Discourse on Slavery and the Annexation of Texas Page: 9 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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as our own, as our own choice; to pronounce it right and good
and desirable, and to defend and extend it as a part of the
settled and determined policy of the country. I put it to the
consciences of the free and intelligent people of this country
whether, before God and before the world,.they can possibly
take such ground as this ?
This is the question which I wish, in few words, to discuss.
But let me add, that it is in no spirit of hostility to the Stuth;
with no disposition to resort to harsh and bitter revilings.
Nay, as if I stood, in the presence of a body of Southern planters,
will I discuss this matter; with plainness indeed, but with
fairness I hope, with reasonings and not with revilings.
I say then in the first place, are we not all agreed in this,
that oppression is wrong ? Do we not unite in condemning
every exercise of human power, that crushes down a human
being beneath the foot of any despot, Imperial, kinlly or feudal?
To come nearer to the point; if you saw a human being weaker
and more ignorant than yourself, would it not be wrong to take
advantage of his misfortune; to throw a chain around him, to
bind him fast-or to pay another for doing that-and then to
carry him off to labor on your field for life? And although
you have not done that wrong, yet if your ancestors did it, and
that wrong has descended to your hands, can it be right to
assume it as your own, to make it, as it were; your own act,
and to perpetuate that wrong forever ?
Really the case is too plain for controversy ; unless something
can be said essentially to modify it. It is said, 1 know, that the
African is inferior to the white man. What, I pray, can be meant
by this assertion of his inferiority? Not, surely, to deny that
the African man is a man. Where is the historian or the physiologist
that ever classed him among beasts ? He is inferior, as
the Tartar, the China-man, the Hindoo, is inferior to the European
man. But still he has the faculties and capabilities, the feelirgs
and rights of a man. He has reason, conscience, affections,
He may be a Christian, a child of God, an heir of heaven;
nay, and yet, an angel in heaven. And may this man be
enslaved on the plea that he is inferior ? It is a plea that would
destroy human liberty every where. The Russian nobles may
enslave their serfs on that plea; the Brahmins of India, the
Pariah caste; the more intelligent, the less instructed classes of
every country. Grant that in his inferiority, the African is
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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/m1/9/: accessed November 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .