Since 1843, political attention was focused on the possibility of the United States bringing Texas into its territory. Those against it were keen to defeat every avenue that opened as a route to it happening. Those for it, kept up the heat. Sam Houston, some say, was for it the day he left his last conversation with Andrew Jackson before entering Texas for the first time.
Jackson and Houston had known each other for many years. Houston served under Jackson and distinguished himself in the Creek War. Later when Jackson was President, Houston was Governor of Jackson's home state of Tennessee. When Houston completed his term as the first elected President of the Republic of Texas, his first trip was to the Hermitage in Tennessee to visit Andrew Jackson. That Jackson and Houston wanted Texas in the union there is little doubt, but to suggest it was more than two men with similar points of view effecting each in his own way and own career to make it happen, is not supportable. Jackson's interest in making Texas a part of the United States dates back to when as an early supporter of Aaron Burr, he supported taking territory from Spain and then joining it to the United States. When Burr's plans took an egomaniacal and disloyal slant, Jackson separated himself from the project. Andrew Jackson was called to testify during Burr's trial.
Andrew Jackson went about obtaining Spanish territory contiguous to the United States for the United States, his way. Jackson as a United State's general was responsible for bringing the Floridas into the United States from Spain. The responsibilities of the presidency would not allow him to do what he did as a commander in the field. For six years (2/1829-3/1836), Jackson's man in Mexico, Charges de Affairs Anthony Butler, attempted to acquire Texas for the United States. You can bet Jackson cheered vicariously Sam Houston's victory at San Jacinto. When Texas won its independence, everyone wished it to join the union, but politics got in the way. The southern states realizing that Texas was basically one of its own, pushed hard for annexation. The North/South issue was just beginning to polarize U.S. politics. The South realized that if Texas entered the union as one or more states it would increase its influence. This was important because it was obvious that the remaining territory within U. S. jurisdiction was aligning themselves with the political views of the northeast. State's rights became the first issue, it was quickly followed by one of the rights the southern states wanted, slavery. Jackson correctly saw the issue as something he would rather not address. When he left the presidency in 1840 his hands were no longer tied diplomatically and he was able to again aid in making Texas a part of the Union. He lobbied hard for Texas to be made part of the United States.
Sam Houston was jilted in his first attempt to make Texas a part of the United States, and although Jackson no doubt took pains to explain the how and why, Houston would not attempt it again until he could get it done. As in his first election as President of the Republic of Texas, Houston's goal was to effect the mandate that accompanied him into office, annexation. Now, he knew it was not something to be taken for granted. Political strategy needed to be devised and implemented to insure annexation would occur. Efforts would need to be made in Texas, the United States, Mexico, France and England.
Houston could show Mexican officials, who would listen, the Santa Fe and Mier expeditions were not ordered by him, nor undertaken by the Texas Army. If they could set the emotions aside that these two excursions caused, and negotiate; the two entities need not be in a constant state of continual war. Mexico listened. Knowing there were others talking in Texas' other ear.
The United States-
Jackson was no longer President, Martin Van Buren, a Jacksonian Democrat, was elected in 1840 (Dutchman Van Buren owed his ascendancy to a shy little rogue with a cute little brogue, with a sweet personality, and full of rascality ....Peggy O'Neil; but, that is another story).
To Washington D. C., Houston sent as his representative, James Reilly, an Irishman who was an Indian fighter on the frontier, studied law under Abraham Lincoln's father-in-law, Robert Todd, married Henry Clay's niece, and had been a Texas Congressman. Reilly knew the political game. This Irishman was Houston's point man for annexation.
Houston, too, knew politics. When he saw his mentor Jackson unable to do what both wanted, it was a foregone conclusion the weaker Martin Van Buren was not going to stick his neck out for Texas.
Mirabeau Bonaparte Lamar's view of Texas did not include annexation. He dreamed of empire, creating a Texas Republic that stretched from the Gulf of Mexico through New Mexico and Arizona on into California to the Pacific Ocean. Lamar saw Texas not as a part of the United States, but in competition with the United States for territorial expansion. Houston was aware of how this was seen in Washington. An example is taken from a floor debate in the United States House of Representatives regarding Texas. Representative Henry A. Wise responded to a speech against Texas given by Representative John Quincy Adams:
We have but two alternatives before us; either to receive Texas into our fraternity of States and make her our own; or leave her to conquer Mexico, and become our most dangerous and formidable rival...
Adam's objection to Texas was that it practiced slavery. There were many in Congress that wanted to see the United States grow, and wanted Texas to be a part of that growth, but not if it also meant the expansion of slavery.
When Houston was re-elected he found the United States still politically hamstrung with regard to Texas, more over, even peeved for endangering U.S. lives. The Santa Fe expedition threatened the lives of American traders who did a brisk business along the Santa Fe Trail (blazed by Irishman Joseph Walker). The launching of the expedition showed some that Texas would indeed bring it to war with Mexico. The failure of the expedition showed others that Texas was weak and unable to back up its claims.
Mexico had a population of over seven million, Texas about seventy thousand. Many U.S. politicians believed if Mexico ever seriously wanted to take Texas back, it could be over quickly. Perhaps, they felt, some time should pass before the idea of acquiring any portion of Texas was actively considered. Even then they felt it should be done cautiously by only bringing Texas in as a territory, and only that area physically controlled by Texas. There was a large difference between the territory Texas claimed and what it actually controlled.
When it first became known to Texas that the United States was not going to welcome her into her bosom in 1836, Houston and his Secretary of State, Stephen F. Austin discussed a strategy that might pressure a recalcitrant United States to action. It had only been 21 years since the United States was in a shooting war with England, and over the intervening years the two fought many diplomatic battles: the Rush - Bagot Agreement of 1817; fishing rights; the Oregon Joint-Occupation Agreement; the invasion of Florida; the Monroe Doctrine; West Indian trade; the "Caroline" affair; the McLeod Affair (where England threatened war in 1840); the slave trade; the Maine boundary, the Webster-Ashburton Treaty; and the problems over Oregon (54-40 or Fight). Everytime the United States was cool to Texas, Houston got warm with England, which made the United States hot. The United States did not want a war with Mexico. They knew annexation of Texas would probably lead to one, but it wanted even less a British presence north (Canada) and south (Texas). To be surrounded on land by the very power they worked hard to separate themselves from, and the very power which in the last several years attempted to contain U. S. growth, was the greater of the two evils. This consideration also swayed some of those concerned about the growth of slavery. Better to take control of Texas and work towards removing slavery than to give it up to the British. This position was taken by some abolitionists even though they knew England would not tolerate slavery in her sphere of influence.
During the presidential elections of 1836, Martin Van Buren faced William Henry Harrison. While Harrison wanted to debate the issues, Van Buren won because he wore the mantle of popular Andrew Jackson. Four years later in the elections of 1840, the voters had learned Van Buren was no Andrew Jackson and William Henry Harrison was again his opponent.
< William Henry Harrison
Early in the campaign, in an attempt to put some distance between the urbane Van Buren and the less educated Harrison, the Democrats wrote that Harrison would be at home with a log cabin and hard cider. The Whig party, attuned to the public's thinking of Van Buren as a "stuffed shirt", jumped on the comment and made it a part of the campaign. Log cabin campaign headquarters were opened that offered log cabin cider. Songs, slogans and chants mixing the log cabin theme with Harrison's popular victory over the Indians at Tippecanoe were used to great effect and he was elected. William Henry Harrison had some Irwins and McDowells in his ancestry. A month and a day after his inauguration he was dead of pneumonia contracted while giving, on a cold and snowy day without a hat, the longest inaugural speech of any president before him. In April of 1841, John Tyler, the Vice-President of the United States, assumed the office of President when William Henry Harrison died. Tyler was the first Vice-President to assume the office. He was considered something of an afterthought by the party that nominated him, as was clearly shown in the campaign's slogan, "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too". Tyler inherited a cabinet and a party that did not want him as President. When Tyler successfully oppossed Henry Clay, the party leader on a number of issues, his entire cabinet (actually Harrision's) resigned except Secretary of State, Daniel Webster. Webster stayed on to finish negotiating the difficult boundary treaty with England over the northern boundary of Maine. When this was done in 1842, he too resigned.
Tyler appointed in September, 1841, Albert Miller Lea as Acting Secretary of War until Tyler's preferred choice, John McLean, could take office. Albert Lea was a graduate of West Point. His ancestral lines share the same Celtic trunk as Robert E. Lee. Genealogists say three brothers came to America, each spelling their names differently; Lee, Lea and Leigh. Albert Lea's first assignment after graduation was not the one chosen for him. He switched assignments with fellow West Pointer John Magruder. Lea headed a topographical mapping expedition into the Wisconsin Territory that resulted in a lake and a town being named for him. The town is Albert Lea in present day Minnesota. In 1836, Lea wrote a book on his experiences. In the book he suggested the name "Iowa" be considered as the name for a new state to be taken from the territory. This was done. Albert Miller Lea is mentioned because he eventually served four presidents, Jackson, Van Buren, Tyler and Fillmore; but also because, on a later day he served Texas with personal poignancy.
Tyler, himself, supported Texas coming into the union, but he was in a position where his party, the Whigs, did not support him, and the Democrats didn't trust him. In 1843 - 1844, England was very aggressive on the diplomatic front. When it was learned the United States actually lost territory in the Maine negotiations, the mood in Washington was decidedly anti - English. The next boundary to be settled was Oregon. There was much pressure for a U.S victory at the bargaining table. In the last year of his presidency, Houston began to see the "English card" strategy pay off.
In 1843, President Tyler sent Irishman William S. Murphy as the Charge d'affaires for the United States to Texas and reopened annexation talks. Murphy was also U.S. Minister Extraordinary to Central America. In 1844, John C. Calhoun again became Secretary of State.
Calhoun was an Irishman, the New York Tribune referred to him as an Irishman and a fighter; "..the fine old Celt was warrior every inch. Calhoun called his son, "our little Irishman, Patrick." His son was named after Calhoun's father, Patrick Calhoun. John Caldwell Calhoun wanted Texas in the Union years before. As a United States Senator in May of 1836, he proposed recognition of Texas as an independent republic and declared for consideration for immediate admission to the United States.
< John C. Calhoun
Since 1817, Calhoun served in high office. He was Secretary of State in the Monroe Administration, Vice - President in the Adam's and Jackson administrations, and was now Secretary of State for President Tyler. He knew more than anyone the deviousness of the British and the game they played. In 1844 he wrote Murphy in Texas; " had he the power the (U.S.) army would doubtless be ordered right into Texas to repel any attack on her". When Calhoun realized Texas did want talks, he did exactly what he said and arranged for troops to be assigned to the Texas border at Fort Jesup. When talks were under way, he sent some of these men to a camp outside Corpus Christi and U. S. warships took an active stance in the Gulf.
Incidently the English Consul in Texas during these days was Dublin born William Kennedy, previously he was the Texas Consul in London in 1842. The Mexican Minister to England was Tomas Murphy, the British Consul in Mexico was Ewan C. Mackintosh. The American Minister to Mexico was Powaton Ellis who was replaced by Waddy Thompson. The American Minister to England in 1843 was again, Louis McClane. The British Foreign Minister was Lord Aberdeen. Houston's minister in Washington was James Pinckney Henderson. He worked closely with Calhoun on the Treaty of Annexation. All of these men had a Celtic connection. Lord Palmerston, Aberdeen's predecessor, was born in Ireland.
In April of 1844 the United States and Texas signed Calhoun's treaty for the annexation of Texas. The Texan who offered the bill in the Texas legislature was John S. Ford, an Irishman we will hear from again. In the treaty, Texas would enter the Union as a Territory. The Calhoun Treaty was sent to the United States Senate for ratification on April 22nd. It needed to receive a two thirds majority to pass as stated in U. S. law for treaties. On June 8th, 1844 the Senate rejected the treaty, the first major treaty ever rejected by a U. S. Senate. The vote was 35 - 16, two thirds of the Senate voted against the treaty. The main reason was Calhoun's leadership. To many he was the leader of the pro-slavery faction in the Senate.
William Murphy personally committed to Sam Houston the protection of the United States during the negotiations. The U. S. Senate felt he overstepped his bounds and did not confirm him in his appointment. He died of yellow fever in Galveston July 12, 1844, the third U. S. Minister to die in Texas since 1840.
MODERATORS AND REGULATORS
Houston turned his attention to internal affairs. Since 1839, when Charles W. Jackson killed Joseph G. Goodbread in Shelbyville, there had been a running feud in the area between two groups of people known as the Regulators and the Moderators. In 1841, Houston' former Secretary of the Navy during the Texas Revolution, Robert Potter, who was a Texas State Senator in 1841, was a victim of the ongoing violence. The subsequent trial and notoriety and some scandolous revelations (covered in a later chapter) focused the state's attention on the feud. In 1842, William H. Jack, author of the Turtle Bayou Resolutions and also a Texas Senator was murdered by Moderators. Both groups, Regulators, and Moderators, claimed to be bringing an end to lawlessness in the Shelbyville area. In truth, both groups were rival vigilante bands fighting for control of illegal trade in the area, that had its origins in the Neutral Ground agreement. Shelbyville and the entire surrounding area were a part of what was known as the Neutral Ground, where no law ruled for many years. When the Republic was established, the border area was still in dispute and the Neutral Ground an area of discussion between Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana. No one party asserted authority over any of the area they claimed so that the illegal activity continued. The Regulators organized the activity, until the Moderators challenged them.
Robert McAlpin Williamson, who was a Judge of the Texas Supreme Court as a result of his position as Judge of the Third Judicial District, once rode into Shelbyville to open court. Shelbyville at the time was contested turf between the Moderators and the Regulators. Williamson was seated at a table waiting to open the court when a local strode up to the table and slapped down loudly a Bowie knife declaring "..this here's the law in Shelby County." The story goes that Judge Williamson, without missing a beat, drew a loaded pistol from his belt, banged it down on the knife and said "..and this represents the Constitution which I am here to enforce, this honorable court is now in session, all rise."
In 1844, Houston sent a force of 600 militia to restore order. Alexander Horton arrested ten of the leaders from both sides and brought them before Sam Houston at San Augustine. Houston convinced the leaders to sign a peace treaty to end the bloodshed. One of the signatures was of John H. McNairy.
PRESIDENTS AND ANNEXATION
The 1844 Presidential elections then took hold of the country. In May of 1844, the Democratic convention went to nine ballots with Martin Van Buren as the front runner but unable to garner enough votes to obtain the party nomination. Andrew Jackson still a power in Democratic party politics, supported James K. Polk. On the tenth ballot, Polk was made the Democratic nominee with George Dallas as his Vice President. Polk was an avowed supporter of Texas annexation. He made it clear that a vote for him was a vote for the annexation of Texas and a favorable settlement of the Oregon dispute. In the Fall, the election of Polk as the next President, endorsed his claim that the people wanted the Texas and Oregon questions settled with both made a part of the Union.
Sam Houston and Polk were no strangers. Their backgrounds were very similar. Polk was Irish, his family came from County Donegal, his mother was Jane Knox. A longtime supporter of Jacksonian Democracy, Polk held the U.S. Congressional seat, Houston once held, for seven terms.
< James K. Polk
In addition Polk served twice as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and was Governor of Tennessee. This meant he had a lot of influence in the House. The Senate was another matter and continued to be a problem. Sam Houston again became cozy with the British in negotiations to find a way to have Mexico recognize Texas independence.
Tyler interpreted Polk's election as a means to further his views on Texas. Tyler does not have a direct Irish connection that I could find; but there must have been something. His sisters; Elizabeth and Nancy, both married General McNiels, John and Sullivan McNiel. Tyler's brother was named John Sullivan Tyler. A son had Fitzalen as a middle name. Another of President Tyler's sons, Robert Tyler, was President of an Irish-American group called the Irish Repeal Society in Philadelphia. Robert Tyler was elected to be president of the Irish organization in 1844 and lobbied hard for Irish issues in Pennsylvania and New York. He is quoted in a speech as wanting "to drive the Redcoats from the Northwest". Years later Robert Tyler raised an Irish-American company for the Mexican War.
< John Tyler
In March of 1844, President Tyler expressed the "liveliest interest" in the Irish struggle for freedom against England. During John Tyler's senatorial career, he served as Chairman of the District of Columbia Committee. In that position he sought to prohibit slavery in the District. He publically stated he appreciated very much the Catholic Church's position on the slavery question. Tyler always ran well in his elections in Catholic areas. In later years a Catholic priest, the Reverend James Ryder, S. J., a former President of Georgetown University, was on his campaign team.
The strongest Celtic connection was his wife, 30 years his junior. Her name was Julia Gardiner, a name of Scottish origin. Her mother was the former Juliana McLachlan. Julia Tyler lobbied hard for Texas by throwing many parties which brought the right parties together to discuss the issue and how to accomplish it.
.............................................Julia Gardiner Tyler >
President Tyler decided upon a strategy originally offered by former Governor, and later Democratic Senator George McDuffie of South Carolina.
Tyler proposed to get around the two third majority vote requirement in the Senate by not proposing Texas be annexed by treaty, but by McDuffie's plan calling for a Joint Resolution of the House and Senate which when signed by the President would become law. The beauty of this strategy was that such a bill only required a simple majority to pass. Even at this, many doubted it could be done. After all Calhoun's treaty was voted down by 35 - 16. It would take upwards of 23 votes to pass, under the new proposal depending on abstentions and no shows.
Through out this period there was a truce with Mexico. Mexico wanted to try and stop Texas from being absorbed by the United States. If Texas stayed independent, there was a chance it could again become a part of Mexico. England, and France were also working hard to keep Texas independent. England had worked out a plan in 1843-44 whereby the United States, Mexico, England, and France would guarantee Texas independence so long as Texas would not allow itself to become a part of another nation. When England saw this tactic being used by Calhoun to show English manipulation and to gather votes in the U. S. Senate for annexation, they stopped it. When Calhoun's annexation treaty failed, they brought it back but without the United States as a part of it. These negotiations were ongoing, in fact were being heightened, while the United States government sought a way to bring Texas into the fold.
Texas in the meantime was playing both ends against the middle. Houston's term as President was over in 1844. He was succeeded by a man he supported, Anson Jones who had been his Secretary of State and knew well the game that was being played. Jones' Vice-President was Kenneth Lewis Anderson, a man of Scottish heritage. Anderson was previously the Speaker of the Texas House. He was law partners with Thomas Jefferson Rusk, and James Pinckney Henderson. Anson Jones had as his Secretary of War, Irishman William G. Cooke.
Texas was a topic of discussion throughout the United States and much was written about Texas and the Texans, both for and against. Demonstrating the attention Texas was getting was out of hand, was a tract written by Edward Everett Hale entitled "How to Conquer Texas, before Texas Conquers Us."
A new Congress was seated with Polk's election, Tyler could see the voting would be close, very close. The bill for Texas annexation was worked on by Tyler, Calhoun, Polk, and his proposed Secretary of State James Buchanan, and by William Murphy and his replacement, Andrew Jackson Donelson, another Celt from Tennessee.
...........................................................................................James Buchanan >
Donelson, pictured to the left, found British intrigue and wrote Buchanan, " Texas will be as ready as we are to defend the 'Star Spangled Banner', and denounce British dictation." The bill these Celtic men worked on was more generous than Calhoun had offered in 1844. Texas was to be admitted as a state. Its public property, forts, barracks, custom houses and such would become the property of the United States. It would retain its public land, and its own debt. At any time Texas could divide into four additional states (in addition to the State of Texas). The flag of Texas, which was the flag of a former independent Republic, would fly at the same level as the United States flag. The United States would negotiate the Texas borders. The lobbying for the bill was intense.
Among the many people working hard for passage of the bill was the President's family; his sons, John Jr. and Robert; his wife's brother, Alexander Gardiner, who made the connection to Polk's people through the President-elect's brother, Major William H. Polk. William Polk was given a diplomatic post to help seal the working relationship for annexation.
