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: 52 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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raw material the manufacture of which has secured to Great
Britain nearly all her wealth, commerce, and power, and
which has begun to do as much, with a flattering prospect
that it will do much more, for the country of its growth.
Now, if it were as true that cotton must be as that it has
been cultivated by slaves, and that for all the profit derived
from its culture and manufacture we must be primarily indebted
to slavery alone, I should say, - as who, speaking
in the fear of God and the love of man, would not say? Perish
prosperity, and abolish slavery, and let us be content
and be resolved never to manufacture or wear cotton, if,
while cotton grows, slavery must grow with it, and nothing
but the sacrifice of our profits and comforts can check their
growth. But it need not be so. In this heart-chilling reasoning,
we have begun by yielding to a false assumption.
The syllogism fails in its minor premise. The cotton manufacture
is conducive to our prosperity, but slavery is not essential
to the cotton manufacture. All that the slave cont-ributes
is human labor; human labor, therefore, is all that isessential;
and if that can be contributed otherwise than by
slaves, slavery is not indispensable; if it can be otherwise
contributed so that it will be more profitable, slavery is not
expedient; and consequently, if slavery has been an unnecessary
and the least profitable mode of labor during the
whole progress of the cotton culture, all the improvements
and prosperity resulting therefrom have been retarded and
diminished by our resort to slavery.
The only question, therefore, is, whether human labor cannot
be obtained for the culture of cotton in some other mode
than by making slaves of the men who perform it. The
labor of slaves, as all know, is reluctant, compulsory, stinted
; a large gang of slaves, under the lash of the overseer,
will not perform as much as a few free laborers, left to work
by themselves. Why, then, are not free laborers employed in
the cultivation of cotton ? This question has usually been
answered by stating, as if all admitted it, that white men
only can be free laborers, and that none but the negro can
bear the climate of the cotton region. But the time has
gone by to grant either of these postulates; there are many
free negroes, and the climate of a large portion of the cotton
region is claimed and proved to be as healthy for the
white man as the climate of any part of the country. One
of the principal reasons for the annexation of Texas is, that,
unless it is joined to the United States and made a slave-holding
country by our unconstitutional legislation, it will be
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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/m1/52/: accessed May 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.