Thoughts on the proposed annexation of Texas to the United States Page: 12 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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ON THE PROPOSED
In ordinary cases it certainly is inexpedient to question our
own national pretensions, but can any thing, by possibility, be
more uncertain than the principle thus laid down ' What is meant
by the country that a river or its branches cover ? What does
the Hudson cover? What does the Connecticut cover? Which
way and to what extent is this rule to be laid down East, west,
north or south, to the nearest river, to the nearest mountains, or
to the sea I In the particular case the French American claim
rests upon the fact that sometime in 16S5 the French adventurer
of Lasalle discovered the Bay of St. Bernard, or Espiritu Santo,
to the west of the Colorado, which river, be it remarked, is at
least 100 miles from the mouth of the Rio Bravo, and that Lasalle,
by so doing, a")quired a right to the Rio Norte and all the
country which it coWers. This was the trump card in our hand,
and if any one will look at the map and undertake to say what
the Rio Norte covers, and why it does not cover Mexico as well
as Texas, he will at once perceive why the Spaniards did not
throw up the game.
Robertson relates that Balboa, one of the Spanish discoverers,
when he first saw the Pacific ocean, "advancing up to the
middle in the waves, with his buckler and sword, took possession
of that ocean in the name of the king his master, and vowed
to defend it with these arms against all his enemies."*
Balboa was more sensible than the assigns of Lasalle, for one
can tell at least what an ocean " covers."
Lasalle was sent out to find the mouth of the Mississippi and
establish a colony there. He missed his aim and struck the coast
of the Gulf far to the southward. One of his vessels returned to
France, and two were wrecked. He established a temporary colony
near the Bay of St. Bernard, and set out himself to find the
Mississippi. On the journey he was assassinated by his own men,
and the Indians fell upon his colony and destroyed it. This is
the basis of the French claim.t
The absurdity of this matter of " re-annexation " is the more
apparent, when we consider the boundary as claimed by Texas.
The act of December 19, 1836, (Moore's description of Texas,
p. 5,) defines this boundary as follows:-" Beginning at the
mouth of the Sabine River, and running west along the Gulf of
Mexico three leagues from land to the mouth of the Rio Grande,
thence up the principal stream of said river to its source, thence
due north to the forty-second degree of north latitude, thence along
the boundary line as defined in the treaty between the United States
and Spain, to the beginning."
So that Lasalle, wrecked in 1685 in the Bay of St. Bernard,
or Espiritu Santo, 100 miles to the north of Rio Norte, discovered
and obtained for his royal master, the King of France, and for
us as his ultimate grantees, just precisely the territory enclosed
i.s America vol. i. book iii
. :berson's America vol. i. book iii. 275.
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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/m1/12/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .