Proceedings of the Senate and Documents Relative to Texas, from which the Injunction of Secrecy Has Been Removed Page: 34 of 119
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[ 341] 34
whole country, and of its credit and creditors, must be the consequence.
No influx of new settlers could prevent it. The most rapid course of immigration
which has ever yet been witnessed would be too slow to arrest the
But the evil would not be confined to the slaveholding States. A very
large proportion-probably not less than three-fourths-of the exports of
the United States are, either directly or indirectly, the products of slave labor.
We must cease to import when we cease to export. To say nothing
of the comforts and accommodations which would thus be lost, or of the
disastrous influences which would thus be exerted upon our progress as
a refined and enlightened people, the revenue of the country would fail,
and the necessary expenditures of Governmenit for the civil administration,
for foreign intercourse, and for the means of defence in war, could not be
met without a resort to direct taxes. This would be a hopeless experiment.
It is very diificult to lay any direct tax in exact conformity with the
provisions of the Cotnstitutioni alld it would be still more difficult, if not
absolutely impossible, to make such tax acceptable to the people under the
change which would be produced in the ratio of representation by the liberation
of the slaves. Besides, the destruction of so.much of the agriculture
of the country would involve, to the same extent, that of its commerce and
navigation ; and thle consequent impoverishment of the people would render
them alike uinable and unwtilling to pay any tax whatever. If such a
state of things should prevail, even for a single year, the consequences
would be very disastrouls.
There is still another interest which mulst share largely in this ruin. The
vast capital Inow employed il thc malnufacture of cotton goods must sink in
value in proportionl as tlhe labor whichl produces the raw material shall be
withdrawn. The incidental consequences would be little less disastrous.
The railroads, the canalls, and other similar improvements, which have
grown out of the general prosperity of the country, depend on all the combined
results of all the putrsuits of industry. Even a serious embarrassment
of that industry, for any tength of time, would materially injure them ; but
it would be (ith-icult to sustain thlem at all under such a shock as we have
now contemplated. All tthat has grown out of and depends upon them
would fall along with tlllhe. We need not follow the subject through all
its ramifications: they extend to all the important pursuits of industry
-throughout tie country. It is imlpossible to calcullate the amount of ruin
and suffering which would t fllow the sudden emancipation of the slaves of
the United States. It would -e not mluch less, were that measure carried,
in any forn), by any other agency than that of the States who own the
slaves, and who alone can iknow how rapidly it is practicable or desirable
to supply tlieir places with other laborers.
Here is, indeed, a promising field for the policy of England. What better
encourage:nent would the industry of her colonies require, than the
simple rise of price in tlhe articles of sugar aid cotton, which would be
caused by diminlished production? What rival need she fear, when the
agriculture, the commerce, the manufactures, and the navigation of the
United States, shall be thus withdrawn firom competition witli her?
As these would be the effects of the actual abolition of slavery in the
United States, let us inquire what would he its effect if confined to Texas.
It is quite obviouis that slavery could not easily be maintaiined in a coutntry
surrounded by other countries whose Governments did not recognise
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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/m1/34/: accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .