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caution, and there was some difficulty in reaching an agreement. It was suggested that the chances for the ratification of the treaty were not good; and that, if it should fail, the alienation of England would leave Texas "in an extremely awkward situation." 1 But the Texans were assured that the requisite number of votes in the Senate would not be lacking. Then Houston demanded that United States troops be placed near the Texan border to protect that country against Mexico in case of invasion during the progress of the negotiations; and that, if the treaty failed, the United States should guarantee the independence of Texas. The United States chargé, Murphy, assented to the first condition; whereupon J. P. Henderson was sent to act with Van Zandt, and the treaty was soon concluded.
The proposition that Texas should be protected by the United States troops while the question of annexation was pending was first made in a letter from Van Zandt to Upshur, dated January 17, 1844, asking whether the president of the United States, at the request or with the consent of Texas, after the treaty was signed and before its ratification, would concentrate on the borders of Texas and in the Gulf sufficient forces for the purpose. This
1 Henderson to Jones, December 20, 1843, in Jones, Repub. of Tex., 278.
2 Senate Docs., 28 Cong., 1 Sess., V., No. 341, p. 47; cf. Tyler, Tylers, II., 284–286. Niles' Register, LXVI., 231. 4 Murphy to Tyler, February 17, 1844, in Tyler, Tylers, II., 287.
letter was unanswered at the time of Upshur's death. Houston's demand, made February 14, was that the troops should be used if the invasion occurred at any time after the negotiations opened; and Murphy's pledge to that effect, as stated above, was given at once. April 11, the day before the signing of the treaty, Calhoun answered Van Zandt's note to Upshur of January 17, informing him that President Tyler had ordered the concentration of a force on the Texas border and in the Gulf, that would be used, if necessary, to prevent invasion by Mexico subsequent to the signing of the treaty. April 12, Murphy reported to the Texas government that his promise to use the troops before the treaty was signed was disapproved by his government and must be rescinded. The intention of the United States government as to the point of international law involved was thus made plain: that government would interfere to prevent an invasion of Texas by Mexico from the time the treaty should be signed, but not before that result.1
The forces ordered to the Texas frontier included sixteen companies from Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis, which were added to the seven already at Fort Jesup, in Louisiana, near the Sabine, raising the force there to eleven hundred and fifty; and three vessels of the home squadron, then at Norfolk, which were directed to join the three belong
1 For the correspondence on the subject, see Niles' Register, LXVI., 230-233.
ing to the same squadron cruising in the Gulf under Commodore Conner. Orders were given Conner to communicate frequently with Galveston and to show himself occasionally before Vera Cruz.
While the negotiations for the treaty were in progress the United States government was also in correspondence with that of Great Britain concerning the attitude of the latter towards Texas. September 28, 1843, Upshur wrote to Everett, United States minister to England, complaining that certain statements of the Earl of Aberdeen concerning Texas made in the House of Lords on August 18 indicated the abolition of slavery, not only in that republic but throughout the whole of America, to be a feature of British policy. In reply, Aberdeen admitted the desire of Great Britain for such abolition, and its policy of giving advice to that effect where the cabinet thought it would be acceptable; but denied that his government had made, or intended to make, the subject a matter of treaty stipulations with Texas. He denied also that he had given Andrews any encouragement. This, however, failed to quiet the agitation in the United States, which was working blindly but effectively in behalf of Texas; and on December 26, 1843, Aberdeen sent Pakenham, the British minister at Wash
1 Senate Docs., 28 Cong., 1 Sess., V., No. 341, pp. 75-81; Niles' Register, LXVI., 177.
"For the correspondence relative to British policy towards Texas beginning with this letter, see Senate Docs., 28 Cong., I Sess., V., No. 341, pp. 27-67, passim.
ington, a communication defining again the attitude of the government of Great Britain relative to slavery in Texas. Aberdeen asserted frankly that, as the whole world must know, Great Britain desired, and was "constantly exerting herself to procure, the general abolition of slavery throughout the world"; but he disavowed any "occult design" in seeking to influence either Texas or Mexico.
For some reason, Pakenham failed to transmit this despatch till February 26, 1844. Two days later Upshur was killed by the accident on board the Princeton, and after a short interval John C. Calhoun was appointed to succeed him. April 18, in reply to Aberdeen's communication, Calhoun wrote Pakenham expressing concern at the avowal of Great Britain's attitude towards slavery" throughout the world," and especially at the acknowledgment of her desire to see slavery abolished in Texas. He sought to show how disastrous the accomplishment of this desire would be to the interests of the United States, and to prove by statistics dealing with the relative number of negro defectives in the free and the slave states that the policy of abolition would be "neither humane nor wise." In the same communication he announced the conclusion of a treaty of annexation between the United States and Texas, intended to avert the danger to American interests which he had described. Pakenham replied immediately, denying the responsibility of Great Britain for the policy of annexation, and as
serting that the British government had given no provocation that would justify the measure. A few days later Calhoun closed the correspondence with a rejoinder reiterating what he had already affirmed, and stating that the United States would shun no fairly imputed responsibility for annexation.
The terms of the treaty were less favorable than Texas might have desired. It provided that Texas should be annexed to the United States as one of its territories, “subject to the same constitutional provision with their other territories." This, of course, would have left it possible for Congress to prohibit slavery in the whole or a part of Texas, or to make an anti-slavery constitution a condition of statehood. Of the other provisions, the most important were that Texas should surrender its public lands, and that the United States should assume the Texan indebtedness to an amount not exceeding ten million dollars.
The treaty was signed April 12, 1844, and ten days later it was transmitted to the Senate with a message from Tyler strongly urging its adoption. The negotiation had been conducted with great secrecy.1 March 16, references to it appeared in the National Intelligencer and in Niles' Register, and the fact of its having been signed was announced in
1 For an explanation, see the letter of William Penn in the Madisonian, April 25, 1844, quoted by Tyler in Tylers, II., 278, n. 2.