Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

tice, or arbitrary decisions, iniquitous and offensive to the security of person and property, resulting from administrative authority, military or judicial.” A blockade of the Mexican coast followed this demand in May, and the hostilities which ensued liberated Texas from the apprehension of invasion. A convention for running the boundary between Texas and the United States was signed at Washington on the 25th of April, and on the occasion of exchanging the ratifications of this convention, at a subsequent period, the application for the admission of Texas into the Union was withdrawn. The diplomatic note of the Texan minister (the Hon. Anson Jones) to Mr. Forsyth, stated that, although the question of annexation “ had been considered by the United States' government as finally disposed of, yet, inasmuch as the impression appeared still to remain upon the public mind, in both countries, that the proposition was still pending, he (Mr. Jones) had been instructed by his government to communicate to that of the United States its formal and absolute withdrawal.” The withdrawal was the act of President Houston, which was approved and ratified by a joint resolution of the Congress of Texas, dated January 23rd, 1839.

There were, even in the North, some who did not regard, without dissatisfaction, the retirement of Texas upon

her own resources, which they attributed to the doubts and difficulties raised by the American manufacturing interest, and the obvious benefits to be derived from a treaty with England, to which nation, it was said, Texas, as an independent state, would afford vast advantages.

It would open a

direct market for an immense amount of her manufactures, and an indirect outlet, through Mexico and the navigable rivers of the United States the Indians would be supplied at a low tariff, and cotton and other products taken in exchange. In other respects, also, it would strengthen the power and influence of England. By an early alliance with Texas, that country, having on the borders of the United States a long line of territory, reaching from Nova Scotia and Upper and Lower Canada, almost to the Rocky Mountains, to the north and north-west, would exercise a direct commercial and political influence from the Atlantic to the Pacific, on the line of the Rio Grande; and would thus nearly encompass the whole Union with her territorial arms, extracting the wealth of the Mexican mines, improving communications to the heart of Mexico, and finally possessing the great key to the Pacific, and the commerce of the Indies, by a ship canal across the Isthmus of Darien. In this manner, it was alleged, England would be rendered greater than the United States, in influence as well as territory, on the American continent; and this had been done from sheer jealousy of Northern politicians of augmenting the power of the South. Not content with this distrust of the South, opposition to Texas had been strengthened by a “ vile appeal to passion and fanaticism,” and “ ministers of the gospel had been permitted to mount the pulpit, and fulminate denunciations against Texas and the interests of the South. And what was the excuse? • It was necessary to keep the Union together. Texas would have divided the Union.' Was not the period of separation fearfully accelerated by making Texas a sovereign and independent power, with such an ally as England ?”

The question of Texan annexation, or independence, presented an embarrassing dilemma to those who wished, by means of protective duties, to secure a monopoly of the home market for American manufactures. If the United States extended their southern wing to the Rio Grande, the anti-tariff party would gain a preponderance most favourable to England. On the other hand, if Texas were independent, she might force the whole American continent into the adoption of free trade principles, which would be still more conducive to British aggrandisement, as it would “tranquillize her restless population by constant occupation, and, by returning a superabundance of raw material, in exchange for her fabrics, enable her to undersell the world.”

--

CHAPTER III.

Cherokee Indians – Presidential Election— Policy of President

Lamar's Administration--Education--Laws-- Tariff -Banking-Grants to Settlers-Indian Irruptions and Designs-Expulsion of the Cherokees — Trade with the Mexicans Mission to Mexico - French diplomatic Agent in Texas-Arrival of Admiral Baudin at Galveston-Appointment of General Hamilton and Mr. Burnley to negotiate a Loan-Recognition of Texan Independence by France - Presidential Message - State of Mexico—Treaty between England and Texas.

For the purpose of furnishing a clear consecutive statement of the events and transactions detailed in the preceding chapter, I have been obliged to depart from chronological order, from which, indeed, I have more than once had occasion to deviate for the like reason.

The course of the narrative still lies within the period of General Houston's administration, which, according to a provision of the Constitution restricting the first Presidential term to two years, commenced in 1836, and was to terminate in 1838.

Defensive preparations, the settlement of land titles, measures of finance, and Indian feuds and negotiations, chiefly occupied the Texans during 1837-38. To many of the settlers the policy of President Houston with regard to the Cherokees and other north-eastern tribes gave great dissatisfaction. It appears by the Journal of the Consultation of Texas, held at San Felipe, October 16th, 1835, that the delegates assembled in Convention had declared on the 13th of November—" That the Cherokee Indians and their associate bands had derived their just claims to lands, included within a district lying north of the San Antonio road and the Neches, and west of the rivers Sabine and Angelina, from the government of Mexico, from which the declarants had also derived their right to the soilby grant and occupancy.” The Consultation further declared that they would guarantee to said Indians the peaceable enjoyment of their rights to these lands, pronouncing all grants, surveys, and locations within the specified bounds null and void, and calling on the Commissioners who had issued the same to recall and cancel them, as having been made upon lands already appropriated by the Mexican Government. Upon the basis of this declaration, three Commissioners, of whom General Houston was one, had been deputed to negotiate a treaty with the parties indicated.

Bowles, the Cherokee chief, the offspring of an Indian woman by a Scottish father -- a shrewd, intelligent man-had made strenuous endeavours to obtain for the tribes a grant of the lands they occupied. Almonte's Report establishes the fact that, at the close of 1834, Bowles and his colleagues had not succeeded in their application—the petition being at that time only on its way to the Mexican Government. It was obviously the policy of Mexico to hold out the inducement of a land grant to

* Since a previous allusion to this subject, I have procured the Journals of the Consultation.

« ZurückWeiter »