Speech of Hon. Wm. Lowndes Yancey, of Alabama, on the annexation of Texas to the United States, delivered in the House of Representatives, Jan. 7, 1845. Page: 8 of 14
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Clay, then the Secretary of State, had exhibited "get the start of the American people." Sir, it
the most urgent desire for its attainment; and is well known to every individual within the
indeed, Mr. Chairman, if there was any one act sound of my voice, that the American masses
of the Administration of 1825 and 1827, calcu- have moved upon this question long before it
lated to relieve it in the least degree from the came into this Hall. But it was only when the
odium which almost universally rests upon it, on Senate of the United States most unaccountably,
account of its being surreptitiously palmed upon and to the astonishment of the whole world, rethe
American people, it was the ardor and the jected the treaty, that the people aroused themability
displayed by it in its efforts to annex Texas selves from a confidence and quiet produced by
to this Union. Andrew Jackson, too, true to the absolute wisdom and propriety of a measure
the honor and interests of the country, pushed which they had every reason to believe would
the matter with vigor, under two successive Se- command now, as heretofore, an American supcretaries
of State. John Tyler, following in the port, and that they began to move and speak in
footsteps of his illustrious predecessors, and tak- thunder tones, tones which caused many a heart
ing wise advantage of providential circumstances, to quake-whose reverberations shook, from
has again pressed the policy ot annexation, never "Battlement to totudation stone,"
for a moment intermitted; and at once, around, that immense fabric of power, the Whig party
below, (but not above him,) are heard the of' 1840, and which have not yet died away.
hounds of party: while, envious of his fortune in This, more than any other agency, produced that
being placed in a position more fortunate than his revolution in the party tactics-in the party dispredecessors,
to accomplish this great end, its cipline-in the party leaders of the Democracy,
heretofore most energetic and ardent supporters which has so astonished and amazed their oppoabandon
their high ground, to join the smaller nents; anrd the true wisdom of which, though
curs who bay at him. In this Hall, hono- demonstrated by a magnificent result, their oprable
gentlemen insult the Chief Magistrate ponents cannot yet understand. Thlis, more than
as an "accidental President," who "was not the any thing else, it was which gave life, renewed
choice of the people," and who had urged this energy and power, to old and stale issues. It
project with impure and "selfish views." Ask was the moving spirit of the day and hour, and
the gentleman from Massachusetts, (Mr. WIN- it cannot be without power to teach a wise and
THROP,) who made these remarks, who he voted lasting lesson to an attentive and thinking obfor
in 1840, and he will answer "Harrison and server of any party.
Tyler." And when he gave the vote, did he not The reason for this stirring of the deep founknow
that if it should please Providence to re- tains of the popular heart are obvious. No great
niove Gen. Harrison by death, Mr. Tyler would national measure ever p*sented, in such bold
succeed to the high station by the provisions of relief, so many and such varied inducements
the Constitution ? It would be great disparage- to so many and such varied interests. It is eviment
to that gentleman to doubt it. Was the dent that the soil and climate of Texas will give
death of Gen. Harrison an accident? Did the such direction to the industry of its citizens, that
gentleman hold that an event of that magnitude the manufacturer, whether of cotton, hemp,
had not passed under the eye of an all-seeing and wool, iron, leather, or wood. will find there a
controlling Omnipotence-an Omnipotence that near and valuable home-market, with a prospecnotes
the fall of a sparrow ? A Winthrop deny tive rapidity of increase, which certainly will not
the providence of God! No, sir. He will not, fall behind that exhibited within late years by
dare not, deny it. Were he to do so, his ve- the West and Southwest. Tle great forest intenerable
Puritan ancestry would burst the ce- rest will be largely benefitted, owingto the known
rements of the tomb, to rise and upbraid scarcity of timber upon those vast prairies; while
their recreant son. The death of General Har- the immense and valuable provision and stockrison
was no accident. It occurred by the raising interest will feed the millions who will imr
fiat of that Divine Ruler whose ways are not as migrate to those fertile lowlands, and employ their
our ways; and Mr. Tyler succeeded to the Presi- labor in the cultivation of great tropical staples.
dency, not an "accidental" but a providential and It will protect, too, the cotton and sugar cultiraconstitutional
President. As to his motives in tion from an inimical rivalry, which might, and
pursuing a long-pursued policy of the Govern- probably would, be encouraged by our great
ment, the gentleman from Massachusetts has commercial antagonist.
keener eyes than mine, if he can dive into the Such are some of the considerations which adsecrets
of the heart that moved this measure. dress themselves with force to individual inteThe
act savors well for the good of the country; rests. There are others, not less powerful in the
and I do not envy that gentleman the privilege, estimation of a true American heart, of a national
assumed to himself, of sitting in judgment upon character. The annexation of that region will
the motives of another. I have ever been taught complete what some of the clearest heads in the
the opinion thatsuch a task was unfitfor frailrnan, Union think was originally ours. the magnificent
and that it peculiarly belonged to a higher-a valley of the Mississippi-will give us command
more awful tribunal. :i^: ,...a:- . - , of the sources and entire navigation of several of
It has been said that in pressing this matter its largest and most valuable streams-willgreatwe
would take "a'2snap judgment"-we would ly lengthen our share of the gulf ooast, and, of
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Yancey, William Lowndes. Speech of Hon. Wm. Lowndes Yancey, of Alabama, on the annexation of Texas to the United States, delivered in the House of Representatives, Jan. 7, 1845., book, 1845; Washington. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2415/m1/8/: accessed January 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .