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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview

Agency History

Scope and Contents of the Records

Organization of the Records

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Correspondence with Texan consuls, 1836-1846,

Correspondence with foreign consuls, 1841-1845,

Chronological correspondence files of consular correspondence, 1836-1850, 1873-1875, bulk 1836-1846,

Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Texas Secretary of State:

An Inventory of Secretary of State Consular Correspondence at the Texas State Archives, 1836-1850, 1873-1875, bulk 1836-1846



Overview

Creator: Texas. Secretary of State.
Title: Secretary of State consular correspondence
Dates: 1836-1850, 1873-1875
Dates: bulk 1836-1846
Abstract: Correspondence with Texan and foreign consuls was created in the course of conducting normal consular business, particularly the regulation of commercial ties between Texas and other nations. These records consist chiefly of letters and reports received in the Department of State of the Republic of Texas from agents and consuls, as well as letter books of consular correspondence, and registers of certificates, affidavits, and fees. The records date 1836-1850, 1873-1875, bulk 1836-1846.
Quantity: 2.26 cubic ft.
Language: These materials are written predominately in English.
Repository: Texas State Archives

Agency History

The Secretary of State is a constitutional officer of the executive branch of state government, appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate for a term concurrent with the governor's (a two-year term at first, a four-year term since 1974). The office was first created by the Constitution of the Republic of Texas in 1836 (Article VI, Section 10), and has been continued by each succeeding Constitution.

The only duty of the Secretary of State specified by the Constitution of 1836 was to receive "returns of all elections for officers who are to be commissioned by the President" (General Provisions, Section 2). The 1st Congress approved a Joint Resolution on December 13, 1836 "defining the duties of the heads of departments of the government." However, the duties of this cabinet (composed of the Secretaries of State, War, Navy, and Treasury, and the Attorney General) were expressed in extremely vague terms, i.e.: "to conform to and execute the instructions of the president, whether general or particular; and to give respectively and collectively, such needful aid and counsel whenever required so to do by the chief magistrate of the republic, as may be requisite to a firm, wholesome and harmonious administration of the government." Much of our knowledge of what the Secretary of State did during the Republic period derives from the existing records themselves. Although never so stated in law, obviously a major function of the Secretary of State under the Republic of Texas was diplomatic, a function unique to Texas' history as an independent nation.

During the next nine years of the Republic's existence, Congressional acts added little in the way of explicit duties: to receive from the chief justices of the county courts "a description of their county boundaries, and such other information and observations relative to the same, as they may conceive conducive to the convenience of their citizens" (December 17, 1836); to furnish Texan consuls with instruction for the proper regulation of foreign trade (December 18, 1837); to contract for the printing of the laws and journals of the Republic of Texas, and to arrange for their distribution (December 18, 1837 and later dates); to contract for the translation and compilation of Republic laws into Spanish ( "the Castilian language") (December 18, 1837 and January 12, 1842); to become the depository for a Library purchased for the Republic of Texas (January 24, 1839); to create a Patent Office, as a bureau of the office of Secretary of State, and to grant patent rights "for any new and useful art, machine, instrument or composition of matter, liberal arts, sciences or literature, books, maps or charts, or any new and useful improvement of the same . . . invented or discovered" (January 28, 1839); to draw from the war department funds appropriated to run a boundary line between the Republic of Texas and the United States (November 26, 1840); to assume the duties of the Postmaster General, appointing and supervising a clerk for a bureau called the "General Post Office," and to receive from the former Postmaster General all records of the abolished Post Office Department (January 18, 1841); to issue writs of election to fill certain vacancies in counties (December 7, 1841).

Except for its diplomatic duties, most of the functions of the Secretary of State under the Republic were apparently continued during the period of early statehood following annexation. An act of the 1st Legislature (approved May 9, 1846) "to define the duties of Secretary of State" included the following: to maintain a register of all official acts of the governor, and to provide the same to the legislature when required (this duty had also been spelled out by the first state Constitution, 1845); to keep a complete register of all officers appointed and elected in the state; to commission all such appointed and elected officers when not otherwise provided for by law; to record depositions and affirmations required by law to be made by resident aliens wanting to hold real estate in Texas; to arrange and preserve all books, maps, parchments, records, documents, deeds, conveyances, and other papers belonging to the State, that have been or may be properly deposited there, and sealed with the state seal (which copies shall be considered admissible as evidence in the state's courts of law); to attend every legislative session to receive bills which have became laws, and to bind and maintain such bills and enrolled joint resolutions in the office of the Secretary of State; to deliver a certified copy of these laws (with indices and marginal notes) to the public printer, and to edit and correct them after printing; to distribute the printed laws and journals to a list of state, local, and federal officials specified; and to furnish forms to county election officials for election returns, and to receive certified election returns from these officials for members of the legislature (this last duty included in "an act regulating elections," approved May 11, 1846).

An act of February 11, 1854 created a Board of Commissioners composed of the Secretary of State, the Comptroller, and the Attorney General, "to superintend the arranging and filing of the archives of the late Republic of Texas and of the State Legislature, and also the recording of the Journals of the said Congress and State Legislature ... to be deposited in the General Land-office of the State." An act of December 14, 1863 made the Secretary of State "the custodian of the records of the Senate and House of Representatives." And an act of March 25, 1887 provided that "the entire archives of the late Republic of Texas, ... together with the records, books, and journals of said Congress" would be "deposited in the Office of the Secretary of State," and "declared to be Archives of said office."

The first Texas consulate was established on December 15, 1836, when President Sam Houston appointed John Woodward as consul-general at New York. However, previous to that time the agents of the Republic in New Orleans had come to be spoken of as consuls. The consuls acted as representatives for the Republic of Texas providing potential immigrants with information regarding Texas, certifying documents, and giving information back to Texas regarding foreign attitudes towards the Republic.

On December 18, 1837, the Congress of the Republic of Texas approved a Joint Resolution adopting the consular system of the United States for the government of the consular agents of the Republic of Texas, and delegating to the Secretary of State the duty of furnishing the Texan consuls with instruction "for the proper regulation of the commercial intercourse between this and foreign countries."

(Sources include: the Secretary of State Republic of Texas records appraisal report , the previous finding aid, the Texas Constitution of 1836, and the enabling legislation.)

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Scope and Contents of the Records

Consuls acted as representatives for the Republic of Texas providing potential immigrants with information regarding Texas, certifying documents, and giving information back to Texas regarding foreign attitudes towards the Republic. On December 18, 1837, the Congress of the Republic of Texas adopted the consular system of the United States for the government of the consular agents of the Republic of Texas, and delegated to the Secretary of State the duty of furnishing the Texan consuls with instruction "for the proper regulation of the commercial intercourse between this and foreign countries." Correspondence with Texan and foreign consuls was created in the course of conducting normal consular business, particularly the regulation of commercial ties between Texas and other nations. These records consist chiefly of letters and reports received in the Department of State of the Republic of Texas from agents and consuls, as well as letter books of consular correspondence, and registers of certificates, affidavits, and fees. The records date 1836-1850, 1873-1875, bulk 1836-1846.

Some correspondence is from Texan consuls in Great Britain (cities of London, Liverpool), France (cities of Paris, Bordeaux, Marseilles, Le Havre), and other countries (cities of Amsterdam, Bremen, Calcutta), but the majority comes from the Texan consulate office in New Orleans. Other U.S. cities with Texas consular offices included New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Baltimore, Boston, Charleston, Cincinnati, Detroit, Mobile, Natchez, and Natchitoches. The finding aid contains a full list of Texan consuls, with dates of appointment, arranged by city to which they were assigned. Also included in these records is correspondence of the Department of State of the Republic of Texas with foreign consuls, all located in Galveston (1841-1845). Countries with consuls in Texas were the United States, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, and the Hanseatic League or Hanse towns. Subjects of both kinds of correspondence deal generally with the activities of Texan consuls in attempting to obtain loans, supplies, and favorable commercial relations from other nations, complaints of other nations against the Republic, and attitudes toward the Republic in other countries. Correspondents include William Bryan, David G. Burnet, Thomas Toby, Robert Triplett, Robert Irion, and Anson Jones.

Also included are four letter books of consular correspondence, 1837-1845; three registers of certificates, affidavits, and fees from New Orleans, 1837-1841, giving name of person, service rendered by the consul, and fee; and a file regarding the efforts of the widow of Thomas Toby, agent for the Republic, 1836-1838, to collect state monies owed her husband for his services (this file is dated 1873-1875).

Texas Consuls in the United States:

  • New Orleans: Nathaniel Townsend, April 2, 1837
  • New Orleans: Thomas Toby, September 20, 1838
  • New Orleans: William Bryan, December 26, 1838
  • New Orleans: P. Edmunds, January 29, 1842
  • New York: John Woodward, December 15, 1836; dismissed February 3, 1840
  • New York: Charles H. Forbes (Vice-Consul acting in absence of Woodward)
  • New York: August W. Radcliff, February 3, 1840
  • New York: John H. Brower, January 18, 1841
  • Mobile: David White (established by Act of Congress December 10, 1836), May 2, 1838
  • Mobile: Walter Smith, November 20, 1839
  • Mobile: Thomas J. Fettyplace, December 22, 1843
  • Baltimore: Henry H. Williams, May 2, 1838
  • Natchitoches: John F. Cortes, May 1838
  • Natchitoches: Thomas H. Airey, June 30, 1842
  • Philadelphia: John L. Hodge (did not reply to notice of appointment), May 2, 1838
  • Philadelphia: Cyrus Joy, June 25, 1842
  • Philadelphia: Francis G. Smith, January 18, 1841
  • Charleston: James D. Hamilton (established by Act of Congress), May 2, 1838
  • Charleston: Thomas L. Hamilton, October 1838
  • Vicksburg: W. W. Rudder (post promised to him; no record of appointment), 1839
  • Key West: Joseph P. Brown, February 11, 1839; appointment confirmed November 20, 1839
  • Boston: Thomas A. Dexter, June 23, 1839
  • Boston: Nathaniel Armory, December 14, 1842
  • Natchez: Lyman Potter (no record of appointment)
  • Cincinnati: R. Wallace Burnet, February 3, 1840
  • Cincinnati: Benjamin Drake, January 12, 1841
  • Cincinnati: Alexander H. McGuffey, September 14, 1841
  • Detroit: Calvin C. Jackson, January 18, 1841
  • Bangor: Moses Patton, January 18, 1841
  • Norfolk: Samuel G. Taylor, August 23, 1841
  • St. Louis: Edward Hutawa, January 18, 1842
  • Richmond: William B. Hamilton, December 14, 1842

Texas Consuls in foreign countries:

  • Marseilles: John Willis, 1841
  • Marseilles: Louis Grousset, 1841
  • Paris: Theodore Barbey, 1840
  • Paris: Henri Castro, 1840
  • Paris: Pierre Brunet, 1840
  • Bordeaux: Paul E. Domon, 1842
  • Cette: Maly E. Dumon, 1842
  • Rouen: M. Ladeur, 1842
  • Rouen: M. Lagrillier, 1842
  • Bayonne: August Furtado, 1845
  • London: Arthur Ikin, 1841
  • London: John Barnes, 1841
  • London: William Kennedy, 1841
  • London: Lackland M. Rate, 1841
  • Liverpool: Francis B. Ogden, 1841
  • Glasgow: John Graham Stewart, 1843
  • Greenock: John Roxburgh, 1843
  • Falmouth: Alfred Fox, 1842
  • Plymouth: Thomas Were Fox, 1842
  • Kingstone-upon-Hull: John Atkinson, 1843
  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne: William Henry Brockett, 1843
  • Dublin: Thomas Snow, 1843
  • Amsterdam: Louis J. Herekenrath, 1843
  • Rotterdam: Joshua J. Crooswyck, 1843
  • Antwerp: Maximiliam Van Den Bergh, 1843
  • Bremen: Henry F. Fisher, 1844

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Organization of the Records

The bulk of these records were originally a part of a larger group of records in the Office of the Secretary of State called "Diplomatic, domestic, and consular correspondence." There has been considerable rearrangement of the records over the years. These records have been organized by the State Archives staff into three series:
Correspondence with Texan consuls, 1836-1846, 1.93 cubic ft.
Correspondence with foreign consuls, 1841-1845, 0.17 cubic ft.
Chronological correspondence files of consular correspondence, 1836-1850, 1873-1875, bulk 1836-1846, 0.16 cubic ft.

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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.

Restrictions on Use

Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements

Several letter books and registers are extremely fragile, so access is restricted to microfilm copies.

Microfilm readers are available in the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building. Ask staff members for exact locations.

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Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Personal Names:
Bryan, William.
Toby, Thomas, dd. 1849.
Burnet, David Gouverneur, 1789-1870.
Triplett, Robert.
Irion, Robert A.
Jones, Anson, 1798-1858.
Corporate Names:
Texas (Republic). Dept. of State.
Places:
Texas--Diplomatic and consular service.
Texas--Foreign relations.
Texas--Foreign relations--United States.
Texas--Foreign relations--Great Britain.
Texas--Foreign relations--France.
Texas--Foreign relations--Netherlands.
Texas--Politics and government--1836-1846.
United States--Foreign relations--Texas.
Great Britain--Foreign relations--Texas.
France--Foreign relations--Texas.
Netherlands--Foreign relations--Texas.
Document Types:
Correspondence--Texas--Diplomatic and consular service--1837-1845.
Letterpress copybooks--Texas--Diplomatic and consular service--1837-1845.
Reports--Texas--Diplomatic and consular service--1836-1850.
Proclamations--Texas--Diplomatic and consular service--1836-1850.
Functions:
Developing diplomatic relations.

