The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947 Page: 53
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The Annexation of Texas
III. VAN BUREN REJECTS THE OFFER OF ANNEXATION
While William H. Wharton was still in Washington, fretting
over delay in the recognition of Texas, President Houston sent
General Memucan Hunt to assist him. He succeeded Wharton
in the post at Washington, and in August, 1837, after recogni-
tion, made the first and only proffer of Texas to the United
He was handicapped by circumstances. Mexico was threat-
ening invasion to reconquer its truant province, and the new
republic, whatever its latent resources, was ill-prepared to
maintain a national government and wage a war of defense;
yet Hunt chose to present the subject in the light of a benefit
to the United States.
He began with a lengthy summary of the history of Mexico
since its independence, emphasizing the frequent revolutions
and political instability. Then he reviewed the history of Texas
during 1821-1836, showing its impressive development in the
face of Mexican neglect and distrust. Arriving at the heart of
his discourse, he declared in the grandiloquent language of
which his generation was a master, on occasion, that Texas
desired an "amalgamation of flags" on terms consistent with
the honor of Texas. Annexation, he said, would give the United
States the great natural resources of Texas, would assure it a
growing market for American manufacturers from the North,
would enable it to avoid competition with Texas cotton and
sugar in Europe, and would strengthen American control of
the Gulf of Mexico. The United States would need to act
promptly, he added, because Texas was already negotiating
commercial treaties with European countries, and when they
were completed it would be difficult for Texas to withdraw and
accept annexation to the United States.
After a delay of three weeks, the American secretary of
state replied. He, too, indulged in a little bombast. In recog-
nizing Texan independence, he said, his government had not
overlooked the possibility of rivalry with certain Texan prod-
ucts in Europe, but it had believed that gratitude would
restrain the Texans from injuring the United States.
He then stated two reasons which prevented President Martin
Van Buren from accepting the Texas offer. The first was consti-
tutional; the second was the desire to avoid offense to Mexico.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947, periodical, 1947; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101117/m1/69/: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.