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Letter from J.C. Calhoun to B.E. Green. April 19, 1844

Sir,

A treaty for the annexation of Texas to the United States, has been signed by the plenipotentiaries of the two governments, and will be sent by the president to the senate without deláy for its approval.

In making the fact known to the Mexican government the president enjoins it on you to give it, in the first place the strongest assurance, that in adopting this measure, our government is actuated by no feelings of disrespect or indifference to the honor and dignity of Mexico, and that it would be a subject of great regret if it should be otherwise regarded by its government. And in the next place, that the step was forced on the government of the United States in self defence, in consequence of the policy adopted by Great Britain in reference to the abolition of slavery in Texas. It was impossible for the United States to witness with indifference the effort of Great Britain to abolish slavery there. They could not but see that she had the means in her power in the actual condition of Texas, to accomplish the objects of her policy unless prevented by the most efficient measures; and that, if accomplished, it would Iead to a state of things dangerous in the extreme to the adjacent states and the Union itself. Seeing this, the government has been compelled by the necessity of the case, and a regard to its constitutional obligations, to take the step it has, as the only certain and effectual means of preventing it. It has taken it in full view of all posible consequences, but not without a desire and hope, that a full and fair disclosure of the causes which induced it to do so, would prevent the disturbance of the harmony subsisting betweeen the two countries, which the United States is anxious to preserve.

In order that the Mexican government should have a just and full conception of the motives which have compelled this government to take the course it has, I endose, by the direction of the president, a copy of the declaration of lord Aberdeen which Mr. Pakenham the British minister, was instruced to read to the secretary of State of the United States, and to leave a copy, should he desire it, and the answer to it on the part of our government. The president authorized you to read them to the Mexican secretary of State, and to permit him to take memoranda of their contents, as you read should he desire it; but not to leave copies, as they constitute a part of the documents which will be transmitted with the treaty to the senate.

You are enjoined also by the president to assure the Mexican government that it is his desire to settle all questions between the two countries, which may grow out of this treaty, or any other cause, on the most liberal and satisfactory terms, including that of boundary. And with that view the minister who has been recently appointed, will be shortly sent with adequate powers.

You will, finally, assure the govemment of Mexico that the government of the United States would have been happy if circumstances had pennitted it to act in concurrence with that of Mexico, in taking the steps it has; but with all its respect for 'Mexico and anxious desire that the two countries should continue on friendly terms, it could not make what it believed might involve the safety of the Union itself, depend upon the contingency of obtaining the previous consent of Mexico. But while it could not with a due regard to the safety of the Union do that, it has taken every precaution to make the terms of the treaty as little objetionable to Mexico as possible, and among others has left the boundary of Texas without specification, so that what the line of boundary might be lef t an open question to be fairly and fully discussed and settled according to the right of each and the mutual interest and security of the two countries.

I am, sir...

J. C. Calhoun

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.