The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 9, July 1905 - April, 1906 Page: 23
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Diplomatic Relations of England and Republic of Texas. 23
the resolution of the government was such that nothing could be
gained by pressing his views upon it, and accordingly went to
France. The incident, however, had gained some notoriety, and on
August 2 was the subject of comment in the House of Commons.
Here the matter would probably have ended, and the Montezuma
would doubtless have been allowed to depart in peace, but for the
interference of General James Hamilton, who was again in Eng-
land in a personal capacity. He and a certain nobleman who
brought the matter to his attention sought to obtain a letter of
marque from the Texas government enabling them to take the
Montezuma as a prize on the high seas, but when they found this
impossible they proceeded against her under the Foreign Enlist-
ment Act, by which the treasury board was empowered to seize and
confiscate vessels equipped, furnished, fitted out, or armed to make
war against a country at peace with England. The vessel was
seized under this act by the commissioners of customs; but when
the treasury board was appealed to it was decided that, while the
law had been violated, the violation was unintentional. This de-
cision was based on the argument that the Montezuma was tech-
nically a British vessel, as she was not formally to be turned over
to the Mexican government until she reached Vera Cruz, and she
was technically only a merchant vessel, since she carried her guns
in the hold instead of on the swivels that had been prepared for
them. Accordingly, after a detention of almost a month, she was
released, but only after her crew had been reduced to the number
properly required to man a merchant vessel of her size, and after
her guns, carriages, and military stores had been sent ashore.
Even then the subject was not dropped, for Hamilton sought to
have her seized by the British naval officer in command at Havana,
where she was to touch on her way to Mexico. Hamilton's con-
duct in the matter was, of course, by no means altruistic, since
he and his associates would have profited by the condemnation of
the Montezuma; and it was considered particularly indelicate in
that he, although his relations with the Texas administration were
by no means cordial, undertook to act almost as if he had been an
official representative of Texas and consistently therewith sub-
mitted to the Texas government an "official" report of the action
he had taken. Smith afterwards conducted an extended corre-
spondence on the subject with Aberdeen in which the points of in-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 9, July 1905 - April, 1906, periodical, 1906; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101036/m1/27/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.