Heritage, Volume 3, Number 4, Spring 1986 Page: 21
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Daily he would go along Jermyn Street (it is
still there) down to St. James's Street to the
Texas Legation on Pickering Place. If you are
ever in London, go visit the site of the Texas
Legation. It is a little walkway near St. James's
Palace. At #3 St. James's Place there is a plaque
marking the spot. The legation was above
a liquor store which has been there since
1699. It is still there. Berry Bros. and Rudd,
Ltd. I went into the shop one day. I asked the
clerk about the exact location of the legation
because I wasn't sure. He said a lot of people
come in and ask about that, then turned and
walked away. To be remembered, Ashbel.
I went to Paris to track down where our legation
was there. There were three different
spots-same neighborhood-apparently because
we couldn't pay our rent. We were always
getting thrown out. Smith had a busy time.
There were letters of request from relatives of
Europeans who had gone to Texas and simply
disappeared. Texas put a tax on French wine
which had caused problems, but mostly Smith
reported to the Secretary of State, Anson
Jones, who later became President of Texas,
on how Texas' fortunes were going on the continent.
The Smith-to-Jones and Jones-toSmith
letters reflected the ups and downs on
our foreign affairs. "Our country and institutions
are rapidly becoming more highly and
more justly appreciated both in England and
on the Continent," at one time Smith wrote
Jones. Then, "In France, I find the best disposition
to think favorably of Texas . . ," he
wrote, "but the opposition newspapers of
Texas so bewray our country, defame our government,
insult our administration that persons
in Europe can not put confidence in our
institutions or credit our ability for selfgovernment."
"Except for these calumnies of our country
coming from our own citizens, we might have
been recognized by nearly every Power in Europe.
The extracts from our newspapers which
find their way into foreign prints are, as you
can readily conceive, chiefly such as vilify our
Government. What effect such articles produce
in Texas I am unable to say; but I know
that abroad, they do the country great and unmitigated
damage and disgrace, unredeemed
by any good whatever."
The diplomat winds up that particular report
with: "I have great reason to fear that several
of my despatches as well as private letters to
the President and Secretary of State are lost in
the Post Offices of the United States."
As a young nation, Texas learned quickly the
two principals of international diplomacy: 1)
blame it on the press, and, if that fails, 2)
blame it on the U.S. Post Office.
After two and a half years in Europe, Ashbel
Smith was recalled to be the new Secretary of
State in Anson Jones' administration. Smith
HERITAGE SPRING 86
reported to Jones in his last letter, "I leave behind
me at the courts to which I have been
accredited a reputation for capacity and conduct
of which I am not ashamed."
It is very interesting if you can get a chance (I
did several times looking for these things) to
go through these archives. You know Europeans
never throw anything away. They keep
everything. You go back through archives and
you will see treaties signed and validated in
Hamburg, Paris, London. There are always big
folders. One side is the version, for instance,
for the British; the other side is Texan. In the
case of the English/French version, one side is
in French; the other is English. One is signed
by the British, Lord Aberdeen, Representative
of the Queen, Protector of the Faith, Defender
of the Crown, Order of Order, signed Lord
Aberdeen. On the other side it says, "Ashbel
Another one of my pesonal favorites is Lorenzo
de Zavala. The first vice president of the
Republic of Texas. De Zavala spoke Spanish,
English and French and became the Mexican
Ambassador to France. He is probably the best
educated and most literate man in Revolutionary
Texas. Ashbel Smith came later. One
wonders how he got along with the scrubby
band of our Founding Fathers. Apparently
rather well, because he was always being called
on for one job or another. He was sort of the
George Bush of his time. He signed our Declaration
of Independence. He was buried on the
plantation over here on the decisive battlefield.
The Sesquicentennial project of Pasadena
is trying to find his grave. It has been
lost. They think it may be under water due to
subsidence. It is hard to believe that a man of
that stature, after all he did for our state and
our people and our country, is lying in a lost
grave. No one knows where it is. He was a
And he's an interesting guy: Governor of the
State of Mexico and defender of the Constitution.
Now when Santa Anna took over and
threw away the Constitution, de Zavala got on
the other side. You have to remember there
was a civil war going on in Mexico at the
time. Santa Anna came up here. De Zavala
did everything for us.
Other favorites of mine are the Sequins;
Erasmo and his son, Juan. Erasmo was the alcalde
of Bexar and an early enemy of Santa
Anna, along with Juan. He was a delegate to
the convention of 1836 and was supposed to
sign the Declaration of Independence, but was
too sick to attend that particular ceremony.
His son Juan recruited his own company of
soldiers for the Texas Army and was posted to
the Alamo, where he would have perished except
that Travis ordered him to take a message
out because Sequin was Hispanic and could
Sequin raised more troops after he got out of
the Alamo, joined Houston's retreating army,
and engaged in several fights with Santa
Anna's troops. Prior to the Battle of San Jacinto,
Houston told Sequin and his men to
stay back and guard the sick and the baggage.
In an army that had no uniforms, no uniformity
of any kind, Houston was afraid that his
Spanish speaking soldiers would be mistaken
for the troops of the Mexican Army and would
be shot by their own men.
Sequin, through an interpreter, declared to
Houston, "We certainly did not join your
army, General, to ride herd on sick folks. We
men from Bexar have more grievances to
settle with the Santanistas than anyone else,
for we have suffered the most from them. We
want to fight." Houston replied, "Spoken like
a man. Take your place in line." They did.
My last hero. I want a large round of enthusiastic
applause for the father of our country,
Henry Shoemaker. That was more than he
On the first Monday of August in 1842, Shoemaker
suddenly remembered a promise he had
made. He put aside his chores and saddled up
a horse to ride the 12 miles into Kendallville
to vote. Shoemaker worked on a farm near
Smithfield Township, DeKalf County, in the
Far northeast part of Indiana. The area had
been busy that summer of '42 as politicians
campaigned for local offices. There was also
one other slot open-reappointment had
given a single representative in the Indiana
State Legislature to DeKalb and the adjoining
On that Monday, Shoemaker remembered
that he had promised his vote to Madison
Marsh, the Democratic candidate for the legislature.
He arrived late on Monday afternoon
and went to the polling place. The Indiana
Committee on Elections later reported in its
investigation, "When he applied to vote, the
inspector handed him a sheet of tickets, but as
all of them contained the name of Enos Beall
for Representative, Shoemaker inquired for
'another kind', and the inspector handed him
a sheet of tickets with the name of Madison
Marsh for Representative. He then inquired of
the same inspector if he 'had scissors or a knife
to cut them with,' and the latter handed him a
At that point Shoemaker-not wishing to
vote the straight party ticket of either the
Whigs or the Democrats-quite literally split
his ballot. While the voting inspector looked
on, the farmhand deftly cut out the names of
the candidates he wanted, then handed the
scraps to the inspector, three small sheets
folded inside a larger one. The inspector took
the pieces of paper and placed them in the
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 3, Number 4, Spring 1986, periodical, March 1, 1986; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45441/m1/21/: accessed May 28, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.