Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ANDREW JACKSON AND THE ERVING AFFIDAVIT
In his famous Texas letter to A. V. Brown, February 12, 1843
(published in March, 1844, in the newspapers), Andrew Jackson
disclosed some "secret history" calculated to aid and encourage the
Texas "re-annexation" cause:
Soon after my election, in 1829, it was made known to me by
Mr. Erwin [G. W. Erving], formerly our minister to the court of
Madrid, that whilst at that Court he had laid the foundation of a
treaty with Spain for the cession of the Floridas and the settlement
of the boundary of Louisiana, fixing the western limit of the latter
at the Rio Grande, agreeably to the understanding of France; that
he had written home to our government for powers to complete and
sign this negotiation; but that, instead of receiving such authority,
the negotiation was taken out of his hands and transferred to
Washington, and a new treaty was there concluded, by which the
Sabine, and not the Rio Grande, was recognized and established as
the boundary of Louisiana. Finding that these statements were
true, and that our government did really give up that important
territory, when it was at its option to retain it, I was filled with
astonishment. The right to the territory was obtained from France.
Spain stood ready to acknowledge it to the Rio Grande, and yet the
authority asked by our Minister to insert the true boundary was
not only withheld, but in lieu of it, a limit was adopted which
stripped us of the whole of the vast country.
In a letter in 1844 to W. B. Lewis, Jackson wrote, similarly:
In 1829-30 . . . Mr. Irwin . . . placed a copy in my hands
of the correspondence between him and the Spanish Minister at
Madrid, which shwd. that he had negotiated a treaty by which
Spain recognized the ancient limits of Louisiana to the Rio Grande
and ceded Florida for the sum paid.
Adams withheld authority to sign it. "I knew at once," adds
Jackson, "that Mr. Adams' object was to keep down the growing
political ascendancy of the South and West."
Erving had in 1829 (on December 17, apparently), at Jackson's
request, given the latter a written statement regarding his negoti-
ations in 1818 at Madrid.2 Erving referred in this "Summary" to
1James Parton, Life of Andrew Jackson, III, 658-660; Niles' Register
(Baltimore), LXVI, 70; R. M. McElroy, Winning of the Far West, 2-3.
20ne copy of Erving's "Summary of a negotiation for the purchase of the
Floridas during the mission of George W. Erving authorized and instructed
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 41, July 1937 - April, 1938. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101103/. Accessed March 16, 2014.