Transcription of Treaty of Velasco, [7 December 1847 - 12 January 1848]1
Articles of an agreement entered into between his excellency, David C. Burnett; president of the republic of Texas of the one part, and his excellency general Santa Ana,2 president-general-in-chief of the Mexican army, of the other part–3
Article 1.st General Antonio, Lopez de Santa Ana, agrees that he will not take up arms, nor will he exercise his influence to cause them to be taken up against the people of Texas, during the present war of independence–
Article 2nd All hostilities between the Mexican and Texian4 troops will cease immediately, both by land and water–
Article 3rd The Mexican troops will evacuate the teritory of Texas, passing to the other side of the Rio Grande del Norte–
Article 4th The Mexican army, in it's retreat shall not take the property of any person without his consent and just indemnification, using only such articles as may be necessary for it's subsistence, in cases when the owner may not be present, and remitting to the com-
<Page 3>mander of the army of Texas, or to the commissioners to be appointed for the adjustment of such matters, an account of the value of the property consumed, the place where taken, and the name of the owner, if it can be ascertained–
Article 5th That all private property, including cattle, horses, negro slaves, or indentured persons of whatever denomination, that may have been captured by any portion of the Mexican army, or may have taken refuge in the said army, since the commencement of the late invasion, shall be restored to the commander of the Texian army, or to such other persons, as may be appointed by the government of Texas to receive them–
Article 6th The troops of both armies will refrain from coming into contact with each other, and to this end, the commander of the army of Texas will be careful not to approach within a shorter distance than five leagues–
Article– 7th The Mexican army shall not make any other delay on it's march, than that which is necessary to take up their hospitals,
<Page 5>baggage &c.[etc.] and to cross the rivers; and any delay not necessary to these purposes, to be considered an infraction of this agreement–
Article 8th By an express to be immediately dispatched this agreement shall be sent to gen. Vincente Filisola, and to general T. J. Rusk, commander of the Texian army, in order that they may be apprised of it's stipulation– and to this end they will exchange engagements to comply with the same–
Article 9th That all Texian prisoners now in the possession of the Mexican army or it's authorities be forthwith released and furnished with free passports to return[
...?] to their homes, in consideration of which a corresponding number of Mexican prisoners,
rank and file, now in possession of the government of Texas, shall be immediately
released– The remainder of the Mexican prisoners, that continue in the possession
of the government of Texas to be treated with due humanity; any extraordinary comforts
they ^that^ may be furnished with ^them^, to be at the charge of the government of Mexico–
Article 10th General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana
<Page 7>will be sent to Vera Cruz, as soon as it shall be deemed proper–
The contracting parties sign this instrument for the above mentioned purposes, in duplicate at the port of Velasco, this 14th day of May, 1836–David G. Burnet, presidentJas Collingsworth, secretary of stateAntonio Lopez de Santa Ana–.B. Hardiman– Secretary of the treasuryP. W. Grayson, attorney general
1This transcription is entirely in Abraham Lincoln’s handwriting. Evidence suggests that Lincoln copied this treaty for use in his speech on the Mexican War delivered in the House of Representatives on January 12, 1848. Lincoln’s handwritten version of the speech does not include this transcription, but it does appear as an appendix in the version published as a pamphlet by J. & G. S. Gideon. It is also affixed as an appendix to the version published in the Congressional Globe. It was one of two treaties signed by Mexico and the new Republic of Texas. A second treaty was secretly arranged with Santa Anna, ensuring that he would recognize Texas’ independence if David G. Burnet agreed to release him from captivity.
Internal evidence from both the handwritten and printed versions of Lincoln’s speech suggests that he copied this treaty from Niles’ Weekly Register. Except for some minor differences in punctuation, Lincoln duplicates the version of the treaty from Niles’ Weekly Register, including transcribing the letter “C” instead of the letter “G” as David G. Burnet’s middle initial. The original handwritten treaty is housed at the Texas State Archives and Library Commission.
Dating this transcription is problematic. Niles’ Weekly Register published the treaty on July 16, 1836; Lincoln could have made a copy anytime from July 1836 to January 1848. Given that Lincoln’s speech came in response to President James K. Polk’s annual message read before Congress on December 7, 1847, the editors believe that he transcribed the speech sometime between that date and the date of the speech.
Cong. Globe, 30th Cong., 1st Sess., Appendix, 95 (1848); Niles’ Weekly Register (Baltimore, MD), 16 July 1836, 336:1; “The Treaty of Velasco (public),” 14 May 1836, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin, Texas., https://www.tsl.texas.gov/treasures/republic/velasco-public-1.html.
3This agreement was part of the aftermath of the Texas Revolution of 1836. On April 21, 1836, Texas forces routed Santa Anna and his army at the Battle of San Jacinto, and on April 22, the Texans took Santa Anna prisoner. On May 14, Santa Anna signed two treaties, one public and one private, which together became known as the Treaty of Velasco. In the public treaty, which Lincoln transcribes here, Santa Anna agreed to end hostilities, and in the private and confidential agreement he agreed to work to persuade the Mexican government to accept Texan independence. In exchange for these treaties, the Texans agreed to free Santa Anna and allow him to return to Mexico. The Mexican Government, however, repudiated the public agreement, arguing that it was invalid because Santa Anna was a prisoner when it was concluded.
Will Fowler, Santa Anna of Mexico (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007), 171-73, 175, 176, 177-81.
Handwritten Transcription, 7 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).