard E. Bee

Judge Webb

Hammeken to Hamilton.**

Hammeken to Webb.**


New Orleans May 19tk 1839.

James Hamilton

Charleston S. C.
Dear Sir,
I left here on the 1st inst went to Texas and returned immediately.

On my return I found a letter from Col. Bee dated on board the

— » .

• This was probably Jiian Vltalba, an Italian, the secret agent of Santa Anna for effecting a settlement of
the diflScnltles between Mexico and Texas, who co-operated with Treat In his negotiations In Mexico after
&Qhig to open communications with Bee, and who returned to Texas with Treat. See Hamilton to
Lamar, June 22, 1839, Bee to Webb, July 5, 1839, Treat to Burnet, October 23, 1839, and Vitalba to Lamar,

» Hay 19, 1839. See Hammeken to Webb, May 20, 1839.

(See Records of Department of State (Texas), Book 41, p. 206-207. It should be noted tliat the
letter coming first imder this title is an Inclosure In that to which the title applies.

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Woodbury 3d inst. of which the following is an extract. "We will
be at sea in an hour. On your arrival see Mr Conray of the firm of
Gasquet. * * *«

A fine vessel leaves here to day for Vera Cruz, and I am mortified
both on my own and on Col Bee's account not to be able to join him.
I have been ready several days, anxiously expecting that Qasquet &
Co. would hear from you. Mr. Forstall told me that he had, since
the departure of Col Bee received news from the highest authority —
that he vxmld he received, and that he (Mr Forstall) felt confident of
the success of the Mission. ♦ ♦ ♦ <»

Requesting the favor of an immediate reply, I remain
Respectfully your most Obt Servant

Geo. L. Hammsken

New Orleans, May iOihy 18S9.
Honl. James Webb

Secretary of Stale.
Deab Sm,

The foregoing is a copy of a letter addressed to General Hamilton.
I hope that before I can receive a reply to it, the fimds mentioned by
Col. Bee will have arrived. I will avail myself then of the first oppor-
tunity to reach the City of Mexico — as there will probably not be a
vessel for Vera Cruz very soon, I will go either to Tampico or Matamo-
ras, if I should think I can gain time by doing so.

Mr. Forstall \s the active partner of the House of Lizardi & Co
highly influential in Mexico, and his co-operation will have a great
tendency to bring about an arrangement between the two countries.
He told me that he had paved the way for Col Bee, and that no doubt
an arrangement could be effected on the basis of the acknowledge-
ment of our independence. He has allowed me to inform his Excel-
lency Genl. Lamar, that he had just received news from the highest
authorities to that effect.

I forwarded by the vessel which sailed yesterday a letter received
some few days ago from yourself to Col Bee. Should you have any
further commands, I am afraid that the return of the Columbia wiD
still find me here, waiting an answer from Genl. Hamilton.

I am sorry to see Jime so near, as the rainy season commences in
that month, making travelling in Mexico excessively tedious and dis*
agreeable. I want to be off. * * ♦ «

With sentiments of high regard, I subscribe myself
Your Most obdt. Servt

George L. Hammekeic.

a The matter here omitted relates to Bee's financial aflalrs.

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cokrespondence with mexico. 447

Bee to Webb."

Veba Ceuz, May 24th 18S9

James Webb

Secretary of Stale
My Deab Sir,

Repeated communications have passed between General Victoria
and the Government since my arrival. My letter requesting to be
allowed to present myself at Mexico clothed with important communi-
cations from Texas, was immediately laid before the Coimcil, and
unanimously rejected, "if independence was my object'\ Private
letters were received stating I would be ordered to the Castle etc etc.
In the mean time General Victoria continued to treat me with marked
attention, and I have just left him after an hours conversation. He
says the acknowledgment of our Independence is out of the question;
that Zacatecas, Sonora etc would soon be asking the same thing. I
repUed we were a diJ0ferent people, speaking a diflFerent language etc,
while these states with a good Oovemment would seek no change. He
then uiged, that Texas should at once propose to be reunited with
Mexico, that she should be received with open arms, the past for-
gotten. I replied, that his proposition was a flattering one but that
Mexico was now a Central Government, when Texas was attached to
a Federal, He said she was a Representaiive Republic that Texas as
a Department would have a right to be represented etc etc. I told
him, Texas was valueless without Slaves, and that under his constitu-
tion. Slavery could not exist. He replied, that can be got over.
Congress would assent to Texas holding them etc. In fine fiothing
could exceed his desire that we should come into the fold. He then
went on, The French question is settled, the Federalists are put down,
reform about to take place, and that with the great resources at com-
mand, Mexico would be compelled to wage an efficient War upon
Texas, That companies from Europe with arms in their hands were
ready to locate, only waiting the word, that utter annihilation awaited
us, imless we came in. I replied, we were aware of their power, eight
MiUions of people, that for defence, I had no doubt of their prowess.
But to his people in the aggregate, Texas offered not an inducement,
that a laurel could never be gained there, that the province was
remote — to get his soldiers there he would have to take them in
chains, — that the war would cost them more than Texas was worth,
and that after all we would retain it, — for the moment our standard
floated in the breeze, the young of all nations would flock to it, and

• See Records of D^artment of State (Texas), Book 41, pp. 207-209. This letter seems to have been sent
akn^ with Bw to Webb, dated simply June, 1889, the only communication from Bee written tliat month.

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that with an exhausted Treasury and a heavy debt, I thought they
had better listen to my proposals. We of course did not convince
each other and I only give you the conversation to show how stxenii-
ously devoted to the reunion the old gentleman is. He even asked if
I did not think I could persuade my Government to alter her views.
"Remember'', said he, "what an old man tells you. Mexico is the
finest country in the world; avail yourself of its advantages, at a
future day your son may be at her head."

But as to Santa Anna, we must give him time, — at this moment he
does not dare take a move openly in favor of Texas. He is playing a
great game. The press is put down. The Militia of the coimtry
disarmed. Soldiers are pressed into the Service. Mexia's followers
made to fall in the ranks, Captains reduced to privates. Bonapart's
conscription adopted. Despotism covers the land, and until he is
firmly seated as Emperor, nothing will be done. In the mean time
he will hector about Texas, (and in secret will negotiate with her),
keep Bustamenta at the head of the Army etc — thus the mission has

Texas must prepare for war, but with little probability of ever
being invaded. I would not call a single farmer from his plough; let
the soil be cultivated; you want population. Volunteers from all
nations will flock to you. Ten thousand Grennans, ten thousand
French, — give moderate bounties in land, have a good Commissariat,
and you need not give a doUar pay during the time they are in service,
and with a moderate navy you have nothing to fear. All this will be
the duty of the Government, — but I tell you the question is settled;
Texas will be heard. I ought not to have come here; Washington
was th0 place to open the subject. While I write, the secret Ageni is
in my view. I have had nothing to do with him except to gather all
I could. The British Minister at Mexico will say to Santa Anna, you
are going against the Wind Mills in Texas, pray pay us before you
start etc etc

I leave by the first opportunity, my services you know are at the
disposal of the President, from a volunteer in the army to a fireside
counsellor. I will proceed on my reaching Orleans to Pendleton
S. C. and will expect to hear from you there, as there will be ample
time to return to Texas.

I have communicated with Mr Packenham and expect to hear
from him. I have yet to tell you of the fate of the Padre Muldoon.
As soon as he reached Mexico, I am told he was incarcerated, for
coming with a Texian. He is said to have been imprudent on his
journey, praising the Texians, and saying their Minister must be
received, but I rather apprehend his difficulty has arisen from having
left the palace against the consent of Bustamenta. He obtained, it
seems a passport from Santa Anna.

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28th Mat 1839
I wrote you a hasty letter by a vessel which had just determined
to sail for New Orleans; this will have informed you that I am again
on board the French Frigate Comt. Lain6. I leave for Havana in
the Steamer Phaeton, and hope soon to be in Orleans, as I shall take
the first vessel.

I remain with esteem, Yours

Babnabd E. Bee.

Bee to Webb.*»

Saorifioios. French Steamer Phaeton

S8 May 1839.
My Dear Sir,

I have just received your letter of the 6th May. I havnt time to
write a line, though I have very much to say. We made a merry
move in coming so suddenly upon these people, the first plan was the
true one It ought to have opened at Washington. I have been
most courteously received by General Victoria, but the Grovemment
cannot recognize me, so that Mexico has denied me. I have received
a poUte note from the Secretary of State headed particular and confi-
dential, I have also recvd. one from Mr Packenham saying nothing
can be done at this moment I have proposed to open my views at
Washington. They will either send Almonte to me there, or refer me
to Mr Martinez.