Also working hard for annexation in Washington D. C. was a young woman who at one time wanted to be a Texas empresario, Jane McManus. Miss McManus was now the divorced Mrs. Jane McManus Storms. Through active letter writing and the writing of essays published in a number of New York and Washington newspapers, the former Jame McManus pushed for the annexation of Texas. Her correspondents included Presidents of Texas and the United States, members of the Congress and Cabinet, and powerful men not in office.
Mrs. Tyler made a big event of the last official Whitehouse Ball, inviting Republic of Texas officials , President - Elect Polk and all the players in the drama of the coming Senate vote were invited. At one point, early in the evening, Mrs. Tyler had Judge John McClean offer a toast to "Texas and John Tyler."
In February 1845, the bill was passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 120 yeas over 90 nays and then sent to the Senate. After much debate the vote was taken. It passed narrowly, by two votes. The final tally was 27 for, 25 against. If just one vote was lacking, it would not have passed.
One of the Washington papers said; "It passed by chance". Every southern Democrat voted for the bill, as did six northern Democrats who did not vote for the treaty. Several southern Whigs voted for the annexation of Texas. One of the key votes in the Senate was that of Senator Edward Hannegan of Indiana. Hannegan was not a Democrat, and therefore his vote was very important. Hannegan was an Irishman. Senator Edward Allen Hannegan was the presiding officer when the question of statehood for Texas came before the U. S. Senate. The result was a tie, 26 -26. Hannegan, as the Presiding Officer cast his vote for annexation breaking a tie and allowing Texas to be eligible to be admitted as a state to the United States. Another Senator, when the tie was broken, changed his vote from against to abstain accounting for the 27 - 25 vote.
< Edward A. Hannegan
Hannegan would not have been in the Senate that fateful day let alone the Interim President of the Senate and thus the presiding officer had he not won his office by the vote, in the state legislature, of one man. That man was state legislator Daniel Kelso, another Irishman who had been elected to his office by the vote of one man.
Among the Democratic leaders on the issue, Mc Duffie was a key Senator who voted for the measure, in which he played no small part. Democratic Senator Robert J. Walker tagged a clever amendment to the bill that gave the President the option of accepting the joint resolution or renegotiating a new treaty. This allowed many fence sitters to vote for the bill that otherwise would have caused them to make a difficult decision. It was Walker earlier, in 1836, who utilized a similar ploy with an amendment to an appropriations bill that got Texas recognized as a republic in the Jackson administration. Another key Democratic Senator was Lewis Cass from Michigan. He was of Irish ancestry. Cass County, Texas was named in appreciation for his helping Texas. Lewis Cass is Pictured to the right.
If you wish to read the Joint Resolution follow the linkto a page provided by Yale University and the Avalon Project >
The Joint Resolution was put before Tyler who signed it February 26, 1845, three days before Polk was inaugurated. The ball was now in Texas' court. It had, under the terms of the bill, until January 1, 1846 to present a state constitution for congressional approval.
England began to work overtime to influence Texas not to join the Union. So important was keeping Texas out of the Union, England even considered using force! Evidence of this is found in official English papers of the period.
Let us pause to consider the English
Who when they pause to consider themselves
They get all reticently thrilled and tinglish...
When foreigners ponder world affairs,
why sometimes by doubt they are smitten,
But Englishmen know instinctively that
what the world needs most
Is whatever is best for Great Britain.
England was able to get Mexico to sign the agreement guaranteeing Texas independence so far as Texas did not join another nation. Both the United States and the English-Mexican offers were under consideration by the Texas government.
Texans were overwhelmingly in favor of annexation. So strongly did Three-legged Willie lobby for annexation, he named his son Willie Annexus. The Texas Congress rejected the Mexican proposal. President Jones appropriately called for a Constitutional Convention to be convened in Austin on July 4th, 1845. Thomas Jefferson Rusk was elected President of that convention. One of the principal writers of the first state constitution at the convention was Joseph Lewis Hogg.
In December, Texas voters approved the U.S. proposal and the proposed State Constitution, they also elected Irishmen Sam Houston and Thomas Jefferson Rusk as the first two Texas United States Senators.
