John C. (John Caldwell) Calhoun.

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he would suggest a hope that it might terminate in the abolition of slavery in
Texas, and ultimately the whole of the Southern States of America. The abo-
lition of slavery in Texas must put an end to one of the most execrable crimes
(for he would not designate it by the honorable name of traffic) that could
disgrace a people, namely, the rearing and breeding of slaves, or the being
engaged in the sale of our fellow-creatures. He therefore hoped that his
noble friend would have no difficulty in letting him know whether he could
give any information as to the state of the negotiations on this subject, or as
to the nature of the instructions that had been given to our minister in that
country. If the production of such documents in the furnishing such in-
formation was not suitable at the present moment, he would not press his
noble friend ; but he had no doubt that his noble friend could confirm his
statement, and he trusted that the government would not lose any oppor-
tunity of pressing the subject whenever they could do so with a hope of

" The Earl of Aberdeen, in reply, said that he could state that not only
had this country acknowledged the independence of Texas, but also that we
had a treaty of commerce and a treaty for the . abolition of the slave trade
with that power. He did not believe that there was any importation of
slaves into Texas by sea, but it was true that there was a large importation
of slaves from the United States into that country. Immediately on the ne-
gotiations being entered on with Texas, the utmost endeavors of this country
were used to put an end to the war which prevented the full and entire
recognition of the independence of Texas by Mexico. Their endeavors had
met with very great difficulties ; and he was unable to say that there was an
mimediate prospect of obtaining the recognition of the independence of


Texas on the part of Mexico ; but it was with great pleasure that he was able
to say that, probably, the first step to this had been obtained, namely : that
an armistice had been established between the two powers ; and he hoped
that this would lead to the absolute acknowledgment of the independence of
Texas by Mexico. The armistice was an important step to obtain; and he.
need fuirdly my that every effort on the part of Her Majesty's Government
would lead to that result which was contemplated by his noble friend. He was
xure that he need hardly say that no one was more anxious than himself to see
the abolition of slavery in Texas ; and if he could not consent to produce papers,
or to give further information, it did not arise from indifference, but from quite
a contrary reason. In the present state of the negotiations between the two
countries in question, it would not contribute to the end they had in view if he then
expressed any opinion as to the state of those negotiations; but he could assure
his noble friend that, by means of urging the negotiations, as well as by every
other means in their power. Her Majesti/s ministers would press this matter.

" Lord Brougham observed that nothing could be more satisfactory than
the statement of his noble friend, which would be received with joy by all
who were favorable to the object of the anti-slavery societies."

These facts and circumstances, thus brought to the notice of the
Grovernment, excited the profoundest interest, and the President
immediately directed that a despatch be prepared and forwarded
to Mr. Everett, with instructions to apply directly to Lord Aber-
deen with the view of obtaining distinctly the intentions and pur-
poses of the British Government in reference to the subject. Ac-
cordingly, on the 28th of September, 1843, Mr. Upshur addressed
to Mr. Everett two communications, — the one public, the other con-
fidential, — in which the whole subject, in all its various and momen-
tous bearings on the peace, the security, and the prosperity of the
United States, was ably and elaborately discussed. Few papers, in
the annals of our diplomacy, equal them in clearness, vigor, profound
reflection and far-reaching foresightedness. The views they pre-
sented, the positions they assumed, the principles they advanced,
were sustained,' with irresistible force, by reason, justice and
truth ; and the Minister was authorized to avail himself of them in
bringing the subject to the attention of Lord Aberdeen. This
privilege, however, does not appear to have been exercised. In
giving an account of two subsequent interviews with the British
Secretary, Mr. Everett does not state that the substance of these
papers was submitted to him. He only mentions, incidentally,
that, " in the long interview," " I told him he must not be surprised


at the interest taken in the subject, in the United States, when he
remembered that Texas and the United States were border coun-
tries, and the necessary effect of the abolition in Texas, on slavery
as existing in the Union.'" This gentle admonition, founded on
the " interest taken in the subject in the United States," was as
gently returned, on the part of the British Minister, by " an allu-
sion to the state of public sentiment in England ; " and the subject,
so far as we learn from the correspondence, was dismissed. It does
not appear that the British Government was in possession of the
views of ours on the subject, until after the execution of the Treaty
of Annexation, when they were communicated to its Minister at
Washington by Mr. Calhoun.

Be this, however, as it may, the purpose and policy of the Brit-
ish Cabinet could not be doubted ; and the question was of too
urgent and important a nature to admit of delay. Even then, it
was by no means certain, that Texas, repulsed by the folly — to say
the least of it — of our G-overnment, and driven by the pressing ne-
cessities of her peculiar position, had not been seduced or con-
strained to enter into some agreement or alliance which would for
ever exclude her from the pale of our Federal Union. Urged by
these considerations, Mr. Upshur, under the direction of the Presi-
dent, addressed a note, dated October 16th, 1843, to the Texan
Charge d' Affaires at Washington, inviting a renewal of negotiations,
and informing him that, as soon as he (Mr. Van Zandt) could pro-
cure full powers from his Government, the President would be ready
to enter into a treaty of annexation. A copy of this communi-
cation was immediately forwarded by a special messenger; but
after some delay, and to the great surprise both of the President
and the Charge, the Executive of Texas declined to grant the ne-
cessary powers, — thus rejecting the proposition altogether. No rea-
sons for this sudden change of policy were, we believe, assigned by
the Executive ; and as it was well known to all that the measure
was warmly approved, almost unanimously, by the people of Texas,
— ^rumors and suspicions of the darkest and most derogatory char-
acter came to supply their place. Whether they had any just
foundation in fact was left to conjecture. The mystery was subse-
quently attempted to be explained, as being a mere trick of State, —
a harmless indulgence of national ''cogMeir?/." If this be so, it
must, at least, be admitted that such antics little comported with


the dignity of the subject or the pressing importance of the occa-
sion. The popular indignation, however, soon put an end to such
maidenly flirtations, if we must so regard them, and a well-timed
intimation that a treaty would probably be signed, and submitted
directly to the people for their ratification, drew forth the neces-
sary powers sometime afterwards. In the mean while the negotia-
tions, informally, had made some progress, when, in the latter part
of February, 1844, they were arrested by the sudden and tragical
death of Mr. Upshur on board the Steamer Princeton. This melan-
choly event, while it cast a deep gloom over the country, led to the
appointment of Mr. Calhoun, who, a few days thereafter, was nom-
inated by the President, and by a unanimous vote of the Senate,
invited to take charge of the Department of State. He reluc-
tantly accepted the appointment (which he had two years before
declined), and entered on the discharge of its duties about the last
of March, 1844. The negotiation was, of course, promptly re-
newed, — fall powers having been received for that purpose by the
Texan Charge d'Afiaires, — and prosecuted with so much vigor, that
the Treaty of Annexation was, on the 12th of April following,
duly prepared in duplicate and signed by the plenipotentiaries of
the respective Governments.

Thus fortified and secured against the machinations of foreign
diplomacy, the friends of the measure indulged the confident hope
that no sinister influences, no narrow aims of faction, no schemes
of personal ambition would be allowed to defeat its ratification.
In this, however, they were disappointed. They had not fully con-
sidered the political depravity of the times, — ^nor well weighed the
elements of opposition which personal malignity and ambition,
aided by the fiercest feelings of faction, could rally against it. The
ever disturbing canvass for the Presidency was agitating and dis-
tracting the country, — and the conventions of the two great parties,
(we use the term only in deference to popular custom), — instituted
at a then comparatively recent date, for the purpose of substituting
the will of partisans for that of the people in the selection of a
Chief Magistrate, — ^were to assemble in a few weeks. Their two
most prominent candidates, Mr. Van Buren and Mr. Clay, perceiv-
ing that the subject would necessarily embarrass their respective
adherents in the free States, after full and free consultation, it is
believed, very naturally decided that it was better that Texas


should be lost to the country, at least for the present, than that
the important contest pending between them should be disturbed
by any new issue. The Abolition party, whose vote was sincerely
desired, and zealously courted by both, concurred, of course, in this
line of policy ; and though impelled by different motives, brought
to its support all the weapons that fanatic zeal, frenzied bigotry,
and fiendish malice could wield. Below these in position, as in the
scale of intellect and morals, were arrayed a few of the meaner
sort — a mercenary band, whose personal hatred of the Secretary of
State gave ready sanction to indiscriminate opposition without the
least regard to principle or consistency. One of the most promi-
nent of these claimed that the measure properly belonged to his
management, as he had fondly cherished it for many years, — ^watch-
ing, doubtless, for a favorable opportunity of introducing it as a
lever to lift him into the highest official position. Another, equally
unscrupulous, declared, in a letter published at the time, that the
treaty must be defeated, on the ground that, if ratified by the
senate, it would lead to the election of the Secretary, as President
of the United States, — and thus disappoint the future expectations
of himself and his friends.

With such elements of opposition to encounter, it is not wonder-
ful that the treaty was defeated. The defection of Mr. Van Buren
and Mr. Clay was decisive of its fate. The Duke of Sully shrewdly
observes that the first law of a French courtier is, to be of the
same mind with the sovereign. The remark applies not peculiarly
to the French. The result of theii^ manifestoes was the immediate
abandonment of the measure by a large portion of their respective
friends, hitherto its steady and ardent supporters. But they also
made a false reckoning in mistaking the voice of their partisans for
the voice of the people. The blow they directed at the measure,
recoiled with fearful effect on themselves. The indignation of the
country was roused to the highest pitch. Mr. Van Buren and Mr.
Clay fell prostrate before it — the Abolition party exhausted its
rage in impotent denunciations — the lower elements of opposition,
baffled in their malice, shrunk growling into their hiding-places, —
the Senate, appalled at the consequences of its own conduct, was
compelled to retrace its steps at the ensuing session, — and before he
left the department, Mr. Calhoun had the gratification of inviting
Texas to take her place amongst the States of the Union. — Editor.]


Of the Secretary of State.

Department of State, WASHDfGTON, Dec. %d, 1844.

StR : — In obedience to your instructions, I have the honor,
herewith, to transmit copies of a correspondence with the Grov-
emment of Mexico and Texas, growing out of the proposed
annexation of the latter to the United States ; and also of
the correspondence with the Texan authorities in relation
to the disarming of a body of Texan forces under the com-
mand of Major Snively, by a detachment of United States
troops commanded by Capt. Cooke, and the forcible entry,
and taking away from the custom-house on Red River of sun-
dry goods and merchandise, by certain citizens of the United

By a note recently received from the Hon. C. H. Ray-
mond, acting Charg^ d' Affaires of the Repubhc of Texas, I
am informed that the evidence referred to in my note to Mr.
Van Zandt, of the 14th of August last, has not yet been re-
ceived by him.

All which is respectftilly submitted.

J. 0. Calhoun.

To the Peestdkht of the United States.

VOL. V, — 21



Concluded between the United States of America
and tlie Eepublic of Texas, at Washington, tlie
12t]i day of April, 1844. Communicated to tlie
Senate by tlie President of tlie United States,
April 22, 1844.

The people of Texas having, at the time of adopting their
Constitution, expressed, by an almost unanimous vote, their
desire to be incorporated into the Union of the United
States, and being still desirous of the same with equal una-
nimity, in order to provide more effectually for their security
and prosperity ; and the United States, actuated solely by
the desire to add to their own security and prosperity, and
to meet the wishes of the Government and people of Texas,
have determined to accomplish, by treaty, objects so impor-
tant to their mutual and permanent welfare.

For that purpose, the President of the United States
has given full powers to John C. Calhoun, Secretary of State
of the said United States, and the President of the Kepublic
of Texas has appointed, with like powers, Isaac Van Zandt
and J. Pinckney Henderson, citizens of the said Eepubhc ;
and the said plenipotentiaries, after exchanging their full
powers, have agreed on and concluded the following articles : —

, Article I.

The Republic of Texas, acting in conformity with the
wishes of the people and every department of its Grovem-
ment, cedes to the United States all its territories, to be
held by them in full property and sovereignty, and to be an-
nexed to the said United States as one of their territories,
subject to the same constitutional provisions with their other


territories. This cession includes all public lots and sc[uares,
vacant lands, mines, minerals, salt lakes and springs, public
edifices, fortifications, barracks, ports and harbors, navy and
navy yards, docks, magazines, arms, armaments, and accou-
trements, archives and public documents, public funds, debts,
taxes and dues unpaid at the time of the exchange of the rat-
ifications of this treaty.

Article II.

The citizens of Texas shall be incorporated into the
Union of the United States, maintained and protected in the
free enjoyment of their Uberty and property, and admitted,
as soon as may be consistent with the principles of the Fed-
eral Constitution, to the enjoyment of aU the rights, privi-
leges, and immunities, of citizens of the United States.

Article III.

All titles and claims to real estate, which are valid un-
der the laws of Texas, shall be held to be so by the United
States ; and measures shall be adopted for the speedy adju-
dication of all unsettled claims to land, and patents shall be
granted to those found to be valid.

Article IV.

The pubHc lands hereby ceded shall be subject to the
laws regulating the public lands in the other Territories of
the United States, as far as they may be appUcable ; sub-
ject, however, to such alterations and changes as Congress
may from time to time think proper to make. It is un-
derstood between the parties, that if, in consequence of the
mode in which lands have been surveyed in Texas, or from
previous grants or locations, the sixteenth section cannot be
applied to the purpose of education. Congress shall make
equal provision by grant of land elsewhere. And it is also


further understood, that, hereafter, the books, papers, and
documents of the General Land Office of Texas shall be de-
posited and kept at such place in Texas as the Congress of
the United States shall direct.

Abticle V.

The United States assume and agree to pay the public
debts and liabihties of Texas, however created, for which the
faith or credit of her Government may be bound at the time
of the exchange of the ratifications of this treaty ; which
debts and liabilities are estimated not to exceed, on the whole,
ten millions of dollars, to be ascertained and paid in the
manner hereinafter stated.

The payment of the sum of three hundred and fifty thou-
sand doUars shall be made at the Treasury of the United
States, within ninety days after the exchange of the ratifica-
tions of this treaty, as follows : Two hundred and fifty thou-
sand dollars to Frederick Dawson, of Baltimore, or his exe-
cutors, on the delivery of that amount of ten per cent, bonds
of Texas ; one hundred thousand dollars, if so much be re-
quired, in the redemption of the exchequer bills which may
be in circulation at the time of the exchange of the ratifica-
tions of this treaty. For the payment of the remainder of
the debts and habilities of Texas, which, together with the
amount already specified, shall not exceed ten millions of dol-
lars, the pubUc lands herein ceded, and the net revenue from
the same, are hereby pledged.

Article VI.

In order to ascertain the full amount of the debts and
liabilities herein assumed, and the legality and validity
thereof, four commissioners shall be appointed by the Presi-
dent of the United States, by and with the advice and con-
sent of the Senate, who shall meet at Washington, Texas,


within the period of six months after the exchange of the rat-
ifications of this treaty, and may continue in session not ex-
ceeding twelve months, unless the Congress of the United States
should prolong the time. They shall take an oath for the faith-
M discharge of their duties, and that they are not directly or
indirectly interested in said claims at the time, and will not
be during their continuance in office ; and the said oath shaU
be recorded with their proceedings. In case of the death,
sickness, or resignation of any of the commissioners, his or
their place or places may be supphed by the appointment as
aforesaid, or by the President of the United States during
the recess of the Senate. They, or a majority of them, shall
be authorized, under such regulations as the Congress of the
United States may prescribe, to hear, examine, and decide
on all questions touching the legality and validity of said
claims, and shall, when a claim is allowed, issue a certificate
to the claimant, stating the amount, distinguishing principal
fi:om interest. The certificates so issued shall be numbered,
and entry made of the number, the name of the person to
whom issued, and the amount, in a book to be kept for that
purpose. They shall transmit the records of their proceed-
ings and the book in which the certificates are entered, with
the vouchers and documents produced before them, relative
to the claims allowed or rejected, to the Treasury Depart-
ment of the United States, to be deposited therein ; and the
Secretary of the Treasury shall, as soon as practicable after
the receipt of the same, ascertain the aggregate amount of
the debts and liabilities allowed ; and if the same, when
added to the amount to be paid to Frederick Dawson and
the sum which may be paid in the redemption of the exche-
quer bills, shall not exceed the estimated sum of ten millions
of dollars, he shall, on the presentation of a certificate of the
commissioners, issue, at the option of the holder, a new certi-
ficate for the amount, distinguishing principal from interest,
and payable to him or order, out of the net proceeds of the


public lands hereby ceded, or stock of the United States, foi
the amount allowed, including principal and interest, and
bearing an interest of three per cent, per annum, from the date
thereof; which stock, in addition to being made payable out
of the net proceeds of the public lands hereby ceded, shall also
be receivable in payment for the same. In case the amount
of the debts and liabilities allowed, with the sums aforesaid
to be paid to Frederick Dawson, and which may be paid in
the redemption of the exchequer bills, shall exceed the said
sum of ten millions of dollars, the said Secretary, before issu-
ing a new certificate, or stock, as the case may be, shall make
in each case such proportionable and ratable reduction on its
amount as to reduce the aggregate to the said sum of ten
millions of dollars, and he shall have power to make all need-
ful rules and regulations necessary to carry into effect the
powers hereby vested in him.

Article YIT.

Until further provision shall be made, the laws of Texas,
as now existing, shall remain in force, and all executive and
judicial officers of Texas, except the President, Vice-Presi-
dent, and heads of departments, shall retain their offices,
with all power and authority appertaining thereto, and the
courts of justice shall remain in all respects as now established
and organized.

Article VIII.

Immediately after the exchange of the ratifications of
this treaty, the President of the United States, by and with
the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint a com-
missioner, who shall proceed to Texas and receive the trans-
fer of the territory thereof, and all the archives and public
property, and other things herein conveyed, in the name of
the United States. He shall exercise aH executive authority


in said territory necessary to the proper execution of the
laws, until otherwise provided.

Article IX.

The present treaty shall he ratified by the contracting
parties, and the ratifications exchanged at the city of Wash-
ington, in six months from the date hereof, or sooner if pos-

In wtness whereof, we, the undersigned, plenipoten-
tiaries of the United States of America and of the Republic
of Texas, have signed, by virtue of our powers, the present
treaty of annexation, and have hereunto affixed our seals re-
spectively. ,

Done at Washington, the twelfth day of April, eighteen
hundred and forty-four.

J. C. Calhoun, [Seal]

Isaac Van Zandt, [Seal.]

J. PiNCKNEY Henderson, [Seal.]

Messrs. Van Zandt and Henderson to Mr. Calhoun.
Legation of Texas, Washington Citt, April \Uh, 1844.

The undersigned, &c., in reply to the inquiries of Mr.
Calhoun, Secretary of State of the United States, have the
honor to submit the following : —

In 1836, after the declaration of the independence of
Texas, in pursuance of the orders of the Convention and the
expression of the popular will, the President ad interim, by
his proclamation, ordered an election to be held throughout
the EepubHc, for the ratification or rejection of the Constitu-
tion which had been adopted by the Convention, and for the
expression by the people of their wishes in regard to the an-
nexation of Texas to the United States. The result was,
that, upon a full poll, but ninety-three votes were given
against the annexation.


Following up tMs declared wisli of the people, the first
Congress that assemhled thereafter passed an act empower-
ing the President to appoint a minister to present the ques-
tion to the Government of the United States. The proposi-
tion having been declined, it was deemed prudent, in order
to facilitate negotiations with other countries, not to press

Online LibraryJohn C. (John Caldwell) CalhounThe works of John C. Calhoun → online text (page 27 of 38)