Slike strani
PDF
ePub

decisive battle of San Jacinto, it was, by the rout and capture of the Mexican dictator, secured. This triumph was won by emigrants from this country almost exclusively; scarcely half a dozen of the old Mexican inhabitants participating in the revolution. Santa Anna, while a prisoner, under restraint and apprehension, agreed to a peace on the basis of the independence of Texas-a covenant which he had no power, and proba bly no desire, to give effect to when restored to liberty. The Texans, pursuing their advantage, twice or thrice penetrated other Mexican provinces-Tamaulipas, Coahuila, etc., and waved their Lone-Star flag in defiance, on the banks of the Rio Grande del Norte; which position, however, they were always compelled soon to abandon-once with severe loss. Their government, never

tion of complicity on the part of her rulers | independence was declared; in 1836, at the and people first with our British, then with our savage enemies—and had finally overrun, and, in effect, annexed it to the Union. Spain, on the other hand, had preyed upon our commerce during the long wars in Europe, and honestly owed our merchants large sums for unjustifiable seizures and spoliations. A negotiation for the settlement of these differences was carried on at Washington, between John Quincy Adams, Mr. Monroe's Secretary of State, and Don Onis, the Spanish embassador, in the course of which Mr. Adams set up a claim, on the part of this country, to Texas as a natural | geographical appendage not of Mexico, but of Louisiana. This claim, however, he eventually waived and relinquished, in consideration of a cession of Florida by Spain to this country-our government agreeing, on its part, to pay the claims of our mer-theless, in reiterating their declaration of inchants for spoliations. Texas remained, therefore, what it always had been-a department or province of Mexico, with a formal quit-claim thereto on the part of the United States.

dependence, claimed the Rio Grande as their western boundary, from its source to its mouth, including a large share of Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Durango, and by far the more important and populous portion of New Mexico. And it was with this claim, expressly set forth in the treaty, that President Tyler and his responsible advisers negotiated the first official project of annexation, which was submitted to the Senate, during the session of 1843-44, and rejected by a very decisive vote: only fifteen (mainly Southern) senators voting to confirm it. Col. Benton, and others, urged this aggressive claim of boundary, as affording abundant reason for the rejection of this treaty; but it is not known that the Slavery aspect of the case attracted especial attention in the Senate. The measure, however, had already been publicly eulogized by Gen. James Hamilton, of S. C., as calculated to "give a Gibraltar to the South," and had, on that ground, secured a very general and ardent popularity throughout the southwest. And, more than a year previously, several northern members of Congress had united in the fol

The natural advantages of this region naturally attracted the attention of American adventurers, and a small colony of Yankees was settled thereon, about 1819-20, by Moses Austin of Connecticut. Other settlements followed. Originally, grants of land in Texas were prayed for, and obtained of the Mexican government, on the assumption that the petitioners were Roman Catholics, persecuted in the United States, because of their religion, and anxious to find a refuge in some Catholic country. Thus all the early emigrants to Texas went professedly as Catholics, no other religion being tolerated. Slavery was abolished by Mexico soon after the consummation of her independence, when very few slaves were, or ever had been, in Texas. But, about 1834, some years after this event, a quiet, but very general, and, evidently concerted, emigration, mainly from Tennessee and other southwestern States, began to concentrate itself in Texas. The lowing: emigrants carried rifles; many of them were accompanied by slaves; and it was well understood that they did not intend to become Mexicans, much less to relinquish their slaves. When Gen. Sam. Houston left Arkansas for Texas, in 1834-5, the Little Rock Journal, which announced his exodus and destination, significantly added: "We shall, doubtless, hear of his raising his flag there shortly." That was a foregone conclusion. Of course, the new settlers in Texas did not lack pretexts or provocations for such a step. Mexico was then much as she is now, misgoverned, turbulent, anarchical, and despotic. The overthrow of her Federal Constitution by Santa Anna was one reason assigned for the rebellion against her authority which broke out in Texas. In 1835, her

TO THE PEOPLE OF THE FREE STATES

OF THE UNION.

