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: 18 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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burdens, all the responsibilities and duties, of such a connection.
The Constitution contains no provision for extending
the partnership, except so far as to authorize the formation
of new States within the limits of the original States or of the
territory belonging to them collectively ; and it clearly was
not contemplated or desired that the question of enlarging
the common country should be considered or decided in any
other manner than as a question to be submitted, like that
upon the adoption of the Constitution, to the people of all
the States. The attempt, therefore, on the part of the general
government, in any of its branches, to enlarge the country,
is regarded by Massachusetts as an invasion of the reserved
rights of the States and the people, and thus a violation
of the Constitution. Massachusetts occupies this
ground, and she maintains it in disregard of the treaties for
the acquisition of Louisiana and Florida. She maintained it
with Mr. Jefferson in opposing the Louisiana treaty; and,
waiving the consideration of the admitted peculiarities in both
cases, she insists that they derived their validity from a subsequent
and general acquiescence in them. Granting, however,
all that can be claimed from the construction of these
treaties as precedents, Massachusetts sees, that, if, by any
act of the government under the Constitution, a foreign nation
may be annexed to the country, it can only be through
the exercise of the treaty-making power ; and, stopping
here, she unites with all who hesitate to adopt her broader
conclusion, in denouncing the attempt to make Texas one of
the United States, -not by a treaty, with the advice and consent
of two thirds of the Senate, but, after the rejection of a
treaty, by a sem,,i-legislative and semi-executive negotiation,
not fairly authorized by the regular vote of a bare majority
of the two Houses, - as a proceeding which, in its object, and
by virtue of the means included in it, annuls the Constitution.
If a right reserved by the States and people is, without
their consent, to be assumed by the general government,
- or if the treaty-making power, so carefully guarded
in consideration of the rights of the States, is to be trampled
upon and set at naught in a question directly involving
the vital rights of the States, - what remains in the Constitution
which the States can or ought to be content with ? and
what can make it valid for any other good purpose in a
time of need, if, in a case like this, it cannot be maintained ?
I say, then, deliberately, that, when Texas shall have been
annexed in the tmode which is proposed, the Constitution, for
many purposes at least, will have been virtually abrogated;
Here’s what’s next.
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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/m1/18/: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.