Proceedings of the Senate and Documents Relative to Texas, from which the Injunction of Secrecy Has Been Removed Page: 22 of 119
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[341 ] 22
wise, he would bear much and forbear long rather than bring into danger
the peace and harmony of our Union. But he would have no such
motives for forbearance towards a foreign country. He could not have the
same hope of a peacefill redress of his wrongs, nor the same interest patiently
to bear them, nor the same social ties and friendly feelings to repress
or moderate his resentments. With regard to Texas, the question
would merely be, whether he should submit to intolerable and ruinous
wrongs, or protect himself by force. Between such alternatives, it is impossible
to suppose that he would hesitate a moment.
Neither is there any just analogy, so far as this question is concerned,
between Texas and thle Canadas. Those provinces are separated from the
slaveholding States by many intervening non-slaveholding States. They
cannot he reached by the slave, by land, without his passing through
States of our Union whose laws give him fieedom by the very fact of his
treading on their soil. It is at least questionable, therefore, whether Canada
would not have a right to consider the slave a freeman, upon the very
principles of our own institutions. Besides, the distance of that country.
from the slaveholding States affords a sufficient security against any serious
injury from that source. Canada is the secondary recipient of the fugitive
slave; and our measures ought, in all justice, to be first taken against the
authorities which first receive and shelter him.
I am very desirous, sir, to impress this subject upon your attention; and
for that reason I have presented it to you in some of the strong lights in
which it has struck my own mind. It is worthy, therefore, of your most
vigilant care. Few calamities could befal this country more to be deplored.
than the establishment of a predominant British influence and the abolition
of domestic slavery in Texas.
No communication has been received from you at this department since
that which enclosed President Houston's proclamation of an armistice concluded
with Mexico. I am in great uncertainty as to the true state of this
matter. A letter from Mr. Thompson, our minister at Mexico, informs,
me that an order has been issued by that Government, directing that all
" foreigners" taken in the ranks of her enemies shall be put to death. As
Texas is the only country with which she is now at war, this order can
apply only to those who may be taken prisoners while fighting under her
banner; and it would seem that there could not have been any necessity
for such an order in regard to them, if an armistice had been agreed on in
good faith, with a view to arrangements for peace. It is very important
that this Government should be promptly and accurately informed of all
important occurrences in Texas and Mexico. It is expected that you will
lose no opportunity of communicating such information. Be pleased to
make your communications full and accurate, commencing your narrative
of events at the point at which your predecessor left off. The history of
the legation should be continuous and unbroken.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
A. P. UPSHUR.
W. S. IMURPHY, Esq., 4'c.
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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/m1/22/: accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .