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: 24 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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institution, sufficiently sheltered within the constitutions of
the States, it presented the first claim to the protection of
the general government, and, by the guaranties which it
exacted, became enabled to draw its life-blood from the vitals
of the Union. By the political power secured to it as a
basis of representation, by the obligation which is imposed
upon every State government, and the citizens of every State,
to recognize and enforce its claims, slavery stands forth in
the Federal Constitution, and presents itself to the view of
every observer of our institutions as a great national concern,
and it is seen and felt that every State is thus made,
in a measure, responsible for maintaining or submitting to it.
That all was intended by the framers of the Constitution
which is now claimed to have been their intention,- that
they foresaw all that slavery would become, and meant that
it should be so, - that they regarded slavery as, equally with
liberty, a constituent and conservative element of a republican
government, I do not believe. The evidence is extant
in the published journals and debates, that it was their purpose,
and that they almost accomplished it (alas ! that Massachusetts
should not have concurred with Virginia in persevering
to accomplish it), to prohibit, with the adoption of
the Constitution, the importation of slaves, - that they regarded
slavery as the worst relic of colonial subjection to a
monarchy, and had no other idea than that a republican
government in its legitimate operation must exterminate it,
and that they were actually looking forward to its gradual
abolition. Still, while I am reluctant to receive the Constitution
from their hands as a bequest of slavery to their posterity,
I am compelled to admit, that, in the light of the subsequent
history of the country, I now see clearly, that, in its
legislative and judicial interpretation, in the claims which
have arisen under it, in the measures in which its authority
has been exercised, the Federal Constitution has prtctically
become the palladium of slavery- that, by virtue of its
provisions, though it is not named in one of them, slavery
has been accredited as an institution, and has been maintained
as such on the basis of a compact binding upon all
the States, - and that the " compromises of the Constitution,"
in the popular sense of that Shibboleth of the anti-abstractionists,
comprehend the power to enforce the most odious
pretensions of slavery, and especially to make the Free States
the instruments of guarding it against the influences of freedom,
even to the extent of requiring of their citizens, in opposition
to their moral and religious prineiples, to act as a
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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/m1/24/: accessed January 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.