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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 which force upon our minds the conviction that this project is by no means abandoned; that a large portion of the country, interested in the continuance of Domestic Slavery and the Slave-Trade in these United States, have solemnly and unalterably determined that it shall be speedily carried into execution; and that, by this admission of new Slave territory and Slave States, the undue ascendency 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 cooperation 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 marched 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

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of obtaining their annexation to the United States.

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 ascendency of the Slave Power.

"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 Government 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 interests and abhorrent to the feelings of the people of the Free States, as, in our opinion, not only inevitably to result in a dissolution of the Union, but fully to justify it; and we not only assert that the people of the Free States ought not to submit to it,' but, we say with confidence, they would not submit to it. We know their present temper and spirit on this subject too well to believe for a moment that they would become particeps criminis in any subtle contrivance for the irremediable perpetuation of an institution, which the wisest and best men who formed our Federal Constitution, as well from the Slave as the Free States, regarded as an evil and a 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 viola




tion the Constitution of our country, adopt- | fruitless efforts to reconquer that ed expressly to secure the blessings of lib

erty,' 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 immedi

ate exposition of your views on this subject, in such manner as you may deem best calculated to answer the end proposed."

On the 27th of March, 1844, Mr. Wm. H. Hammet, Representative in Congress from Mississippi, and an unpledged delegate elect to the approaching Democratic National Convention, addressed, from his seat in the House, a letter of inquiry to Mr. Van Buren, asking an expression of his "opinions as to the constitutionality and expediency of immediately annexing Texas to the United States, so soon as the consent of Texas may be had to such Annexation." The writer commended himself to Mr. Van Buren as one of your warmest supporters in 1836 and 1840, and an unpledged delegate to the Baltimore Convention;" and, though courteous in its terms, the letter gave him very clearly to understand that his answer would govern the course of the rist in the Convention aforesaid, and be very likely to influence the result of its deliberations.

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Mr. Van Buren replied in a very long and elaborate letter, dated Lindenwald, April 20th, whereof the drift and purport were very clearly hostile to the contemplated Annexation. He fully admitted that Annexation was per se desirable; encouraging hopes that he might consent to it, as a measure of imperative self-defense, rather than permit Texas to become a British dependency, or the colony of any European power; and intimating that Mexico might too long persist "in refusing to acknowledge the independence of Texas, and in destructive but

State," so as to produce a general conviction of the necessity of Annexation to the permanent welfare, if not absolute safety, of all concerned. He, nevertheless, decidedly negatived any presumption that he could, under existing circumstances, or under any in immediate prospect, give his support to the scheme, even though assured that his re-election to the Pres

idency depended thereon. His view of the main question directly presented, is fairly and forcibly set forth in the following passage of his letter:

"The question, then, recurs, if, as sensible men, we cannot avoid the conclusion that the immediate Annexation of Texas would, in all human probability, draw after it a war with Mexico, can it be expedient to attempt it? Of the consequences of such a war, the character it might be made to assume, the entanglements with other nations which the position of a belligerent almost unavoidably draws after it, and the undoubted injuries which might be inflicted on each, notwithstanding the great disparity of their respective forces, I will not say a word. God forbid that an American citizen should ever count the cost of any appeal to what is appropriately denominated the last resort of nations, whenever that resort becomes necessary, either for the safety, or to vindicate the honor, of his country. There is, I trust, not one so base as not to regard himself, and all he has, to be forever, and at all times, subject to such a requisition. But such circumstances, be a contest of that would a war with Mexico, brought on under character? Could we hope to stand perfectly justified in the eyes of mankind for entering into it; more especially if its commencement is to be preceded by the appropriation to our own uses of the territory, the sovereignty of which is in dispute between two nations, one of which we are to

join in the struggle? This, Sir, is a matter of the very gravest import-one in respect

to which no American statesman or citizen

can possibly be indifferent. We have a character among the nations of the earth to well those who advocate this measure as maintain. All our public functionaries, as those who oppose it, however much they may differ as to its effects, will, I am sure, this first of duties. be equally solicitous for the performance of

"It has hitherto been our pride and our

boast that, whilst the lust of power, with fraud and violence in its train, has led other and differently constituted Governments to aggression and conquest, our movements in these respects have always been regulated by reason and justice. A disposition to detract from our pretensions in this respect will, in the nature of things, be always prevalent elsewhere, and has, at this very moment, and from special causes, assumed, in some quarters, the most rabid character. Should not every one, then, who sincerely loves his country-who venerates its time

honored and glorious institutions who dwells with pride and delight on associations connected with our rise, progress, and present condition-on the steady step with which we have advanced to our present eminence, in despite of the hostility, and in contempt of the bitter revilings, of the ene

mies of freedom in all parts of the globe consider, and that deeply, whether we would not, by the immediate Annexation of Texas, place a weapon in the hands of those who now look upon us and our institutions with distrustful and envious eyes, that would do us more real, lasting injury as a nation,

than the acquisition of such a territory, valuable as it undoubtedly is, could possibly repair?

“It is said, and truly said, that this war between Texas and Mexico has already been of too long duration. We are, and must continue to be, annoyed by its prosecution, and have undoubtedly, as has been remarked, an interest in seeing it terminated. But can we appeal to any principle in the law of Nations, to which we practice a scrupu lous adherence, that would, under present circumstances, justify us in interfering for its suppression in a manner that would unavoidably make us a party to its further prosecution? Can this position be made sufficiently clear to justify us in committing the peace and honor of the country to its support?

"In regard to the performance by us of that duty, so difficult for any Government to perform the observance of an honest neutrality between nations at war-we can now look through our whole career, since our first admission into the family of nations, not only without a blush, but with feelings of honest pride and satisfaction. The way was opened by President Washington himself, under circumstances of the most difficult character, and at no less a hazard than that of exposing ourselves to plausible, yet unjust, imputations of infidelity to treaty stipulations. The path he trod with such unfaltering steps, and which led to such beneficial results, has hitherto been pursued with unvarying fidelity by every one of his successors, of whom it becomes me to speak."

The Whigs were unanimous and enthusiastic in their determination that no other than Mr. Clay should be their candidate, and that no other than he should be elected. He had spent the Winter of 1843-4, mainly in New Orleans—then a hot-bed of the Texas intrigue-but had left it unshaken in his opposition to the plot-not to Annexation itself, at a suitable time, and under satisfactory conditions; but to its accomplishment while the boundaries of Texas remained undetermined and disputed, her independence unacknowledg ed by Mexico, and her war with that country unconcluded.

Mr. Clay set forth his view of the matter in a letter to The National

Intelligencer, dated “Raleigh, N. C., April 17, 1844"-three days earlier than the date of Mr. Van Buren's

letter. Premising that he had believed and maintained that Texas was included in the Louisiana purchase, and had, therefore, opposed the treaty of 1819, with Spain, by which Florida was acquired, and the Sabine recognized boundary, he says:

as our western

"My opinions of the inexpediency of the treaty of 1819 did not prevail. The country and Congress were satisfied with it; appropriations were made to carry it into effect; the line of the Sabine was recognized by us as our boundary, in negotiations both with Spain and Mexico, after Mexico became independent; and measures have been in actual progress to mark the line, from the Sabine to the Red river, and thence to the Pacific ocean. We have thus fairly alienated our title to Texas, by solemn National compacts, to the fulfillment of which we stand bound by good faith and National honor. It is, therefore, perfectly idle and ridiculous, if not dishonorable, to talk of resuming our title to Texas, as if we had never parted with it. We can no more do that than Spain can resume Florida, France Louisiana, or Great Britain the thirteen colonies now comprising a part of the United States."

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