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: 28 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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society has not yet been organized in entire conformity to
the spirit of a popular government, the work of reformation is
in progress, and will surely, if but slowly, be accomplished.
But, in the Slave States, how opposite has been the tendency
of all the causes which are in operation, and how different
is the result which may now be witnessed ! What do we
see there, but a population composed principally of masters
and slaves, growing up together in the mutually degrading
habits, and under the mutually corrupting influences, of that
unnatural relation ? What do we see there, but masters and
slaves, -and how shall we utter the whole truth which a clear
view of the relation must reveal to us, without declaring,
that in the master, as little as in the slave, are we enabled
to recognize the distinctive lineaments, the proper character,
the true spirit, of the republican citizen ? Not to denominate
every slave-holder (in the words of George Mason) "a
petty tyrant," how can we fail to perceive, that, from his
cradle to his grave, all the circumstances by which he is
surrounded must tend to make him a different man, and of
course a different citizen, from what he would be, had he
lived to regard all about him as equally free with himself,
and had he been compelled, in the becoming temper of
mutual dependence, to perform his share of labor for the
common weal ? How can we fail to perceive, that, as a
necessary effect of slavery, the master, as well as the slave,
must gradually degenerate, -that, of course, all intellectual
and moral influences must become less and less available to
the improvement of the condition of both of them,-and that
the consequent political deterioration of the Slave-holding
States will in the end be such, that a republican government
can be no longer satisfactory or suitable to them, that they
will be unable to sustain its responsibilities, and will thus
prove themselves unworthy of its privileges ?
Amidst this conflict of opposing tendencies, how shall it
be said or thought that the Free States can remain indifferent,
as though they had no interest in the result, when they must
see all the while, that, do what they may to improve the
condition of the country and to elevate the character of the
government, the country as a whole can never become a
republic, so long as slavery in one part of it acts as a counterpoise
to liberty in the other, and slavery is clothed with an
undue share of political power for the purpose of guarding
itself against the legitimate effects of liberty ? Upon a little
reflection, nothing can be plainer than that it is almost
the question of moral life or death to the Free States, whether
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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/m1/28/: accessed November 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.