The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 16, July 1912 - April, 1913 Page: 55
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Kentucky and the Independence of Texas
slavery sympathizers of a later time feel called upon to give their
support to laws compelling the rendition of fugitive slaves. In
the one case as in the other, the law of the land fell practically
flat because the existing state of public opinion rendered federal
statutes incapable of enforcement. Add to this the fact, to which
attention has already been called, that no adequate means were
provided for securing the enforcement of the Act of 1818, which
authorized the President to employ the military and naval forces
of the United States for the purpose of preventing violations of
At the very outbreak of hostilities between Texas and Mexico,
the President, whatever may have been his views in regard to the
cession of Texas in 1819,2 proclaimed the neutrality of the United
States in no equivocal terms, and from time to time as occasion
arose, reiterated his intention not only faithfully to maintain our
neutrality, but to discountenance anything that might be calcu-
lated to expose our conduct to misconstruction in the eyes of the
world.8 And this attitude Jackson maintained till the close of
his administration. When Wharton and Hunt besought him to
recognize the independence of Texas, the President declined to in-
'See Barker, "President Jackson and the Texas Revolution," in Ameri-
can Historical Review for July, 1907. Cf., also, Miss Ethel Z. Rather,
"Recognition of the Republic of Texas by the United States," in TIIE
QUARTERLY, XIII, No. 3.
2Benton, Thirty Years' View, I, 15, 16.
aRichardson, Messages and Papers, I, 151, III, 237-238. On August
5, 1836, President Jackson wrote Governor Cannon, of Tennessee, as
follows: "The obligations of ,our treaty with Mexico . .. .require
us to maintain a strict neutrality in the contest which now agitates a
part of that republic . . . any act on the part of the government
of the United States that would tend to foster a spirit of resistance to
her Government and laws . . . would be unauthorized and highly
improper. A scrupulous sense of these obligations has prevented me
thus far from doing anything which can authorize the suspicion that our
Government is unmindful of them, and T hope to be equally cautious and
circumspect in all my future conduct." Sen. Does., 24 Cong., 2 Sess.,
I, No. 31. Practically the same sentiments were expressed somewhat
over a year later by Forsyth in a letter to General Memucan Runt.
Cf., also, Sen. Does., 24 Cong., 2 Sess., I, No. 31. One of the Kentucky
papers noted that the Governor of Louisiana had issued a proclamation
calling attention to the Act of 1818. Lewington Observer and Kentucky
Reporter, December 16, 1835. The editor of the Philadelphia Saturday
Courier expressed surprise that the President had not issued a procla-
mation announcing neutrality, inasmuch as such a step was certainly
sanctioned by custom.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 16, July 1912 - April, 1913, periodical, 1913; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101058/m1/61/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.