Discourse on Slavery and the Annexation of Texas Page: 5 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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has been almost throughout its entire course a history of oppression.
That which provoked the Revolutionary war in this
country, our fathers believed, was a case in point. And still
there is oppression in the world; and, in one form or another, it
exists in every country. There is oppression in Russia, in Austria,
in Italy. Theie is oppression in Great Britain. By oppressive
enactments, by the power of capitalists, as well as by the
pressure of unforeseen circumstances, multitudes in England and
Ireland, are ground down to such poverty and misery that the world
can show nothing like it. The condition, I mean the physical
comfort of African slaves, absolutely brightens by its side. Can
any man doubt that this is the fruit of oppressive institutions?
England is rich enough in the material and means of living.
If you take a walk in Hyde Park, or visit a fashionable assembly
in London, you shall see such a solid magnificence and splendor
of appointments, equipages and costumes, that every other
similar display in the world, is mere tinsel and gewgaw in the
comparison. What then is the difficulty? It is, that the nobleman,
the land-holder, the capitalist must ride in wealth, though
human hearts are crushed beneath their chariot-wheels. Does it
make any material difference to that crushed heart whether the
blow comes from the general will of society, or from the particular
will of a master ? In fine, there is oppression, too obvious
to be insisted on as an instance, in our own country.
But now, I ask, how is the iron hand to be lifted, that lies
heavy in all lands upon the weak and the prostrate? By bloody
revolutions? In all ordinary cases, we say, no! Suppose that
in a neighboring State a political wrong existed; that an ancient
charter gave undue privileges to a portion of the people, and
that it ought to have been revised. Does it follow that in order
to gain this end, it was proper to plunge that Commonwealth
into the horrors of a civil war? Nobody, I think, says this. Is
it expedient, then, in any country to form societies that bear a
menacing aspect to its institutions? There may be exceptions;
but in all ordinary cases, we again say, no. There is injustice
more or less in the social relations of every people. There is
wrong done to the serfs of Russia, to the tenantry of Germany,
to the subjects of the Ottoman Porte. Btut what would be thought
in those countries of the sudden uprising of hundreds of Associations,
hostile to those relations, bitterly denouncing them, and
carrying the weight not of argument, but of combination to the
work of relief? Not of argument, I say, for this can be just as
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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/m1/5/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .