Texas to Mexican rule - offered little hope that a satisfactory agreement could be reached, Houston quickly agreed to an armistice, no doubt reasoning that a lull in the border war between the two countries would give his administration time to pursue a number of other diplomatic options. Great Britain, anxious to prevent the annexation of Texas to the United States, regarded the cessation of hostilities as a first step toward Mexico's recognition of Texas' independence. Its enthusiastic support of the armistice lent credence to the unfounded rumor that Houston had struck a private deal with Foreign Secretary Aberdeen and had agreed to abolish slavery in Texas in exchange for British aid in securing Mexican recognition. Haynes, Soldiers of Misfortune, 153-154.
4. Houston to the House of Representatives, July 22, 1842, Williams and Barker, eds., Houston Writings 3:116-124.
5. "I do not know by what sweetness our native soil takes us captive and does not allow us to be forgetful of it." Ovid, Epistulae ex Ponto (Letters from the Black Sea), Book 1, letter 3, verse 35.
6. The impracticality of Green's suggested transcontinental route would later be apparent to commissioners of the U.S. and Mexican Boundary Survey, who endeavored to chart the course of the Rio Grande in 1856. Changes in depth and current made the river, like the Rio Grande today, virtually unnavigable for commercial traffic. Above the Pecos, commissioners reported, the river was for thirty miles "one continual rapid," while elsewhere the river was so shallow it could be crossed only at high water during the summer months. William Emory, Report on the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey, 53-92, passim.
7. The concept of territorial utility - that land belonged to those best able to develop it - was one that, though hardly in accord with the institution of private property, had long been employed to justify American expansionism. This doctrine was repeatedly invoked to defend the expropriation of Indian lands in the years following the War of 1812. Albert K. Weinberg, Manifest Destiny, Chapter 3, passim.
8. Created with high hopes in 1817, the American Colonization Society had lost much of its vitality by the mid-1840s. Several colonies on the west coast of Africa established under its auspices had failed due to insufficient funds and the hostility of the native population. Even Liberia, its only successful colonization project, could claim no more than three thousand African-American inhabitants. Mounting costs prompted the Society's directors to grant the colony its independence in 1846. P. J. Staudenraus, The African Colonization Movement, 240-241.
9. Green's source for this surprising statistic is the Census of 1840, which for the first time sought to compile data on a segment of the population it classified as "insane and idiots." For more on the Census of 1840, which seemed to offer compelling evidence for the pro-slavery argument that free blacks suffered a higher incidence of physical and mental disorders than those in bondage, see note 14, this chapter.
10. An Irish nationalist widely known by his countrymen as "the Liberator," Daniel O'Connell was also a leading figure of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society who had campaigned for the emancipation of slaves in the British West Indies. In the early 1840s he became increasingly strident in his denunciations of American slavery, thereby losing many sympathizers of Irish nationalism in the United States. Oliver MacDonagh, The Emancipist, Daniel O'Connell 20-21.
11. Credited with reviving Western interest in Pre-Columbian antiquities, John L. Stephens was the author of the best-selling Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, published in 1843.
12. Both the Spanish and its translation are slightly incorrect. The sentence should read: Los Indios no oyen sino por los nalgas: "The Indians only listen with their backsides."
13. In suggesting that the northern states of Mexico could be used to siphon off American slaves, Green was almost certainly influenced by the writings of Mississippi Senator Robert J. Walker, who would soon become a close friend and business associate. In February 1844, as Green was completing his manuscript, Walker published his famous Letter...Relative to the Annexation of