The last Vice President of the Republic of Texas, Kenneth Anderson, ran for governor. He was considered the leading contender when he became ill during a stop in Fanthrop, Texas. The entire town became involved in his illness, hoping he would recover. The townspeople wanted to make his stay as comfortable as possible. When he died in Fanthrop, it so affected the town, they changed the name to Anderson to honor the Scotchman. Anderson County was also named after him. His law partner, James Pinckney Henderson, took up the campaign.
James Pinckney Henderson was elected the first Governor of the State of Texas. He was of Celtic heritage. He was Irish on his mother's side and Scottish on his father's side. Henderson, as a Minister of the Republic of Texas negotiated trade treaties with England and France that were tantamount to recognition by both countries before formal recognition was made. He had also served the republic as a Brigadier General, Attorney General, and as a Secretary of State, all in 1836. In 1844, Henderson was Houston's and Texas' minister in Washington D. C.
Henderson's wife, Frances, played an important part in establishing the Episcopal Church in East Texas.
Also elected in the election of December, 1845 was Edward Burleson who was President Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate, and Thomas Ward who was Sergeant-at-arms of the Texas Senate.
On December 29th, the U.S. Congress accepted the Texas Constitution. On February 19, 1846, the U.S. flag was carried into Austin by Sam Houston's cousin, Daniel William McKenzie. In a public ceremony the Texas flag was lowered and in its place was raised the American flag. The Republic of Texas was no more.
That the Irish played an important part in making Texas a part of the United States, there is no doubt. From Kelso to Hannegan, to Donelson, and Murphy, the people essential to making it happen were Irish. Three Presidents involved; Jackson, Polk and Houston were Irish. Two U. S. Secretaries of State; Calhoun, and Buchanan (who would be President) were Irish. Certainly there were other key people who were not Irish. Tyler for one, but he credited his Celtic wife and her parties. He presented her the gold pen with which he signed the Joint Resolution into law. Julia Tyler wore it proudly around her neck.
The map to the left shows the general boundaries of the United States of America, Texas and Mexico as the United States and Texas understood them to be at the time of the annexation of Texas by the United States. Mexico still felt Texas was part of Mexico albeit temporarily seperate due to the Texas Revolution. Now they had more than Texas to fight for the territory.
MEXICAN REACTION, TEXAN/AMERICAN ACTION
Mexico was aware Calhoun, in 1844, strengthened Fort Jesup with 16 additional companies of troops and dispatched soldiers to Corpus Christi and U.S. warships into the Gulf of Mexico. In July of 1846, President Polk dispatched General Zachary Taylor with more troops. They joined the others in Corpus Christi.
The American Army had not seen war action since the days of Andrew Jackson at New Orleans, except for the encounters with the Indians on the frontier. The Battle of New Orleans was more than thirty years earlier, the American Army had changed since then. It was smaller, the authorized strength of the United States Army in 1846 was 734 officers and 7,885 enlisted men. Actual strength of the army was somewhere near 6,500. In July of 1846, General Zachary Taylor had with him at Corpus Christi about 4,000 U. S troops, more than half the whole U. S. Army, a large percentage of which were Celtic.
The Mexican Army stood at 25,000 men, 75% of whom were Indians, the rest were almost all Mestizos. Both armies could be readily enlarged by militias and volunteers.
While Taylor was in Corpus Christi, the Mexicans were sending patrols into the Nueces Strip. When statehood was passed for Texas, Polk declared, as arbiter of the border for Texas, the Rio Grande to be the border. Mexican President Mariano Paredes reacted by declaring Mexican territory began not at the Rio Grande, not at the Neches, but at the Sabine River.
For nine months, Polk negotiated with Mexico attempting to buy Texas and California. For those same nine months, Taylor drilled and prepared his men at Kinney's trading post. Helping to move supplies and men about were two men who would later play an important part in Texas history, Irishman Mifflin Kenedy, captain of a steamboat; and his pilot, Richard King, also a man of Irish heritage. These men moved Taylor's troops and supplies into place.
When it became obvious to President Polk the Mexicans were not willing to negotiate and rebuffed his ambassador, he sent Taylor into the Nueces Strip, to make for the Rio Grande.