Thoughts on the proposed annexation of Texas to the United States Page: 23 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.
and often from a slight mistake, such disastrous consequences
flow, that in every age and every nation the uncertainty of arms
has become proverbial. * * Napoleon, the greatest man of whom
history makes mention-Napoleon, the most wonderful commander,
the most sagacious politician, the most profound statesman,
lost by arms Poland, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and
France. Fortune, that name for the unknown combinations of
infinite power, was wanting to him, and without her aid the designs
of men are as bubbles on a troubled ocean." There is a
far higher philosophy and a deeper moral than this passage contains;
but perhaps its practical wisdom will recommend it to
those who cannot see the finger of God in the affairs of men, and
who regard nations as discharged from the obligations of natural
justice. Mr. Walker declares that " the wrath of this indignant
nation shall roll like lava in fiery torrents over the political graves
of those who oppose the admission of Texas." This, to say the
least of it, is more vehement than argumentative or conciliatory.
The gift of prophecy is not given on many subjects to modern
mortals, and I doubt whether Texas is an exception. Mr. Walker
will perhaps find that the monuments which he proposes to raise
for those who oppose this project, may illustrate very different
destinies. I envy no politician the honor of lbing hereafter
pointed out as the statesman who plunged this nation into war
for the purpose of acquiring Texas; still less do I envy the reputation
of any man who in the nineteenth century, with the experience
of this country and of the world before his eyes, ventures
to add new slave territory to this Union.
Suppose, for a moment, that Texas belonged to England, to
France, or to any first-rate European power. Does any man in
his senses suppose that the advocates of annexation would venture
upon the measure ? We should then hear abundantly of
honor among nations, the faith of treaties, and all those sounding
phrases that statesmen are so wont to use when too feeble
or too timid to disregard them. We make treaties with England,
surrendering a portion of our territory-we leave the Oregon in
her grasp-The Caroline is unavenged-we spend a whole generation
in soliciting from France the payment of an acknowledged
debt-but we dismember Mexico, and wrest an empire from her
dominion, without pretext or apology.
The maxim of Rome, "parcere victis debellare superbos," well
befitted a high spirited nation. With us it seems the rule is reversed.
We give way to the powerful and oppress the weak. Is
there, then, no such thing as faith among nations 1 Are promises
but mere words, and treaties scraps of parchment 1 With the
dishonored bonds of so many of our sister States staring us in
the face, overwhelmed by the taunts and reproaches of creditor
Europe, are we prepared to enter, as a nation, upon a course of
bad faith, conquest and plunder What is to be the consequence
of this proceeding 1 If Mexico resists, our commerce will be at
once the object of the piratical depredations of the privateers of
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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/m1/23/: accessed March 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .