The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949 Page: 41
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The First Treaty of the Republic of Texas
tenant Senate resolution; but no more so than to accept Houston's
unique reasoning when he added:
According to every principle of international law, a treaty is binding
until rejected. During the interregnum which occurs between the
time of the formation of a treaty, and the ratification and exchange
of it between the contracting parties, it is as binding as the solemnity
of a nation's faith can make it. It only becomes inoperative after it
has been formally rejected."8
Probably General Houston was inclined to rationalize, for the
above statements were made after he had taken some steps to
carry out the provisions of the treaty. Undoubtedly these actions
were based in part upon his general predilections in favor of
Indians-especially the Cherokees, since previously he had lived
among and become an honorary chieftain of one of those tribes
-a story too well known among students of Texas history to be
retold here. For the uninitiated, however, no brief statement can
explain better the stand he felt Texas officially should take to-
wards the Indians than one he had made in his inaugural address,
on October 22, 1836:
A subject of no small importance is the situation of an extensive
frontier, bordered by Indians, and open to their depredations. Treaties
of peace and amity, and the maintenance of good faith with the
Indians, present them selves to my mind as the most rational grounds
on which to obtain their friendship. Let us abstain on our part from
aggressions, establish commerce with the different tribes, supply their
useful and necessary wants, maintain even-handed justice with them,
and natural reason will teach them the utility of our friendship.'9
Houston later stated that the crisis existing in Texan affairs at
the time the treaty was drawn up was sufficient to justify the
making of extravagant promises, unauthorized and not to be
redeemed, in order to keep the Indians on friendly terms. Yet he
gave every evidence of a firm belief in the validity of their claims
to the lands as specified in the Declaration of the Consultation, a
1sSmither, Journals of the Fourth Congress of the Republic of Texas, II, 230;
Williams and Barker, Writings of Sam Houston, II, 346. Houston is engaged in
further debate on the Cherokee Land Bill. Cf. footnote 15.
loJournal of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas, 1st Cong.,
ist Sess., October 22, 1836, 84-88. The address is conveniently printed in Williams
and Barker, Writings of Sam Houston, I, 448-452.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949, periodical, 1949; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101121/m1/47/: accessed October 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.