The Texas Legation Papers, 1836-1844 is a volume of lost letters and documents from the early turbulent years of the Republic of Texas. Editors Ken Stevens and Gregg Cantrell have compiled these papers to reveal the untold stories surrounding the birth of the state of Texas.
For nine years, between its war for independence from Mexico until its annexation to the United States, Texas existed as an independent republic. During those years, Texas’s diplomatic representatives communicated with the officials of the United States; their job was to inform Texas leaders about the United States’ views on critical issues concerning recognition of Texas and eventual annexation, relations with Mexico, boundary issues, and troubles with Native Americans. As part of their duty as communicators with the United States, Texas diplomats were also tasked with raising funds for the financially strapped republic and overseeing the purchase and construction of vessels for the navy, as well as fielding questions from many quarters inquiring about everything from opportunities in the lone star republic to asking about long-lost relatives. The Texas diplomats were their government’s eyes, ears, and mouth in Washington; they were responsible for administering the successful transition of the Republic of Texas into the twenty-eighth member of the United States.
The Texas Legation papers contain the detailed accounts of this time period. When Texas became a state in 1845, the Texas Legation in Washington was shut down and its papers were put away. When Sam Houston, one of the new state’s first senators, returned to Texas after completing two terms in the Senate, the papers came back with him. Most papers were delivered to the state archives, but somehow the letters and documents published in this collection were delivered to Houston’s home, where they remained out of sight for the next 160 years.
In 2004, the papers in this volume returned to the possession of the Texas State Library and Archives, thanks to the efforts of The Center for Texas Studies at TCU and the generous support of Mary Ralph Lowe (TCU '65), the Lowe Foundation, and J.P. Bryan, of Houston, a Texana collector and past president of the Texas State Historical Association. Many letters in this volume are being published for the first time. As they round out the diplomatic story of the Texas republic, they offer a unique and fascinating perspective on the history of Texas.
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Published by Texas Christian University Press