We, the undersigned, in closing our duties to our constituents and our country as members of the 27th Congress, feel bound to call your attention, very briefly, to the project, long entertained by a portion of the people of these United States, still pertinaciously adhered to, and intended soon to be consummated: THE ANNEXATION OF TEXAS To THIS UNION. In the press of business incident to the last days of a session of Congress, we have not time, did we deem it necessary, to enter upon a detailed statement of the reasons that this project is by no means abandoned which force upon our minds the conviction, that a large portion of the country, interested in the continuance of Domestic Slavery and solemnly and unalterably determined: that it the Slave Trade in these United States, have shall be speedily carried into execution; and that, by this admission of new Slave Territory and

Slave States, the undue ascendancy of the Slaveholding power in the Government shall be secured and riveted beyond all redemption!!

That it was with these views and intentions that settlements were effected in the Province, by citizens of the United States, difficulties fomented with the Mexican Government, a revolt brought about, and an Independent Government declared, cannot now admit of a doubt; and that, hitherto, all attempts of Mexico to reduce her revolted province to obedience, have proved unsuccessful is to be attributed to the unlawful aid and assistance of designing and interested individuals in the United States, and the direct and indirect co-operation of our own Government, with similar views, is not the less certain and demonstrable.

The open and repeated enlistment of troops in several States of this Union, in aid of the Texan Revolution, the intrusion of an American Army, by order of the President, far into the Territory of the Mexican Government, at a moment critical for the fate of the insurgents, under pretense of preventing Mexican soldiers from fomenting Indian disturbances, but in reality in aid of, and acting in singular concert and coincidence with, the army of the Revolutionists, the entire neglect of our Government to adopt any efficient measures to prevent the most unwarrantable aggressions of bodies of our own citizens, enlisted, organized and officered within our own borders, and march ed in arms and battle array upon the territory, and against the inhabitants of a friendly government, in aid of freebooters and insurgents, and the premature recognition of the Independence of Texas, by a snap vote, at the heel of a session of Congress, and that, too, at the very session when President Jackson had, by special Message, insisted that the measure would be contrary to the policy invariably observed by the United States in all similar cases;" would be marked with great injustice to Mexico, and peculiarly liable to the darkest suspicions, inasmuch as the Texans were almost all emigrants from the United States, AND SOUGHT THE RECOGNITION OF THEIR INDEPENDENCE WITH THE AVOWED PURPOSE OF OBTAINING THEIR ANNEXATION TO THE U. STATES. These occurrences are too well known and too fresh in the memory of all, to need more than a passing notice. These have become matters of history. For further evidence upon all these and other important points, we refer to the memorable speech of John Quincy Adams, delivered in the House of Representatives during the morning hour in June and July, 1838, and to his address to his constituents, delivered at Braintree, 17th September, 1842.

The open avowal of the Texans themselves the frequent and anxious negotiations of our own Government-the resolutions of various States of the Union-the numerous declarations of members of Congress-the tone of the Southern press as well as the direct application of the Texan Government, make it impossible for any man to doubt, that ANNEXATION, and the formation of several new Slaveholding States, were originally the policy and design of the Slaveholding States and the Executive of the Nation.

The same references will show, very conclusively, that the particular objects of this new acquisition of Slave Territory, were THE PERPETUATION OF SLAVERY AND THE CONTINUED ASCENDANCY OF THE SLAVE POWER.

The following extracts from a Report on that subject, adopted by the Legislature of Mississippi, from a mass of similar evidence which might be be adduced, will show with what views the annexation was then urged.

"But we hasten to suggest the importance of the annexation of Texas to this Republic upon grounds somewhat local in their complexion, but of an import infinitely grave and interesting to the people who in

habit the Southern portion of this Confederacy, where it is known that a species of domestic Slavery is tolerated and protected by law, whose existence is prohibited by the legal regulations of other States of this who are familiarly acquainted with its practical ef Confederacy; which system of Slavery is held by all, fects, to be of highly beneficial influence to the country within whose limits it is permitted to exist.

"The Committee feel authorized to say that this system is cherished by our constituents as the very pulladium of their prosperity and happiness, and whatever ignorant fanatics may elsewhere conjecture, the Committee are fully assured, upon the most diligent South does not possess within her limits a blessing with observation and reflection on the subject. that the which the affections of her peo, le are so closely entwined and so completely en fibred, and whose value is more highly appreciated, than that which we are now considering.

*

*

*

ring the last session of Congress, when a Senator from "It may not be improper here to remark, that duMississippi proposed the acknowledgment of Texian independence, it was found, with a few exceptions, the members of that body were ready to take ground upon it, as upon the subject of Slavery itself.

"With all these facts before us, we do not hesitate

in believing that these feelings influenced the New Eng and Senators. but one voting in favor of the meais a public speech recently delivered in New York, to sure; and, indeed, Mr. Webster has been bold enough, many thousand citizens. to declare that the reasou that influenced his opposition was his abhorrence to Slavery in the South, and that it might, in the event of its recognition, become a slaveholding State. He also spoke of the efforts making in favor of Abolition; erful influence of religious feeling, it would become and that being predicated upon, and aide by the powirresistible and overwhelming.

This language, coming from so distinguished an individual as Mr. Webster, so familiar with the feelings of the North and entertaining so high a respect for public sentiment in New England, speaks so plainly the voice of the North as not to be misunderstood.

"We sincerely hope there is enough good sense and genuine love of country among our fellow-countrymen of the Northern States, to secure us final justice on this subject; yet we cannot consider it safe or expedient for the people of the South to entirely disregard the efforts of the fanatics, and the opinions of such men as Webster, and others who countenance such dangerous doctrines.

"The Northern States have no interests of their own which require any special safeguards for their defense, save only their domestic manufactures; and God knows they have already received protection from Government on a most liberal scale; under which encouragement they have improved and flourished beyond example. The South has very peculiar interests to preserve: interests already violently assailed and boldly breatened.

tection to her best interests will be afforded by the an"Your Committee are fully persuaded that this pronexation of Texas; an equipoise of influence in the halls of Congress will be secured, which will furnish us a permanent guarantee of protection."

The speech of Mr. Adams, exposing the whole system of duplicity and perfidy toward Mexico, had marked the conduct of our Government; and the emphatic expressions of opposition which began to come up from all parties in the Free States, however, for a time, nearly silenced the clamors of the South for annexation, and the people of the North have been lulled into the belief, that the project is nearly, if not wholly abandoned, and that, at least, there is now no serious danger of its consummation.

Believing this to be a false and dangerous security; that the project has never been abandoned a moment, by its originators and abettors, but that it has been deferred for a more favorable moment for its accomplishment, we refer to a few evidences of more recent development upon which this opinion is founded.

The last Election of President of the Republic of Texas, is understood to have turned, mainly, upon the question of annexation or no annex. ation, and the candidate favorable to that measure was successful by an overwhelming majority.

The sovereign States of Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi, have recently adopted Resolutions, some, if not all of them, unanimously, in favor of annexation, and forwarded them to Congress. The Hon. HENRY A. WISE, a member of Congress from the District in which our present Chief Magistrate resided when elected Vice-President, and who is understood to be more intimately acquainted with the views and designs of the present administration than any other member of Congress, most distinctly avowed his desire for, and expectation of annexation, at the last session of Congress. Among other things, he said, in a speech delivered January 26, 1842:

"True, if Iowa be added on the one side, Florida will be added on the other. But there the equation must stop. Let one more Northern State be admitted, and the equilibrium is gone-gone forever. The bulance of interests is gone-the safeguard of American property--of the American Constitution-of the American Union, vanished into thin air. This must be the

inevitable result, unless by a treaty with Mexico, THE

SOUTH CAN ADD MORE WEIGHT TO HER END OF THE LEVER! Let the South stop at the Sabine, (the east ern boundary of Texas.) while the North may spread unchecked beyond the Rocky Mountains, AND THE SOUTHERN SCALE MUST KICK THE BEAM!"

nexation; at all events, he would risk it with the Democracy of the North.

Sir" said Mr. W.. "it is not only the duty of the Government to demand the liquidation of our claims, and demand the non-invasion of Texas. Shall we sit and the liberation of our citizens, but to go further, still while the standard of insurrection is raised on our borders and let a horde of slaves, and Indians, and Mexicans rll up to the boundary line of Arkansas und Louisiana? No. It is our duty at once to say to Mexico, you strike Texus. you strike us; and if England, standing by should dare to intermeddle, and ask. Do you take part with Texas?' his prompt answer should be, Yes, and against you.'

[ocr errors]

Such, he would let gentlemen know, was the spirit of the whole people of the great valley of the West."

Several other members of Congress, in the same debate, expressed similar views and desires, and they are still more frequently expressed in

conversation.

The Hon. THO's W. GILMER, a member of Congress from Virginia, and formerly a Governor of that State, numbered as one of the " Guard," and of course understood to be in the counsels of the Cabinet, in a letter bearing date the 10th day of January last, originally designed as a private and confidential letter to a friend, gives it as his deliberate opinion, after much examination and reflection, that TEXAS WILL BE ANNEXED TO THE UNION; and he enters into a spacious argument, and presents a variety of reasons in favor of the measure. He says, among other things:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10th, 1843.

Finding difficulties, perhaps, in the way of a cession by Treaty, in another speech delivered in April, 1842, on a motion made by Mr. Linn, of N. Y., to strike out the salary of the Minister to Mexico, on the ground that the design of the Ex ECUTIVE, in making the appointment, was to accomplish the annexation of Texas, Mr. Wise said, "he earnestly hoped and trusted that the Presi dent was as desirous (of annexation) as he was represented to be. We may well suppose the President to be in favor of it, as every wise statesinan must be who is not governed by fanati-vation of causes, which I believe are rapid y bringing cism, or local sectional prejudices."

He said of Texas, that

"While she was as a State, weak and almost powerless in resisting invasion, she was herself irresistible as an invading and a conqering power. She had but a sparse population, and neither men nor money of her own, to raise and equip an army for her own defense, but let her once raise the flag of foreign conquest let her once proclaim a crusade against the rich States to the south of her, and in a moment volunteers would flock to her standard in crowds. from all the States in the great valley of the Mississippimen of enterprise and valor, before whom no Mexican troops could stand for an hour. They would leave their own towns, arm themselves, and travel on their own cost, and would come up in thousands, to plant the lone star of the Texan banner on the Mexican capitol. They would drive Santa Anna to the South, and the boundless wealth of captured towns, and rifled churches, and a lazy, vicious, and luxurious priesthood, would soon enable Texas to pay her soldiery, and redeem her State debt, and push her victorious arms to the very shores of the Pacific. And would not all this extend the bounds of Slavery? Yes, the result would be, that before another quarter of a century, the extension of Slavery would not stop short of the Western Ocean. We had but two alternatives before us; either to receive Texas into our fraternity of States, and thus make her our own, or to leave her to conquer Mexico, and become our most dangerous and formidable rival.

"To talk of restraining the people of the great Valley from emigrating to join her armies, was all in vain; and it was equally vain to calculate on their defeat by any Mexican forces, aided by England or not. They had gone once already; it was they that conquered Santa Anna at San Jacinto; and three-fourths of them, after winning that glorious field, had peaceably returned to their homes. But once set before them the conquest of the rich Mexican provinces, and you might as well attempt to stop the wind. This Government might send its troops to the frontier, to turn them back, and they would run over them like a herd of buffalo."

"Nothing could keep these booted loafers from rushing on, till they kicked the Spanish priests out of the temples they profaned."

Mr. W. proceeded to insist that a majority of the people of the United States were in favor of the an

"DEAR SIR-You ask if I have expressed the opinion, that Texas would be annexed to the United

States. I an wer, yes; and this opinion has not been adopted without reflection, or without a careful obserabout this result. I do not know how far these causes have made the same impression on others; but I am persuaded that the time is not distant when they will be felt in all their force. The excitement which you apprehend, may arise; but it will be temporary, and in the end, salutary."

He dodges the Constitutional objections as follows:

"I am, as you know, a strict constructionist of the mit the force of mere precedent to establish authority powers of our federal Government; and I do not adunder written constitutions. The power conferred by the Constitution over our foreign relations, and the repeated acquisitions of territory under it, seem to me to leave this question open as one of expediency." "But you anticipate objections with regard to the subject of Slavery. This is indeed a subject of extreme delicacy, but it is one on which the annexation of Texas will have the most salutary influence. Some have thought that the proposition would endanger our Union. I am of a different opinion. I believe it will bring about a better understanding of our relative rights and obligations."

In conclusion, he says:

"Having acquired Louisiana and Florida, we have an interest and a frontier on the Gulf of Mexico, and along our interior to the Pacific, which will not permit us to close our eyes, or fold our arms with indifference to the events which a few years may disclose in that quarter, We have already had one question of boundary with Texas; other questions must soon arise, under our revenue laws, and on other points of necessary intercourse, which it will be difficult to adjust. The institutions of Texas, and her relations with other governments. are yet in that condition which inclines her people (who are our countrymen,) to unite their destinies with ours. THIS MUST BE DONE SOON, OR NOT AT ALL. There are numerous tribes of Indians along both frontiers, which can easily become the cause or the instrument of border wars. population is pressing onward to the Pacific. power can restrain it. The pioneer from our Atlantic seaboard will so on kindle his fires, and erect his cabin, beyond the Rocky Mountains, and on the Gulf of California. If Mahomed comes not to the mountain, the mountain will go to Mahomed. Every year adds new difficulties to our progress, as natural and as

Our own

No

[blocks in formation]

The impoverished condition of Texas, her inability to raise and sustain troops to defend herself against invasion for any length of time, and her want of character and credit abroad, are urged as reasons for IMMEDIATE ANNEXATION, and the opinion has been frequently expressed, by those who feel a deep interest in this subject, that it would take place AT A VERY EARLY DAY IN THE NEXT SESSION OF CONGRESS!

At the present session, the Resolutions of the State of Alabama, in favor of annexation, and sundry petitions and remonstrances against it, were referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. A majority of the Committee, consisting of members from the slaveholding States, refused to consider and report upon the subject, and directed Mr. Adams, their Chairman, to report a resolution, asking to be discharged from the further consideration of the subject, which he did on the 28th day of February. At the same time, Mr. Adams asked, as an individual member of the Committee, for leave to present the following

resolutions:

"Resolved, That by the Constitution of the United States, no power is delegated to their Congress, or to any department or departments of their Government, to affix to this Union any foreign State, or the people thereof.

"Resolved, That any attempt of the Government of the United States. by an act of Congress, or by treaty, to annex to this Union the Republic of Texas, or the people thereof, would be a violation of the Constitution of the United States, null and void, and to which the Free States of this Union, and their people, ought not to submit."

Objections being made, the resolutions were not received; the Southern members showing a disinclination to have the subject agitated in the House at present. Might it not be considered as savoring too much of a violation of private confidence, we could refer to various declarations of persons high in office in the national government, avowing a fixed determination to bring Texas into the Union, declaring that they had assurances of the aid of the Free States to accomplish the object, and insisting that they prefer a dissolution of the Union to the rejection of Texas, expressing, how ever, at the same time, their confidence, that if the annexation could be effected, the people of the Free States would submit to it, and the institutions of the Slave States would be secured and perpetuated. Contenting ourselves, however, with the above brief glance at some of the most prominent evidence in relation to the subject, we submit to you whether the project of annexation seems to be abandoned, and whether there be not the most imminent danger of its speedy accom plishment, unless the entire mass of the people in the Free States become aroused to a conviction of this danger, and speak out, and act in reference to it, in a manner and with a voice not to be misunderstood, either by the people of the Slave States, or their own public servants and Repre

sentatives.

Although perfectly aware that many important and controlling objections to annexation exist aside from the question of Slavery, we have in this address confined ourselves principally to that, because of its paramount importance, and because the advocates of annexation distinctly place it upon that ground most of the specious arguments and reasons in favor of annexation, with which its advocates attempt to gild the pill for Northern palates, are just about as sincere and substantial as were those of Mr. WISE in the

speech above referred to, in which he labored a long time to convince Northern philanthropists that they would best promote the objects they had in view, by favoring annexation, that they might have Slavery in Texas within the power and control of our own government, that they might abolish it or mitigate its evils, he himself being an advocate of perpetual Slavery, and among the very foremost to trample upon the right of petition itself!!

None can be so blind now, as not to know that the real design and object of the South is, to "ADD NEW WEIGHT TO HER END OF THE LEVER." It was upon that ground that Mr. Webster placed his opposition, in his speech on that subject in New-York, in March, 1837. In that speech, after stating that he saw insurmountable objections to the annexation of Texas, that the purchase of Louisiana and Florida furnished no precedent for it, that the cases were not parallel, and that no such policy or necessity as led to that, required the annexation of Texas, he said:

64

race

Gentlemen, we all see, that by whomsoever possessed, Texas is likely to be a slaveholding country; and I fraukly avow my entire unwillinguess to do anything which shall extend the Slavery of the African on this continent, or add other slaveholding States to the Union. When I say that I regard SlaI only use language which has been adopted by disvery in itself a great moral, social, and political evil, tinguished men, themselves citizens of slaveholding States I shall do nothing, therefore, to favor or encourage its further extension."

And again, he said:

"In my opinion, the people of the United States will not consent to bring a Lew, vastly extensive, and slaveholding country, large enough for half a dozen or a dozen States. into the Union. IN MY OPINION THEY OUGHT NOT TO CONSENT TO IT. Indeed I am altogether at a loss to conceive what possible benefit any part of this country can expect to derive from such annexation. All benefit, to any part, is at least doubtful and ncertain, the objections obvious. plain, and strong.

On the general question of Slavery, a great portion of the community is already strongly excited. The subject has not only attracted attention as a question of politics. but it has struck a far deeper-toned cord-it has arrested the religious feeling of the country; it has taken a strong hold on the consciences of men. He is a rash man, indeed, and 1tle conversaut with human nature, and

especially has he a very erroneous estimate of the character of the people of this country who supposes that a feeling of this kind is to be trifled with, or despised. It will assuredly cause itself to be respected."

In conclusion he said:

"I see, therefore, no political necessity for the annexation of Texas to the Union; no advantages to be derived from it; and objections to it of a strong, and, in my judgment, decisive character.

I believe it to be for the interest and happiness of the whole Union, to remain as it is, without diminution and withont addition."

We hold that there is not only "no political necessity" for it, "no advantages to be derived from it," but that there is no constitutional power delegated to any department of the national gov ernment to authorize it; that no act of Congress, or treaty, for annexation, can impose the least obligation upon the several States of this Union to submit to such an unwarrantable act, or to receive into their family and fraternity such misbegotten and illegitimate progeny.

We hesitate not to say, that annexation, effected by any act or proceeding of the Federal Government, or any of its departments, woULD BE IDENTICAL WITH DISSOLUTION It would be a violation of our national compact, its objects, designs, and the great elementary principles which entered into its formation, of a character so deep and fundamental and would be an attempt to eternize an institution and a power of a nature

so unjust in themselves, so injurious to the inter- timore Nominating Convention-Mr. Polk ests and abhorrent to the feelings of the people of being selected in his stead, by a body which the Free States, as, in our opinion, not only inevitably to result in a dissolution of the Union, had been supposed pledged to renominate but fully to justify it; and we not only assert that the ex-President-excited considerable feelthe people of the Free States "ought not to sub- ing, especially among the Democrats of New mit to it," but we say, with confidence, THEY York. A number of their leaders united in WOULD NOT SUBMIT TO IT. We know their present temper and spirit on this subject too well to a letter, termed the "Secret Circular," adbelieve for a moment that they would become vising their brethren, while they supported particeps criminis in any such subtle contrivance Polk and Dallas, to be careful to vote for for the irremediable perpetuation oF AN INSTITU candidates for Congress who would set their TION, which the wisest and best men who formed faces as a flint against annexation. Here is our Federal Constitution, as well from the Slave as the Free States, regarded as an evil and a the circular: curse, soon to become extinct under the operation of laws to be passed, prohibiting the Slave Trade, and the progressive influence of the principles of the Revolution.

To prevent the success of this nefarious project to preserve from such gross violation the Constitution of our country, adopted expressly "to secure the blessings of liberty," and not the perpetuation of Slavery and to prevent the speedy and violent dissolution of the Union we invite you to unite, without distinction of party, in an immediate expression of your views on this subject, in such manner as you may deem best calculated to answer the end proposed.

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS,
SETH M. GATES,
WILLIAM SLADE.
WILLIAM B. CALHOUN,
JOSHUA R. GIDDINGS,
SHERLOCK J. ANDREWS,.
NATHANIEL B. BORDEN,
THO'S C. CHITTENDEN,
JOHN MATTOCKS.

CHRISTOPHER MORGAN,
JOSHUA M. HOWARD,
VICTORY BIRDSEYE,
HILAND HALL.

WASHINGTON, March 3rd, 1843.

"SIR-You will, doubtless, agree with us, that the late Baltimore Convention placed the Democratic Party, at the North, in a position of great difficulty. We are constantly reminded that it rejected Mr. Van Buren, and nominated Mr. Polk, for reasons connected with the immediate annexation of Texas-reasons which had no relation to the principles of the party. Nor was that all. The Convention went beyond the authority delegated to its members, and adopted a resolution on the subject of Texas (a subject not before the country when they were elected, upon which, therefore, they were not instructed), which seeks to interpolate into the party creed a new doctrine, hitherto unknown among us, at war with some of our established principles, and abhorrent to the opinions and feelings of a great majority of Northern freemen. In this position, what was the party at the North to do? Was it to reject the nominations, and abandon the contest? or should it support the nominations, rejecting the untenable doctrine interpolated at the Convention, and taking care that their support should be accompanied by such an expression of their opinion as to prevent its being misinterpreted? The latter alternative has been preferred, and we think wisely; for we conceive that a proper expression of their opinion will save their votes

secure the nomination of such Members of Con

pressed upon the country.

address you,

[NOTE. The above Address was drawn up by from misconstruction, and that proper efforts will Hon. Seth M. Gates of New York, at the sugges-gress as will reject the unwarrantable scheme now tion of John Quincy Adams, and sent to Members of Congress at their residences, after the close of the session, for their signatures. Many more than the above approved heartily of its positions and objects, and would have signed it, but for its premature publication, through mistake. Mr. Winthrop of Mass. was one of these, with Gov. Briggs, of course: Mr. Fillmore declined signing it.]

The letters of Messrs. Clay and Van Buren, taking ground against annexation, without the consent of Mexico, as an act of bad faith and aggression, which would necessarily result in war, which appeared in the spring of 1844, make slight allusions, if any, to the Slavery aspect of the case. In a later letter, Mr. Clay declared that he did not oppose annexation on account of Slavery, which he regarded as a temporary institution, which, therefore, ought not to stand in the way of a permanent acquisition. And, though Mr. Clay's last letter on the subject, prior to the election of 1844, reiterated and emphasized all his objections to annexation under the existing circumstances, he did not include the existence of Slavery.

The defeat of Mr. Van Buren, at the Bal

"With these views, assuming that you feel on this subject as we do, we have been desired to and invite the coöperation of yourself and other friends throughout the State: "1st. In the publication of a joint letter, declaring your purpose to support the nomination, rejecting the resolutions respecting Texas.

2nd.--In promoting and supporting at the next elections the nomination for Congress of such persons as concur in these opinions.

"If your views in this matter coincide with ours, please write to some one of us, and a draught of the proposed letter will be forwarded "Very respectfully,

for examination.

[ocr errors]

GEO. P. BARKER,
WILLIAM C. BRYANT,
J. W. EDMONDS,
DAVID DUDLEY FIELD,
THEODORE SEDGWICK,
THOMAS W. TUCKER,
ISAAC TOWNSEND."

Silas Wright, then a Senator of the United States, and who, as such, had opposed the Tyler Treaty of Annexation, was now run for Governor, as the only man who could carry the State of New York for Polk and Dallas. In a democratic speech at Skaneateles, N. Y., Mr. Wright had recently declared that he could never consent to Annexation on any terms which would give Slavery an advantage over Freedom. This

« PrejšnjaNaprej »