Work of the Legation

Diplomacy between the Republic of Texas and the United States was typically conducted by the Texas legation’s Minister Plenipotentiary, under the direction of the Texas Secretary of State. As with other nations, the Republic of Texas diplomatic corps included some of its most prominent and distinguished citizens in key roles. Texas President Sam Houston appointed William H. Wharton to the post of Minister Plenipotentiary to the U.S. in November 1836. Wharton’s successors to this post were: Memucan Hunt, Peter Grayson, Anson Jones, Richard G. Dunlap, Barnard Bee, Sr., James Reily and Isaac Van Zandt.

In 1839 Mirabeau B. Lamar appointed Moses Austin Bryan as Secretary of the legation to the United States under Minister Plenipotentiary Anson Jones. Bryan was nephew and secretary to Stephen F. Austin and served as the interpreter for Sam Houston and Santa Anna after the battle of San Jacinto. Other Secretaries of the legation included James M. Wolfe, Fairfax Catlett, Samuel A. Roberts, Nathaniel C. Amory and Charles H. Raymond.

The correspondence received by the Republic of Texas legation in Washington documents the daily work of the Minister Plenipotentiary and his staff. Among the many pressing issues that required immediate or sustained attention of the legation officials were efforts to gain U.S. recognition of Texas independence, proposals for annexation of Texas by the U.S., and continued tension with Mexico over the provisions of the public and secret Treaties of Velasco, signed after the battle of San Jacinto.

Among the other compelling issues that required attention of the legation and appear through the correspondence are the conflicts with the Native American tribes that led raids in Texas but fled into the U.S. territory to evade Republic authorities, and concern that African slaves were being illegally brought into Texas, violating both Texas and U.S. law. Day-to-day, the officials struggled with the tasks of establishing the boundaries of the Republic, creating and supplying the Texas Navy, making financial arrangements for loans, issuing bonds, considering land claims, and dealing with immigration issues, which were of great concern given the increasing number of immigrants arriving in Texas or seeking to make it their home.

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Page last modified: May 20, 2016