Anson Jones Valedictory Speech, February 19, 1846
During his second stint as president of the Republic of Texas (1840-1844), Sam Houston and his secretary of state, Anson Jones, continued to try to manuever the foreign policy of Texas to secure annexation by the United States. After the harsh Mexican treatment of prisoners taken from the Santa Fe and Mier expeditions, there was widespread popular support in the United States for annexation. Mexico threatened to go to war with the United States if annexation became a reality. Cannily, Jones tilted towards an alliance with the British, connected with the cotton trade, to force the hand of annexationists in the U.S.
Jones, the "architect of annexation," succeeded Houston as president in 1844. The annexation of Texas became a major issue in the 1844 U.S. presidential campaign, with the annexationist candidate, James K. Polk, winning by a large margin. As a result, Congress passed an annexation resolution on Februrary 28, 1845, giving Texas until January 1, 1846, to decide whether to accept the terms. The terms of the annexation were generous. Texas could enter the U.S. as a slave state rather than a territory, keep her public lands, and divide into as many as four additional states. A special session of the Texas Congress met in Austin on July 4, 1845, and voted to accept annexation, then submitted the question and a new state constitution to a popular vote. The result was overwhelming. Texas was admitted as a state on December 29, 1845.
On Februrary 19, 1846, in a ceremony in front of the Capitol, the Lone Star flag of the Republic of Texas was lowered, and the flag of the United States was raised above. President Jones gave his valedictory address. A chapter in Texas history had ended, and a new one had begun.
Webmaster's note: Because of the very large size of the Executive Record Book from which the images below were taken, not all of the text could be imaged clearly. The fading that is seen on the images is not present on the original document.
Executive Record Book, Anson Jones, December 9, 1844 - September 28, 1845, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Journal of the Senate, First & Second Legislature, 1848, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.