Anson Jones to J. Pinckney Henderson, February 15, 1844

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J. Pinckney Henderson was one of the most distinguished men in early Texas. In the first Sam Houston administration, he served as attorney general and secretary of state before being appointed minister to England and France. While in Europe, he secured trade agreements and diplomatic recognition for the republic.

In 1844, Houston appointed Henderson to go to Washington to assist Van Zandt in negotiating an annexation treaty. In this letter, Jones gives Henderson his instructions, remarking on the need for secrecy. The annexation of Texas was an extremely controversial subject in the United States, and Jones knew any early publicity would kill any chances for a deal.

In 1845, Henderson was elected the first governor of Texas. He spent most of his two-year term in personal command of troops in the Mexican War. In his later years, Henderson operated a successful law practice. In November of 1857, he was appointed to fill the vacancy in the Senate caused by the suicide of Thomas J. Rusk. Henderson died the following year.

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Anson Jones to J. Pinckney Henderson, Februrary 1844

Department of State
Washington Febr 15th 1844

Sir

            It having been determined by
His Excellency the President to accede to
a proposition which has been made to
the Government by that of the United
States to conclude a Treaty for the
Annexation of Texas to that country,
and to enter into negotiations for that
purpose at the city of Washington he
has appointed you Special Agent of
this Government to conduct, in conjunc-
tion with the Hon. I. VanZandt, our
present Charge d' Affaires at that court,
those negotiations. You will receive here-
with your Commission, also a letter ac-
crediting you in this capacity to the
Secretary of State of the United States
and a full power to conclude and
sign with such person or persons as
may be appointed and similarly accred-
ited on the part of the United States
a convention or Treaty in the premis-
es.

            Unavoidable circumstances pre-
vent me at this time from giving
you ample written instructions. Such
however as may be deemed necessary
will be prepared and sent to you at
the City of Washington in a very few
days. In the mean time, it is only
requisite, for me to say to you, that
the President places great reliance,
upon your skill, judgment and
intimate knowledge of the subject

Anson Jones to J. Pinckney Henderson, February 15, 1844. Andrew Jackson Houston Papers, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: August 19, 2011