Proceedings of the Senate and Documents Relative to Texas, from which the Injunction of Secrecy Has Been Removed Page: 30 of 119
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[ 341 1 30
In a matter so seriously affecting a friendly Power, it is not to be supposed.
that he would have suffered any misapprehension to exist in regard to his
meaning and intentions. It does no violence to the ruies of fair construction
to understand his language as an avowal of designs which, whether
so intended or not. threaten very serious consequences to the United States.
The President would be reluctant to believe that any design unfriendly
to this country, or aiming at tlie institutions of any of the States of our
Union, enters into the policy of England. He cannot,however, look with
indifference upon such declarations as these, made by her leading statesmen,
and with the full authority of her Government. He attaches the
more impdrtance to these declarations, because they are perfectly consistent
with information received from other sources, all tending to the conclusion
,that the policy of England, in regard to the abolition of negro slavery, is
not limited to Texas alone.
No foreign Government can be permitted to interfere, directly or indirectly,
with the established institutions of the United States, or of any of
the separate States of our Union. The bare suspicion of such a design is
calculated to excite, and in this instance has actually excited, a very strong
sensation among our people. If Lord Aberdeen has not been misunder:
stood, the very freedom with which ha has avowed his purposes evinces
either that strong confidence of success which usually attends well-arranged
measures, or a strange mistake as to our disposition or ability to
counteract him. Be that as it may, he has rendered it necessary that we
should know distinctly, and without doubt, how far our just apprehensions
upon this point are well founded.
Even if the designs of Great Britain be limited to the emancipation of
the slaves of Texas, they cannot be regarded by us with indifference. Although
we have no right to control or to direct her policy towards that
country, she cannot justly complain of any measure on our part which
that policy may render necessary either to our security or our interest. It
is scarcely to be doubted that in both these respects the contemplated
measure would be injurious to us. Although Lord Brougham may not be
correct in supposing that the liberation of the slaves of Texas would necessarily
lead to the liberation of those of the United States, yet the States
in which slavery exists would have good reason to apprehend the worst
consequences from the establishment of a foreign non-slavehoiding State
upon their immediate borders. In other respects, affecting our commercial,
navigating, and manufacturing interests, we should have much reason to
regret that measure.
If Texas, of her own free will, shall see cause to abolish slavery withit
her borders, the United States, however they might regard it as likely to
affect their interests, will have no right to complain. But we have a right
to object to any measure of a foreign Government which may place her
under restraitt upon that subject, and lead her, -outrary to her own views
and wishes, to the adoption of a policy which cannot but be highly injurious
Hence it is of great importance that this Government should be fully
and accurately informed in regard to the intentions and measures of the
British Government with reference to African slavery on this side the Atlantic.
Our own policy will necessarily be affected by hers. The object
of this Government is to discover whether it is or is not the design of England
to procure the abolition of negro slavery in Texas; whether it is or
is not contemplated in her policy to destroy or affect t?at institution as it
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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/m1/30/: accessed May 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .