Proceedings of the Senate and Documents Relative to Texas, from which the Injunction of Secrecy Has Been Removed Page: 50 of 119
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[ 341 ] 5
Mr. Calhorun to Mr. Pakenharim.
. DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
I ashington, dpril , 18, 44.
'The undersigned, Secretary of State of the, United States, has laid before
the President the note of ttie right honorable Mr. Pakenham, envoy extraordinary
and minister plenipotentiary of Her. Britannic Majesty, addressed
to this department on the 26th of February last, together with the
accompanying copy of a despatch of Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of
State for Foreign Affairs to Mr. Pakenham. In reply, the undersigned is
directed by the President to inform the right honorable Mr. Pakenham,
that while he regards with pleasure the disavowal of Lord Aberdeen of
any intention on the part of Her Majesty's Government ", to resort to any
measures, either openly or secretly, which can tend to disturb the internal
tranquillity of the slaveholding States, and thereby affect the tranquillity of
this Union," he at the same time regards with deep concern the avowal,
for the first time made to this Government, " that Great Britain desires and
is constantly exertilng herself to procure the general abolition of slavery
throughout the world."'
So long as Great Britain confined her policy to the abolition of slaverin
her own possessions and colonies, no other country had a right to complain.
It belonged to her exclusively to determine, according to her own
views of policy, whether it should be done or not. But when she goes
beyond, and avows it as her settled policy, and the object of -her constant
exertions, to abolish it throughout the world, she makes it the duty of all
other countries, whose safety or prosperity may be endangered by her policy,
'to adopt such measures as they y may deem necessary for their protection.
It is with still deeper concern the President regards the avowal of Lord
Aberdeen of the desire of Great Britain to see slavery abolished in Texas,
and, as he infers, is endeavoring, through her diplomacy, to accomplish it,
by making the abolition of slavery one of the conditions on which Mexico
should acknoowledge her independence. It has confirmed his previous impressions
as to the policy of Great Britain in reference to Texas, and made
it his duty to examine with much care and solicitude what would be its
effects on the prosperity and safety of the United States, should she succeed
in her endeavors. The investigation has resulted in the settled conviction
that it would be difficult for Texas, in her actual condition, to resist
what she desires, without supposing the influence and exertions of Great
IBritain would be extended beyond the limits assigned by Lord Aberdeen;
and that, if Texas could not resist the consummation of the object of her
desire, would endanger both the safety and prosperity of the Union. Under
this conviction, it is felt to be the imperious duty of the Federal Government,
the common representative and protector of the States of the Union,
to adopt, in self-defence, the most effectual measures to defeat it..
This is not the proper occasion to state at large the grounds of this conviction.
It is sufficient to say, that the consummation of the avowed object
of her wishes in reference to Texas would ,be followed by hostile feelings
and relations between that country and the United States, which could
not fail to place her under the influence and control of Great Britain. That,
from the geographical position of Texas, would expose the weakest and
most vulnerable portion of our frontier to inroads, and place in the power
of Great Britain the most efficient means of effecting in the neighboritng
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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]. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2363/m1/50/: accessed September 24, 2023), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; .