Thoughts on the proposed annexation of Texas to the United States Page: 21 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.
doubts rest upon this alleged power, and those who are in favor
of restricting the perpetual aggressions of the central authority
will do well to pause before they tacitly admit that the federal
government is clothed with this vast and dangerous prerogative.
Stepping then beyond the constitutional question, we proceed
to consider the subject in other aspects.
The proposal to annex Texas is, in other words, to acquire for
ourselves a large territory claimed by a foreign State with whom
we are at profound peace. Texas, in 1835, formed a constituent
part of Mexico; her settlers had voluntarily sought her jurisdiction.
Mexico had never acknowledged her independence; neither
our recognition nor the recognition of the European powers settles
or pretends to settle the question of right as between Mexico
and'Texas. Mexico has at this moment a perfect right, by the
laws of war, to invade Texas, and, if possible, to subjugate her.
She has, moreover, announced her intentions to do so. In November
last the instructions from M. Bocanegra to General
Almonte contained the following paragraph in reference to the
interference of our government.
" Setting out with these deep convictions, his Excellency the
Provincial President feels himself bound to hinder an aggression,
such as this will be, unexampled in the annals of the world, from
being consummated; and were it indispensable that the Mexican
nation should seek, even through the disasters of war, the safety
of its rights, it must make that last appeal to the Most High, to
Justice, and to its own courage."
We are, therefore, now called upon for the first time in our
history, against the advice of Washington, and abandoning the
settled principles of our government, to embroil ourselves in a dispute
between foreign powers. Can this be done with safety 1 can
it be done with good faith 1 When the first application was made
by Texas in 1837, Mr. Forsyth, in a letter already referred to,
and which does equal honor to him and to Mr. Van Buren, placed
our refusal distinctly upon the ground of good faith to Mexico.
In that letter he said:
" The United States were foremost in acknowledging the independence
of Mexico, and have uniformly desired and endeavored
to cultivate relations of friendship with that power.
"So long as Texas shall remain at war, while the United States
are at peace with her adversary, the proposition of the Texan
minister plenipotentiary necessarily involves the question of war
with that adversary. The United States are bound to Mexico by
a treaty of amity and commerce, which will be scrupulously observed
on their part, so long as it can be reasonably hoped that
Mexico will perform her duties and respect our rights under it.
The United States.might justly be suspected of a disregard of the
friendly purposes of the compact, if the overture of General Hunt
were to be ever reserved for future consideration, as this would
imply a disposition on our part to espouse the quarrel of Texas
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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/m1/21/: accessed July 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .