Annexation of Texas. By Junius no. IX Page: 4
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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teritory, for which, and under whose authority alone, they were thue acting I do not believe it was mi a,
that they might receive Englaned, Ireland, Holland, opinionof those who caMom
the treaty-making power boundless. If it is, then we have'no Constitutmo."
We do not quote these passages from Mr. Jefferson, to show, that, if he was right in this
opinion, Texas could not be annexed. It appears that Mr. Jefferson himself got over this
difficulty, in the case of Louisiana, by proposing an expostfacto amendment of the Constitution,
and rendering an account to the nation for the irregularity. Nor do we cite this, to put
Mr. Clay on that ground. We have no right to put him there, or elsewhere, where he .has
not distinctly taken up his own position. Personally, we have another mode of getting over
this difficulty, viz., by an act of national sovereignty, which the Constitution does not expressly
forbid, and which no party, or no " considerable portion of the confederacy," objects to. Such,
precisely, were the transactions which added Louisiana and Florida to the Union, and nobody
has ever objected to them since. Such are many acts, on a smaller scale, some of thet
important, which are constantly being done by this Government. Where, for example, is
the authority in the Constitution for laying out the Congressional burying-ground,for taking
and using the Smithsornian legacy, for building an observatory, for erecting the magnificent
public edifices at Washington, for setting up the Patent Office, which is fast growing into a
Home Department of the Government, for fitting and sending out the Exploring Expedition,
.4c. but we think he is right in his position, certainly prudent. There
are grave doubts as to the constitutionality of the measure; no express authority can be cited;
and who would be warranted, in such a case, to trample on " the wishes of a considerable
and respectable portion of the Confederacy ?" The majority cannot rightfully put down the
minority, which rises up and invokes the Constitution as a shield, demanding authority for
an act of alleged injustice. This is a mete, a boundary,. over which a fair man will not, dare
not, leap. The annexation of Texas, as now proposed, is a great, a momentous question,
sprung upon the country at an unexpected moment, with a view to force it, before it can be
considered, because it is known that " a considerable and respectable portion of the confederacy"
is not prepared for it, would perhaps oppose it. Mr. Clay, a republican from the beginning,
is manifestly, though he does not say it, shocked at such a violation of democratic
principles-at an attempt to force upon the Union a foreign sovereignty, without asking leaveof
the people ! He proposes, that the people should have time to consider it; and hts it is a
measure of doubtful Constitutionality with many, he would feel bound to respect the objections
of "a considerable and respectable" minority. He says: "I
think it far more wise and important to compose and harmonise the present Confederacy, as it now exis,
than to introduce a new elemenlt of discord a id distraction into it. In my humbl.e opinion, it should be the contint
and earnest endeavor 6f American statesmen, to eradicate prejudices, to cultivate and foster concord and to
ioduce gttneral eontentment among all pans of our Confederacy. And true wisdom, it seems to me, points to
thwduty of rendering its present members happy, prosperous, and tisfied with each other, rather than to intro.
duce alien members, against the common consent, and with the certainty of deep dissatisfaction."
Mr. Jefferson proposed to take Louisiana, " in silence,"-" the less said the better," because
ke knew the people would be satisfied. He said, "we shall not be disavowed4" It has
recently been proposed to take Texas, " in silence," and by stealth, because it was known, that
the people would be dissatisfied, and that it could not be done openly without strenuous opposition
from the most respectable quarters.
7. In the apparent motive which actuates this precipitate movement, is developed an
alarming element of future strife and disunion between opposing sections of the confederacy.
r' Clay says,." It is useless to disguise, that there are those who espouse, and those who
oppose the annexation of Texas on the ground of the influence it would exert in the bulanee
of political power, between two great sections of the Union." He-thinks, that nothing could
be- "more unfortunate, or more pregnanit with fatal consequences," than a struggle of this
kind. " If to-day Texas be required to add strength to one part of the confederacy, to-morrow
Canada may be required to add strength tb thie other," and whereand inmwhat is such a stUfe
end s It needs no prophet's ken to answer. All see the end of it.
"If"* says Mr. Clay, "any European nation entertains any ambitious designs upon Texas, such aw that of
o onuzi ng her, or in any way subjugating her, I should regard it as the imperative duty of the Government of the
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