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: 49 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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chant who personifies the true idea of his profession should
be one who with his own hands has built up his fortune,
who has therefore all the intelligence, enterprise, perseverance,
and economy, and withal the strict integrity, which
none but one who is brought up under free institutions is
likely to possess ; and such a merchant, for the satisfactory,
and, in the long run, for the most profitable, transaction of
business, will desire to deal with others like himself. It is a
mistake to suppose that we reckon among our best customers
those who are so ignorant or necessitous that we may
easily take advantage of them, those who are so reckless
and thoughtless that we can never trust them from want of
confidence in their character and honesty, or those who have
so few mercantile ideas, and are so little accustomed to mercantile
usages, that all our trade with them must be reduced
to a simple barter. Take the case of the slave-holders, as
we know them commercially. Except so far as they avail
of the services of agents, how true is it that for the most part
they seem to be incapable of transacting business in its most
simple forms, that they have an utter distaste and aversion to
it, that they loathe punctuality and promptness, and can never
habituate themselves to a regular method in their transactions,
and that, from various causes, there is a constant
risk in extensive dealings with them ! How true is it that
nearly the whole of the business which can be carried on in
the Slave-holding States is now transacted by foreign agents;
that even the overseer of the plantation is hired from abroad,
too often a Yankee, - that the merchant who furnishes the
supplies and sells the crop is a Yankee or a Scotchman,
and that, between the overseer and the merchant, the planter
remains without employment, suffering all the evils of an unconcerned
dependence upon agents, without occasion to exercise
sagacity, to acquire habits of diligence and economy,
and with his affairs in such a train, that in ordinary times
he will be likely to become impoverished ! How true is it,
that, as often as we have tried the experiment of extending
our credits freely in the Slave-holding States, the first commercial
revolution, a bank explosion or a fall in cotton, has
produced a most meagre exhibit of assets in the hands of our
debtors ! *
Looking at the state of things more generally, do we not
see, at a glance, that nowhere in so limited an extent as in
a slave-holding community do we find the elements of commercial
enterprise and prosperity? An immense proportion
of the population are slaves, whose labor is scarcely suffi5
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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/m1/49/: accessed May 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.