Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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Series Editor’s Foreword

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pp. ix-x

Since 1997 an abiding tenet of the Sam Rayburn Series on Rural Life has been to present books of meticulous research that illuminate life—predominantly in the East Texas region—not only as it once was but also as it is. Although the Rayburn Series continues to focus on a wide range of topics centering on the northeast section of the Lone Star State, at times we must stretch ...

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Introduction

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pp. xi-xv

Texian president Sam Houston issued colonization contracts for eleven parcels of land in 1842. The contracts were an element of his four-part plan to stabilize the republic. Houston wanted peace with Mexico, peace with the natives, financing for the republic, and an influx of productive settlers. Whether the fate of the republic was to be independence or annexation, these ...

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1 Context

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pp. 1-9

... After Hecke penned his ideas, Spain had departed the continent, leaving Mexico poorer, weaker, and even less able to nurture and protect Texas. Then the Texians had asserted their independence from Mexico, making Texas’ situation even more precarious. ...

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2 France Meets Texas

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pp. 10-16

We can imagine Alphonse Dubois de Saligny fanning the aroma of the coffee to his nose. He had come to enjoy the tangy chicory, and he had especially come to enjoy New Orleans. ...

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3 The Colonization Contracts

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pp. 17-31

As Sam Houston went about trying to clean up the mess left him, Saligny— still ensconced in New Orleans—was certain that reconciliation with the French was high on the agenda. He was pleased to report to his foreign minister that the Franco-Texian Bill had been reintroduced in the Texas House of Representatives. But the measure was quickly voted ...

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4 Shifting Diplomatic Winds

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pp. 32-40

Ashbel Smith, the new Texas chargé d’affaires to Britain and France, had crossed the Atlantic in the spring of 1842 to assume his post while Sam Houston grappled with Mexico and issued more colonization contracts. Only thirty-seven, the lean, angular Smith would prove himself to be the most skilled diplomat ever to serve Texas. Born in Connecticut, he earned ...

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5 The Nobles and the Pilgrims

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pp. 41-50

In April 1842, more than a year before Castro began seeking colonists in France, the Duke of Nassau had hosted a gathering at the palace in Biebrich, where his ancestors had resided for more than a century. The magnificent baroque complex was tinted rose and white and reigned over a swath of gardens just steps from the Rhine. Though smaller, it possessed the ...

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6 France Sours, Germany Ponders

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pp. 51-64

Jules Edouard Fontaine, Viscount de Cramayel, was forty-four years old when he arrived in Texas to temporarily replace the indisposed Dubois de Saligny as chargé d’affaires. Born to wealth, he had enlisted in the diplomatic corps at age twenty-two and served for eleven years in minor positions before returning to private life. Eleven years later he petitioned the foreign ...

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7 Setbacks and Preparations

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pp. 65-73

Paris prepares for winter in October, when the warm autumn days become gray and rainy. Trees shed their leaves, days grow short, and pedestrians wrap their cloaks tightly about them as they bustle along the Rue de Rivoli. Carriages clatter on wet streets and the odor of coal smoke permeates the air. Ashbel Smith, from the Texas embassy in an opulent mansion at Place ...

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8 Solms

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pp. 74-81

It was almost midnight, and Solms was weary. He stepped from the two-horse coach into a wispy fog that hovered just above the cobbled street. Flersheim and van der Bergh alighted behind him. Bourgeois, the unctuous Frenchman, stood at the curb, awaiting his arrival. A soft glow came from inside the grand townhouse. With van der Bergh at his elbow, Bourgeois ...

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9 The Journey

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pp. 82-92

A week out of Liverpool, Solms spotted the first iceberg, drifting down into the North Atlantic. Soon there were more, plowing through choppy seas, driven by frigid, biting winds. A fog descended. The seas rose.1 ...

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10 Welcome to Texas

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pp. 93-101

Galveston Bay is an overgrown puddle, measuring seventeen by thirty miles across but less than ten feet deep. It was named for Bernardo de G

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11 West to San Antonio

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pp. 102-115

Bourgeois’s problem was this: his colonization contract had expired in December 1843; the Texas Congress had banned all new colonization contracts and extensions in January 1844; the Congress had adjourned in February and would not reconvene until December; it was now July; Adelsverein colonists were scheduled to start arriving in September; the president ...

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12 Competition

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pp. 116-129

During both of his administrations, President Sam Houston emphasized peaceful relations with natives as part of his four-element plan to stabilize the republic. He reached a treaty with the Tonkawas at San Antonio in 1837; peace with the Lipan Apaches, Comanches, Kichais, Tawakonis, Wacos, and Taovayas came in 1838. The progress made during his first administration ...

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13 Missed Connections

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pp. 130-142

Prince Solms had been elated when the U.S. Senate rejected annexation in June 1844. Anson Jones had been disappointed, because he believed that the treaty had a chance to succeed and had hoped for its success. Jones also understood that failure of the treaty could alienate France and Britain. Sam Houston must have shaken his shaggy head. He had known that failure was ...

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14 Priorities

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pp. 143-150

Prince Solms spent the first two weeks of 1845 getting Carlshaven organized, establishing a camp at Chocolate Bayou (officially dubbed Leiningen, but that name was seldom used), and putting management in motion. In the absence of Henry Fisher, who was in Washington (where the Ninth Congress of the Republic of Texas had convened December 5), it fell to the ...

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15 The Founders Depart

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pp. 151-160

Henry Fisher had not been the only supplicant seeking a colonization contract renewal from the Ninth Texas Congress. Castro, Grieve (Kennedy’s successor), and Bourgeois had also petitioned for relief. The Congress took a logical approach: Fisher and Castro secured renewals because they had already landed colonists and were proceeding diligently. Grieve and Bourgeois had made no perceptible progress, and their applications were denied. ...

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16 The Tides Turn

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pp. 161-166

On March 24, 1845, the British corvette Electra entered Galveston Bay; it carried instructions for Elliot and Saligny, sent by their superiors from London and Paris in January. They were to propose a vigorous English and French intervention with Mexico. It had been less than a week since Texas had received news of the annexation resolution adopted by the U.S. Congress. 1 ...

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17 The Outcome

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pp. 167-171

John Meusebach was unlike Prince Solms. Meusebach had no grand schemes. He followed a straightforward path to settling the land grant. That the path never quite reached its destination is not entirely his fault. Solms made it clear before his departure that Adelsverein funds and credit in Texas were severely strained. Some historians have given Solms the blame ...

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18 Aftermath

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pp. 172-177

Solms had lingered in Galveston only until the New York was ready to return to New Orleans. On June 4 he boarded and bid Texas auf Wiedersehen. Annexation was on his mind but far beyond his influence. It was time to return to Sophie’s arms.1 ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 178-181

In the introduction, I posited that the history of Sam Houston’s colonization contracts can be conceived as being seen through a zoom lens: it begins with broad geopolitical issues, then focuses more narrowly on Texas, the contracts and annexation, and finally boils down to the efforts and experiences of two very different men. Summing up, it may be a good idea to ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 183-184

Mostly I work alone. It suits me, but it has disadvantages. One is that I do not benefit from collegial discussion and collaborative labor. That creates a greater risk of an error, oversight, or profoundly stupid theory. Another disadvantage is that I usually don’t have many people to thank for their help. This time is a little different. ...

Notes

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pp. 185-208

Bibliography

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pp. 209-214

Index

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pp. 215-225