As yet the letters from the British Minister and the Mexican Min-
ister (Martinez) at Washington, have not reached Mexico; they
arrived to day. The House of Lizardi write me they are most saHs-
factory. If I had where to lay my head, I would not leave yet, but
the Steamer goes in the morning, the fleet follow on Saturday, and
there is neither an American or English vessel of war here. But in
truth, we must give Santa Anna a lit£Le tims, — not alone Santa Anna
but the whole Govmt.

Greneral Victoria told me he would receive us with open arms, if we
would only come into the fold again, — be reunited with Mexico 11

I will furnish you with copies of all I have written, but cannot pos-
sibly now; I had no knowledge of a vessel for New Orleans. The
Captain told me he was bound for New York, but would take me to
the Balize for 600$. If on my arrival at the Havana, I find a vessel
ready for Orleans, I will pay you a visit in Texas, if not I will go to
Charleston as I have named the 1st July for opening the subject at
Washington. Tell Genl. Lamar I will carry it tlirough, but if not we

a See Records of DepartmeDt of State (Texas), Book 41, p. 215.
39728*— VOL 2, ft 1—11 29

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can whip thejnl Vera Cruz is full of their Soldiers. The Planters of
Georgia might as well expect to conquer that state with their Slaves
as Mexico to reconquer Texas.
With great consideration Your

Obedt Servt

Babnabd E. Bee

James Webb

Secty of State

Poinsett to Hamilton.*

Pakenham to Bee*

Hamilton to Lamab.*

Philadelphia 227id. June 18S9
My Deab Sm, —

I deem it proper to apprize you, of my movements here to second
Col. Bee's movements in Mexico, which I consider for obvious reasons
suspended not broken off. The truth is that the n^otiation could
not have been conducted in Mexico, but must from the troubled State
of Mexico be transferred to the United States. With several prov-
inces in a state of revolt, Santa Anna could not set the example in
his own capital of a recognition of the Independence of one which
they are pleased to consider in a State of Rebellion. On my arrival
at the North I repaired to Washington and immediately commenced
a series of operations to get the Government of the United States
warmly enlisted in co-operating in effecting peace between Mexico
and Texas. The President gave Mr EUis special instructions and
carried his courtesy so far, as to order the Frigate Constitution
detained j&ve days, to take out Mr Pakenham's dispatches from Mr
Fox. These dispatches earnestly recommending to Mr. Pakenham
the policy of his using his best efforts with Santa Anna, to consent
to a recognition of Texas and Treaty of peace, were in consequence
of my addressing to Mr. Fox, a letter of which the enclosed is a copy.^
I also have sent you a copy of Mr. Fox's reply.* Mr. Poinsett, who
is the decided and warm friend of Texas, has been industriously occu-
pied in getting Martinez the Mexican Minister at Washington earnestly

a May 31, 1839. See Hamilton to Lamar, June 22, 1839.

» June 2, 1839. (extract). See Bee to Webb, July 24, 1839.

e See Records of Department of State (Texas), Book 41, pp. 400-401.

'See Hamflton to Fox, May 20, 1839 in correspondence wltb Great Britain.

• See Fox to Hamilton May 22, 1889 In correspondence with Great Britain.

