Texas and the Massachusetts Resolutions Page: 9 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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Washington, have all, by their action upon the Massachusetts
Resolutions, more or less committed themselves to the
maintenance of the same proposition. They cannot now get
away from it if they would.
Yet in the face of all this, we will undertake at once, and
unequivocally to deny, on behalf of the framers of the constitution,
any such fraudulent intention. The great body of the
convention looked confidently to the day when slavery would
be abolished in all the States. The celebrated Judge Wilson
announced it in the ratifying Convention of Pennsylvania
as one of the most valuable consequences to be expected
from the adoption of the constitution. George Washington
looked forward to it, if not in the same light, at least as following
the voluntary act of the Southern States themselves.
Thomas Jefferson, though not a member of the convention,
yet a fatir representative of Southern sentiment, was not a
whit behind-hand in his professions upon the subject. The
evil was then confined within comparatively small limits; it
was not rapidly growing under the stimulus of the production
of an extraordinarily profitable staple, such as cotton has
since become and such as sugar may yet become. It was
generally believed at the time that the transplantation of the
negro to America was an artificial process, which could only
be kept up by perpetual importation, and that, without this,
the race would decline and die out of itself. Hence the origin
of the effort to prevent the prohibition of the slave trade,
resulting in the adoption of the first clause of the ninth section
of the first article of the constitution, which put that trade
beyond the control of Congress for twenty years, or until
180S. This measure, if it meant any thing at all, was a measure
of precaution against the supposed tendency of the constitution,
and by no means implies the opinion that slavery
would flourish under its protection-an opinion which Mr.
Stiles maintains to have been the prevailing one, and which
he, with a greater appearance of justice, assumes to be the
But how has it' come to be a fact, if it be admitted to be
true ? Is it not because the constitution gave to a hundred
and fifty thousand men, owners of slaves,-a number which
certainly has not doubled since,-a most disproportionate
share of political power over the affairs of the Union ? It
granted to them an aristocratic distinction of property which
forever marked them a favored and separate class, acting itogether
for a common object, the maintenance at every hazard
of their special privilege. The consequence has been that
the power thus concentrated in few hands has met with no
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Adams, Charles Francis. Texas and the Massachusetts Resolutions, book, January 1, 1844; Boston, Massachusetts. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2355/m1/9/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .