The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915 Page: 15
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Early Sentiment for Annexation of California
est solicitation, to return to his post in Mexico.S9 Before Butler
left, however, the suggestion he had thrown out with regard to
"higher California" received additional impulse from another
source. On August 1, William A. Slacum, a purser in the United
States Navy, wrote a letter to the President which, according to
Adams, "kindled the passion of Andrew Jackson for the thirty-
seventh line of latitude from the river Arkansas to the South
Sea, to include the river and bay of San Francisco, and was
the foundation of Forsyth's instruction to Butler of 6 August,
These instructions mentioned by Adams give the first official
attempt of the United States to secure from Mexico any part
of her territory on the Pacific. The chief object, as expressed
by Forsyth, was to, obtain possession of San Francisco Bay
which had been "represented to the President"41 as "a most desir-
able place of resort for our numerous vessels engaged in the
whaling business in the Pacific, far superior to any to which they
now have access."42 No definite sum which Butler was authorized
to offer was specified in the dispatch, but Adams places it as
$500,000.4" It should also be noted that Forsyth expressly dis-
claimed any desire to secure territory south of San Francisco."
"It may be added that Butler's presence there was desired neither by
Mexicans nor American residents. John Baldwin to Forsyth, Vera Cruz,
Nov. 14, 1835. MS., State Department. Miscellaneous Letters.
"Adams, Memoirs, XI, 348. The name of the writer here is given as
Slocum, but this is plainly an error. This particular letter unfortunately
has disappeared from the files of the State Department where Adams saw
it in 1843, but from the correspondence still on record there can be no
doubt that the name Slacum is correct. See Forsyth to Ellis (mention-
ing Slacum's name), April 14, 1836; Ellis to Monasterio, March 8, 1836;
&c., &ec.; also Slacum's Report in Reports of Committees, 25 Cong., 3
cess., No. 101, pp. 29-45. Slacum, we learn from the documents cited,
was made a special agent of the government to the Pacific coast to in-
vestigate conditions there, and especially the progress of the Russians
and of the Hudson's Bay Company.
4Perhaps by Slacum, yet Adams's testimony regarding the powerful in-
fluence of Slacum's letter of Aug. 1st is somewhat weakened by the fact
that Jackson had instructed Forsyth to enlarge the scope of Butler's nego-
tiations as early as July 25. Memoirs, XI, 361-362.
"2H. Ex. Docs., 25 Cong., 1 sess., No. 42, pages 18-19.
4"Adams, Memoirs, XI, 348.
""We have no desire to interfere with the actual settlements of Mexico
on that coast and you may agree to any provision affecting the great ob-
ject of securing the bay of San Francisco and excluding Monterey and
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915, periodical, 1915; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101064/m1/21/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.