Discourse on Slavery and the Annexation of Texas Page: 14 of 19
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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sake of humanity let us hope they are few--where parents thus
sell their own children !
And all this mass of horrors involved in the domiestic slavetrade,
is certain to be extended and prolonged by the Annexation
of Texas. Let me not be told that it is a rich country, a
great acquisition; all this weighs nothing with me against the
insuperable moral objection. If its plains were paved with
gold and its mountains were studded all over with diamondrocks,
I would not take it on the terms proposed. If it were the
paradise of heaven, I would not take it on those terms!
Nay, and if I thought it probable, as some believe, that the
Annexation of Texas would shorten the term of slavery, I
would not take it. To extend the system over new territories,
is certainly a very strange way of shortening its reign; and this
is far enough, we know, from the purpose of its leading projectors
and advocates. The Texans themselves have declared
in their Constitution, that slavery there shall never
be abolished! There is such a thing doubtless as weakening
a thing by diffusion; but I cannot see in slavery any
such tendency. Let alone, it must die out of itself; its only
chance of living is to take root in new and richer lands. Is
not that the very argument of many of the advocates of Annexation
? " Our prosperity is failing us; it must have another field."
But even if I thought it might sooner die in that richer field, I
would not consent to take it. I cannot do evil that good may
come. I cannot espouse what is wrong, on any plea of expediency.
I cannot espouse the system of human bondage, in
order to gain relief from it. I cannot do wrong, in order to destroy
It would be strange if a system like that of slavery, against
which lie such overwhelming moral objections, could work well.
It would be strange if its extension could be politic. But it is
not. It does not work well. It never did. It never can. It
deprives human labor of its most essential stimulants. It unnerves
* The argument noticed in this paragraph is stated in a letter from Alexander
Everett, published in the last Democratic Review. I cannot help admiring the very
able and dispassionate character of that paper. But I cannot help, also, expressing
my surprize that the writer does not any where recognize, does not seem to feel the
great moral objection, which it is the main purpose of this Discourse to set forth
What is to be done with the body of slaves now in our possession, is one question,
and one of great difficulty. But whether we shall receive another body of slaves
into the State, whether we shall espouse, sanction, legalize slavery anew, is the
question now before the country.
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Dewey, Orville. Discourse on Slavery and the Annexation of Texas, book, January 1, 1844; New York. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2359/m1/14/: accessed January 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .