Thoughts on the proposed annexation of Texas to the United States Page: 11 of 55
This book is part of the collection entitled: From Republic to State: Debates and Documents Relating to the Annexation of Texas, 1836-1856 and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the UNT Libraries.
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ANNEXATION OF TEXAS.
In his letter of 1st February, 1819, to Mr. Adams, Don Luis De
Onis says, (Niles' Register, vol. 17, p. 250,) "I have proved to
you in the most satisfactory manner, that neither the Red River
of Nachitoches, nor the Columbia, ever formed the boundary of
Louisiana, but as you have intimated to me that it was useless to
pursue the discussion any further, I acquiesce with you therein,
and I agree that, keeping out of view the rights which either power
may have to the territory in dispute, we should confine ourselves
to the settlement of those points which may be for the mutual
interest and convenience of both."
Looking at this brief narrative of the affair, can any thing be
more preposterous than at this day to assert as a matter of right,
not admitting of denial, that Texas belonged to the United States;
that we ceded it to Spain, and that Messrs. Munroe, Adams, Forsyth
and Jackson made so vast a surrender of our unquestioned
To talk as coolly of re-annexation as if our right to Texas had
never been disputed, and to assume as undeniable a fact which we
did not venture to assert in any serious way, either against the exhausted
monarchy of Spain, or the infant republic of Mexico, is certainly
a novelty in argument.-The effort subsequently made under
General Jackson's administration to acquire by purchase the territory
of Texas, is if possible a yet more conclusive confirmation
that although the United States may in good faith have believed
tIiejr claim to the Rio del Norte to be valid, still that they perceived
that it rested on facts altogether too remote, and on data
too vague to warrant its assertion in that peremptory manner in
which the claim of territory should always be put forth, and that
the dispute could only be settled by compromise.
What would be thought of the conduct of a private individual
who, after twenty years litigationwith his neighbor about boundary,
should definitively establish the line, give and receive mutual
releases, make a subsequent offer to purchase a portion of the
portion surrendered, and after all this, finally start up and without
producing or pretending to have discovered a particle of new tesmony,
allege that the line was run incorrectly, and that the compromise
was a nullity. Obstinate, unreasonable and litigious,
would be the most flattering epithets applied to this conduct in
private life; and just so obstinate, unreasonable and litigious is
this pretence that Texas was once " all our own," and this insidious
effort to substitute RE-annexation for a less plausible term.
To show with a little more minuteness the extreme vagueness
of our claim in its best aspects, it is sufficient to say that our
ministers in 1805 declared our right to depend upon three propositions,
the first of which is as follows:
" That when any European nation takes possession of any extent
of sea-coast, that possession is understood as extending into
the interior country, to the sources of the rivers emptying within
that coast, to all their branches and the country they cover, and
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Sedgwick, Theodore. Thoughts on the proposed annexation of Texas to the United States, book, January 1, 1844; New-York. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2387/m1/11/: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .