William H Wharton to Branch T Archer, 12-02-1835

Summary: Declining mission to United States because he believes nothing short of a declaration of independence by the Texans will get aid from the United States

To the Editors of the Telegraph.


I herewith transmit to you, for publication, a copy of an official letter which I addressed to Wm. H. Wharton, together with his answer. Inasmuch as the latter contains matter worthy of general consideration, I hope you will lay it before the public, without delay.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

B. T. Archer

San Felipe, December 2, 1834 [1835].

Convention Hall, San Felipe de Austin,

Nov. 13, 1833 [1835]

Mr. Wm. H. Wharton.

Sir,—By a resolution of the Consultation of the chosen Delegates of all Texas, in General Convention assembled, it was made the duty of its president to inform you that you are elected by that body, a commissioner to the United States of the North, to act under the advice and instruction of the Provisional Government; and that you be requested, as speedily as is convenient to report your acceptance or refusal to the Governor of the Council, that your commission and the proper instructions be given to you,

Your obedient servant,

B. T. Archer, President.

P. B. Dexter, Sec'ry.

B. T. Archer, Esq., President of the Convention.

Sir,—In answer to your letter announcing my election by the Convention, as commissioner to the United States, I have to say, that, under existing circumstances, I decline the appointment. The declaration of the Convention, and the attitude assumed by that body, appear to me to be too indefinite to induce foreign governments or capitalists to lend us their aid, either of a pecuniary or other nature. Understand me; I do not blame the Convention for their declaration. They were not empowered, as I conceive, to make any other. A declaration of independence was not in the contemplation of those who elected them. It was thought, and I, among others thought, that a declaration in favor of the federal Constitution of 1824 would be the most prudent and politic course that could be pursued by the Convention. It was thought that such a course would neutralize, or enlist the sympathies and assistance of the federal party of the Interior in our favor; and also that, under such declaration, we could obtain the requisite loans etc. etc., from the capitalists of the United States. Of late, I have been forced to conclude that both parties of the Interior will unite against us, whatever be our declaration, believing, or pretending to believe it an attack upon the "integrity of the republic." And moreover, I believe, under any declaration short of absolute independence, we will receive no efficient or permanent aid, or pecuniary assistance, from the United States, they believing it an internal domestic quarrel, about which they feel but little interest. So that, situated as we are, we encounter all the evils of a declaration of independence, without reaping one tenth of the advantages of such declaration.

Again, many honestly differ in regard to the power of the late Convention. Some believe them to have been purely recommendatory Others say that not one fifth of the people voted for representatives, not anticipating the present crisis; and various others find various other objections. We know mankind well enough to know that every cavil, objection, or cause of excitement will be greedily embraced, magnified, and circulated, for the purpose of poisoning and prejudicing the public mind, which would be a result that could not be too much avoided and deprecated, in our present infant and unorganized condition.

Those, of course, acting with authority from a body of dubious powers, would necessarily have a delicate and difficult task to perform We truly, do as we will, "walk upon fires covered with deceitful ashes." In order to obviate these efvils, and give universal satisfaction, I would respectfully suggest that the present Provisional Governor immediately order an election throughout Texas, 0n the 1st of January, for members to a Convention, to meet on the 15th of the same month. Let it be fully announced, that this Convention is called to ascertain the will of the majority, in regard to a declaration of independence, to sell the country to the United States, if practicable and desirable, to form a constitution for Texas, to take prompt measures to prosecute the present war with vigor, to fix the seat of government, and also the seats of justices for the different municipalities, to appoint a board of commissioners to adjudicate and settle our land titles on a solid and secure basis, to resolve themselves into a legislature, if necessary; in short, let it be clearly understood, that this Convention will meet to do whatever, in their opinion, the good of the country requires, and that they exercise all the powers which the people themselves possess in their radical and original capacity. In this way, the people of Texas will vote wirh their eyes open; the will of the majority will be clearly ascertained and carried into effect, which, in my estimation, will redound much indeed to the prosperity and quiet of our adopted, and at present disorganized and distracted country.

Allow me to assure you that the course herein recommended would meet the views of a great majority of the army, and also of those citizens with whom I have met since my return from camp. A conscientious conviction of the importance, correctness, and indeed indispensability of it, induces me to decline acting as commissioner, under present circumstances. I understand that arrangements have been made to borrow one hundred thousand dollars, which, with the other aid in the power of the Governor and Council to bestow, will be amply sufficient to sustain the army, and provide for all other emergencies, until a new Convention can meet. In conclusion, allow me to say, that I believe the sustaining of the present army is more important than every thing else put together; and that I hope and recommend that no pains be spared to give them all the comfort and support within the powers of the provisional government. A belief of the importance of sustaining the army, will induce me to return to it immediately, with all the recruits I can possibly muster.

Very respecfully yours,

Wm. H. Wharton.

P. S. The army is much in want of coffee, sugar, flour, tobacco, clothing, etc., and if not furnished as soon as possible, great and just dissatisfaction will ensue.

Please communicate as much of this as is necessary, to the Provisional Governor and Council.

November 26, 1835.