A View from the Presidency

By Anson Jones

from The History of Annexation

 

Texas declared her independence of Mexico in March, 1836, - in the same month adopted a constitution and provisional government, and virtually achieved her Independence at San Jacinto in April following. The people soon after proceeded to organize a permanent government, by the election of a President, etc., at which election the question of annexation was submitted to a vote, and with almost entire unanimity, decided in the affirmative. The measure however, met with but little favor or encouragement from the American Government… In October, 1838, the proposition was formally withdrawn…

The Executive of Texas, inaugurated in December, 1838, (Gen. Lamar) took decided ground against the whole policy of annexation, present and prospective, and the Representatives of the people, by a joint Resolution of Congress as unanimous as had been the vote in 1836 for the measure appeared to sustain the President’s opinions against it.

But in the three years… the country was brought to the extremist point of depression – her means exhausted – her credit utterly prostrated – the loan, sought all over the U. States and Europe, refused on any terms – pressed and oppressed with debts – her currency at a discount of 97 per cent. – the Navy gone to Yucatan – the army to Santa Fe and captivity – the frontiers of a thousand miles assailed by hostile Indians…

It was thought best to pursue an acknowledgement of our independence from Mexico, as well to favor the success of annexation, as an alternative, in the event that should fail. The apparently insurmountable objection urged by the United States, that "she could not annex Texas so long as it involved a risk of a war with Mexico," would have been obviated by procuring this acknowledgement…

Under the economical and prudent administration of the government, conducted by Gen. Houston, the finances of the country had improved, and by the close of 1842, credit and confidence had become somewhat restored…

The year 1843 dawned on Texas with brightening prospects. A jealousy and rivalry began to exist between the U. States on the one hand, and Great Britain and France on the other, in relation to Texas, which was daily gaining strength, and it was not her policy to endeavor to abate or to suppress it…

[By 1844] Texas had recovered from her embarrassments, and was rapidly emerging from her difficulties. Her credit was restored, her currency almost at par, her resources nearly adequate to the wants of her government, and the country rapidly filling up with an intelligent, enterprising and industrious population. She had enjoyed an interval of nearly two years of peace. The Indians, with few exceptions conciliated, no longer harassed our frontiers. She had become an object of lively interest to three of the greatest powers of the world who were vying with each other for her favor. Other nations too were seeking her friendship. No longer depressed, hopeless and weak, she felt able to stand alone.

For a continuation of this story see 1845: The Twilight Year /  Part One