Texas and the Massachusetts Resolutions Page: 22 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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striking to our observation. And that is, the change of relation
which the United States bears to the territory of Texas
at the present time from that which they bore in 1825, when
the negotiations commenced. For then it was a simple ploceeding
unclouded by any suspicion of sinister design. Even
the blight of domestic slavery had not in any great degree
fallen upon the land. But now we know the fact that slavery
was introduced by the immigrants from these States in opposition
to the law of Mexico. That it constituted the turning
point,in the revolution of the Texans, and that it is the
cause in behalf of which the whole power of our government
has been exerted directly or indirectly as well in the negotiation
that has taken place as in the subsequent operations of
the settlers themselves. What is it then that the United
States are called upon to sanction by now acquiring Texas ?
Is it not the entire process by which we have converted a
free into a Slave State, and extended the influence of the
domestic institution at the cost of every principle of fair
dealing and of right. And is this not a wholly new feature
since the year 1825 which completely alters the nature of
the transaction, and converts an honest and open offer to
purchase into a sharper's contrivance to acquire property in
an underhand way, for an unjustifiable purpose ?
There was very much such a burst of popular feeling in 1837
as has lately taken place against the measure. The Legislatures
of Ohio, Massachusetts and Rhode Island passed resolutions
which had then some effect in checking its prosecution.
Yet had General Jackson remained at the head of the government,
we have very little doubt that it would have been executed.
But the policy of his wary successor was too cautious
to make him willing to risk beginning his administration with a
war and a completely disordered state of the finances at the
same time. On the 4th of August, 1837, Mr. Memucan Hunt,
specially appointed by Texas for the purpose, opened a negotiation
with the Secretary of State, Mr. Forsyth, by proposing
" to unite the two people under one and the same government."
The first condition prescribed by his government was " the
free and unmolested authority over their slave population."
This, it will be recollected, was about one month before
the time at which the Congress of the United States had
been called to meet by proclamation of Mr. Van Buren, on
account of the suspension of specie payments by the banks
throughout the Union. It was quite enough for the administration
to be obliged to face an active and powerful opposition
on the subject of the currency, without adding the plentiful
materials to be gathered from the prospect of a war with a
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Adams, Charles Francis. Texas and the Massachusetts Resolutions, book, January 1, 1844; Boston, Massachusetts. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2355/m1/22/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .