Thoughts on the proposed annexation of Texas to the United States Page: 18 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
very rightly, that the Federal Legislature can do nothing to relieve
the burthen pressing on the dishonored States-can do nothing,
in this respect, for the national honor.
And is the same body authorized to assume the debt of a foreign
government, and to impose six millions of taxes on the
people of these States for the benefit of another country . Assumption
of State debts is denounced as a monstrous violation of
the constitution, but the assumption of Texan debt is a matter of
course. How are these things to be reconciled 1
But suppose all these difficulties are surmounted, and how
stands the case l The treaty-making power cannot admit a foreign
State except as territory; and Congress cannot form a new
State, except from territory. How much further advanced are
The argument, in its best aspect, resolves itself into this: that
although the treaty-making power cannot annex a foreign State as
such; although Congress cannot admit a foreign State as such;
yet, that the treaty-making power may admit a foreign State as
territory with the avowed object that it shall be thereafter admitted
as one or more States into the Union, and that Congress can
then proceed to consummate the transaction.
Than this, a more palpable fraud on the constitution cannot be
imagined; it is a clear violation of its whole spirit and intent: it
is a paltry subterfuge, far worse than an open, direct, and arbitrary
violation of the instrument.
The precedents remain to be considered. Mr. Jefferson concluded
the treaty of 1803 for the purchase of Louisiana. Great
public policy was supposed to require the act. But it is well
known that he conceived it a violation of the constitution. It is
not, however, so familiarly understood that he actually drew. an
amendment to the constitution for the purpose of overcoming
In his letter to Mr. Breckenridge, of the 12th of August, 1803,
"This treaty must of course be laid before both Houses, because
both have important functions to exercise respecting it.
They, I presume, will see their duty to their country in ratifying
and paying for it, so as to secure a good which would otherwise
probably be never again in their power. But I suppose they
must then appeal to the nation for an additional article to the
constitution, approving and confirming an act which the nation
had not previously authorized. The constitution has made no provision
for our holding foreign territory, still lessfor incorporating
foreign nations into our Union. The executive in seizing the fugitive
occurrence which so much advances the good of their country,
have done an act beyond the constitution. The legislature in casting
behind them metaphysical subtleties, and risking themselves
like faithful servants, must ratify and pay for'it, and throw themselves
on their country for doing for them unauthorized, what we
know they would have done for themselves, had they been in a
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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/m1/18/: accessed April 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .