Texas first looked to the United States. Although the United States is not ready to continue with annexation, it was the first country to officially recognize Texas as a new sovereign nation. The US Congress made this decision because it feared Britain or France would gain privileged access to Texas wealth.
The next country to recognize Texas was France. A trade treaty was signed on September 25, 1839 and it established import duties on cotton from Texas into France and reduced import duties on French wines, spirits and silks at ports in Texas. . The French followed suit by opening a legation – a sort of junior embassy – in Austin. Texas returned the favor by opening its own legation in Paris.
This recognition of France was of enormous importance. Most European countries viewed the Texas revolution as internal unrest in Mexico and believed that Santa Anna could crush the rebellion and reclaim the wayward state.
Once recognized internationally, Texas needed support for its banking system. In 1841, General James Hamilton, Texas Loans Commissioner, walked into the office of a French minister in Paris and requested a loan of $ 5 million. The minister asked him if he had any guarantees – and the Texan replied “a territory as large as the kingdom of France”.
At the time, Texas was actually about 50 percent larger than France. It seemed that this loan would go through the French bureaucracy. Then Texas pigs caused an international incident.
Back in Austin, pigs belonging to innkeeper Richard Bullock roamed the grounds of the French Legation and ate corn in the stable, tearing up the gardens and invading the house. Dubois de Saligny, the charge d’affaires of the legation, ordered his servant to slaughter the pigs.
An indignant Bullock wanted Saligny arrested, but Saligny demanded diplomatic immunity.
Bullock grabbed the servant outside the legation, beat him and threatened to do the same in Saligny. The French cut diplomatic relations with Texas before going to New Orleans.
A year later he returned to his post, but the Pig Wars effectively killed the loan.
Even so, Saligny’s glowing reports of the unfathomable wealth and prosperity for which Texas was destined fueled France’s interest in the nation. “Everywhere, I saw a people who, if it is true, coarse and sometimes coarse, were nonetheless invariably intelligent, industrious and resolute”, writes Saligny. “In my opinion, they would take up arms on the first alert and beat Mexico in a very short time. He concluded, “Mexico has more to fear from Texas than Texas from Mexico.” “
By keeping close ties with Texas, France wanted to take the last available foot for it in North America. Negotiations for French colonization and the stationing of 30,000 French troops along the Texas border continued until the annexation of Texas by the United States in 1845.
France fired Saligny for his incompetence, and all the harm went to these pigs. As a French minister said about Saligny: “We can make mistakes, but we cannot afford to look ridiculous”.