The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967 Page: 575
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The Callahan Expedition of 1855
4,000 fugitive Negroes in northern Mexico, valued at more than
$3,200,000, and that the "evil . . . [was] augmenting daily." He
warned, "Let men, goaded by frequent losses, once shoulder their
rifles and make a forward movement in direction of the Rio
Grande, and nothing short of success will satisfy them." If the
federal authorities continued to disregard the issue, they could
"look for trouble on the Rio Grande frontier."
Yet the problem was not a simple one. Since 1850 the United
States government had been negotiating for an extradition treaty
which would includes slaves, even offering a reciprocal agreement
which would include peons. The Mexicans, however, would not
consider such a stipulation.6 Indeed, the Mexican government
had welcomed Negro runaways for years. In 1831 Francisco, Man-
uel Sanchez de Tagle proposed that fugitive slaves be placed on
the border to guard against Anglo-American filibusters.' Three
years later Colonel Juan N. Almonte promised the prominent
abolitionist, Benjamin Lundy, that the Mexican government
would protect any members of a proposed ex-slave colony in
northern Mexico.8 Then when the Seminole Indian Chief, Wild
'The Texas State Times, June 2, 1855.
"In 1849 the Texas legislature petitioned the Federal government to negotiate
an extradition treaty with Mexico which would include runaway Negroes. H. P.
N. Gammel (comp.), The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 (io vols.; Austin, 1898),
III, 468-469. The following year Secretary of State John M. Clayton engaged Luis
de la Rosa, the Mexican minister in Washington, in negotiations for such a treaty,
but nothing was achieved. Clayton to Rosa, February 15, 1850, Notes to
Foreign Legations in the United States from the Department of State, 1834-19o6:
Mexico (Diplomatic Correspondence, Record Group No. 59, National Archives,
Washington, microfilm copy, Texas Christian University Library, Fort Worth).
Again, in 1853, United States Minister to Mexico James Gadsden secured permis-
sion from Secretary of State William L. Marcy to negotiate an extradition treaty
which would provide for the exchange of slaves for peons, but the Mexicans
refused. Gadsden then warned the United States consuls in Mexico that large
numbers of slaves were crossing the border and that they should not be recognized
as Mexican citizens because that might disrupt the harmony between the two
nations. Paul Neff Garber, The Gadsden Treaty (Philadelphia, 1923), 159-162;
Gadsden to Marcy, July 3, 1855, William R. Manning (ed.), Diplomatic Corre-
spondence of the United States: Inter-American Affairs, 1831-z86o (12 vols.; Wash-
ington, 1932-1939), IX, 719-721.
'A poet, professor, and politician, Sinchez de Tagle was active in many different
fields until his death in 1847. Diccionario Porrua de Historia y Geografiia de
Mdxico, 2nd ed. (1965), 1509.
"Thomas Earle (comp.), The Life, Travels and Opinions of Benjamin Lundy
(Philadelphia, 1847), 129; Merton L. Dillion, Benjamin Lundy and the Struggle
for Negro Freedom (Urbana, Illinois, 1966), 200-202.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967, periodical, 1967; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101199/m1/605/: accessed March 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.