Proceedings of the Senate and Documents Relative to Texas, from which the Injunction of Secrecy Has Been Removed Page: 39 of 119
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39 [ 341 ]
be acceptable, in favor of the abolition of slavery, but nothing more. In
reference to Texas, the suggestion that England had made or intended to
make the abolition of slavery the condition of any treaty arrangement with
her was wholly without foundation. It had never been alluded to in that
connexion. General Hamilton, as commissioner from Texas, had proposed
that England should make or guaranty a loan to Texas, to be used to
aid her in obtaining from Mexico the recognitiol of her independence, and
in other ways to promote the development of her resources; and he himself
(Lord Aberdeen) had at first thought somewhat favorably of the proposition,
considering Texas as a fine, promising country, which it would be
good policy to help through her temporary embarrassments. But on mentioning
the project to his colleagues, they deemed it wholly inexpedient,
nor did he himself continue to give it countenance; nor was the loan, as
proposed by General Hamilton, and at first favorably viewed by himself,
in the slightest degree connected with the abolition of slavery as a condition
or consequence. In the course of the last summer he had been waited
upon, as he supposed I was aware at the time, by a deputation of American
abolitionists, who were desirous of engaging the British Government
in some such measure, (viz: of a loan, connected with the abolition of
slavery,) but that he had given them no countenance whatever; he had
informed them that, by every proper means of influence, he would encourage
the abolition of slavery, and that he had recommended the Mexican
Government to interest itself in the matter; but he told them, at the outset,
that he should consider himself bound in good faith to repeat every thing
that might pass between them to the Texan charge d'affaires.
I told Lord Aberdeen that the conversation between himself and Lord
Brougham in the House of Lords, on the 1Sth day of August, had been
read with a great deal of sensibility in the United States; and, recapitulating
the substance of that conversation, as quoted in your despatch, I
observed that it was capable of being interpreted as a declaration on his
part that Her Majesty's Government were engaged in negotiations with
Mexico for the abolition of slavery in 'exas, not so much for the sake of
effecting that object in Texas as in the United States. Lord Aberdeen
said that Lord Brougham, in avowing his entire satisfaction with his
(Lord Aberdeen's) explanation, could only have referred to the matter
which was the direct object of inquiry, viz : the negotiations with Mexico
for the recognition of the independence of Texas, and the earnest hope
that the abolition of slavery might be effected by sucl an arrangement;
that too much importance must not be attached to the statements of this
kind in debate, which are not always reported with entire accuracy; that
it was most true that he was on that, as on all other occasions, desirous to
be understood as wishing the abolition of slavery wherever it exists; that
this was a sentiment in reference to which England was of one mind; and
whenever occasion called him to speak on the subject, he must express it;
but that I might be perfectly satisfied that England had nothing in view
in reference to Texas, which ought in the slightest degree to cause uneasiness
in the United States.
Such is the substance of Lord Aberdeen's remarks on the subject.
Aware of the great importance which would be attached to them, I took
them down in writing, as soon as I returned home, and sent the memo,randum
to Lord Aberdeen, requesting him, if it were inaccurate, to correct
it. This he did in some not material points; and the foregoing report of
,the conversation may therefore be regarded as entirely authentic.
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United States. Congress. Senate. Proceedings of the Senate and Documents Relative to Texas, from which the Injunction of Secrecy Has Been Removed, book, 1844; [Washington]. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2363/m1/39/: accessed February 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .