Discourse on Slavery and the Annexation of Texas Page: 6 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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well used without them. What would be thought especially of
foreign interference manifested by public meetings and speeches,
or by sending out missionaries and orators, or transmitting funds,
to enlighten the ignorance or to remedy the social injustice of
those countries ? The English people can tell what they think of
our "Repeal Meetings," nor do I think any better of them. The
truth is, there are difficulties in such cases, and there is a delicacy
in the treatment of them, for which foreign interference is
likely to be ill prepared. What then, I still ask, is to be done?
I answer, discussion is the grand modern instrument of Reform.
Agitate, agitate, if you please; but in a peaceable manner, by
moral influence and suasion, by the fair action of mind upon
mind, by a manner altogether that does not let down the dignity
of a just and great cause to gross personalities, to reckless invectives,
to miserable and suicidal quarrels among partisans
for every iota of personal preference. Arouse the public mind,
as much as ever you can to its duties, to the real merits of the
questions before it. We have an engine, unknown to former
times, better than conspiracies, more powerful than armies-the
Press. One man like Channing, with this engine, can do more
than a hundred Associations, and do it a thousand times better.
Discussion, then, is our proper province and undoubted right,
and this is an instrument for which we must ever demand the
fullest and freest use. If this right is ever denied it must be on
account of the manner of the discussion, or of some illegal or
unjustifiable project supposed to be connected with it. The
simple right is unquestionable. In all civilized nations it is
freely exercised upon all great questions of justice and morality
whether at homTe or abroad. Do English writers speak freely
of the case of their operatives and of their Irish population, and
may we not say a word of wrongs alleged to exist among ourselves?
Or may we call in question, as we perpetually do, the
justice of foreign institutions, and may there not come back to
us one word of question concerning our own ? Nay, this is the
greatest advantage of the easier intercourse of nations at the
present day. The power of steam is carrying abroad thought
as upcn the winds; and expansion is much the law of the one
as of the other.
Now there is a great moral question presented to this American
nation for its decision. You will understand me to refer
to the Annexation of Texas. I say it is a moral question. I
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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/m1/6/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .