A piece of Texas history fetches top dollar

President James K. Polk
President James K. Polk Courtesy

A piece of Texas history just sold for $32,540 in Boston — a rare letter written by President James Polk anticipating the annexation of Texas in 1845 to another president: Andrew Jackson.

According to the RR Auction house, the four-page letter signed by Polk on two adjoining sheets is dated June 5, 1845, and addressed to the former president at his Hermitage estate in Tennessee.

An excerpt from the letter: “I rejoice that all is well in Texas. — I hope her Congress and Convention may accept our proposition without change or modifications. If the times are not so liberal to Texas — as the friends of annexation in this country desired, or as Texas — expected, — It should be remembered that it was with great difficulty that my proposition — could be passed through Congress last winter. — If Texas accepts our proposition, she may confidently rely upon having full justice done to her in the next Congress.”

At the time the letter was written, the U.S. Congress had passed a joint resolution for the annexation of Texas, and on June 23, 1845, the Texas Congress accepted. Texas entered the Union on Dec 29, 1845.

Cuba’s challenges

President Obama’s landmark visit to Cuba might be the beginning of changes in the Caribbean island nation.

But it’s going to take a long time, some local ambassadors believe.

Earlier this year, more than two dozen local leaders traveled to Cuba — through Fort Worth Sister Cities International — to learn more about the country and promote Fort Worth.

“It was a fascinating country,” said Mae Ferguson, president of Fort Worth Sister Cities International. “The potential is absolutely there for future partnerships.

“But it’s going to take a long time to change Cuba,” she said. “There’s no infrastructure, no WiFi. You can’t use U.S. credit cards or cellphones. There are only two gates at the airport and, as for the hotels in Havana, only two are recommended for U.S. customers.”

Ferguson and others admired the beautiful scenery, the food, the music — and the people who persevere despite living under communist rule.

“They were wonderful,” she said. “But you’ve got a clear division between those who love their country and leader and those that don’t.”

She and others said that, if the United States ever lifts the Cuba trade embargo, great change will come.

“There’s a huge potential there,” Ferguson said. “It will be great. But there’s still a lot of skepticism of how far that will go. It will be fascinating to watch.”

Catching up

Want to know what your state representatives are doing now that the Texas Legislature isn’t in session?

Head over to TCU on Tuesday to see what state Reps. Craig Goldman, R-Fort Worth, Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, and Ramon Romero Jr., D-Fort Worth, have to say.

The three local lawmakers are participating in a “conversation” with The Texas Tribune from 11:30 to 1 p.m. on Tuesday in the third-floor ballroom at TCU’s Brown-Lupton Student Union, 2800 S. University Drive.

A light lunch will be provided and the event will be livestreamed at texastribune.org/livestream.

Maria Recio, 202-383-6103

Twitter: @maria_e_recio

Anna Tinsley, 817-390-7610

Twitter: @annatinsley