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be established and prevail between the two countries. In this Message, the President mentioned, in condemnatory terms, the unauthorized seizure of the “Eliza Russell,” an English brig, which he had ordered to be released, and damages paid. The circumstances of the case,” he added, " were immediately communicated to the Commissioner of the Republic to England; and it was probable that the despatch would reach that country by the time of his arrival.”
The proposed annexation of Texas to the North American Union had evoked a powerful opposition in the northern and middle States. The pecuniary resources of the manufacturing interest—the activity of the Anti-Slavery party—the energy of the Northern delegation in Congress, which discovered in the proposition an extension of Southern and AntiTariff influence, that must bear them down unless they could obtain a counterpoise of territory in British North America, were all arrayed against the acquisition of a country anxiously sought by the
government of the United States, in various modes of negotiation, from 1805 to the 4th of March, 1837. A vast number of remonstrances, memorials, and petitions against annexation were presented to Congress,“ characterized,” it was said, “in almost every instance, by a very exalted temper."* The legislatures of the States of New York, Vermont, Massachusetts and Ohio called upon Congress to reject the measure, and loudest in opposition was Mr. John Quincy Adams, who “had hardly ascended
Speech of Mr. Preston, in the Senate of the United States, April 24, 1838.
the Presidential chair (in 1824) before he assiduously addressed himself to the task of repairing the injury he had inflicted upon the country by the treaty of 1819, in the making of which (as Secretary of State) it has since been understood, he was the reluctant agent.
The violent character of the Northern hostility to the measure of annexation, and the vituperative terms too frequently applied to the people of Texas, tended greatly to abate the desire of the latter for the contemplated union.
On the 24th of April, 1838, Mr. Preston, of South Carolina, submitted to the Senate of the United States the following resolution:
“ Whereas the just and true boundary of the United States, under the treaty of Louisiana, extended on the southwest to the Rio Grande del Norte, which river continued to be the true boundary line until the territory west of the Sabine was surrendered to Spain by the treaty of 1819 : And whereas such surrender of a portion of the territory of the United States is of evil precedent, and questionable constitutionality: And whereas many weighty considerations of policy make it expedient to re-establish the said true boundary, and to annex to the United States the territory occupied by the state of Texas, with the consent of the said state :
“ Be it therefore Resolved, That, with the consent of the said state previously had, and whenever it can be effected, consistently with the public faith and treaty stipulations of the United States, it is desirable and expedient to re-annex the said territory to the United States.”
This resolution, based upon such untenable ground as the re-assertion of a territorial claim that
had not only been disputed by Spain, but solemnly relinquished by the United States, was ably, though of course unsuccessfully advocated by its mover, who hinted that the anti-slavery opposition was only a cover for other objects.
“ But for the great respect," said Mr. Preston, “which I have for the States which have taken ground on this subject, I should be disposed to suspect that the idea of checking the extension of domestic slavery was but a hollow and hypocritical pretext, to cover political designs. The slaveholding population and the slave-holding political communities may be multiplied by the proposed acquisition of territory; but I do not see that slavery, or the number of slaves, can be increased by it. Under the mild condition of Southern slavery, the negro population increases at a greater ratio than that of the whites throughout the Union, augmented as i he latter is by the accession of foreigners. To this natural increase, your laws, making the introduction of slaves a felony, forbid any addition. Extend the territory as you may, you can have only those you now have, and their natural increase. They may be diffused over a wider surface, intermingled with a larger free population, but not one additional slave can be made.”
During the agitation of the fierce sectional controversy regarding Texas in the United States, the Foreign Minister of England did not remain indifferent to the question at issue. On the 12th of April, 1837, Mr. Crawford, British Vice-Consul at Tampico, arrived at Columbia, on the Brazos, accompanied by several of the officers of the brigof-war“ Racer,” Commander Hope, for the purpose of investigating the civil and political condition of the country, and reporting to Lord Palmerston. On the 23rd of April, 1838, Mr. Jones, of Brazoria, introduced the following “ Joint
resolution” into the House of Representatives of Texas.
“ Whereas the citizens of the Republic of Texas, at their election of President and other officers, in the year 1836, expressed an almost unanimous desire to become annexed to the United States of North America; in conseqnence of which expression, a proposition for annexation was made, through our minister resident at the city of Washington, which proposition, after having been duly considered, has been distinctly and unconditionally refused by that government, and for reasons which it is impossible for time or circumstances to invalidate or alter : and whereas it is believed that Texas, having interests at variance with those of a large portion of the United States, and having also demonstrated her ability for self-government, and for successfully resisting the efforts of her imbecile enemy to subjugate her, and now trusting, as a wise policy dictates, to her own strength and resources, no longer desires such annexation : and whereas it is a fact that, pending this hopeless negotiation, the recognition of the independence of Texas by England and other powers, so essential to our welfare, is delayed or prevented
· Be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of Texas, in Congress assembled, that his Excellency the President be authorised and required, so soon as he may think proper, to instruct our minister resident at Washington respectfully to inform the government of the United States of North America, that the government of Texas withdraws the proposition for the annexation of Texas to the said United States."
This resolution was approved by the House of Representatives, and was all but carried in the Senate—the majority against it being only oneAyes 13, Noes 14. Extracts of a letter from the Texan diplomatic agent in London were read by a member of the Senate, which acknowledged friendly
dispositions on the part of the British government towards the Republic, whose ability to maintain its independence was, however, doubted. That independence could not, at all events, be recognised so long as Texas continued to request annexation to the United States. In the latter country, the speaker observed, there were interests that clashed with those of the young Republic. The same speaker read several passages of a speech by the Hon. John Quincy Adams, upon the subject of the annexation of Texas to the United States, to show the feeling upon the subject north of the Potomac.*
On the 21st of March, 1838, an ultimatum, in relation to the claims of France for reparation of injuries, was transmitted by the French minister, on board the frigate “ L'Hermione,” at Vera Cruz, to the Mexican government. Redress was demanded for “ plunder and destruction of property on the part of the people, and on the part of contending factions in time of civil commotion ; for forcible loans, collected by violence, and for refusal of jus
Dr. Channing's Letter to the Hon. Henry Clay shows the strong sectional feeling entertained by even a philosophic religionist of the North with regard to the extension of Southern influence by the annexation of Texas to the United States. The Doctor, after assuming the truth of the most absurd calumnies against Texas, complains that Northern “ commerce and manufactures have sometimes found little mercy at the hands of the South. We cannot consent,” he says, " that our confederation should spread over the wilds of Mexico, to give us more powerful masters. The old balance of the country is unfavourable enough.” It was not all anti-slavery enthusiasm with the eminent Bostonian The leaning of the South towards British manufactures, in preference to the forced products of New England, had its full share in the Doctor's expostulatory warmth.