The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947 Page: 62
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
A desultory correspondence continued through the first six
months of 1843, but no progress was made. In July, therefore,
Houston made an effort to stimulate action. He had Anson
Jones, Texan secretary of state, write Van Zandt that his earlier
instructions were withdrawn. The reason he assigned was that
he now hoped to settle relations with Mexico, after which the
United States Senate might be more willing to ratify a treaty
than if annexation should involve danger of war with Mexico.
But Van Zandt was simply to say that his instructions were
suspended. No doubt Houston expected the American govern-
ment to read between the lines. Recognition of independence
by Mexico, guaranteed by England, might make the Texans less
eager for annexation. Certainly President Tyler drew such an
President Tyler was, unfortunately, a man without a party.
A former Democrat, he had allowed himself to become a can-
didate for the vice-presidency on the Whig ticket. After a
boisterous campaign, the Whigs won the election of 1840, but
a month after inauguration their President, General William
Henry Harrison, died and Tyler became President. He soon
found himself under the necessity of vetoing nearly all of the
Whig program and was read out of the party. He was not in
the most fortunate position, therefore, to champion annexation,
being unable to carry either Whig or Democratic support.
In September, 1843, Van Zandt wrote the Texan government
that the American secretary of state, Abel P. Upshur, of Vir-
ginia, had discussed the matter of annexation frequently and
said that President Tyler "now contemplated an early action
thereon." He had been making investigation and believed that
the necessary two-thirds of the Senate would ratify a treaty.
On October 16, Upshur came to the point and proposed opening
negotiations for a treaty of annexation. Van Zandt was coy
and replied that he had no instructions on the subject but
would pass it on to his government.
President Houston was now in an advantageous position to
drive a bargain. Through the intervention of British agents,
Mexico had agreed to an armistice to discuss terms of peace.
Houston really expected nothing to come of the negotiations
but made use of the situation. He instructed Van Zandt to
say that the opening of negotiations for annexation would cause
Mexico to break off the armistice and probably invade Texas,
while England would be offended and withdraw its good offers.
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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/m1/78/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.