Proceedings of the Senate and Documents Relative to Texas, from which the Injunction of Secrecy Has Been Removed Page: 27 of 119
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27 [ 341 ]
Mr. Upshur to Mslr. Everett.
No. 61.] DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
TWashington, September 28, 1843.
SIR: The movements of Great Britain, with respect to African slavery,
have at length assumed a character which demands the serious attention
of this Government. So long as we were permitted to believe that the
effort to abolish slavery was confined to private individuals, actuated by
a sense of justice or a feeling of philanthropy, we were content to leave
the issue to the calm reason of our own people and the guarantee of our
Constitution and laws. As a domestic question, the Government does not
possess, and, it is presumed, will never attempt to exercise, any authority
over it. But it now wears a different aspect, and presents itself in a much
more formidable attitude. There are many and strong reasons for believing
that the abolition of domestic slavery throughout the continent and
islands of America is a leading object in the present policy of England. If
that policy were confined to her own dominions, we should have no right
to complain. Although we had just reason to apprehend an evil influence
from the example which she set in the liberation of her West India
slaves, that was a measure which she had a perfect right to adopt, and
which, therefore, could not justly subject her to the charge of unfriendliness
to other Powers. But if it be her purpose to extend her policy to
other countries, and to use her influence to bring about a state of things calculated
seriously to affect the institutions of nearly half the States of our
Union, the duty which we owe, not only to our interests,but to ourindependence
and dignity, demands a prompt and decided counteraction on our part.
.The remarks of Lord Brougham and Lord Aberdeen, in the House of
Lords, on the 18th of August, as reported in the London Morning Chronicle
of the succeeding day, have attracted the President's attention. They
are reported as follows:
" TEXAs.-In the House of Lords, on Friday, the 18th of August, Lord
Brougham introduced the subject of Texas and Texan slavery in the following
manner, as reported in the London Morning Chronicle of the morning
of the 19th:
"Lord Brougham said that, seeing his noble friend at the head of the
Foreign Department in his place, he wished to obtain some information from
him relative to a State of great interest at the present time, namely, Texas.
That country was in a state of independence defacto, but its independence
had never been acknowledged by Mexico, the State from which it was
torn by the events of the revolution. He was aware that its independence
had been so far acknowledged by this country that we had a treaty with it.
" The importance of Texas could not be underrated. It was a country
of the greatest capabilities, and was in extent fully as large as France. It
possessed a soil of the finest and most fertile character, and it was capable
of producing nearly all tropical produce, and its climate was of a most
healthy character. It had access to the Gulf of Mexico, through the river
Mississippi, with which it communicated by means of the Red river. The
population of the country was said to exceed 240,000, but he had been assured
by a gentleman who came from that country, and who was a member
of the same profession as himself, that the whole population, free and
slaves, white and colored, did not exceed 100,000; but he was grieved to
learn that not less than one-fourth of the population, or 25,000 persons,
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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/m1/27/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .