The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 14, July 1910 - April, 1911

Book Reviews and Notices


British Interests and Activities in Texas, 1888-1846 (The
Albert Shaw Lectures on Diplomatic History, 1909). By Ephraim
Douglass Adams, Ph. D. (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press.
1910. Pp. VIII, 267).1
Confining himself rigidly to the scope of his title, and using
almost exclusively the manuscript materials in the Public Record
Office, Professor Adams traces in great detail the shifting policy
of Great Britain toward the Republic of Texas. Briefly that pol-
icy was this. So long as Palmerston directed the Foreign Office
a steady faith in the destiny of Texas manifested itself in gentle
but persistent pressure upon Mexico to relinquish its claims to
the province, and culminated in November, 1840, in the signature
of a series of treaties by Palmerston and Hamilton (the Texan
plenipotentiary) which gave British recognition to Texas. When,
however, the fall of the Melbourne ministry in August, 1841,
placed Lord Aberdeen in charge of foreign affairs, it might almost
be said that caprice was substituted for policy in Anglo-Texan
relations. Aberdeen acted as a veritable weather vane, more than
once having, two sets of contradictory instructions to his agents
crossing the Atlantic at the same time (see especially p. 184). At
first he reversed Palmerston's policy and encouraged Mexico in
the hope of eventually reconquering Texas, even going the length
of infringing upon strict neutrality in permitting Mexico to equip
two men-of-war in England and enlist officers for them from Her
Majesty's navy. Toward the end of 1842 he began to withdraw
this encouragement; but as late as the close of 1843 he put little
faith in the stability and importance of Texas, or in the rumors
that the United States was seriously contemplating its annexation.
From this restful confidence that all was right he was rudely
shocked by President Tyler's message of December, 1843, and
stirred to vigorous action. Overtures were made to France, and
accepted by her, for a joint protest against annexation, only to be
withheld as soon as Aberdeen learned from Pakenham, at Wash-
1This review is reprinted from the January number of The American
Journal of International Law.

Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 14, July 1910 - April, 1911. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 29, 2016.

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