The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915 Page: 232
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
and in fact manifested comparatively little interest in its affairs,
yet English officials in Mexico, California, and on board Her
Majesty's vessels of the Pacific, on the contrary, were exceedingly
anxious to place the province under English control; or, if that
could not be, to thwart the ambitions of the United States.2
The activities of these British representatives and the occa-
sional rumor of French intrigue naturally aroused no little con-
cern throughout this country and created a genuine alarm lest
one or the other power should endeavor to forestall our own plans
regarding the province. The purpose of this chapter is, there-
fore, to examine, not the actual designs of France or England,
but the effect of reports and rumors regarding these designs upon
the government and people of the United States.
The earliest fears of English aggression seem to have arisen
shortly after the publication of the history of California by Alex-
ander Forbes in 1839. The book was intended not so much to
convey historical information as to encourage the colonization
of California by British subjects; and contained a plan, worked
out in some detail, by which a cession of that territory might be
made by Mexico in payment of her debt of $50,000,000 to English
bondholders. A company, composed of these creditors, was to be
formed, and to it were to be given many of the same prerogatives
of territorial sovereignty as those enjoyed by the British East
Forbes's publication had a wide circulation, and,4 as its whole
tone was frankly a plea for English domination in California,
aroused considerable comment throughout this country. It was
said that negotiations, such as Forbes had suggested, were already
2Adams, British Interests, 234-264.
8Forbes, 153 (the eighth chapter was entitled "Upper California as a
field for foreign colonization"). The author's brother wrote a preface for
the book and, while decling to comment upon the plan of colonization,
said it was one worthy the attention of the English bondholders and also
of the government. The appendix contained articles on the harbor of
California, steam navigation on the Pacific, and a prospectus of the
"Pacific Steam Navigation Company." Forbes also laid great emphasis
on the importance of constructing an Isthmian Canal under European
"See a review upon this work in the Literature of American History,
Ed. for the American Library Association (Boston. Houghton, M1ifflin &
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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/m1/238/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.