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Monette, John W. History of the Discovery and Settlement of the Valley of the Mississippi, by the Three Great European Powers, Spain, France and Great Britain, and the Subsequent Occupation, Settlement, and Extension of Civil Government by the United States, Until the Year 1846, in two volumes, Volume II . New York: Harper and Brothers, Publishers, 1846. [format: book], [genre: history]. Permission: Schingoethe Center for Native American Cultures, Aurora University
Argument. Retrospect of the Province of Louisiana. "Territory of Orleans" and District of Louisiana. Increase of Population in the Territory of Orleans and District of Louisiana. Remote Missouri Regions explored by Lewis and Clark. Lieutenant Pike explores the Upper Mississippi and the Arkansas Rivers. Population advances into the District. Settlements extend upon the Arkansas and Missouri. Missouri Territory organized in 1812. New Impulse to Emigration in 1815. Indian Treaties. Population of Missouri Territory in 1817. "Territory of Arkansas" organized in 1819. French Settlement incorporated with the American Population. St. Louis as a commercial Point. The People of Missouri Territory apply for a State Government in 1819. Strong Opposition in Congress. Stormy Debates on the "Missouri Question" in 1819-1829. Convention and State Government authorized in 1820. Constitution adopted, and State Government organized. "State of Missouri" admitted into the Union under Restriction in 1821. Population, Agriculture, and Commerce of Missouri until 1836. Emigration to Arkansas Territory in 1835-36. "State of Arkansas" admitted into the Union. Features of the Constitution. Governors of Arkansas. State of Missouri, and City of St. Louis from 1838 to 1845. Emigration west of the Mississippi; to Louisiana; to "Iowa District." "Territory of Iowa" organized. "Iowa City." Increased Emigration to Territory of Iowa, from 1839 to 1844. State Constitution authorized. Features of Constitution. Iowa rejects Terms of Admission. Florida and Texas admitted. Iowa forms another Constitution in 1846. Emigration through Nebraska Territory to Oregon, from 1842 to 1845.
Re-annexation of Texas. Former Condition of Texas as a Spanish Province. Adheres to the Mexican Confederation of 1824. Departments and Settlements in 1832. Mexican Grants for European and American Colonies. Population in 1834. Texas and Coahuila form one Mexican State. Texas secedes from the dictatorial Authority of Santa Anna, and is invaded by General Cos. Texas declares herself Independent in 1836. Is invaded by Santa Anna. Santa Anna recognizes her Independence. It is recognized by United States and the European Powers. Emigration to Texas greatly increases. The People of Texas desire Annexation to the United States. Second Application in 1837. Mexico, prompted by Santa Anna, repudiates his Acts in Texas. Third Application of Texas met by an Overture from the United States in 1844. President Tyler's Treaty of Annexation. Mr. Shannon, Minister to Mexico. His fruitless Mission. Mr. Thompson sent as Envoy. Returns unsuccessful. Captain Elliott becomes an active Diplomatist against Annexation. Hostile Attitude of Mexico. Captain Elliott's Zeal in Diplomacy. Intrigue of the British and French Ministers. Annexation consummated. The Protection of United States invoked against Mexican Invasion. Army of Occupation at Corpus Christi. Advances to the Rio del Norte.
[A.D. 1803.] THE purchase of the province of Louisiana from the French Republic in 1803 gave to the United States
a claim to the jurisdiction over this vast region, which comprised the coast from the Perdido to the Rio del Norte, and from the sources of that river to the Pacific Ocean on the west, and from the Gulf of Mexico on the south, to the British possessions on the north.
As has been elsewhere observed, 642 the most considerable settlements of European descent in this extensive territory were located principally in what are now the States of Louisiana and Missouri, and contained an aggregate population of but little over forty-five thousand.
District of Louisiana. After the "Territory of Orleans" was laid off, the remainder of the province was known and designated as the "District of Louisiana," until a separate government could be established by Congress. During this period the country near the Mississippi River was occupied by the troops of the United States, under military and civil commandants, stationed in the vicinity of the largest settlements. The jurisdiction of the Federal courts of the Indiana Territory was temporarily extended over it.
[A.D. 1804.] The first military commandant and civil governor of the "District of Louisiana" was Major Amos Stoddart, an intelligent and highly meritorious officer of the United States army, and author of a valuable work on the early history and resources of Louisiana. His headquarters were at St. Louis, the capital of Upper Louisiana. 643
At this time the District of Louisiana contained the germs of two independent states on the west side of the Mississippi, comprised in the few detached settlements upon the Arkansas River and upon the west side of the Upper Mississippi, south of the Missouri River. These settlements were composed mostly of French Creoles and traders, with a few emigrant Anglo-Americans from the United States. Those on the Arkansas River were distributed chiefly within fifty miles of the Mississippi, at a point where a military post was subsequently established and known as the "Post of Arkansas." The population
of this settlement in 1804, exclusive of the garrison in the post, was three hundred and sixty-eight persons; that of Upper Louisiana was much greater, and was situated chiefly between the settlement of Cape Girardeau and those near St. Louis, comprising more than six thousand persons, not including the garrison in the post of St. Louis. 644
Exploring Expeditions. The remainder of this immense district was an unknown savage wilderness of forests and prairies, traversed by a few roving bands of savages, and explored only by a few French traders, with their attendant couriers du bois and voyageurs, engaged in the fur-trade with the remote Indian tribes. The first authentic American explorations were those conducted by Lewis and Clark, in the years 1804 and 1805, to the sources of the Missouri, and thence to the Pacific Ocean through the Columbia River. Next were those conducted by Lieutenant Pike in the years 1805 and 1806, for the exploration of the sources of the Mississippi, and subsequently, in 1806 and 1807, for the exploration of the regions near the sources of the Arkansas and Red Rivers. 645
One important object of all these explorations was to conciliate the numerous tribes of Indians then inhabiting the country watered by all the western tributaries of the Mississippi, and to establish amicable relations with those in the immediate vicinity of the frontier settlements. In his explorations upon the Upper Mississippi, upon the lower tributaries of the Missouri and Arkansas, no less than upon the sources of the Arkansas and Red River, Lieutenant Pike had omitted no opportunity for entering into treaties of friendship and peace with the native tribes through which he passed; thus preparing the way for the subsequent sale and relinquishment of lands in advance of the adventurous pioneer.
[A.D. 1805.] Territory of Louisiana. Meantime, the District of Louisiana had been erected into the "Territory of Louisiana," with the first grade of territorial government administered by a governor and territorial judges. The first governor was General James Wilkinson, who held the office until the close of the year 1806, when he was succeeded by Colonel Meriwether Lewis. Under his administration, assisted by the territorial judges, the Territory of Louisiana remained a
dependence of the United States until the year 1812, when the "State of Louisiana" was admitted into the Union. During this period the town and post of St. Louis continued to be the seat of the territorial government. The territory was divided into six judicial districts, or large counties, viz.: those of St. Charles, St. Louis, St. Genevieve, Cape Girardeau, New Madrid, and Arkansas.
[A.D. 1808.] The limits of the white settlements, as late as the beginning of the year 1808, had been extended but little beyond the boundaries claimed by the Spanish authorities in virtue of former treaties with the native tribes; but the Federal government had made ample provision for the extension of settlements by future emigration.
On the 10th of November, 1808, at a grand council of the western Indians, convened at "Fort Clark," a treaty was concluded, by which the Osage tribes ceded to the United States an extensive portion of territory between the Missouri and the Arkansas Rivers. These lands were to be gradually relinquished by the tribes in advance of the white settlements. Hence the way was first opened for the extension of the white population into the eastern portions of the present States of Missouri and Arkansas.
[A.D. 1809.] Soon after the occupation of Louisiana by the United States, people from the Western States began to move slowly into this remote region, gradually augmenting the number in all the old French settlements, and in the vicinity of the American posts.
The greatest emigration was to the settlements in the vicinity of Cape Girardeau, St. Geneviève, St. Louis, and St. Charles; those of New Madrid and the post of Arkansas were also augmented, but in a less degree, by frontier settlers.
[A.D. 1810.] In the year 1810, the number of people in the Territory of Louisiana had, in six years, increased to nearly twenty-one thousand souls, including about three thousand slaves. 646 Of this aggregate population about fifteen hundred were within the limits of the present State of Arkansas; the remainder were comprised chiefly within the confines of the present State of Missouri.
[A.D. 1811.] At this time the frontier population had
extended sparsely, and at remote intervals, to the distance of nearly sixty miles west of the Mississippi River, but chiefly near the military posts on the frontiers and around the old French villages. Many new settlements had been opened since the relinquishment of frontier lands by the Indians, agreeably to the treaty of Fort Clark; and the territory during the year 1811 had increased its population, until the number justified the organization of a representative territorial government. 647
[A.D. 1812.] The Territory of Orleans, in assuming the rank of an independent state, had adopted the name of the "State of Louisiana," and it was deemed expedient to change the name of the Territory of Louisiana. An act of Congress, passed June 4th, 1812, provided for the organization of a representative grade of territorial government upon the west side of the Mississippi, including all the settlements north of the western portion of the present State of Louisiana. 648 This territory extended from latitude 33° to 41° north, and was known and designated as the "Missouri Territory." Its western limit was the Indian and Mexican Territories in the remote West, five hundred miles beyond the Mississippi. St. Louis was made the seat of the territorial government, and headquarters of the "Governor and Superintendent of Indian Affairs."
[A.D. 1813.] The first governor was General William Clarke; the first territorial assembly consisted of a "Legislative Council," composed of nine members, appointed by the president, and a House of Representatives, elected by the people in the ratio of one to every five hundred free white males. The first delegate to Congress was Edward Hempstead. Such was the first step in the establishing of a representative government within the present State of Missouri.
Under the new state of things, the number of people on the Upper Mississippi began to augment rapidly, by the advance of the Anglo-American emigrants from the Western States and territories. The language, manners, customs, laws, and usages of the American people began to extend over the French settlements, and to change the aspect of the country. Yet, as late as the year 1814, St. Louis had not lost either its French population, aspect, or usages. Up to the year 1815,
St. Louis was a French town, extending along the river in long, narrow, and sometimes filthy streets, lined with frail wooden tenements, contrasting strongly with the few large stone houses, plastered and white-washed, near the river, and the romantic circular stone forts in the rear, also white-washed with lime.
[A.D. 1815.] Emigration to Louisiana Territory. The whole northwestern frontier was involved in open war with Great Britain and her Indian allies, and the French population, still wedded to their ancient laws, manners, and customs, seemed to consider themselves as a neutral party, equally exposed to two enemies, and scarcely able to choose between them a protector. 649 But success finally crowned the arms of the United States with victory, and the Indians of the Northwestern Territory, deprived of their civilized allies, suspended hostilities along the frontier.
About the close of the year 1815 a new impulse was given to emigration west of the Mississippi. The war had terminated; the northwestern tribes of Indians had been humbled and pacified, and were now on terms of friendly intercourse with the American people. The American settlements began to extend rapidly, and literally to overrun those of the French in their course. The French, becoming gradually weaned from their partiality for a wilderness life, for Indian associates, and Indian trade, began to entertain a common feeling, as American citizens, with their new neighbors who had settled among them.
[A.D. 1816.] A valuable class of emigrants from Kentucky and Tennessee began to arrive in great numbers, who, with others from the north side of the Ohio River, greatly increased the population in all the organized portion of the territory as far as the Indian title had been extinguished by the Osage purchase in 1808. 650
Adventurous pioneers, before the close of 1816, had advanced into many portions of the present State of Missouri, between eighty and ninety miles west of the Mississippi River, and at many points on the Missouri, two hundred miles above its mouth. Settlements and organized counties had also spread over a considerable portion of the northern half of the present State of Arkansas, west of the St. Francis, and upon the waters of White River. Emigration continued to augment the population in all the new settlements, and to send new colonies toward the frontiers, until the close of the year 1817, when the territorial jurisdiction had been extended over twenty large counties, comprising an aggregate population of sixty thousand souls, including a large number of slaves.
This number of inhabitants being sufficient to entitle the territory to an independent state government, the General Assembly made application to Congress for authority to form a state Constitution, preparatory to admission into the Federal Union. 651 During the next two years, the number of people gradually increased by the arrival of settlers, who extended themselves into all the new counties as far as the Indian boundary.
French Population in Missouri. The American people, with American enterprise, laws, and institutions, were now prevalent; the old French inhabitants yielded their influence, and became Americanized. Abandoning their former habits of an indolent village life, devoted to ease and amusement, they dispersed upon the fine alluvial lands, entered upon the active labors of agriculture and trade, and zealously engaged in the Anglo-American passion for the accumulation of wealth by an energetic and persevering course of industry. Thus the Creole French assumed new life and enterprise, and, gradually
coalescing with the Anglo-Americans, became incorporated into one homogeneous people, reciprocally modified in character and feeling.
The Catholic religion, the exclusive creed of French Louisiana, made its impress upon a large portion of the early emigrants from the Western States, and is partly transmitted to their common offspring. Hence the prevalence of Catholic influence, Catholic piety, and Catholic institutions in the vicinity of St. Louis, and other districts first occupied by the French colonists. In those settlements which are purely American, the Protestant forms, tenets, and usages are maintained.
The town of St. Louis, from its admirable situation, and its great commercial advantages for domestic and foreign trade by the Mississippi, as well as for the Santa Fe trade, and the fur trade with the western tribes, had already increased its inhabitants to nearly five thousand souls. The quick perception of western enterprise had selected it as the future emporium of the Upper Mississippi, and one hundred buildings were erected during the year 1818. 652
In 1804, upon its first occupancy by the United States, St. Louis did not contain more than one thousand inhabitants. This number had increased gradually to two thousand in 1816; in the next four years the increase was unusually rapid, and the census of 1820 gave the entire population at four thousand six hundred inhabitants.
The "Missouri Question." The application of the Missouri Territory for authority to assume a regular state government raised one of the most alarming political storms ever witnessed in the United States. The "Missouri Question," as it was called, continued to agitate the Union from one extreme to the other, until many experienced statesmen were apprehensive that even a dissolution of the Union might result from the un-tempered zeal of the enemies of slavery.
Louisiana, from its earliest colonization, had not only tolerated and sustained the institution of negro slavery, but its very existence as a province, as well as its agricultural prosperity and commercial importance for nearly a century, had been inseparably connected with the institution. By the laws and usages of Louisiana, under the dominion both of France and Spain,
African negroes had been recognized as property no less than real estate. The treaty of cession secured for the inhabitants of Louisiana protection from the United States, in the full enjoyment of their liberty, property, and religion, as inalienable rights. Hence Congress possessed no just right to disturb the relation existing between master and slave.
Yet, regardless of the sacred obligation contained in a solemn treaty stipulation, the enemies of slavery, chiefly in the non-slaveholding states, opposed the legal extension of servitude beyond the limits of the original slaveholding states of the Union, and required the Federal government to restrict its extension west of the Mississippi, as had been done north of the Ohio. They zealously and perseveringly urged that the new states, by their constitutions, should exclude slavery. Hence they required the people of Missouri to renounce it, or forfeit their right to admission into the Federal Union as an independent state.
The friends of the South resisted the usurpation as a gross violation of vested rights guarantied to the people of Louisiana by the treaty of cession, and over which Congress had no rightful jurisdiction. The capital of the United States was the arena where the contending parties met in fierce debate. The halls of Congress continued to be agitated for two years, while the angry conflict of opposing feelings and interests held the fate of Missouri in suspense, and for a time withheld from her the right of state government.
At length law and justice prevailed over prejudice and error, and the rights of Missouri were recognized, and the Missouri Question was put to rest. It was mutually agreed that the institution of slavery on the west side of the Mississippi should be recognized in the present State of Missouri, and no further north or west, but only south of latitude 36° 30'.
[A.D. 1819.] Arkansas Territory laid off. Preparatory to the assumption of state government, the limits of the Missouri Territory were restricted on the south by the parallel of 36° 30' north. The restriction was made by an act of Congress, approved March 3d, 1819, entitled "An act establishing a separate territorial government in the southern portion of the Missouri Territory." The portion thus separated was subsequently organized into the second grade of territorial government, and Colonel James Miller, a meritorious and distinguished
officer of the Northwestern army, was appointed first governor. This territory was known and designated as the "Arkansas Territory," and, at the period of its first organization, contained an aggregate of nearly fourteen thousand inhabitants. 653 Its limits comprised all the territory on the west side of the Mississippi between the parallels 33° and 36° 30', or between the northern limit of Louisiana and the southern boundary of the State of Missouri. On the west it extended indefinitely to the Mexican territories at least five hundred and fifty miles. The Post of Arkansas was made the seat of the new government.
[A.D. 1820.] The population of this extensive territory for several years was comprised chiefly in the settlements upon the tributaries of White River and the St. Francis; upon the Mississippi, between New Madrid and Point Chicot; and upon both sides of the Arkansas River, within one hundred miles of its mouth, but especially in the vicinity of the "Post of Arkansas."
Missouri Constitution authorized. It was not until the 6th of March, 1820, that the act of Congress was passed which authorized the people of the Missouri Territory to form a state Constitution, preparatory to their admission into the Union as an independent state, with the boundaries as they exist at this time. The convention was to consist of forty delegates, duly elected from fifteen counties. 654
The convention authorized by this act met at St. Louis on the 12th day of June, 1820, and organized by the election of David Barton as president, and William G. Pettus as secretary. 655
After a session of five weeks, the Constitution of the "State of Missouri" was finally adopted, and signed on the 19th day of July. Under its provisions an election was held, which resulted in the selection of Alexander M'Nair as the first governor; a "General Assembly" was chosen at the same time, which soon afterward convened for the organization of the new state government.
The population of the new state, by the census of 1820, was found to comprise 66,586 souls, including 10,222 slaves.
Proviso in Admission of Missouri. The Constitution of Missouri had been duly submitted to Congress for its approbation, and for admission into the Federal Union as an independent state. After some opposition and delay, an act of Congress finally passed on the 2d of March, 1821, providing for the admission of the "State of Missouri" into the Union upon an equal footing with the original states. Yet the undying hostility of the anti-slavery spirit in the non-slave holding states demanded a burnt-offering to the idol of their adoration, and an offensive condition was made the proviso for admission. This proviso required the Legislature of the new state to declare by a solemn act of legislation, "That the Constitution should never be construed to authorize the passage of any law (and that no law shall be passed in conformity thereto) by which any citizen of either of the states in this Union shall be excluded from the enjoyment of any of the privileges and immunities to which such citizen is entitled under the Constitution of the United States." 656
The Legislature of Missouri, indignant at the implied imputation, which had been permitted as an offering to appease sectional feeling, assented to the condition, 657but asserted with boldness
the true construction of the Federal Constitution, which was repugnant to the enfranchisement of negro slaves or their remote descendants.
The president's proclamation of August 10th, 1821, announced the compliance of Missouri, and the full consummation of her admission into the Union as an equal and independent state.
Such was the fiery ordeal through which the State of Missouri passed in her advance to the rank of an independent state in the American Union, and the second within the original limits of the ceded province of Louisiana.
[A.D. 1830.] Missouri after her Admission. From this time the population of Missouri continued to increase by the constant tide of emigration from Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina, as well as from other Western States north of the Ohio. The interior of the state became occupied by an active and industrious population; new counties were organized, and the jurisdiction of the state was extended to her western limit. In the lapse of ten years from the adoption of the state government, the number of people had increased to 140,455 souls, distributed over thirty-two large counties, including nearly 26,000 slaves and persons of color, as indicated by the census of 1830. 658
[A.D. 1833.] Trade and commerce had sprung up in all the river towns; numerous flourishing villages had grown up throughout the interior; agriculture, manufactures, and arts had extended to the extreme frontier settlements; the rich staple of hemp, manufactured into bagging and rope, but chiefly the raw material for export to Kentucky, began to attract the attention of the farmers, as a product admirably adapted to the virgin lands of Missouri, especially on the north side of the
Missouri River. Wheat became another valuable staple, and large quantities, manufactured into flour, began to crowd the market of New Orleans.
The production of these agricultural staples had not ceased to extend ten years afterward, when they were deemed superior to the same articles from Kentucky and the Ohio region.
Emigration from New England supplied Missouri with hundreds of enterprising men by way of the lakes and the Illinois River, anxious to embark in trade and manufactures in the West. Emigrants from Kentucky were also continually advancing to Missouri in search of cheap lands, and a profitable employment of their slaves. Before the close of the year 1833 the state had also received the accession of nearly thirty thousand frugal and industrious Germans, distributed in the towns and upon productive farms.
Such were the sources of increased population, when the census of 1833 indicated the aggregate number at 176,286 persons, including over 32,000 slaves.
The enterprise of the state was only beginning to develop the inexhaustible wealth of the country in the mineral regions upon the tributaries of the Maramec and Gasconade, as well as upon the sources of White River. The never failing supplies of lead, zinc, copper, iron, manganese, antimony, and other useful minerals, gave ample presage of the extension of arts and manufactures far beyond what had yet been seen in Missouri. It was also ascertained that coal abounded in the hills near the Missouri River, especially on the north side.
Such was the condition of Missouri until the year 1836, when the inhabitants had increased to 244,208 persons, distributed over fifty-eight organized counties. 659
Emigration to Arkansas Territory. Meantime, population advanced slowly into the Territory of Arkansas. For a number of years subsequently to the organization of the second grade of territorial government, Arkansas was considered to be on the extreme confines of civilization in the southwest; and its inhabitants were supposed to consist chiefly of the hardy, fearless, and restless spirits of Kentucky and Tennessee, who had retired from the wholesome restraints of law and good morals. So feeble was the attraction, in this remote region, for the active, industrious, and well-disposed portion of the western
pioneers, that the Arkansas Territory, in 1830, ten years after its organization, had acquired an aggregate of only 30,388 souls, including 4576 slaves. The jurisdiction of the territorial government had been extended over twenty-three large counties, of which sixteen had been laid off and organized since 1820, in that portion of the country to which the Indian title had been extinguished. The western half of the territory had been erected, in 1824, into a separate district, to be reserved for the future residence of the Indian tribes, and to be known as the Indian territory. 660
From this time the tide of emigration began to set more actively into Arkansas, as well as into other portions of the southwest. Population began to advance up the Arkansas River in the vicinity of Little Rock, and as far as the western boundary of the present State of Arkansas; also upon the numerous tributaries of White River, south of the State of Missouri; upon the Little Red River, the Big Black, the St. Francis and its upland tributaries. Settlements began to extend, also, south of the Arkansas River, upon the Bayou Barthelemy, the Saline of the Washita, the deep mountain defiles of the main Washita and its tributary, the Little Missouri. In the year 1835, they had extended into the southwestern portion of the territory, upon the fertile lands north and south of Red River, upon its small tributaries, where the genial climate invited the farmer to the cultivation of grain and the more valuable staple of cotton.
[A.D. 1835.] Emigration West of the Mississippi. It was in the year 1834 that the American people became enthusiastic in their search for western lands; and the advance of their explorations was not checked by the Mississippi River, for hundreds extended their researches beyond the Rocky Mountains. While the State of Tennessee was pouring her redundant population into the northern half of Mississippi, she did not withhold her numerous emigrants from the Arkansas Territory. Wealthy planters and capitalists from Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, and even from Georgia, had their faces turned to the fertile and salubrious regions upon Red River, in the southwest corner of the Arkansas Territory. Surveys and explorations were progressing rapidly in this region, and numbers were advancing to the occupancy of choice locations for their future homes. Nor was it long before the Federal
government caused the surveyed lands free from Indian claim to be exposed to public sale, when not reserved to the actual occupants.
Nor was the western portion of the Arkansas Territory the limit of American progress in that quarter. Hundreds of adventurous families from the Western and Southern States, attracted by the liberal offer of lands in Texas, advanced to swell the colonies established by American proprietors within grants profusely made by the Republic of Mexico. Settlers for these remote colonies advanced from the western frontier of the United States, descended the Mississippi to the mouth of Red River, and thence, ascending that stream to Shreevesport, proceeded by a direct route into the eastern portion of Texas, and sought their favorite colony.
Emigrants from Kentucky and Tennessee, and from North Alabama, crowded into the alluvions of the Mississippi, on the eastern margin of the Arkansas Territory, as well as into the fine rolling uplands and alluvions of Red River, where they found the same climate and a productive soil, adapted to the agriculture common in Tennessee and Kentucky, and situated upon the navigable waters of one of the noblest rivers in the West. Such was the tide of emigration on the lower portions of the Arkansas and Red Rivers during the year 1836 and subsequently.
State of Arkansas. Under these favorable circumstances, the territory increased rapidly for several years, and the census of 1835 gave the whole number of inhabitants at 58,134 souls, including 9630 slaves. Thus the Arkansas Territory in the last five years had doubled its population. The increase in the number of slaves was in the same proportion with the increase of the whites, and afforded a good index to the advance of agricultural prosperity.
[A.D. 1836.] The population, as indicated by the census of 1835, entitled the people to all the rights and privileges of an independent state government, agreeably to the principles established by the ordinance of 1787. Since the year 1830, seven large counties had been added to the jurisdiction of the territory, and the people, through the General Assembly, made application to Congress for authority to establish a regular form of state government. The assent of Congress was not withheld, and a Convention was authorized to meet at Little
Rock on the first day of January, 1836, for the purpose of forming and adopting a state Constitution. The same was approved by Congress, and on the 13th of June following the "State of Arkansas" was admitted into the Federal Union as an independent state, and was, in point of time and order, the twenty-fifth in the confederacy. 661
The elections for governor and the state Legislature took place early in August following, and the state government was organized the same year. The first governor of the state was James S. Conway, with Robert A. Watkins secretary of state.
Like the Missouri Territory, Arkansas had been a slave-holding country from the earliest French colonies. Of course, the institution of negro slavery, with proper checks and limits, was sustained by the new Constitution.
The progress of Democratic principles in the West was evinced in the bold and liberal features of the new Constitution. By its provisions every white male citizen of the United States who has been six months resident in the state is a qualified elector, and all votes are given viva voce. The number of senators, which can not be less than seventeen, is limited to thirty-three; and the number of representatives, which shall not be less than fifty-four, is restricted to one hundred. The judges of the Circuit Courts hold their term of office for four years, and those of the Superior Court for a term of eight years. Neither lotteries nor the sale of lottery tickets are allowed. Only one state bank, with branches, and one banking institution for the promotion of agriculture in the state, are ever to be established by the Legislature; and the Legislature have no power to emancipate slaves without the consent of the owners. Slaves are entitled to an impartial trial by jury for capital offenses, with counsel for their defense, and, upon conviction, shall suffer the same punishment prescribed for white persons. Citizens shall not be imprisoned for debt without strong presumption of fraud. 662
After the admission of the State of Arkansas into the Federal Union, her population and wealth continued to increase; settlements gradually extended over the unoccupied districts, and rapidly occupied the fertile regions upon all the tributaries
of the White River and the St. Francis, north of the Arkansas River, as well as those upon the tributaries of the Washita and Red River, south of that river. New counties had been laid off annually to embrace the advancing settlements; and the census of 1840 gave the state an entire population of 97,574 persons, including 19,935 slaves, comprised within the limits of forty organized counties. 663
[A.D. 1838.] Meantime, the State of Missouri was increasing in numbers and wealth: settlements had been extended over her waste territory; and civil government was organized in sixty-two counties, comprising in 1840 an aggregate population of 383,702 persons, including 58,240 slaves. The state was already an important agricultural and commercial community, abounding with infant manufactures in all the older settlements, and rural villages of independent and happy people, extending up the Missouri for nearly three hundred miles to her western limit, as well as upon the sources of the St. Francis, and the great branches of White River, the Maramec, Gasconade, and Osage Rivers, and also upon the waters of Salt River, Chariton, and Grand River.
St. Louis had become the great emporium of the Upper Mississippi in trade, arts, and manufactures; second only to New Orleans in point of mercantile importance as well as population, it controlled the commerce of the Upper Mississippi, as New Orleans did that of the Lower. Besides its advantages as a commercial port, and the depot of the American Fur Company, it carried on a valuable trade with Santa Fé and the Mexican States, by means of caravans across the great American Desert by way of Independence, on the Missouri River.
The introduction of steam-power in the navigation of the Mississippi and its tributaries at an early period had greatly increased the importance of St. Louis, which, in a commercial point of view, had advanced in a direct ratio to the successful extension of steam-navigation upon the western waters. About the year 1840, the manufactories for the supply of materials used in the construction of steam-boats and steam machinery
began to rival those of Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Louisville; and before the year 1844 the most splendid specimens of western steam-engines and western boat-building issued from the port of St. Louis.
In the year 1831, sixty different steam-boats, with an aggregate tonnage of 7769 tons, were engaged in the commerce of St. Louis; and the whole number of steam-boat arrivals for the same year was five hundred and thirty-two. In 1835 the number of steam-boats engaged in this trade was one hundred and twenty-one, with an aggregate tonnage of 15,470 tons; and the whole number of arrivals was eight hundred and three. 664 The commercial importance of the city continued to advance steadily as late as 1846, having become the great entrepôt for all the new settlements which were extending over the whole region of the Upper Mississippi.
The population augmented in proportion to its importance as a commercial dépôt and entrepôt for the new states of the West. In the year 1830, the aggregate number in the city was 6252 persons of all kinds; in 1831 it began to increase in a remarkable manner, with the new impulse given to western emigration and steam-boat navigation; and from this time the growth of the city was regularly progressive. In the year 1843, the number of inhabitants had increased to more than twenty-eight thousand; and three years afterward, in 1846, the entire population was forty thousand. 665During the year 1845, nearly one thousand buildings of all kinds had been erected within the limits of the city.
Subsequent to the year 1840, the tide of emigration began to set again into Missouri, not only from the Eastern and Western States, but from Europe. Thousands of German immigrants, seeking homes in the region of the Upper Mississippi, selected Missouri as the place of their residence, and crowded into the fertile and healthy regions near its northern and western limits.
Emigration to Louisiana and Iowa Territory. The tide of western emigration was not restricted by the limits of Missouri and Arkansas. After the year 1836, the advance of population began to reach both extremes of the former province of Louisiana, heretofore occupied by a few sparse and remote settlements. All that portion of the State of Louisiana lying
southwest of the Teche, and north of Red River, had been thinly settled and imperfectly explored as late as the year 1834, when the spirit of enterprise and land speculation first began to develop the extent of her agricultural resources. The alluvial regions southwest of the Lafourche and the Teche, and east and west of the Atchafalaya, and in the deltas of Red River and the Washita, became the theatre of explorations and new habitations. The lapse of five years found these regions occupied by a succession of dense settlements, which now constitute the most valuable cotton plantations in Northern Louisiana, opened chiefly by enterprising planters from Mississippi and Alabama, as well as by many from Georgia and South Carolina.
The beautiful and fertile upland prairies and unrivalled plains west of the Upper Mississippi, and north of the Des Moines River, had remained in the occupancy of the native tribes, which had gradually retired west of the great lakes, until they commenced their aggressions against the people of Illinois, under the fierce and vindictive Black Hawk, in 1829. After a disastrous war of nearly three years on the northern frontier of the State of Illinois, Black Hawk, with his confederates, utterly routed, and driven from the Wisconsin Territory, retired, with their destitute and crest-fallen followers, across the Mississippi River, and sought safety and peace in the remote west, beyond the northern boundary of Missouri.
Here, upon the waters of the Iowa River, the vanquished warriors and their indomitable chief made overtures for a cessation of hostilities and negotiations for peace. Before the close of September, 1832, a treaty of peace and amity was concluded between the discomfited savages and the Federal government, providing for the sale and relinquishment, on the part of the Indians, of nearly all the lands owned or claimed by them within fifty miles from the west bank of the Mississippi, and extending from the Des Moines River on the south to the Yellow River on the north, and designated by a certain specified boundary on the west. This cession contained not less than one third of the present State of Iowa, and was subsequently known as the "Black Hawk Purchase." The Indians, by this treaty, stipulated to retire from the country thus relinquished on or before the first day of June, 1833.
No sooner had the stipulated period expired, than the white
population began to advance into the ceded territory, which was speedily overrun by pioneers and exploring parties, in search of choice lands, desirable sites for towns, and water-power, for future locations.
District of Iowa. The first white settlement in the Black Hawk Purchase was made near the close of the year 1832, at Fort Madison, by a colony introduced by Zachariah Hawkins, Benjamin Jennings, and others.
In the summer of 1835 the town-plat of "Fort Madison" was laid off by General John H. Knapp and Colonel Nathaniel Knapp, the first lots in which were exposed to sale early in the year 1836. 666 From that time the place continued to augment its population, and in less than two years the beautiful location was covered by a flourishing town, containing nearly six hundred inhabitants, with a large proportion of enterprising merchants, mechanics, and manufacturers.
The second settlement was made in 1833, at Burlington, seventy-nine miles below Rock Island. This settlement was conducted by Morton M. M'Carver and Simpson S. White, who located their families at this point when it was still in the occupancy of the Indians. Here they erected their cabins in the midst of the wilderness, braving all the dangers, privations, and sufferings incident to every new settlement remote from the older states. The same autumn the plat of a town was laid off by A. Doolittle and Simpson S. White, upon the beautiful area of some sloping eminences and gentle declivities, comprised within a natural amphitheatre formed by the surrounding hills, which were crowned with luxuriant forests, and presented the most picturesque scenery. The same autumn witnessed the opening of the first dry-goods stores, by Dr. W. R. Ross and Major Jeremiah Smith, each
well supplied with western merchandise. Such was the origin of the town of "Burlington," which in less than four years became the seat of government for the Territory of Wisconsin, and in three years more contained a population of fourteen hundred persons. 667
About the same time the city of Dubuque, four hundred and twenty-five miles above St. Louis, received its first Anglo-American population; and before seven years had elapsed it had become a rich commercial town, with an enterprising population of fourteen hundred persons. The new emigrants designated this frontier town by the name of "Dubuque," in honor of Julien Dubuque, the early proprietor of the "mines of Spain" upon the Upper Mississippi. An enterprising Canadian, he had visited this region as early as 1786; and, having fully explored its mineral wealth, he returned two years afterward, and at a formal council of the Indians in 1788, obtained from them a grant comprising no less than one hundred and forty thousand acres of land on the west bank of the Mississippi River. This grant was subsequently, in 1796, confirmed by the Baron Carondelet, and the king's title was issued for eighteen square leagues of land, having three leagues front on the Mississippi, by six leagues in length. 668
Before the close of the year 1833, settlements of less note were commenced at many other points near the western shore of the Mississippi, 669 within two hundred miles of the northern limit of the State of Missouri.
It was in the autumn of 1834 that Aaron Street, a member of the "Society of Friends," and son of the Aaron Street who emigrated from Salem, in New Jersey, founded the first Salem in Ohio, and subsequently the first Salem in Indiana, on a tour of exploration to the Iowa country, in search of "a new home," selected the "beautiful prairie eminence" south of Skunk River as the site of another Salem in the "Far West." In his rambles thirty miles west of Burlington, over the uninhabited regions, in all their native loveliness, he was impressed with the
great advantages presented by the "beautiful and fertile prairie country, which abounded in groves of tall forest trees, and was watered by crystal streams flowing among the variegated drapery of the blooming prairies." Transported with the prospect, the venerable patriarch exclaimed, "Now have mine eyes beheld a country teeming with every good thing, and hither will I come, with my children and my children's children, and my flocks and herds ; and our dwelling-place shall be called ‘Salem,’ after the peaceful city of our fathers." 670
Next year witnessed the commencement of the town of Salem, on the frontier region of the Black Hawk Purchase, the first Quaker settlement in Iowa. Five years afterward this colony in the vicinity of Salem numbered nearly one thousand souls, comprising many patriarchs bleached by the snows of seventy winters, with their descendants to the third and fourth generations.
Such was the first advance of the Anglo-American population west of the Upper Mississippi, within the "District of Iowa," which, before the close of the year 1834, contained nearly five thousand white inhabitants.
Meantime, for the convenience of temporary government, the settlements west of the Mississippi, extending more than one hundred miles north of the Des Moines River, had been by Congress erected into the "District of Iowa," and attached to the District of Wisconsin, subject to the jurisdiction of the Michigan Territory.
The District of Iowa remained, with the District of Wisconsin, attached to the jurisdiction of Michigan Territory until the latter had assumed an independent state government in 1836, when the District of Wisconsin was erected into a separate government, known as the Wisconsin Territory, exercising jurisdiction over the District of Iowa, then comprised in two large counties, designated as the counties of Des Moines and Dubuque. 671 The aggregate population of these counties in 1836 was 10,531 persons. It was not long before the District of Iowa became noted throughout the West for its extraordinary beauty and fertility, and the great advantages which it afforded to agricultural enterprise.
Already the pioneer emigrants had overrun the first Black Hawk Purchase, and were advancing upon the Indian country west of the boundary line. Such was their restless impatience to enter upon the territory still in possession of the savages, that the Federal government was constrained to take measures for extending the limits established by the treaty of 1833. For this object, a new treaty was concluded with the Sauks and Foxes on the 21st of October, 1837, in which they consented to the extension of the western boundary, in latitude 45° 40', so as to include the principal sources of the Iowa River, not less than twenty miles west of the present "city of Iowa." The Indians began to retire still further west, and the country upon the principal sources of the Iowa was thrown open to the enterprise of the whites.
Thus the warlike Sauks and Foxes, from the Wisconsin and Rock River regions, east of the Upper Mississippi, who had been the most formidable enemies to the early French colonies of Canada, and to the American settlements of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois, for more than a century past, were at last compelled to retire still further before the steady advance of the American pioneer, and to seek a last asylum among the Dahcotas west of the Mississippi.
Settlements continued to extend, emigration augmented the population, and land-offices were established at Dubuque and Burlington for the sale of such lands as were surveyed. These, by the surveyors as well as the explorers, were reported as "a beautiful, fertile, healthy, undulating region, interspersed with groves and prairies, abounding in springs of pure water, with numerous streams flowing through a soil abounding with limestone of divers varieties, and other kind of rock, and some coal."
Iowa Territory. Meantime, the District of Iowa, before the close of the year 1838, had been subdivided into sixteen counties, with an aggregate population of 22,860 souls, distributed sparsely over the whole territory to which the Indian title had been extinguished. The same year, on the 4th of July, agreeably to the provisions of an act of Congress, approved June 12th, 1838, the District of Iowa was erected into an independent territorial government, known as the "Territory of Iowa." The first "Territorial Governor and Superintendent of Indian Affairs" was Robert Lucas, former Governor of Ohio, with
James Clark secretary of the territory. Charles Mason was chief justice of the Superior Court, and judge of the first judicial district; Joseph Williams was judge in the second district, and Thomas S. Wilson in the third. The first delegate elected by the people to represent them in Congress was Augustus C. Dodge. 672
The Iowa Territory, as first organized, comprised "all that region of country north of Missouri which lies west of the Mississippi River, and of a line drawn due north from the source of the Mississippi to the northern limit of the United States."
[A.D. 1839.] The first General Assembly of the Iowa Territory made provision for the permanent seat of government. On the first of May, 1839, the beautiful spot which is now occupied by the "city of Iowa" was within the Indian hunting-grounds, from which the tribes had not then retired, and within twenty miles of the new Indian boundary, and seventy-five miles west of the Mississippi River. On the fourth it was selected by the commissioners as the site of the future state capital. On the first of July the survey of the "city" was commenced upon a scale of magnificence rarely equalled. The streets and avenues were wide, and spacious lots and squares were designated for the public use, and the "city of Iowa" commenced. Twelve months afterward it contained a population of seven hundred persons. 673
During the year 1839, emigration from New England, and from New York by way of the lake route from Buffalo to the ports on the western shore of Lake Michigan, and from Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, began to set strongly into the Iowa Territory, and numerous colonies advanced to settle the beautiful and fertile lands on both sides of the Des Moines River and its numerous tributaries, as well as those upon the small tributaries of the Mississippi for two hundred miles above.
Population increased in a remarkable manner; aided by the unbounded facilities of steam navigation, both on the great lakes and upon the large tributaries of the Mississippi, the emigration to the Iowa and Wisconsin Territories was unprecedented in the history of western colonization. The census of 1840 exhibited the entire population of Iowa Territory at 43,017 persons, and that of the Wisconsin Territory at 30,945 persons. 674
[A.D. 1840.] Among the emigrants were thousands from foreign countries, but chiefly from the states of Germany. The frugal and industrious people from these states arrived in great numbers at the ports of New York and New Orleans, whence they secured a speedy conveyance to the West; from the former port by way of the Hudson River, and by railroads and canals to Buffalo, and thence in steam-boats by way of the lakes to the ports of Chicago, Racine, and Milwaukie for Wisconsin; and from New Orleans by the Mississippi in steam-boats the conveyance was speedy and direct to any point of Iowa or Wisconsin.
[A.D. 1843.] Such were the routes by which population swarmed to these remote territories; and such had been the increase of emigration previous to 1843, that the Legislature of Iowa made formal application for authority to adopt a state Constitution. At the following session of Congress, an act was passed to "enable the people of the Iowa Territory to form a state government." A convention assembled in September, and on the 7th of October, 1844, adopted a Constitution for the proposed "State of Iowa;" it being the fourth state organized within the limits of the province of Louisiana.
[A.D. 1844.] The population of Iowa, in the mean time, had increased to 81,921 persons; yet the people were subjected to disappointment in the contemplated change of government. The Constitution adopted by the convention evinced the progress of Republican feeling, and the strong Democratic tendency so prominent in all the new states. The Constitution for Iowa extended the right of suffrage to every free white male citizen of the United States who had resided six months in the state, and one month in the county, previous to his application for the right of voting. The judiciary were all to be elected by the people for a term of four years, and all other officers, both civil and military, were to be elected by the people at stated periods. Chartered monopolies were not tolerated, and no act of incorporation was permitted to remain in force more than twenty years, unless it were designed for public improvements or literary purposes; and the personal as well as the real estate of the members of all corporations was liable for the debts of the same. The Legislature was prohibited from creating any debt in the name of the state exceeding one hundred thousand dollars, unless it were for defense in case of war, invasion, or
insurrection; and in such case, the bill creating the debt should, at the same time, provide the ways and means for its redemption. Such were some of the prominent features of the first Constitution adopted for the State of Iowa. Yet the state was not to be finally organized under this Constitution, and the people of Iowa remained under the territorial form of government until the close of the year 1846. 675
[A.D. 1845.] The Constitution of Iowa having been approved by Congress, an act was passed, March 3d, 1845, for the admission of the "State of Iowa" into the Federal Union simultaneously with the "State of Florida," upon the condition that the people of Iowa, at a subsequent general election, assent to the restricted limits imposed by Congress, in order to conform with the general area of other Western States; but the people of Iowa refused to ratify the restricted limits prescribed for the new state, a majority of nearly two thousand in the popular vote having rejected the terms of admission. Hence Iowa remained under the territorial government until the beginning of 1846, when the people, through their Legislature, acquiesced in the prescribed limits, and Congress authorized the formation of another Constitution preparatory to the admission of Iowa into the Union. 676
It had been the desire of the Northern States to restrain the extension of the slave states without a corresponding extension of the free states. Hence, the Territory of Florida had been excluded from admission into the Union for several years, to restrict the southern representation in Congress, until the balance of power could be preserved by the simultaneous admission of a free state. Yet destiny decided for the South. Florida assented to the terms of admission, and took her station
as an independent state, while Iowa, rejecting the terms, remained a territorial dependence.
Nor was this the only accession to the weight of southern influence. The same year witnessed the admission of the great "State of Texas" into the Union as an independent and equal member.
Florida and Texas were slaveholding states in virtue of their original rights as French and Spanish provinces, which were secured to their inhabitants by subsequent treaties made by the United States with those powers in the purchase of Louisiana and the Floridas. But in Iowa the extension of slavery was prohibited in virtue of the Missouri compromise in 1820, which restricted slavery to that portion of the province of Louisiana lying and situated south of the parallel of 36° 30', excepting from these limits only the State of Missouri. Moreover, the State of Iowa was in a latitude where slave labor was unprofitable, and but few inducements presented for its introduction. Hence Iowa, in her Constitution, was bound to exclude negro slavery from the limits of her jurisdiction; and thus it was that the greater portion of emigrants to Iowa and Wisconsin 677 came from the free states of New England, New York, and those north of the Ohio River, as well as a large proportion of foreign immigrants from Germany, France, and Great Britain. These together form one of the most economical, frugal, and industrious communities in the West.
After the organization of Iowa Territory, and especially after the year 1840, the tide of emigration began to set strongly into the Valley of the Columbia River, on the extreme western confines of the former province of Louisiana. The indefatigable explorations of Lieutenant J. C. Fremont, in the Nebrasca Territory, upon the sources of the Platte and those of the south fork of the Columbia or Lewis River, opened the way for emigrants through the "South Pass" to the Pacific Ocean. As early as the year 1840, several colonies, lured by the glowing descriptions given by the missionaries upon the Wallamette, had taken up the line of march, or pilgrimage, to the remote regions of Oregon and California. Two years afterward, a good wagon-road had been marked out to the South Pass, by which emigrants imperceptibly passed beyond the great ranges
of the Rocky or Oregon Mountains. During the year 1844, emigration had so far augmented the settlements upon the south fork of the Columbia, that the people proceeded in the spring of 1845 to organize for themselves a provisional government, and claimed the protection of the United States as a portion of their territorial jurisdiction. 678 The summer of 1846 witnessed the final settlement of the long-contested Oregon question, by a formal treaty between Great Britain and the United States, whereby the United States acquired the undisputed sovereignty to the Oregon Territory as far north as the 49th degree of latitude. This removed all fears of foreign jurisdiction from the settlers, and opened the way for the United States to extend an unequivocal authority over the country, and to encourage its growth by the liberal grant of lands to the families of occupants.
[A.D. 1821.] It has been shown in another place, that by the treaty of 1819 with Spain for the cession of the Floridas, the United States relinquished all claim to the western portion of Louisiana lying south of Red River and west of the Sabine. 679 After the final ratification of that treaty by both governments, and the cession and delivery of the Floridas to the United States, the Spaniards took formal possession of the country west of the Sabine, and erected it into the "Province of Texas," under the authority and jurisdiction of the Viceroy of Mexico. From that time the Sabine River was the western boundary of the United States, near the Gulf of Mexico.
The province of Texas at this time was occupied by the native tribes of savages, interrupted only by a few Spanish settlements, located chiefly at the remote points of San Augustine, thirty-five miles west of the Sabine; at Nacogdoches, forty miles west of San Augustine; besides other settlements upon the Trinity, Brazos, Colorado, Guadaloupe, and as far westward
as San Antonio de Bexar. The country between these remote settlements was almost uninhabited, being occupied solely by a few roving savages, and some French and Spanish Creoles, or Anglo-Americans, who had taken up their solitary residence among the Indians. The whole population, including some settlements in the vicinity of the seacoast, scarcely exceeded five thousand souls, of whom the greater portion were the remains of old colonies formed during the Spanish dominion over the province of Louisiana.
Each principal settlement, from San Antonio de Bexar to Nacogdoches, was placed under the government of a military commandant, who exercised civil and military authority within the limits of his presidio. At each presidio was established a "mission," which generally preceded the formation of settlements, and was, in fact, the nucleus around which population concentrated in the wilderness.
The old "missions," or ancient edifices, whose remains are yet seen in Western Texas, were of massive stone, and resembled the feudal castles of Europe. Several of them were erected by the Spaniards from Mexico early in the eighteenth century; some of them are coeval with the oldest cities in the United States. They were nearly all built upon the same general plan, consisting of a church in a fort. Of these, the most ancient are those of San Antonio de Bexar and Goliad. The former has become memorable in the recent history of Texas, on account of the bloody tragedy of the Alamo, and the fall of Travis and his heroic band.
Such was the province of Texas under the Spanish monarchy until the year 1821, when Mexico became an independent nation. Up to this period Texas was almost an unknown wilderness, and foreigners of all nations were prohibited, under the penalty of indefinite imprisonment at the caprice of the military commandant, from emigrating to the province. The few Spanish subjects who had sufficient enterprise to encounter the toils and privations incident to a new country, were constrained, by their habitual indolence and timidity, to congregate in small, compact settlements around the garrisoned posts or fortified missions. Under such circumstances commenced the city of San Antonio de Bexar; also the town of Goliad, or La Bahia, Refugio, Espiritu Santo, and Nacogdoches. Around each of these presidios small portions of land were brought into cultivation
for the support of the little colony, 680 while all beyond was but one remove from savage life. The principal articles cultivated by these colonies were corn, sugar-cane, beans, and other culinary vegetables, barely sufficient for home consumption.
The remainder of the country was left in its primitive condition, and such it remained, without any effort on the part of the government to reclaim it by emigration and settlement, until the final subversion of the regal power, and the emancipation of Mexico from the imbecile and improvident dominion of Spain.
[A.D. 1824.] On the 24th of October, 1824, the Mexican States adopted a Republican form of government, embracing "a confederation of independent states," known and designated as the "United States of Mexico." In this confederation the departments of Texas and Coahuila were admitted as one state, and were jointly represented in the Congress of Mexico.
Soon after the establishment of independence in the United States of Mexico, the colonization and settlement of Texas became a favorite subject of national policy with the new government. To attract population for the settlement of the country, colonization laws were enacted, to encourage enterprising individuals from foreign countries to establish large colonies of emigrants within the limits of Texas. Under the provisions of these laws enterprise was awakened in the United States and in some portions of Europe. Founders of colonies, or Empresarios, were induced to enter into engagements for the occupancy and settlement of large tracts of country, designated in their respective "grants;" the extent of the grant being proportionate to the number of colonists to be introduced. The first grant was made to Moses Austin, a native of Durham, Connecticut, in 1821, and under its provisions he was required by the Mexican authorities to introduce three hundred families from the United States. This enterprising man, having departed from Bexar for the introduction of his colony, died on his journey through the wilderness, leaving his plans of colonization to be prosecuted by his son, Colonel Stephen F. Austin, who possessed the talents, energy, and judgment requisite for the arduous undertaking. Having succeeded to his father's enterprise, he subsequently acquired more influence
with the Mexican government than any other empresario in the province.
The difficulties, privations, and dangers of a new colony in the wilderness of Texas were such as had been experienced by the pioneer settlements upon the waters of the Ohio in the first occupancy of Kentucky and Tennessee, alike remote from the aid and resources of a civilized country. Yet the native tribes of savages in Texas were less numerous and warlike than those which were encountered in the settlement of Tennessee and Kentucky.
[A.D. 1832.] But a few years had elapsed when nearly the whole area of the department of Texas had been parceled out into extensive grants for settlement by the different empresarios, with their colonies. The country was also organized into four separate jurisdictions, or subordinate departments, each comprising a number of "grants." These were,
I. DEPARTMENT OF NACOGDOCHES: Comprising five grants, viz.: those of Zavalla, Whelin, Burnett, Filisola, and Milam.
II. DEPARTMENT OF BRAZOS: Comprising the first and second grants of Austin, and that of Austin and Williams.
III. DEPARTMENT OF BEXAR: Comprising the grants of De Witt, De Leon, Power, M'Mullen, and M'Elone.
IV. NORTHWESTERN DEPARTMENT: Comprising the first and second grants of Cameron, and that of Woodbury, &c.
Under this policy, emigration from the United States, as well as from Great Britain and Ireland, continued to augment the population in all the departments until the year 1834, when political troubles began to convulse the Mexican Republic.
[A.D. 1835.] At this time the whole Anglo-American population of Texas was about twenty thousand; of this number General Austin's colony comprised no less than thirteen thousand, or more than half the entire population. These were chiefly emigrants from the United States; almost every city, village, and hamlet from Maine to Florida, and from the Alleghanies to the base of the Rocky Mountains, having furnished its proportional quota.
The Mexicans within the limits of Texas at this period scarcely exceeded three thousand, most of whom resided in the vicinity of Bexar. 681
Meantime, Texas and Coahuila, comprising the territory from
the Sabine westward to the Rio del Norte, and including the "Presidio de Rio Grande," on the west side of that river, had been constituted one independent state, duly represented in the Mexican Congress. But they were not formed, it seems, to exist in harmony together. The active enterprise and innate energy of the Anglo-American people, who constituted a large proportion of the inhabitants of Texas proper, required the introduction of the arts and manufactures, together with implements of husbandry, machinery, and colonial supplies, which were indispensable to agricultural prosperity and domestic comfort. In the infancy of their settlements, these indispensable supplies could be procured in the greatest abundance from the United States and other countries, by importation, and of better quality and at far less cost than they could be produced in a new settlement. The colonists who had emigrated from the United States had been familiar with the use and advantages of such supplies, and without which prosperity was hopeless. Yet by the Mexican tariff the articles which were most indispensable to them as successful agriculturists and intelligent farmers were excluded, or were so augmented in their cost by prohibitory duties as to be virtually banished from popular use. Among the articles thus excluded from the new settlements were to be found many which could not be produced in a new country still in its infancy as to arts and manufactures. Thus the honest and industrious emigrant was exposed to the avarice of the monopolist and speculator, who could extort from him his whole available resources in exchange for a few necessaries of domestic use.
As a relief from these embarrassments, the people of Texas, in numerous petitions to the Mexican Congress, represented their condition, and respectfully prayed "that certain articles indispensable to the prosperity of Texas" might be "admitted free of duty for three years," until manufacturing establishments could be erected within the limits of Texas. 682 The Mexican government turned a deaf ear to their entreaties, and also to a petition "that Texas, as a state, should be separated
from Coahuila," and be represented separately in the Mexican Congress.
Before the close of the year 1835 the different grants in Texas had received important accessions to their population, comprising many active and enterprising Irish, English, and German emigrants, who were distributed over the country in separate colonies, or were incorporated with the Americans from the United States.
The liberties of Mexico had begun to totter under the dictatorial sway of General Santa Anna, and several of the states openly renounced his authority. Texas was among the first to protest against the arbitrary measures of the existing government, the arms of which were turned against those provinces that dared to assert their rights.
The Mexican Congress at length were driven from their halls by the armed soldiery of Santa Anna, and soon afterward his servile troops entered the capital of Texas, captured and dispersed the Legislature of Texas and Coahuila, and drove forth the judges and courts at the point of the bayonet. Several states resisting his usurpations, were in turn subdued by his arms; and a general order was issued, and the lawless decree of a military despot was enforced, for disarming the free citizens of Texas. But the people of Texas, having the Anglo-Saxon blood in their veins, and the germs of American freedom in their hearts, defied the commands of the treacherous tyrant. Having remonstrated against the violation of the Federal Constitution of 1824, they threw off the yoke of the dictator, and established a provisional government, which, on the 7th of November, 1835, issued a manifesto, of which the following is an extract:
"Whereas, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, and other military chieftains, have, by force of arms, overthrown the Federal Constitution of Mexico, and dissolved the social compact which existed between Texas and the other members of the confederacy, Now the good people of Texas, availing themselves of their natural right, do solemnly declare:
"That they have taken up arms in defense of their rights and liberties, which were threatened by the encroachments of military despots, and in defense of the Republican principles of the Federal Constitution of Mexico of 1824." 683
The war was immediately prosecuted against Texas. Martin Perfecto de Cos, lieutenant commandant under Santa Anna, invaded the State of Texas at the head of a mercenary army, for the subjugation of the people, who were arrayed in defense of the Constitution which they had sworn to support. Heaven frowned upon the ruthless invaders, and General Cos and his whole force were made prisoners of war. Granting him the privileges of civilized warfare, on the 11th of December, 1835, the Texan commander, presuming upon the honor of a soldier, stipulated for the release of his barbarian captives upon the condition "that General Cos and his officers retire with their arms and private property into the interior of the Republic, under parole of honor, and that they will not in any way oppose the re-establishment of the Federal Constitution of 1824."
[A.D. 1836.] But the faithless Spaniard, regardless of his plighted honor, returned a few months afterward, accompanied by the dictator, Santa Anna himself, at the head of a formidable army of hireling soldiers, with the avowed purpose of indiscriminate slaughter to all those who resisted the reign of the usurper.
Then it was that the people of Texas, on the 2d of March, 1836, by their delegates in General Convention, assembled at Washington, issued their "Declaration of Independence," which, after reciting a long train of grievances and usurpations unparalleled in the history of civilized nations, and terminating with the usurpation of Santa Anna and invasion by his mercenaries in 1835, concluded as follows:
"We then took up arms in defense of our national Constitution. We appealed to our Mexican brethren for assistance; our appeal has been made in vain; though months have elapsed, no sympathetic response has yet been heard from the interior. We are, therefore, forced to the melancholy conclusion that the Mexican people have acquiesced in the destruction of their liberty and the substitution of a military government; that they are unfit to be free, and incapable of self-government.
"The necessity of self-preservation, therefore, now decrees our eternal political separation.
"WE, therefore, the delegates, with plenary powers of the people of Texas, in solemn convention assembled, appealing to a candid world for the necessities of our condition, do hereby resolve and declare that our political connection with the Mexican
nation has forever ended, and that the people of Texas do now constitute a FREE, SOVEREIGN, AND INDEPENDENT REPUBLIC, and are fully invested with all the rights and attributes which properly belong to independent nations; and, conscious of the rectitude of our intentions, we fearlessly and confidently submit the issue to the Supreme Arbiter of the destinies of nations."
The appeal was sustained by an overruling Providence, and the sanguinary tyrant, with his mercenary host, advanced to his inevitable doom. On the plains of San Jacinto, north of Galveston Bay, the dictator and his army were overthrown in a most disastrous battle, and himself, a suppliant captive, was compelled to receive his life at the hands of his conquerors. 684
It was on the 21st of April that Santa Anna encountered the Texan forces, under General Samuel Houston, in the battle which annihilated his army, gave freedom to the Republic of Texas, and established the Rio del Norte as her western boundary.
On the 17th of March the Convention unanimously adopted a Constitution for a Republican government, similar in its features
to that of the United States, in which the people assume the name and title of the "Republic of Texas."
[A.D. 1842.] From this time until the year 1842, for more than six years, the Republic of Texas continued to maintain the rank and station of an independent nation, and had been formally recognized as such, not only by the government of the United States, but also by those of Great Britain, France, and Holland. As Mr. Webster, Secretary of State of the United States, declared in an official dispatch of July 8th, 1842, "From the time of the battle of San Jacinto, in April, 1836, to the present moment, Texas has exhibited the same external signs of national independence as Mexico herself, and with quite as much stability of government. Practically free and independent, acknowledged as a political sovereignty by the principal powers of the world, no hostile foot finding rest within her territory for six or seven years, and Mexico herself refraining, for all that period, from any further attempt to reestablish her own authority over that territory."
In confirmation of this declaration, Mr. Vanzandt, the Texan chargé, two years afterward, in May, 1844, declared that "There has been no war waged by Mexico against Texas, and there is now no war, and for a long time past there has been uninterrupted peace, with the exception of three marauding expeditions, for the purpose of harassing and pillaging the weak and isolated settlements, neither of which was able to maintain its position within the settlements longer than eight days, all of which occurred in 1842." 685
Meantime, the United States, as well as several European powers, had entered into treaties of friendship and commerce, thus ratifying fully their formal recognition of independence.
But the feeble and distracted government of Mexico, although unable to wage a war of subjugation against the Republic of Texas, had still persevered in the absurd declaration that it was yet an integral portion of the Mexican Republic.
Soon after the victory of San Jacinto, emigration from the United States, as well as from other countries, had begun to produce a rapid augmentation of inhabitants in Texas. Organized counties were annually multiplied; new settlements were opened, and population extended over a large portion of the country upon the waters of the Trinity, Brazos, and Colorado.
In the year 1840 emigration began to increase rapidly, not only from the United States, but from the western states of Europe; and before the close of the year 1843, the population, exclusive of Indians, had increased to more than two hundred and fifty thousand souls, distributed over more than forty large counties, 686 chiefly east of San Antonio de Bexar.
Meanwhile, the people of Texas, at the declaration of independence, having been principally emigrants from the United States, and the subsequent increase of population having been derived chiefly from the same source, had never ceased to solicit admission into the American Union as an equal and independent member of that confederacy. A union, or, rather, a re-union with that great Republic, was the object of their constant desire, the consummation of their security and happiness as a member of the great family of nations. As early as the year 1836, and within seven months after they had achieved their independence by the battle of San Jacinto, the supreme government of Texas sought admission into the Union of the United States, as set forth in the following resolution, adopted almost unanimously on the 16th of November, 1836, viz.:
"Whereas, the good people of Texas, in accordance with a proclamation of his Excellency Daniel G. Burnet, president, ad interim, of the Republic, did, on the first Monday of September last past, at an election held for president, vice-president, senators, and representatives of Congress, vote to be annexed to the United States of America, with a unanimity unparalleled in the annals of the elective franchise, only ninety-three of the whole population voting against it:
"Be it therefore resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas, in Congress assembled, That the president be, and he is, authorized and requested to dispatch forthwith to the government of the United States of America a minister vested with ample and plenary power to enter into negotiations and treaties with the United States government for the recognition of the independence of Texas, and for an immediate annexation to the United States, a measure required by the almost unanimous voice of the people of Texas, and fully concurred in by the present Congress."
But General Jackson, then President of the United States, refused to give occasion of complaint to Mexico. "Too early
a movement," said he, "might subject us, however unjustly, to the charge of seeking to establish the claims of our neighbors to territory, with a view to its subsequent acquisition by ourselves."
Again, in August, 1837, Texas, through her minister, General Memucan Hunt, a second time desired to be annexed to the United States. Yet the president, Mr. Van Buren, for similar reasons, declined to encourage the proposition. It was the policy of the American government to acknowledge her independence as existing in fact, and to wait the progress of events to seal the permanence of the change. Hence Texas was excluded from the proffered union for nearly six years longer, that her independence should be fully established and recognized by the nations of Europe, independently of any agency from the government of the United States; for, said General Jackson, although "the title of Texas to the territory she claims is identified with her independence, yet she asks us to acknowledge that title to the territory with the avowed design of its transfer to the United States."
Yet the government of the United States did not hesitate to protest against, the barbarous species of warfare which had been waged against the people of Texas, and which was still threatened. But the intercession of the United States was rejected by the government of Mexico, and the American minister was treated with unmerited neglect and indignity.
Meantime, notwithstanding the stipulations entered into by General Santa Anna in Texas, his government in Mexico, with his approbation, renounced the acts of the captive dictator, and, repudiating the obligation therein contained, still continued to proclaim Texas as a revolted province, for the ultimate subjugation of which the whole power and resources of the Mexican government were to be arrayed in a barbarous war of extermination. Meanwhile, the border population was to be harassed, and the country desolated by predatory incursions, until preparations were effected for its final invasion.
[A.D. 1844.] Meantime, the people of Texas, through their government, still sought annexation to the United States, and, early in the year 1844, the president, considering the independence of Texas fully established, and her sovereignty having been sustained among the nations of the earth for eight years, notwithstanding the hostile menaces of Mexico, entered
into negotiations, and concluded a treaty with Texas, preparatory to the ultimate annexation of its territory to the United States.
At the opening of the Congress of the United States in December following, President Tyler communicated the result of his negotiations with Texas, and presented, for the ratification of the Senate, a formal treaty for the annexation of Texas. 687 In order to render this step less obnoxious to Mexico, the government of the United States, as a preliminary measure, had dispatched the Hon. Wilson Shannon as minister plenipotentiary
to the Mexican government, in order to enter into negotiations for a settlement of all former difficulties, and to provide for an amicable adjustment of the western boundary of Texas. The minister was instructed to protest against a further prosecution of war against the people of Texas, and to use every effort to reconcile the government of Mexico to a recognition of the independence of Texas, with a view to its annexation to the United States.
The Mexican minister of foreign affairs, M. Rejon, in the most offensive terms, charged the government of the United States with instigating the revolt in Texas, with a view to its ultimate annexation to the American Union; he also charged the people of the United States with the design of emigrating to Texas as early as 1830, for the purpose of detaching it ultimately from the Mexican confederation. He declared that the American government had been guilty of gross duplicity toward Mexico, with a fixed purpose of dismembering her empire; that the President of the United States had sent General Houston to Texas for the express purpose of revolutionizing the country.
After ineffectual efforts to bring the Mexican government to a dignified negotiation, by conciliating the bitter hostility evinced toward the United States, and to placate the unconquerable resolution of the Mexican government to provoke the United States to actual hostilities by menace and insult, accompanied by an utter refusal to arrange former difficulties, and the arrearages for indemnities withheld in violation of former treaty stipulations, the American minister demanded his passports, and returned to the United States. 688
[A.D. 1845.] Although the elections in the United States had been decisive in favor of the annexation of Texas to the
Union, and although a large majority of the members in both Houses of Congress were favorable to annexation, a strong opposition was made to the ratification of President Tyler's treaty. The opposition was made, not to the act of annexation, but to the manner in which it had been accomplished, and to the terms comprised in the treaty. The strongest opposition was made specially to that stipulation which required the United States to assume the public debt of Texas, in consideration of the public lands belonging to the Republic.
After a protracted discussion in both branches, Congress determined to consummate the annexation by means of "joint resolutions," containing the conditions upon which Texas should be received into the Union.
It was not until the first of March, 1845, that the joint resolutions finally passed both Houses, and received the signature of the president.
The conditions contained in these resolutions provided for the annexation of Texas without any definite boundary on the west, and without any liability on the part of the United States for her debt, which was left to be liquidated subsequently by the proceeds of the public lands.
The full and complete assent and ratification of these resolutions
by the existing government of Texas, and by the people thereof, prior to the first of January, 1846, entitled the Republic to admission into the Federal Union as an independent state, provided her state Constitution, modified and adapted to her new station as an American state, should not be repugnant to the Constitution of the United States.
No sooner had the joint resolutions for the annexation of Texas become a law of the country, than the Mexican minister at Washington city entered a formal protest against it, and demanded his passports. Soon afterward he took his departure, and, on the part of the Mexican government, threatened war against the United States.
In May following, the government of the United States, anxious to conciliate the Mexican authorities, and with a view to the amicable adjustment of pre-existing difficulties, no less than the establishment of a permanent boundary between Texas and Mexico, dispatched Gilbert L. Thompson as minister plenipotentiary to the government of Mexico, fully empowered to treat on all points in controversy. After an ineffectual effort at negotiation with the President of Mexico, General Santa Anna, the American minister was compelled to return, unsuccessful, to the United States.
Meantime, Captain Elliott, British chargé in Texas, had conceived a lively interest for the future independence and welfare of the Republic of Texas, and, with an ardent solicitude to regain the confidence of the British cabinet, which had been withdrawn on account of his humanity in China, he immediately put in requisition the whole weight of his diplomatic influence and skill, in the confident expectation of defeating the contemplated annexation to the United States. Every argument was employed, and every effort was made, to induce the government and the people of Texas to renounce the proposed annexation, and to maintain their separate national independence, under the protection and friendly alliance of Great Britain, secured by advantageous commercial treaties with England and France, both of whom had taken a deep interest in the separate existence of Texas as an independent nation.
While these negotiations were urged in Texas, the government of Mexico denounced war against the United States and the invasion of Texas as the penalty for any attempt to consummate
the plan of annexation. To give effect to the idle boast, troops were levied throughout the Republic of Mexico, and every hostile preparation was made, with the avowed object of commencing the war so soon as any consummation of the measure should be attempted. At the same time, the rulers of Mexico employed every effort and sought every occasion to inflame the prejudices and to rouse the national hatred of their people against the people and government of the United States, who were designated, opprobriously, as the "Northern Invaders," ready at all times to invade and dismember the Mexican Republic.
This circumstance was eagerly seized by Captain Elliott as a fortunate coincidence for his diplomatic enterprise. In order to remove all apprehension on the part of Texas as to any ulterior designs of Mexico, upon condition that she would give her decision to remain a separate and independent government, the indefatigable British chargé engaged to visit the government of Mexico in his official capacity, and, through the influence of the British and French ministers, procure from Mexico a formal recognition of independence, and a relinquishment of all intention of reducing the Republic again to the condition of a Mexican province. The authorities of Texas, seeing no good reason why this concession might not be desirable, even should annexation to the United States be the choice of the people, determined to indulge him in his benevolent designs for the reconciliation of Mexico.
Aware of the inveterate prejudice of the Mexican government toward the people of the United States, Captain Elliott set out on his voluntary mission to the city of Mexico. Convinced that the hostility of the Mexican authorities toward the United States was even more inveterate than against Texas itself, and believing that, for the sake of defeating what they deemed a favorite scheme of national aggrandizement, they would not hesitate to concede the claims of Texas, and recognize her as an independent nation, provided she would stipulate to abandon all idea of annexation to the United States, he entered upon the Utopian enterprise. Nor was he wrong in this conclusion. Mexico, seizing every occasion to embarrass the pending negotiations with the United States, was willing to give assurances to Texas that, in rejecting the overture
from the United States, she would secure the recognition of her independence by Mexico, to be ratified subsequently by a formal treaty of peace, for the amicable adjustment of boundaries.
