The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915 Page: 32
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32 The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The proposed Tripartite Agreement.-While this correspondence
was being carried on with the American minister at Mexico City,
Webster was also making tentative efforts to bring about an ar-
rangement between Great Britain, Mexico and the United States
for the settlement of the three vexed questions of Texas, Oregon,
and California. As early as the summer of 1842, when Lord
Ashburton was in this country as special commissioner, Webster
had approached him with the suggestion of settling the Oregon
boundary line by ceding the American claims to territory north
of the Columbia to Great Britain, in return for a portion of Cal-
ifornia that should be purchased from Mexico by the two nations
By the beginning of 1843 this idea had come to assume an im-
portant place in the plans of the administration."0 Thompson
was instructed to sound the Mexican government on the subject,
and it was likewise brought to the notice of General Almonte,
Mexican minister at Washington.-' As England was known to
favor it, a rough outline for the basis of negotiations was sent by
Webster to Edward Everett, American ambassador at London."2
The terms of this were as follows:
immediate cession on the part of Mexico, substituted a mortgage to be held
by the United States chiefly on "such parts of California or such ports in
that department as might be serviceable to our trade in the Pacific and
useful to us politically." Such a pledge would result in ultimate owner-
ship by the United States or punctual payments on the part of Mexico.
Mayer to Webster, Dec. 9, 1842, MS., State Department. It may be
added that this plan of a mortgage probably originated in the reports
that English creditors held such a pledge. Thompson, who had quarreled
with Mayer, considered his letter an extreme liberty even for one of
Mayer's characteristic "vanity and impertinence." Thompson to Webster,
Jan. 30, 1843. MS., State Department.
"Tyler's Letters and Times of the Tylers, II, 260-261; Adams, Memoirs,
'"Reeves (p. 102) rather infers that the California project received
scant attention from Webster and Tyler. The documents quoted in the
text, it is believed, will contradict this idea.
"Webster to Everett, Jan. 29, 1843. Webster, Works, XVI, 393-396,
"2Reeves, in a note, p. 103, says that Webster's instructions to Everett,
regarding this tripartite agreement, do not appear on file in the State
Department. His account has therefore been based wholly on Everett's
note to Calhoun of March 28, 1845, in which mention is made of the in-
structions sent by Webster. See also Schaefer's "British Attitude toward
the Oregon Question." Amer. Hist. Rev., XVI, 293-294, note. It is signifi-
cant that Webster's biographer prints only a part of this letter of Jan. 29,
leaving out all portions relating to California or the tripairite agreement.
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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/m1/38/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.