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engaged in urging peace in his distracted and infatuated country. I
send you a copy of Mr. Poinsetts letter to me disclosing what Martinez
has done. There is a Gentleman in New York, a cordial friend of
Texas, named Treat,** who has been many years in Mexico is inti-
mately acquainted with Santa Anna and corresponds with a close
friend of the Mexican President, from whom he has received several
letters lately, translations of which, I have seen, in which this person
represents that he is amply empowered by Santa Anna, to conclude
the secret articles of a pacification. This person has conmiunicated
with Col Bee, in Novr.* in New Orleans, and I hope to induce Mr.
Treat, to go down to New Orleans, early next week, to see what can
be done. He may essentially aid Col Bee and the negotiation may
be transferred to Washington under the mediation of the United
States. You see now how affairs stand. I beUeve very Uttle money
comparatively [will be needed] for the attainment of such an object.
Your administration may be iUustrated by the recognition of France,
England and Mexico, and a negotiation of the five Million Loan, and
all this before the meeting of your congress, and next winter through
the instrumentality of the Bank of the United States, you may have
a better currency than United States now po!3sesses. I have dis-
closed in Mr. Burnley's and my official letter/^ the importance of
changing the bonds and the sinking funds basis, but we cannot nego-
tiate them without we can obtain your concurrence in the sinking
fund act. If you approve of the same you will be so kind as to
indorse your approval on the transcript, and forward it by my son,
directed to me, to the care of Palmer's, McKellop, Dent & Co London.
Without the recognition however, of Great Britain, we can have no hope
of success, and this can only be obtained by getting that of France
first, which for money we can accomplish. We have pressed, this
point as a matter of diplomatic Service, and your consideration and
hope to obtain your Sanction. What New Country can win Empire
and Independence without the use of Sinews of War, and the Currency
of peace, which money may well be called. Let me however entreat
you to dispatch my Son back to New Orleans with all imaginable
haste, as Mr. Burnley and myself cannot proceed a step in the nego^
tiation of the loan imtil we get your sanction of the sinking fund act.

a Ckniceraing James Treat, Uttle farther can be stated here than is learned from this correspondence. He
came from New York to Texas in the summer of 1839 bearing letters of recommendation from N. T. Jen-
nings, James Hamilton and Barnard E. Bee to Burnet; and John T. Mason and R. O. Dunlap to Lamar
(See Records of Department of State, Texas, Book 41, pp. 207-298). One of these letters states that he
18 '^ intimately acquainted with Mexico and Mexican Politics, having passed much of his time there, and
enjoyed the confidence of the leading men of the Country." He gave material help to Texas in New York
in 1836 (See Tdegraph and Texas Regiiter, December 16, 1840) and was its confidential agent In Mexico,
1839-1840. He died on his passage from Vera Gnu to Galveston, November 30, 1840.

^ There is certainly an error in this date, which must be due to the copyist's inexpertness and to Ham-
ilton's puzzling chirography. The interviews of Bee with the secret agent of the Mexican government in
New Orleans took place in July. See Bee to Webb, July 5, 1839.

e Hamilton and Burnley to Lamar, June 22, 1839 in correspondence with France.

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Hence it is infinitely important that we should receire it by the 15th
August in London by the Great Western. Mr. Bumley sails on Tues-
day the 25th. in the Sailing Ship Qanick, and I follow in the Steamer
Liverpool on the 6th July. I shall probably reach England first.
God bless and prosper you, with esteem, BespectfuUy and truly your

J. Hamilton
His Excellency
M B Lamab


Washington Slst, May 18S9.
My Dear Sib

I did not receive your letter imtil late last night, and therefore
could not reply to it by return of Mail as desired. I received from
our mutual friend Col Barnard Bee a letter requesting that I should
furnish him with letters to my friends in Mexico and take an interest
in the success of his Mission, the object of which he explained to me.
The real interest I have felt for Texas induced me to decline giving
him letters, as they could be of no service to him, and might have
excited suspicion among the most suspicious people on earth, both
with regard to the views of this Government, and the part I might
take individually in the recognition of Texian Independence. In an
interview which I had subsequently with Mr. Martinez, I found him
very favourably impressed with the views of mutual advant^e to
Mexico and Texas, likely to result from the proposed arrangement.
In consequence chiefly of his own reflections and enlightened views
of the subject, he wrote a pressing letter to Sefior Gorostiza, which
he communicated to me, urging the acceptance of the offers he under-
stood Col Bee was authorized to make.

I have not time to detail to you the arguments adduced in the
letter, but they were such as would occur to the friends of both
countries and especially of Mexico, and were ably and cogently
urged, so much so, that I entertain great hopes, they will have pro-
duced beneficial results, and lead to the favorable termination of
the Negotiation. I will take up the business you left me here next
week, and dispatch it

(Signed) J R. Poinsett


Gen. J. Hamilton

Online LibraryGeorge P. GarrisonAnnual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1908 → online text (page 45 of 82)