President John Tyler Officially Authorizes a Treaty With Mexico, in the Lead-up to the Mexican War

It provided that claims, mostly claims of U.S. citizens against Mexico, he settled by arbitration and that those settled should be paid starting in April 1843

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This was the fifth ever treaty between the two countries

Throughout the late 1830s, U.S. Embassy officials in Mexico City were inundated by the complaints and claims regarding the seizure of American vessels, mistreatment of American citizens, and alleged injuries inflicted on American merchants. These claims escalated and became a sore point...

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President John Tyler Officially Authorizes a Treaty With Mexico, in the Lead-up to the Mexican War

It provided that claims, mostly claims of U.S. citizens against Mexico, he settled by arbitration and that those settled should be paid starting in April 1843

This was the fifth ever treaty between the two countries

Throughout the late 1830s, U.S. Embassy officials in Mexico City were inundated by the complaints and claims regarding the seizure of American vessels, mistreatment of American citizens, and alleged injuries inflicted on American merchants. These claims escalated and became a sore point between the United States and Mexico. A special agent was sent to Mexico in the summer of 1838 with full authority to make a demand for redress. The demand was made; the Mexican Government promised to repair the wrongs, and after much delay a treaty of indemnity with that view was concluded between the two powers on the 11th of April, 1839, and was duly ratified by both Governments. By this treaty a joint commission was created to adjudicate and decide on the claims of American citizens on the Government of Mexico. The commission was organized at Washington on the 25th day of August, 1840. Their time was limited to eighteen months, at the expiration of which they had adjudicated and decided claims amounting to $2,026,139.68 in favor of citizens of the United States against the Mexican Government, but leaving a large amount of claims undecided.

The claims which were left undecided by the joint commission, amounting to more than $3,000,000, together with other claims for spoliations on the property of American citizens, were subsequently presented to the Mexican Government for payment, and a treaty providing for their examination and settlement by arbitration was concluded and signed in January 1843. This treaty called for arbitration of the outstanding Mexican and U.S. claims, and provided that the interest due on the awards in favor of claimants under an earlier agreement in 1839, should be paid on the 30th of April, 1843; and that other principal of these awards, and interest, should be paid in five years, to commence on the 30th of April, 1843. According to diplomat George Bancroft, “The treaty of arbitration was a thorn in the flesh of many who had cast an evil eye on Mexico, as it did away with all pretexts for complaint against the latter Republic, and postponed indefinitely the acquisition of Texas.” Not for long, as it turned out.

Tyler later communicated to the Senate a statement of the indemnities actually paid to the United States agent, with the date of such payment to him, the date of the receipt of the money so paid at the Treasury of the United States, and a statement of the costs and charges made and allowed against these installments before paid to the claimants.

In the State of the Union address in late 1843, Tyler mentioned the treaty, “The installments on the claims recently settled by the convention with Mexico have been punctually paid as they have fallen due, and our minister is engaged in urging the establishment of a new commission in pursuance of the convention for the settlement of unadjusted claims.”

Document signed, Washington, March 28, 1843, ordering implementation of the January 1843 treaty with Mexico and authorizing “a full power to exchange the ratification of the Convention between the United States and Mexico, signed at Mexico on the 30th day of January last.”

This and a companion treaty of 1844 were the last between the two nations before the Mexican War.

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