The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 39, July 1935 - April, 1936 Page: 274
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
meant was exceedingly well conceived.50 It is worth noting Ben-
ton's remarks in the Senate in defense of the war that seemed
impending in consequence of the President's orders to Gaines.
Benton spoke on May 4, 1836,
at the most critical moment of the contest, and when the reported
advance of the Mexicans upon Nacogdoches, and the actual move-
ment of General Gaines and our own troops in that direction,
gave reason to apprehend the encounter of flags, or the collision
of arms. . . . It was then that I used those words
that there might be emergencies in which the obligation of duty
[of neutrality] could have no force . . . when, in fact, a
man should have no head to think! nothing but a heart to feel!
and an arm to strike. . . . It was after the affair of Goliad,
and the imputed order to unpeople the country. . . . I de-
clared it to be my sentiment that treaties were nothing, books
were nothing, laws were nothing! . . . and that the Ameri-
can soldier, hearing the cries of helplessness and weakness [of
the Texans] . . . should fly to the rescue, and strike to pre-
vent the perpetration of crimes which shock humanity and dis-
honor the age. I uttered this sentiment not upon impulsion, but
with consideration . . . as a rule for action . . . and
with a view to the public justification of General Gaines and his
men, if under circumstances appalling to humanity, they should
nobly resolve to obey the impulsions of the heart."1
The history of the Neches claim came to an end in Decem-
ber, 1836, when Jackson withdrew the American troops from
Nacogdoches, apparently no longer feeling the need of asserting
it. When the United States and the Republic of Texas ran the
boundary in 1840 the joint-commissioners readily agreed that the
Neches was not the Sabine.52
""Mr. Polk is not the first President to give me the command of the
army against Mexico--General Jackson himself proposed it in 1836, when
our affairs with that country looked warlike, and then, as now, I agreed
to take it," Benton says, in a speech in the Senate, January 25, 1847, on
the Lieutenant-General bill. Cong. Globe, 29 cong., 2 sess., 247.
"Cong. Debs., XII, Pt. II, 1390, 1920. A strong indictment of Jack-
son's policy was made by Senator Garland of Louisiana in his speech of
May 7, 1836, in Ibid., XII, Pt. III, 3530-3540.
"Sen. Does., 27 cong., 2 sess., No. 199, p. 60 note.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 39, July 1935 - April, 1936, periodical, 1936; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101095/m1/300/: accessed May 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.