The Texas NavyJames Hamilton to the Secretary of the Navy, November 3, 1838 - Page 1

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James Hamilton (1786-1857)

James Hamilton, a former governor of South Carolina, had been a leading supporter of Texas independence in the United States. He was commissioned by President Lamar to act as a financial agent for Texas. He was able to secure a loan of more than $450,000 from the Bank of the United States. Hamilton cultivated France, Great Britain, Holland, and Belgium in the cause of obtaining more aid for the Republic of Texas.

In 1842, Hamilton came to Texas to promote the alliance with Belgium, only to find that his services had been terminated. Moreover, he had labored for years at his own expense, and was unable to collect any compensation.

In 1855, Hamilton moved to Texas, where he held several land grants. In 1857, he was traveling back to Texas from a trip to Washington, D.C. when his ship was rammed in the Gulf of Mexico. He gave up his chance for survival to a woman and child and was drowned in the accident.

James Hamilton on the purchase of the Zavala, 1838

Copy of a letter from Genl James Hamilton to the Secty of
the Navy, relative to the purchase of the Steamer Zavala


              Previous to my leaving
New York, I had the good fortune, from my sincere wish
to benefit your Republic to induce my friend James Wolford [?]
Esqr  of London to advance $70,000, if so much money be
necessary for the purchase, alteration, armament and
equipment of the Steamer Charleston for your Republic;
which boat was at that time in Philadelphia. But before
this she must be in New York where she will be completely
fitted out to assure the purposes both of a marine frigate,
and mail and passage boat and sent out to Texas with
all possible dispatch. In consequence of the failure of the
company to which she belonged she was bought for about
one third of her value say of 30,000 as she is worth as she
lies $90,000, and when equipped will be worth in U States
currency at Galveston, at least, $150,000 to your Govt.

              She is one of the most beautiful
boats in the U. States; and with the alterations proposed
making in her will be one of the strongest fastest and
most efficient. She was examined by Brown, the first
Ship-Carpenter in New York who pronounced her sound,
staunch, and eminently sea-worthy. Indeed she could
not well fail to be all this, as her first cost was $117,000, and
was built by one of the first naval architects and ship-


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James Hamilton to the Secretary of the Navy, November 3, 1838. Texas Navy Papers, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, 401-1310.

Page last modified: June 28, 2019