Thoughts on the proposed annexation of Texas to the United States Page: 46 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
out a sacred adherence to its provisions we are at the mercy of
fluctuating majorities, of violent factions, and selfish leaders. If
the idea once takes root in the popular mind that the Constitution
means any thing or nothing, as it suits for the time beingthat
it affords no barrier against the will of the dominant party,
one of the greatest safeguards of order disappears. Our government
is one of opinion. No force upholds it; the confidence of
the people gone, it has nothing to fall back upon. The exercise
of doubtful powers, therefore, against the clear conviction of any
respectable minority, is always a great evil; never to be justified
except by some great, some paramount necessity. No such
necessity can be shown in the present case.
Again, the annexation of Texas is fraught with evil, inasmuch
as it impairs, if it does not utterly destroy, the moral tone of our
government. This Republic was founded with very lofty pretensions-pretensions
at the outset as well founded as lofty. Equality
and justice are no unmeaning words. Men, whose superiors,
whose equals perhaps, all things considered, the world has never
seen, undertook to hold up to their fellow-beings the model of a
government for admiration and for imitation. We have assumed
a superiority over the establishments both of the old and the
But how are these high vaunts to be sustained 1 We already remain
the only great Christian civilized slave-holding power. The
faith and honor of nearly one-fourth of the Union is sunk under a
mass of extravagance and folly, only equalled by the rank knavery
with which it was accompanied, and we propose now to enter
on a career of violence and conquest. Is or is this not calculated
to weaken our-affections for our institutions I No government
can long exist in the face of the contempt of the world, and nothing
is so likely to excite contempt as magnificent promises followed
by paltry performances. A spirit of harmony, good order,
religion and justice-justice not merely to ourselves, but to all
mankind-is essential to a republican form of government. It is
idle to suppose a republic can rest upon force or fraud. A government
without armies, based only on the affections of the
people, must cultivate those affections and those virtues from
which the affections spring., Change the scene; breathe a spirit
of violence, injustice, aggression and contempt of right, and
your social family becomes a horde of banditti-this Union sinks
to-the level of the cut-throat Republics of South America, and
perishes amidst the scorn and execrations of mankind.
There is one further result to be noticed. The annexation of
Texas will be regarded, as we have said, by the North, as a determination
on the part of the South to render slavery perpetual.
What will be the effect of such an announcement upon this
> Union! Rightly to answer this question, it is necessary to understand
distinctly the existing temper of the North, and the dif-fiulties
that the Union will have to encounter, A very perceptible
change of feeling has taken place within the last ten ears.
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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/m1/46/: accessed April 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .