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During the regular session of the twenty - fifth Congress, beginning in December, 1837, attempts were made in both houses of Congress to secure action on the subject. On January 4, 1838, Preston, of South Carolina, introduced into the Senate a resolution to provide for annexation, which, as he explained, was not intended as a final act on the part of the United States, but simply as a legislative authorization of the steps to be taken by the executive. Annexation, when it should come, was to be effected by means of a tripartite treaty entered into by Mexico, Texas, and the United States.1 On June 14 the resolution was tabled by a vote of 24 to 14. The action proposed in the House was much more radical. The same day on which Preston's resolution was tabled by the Senate a joint resolution was offered in the House by Waddy Thompson, of South Carolina, "directing the President to take the necessary steps for the annexation of Texas to the United States, as soon as it can be done consistently with the treaty stipulations of this Government." 2 A vote on this resolution was prevented by a speech of John Quincy Adams, which consumed the whole morning hour each day from June 16 to July 7, within two days of adjournment.
Meanwhile the legislatures of several southern states had passed resolutions favorable to annexation, and those of several northern states against it, the utterances from Massachusetts especially sounding with strong emphasis the note of nullification.1 A resolution introduced in the lower house of Congress by Adams, which constituted the text of his time-consuming speech, was decidedly of the same tenor.
1 Cong. Globe, 25 Cong., 2 Sess., 76. Ibid., 451.
Texas now adopted a different policy. By direction of President Houston the offer of annexation was formally withdrawn, October 12, 1838, and new energy was put into the effort to secure recognition in Europe. Treaties were concluded with France in 1839, and with Holland and Belgium in 1840. November 13, 1840, a treaty with Great Britain was signed, and June 28, 1842, ratifications were exchanged.2 The uneasiness of the authorities at Washington over the establishment of the new relations of Texas, especially those with England, soon led to a renewal of the annexation project on the side of the United States.
Meanwhile the Texans, though President Lamar, whose term lasted from December, 1838, to December, 1841, openly declared against annexation, were as willing to be annexed as ever. It was in the United States that the question had to be decided. With the progress of sectionalization the pro-slavery element became ever more anxious to secure Texas, and the anti-slavery element to exelude it from the Union; but neither of these was for the time strong enough to control its own section, and, when the issue came, the instinct of expansion finally cast the balance in favor of Texas.
1 House Exec. Docs., 25 Cong., 2 Sess., II., No. S5. VII., Nos. 182, 196, VIII., No. 3n, IX., No. 373.
2 Worley, in Tex. State Hist. Assoc, Quarterly, IX., n-16.
THE BOUNDARY OF TEXAS
THE district first known to the Spaniards as Texas was the country of the Tejas Indians, in which was planted in 1690 the first Spanish mission east of the lower Rio Grande. The site of this mission is between the Neches and the Trinity rivers, southwest of Nacogdoches.1 From the time of its establishment forward, the Tejas region, or Texas, begins to figure, with ever-increasing importance, in the annals of New Spain. The district was abandoned in 1693; but in 1716-1717 it was reoccupied by the foundation of six missions and a presidio in that quarter,2 and a little later the Spaniards established themselves in two other localities west of the Texas district but far east of the Rio Grande. These were Bexar, the modern San Antonio, and La Bahia, or The Bay, the place where La Salle had established his colony of Fort St. Louis on the Gulf coast in 1685.3 The mission and presidio at La Bahia was afterwards moved farther inland, and near it grew a settlement to which, after Mexico became independent, was given the name Goliad. At the time when the Anglo-American colonization of Texas began there were, therefore, but three Spanish settlements of any importance in the province —Nacogdoches, in the original Texas district, and Bexar (San Antonio) and Goliad, in the region first occupied by the French.
1 Clark, in Tex. State Hist. Assoc, Quarterly, V., 18S. • Clark, ibid., VI., 23; Austin, ibid., VIII., 283. 'Clark, ibid., VI., 25; cf. Thwaites, France in America (Am. Nation, VII.), chap. iv.
The name Texas had meanwhile been extended to the whole area north of the lower Rio Grande River occupied by the Spaniards, which was organized as one of the provinces of New Spain, or Mexico. A map executed by the engineer La Fora, who accompanied the Marqu6s de Rubi, an official visitador of the Spanish government to Texas in 1767, represents the province at that time as a long, narrow, L-shaped strip drawn so as to include the Spanish settlements. The long arm of the L is parallel with the Gulf coast, being separated from it by the country of the Karankawa Indians, and includes the eastern group of settlements at one end and those of B£xar at the other. The short arm runs from B€xar southeastwardly to the coast, so as to include the mission and presidio of La Bahia.1
1 The original of this map, once in the Mexican archives, has long since disappeared. A photographic copy furnished me by Dr. H. E. Bolton, of the University of Texas, came to him from Miss Zelia Nuttall.