Thoughts on the proposed annexation of Texas to the United States Page: 13 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.
by the said Rio Norte, a due line north, a parallel of latitude, and
an arbitrary boundary composed of the Arkansas, Red River, Sabine,
and three other due north and south lines, agreed upon by
a treaty made 150 years subsequently. The "Brother of the
Moon" has no pretensions superior to these.
Away with all these legal quibbles. If we are to have Texas,
let us take it with an open front-assign the real reasons which
impel us to the act, and not rely on a subterfuge so manifest.
It is pleasing, after seeing propositions like these put forth under
the name of the Law of Nations, to find that the great authorities
in that branch of jurisprudence talk the language of common
sense. It is questioned," says Vattel, Book i. chap. xviii.
"whether a nation can by the bare act of taking possession, appropriate
to itself countries which it does not really occupy, and
thus engross a much greater extent of territory than it is able to
people or cultivate. * * Such a pretension would be an absolute
infringement of the natural rights of men, and repugnant to the
views of nature. * * The law of nations, therefore, will not acknowledge
the property and sovereignty of a nation over any uninhabited
countries, except those of which it has really taken
actual possession, in which it has formed settlements, or of which
it makes actual use."
The question then is simply this. Shall this vast government,
still claimed as a province by Mexico, equal to one-sixth or oneseventh
of our present extent, be added as a slave-holding territory
to the United States. Shall the materials for five or six
states as large as Kentucky, all recognizing and tolerating slavery,
be added to the southern portion of this confederacy 1
This question we are now to consider.
The different heads are naturallyThe
constitutional power of the federal government to admit
independent foreign states into this Union.
The effect of the annexation, if constitutional, on our relations
with Mexico and other foreign powers.
The effect of the annexation as an extension of our territory,
and on our commercial interests.
The effect of the annexation upon slavery.
The effect of the annexation upon the Union.
Of these the constitutional question is first in order.
Has the federal Government the right under the Constitution
to admit a foreign state into the confederacy 1
The right, if it exists, must either arise under the general trea.
ty-making power, or it must be found in the third section of the
fourth article of the Constitution, which is in these words:
" Section 3d.-1. JNew Stales may be admitted by the Congress into
this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within
the jurisdiction of any other State, nor any State be formed by
the junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without
the consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned, as well
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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/m1/13/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .