Proceedings of the Senate and Documents Relative to Texas, from which the Injunction of Secrecy Has Been Removed Page: 21 of 119
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.
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
21 [ 341 ]
an interest in their industry; to found a claim upon their favor, and to
control their policy. Precisely in proportion as she shall be successful in
these particulars, will the commercial and manufacturing interests of the
United States suffer. Hence the necessity of looking narrowly to her first
steps, however distant they may seem to be from their supposed objects.
But there is another view of this subject still more important to us, and
scarcely less important to Texas herself. The establishment, in the very
midst of our slaveholding States, of an independent Government, forbidding
the existence of slavery, and by a people born, for the most part, among
us, reared up in our habits, and speaking our language, could not fail to
produce the most unhappy effects upon both parties. If Texas were in
that condition, her territory would afford a ready refuge for the fugitive
slaves of Louisiana and Arkansas, and would hold out to them an encouragement
to run away, which no municipal regulations of those States
could possibly counteract. Even if this Government should interpose for
the protection of the slaveholder, it would be very difficult so to arrange
the subject as to avoid disputes and collisions. The States immediately
interested would be most likely to take the subject into their own hands.
They would perceive that there could not be any security for that species
of property, if the mere crossing of a geographical line could give freedom
to the slave; they would perceive that the protection thus offered to the
slave would remove from his mind that dread of consequences which restrains
him from the commission of the worst crimes ; they would feel that
the safety of themselves and their families was endangered; they woild
live in continual uneasiness and alarm, and in the constant exercise of a
painful and harassing watchfulness. It is not to be supposed that a people
conscious of the power to protect themselves would long submit to
such a state of things. They would assume the right to reclaim their
slaves by force, and for that purpose would invade the territory of Texas.
It is not difficult to see that quarrels and war would soon grow out of this
state of things. If this Government should make itself a party in asserting
the rights of the slaveholder, the result could not fail to be unfavorable to
Texas. If this Government should refuse to become a party, it would feel
itself under an obligation to interpose for the purpose of checking and controlling
its own citizens. It is not probable that such an interposition
would be effectual against the vital interests, the common rights, and the
exasperated feelings of twelve States of the Union. I leave it to your own
reflection, sir, to suggest to you the effect of such a state of things upon the
harmony of our Union.
We cannot apply to a case of this sort any analogy drawn from the contiguity
of slaveholding and non-slaveholding States of our Union. We
live under a common Government, and are bound together by a thousand
political and social ties. Our Constitution guaranties all the rights of the
slaveholder, and there is an act of Congress which provides the means of
enforcing them. There is among us a common power, which all are bound
to obey, and to which all have a right to appeal. But, what is still more
influential, we have common rights and (if correctly understood) common
interests; and out of those have sprung all the strong sympathies which
bind together the people of the same country. The slaveholder of the
United States has not yet lost the hope that all the embarrassments which
individuals or States have thrown in the way of that property may be removed
by the quiet action of our own systems; and, even if it were other
Here’s what’s next.
This book can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Book.
United States. Congress. Senate. Proceedings of the Senate and Documents Relative to Texas, from which the Injunction of Secrecy Has Been Removed, book, 1844; [Washington]. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2363/m1/21/: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .