Address on the annexation of Texas, and the aspect of slavery in the United States, in connection therewith: delivered in Boston November 14 and 18, 1845 Page: 13 of 56
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tion of expediency whether we shall act upon principle ?
In our present view of consequences, do we apprehend any
worse loss than the loss of character, and have we become
indifferent to that ? These questions, seek to disguise and
avoid them as we may, are of such practical importance and
urgency, that we cannot escape from the duty of answering
them to our consciences, to the country, to the world, and to
Heaven. Nay, our very silence must answer them, for it
will be the confession of our shame.
No citizen of Massachusetts as yet pleads guilty of ignorance
or of a change of opinion upon the subject. Some,
indeed, are anxious to change the form of the question, to
go off upon collateral issues, to shun the point where conscience
meets them. But not even in the recent Democratic
convention, with all the ingenuity which was exercised to
compound a series of resolutions upon the Texas question
in such proportions of sophistry, subterfuge, and evasion,
that they might not injure the party at home, and yet recommend
its office-seekers to favor at Washington, could the
attempt succeed to obtain a retraction from the Democrats
of their agency in the legislative proceedings. The propo-isal
was made with consummate artfulness, and, of course, in
a Van Burenized form,- but the men, whose recorded votes,
so tormentingly reproduced in the Whig newspapers, stared
them in the face, could not quite come up, in open day, and
in plain language, to the requirement of the administration.
Indirectly, in the dark, allow them to proceed by a circuitous
course from a new starting-point,- devise for them
some disguise of Jeffersonian policy, patriotic love of union,
enmity to Great Britain, vindication of the national honor,
-put it to them as a settled question, - instigate them to
action by the hate-stirring outcry, that they were still opposing
the old Federalists, -you might find many of theIn ready
enough by their conduct to forswear their principles, and,
Democrats as they call themselves, to rally and vote for
Texas and slavery, and against liberty and the Constitution,
so long, at least, as their paltry services as partisans should
be solicited and paid for. But still, as I have said, it was
too much to expect of the leaders and their tools, that in
express terms they should abjure their participation in the
legislative proceedings of Massachusetts against the annexation
of Texas. It was too much to expect, even of them,
that they should be ready to act unblushingly and barefacedly
in the manner and for the object proposed. Apart,
too, from a sense of personal shame, they calculated the
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Phillips, Stephen C. Address on the annexation of Texas, and the aspect of slavery in the United States, in connection therewith: delivered in Boston November 14 and 18, 1845, book, January 1, 1845; Boston. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2361/m1/13/: accessed May 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.