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Related Material

The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Texas State Archives
Texas Department of State diplomatic correspondence, 1831-1832, 1835-1846, undated, 6.9 cubic ft., 3 reels microfilm
Texas Department of State treaties between the Republic of Texas and other nations, 1838-1844, 3.59 cubic ft.
Texas Legation (U.S.) correspondence, 1835-1839, 1841, 1843-1845, undated, bulk 1836-1839, 4.75 cubic ft. (272 items)
Texas State Archives: Manuscript Collections
Andrew Jackson Houston collection, 1812-1941, undated, bulk 1835-1859, 31.41 cubic ft. [Note: An online inventory with a link to a searchable database will soon be available.]
Mirabeau B. Lamar papers, 1733-1941, undated, bulk 1821-1859, approx. 36.5 cubic ft. [see published calendar]
Publications
Binkley, William C. (ed.), Official Correspondence of the Texas Revolution, 1835-1836, New York, D. Appleton-Century Co., 1936, 2 volumes.
Jenkins, John H. (ed. and comp.), Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835-1836,Austin, Presidial Press, 1973, 10 volumes.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item and cite the series), Texas Secretary of State consular correspondence. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession numbers: 1904/001, 1932/002

These records were transferred to the Texas Department of Insurance, Statistics, and History (the predecessor of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission) by the Texas Secretary of State on May 25, 1905; and to the Texas Library and Historical Commission by the Texas Secretary of State on September 28, 1932.

Processing Information

Processed by Archives staff, dates unknown

Finding aid encoded by Tony Black in EAD Version 2002 as part of the TARO project, April 2006

Authority name and other changes by Tony Black, February 2011.

Additions to related material by Tony Black, August 2013.

Appraisal Information

Texas State Archives staff completed an appraisal of the Texas Secretary of State holdings already in the custody of the Texas State Archives in December 1998. Fifty-seven series of these holdings were determined to be archival, including Secretary of State consular correspondence. The complete appraisal report (in two parts: Republic of Texas records, and non-Republic records) is available for consultation online at http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/arc/appraisal/sosrepublic.html and http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/arc/appraisal/sosstate.html , and also in the search room of the Texas State Archives.

Other Formats for the Records

Some of the letter books have been microfilmed (part of 1 reel), for purposes of preservation. However, the microfilm is not available either for purchase or through interlibrary loan.

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Detailed Description of the Records

 

Correspondence with Texan consuls, 1836-1846,
1.93 cubic ft.

Correspondence with Texan consuls was created in the course of conducting normal consular business, particularly the regulation of commercial ties between Texas and other nations. This series consists chiefly of letters and reports received in the Department of State of the Republic of Texas from agents and consuls, covering the period 1836-1846. Some correspondence is from Texan consuls in Great Britain (cities of London, Liverpool), France (cities of Paris, Bordeaux, Marseilles, Le Havre), and other countries (cities of Amsterdam, Bremen, Calcutta), but the majority comes from the Texan consulate office in New Orleans. Other U.S. cities with Texas consular offices included New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Baltimore, Boston, Charleston, Cincinnati, Detroit, Mobile, Natchez, and Natchitoches. The finding aid contains a full list of Texan consuls. Subjects of the correspondence deal generally with the activities of Texan consuls in attempting to obtain loans, supplies, and favorable commercial relations from other nations, complaints of other nations against the Republic, and attitudes toward the Republic in other countries. Correspondents include William Bryan, David G. Burnet, Thomas Toby, and Robert Triplett.
Also included in this series are four letter books of consular correspondence, 1837-1845; and three registers of certificates, affidavits, and fees from New Orleans, 1837-1841, giving name of person, service rendered by the consul, and fee.
Arrangement
These records were arranged by the State Archives staff alphabetically by the city in which the consulate was located, and therein chronologically.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Correspondence with Texan consuls, Texas Secretary of State consular correspondence. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Box Folder
2-9/1 2. Amsterdam, November 15, 1842
3. Baltimore, July 12, 1838
4. Bordeaux, February 9, 1848
5. Boston, June 5, 1840-July 1, 1844
6. Bremen, May 17, 1839-May 1, 1845
7. Calcutta, January 18, 1845
8. Charleston, April 7, 1838-January 21, 1839
9. Cincinnati, May 26, 1840-Novembre 23, 1843
10. Detroit, March 29-April 6, 1841
11. Havre (Le Havre), September 1, 1841
12. Liverpool, February 28, 1842-July 14, 1844
13. London, May 18, 1841-February 11, 1845
14. Marseilles, August 24, 1838-December 30, 1839
15. Mobile, April 10, 1838-June 25, 1844
16. Natchez, July 7, 1840
17. Natchitoches, September 20, 1838-April 25, 1842
18. New Orleans, January 18-May 21, 1836
19. New Orleans, May 22-July 11, 1836
20. New Orleans, July 12-September 3, 1836
21. New Orleans, September 4-November 12, 1836
Box Folder
2-9/2 22. New Orleans, November 17, 1836-February 9, 1839
23. New Orleans, February 17, 1839-February 11, 1845
24. New York, December 16, 1836-November 21, 1844
25. Paris, April 28, 1841-November 18, 1842
26. Philadelphia, May 1, 1839-November 6, 1841
27. St. Louis, October 28, 1841-August 23, 1842
Oversize Folder
Box 20 1. Consular correspondence
[Outsheets in the folders listed above will direct the researcher to oversized items in this container.]
Volume
2-7/445 Texian consulate at New Orleans: Register of legal instruments acknowledged before consul; and register of certificates of invoice, 1840-1846
Reel
3497 Statements of consular fees, New Orleans, No. 58, January 7, 1839-July 6, 1841
[inserted in book: copy book of powers of attorney certified by consul at New Orleans.]
Texian Consulate, New Orleans: Copies of legal instruments acknowledged before consul, and register of certificates of invoice, 1837-1840
Texian Consulate, New Orleans: Copies of letters sent to Secretary of State, May 27, 1838-March 24, 1843

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Correspondence with foreign consuls, 1841-1845,
0.17 cubic ft.

Correspondence with foreign consuls was created in the course of conducting normal consular business, particularly the regulation of commercial ties between Texas and other nations. This series consists of correspondence of the Department of State of the Republic of Texas with foreign consuls, all located in Galveston, covering the period 1841-1845. Countries with consuls in Texas were the United States, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, and the Hanseatic League or Hanse towns. Subjects of the correspondence deal generally with foreign relations between Texas and other nations, complaints of other nations against the Republic, and attitudes toward the Republic in other countries. Correspondents include Robert Irion and Anson Jones.
Arrangement
These records were arranged by the State Archives staff alphabetically by country represented, and therein chronologically.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Correspondence with foreign consuls, Texas Secretary of State consular correspondence. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Box Folder
2-9/2 1. Great Britain, July 30, 1841-March 25, 1845
2. France, February 18, 1844-July 26, 1845
3. Hanseatic League, February 7, 1843-July 5, 1845
4. Netherlands, June 25-June 29, 1845
5. United States, October 1, 1836-September 4, 1845
Oversize Folder
Box 20 1. Consular correspondence
[Outsheets in the folders listed above will direct the researcher to oversized items in this container.]

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Chronological correspondence files of consular correspondence, 1836-1850, 1873-1875, bulk 1836-1846,
0.16 cubic ft.

These chronological correspondence files were created in the course of conducting normal consular business, particularly the regulation of commercial ties between Texas and other nations. This series consists of correspondence to and from Texan and foreign consuls, dating 1836-1850. This material was added late (after the transfer from the Office of Secretary of State in 1905) and supplements the first two series. Subjects of the correspondence deal generally with the activities of Texan consuls in attempting to obtain loans, supplies, and favorable commercial relations from other nations, complaints of other nations against the Republic, and attitudes toward the Republic in other countries. Countries with consuls in Texas were the United States, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, and the Hanseatic League or Hanse towns. Correspondents include William Bryan and Thomas Toby.
Also present is a file regarding the efforts of the widow of Thomas Toby, agent for the Republic, 1836-1838, to collect state monies owed her husband for his services. These files are dated 1873-1875.
Arrangement
These records were arranged by the State Archives staff chronologically.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Chronological correspondence files of consular correspondence, Texas Secretary of State consular correspondence. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Box Folder
2-9/3 1a. January 1, 1836-September 24, 1839
2a. April 2, 1840-December 31, 1844
3a. February 10, 1845-February 2, 1875
[dates not comprehensive]
Oversize Folder
Box 20 1. Consular correspondence
[Outsheets in the folders listed above will direct the researcher to oversized items in this container.]
Box
2-9/2 Thomas Toby services file, 1873-1875

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