George W. Terrell to Ashbel Smith, February 13, 1845

Page 6

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George W. Terrell to Ashbel Smith, February 1845

was put directly to me on a subject of national

policy, and I was bound to answer it according to

the truth. It is well known to be the settled policy

of the British Govt to wish the abolition of slavery throughout the

civilized world — but she will never attempt any

interference with the domestic institutions of any friendly

power, farther than her advice and counsel will

go. And you may assure your Govt that we

will not bring the subject of slavery into negotiation

at all between the two countries
. We might have

done so with propriety at one time had we wished to

do it; when we recognized your independence we

might have said to you, you must first free all

your slaves and then we will recognize you as an

independent nation — but having recognized you

with this institution in force, we would have no

right now to interfere with the subject, nor do

we intend to do so

This I believe was about the substance of the interview

between the Earl and myself. From this and indeed from

all that has transpired since I have been here, I am con-

vinced that the sentiments of the British Cabinet towards

Texas are of a very liberal character, and entertain no

doubt that if annexation do not take place we can

obtain a highly advantageous commercial treaty from

them. You will please therefore forward me definite

instructions as to the specific propositions I shall lay

before the Cabinet. I shall await (as I was directed to do)

instructions from your Dept'mt [department] before I take any further

action on the subject.

I have the honor to be

with very great respect

Your obdt servant

G.W. Terrell

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George W. Terrell to Ashbel Smith, February 13, 1845. English Diplomatic Correspondence, Texas Secretary of State records, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

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