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: 7 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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Free-State Democrats, the work of shame and infamy was
wellnigh accomplished. It was wellnigh accomplished !
For a moment, a gleam of hope flitted across our anxious
brows, as we gazed in amazement at the singular attitude
of a Democratic slave-holding Senator, who, in such an
emergency, could pause to consult the Constitution ! For
a moment, as the fatal decision seemed suspended by a
single vote, our thanksgivings went up to Heaven for the
temporary deliverance, mingled with our prayers that a
sinful nation might yet be spared the retribution which it had
brought upon itself. But it could not be so. Heaven, in its
justice, had ordered otherwise ; and having "sown the wind,"
in all our compromises and dalliances with slavery, from the
formation of the Constitution downward, what should we expect
but the righteous doom to "reap the whirlwind " ?
The period of suspense in regard to the action of the
Senate was but of brief duration. A Senator from Alabama
had his constitutional scruples, which he declared could not
be removed, if he were required to vote upon the joint resolution
as it had passed the House ; he could consent to annexation
only by the exercise of the treaty-making power.
As the treaty-making power could not be exercised but with
the concurrence of two thirds of the Senators, and as a treaty
had been rejected, it was foreseen by President Tyler, and
the friends of annexation in the House, that to acquiesce in
the only mode of proceeding which Senator Bagby deemed
constitutional was in effect to abandon the project ; that, in
other words, to save the Constitution was to lose Texas !
The measure could not be carried in the Senate without his
vote ; and his conscience had forced him to declare that he
could not vote for it. What a phenomenon, -the Democratic
party held at bay by the mutinous conscience of one
of its members ! What an anomaly, - a Democratic slaveholder
hesitating to violate the Constitution for the purpose
of extending slavery ! What a dilemma, - the " lone star '
of President Tyler's glory threatened with an eclipse, - the
diplomacy of Upshur and Calhoun on the point of proving a
total failure, -the heroes of San Jacinto and the statesmen
of Austin in danger of being pent up once more within the
narrow horizon of Texan valor and ambition, - slave-traders
and slave-breeders and the holders of land scrip on the
brink of ruin through their speculations, - and President
Polk about to be relieved from his indebtedness to his predecessor
for all the prospective success of his administration !
To dispose of a case of conscience under such extraordinary
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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/m1/7/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.