Such was the extreme solicitude of the indefatigable charge for the accomplishment of his favorite measure, that the Mexican government was assailed by the united importunities of the whole British and French legations, composed of the Texan envoy, and the more dignified ministers plenipotentiary.
At the urgent solicitation of the British minister, Mr. Charles Bankhead, and of the French minister, the Baron Alleye de Cyprey, the Mexican government consented to recognize the independence of Texas, and thereupon enter into a formal treaty of peace and adjustment of boundaries, upon the condition that she should agree and stipulate to remain independent of all other powers, and abandon the proposition of annexation to the United States.
The "articles preliminary" to a treaty of peace between Mexico and Texas, transmitted by the Texan Secretary of State through Captain Elliott, were formally submitted by the English and French ministers to the Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs, by whom they were laid before the Congress of Mexico. 689 That body, on the 19th of May, adopted a resolution "authorizing the government to hear the propositions which Texas had made, and to proceed to the arrangement or celebration of the treaty that may be fit and honorable to the Republic, giving an account to Congress for its examination and approval."
Fortune seemed to smile upon the officious envoy, and he believed his mission crowned with success. Elated with the bright prospect of consummating a diplomatic measure which he fain believed was forever to decide the fate of annexation, and identify him with the destiny of the "lone star" of Texas,
he hastened to lay his dispatches before the government and people of Texas. 690 Fortified with an official copy of the act
of the Mexican Congress, and the self-applauding congratulations of the French minister, who coveted the honor of its accomplishment as one of the triumphs of "his diplomatic career," he hastened to electrify all Texas with its announcement to the government and people.
But after all his zeal, and all his efforts at diplomacy, he was doomed to the mortifying disappointment of witnessing the cold indifference with which all his labors were received by the government of Texas, under the veil of official courtesy.
Meantime, President Jones could do no less than to reciprocate the courteous congratulations of the Baron de Cyprey, returning thanks "for his kindness and courtesy," no less than for "his valuable services, in producing a result" so fraught with advantage to Texas. "Should the result," said President Jones, "be the establishment of a good understanding and a lasting peace between the governments of Texas and Mexico, with the concurrence of their people, the cause of humanity will assuredly be greatly indebted to his efforts in its behalf."
Still further to humor the vanity of the French minister, to
flatter the officiousness of the intermeddling British chargé, and to lull apprehension with the treacherous Mexicans, the President of Texas, in a proclamation to the people of Texas, announced the cessation of hostilities between the two governments, consequent upon the agreement of the Mexican government to the "articles preliminary to a definitive treaty of peace." The Mexican government accordingly suspended its hostile demonstrations against Texas.
Meantime, the President of Texas, well convinced of the unconquerable aversion of the Congress and people of Texas to any political connection with Mexico, and of their unchangeable attachment to the government and people of the United States, and conscious, also, of "the very ridiculous position in which Elliott had placed his government by his ex parte negotiation of this treaty," determined to submit the whole negotiation, together with the joint resolutions from the United States, to the Congress of Texas, as well as to the people in general convention subsequently, for their final action and decision upon the same.
On the 21st of June, the government of Texas, by a joint resolution of both Houses, unanimously adopted, ratified, and confirmed the assent of Texas to the propositions for annexation contained in the joint resolutions of the United States, which had been transmitted by the hands of Andrew J. Donelson, American chargé des affaires to Texas.
The Texan Congress proceeded to make provision, by law, for the consummation of the annexation so far as Texas was concerned. The British chargé, perceiving the futility of all his schemes of diplomacy, retired into his proper sphere, stripped of the imaginary honors which he, with Sir Charles Bankhead and the Baron Alleye de Cyprey, had gained by their diplomatic proficiency.
Among the provisions enacted by the Texan Congress for the final ratification of the annexation, was that of a general convention of delegates, representing the whole Republic, for the purpose of adopting a state Constitution for the contemplated "State of Texas," preparatory to its formal admission into the American Union "upon an equal footing with the original states."
The Convention assembled at the town of Austin on the 4th day of July, and at one o'clock P.M. of that day the unanimous
vote of that body declared the assent of the sovereign people of Texas to the terms and conditions contained in the joint resolutions of the United States. This assent, in fact, consummated the annexation on the part of Texas, and made that country an integral portion of the United States. 691
The Convention proceeded to the labors of framing a state Constitution, which was finally adopted, and submitted to the consideration of the American Congress for their approval and ratification at the session of 1845 and 1846.
Meantime, the government of Mexico, apprised of the determination of the Texan Congress on the subject of annexation, and which was a just criterion for the decision of the Convention, had resolved to take active measures for the invasion of the country east of the Rio del Norte. Chagrined that all the means put into operation had been unsuccessful in defeating the annexation to the United States, the government of Mexico began to make every demonstration of active hostilities against the United States for the recovery and subjugation of Texas eastward to the Sabine. Great military preparations were made in all the departments subject to the central government, while large bodies of troops were gradually advanced toward Matamoros on the Rio del Norte. Before the middle of August, the advanced detachments of the Mexican army had arrived at Monterey, within two hundred and twenty miles of Matamoros, while the declarations of the Mexican government, published at and near the city of Mexico, asserted that war would be prosecuted vigorously for the recovery of Texas. 692
To secure the border inhabitants from the horrors of war, and the country from hostile invasion, the Convention, on the 7th of August, by a resolution of their body, in the name of the people of Texas, had requested the President of the United States to send troops without delay to the western frontier.
Under these circumstances, the president, viewing Texas as an integral part of the Union, threatened with foreign invasion, caused a portion of the Federal troops to concentrate near the western frontier of Texas, as an army of observation and occupancy. Before the middle of August, detachments of mounted dragoons, infantry, and field artillery were advancing into Texas in every direction from the Valley of the Mississippi. On the 27th of August, General Taylor, from Fort Jessup, at the head of about two thousand men, including Colonel Twigg's regiment of dragoons, and Major Ringgold's flying artillery, arrived at Corpus Christi, on the west side of the Nueces, where his headquarters were established until the middle of March following, when, in obedience to orders from the government, he advanced toward the Rio del Norte.
Meantime, the assent of Texas, as expressed through the existing government and the sovereign people in convention assembled, having been given to the terms proposed by the United States, the president proceeded to take the necessary steps and measures for consummating the annexation for the final ratification of Congress, and the formal admission of Texas into the Union on an equal footing with the original states. In his annual message of December, 1845, President Polk submitted the whole subject to Congress for their consideration. The following is a brief extract from the message:
"The terms of annexation which were offered by the United States having been accepted by Texas, the public faith of both parties is solemnly pledged to the compact of their union.
Nothing remains to consummate the event but the passage of an act by Congress to admit the State of Texas into the Union upon an equal footing with the original states. As soon as the act to admit Texas as a state shall be passed, the union of the two Republics will be consummated by their own voluntary consent.
"This accession to our territory has been a bloodless achievement. No arm of force has been raised to produce the result. The sword has had no part in the victory. We have not sought to extend our territorial possessions by conquest, or our Republican institutions over a reluctant people. It was the deliberate homage of each people to the great principle of our federative Union.
"Since that time Mexico has, until recently, occupied an attitude of hostility toward the United States; has been marshalling and organizing armies, issuing proclamations, and avowing the intention to make war on the United States, either by an open declaration, or by invading Texas. Both the Congress and Convention of the people of Texas invited this government to send an army into that territory, to protect and defend them against the menaced attack. Our army was ordered to take position in the country between the Nueces and the Del Norte, and to repel any invasion of the Texan territory which might be attempted by the Mexican forces. Our squadron in the Gulf was ordered to co-operate with the army. But though our army and navy were placed in a position to defend our own and the rights of Texas, they were ordered to commit no act of hostility against Mexico unless she declared war, or was herself the aggressor by striking the first blow. The result has been, that Mexico has made no aggressive movement, and our military and naval commanders have executed their orders with such discretion that the peace of the two Republics has not been disturbed.
"Texas had declared her independence, and maintained it by her arms for more than nine years. She has had an organized government in successful operation during that period. Her separate existence as an independent state had been recognized by the United States and the principal powers of Europe. Treaties of commerce and navigation had been concluded with her by different nations, and it had become manifest to
the whole world that any further attempt on the part of Mexico to conquer her, or overthrow her government, would be vain. Even Mexico herself had become satisfied of this fact, and while the question of annexation was pending before the people of Texas during the past summer, the government of Mexico, by a formal act, agreed to recognize the independence of Texas, on condition that she would not annex herself to any other power." Such was the state of affairs in December, 1845.
Early in the session of Congress, the Constitution of the "State of Texas" was approved, and the annexation was finally consummated in the formal admission of the new state as an equal and independent member of the Federal Union.
[A.D. 1846.] The new state government was organized by the election of a governor and General Assembly, which convened on the 20th of February following. General Henderson, who was elected first governor by an overwhelming vote, in his inaugural address congratulated the people of Texas upon the reunion of their country to the sovereignty of the United States, as the result of the extending influence of Republican freedom in America. "We again," he observes, "hail the incorporation of Texas into our Union as one of the most remarkable events of the age. It was accomplished by no violence of the sword, no effusion of blood, no corruption of the people, no constraint upon their inclinations, but in the best spirit of the age, according to the purest principles of free government, by the free consent of the people of the two Republics. It was left for the Anglo-American inhabitants of the Western Continent to furnish a new mode of enlarging the bounds of empire by the more natural tendency of free principles."
It was about the middle of March when the American troops, under General Taylor, took up the line of march for the east bank of the Rio del Norte, and on the 28th they pitched their camp opposite the city of Matamoros, where they erected strong field-works, comprising a fortified camp extending nearly three miles along the river.
Monette, John W. History of the Discovery and Settlement of the Valley of the Mississippi, by the Three Great European Powers, Spain, France and Great Britain, and the Subsequent Occupation, Settlement, and Extension of Civil Government by the United States, Until the Year 1846, in two volumes, Volume II . New York: Harper and Brothers, Publishers, 1846. [format: book], [genre: history]. Permission: Schingoethe Center for Native American Cultures, Aurora University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=monette2.html