Texas and the Massachusetts Resolutions Page: 13 of 54
This book is part of the collection entitled: From Republic to State: Debates and Documents Relating to the Annexation of Texas, 1836-1856 and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the UNT Libraries.
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fectly defined in many quarters. Are we to assume that our
rights shall be acknowledged by other nations, to the furthest
liimit of what we can show any claim for? If we do, then
will there never be any possibility of settling questions otherwise
than by war. It amounts to dictation to other countries,
to which they will never submit-it can never be called negotiation
with them. The great body of the people of the
United States are not so unreasonable as all this comes to.
When a good treaty is made, which secures the great object
of peace, and a definite boundary, equally satisfactory
to both the negotiating countries, it becomes all honest and
well-meaning citizens to abstain thenceforth and forever from
all complaint and much more from any effort to annul its force.
Yet we are not among those who can be said to approve
of one principle which was contained in that treaty, as affecting
the domestic concerns of the Union. We mean the
acquisition of additional territory. The example had been
unfortunately set by the cession of Louisiana, and a concurrence
of circumstances appeared to make tl)e step almost unavoidable.
But we fear it has been, and will be, the parent
of mischiefs innumerable. One of these has been, what Mr.
Holmes calls the settled policy of the Government to annex
Texas. Another is the present dispute with the government
of Great Britain, about the terrritory of Oregon. Why
should the people of the United States want more lands,
when they do not know what to do with those they already
have ? Why should the twenty-six States seek to open new
inducements to the emigration of their own citizens, when
those already existing are so great as to make them uncertain
of their ability to keep them at home ? Still there would be
no impulse of this kind sufficiently strong to excite a reasonable
share of alarm for the pacific policy of the Union, if it
were not for the restless desire of the privileged class to perpetuate
the sources of its power.
The treaty with Spain of 1819, signed, sealed and duly
ratified by the contracting parties, fixed the Sabine and the
Red River as the boundary of the United States on the
south-west. It surrendered all claim, or shadow of claim,
to the territory of Texas. That was conceded to belong to
Spain, whilst Spain held the control of Mexico, and it fell to
the share of Mexico when that country made itself independent.
Shortly after the acknowledgment of her independence,
an effort was made to treat with her for the cession of
Texas. That effort was made by Mr. Clay, under the adt
ministration of Mr. Adams. It is the beginning of what Mr.
Holmes has denominated the settled policy of this Govern
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Adams, Charles Francis. Texas and the Massachusetts Resolutions, book, January 1, 1844; Boston, Massachusetts. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2355/m1/13/: accessed April 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .