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: 47 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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the two parties soon proved that they understood each other,
and were ready enough to accommodate their differences
upon the ground of a reciprocity of interests. Give us up
the slave-trade, said the South, and we will relinquish the
restraint upon navigation acts. It is a bargain, said the
North; we will relinquish our principles against slavery, if
we can secure our interests in navigation. "I desire it to
be remembered," said a member from Massachusetts, "the
Eastern States have no motive to union but a commercial
one." "If the Northern States consult their interest," said
a member from South Carolina, " they will not oppose the
increase of slaves, which will increase the commodities of
which they will become the carriers." In this mode, by
these means, under the influence of such considerations, the
compromise was effected. Both the subjects in dispute were
referred to a committee, and Luther Martin, who was a
member, says, -" I found the Eastern States, notwithstanding
their aversion to slavery, were very willing to indulge the
Southern States at least with a temporary liberty to prosecute
the slave-trade, provided the Southern States would in
their turn gratify them by laying no restriction on navigation
acts; and after a very little time, the committee, by a
great majority, agreed upon a report, by which the general
government was to be prohibited from preventing the importation
of slaves for a limited time, and the restrictive clause
relative to navigation acts was to be omitted." A few days
afterwards we find General Pinckney, of South Carolina,
commending "the liberal conduct of the Eastern States towards
the views of South Carolina," which Mr. Madison
explains as referring to the recent compromise.
I state this case thus minutely that all may be satisfied I
have not misstated it. I state all the circumstances, as necessary
to a complete explanation of a most important,
and altogether the most unfortunate, act of the Convention
which formed the Constitution. I refer to it, reluctantly and
yet frankly, as an indelible blot upon the character of Massachusetts,
and as an emphatic warning to all the advocates
of her commercial-interests to beware of committing themselves
to any view of slavery which involves a postponement
of principle to interest, and with this the sacrifice of her permanent
welfare, for the -attainment of a slight, temporary,
and even questionable advantage.
But is the annexation of Texas of any commercial importance
to the United States ? Let me say, in the first place,
that we do not need Texas merely for the purpose of making
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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/m1/47/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.