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: 8 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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circumstances, and to avoid the difficulties it involved, - to
achieve a result which seemed thus impracticable, was of
course a task which required a resort to unusual expedients;
and it becomes us to ponder well the unprecedented method
of legislation - if legislation it can be called - by which the
work was done.
So long as the Senator from Alabama obeyed his conscience,
the joint resolution, as it catne from the House,
could not be carried in the Senate, nor could it be agreed
to with any amendment which involved a substitute for the
treaty-making power. The House, swayed by considerations
of expediency, sought to give validity to the action of a
bare majority of the two branches of Congress ; the Senate
stood upon its constitutional rights, as these were admitted
and maintained by the Senator from Alabama. But the firmness
of the Senator did not prove equal to the exigencies of
his position. He was disposed to support the Constitution,
but he could not desert his party. He still boasted of his loyalty
to the new President, to whom it was found he was even
ready to intrust the custody of his conscience. He was willing
to take the risk of authorizing a violation of the Constitution
by the act of the President, though by his own act he
could not be prevailed upon to undertake it. To meet the
case, therefore, in all its peculiarities, the assent of the Senator
was obtained to an amendment of the joint resolution,
by which the President was authorized to make his election
between the method of legislative negotiation proposed by the
House and the exercise of the treaty-making power as claimed
by the Senate ! To show its object, had the modified resolution
contained a preamble, it might have declared, that,
whereas the annexation of Texas must be effected without
delay, and by any practicable means ; and whereas, by the
refusal of the Senate to ratify the treaty, the constitutional
power of the government has been exhausted ; and whereas,
upon the recommendation of the President, the House of
Representatives has assumed the power beyond the Constitution
required by the contingency, and by the passage of a
joint resolution, in its terms equivalent to a treaty, has made
it necessary only for a bare majority of the Senate to concur
in enabling the President to carry it into effect ; and wvhereas
the concurrence of the Senate is suspended upon the vote of
a single Senator, who is restrained by conscientious scruples
from giving his aid to this attempt to divest the Senate of its
constitutional functions ; and whereas the Senator aforesaid,
notwithstanding his scruples as aforesaid, in proof of his
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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/m1/8/: accessed December 11, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.