Discourse on Slavery and the Annexation of Texas Page: 4 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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never crushed out from the human heart the love of liberty.
Multitudes have submitted and have seemed to acquiesce; but
the bloody annals of every despotism, Musselman, Christian,
or Heathen, have testified to the universal execration of the oppressor.
is universal and it is immitigable. No dictate of reason,
no inculcation of religion, no advancing light of civilization, has
ever taught man the duty of willing subjection to the will of his
fellow. To'God alone is that submission due. Nay, God himself
exacts no slavish bondage of his creatures. To man, surely
man was never made thus to submit. The animal nature was
made for this; the human never! The only question about
the right to subject any being to bondage, is this; is that being
a man ? "I am a Roman Citizen !" was the cry which Cicero
once made to sound out in accents of thunder, in the Roman
capitol. " I am a man ! " is a more dread protest against the
inflictions of lawless power.
If this could be a matter of argument, there are words in that
argument which settle the question for themselves. FREEDOM;
freedom to act and to think; freedom to labor for our own
advantage; freedom to use our faculties for our own improvement
and happiness-this is our nature's birthright. MAN; his
claim to that freedom, his claim to the use of his powers, and
the fruit of his toils, his claim to himself, his claim to his children-I
cannot consent to argue for points like these. I should
have lost the very instinct of humanity, I should feel that I
was not a man, if I could do this.
I have now stated the great basis principle of all personal and
political right. It is a matter of intuition, of inmost conviction.
I mean to say that the original act of oppression is intuitively
seen to be wrong, and that about this there can be no question.
But the act done, and a frame-work of society built upon it,
then arises a case for the consideration of an enlightened conscience
and philanthropy. The act done must be instantly
undone unless an evil will follow greater than the original infliction.
And if relief is deferred, all must be done in the mean
-time that can wisely be done, to right the wrong; all that possibly
can-be done, without doing more harm than good.
These being principles upon which I suppose all are agreed,
let us now consider to what cases they apply; and what are the
proper means for obtaining the due regard to them.
The cases are numerous enough. The history of the world
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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/m1/4/: accessed January 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .