網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

JOHN TYLER AND ANNEXA TION.

155

1838, he was electeyircinia, and as Banbations, and conform

the United States Bank by Gen. | that of Slavery—on which not even Jackson, and supported Mr. Clay's the harshest judgment could proresolution censuring that removal. nounce him a waverer, or infirm of He was fully sustained in so doing, purpose. Born, reared, and living, at the time, by the public opinion in one of the most aristocratic counand the Legislature of Virginia ; but, ties of tidewater Virginia—that of two or three years thereafter, the Charles City, removing subsequently thorough-going supporters of Gen. to that of Williamsburg—by no act, Jackson, having elected a decided no vote, no speech, had he forfeited majority to the Legislature, proceed the confidence or incurred the dised to “instruct” him to vote for ex- trust of the Slave Power; and his punging from the journal of the fidelity to its behests and presumed Senate that resolution; whereupon, interests, was about to be conspicurefusing to comply, he resigned his ously manifested. seat, and returned to private life. In He soon contrived to quarrel imthe desultory and tumultuous Presi- medicably with Mr. Clay, and with dential canvass that soon followed, the great majority of those whose he was supported by the Whigs, or votes had elected him, by vetoing, anti-Jackson men, of the Slave States first, a National Bank bill, passed by for Viee-President, and received the both Houses, while all the leading electoral votes of Maryland, Georgia, provisions were suggested by his South Carolina, and Tennessee. In Secretary of the Treasury; and then, 1838, he was elected as a Whig to Congress having passed another the Legislature of Virginia, and as Bank bill, based entirely on his own such made a delegate to the Whig suggestions, and conforming in all National Convention, which met at points to his requirements, he vetoed Harrisburg, Pa., in December, 1839. that also. Hereupon, all the memHe there, along with his Virginia bers of his Cabinet—which was that colleagues, zealously supported Mr. originally selected by Gen. Harrison Clay for President, and was affected -peremptorily resigned their places, to tears when the choice of a major- Mr. Webster alone excepted, who reity of the Convention finally desig- tained the position of Secretary of nated Gen. Harrison as the Whig State until May, 1843, when he also candidate. The next day, he was, resigned, and was succeeded by Abel with little opposition, nominated for P. Upshur, of Virginia, a gentleman Vice-President—the friends of Gen. of considerable ability and spotless Harrison urging this nomination as a private character, but a doctrinaire peace-offering to the friends of Mr. of the extreme State Rights, ProClay. Every elector who voted for Slavery school, under whom the proGen. Harrison voted for him also. ject of annexing Texas to this coun

If Mr. Tyler's past political course try was more openly and actively might, by a severe critic, have been pushed than it had hitherto been. judged unstable, and indicative rath- Mr. Upshur was killed by the burster of pervading personal aspirations ing of a gun, on the 28th of Februthan of profound political convic- ary, 1844, and was succeeded by tions, there was one grave topic~ | John C. Calhoun, who prosecuted

the scheme still more 'openly and y was no room for reasonable doubt vigorously, and under whose auspices that a great majority of his fellowa Treaty of Annexation was conclud Democrats earnestly desired and exed April 12, 1844, but which was pected his nomination and election. resolutely opposed in the Senate, and To prevent the former was the more rejected, receiving but fifteen votes. immediate object of the preternatural

| activity suddenly given to the Texas It is not probable that the master- intrigue, which, never abandoned, spirits of the Annexation intrigue had for several years apparently rewere either disappointed or displeas- mained in a state of suspended anied by this signal defeat of their first mation. Mr. Thomas W. Gilmer, of public movement. It is very certain Va., formerly a State Rights Whig that they were not disconcerted. For member of Congress, now an ardent the Presidential Election of 1844 was disciple of Calhoun and a partisan of now in immediate prospect; and they John Tyler, by whom he was made had two darling objects to achieve Secretary of the Navy a few days by the Annexation project : first, the before he was killed (February 28, defeat of Mr. Van Buren in the De- 1844, on board the U. S. war steamer mocratic National Convention; next, Princeton, by the bursting of the big the defeat of Mr. Clay before the gun already noticed), was the man people.

selected to bring the subject freshly The defeat of Mr. Van Buren's before the public. In a letter dated nomination was first in order, and a Washington, January 10, 1843, and matter of very considerable difficulty. published soon after in The MadisoHe had been the candidate of the party nian, Mr. Tyler's organ, he says: at the preceding election, and beaten,

I "DEAR SIR:-You ask if I have expressed as his supporters contended, “ without

the opinion that Texas would be annexed to a why or wherefore," by a popular the United States. I answer, yes: and this frenzy incited by disgusting, though

opinion has not been adopted without reflec

tion, nor without a careful observation of artful, appeals to ignorance, sensual causes, which I believe are rapidly bringing ity, and every vulgar prejudice and about this result. I do not know how far

these causes have made the same impression misconception. The disorganization

on others; but I am persuaded that the time of the Whigs, following Gen. Harri is not distant when they will be felt in all son's death and Tyler's defection,

their force. The excitement, which you ap

| prehend, may arise; but it will be temporary, had brought their antagonists into

and, in the end, salutary. *** I am, as power in at least two-thirds of the | you know, a strict constructionist of the

powers of our Federal Government; and I States, and they were quite as confi

do not admit the force of mere precedent to dent as the Whigs of their ability to establish authority under written constitutriumph in the approaching Presi

tions. The power conferred by the Consti

tution over our foreign relations, and the dential election.

repeated acquisitions of territory under it, “ The sober second thought of the seem to me to leave this question open as people had been specially appealed

one of expediency.

“But you anticipate objections with reto by Mr. Van Buren for the vindica gard to the subject of Slavery. This is, tion of his conduct of public affairs, indeed, a subject of extreme delicacy, but it and that appeal had been tavorably have the most salutary influence. and that appeal had been favorably

is one on which the annexation of Texas will

Some responded to by his party. There have thought that the proposition would

[ocr errors]

THE SLAVE POWER COVETS TEXAS.

157

enganger our Union. I am of a different , are familiarly acquainted with its practical opinion. I believe it will bring about a bet- | effects, to be of highly beneficial influence ter understanding of our relative rights and to the country within whose limits it is obligations. * * * Having acquired Loui- | permitted to exist. siana and Florida, we have an interest and “The Committee feel authorized to say a frontier on the Gulf of Mexico, and along that this system is cherished by our constiour interior to the Pacific, which will not | tuents as the very palladium of their prospermit us to close our eyes or fold our arms perity and happiness; and, whatever ignowith indifference to the events which a few rant fanatics may elsewhere conjecture, the years may disclose in that quarter. We Committee are fully assured, upon the most have already had one question of boundary diligent observation and reflection on the with Texas; other questions must soon arise, / subject, that the South does not possess within under our revenue laws, and on other points ( her limits a blessing with which the affecof necessary intercourse, which it will be dif- i tions of her people are so closely entwined ficult to adjust. The institutions of Texas, and so completely enfibered, and whose value and her relations with other governments, are i is more highly appreciated, than that which yet in that condition which inclines her peo- we are now considering. * * * ple (who are our countrymen) to unite their "It may not be improper here to remark destiny with ours. This must be done soon, that, during the last session of Congress, or not at all. There are numerous tribes of when a Senator from Mississippi proposed Indians along both frontiers, which can easi- | the acknowledgment of Texan independence, ly become the cause or the instrument of it was found, with a few exceptions, the border wars. Our own population is press- | members of that body were ready to take ing onward to the Pacific. No power can ground upon it as upon the subject of restrain it. The pioneer from our Atlantic Slavery itself. seaboard will soon kindle his fires, and erect | “With all these facts before us, we do his cabin, beyond the Rocky Mountains, not hesitate in believing that these feelings and on the Gulf of California. If Mahomed influenced the New England Senators; but comes not to the mountain, the mountain one voting in favor of the measure; and, inwill go to Mahomed. Every year adds new | deed, Mr. Webster has been bold enough, in difficulties to our progress, as natural and as a public speech recently delivered in New inevitable as the current of the Mississippi. | York to many thousands of citizens, to deThese difficulties will soon, like mountains clare that the reasons which influenced his interposed

opposition was his abhorrence of Slavery in

the South, and that it might, in the event of Make enemies of nations,

its recognition, become a slaveholding State. Which now, like kindred drops, He also spoke of the effort making in favor Might mingle into one.'”.

of Abolition; and that, being predicated

upon and aided by the powerful influence of Following immediately on the pub- religious feeling, it would become irresistlication of this letter, the Legislatures ible and overwhelming.

“This language, coming from of Alabama, of Mississippi, and prob

so distin

guished an individual as Mr. Webster, so ably of other Southwestern States, familiar with the feelings of the North, and were induced to take ground in favor entertaining so high ao respect for public

sentiment in New England, speaks so plainof Annexation ; with what views, and ly the voice of the North as not to be misfor what purpose, the following ex understood.

“We sincerely hope there is enough good tract from the report adopted by that

sense and genuine love of country among of Mississippi will sufficiently indi our fellow-countrymen of the Northern cate:

States to secure us final justice on this sub

ject; yet we cannot consider it safe or ex-. “But we hasten to suggest the importance pedient for the people of the South to enof the Annexation of Texas to this Republic | tirely disregard the efforts of the fanatics, upon grounds somewhat local in their com- and the efforts of such men as Webster, and plexion, but of an import infinitely grave and others who countenance such dangerous interesting to the people who inhabit the doctrines. Southern portion of this confederacy, where “The Northern States have no interests it is known that a species of Domestic Slav- of their own which require any special safeery is tolerated and protected by law, whose guards for their defense, save only their doexistence is prohibited by the legal regula- | mestic manufactures; and God knows they tions of other States of this confederacy; | have already received protection from Govwhich system of Slavery is held by all, who | ernment on a most liberal scale; under

which encouragement they have improved of the Floridas and the settlement of the and flourished beyond example. The South | boundary of Louisiana, fixing the western has very peculiar interests to preserve, inter- | limit of the latter at the Rio Grande, agreeests already violently assailed and boldly ably to the understanding of France; that threatened.

he had written home to our Government for 66 Your Committee are fully persuaded powers to complete and sign this negotiathat this protection to her best interests will tion; but that, instead of receiving such aube afforded by the Annexation of Texas ; an | thority, the negotiation was taken out of his equipoise of influence in the halls of Con- | hands and transferred to Washington, and a gress will be secured, which will furnish us a new treaty was there concluded by which permanent guarantee of protection.

the Sabine, and not the Rio Grande, was

recognized and established as the boundary Mr. Henry A. Wise, of Virginia,

of Louisiana.

“Finding that these statements were true, of the same political school with Gil and that our Government did really give up mer, in a speech in the House, Jan

that important territory, when it was at its

option to retain it, I was filled with astonuary 26, 1842, said:

ishment. The right of the territory was

obtained from France; Spain stood ready to 66 True, if Iowa be added on the one side, I acknowledge it to the Rio Grande; and yet Florida will be added on the other. But the authority asked by our Minister'to insert there the equation must stop. Let one the true boundary was not only withheld, more Northern State be admitted, and the but, in lieu of it, a limit was adopted which equilibrium is gone - gone forever. The stripped us of the whole of the vast country balance of interests is gone—the safeguard | lying between the two rivers. of American property — of the American “On such a subject, I thought, with the Constitution of the American Union, van- | ancient Romans, that it was right never to ished into thin air. This must be the inevit cede any land or boundary of the republic, able result, unless, by a treaty with Mexico, but always to add to it by honorable treaty, the South can add more weight to her end of thus extending the area of freedom; and it the lever. Let the South stop at the Sabine, I was in accordance with this feeling that I while the North may spread unchecked be gave our Minister to Mexico instructions to yond the Rocky Mountains, and the Southern enter upon a negotiation for the retrocession scale must kick the beam."

of Texas to the United States.

“ This negotiation failed; and I shall ever The letter of Mr. Gilmer, when regret it as a misfortune both to Mexico and

the United States. Mr. Gilmer's letter preprinted, was, by Mr. Aaron V.

sents many of the considerations which, in Brown, a Democratic member of my judgment, rendered the step recessary to Congress from Tennessee, inclosed in

the peace and harmony of the two countries;

but the point in it, at that time, which most a letter to Gen. Jackson, asking the

strongly impelled me to the course I pursued, General's opinion thereon. That re was the injustice done to us by the surrender

of the territory, when it was obvious that it quest promptly elicited the following

could have been retained, without increasing response:

the consideration afterward given for the

Floridas. I could not but feel that the sur“HERMITAGE, February 13, 1843. render of so vast and important a territory “MY DEAR SIR :-Yours of the 23d ulti was attributable to an erroneous estimate mo has been received, and with it The Madi of the tendency of our institutions, in which sonian, containing Gov. Gilmer's letter on there was mingled somewhat of jealousy the subject of the annexation of Texas to as to the rising greatness of the South and the United States.

West. “You are not mistaken in supposing that “But I forbear to dwell on this part of the I have formed an opinion on this interesting history of this question. It is past, and cansubject. It occupied much of my time dur not now be undone. We can now only look ing my Presidency, and, I am sure, has lost at it as one of annexation, if Texas presents none of its importance by what has since it to us; and, if she does, I do not hesitate transpired.

to say that the welfare and happiness of our “Soon after my election in 1829, it was Union require that it should be accepted. made known to me by Mr. Erwin, formerly “If, in a military point of view alone, the our minister to the Court of Madrid, that, question be examined, it will be found to be whilst at that Court, he had laid the founda- most important to the United States to be in tion of a treaty with Spain for the cession l possession of the territory.

PROTEST FROM CONGRESS AGAINST ANNEXATION. 159

“Great Britain has already made treaties | tutions, and is essential to the United States, with Texas; and we know that far-seeing particularly as lessening the probabilities of nation never omits a circumstance, in her future collision with foreign powers, and extensive intercourse with the world, which giving them greater efficiency in spreading can be turned to account in increasing her the blessings of peace. military resources. May she not enter into “I return you my thanks for your kind an alliance with Texas? and, reserving, as | letter on this subject, and subscribe myself, she doubtless will, the North-Western Boun- | with great sincerity, your friend and obedidary question as the cause of war with us | ent servant,

ANDREW JACKSON. whenever she chooses to declare it, let us “Hon. A. V. Brown." suppose that, as an ally with Texas, we are to fight her! Preparatory to such a move This letter was secretly circulated, ment, she sends her 20,000 or 30,000 men to

but carefully withheld from the press Texas; organizes them on the Sabine, where supplies and arms can be concentrated be

for a full year, and finally appeared fore we have even notice. of her intentions; | in The Richmond Enquirer, with its makes a lodgment on the Mississippi; excites the negroes to insurrection; the lower coun

date altered from 1843 to 1844, as if try falls, and with it New Orleans; and a it had been written in immediate servile war rages through the whole South

support of the Tyler-Calhoun negoand West.

“ In the mean time, she is also moving an | tiation. army along the western frontier from Cana Col. Benton, in his “ Thirty Years da, which, in coöperation with the army from Texas, spreads ruin and havoc from

View," directly charges that the letthe Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.

ter was drawn from Gen. Jackson “Who can estimate the national loss we

expressly to be used to defeat Mr. may sustain, before such a movement could be repelled with such forces as we could

Van Buren's nomination, and secure, organize on short notice?

if possible, that of Mr. Calhoun in"Remember that Texas borders upon us, on our west to 42° of north latitude, and is

stead; and it doubtless exerted a our southern boundary to the Pacific. Re strong influence adverse to the formember also, that, if annexed to the United

mer, although Gen. Jackson was States, our Western boundary would be the Rio Grande, which is of itself a fortification,

among his most unflinching supporton account of its extensive, barren, and unin ers to the last. habitable plains. With such a barrier on our west, we are invincible. The whole European world could not, in combination

Mr. John Quincy Adams had unitagainst us, make an impression on our Union. ed with Mr. William Slade, Joshua R. Our population on the Pacific would rapidly Giddings, and ten other anti-Slavery increase, and soon be strong enough for the protection of our eastern whalers, and, in

| Whig members of the XXVIIth the worst event, could always be sustained Congress (March 3, 1843), in a stirby timely aids from the intermediate coun

ring address to the people of the Free try.

"From the Rio Grande, overland, a large States, warning them against the Anarmy could not march, or be supplied, unless nexation intrigue, as by no means from the Gulf by water, which, by vigilance, could always be intercepted; and to march

abandoned, but still energetically, an army near the Gulf, they could be harass though secretly, prosecuted. In that ed by militia, and detained until an organ

address, they recited such of the foreized force could be raised to meet them.

“But I am in danger of running into un going facts as were then known to necessary details, which my debility will not them, saying: enable me to close. The question is full of interest also as it affects our domestic rela “We, the undersigned, in closing our dutions, and as it may bear upon those of Mex ties to our constituents and our country as ico to us. I will not undertake to follow it members of the Twenty-Seventh Congress, out to its consequences in those respects; feel bound to call your attention, very briefly, though I must say that, in all aspects, the to the project, long entertained by a portion of annexation of Texas to the United States the people of these United States, still pertipromises to enlarge the circle of free insti- | naciously adhered to, and intended soon to be

« 上一頁繼續 »