Annexation of Texas. By Junius no. IX Page: 5
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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our side. Any foreign European interference in the affairs of Texas, would be a just occasion
of offence to us, and we could never consent to it, as it might endanger our interests, and impair
our political and national rights. They who are for immediate annexation, cannot go
farther than this. Mr. Clay declares, that he would defend this right against all the world,
and fight for it if necessary. To all European nations, his language is-HANDS OFF OF
TEXAs-and they, who know Mr. Clay, will believe, that it will not be his fault, if they are
* not kept off. But these immediate annexationists want to fight before it is necessary-before
it can be done with honor-when it is sure to incur the reprobation of mankind-and when
it may bring down upon us the combined hostility of the most powerful nations. No man
would grasp the sword quicker, or with a more resolute will, than Mr. Clay, when a European
power should make tangible demonstrations of a meddling interference in the affairs of
Texas.. But, like Captain Tyler, who cuts off heads for the suspicion that the wearers are
" Clay men at heart," the immediate annexationist would fight all the world on the presumption,
that there is somebody in it, who has an evil thought, though he cannot tell who it is.
We derrmand the evidence.
"From what I have s-en and heard," says Mr. Clay, " I believe, that Great Britain has recently, formally, and
solemnly disavowed any such aim or purpoes-has declared that she is desirous only of the independence of
Texas, and that she has no intention to interfere in her domestic institutions."
It appears, that four separate and distinct official disavowals of this kind, from Lord Aberdeen
himself, as Secretary for Foreign. Affairs, two through our Minister Mr. Everett, and
two through Mr. Packenham, British Minister at Washington, were in the hands of our Government,
when Mr. Clay wrote this letter-all communicated in the space of three months.
They were volunteered-gratuitous-altogether unusual. They were disavowals, not only of
any desire on the part of the Government of Great Britain to establish a dominant influence
in Texas, whether partially dependant on Mexico, or entirely independent," or to interfere in
her domestic affairs; but also of any desire or design, " openly or secretly. to disturb the
internal tranquillity of the slave-holding states, or to injure the prosperity of the American
Union." Even Thomas Hart Benton, a right good hater of the British, and always sufficiently
jealous of them, was constrained to say in the Senate---" This is enough for me.
That Government is too proud to lie." It is remarkable, that the British Government should
have taken such special pains to contradict the statements and correct the misrepresenta.
tions of a secret agent of President Tyler (supposed to be Mr. Duff Green), on which the
treaty of annexation was founded; and still more remarkable, after those disavowals were
made, that a treaty, based on such a false foundation, should be persisted in. and defended by
the very documents which contained the disavowals! Not less remarkable is the fact,
that the letter of our Secretary of State to Mr. Packenham, finding reasons for the treaty in
the papers of disavowal, was dated six days after the treaty was signed, thus evincing that this
letter was an after thought-an ex postfacto production I Most unfortunate was this British
Minister, in having his words, which were designed for peace, thus perverted to kindle strife.
What Mr. Benton believes in this affair, we may safely have some respect for.
9. Mr. Clay's position on the annexation question, leaves it precisely where it was. He
opens and shuts no door on this question, nor does he put his little finger to one. He frankly
ventures on some suggestions. which, perchance, may prove prophetic. But Mr. Clay, so far
as we can see, is not committed or pledged to any course of policy on this question, other
than-1. To maintain the faith of treaties. 2. Not to violate our rule of non-intervention,
where our position is neutral. 3. To do what he can, fairly and honorably, to secure the
independence of Texas. 4. To see that our own republic receives no damage by European
interference in the affairs of Texas. 5. To oppose, if necessary, by force of arms, all such
machinations. .6. To leave the question of Annexation open and unembarrassed, for the
future decision of the parties concerned, after they shall have had a fair and sufficient opportnitym
to consider it. And 7. To help the country through the critical posture, into which
ambitious men, reckless of consequences, have brought it. This is the position of Mr. Clay
on the annexation question, as we understand it. He would not pick a quarrel, where we
could only reap dishonor, and where we would chance to have the world against us. And we
have reason to believe, there is no part of the Union and no interest, no feeling or prejudice on
this subject, which Mr. Clay does not regard with impartial and patriotic concern.
2. Jfr. Van Buren's Position on Annexation.
To understand this is alike important and pertinent, as it goes to determine the position of
Messrs. Polk and Dallas-'-names but little known till lately, but whose whereabouts we are
required to notice, since the misfortunes of our political opponents have suddenly made these
gentlemen prominent: The question of tlhe annexation of Texas had been twice in Mr. Van
Buren's hands for official action, first as Secretary of State under General Jackson, and next
as President of the United States; and we must do him the hoaor to say, that he treated the
subject in both case with ability'and fidelity. His official action, and the ground of it, wore
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