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: 17 of 56
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 Special Collections.
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such, -be placed in the hands of DANIEL WEBSTER and
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS; and let them, as the spirit of the cause
shall move them, discharge their duty in presenting it. In
such a cause, at such a time, they cannot speak in vain.
They may not change the course of Congress; the slaveholder
and the Northern Democrat may not heed them for the;
moment; but they will not speak in vain to the understandings
and the consciences of a great mass of enlightened atnd
honest citizens throughout the country ; they will not speak
in vain to or for their own constituents. No; they will utter
the voice of Massachusetts in tones that shall be echoed
and reechoed in the ears of every freeman and every slaveholder
from Maine to Texas ; and as they listen to it, freeman
and slaveholder alike will be reminded of what Massachusetts
was in the times of the Revolution, and neither of
them will conclude that she can now speak in vain.
I say, then, fellow-citizens, that it will be something for
present action to take the necessary steps for preparing
and presenting the protest of Massachusetts, and that it is
necessary thus to complete our preliminary proceedings in
opposition to the annexation of Texas. I see, however, as
we all do, that there is but little to encourage the hope that
the annexation can be defeated ; and I am prepared, as I
trust we all are, in a spirit of anxious patriotism, to contemplate
the fearful issue which that event must place before us.
Texas annexed, - what has become of the Constitution ? what
shall be the cement of the Union ? in what country, and under
what government, shall we live ? This is a question so
broad, so deep, so vital, that we cannot consider it too seriously
; and, answer it as we will, any answer will require
action. Answer it as we will, our present position is such
that we must retreat or advance from it ; we must abandon
our principles, or carry them into effect.
Texas annexed, - what has become of the Constitution ?
Massachusetts answers of course,- she has given her answer
in advance, -the Constitution has been violated and
overthrown. The Constitution, as she has always understood
it, as is plain to all who can read it, was a compact between
certain States, providing for the establishment of a
general government for certain purposes which are expressly
prescribed, and stipulating that all rights not granted to
the general government are reserved to the States and the
people respectively. By ratifying the Constitution the original
States became united in a political partnership, and as
voluntary partners they have shared all the privileges and
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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/m1/17/: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.