Thoughts on the proposed annexation of Texas to the United States Page: 17 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. 17
without palpable violence be supposed to include independent foreign
powers. The third section of the fourth article appears to
be intended for the express purpose of applying to the territory
of the United States, not at that time included in the Union.
Construed in this way that section is harmonious and intelligible.
The first clause of the first subdivision provides for the erection
of States, with the restriction, that the boundaries of the then
existing States, should not be altered without the consent of their
respective legislatures; while the second subdivision vests the
absolute sovereignty of all territory, until subdivided into States
in the Federal Legislature. It cannot be imagined that it could
have been intended to include any power so enormous as the one
now claimed, in the general words " New States." The power is
now insisted upon for the purpose of admitting Texas, but it will
apply just as well to any sovereignty in the old world or the new.
It applies to Mexico, to Paraguay, to England, or to Russia, precisely
as well as to Texas; we are not at liberty to impute to the
framers of the Federal Constitution any construction so wild
Looking at the history of the instrument the objections are
equally insuperable. It appears by Mr. Madison's history of the
debates, that not a word is said except on the subject of the forration
of western States out of our then western territory.
Though a jealousy of the west is very manifest, still so little did
the views of that day keep pace with the future, that the Mississippi
is not even spoken of. How little the members of the convention
thought of our empire passing that river, is manifest.
This too is corroborated by the fact, that the articles of confederation
of 1778 contained a distinct provision for the admittance
of Canada. In 1778 it was still hoped that Canada might
join the confederacy, and the door was kept open for her admission;
but eleven years later, when our present constitution was
framed, all sympathy with regard to Canada had died away, and
it will be found on a careful examination of the debates, that no
allusion whatever is made to the admission of Canada, and that
the only subject of interest was the admission of States to be
framed out of the great western territory.
How in the nature of things can it be supposed that the States
of this confederacy would give to any chance majority in Congress
which party spirit or corruption might control, the power
of introducing foreign States into the Union, a power capable of
changing at one blow the whole nature of the confederacy, and
place the freemen of the north at the mercy of the Spaniards of
Mexico, or the mongrels'of South America. To annex may prove
to be annexed. Change the relative proportions of population and
the right of annexation amounts to a right to re-transfer us to
There are other arguments also to be considered. The Texan
debt is about six millions of dollars. (Kennedy's Texas, vol. ii.
__P 379.) Can this be assumed by Congress 1 We are told, 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/m1/17/: accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .