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: 41 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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stances presented themselves, "a compromise" was all
that could be effected, and - I blush to say it -Massachusetts,
for a reason which must be explained in another connection,
became the foremost and the most anxious to secure
this compromise. The compromise provided that the federal
government should not exercise the power to prohibit the
slave-trade for a period of twenty years, and was adopted
upon the motion of General Pinckney, of South Carolina, seconded
by Mr. Gorham, of Massachusetts. Who can fail to be
struck with the remark of Mr. Madison, before it was adopted
? " Twenty years," said he, " will produce all the mischief
that can be apprehended from the liberty to import
slaves. So long a term will be more dishonorable to the
American character than to say nothing about it in the Constitution."
With such a warning from such a source, the
compromise was adopted, - Massachusetts, with all New
England, and all the South, except Virginia, voting for it;
and Virginia, - thus performing her most glorious act by the
hands of her worthiest sons, -with New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
and Delaware, opposing it. I think you will now agree
that I do not mistake the nature or exaggerate the influence
of the act, when I refer to it as the first attempt for annexation,
coupled with the extension of slavery.
Under the Constitution, then, slavery began to exhibit a
thrifty growth,-. doubling its numbers in little more than
twenty years, - dying out nowhere, except, where its existence
was scarcely nominal, in a few of the Northern States,
- and living like a vampire, by imperceptibly extracting the
life-blood from the domestic and social, as well as the political,
institutions of the Southern States. It was seen and felt
to be an evil; it had then proved in many instances a burden
of expense ; the testimony of enlightened statesmen and
patriots was recorded against it ; conscientious individuals
gave occasional proof of their ceasing to be responsible for
it; and Washington died, crowning the glory of his life by
proving, in his last will and testament, that he could not die
a slave-holder. Could it have been restricted to its original
resources, and kept confined within the narrow limits which
it occupied at the formation of the Constitution, the various
influences opposed to slavery might have produced some visible
effect in diminishing it ; but reinforced by foreign supplies
throughout the ill-fated twenty years, and stimulated
without doubt by the culture of cotton in the Southern
States, which had at that periQd but just been commenced, it
was only seen to increase constantly and rapidly. This
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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/m1/41/: accessed March 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.