Joseph W. Schmitz

TREAT, JAMES (?–1840). James Treat, diplomatic agent of the Republic of Texas, labored industriously during 1839 and 1840 in Mexico City to secure the recognition of the independence of Texas. The reasons for Treat's interest in Texas and his activities for the Texas cause are not altogether clear; but as early as 1836, along with Samuel Swartwout and other New York real estate venturers, he was actively but unsuccessfully interested in the annexation of Texas. That Mexico should accept a formal peace treaty and recognize the independence of Texas was important to this group, that James Treat might bring it about was believed altogether probable. His long residence in Central America and Mexico qualified him for the diplomatic task at hand. His experience and intimate acquaintance with the public officials in Mexico convinced him that they would never propose the unpopular Texas question to their Congress, or vote it through, unless they gained some private profit for doing so. Treat believed that by using his personal influence for recognition he might succeed where others had failed. It was this consideration that prompted President Mirabeau B. Lamar to appoint him special agent. Arriving in Mexico City on December 11, 1839, Treat at once began the activities which led him through devious paths beset with hopes and disappointments. Promises and delays dragged out the negotiations for the greater part of a year, only to end in complete failure in October 1840 when Mexico rejected the Texas propositions for peace. By this time Treat's health, which had never been good, was seriously impaired by the ravages of consumption, and he set out for Texas. He died at sea while on board the schooner of war, San Antonio. A monument was erected in Weathersfield, Connecticut, to the memory of "James Treat, died November 30, 1840. Buried in Galveston, Texas."

Robert Emmet Cunningham, James Treat and His Mission to Mexico (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1950). Diplomatic Correspondence of the Republic of Texas, ed. George Pierce Garrison (3 parts, Washington: GPO, 1908–11). James Morgan Papers, Rosenberg Library, Galveston. Joseph William Schmitz, Texan Statecraft, 1836–1845 (San Antonio: Naylor, 1941).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Joseph W. Schmitz, "TREAT, JAMES," accessed August 23, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox