Page images


The brief twelvemonth which has just finished its course will be ever memorable in history for the bold completion of a national crime, long in open or in secret contemplation, the disastrous consequences of which to the African race and to the cause of Freedom throughout the world, though they may not be distinctly foreseen, can scarcely be exaggerated. At the time of our last annual assembly we spoke together of this event as impending, and as, apparently, inevitable ; we have now to record its final consummation. When we last met together the rebellious daughter of Mexico was standing at the doors of the Union, asking to be received into our protection with her dowry of plunder and of crime. The gate which had once been shut against her admission because the uses of an impending conflict for the powers of the government forbade a too hasty welcome, has been expanded wide for her triumphal entry, and she now sits upon as high a throne and wears her robe of sovereignty as royally as any of her elder sisters. Her domestic institutions are now united with our own in the ties of an indissoluble wedlock. Her fertile plains and green savannahs are thrown open to invite to exhaustless regions the slavery which has made a desert of the fields of its birth. A new market is created for the sale of men, and a fresh impulse is given to the trade in human cattle. The Slave Power exults in the overthrow of the boasted compromise of 1820, and rejoices in a victory which has thrown the balance of political power into her hands, as long as the Union endures, and rivets the chains of her Northern vassals, as well as of her Southern slaves. And the servile North submits, with scarce an audible remonstrance.

The following is a succinct account of the transaction. After the last Presidential contest was decided in favor of Mr. ·

Polk, whose name was understood, during the canvass, to be
synonymous with Texas, the dominant party in Congress pro-
ceeded with all convenient speed to crown the work of An-

nexation. Joint Resolutions were introduced by Mr. Mil-

Ton Brown, suitable for the accomplishment of this purpose.

These resolutions were debated with much warmth for several

days. On the 25th of February the resolutions passed by a


the resolutions were before the Senate strong hopes were en-

tertained by the enemies of the measure, from the political

complexion of that body, that its success would at least be

deferred to another Congress. Three Southern Whigs, how-

ever, whose constancy to the policy of their party had been

relied on, honestly confessed themselves more of Slaveholders

than of Whigs, and voted for the resolutions. In order, how-

ever, to provide a loophole for the retreat of tender conscien-

ces, who doubted whether Congress were competent, by joint

resolution, to unite another nation to this, Mr. WALKER of Mis-

sissippi, the Coryphæus of the movement, moved an amend-

ment, by virtue of which the President might elect whether he

would complete the Annexation by negotiation, or by the effect

of the joint resolutions. This notable specific did its work,

the tender consciences were relieved, and the resolutions, as

amended, passed, on the 27th of February, by a vote of

TWENTY-SEVEN to TWENTY-FIVE. Upon the resolutions, with

the amendment, being returned to the House, they were passed,

the next day, (28th), as amended, under an order virtually

prohibiting debate, by a vote of ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-

All the Democrats in the House, in-

cluding two (Messrs. PARMENTER and Williams) from this

State, voted in the affirmative, with the honorable exceptions

of Mr. John P. Hale of New Hampshire, and Mr. R. D. DA-

vis of New York.

It was the intention, and the expectation, doubtless, of the

leaders in this matter, that the election between the two

wethods of possessing ourselves of what did not belong to us, should be made by the new President, and not by the one whose term of office was just expiring. But Mr. TYLER was not to be shorn of the glory with which it had been his ambition to invest his administration. At almost the last

At almost the last gasp of his political existence, he made choice of the mode by Joint Resolution, and despatched a messenger forthwith, to convey the news of his decision to the Texan authorities.

It now became necessary for the Texan Congress and people to consent to the Annexation, and to form the Republican Constitution, necessary to the admission of its “ lone star” to the constellation that sheds its selectest influences upon the symbolic stripes of the national ensign. Influences seemed at one time to be at work, which might have the effect of retarding, if not of preventing, this unholy alliance. There seemed, for a brief space, a gleam of hope that the banns of this unhallowed marriage might yet be forbidden. There is good reason for believing that a strong reluctance existed on the part of the leading public men of Texas to descending from their position at the head of a recognized nation to the subordinate dignities of one of the United States. The diplomatic agents of England and France were active in doing what was possible to prevent the deed. Through their influence chiefly, it is believed, Mexico was induced to offer a full recognition of the independence of Texas, on condition that it should remain a separate nation. But the force of the slave power from within, and the pressure of the slave power from without, easily bore down all opposition. The existence of slavery in Texas, and the prosperity of slavery in the United States, were well understood to be incompatible with her nationality. The Texan Congress forthwith took the necessary measures to call the requisite convention of the people ; and the convention accepted the terms of admission with but a single dissenting vote. A constitution was framed and adopted, in which slavery was honestly made the chief end of the

compact, and the institution guarded by provisions, which make emancipation a moral impossibility.

During these proceedings the dwellers in the cities, and they that go down to the sea in ships, were startled by rumors of war which was to spring from this just cause, if just cause of war can be. The indignation of Mexico was to be visited upon the commerce of the country, and many a breast that had never felt a throb of sympathy for the miseries which Annexation was to work in thousands of human hearts, nor a thrill of indignation at the mingled chicanery and ruffianism which had accomplished it, bled in view of the possible calamity of whale-ships and Indiamen. To calm these fears, the providence of the Executive concentrated the main body of the army upon the frontiers of Texas and Mexico, not to say within the borders of Mexico itself, and bade our fleet to hover, like birds of ill-omen, upon the Mexican sea-coast. Whether it were owing to these displays of superior force, or whether the inherent weakness and internal dissensions of Mexico prevented any hostile demonstrations, none were made. The law of the lion prevailed, and the weaker party went quietly to the wall. The slavery party, it seems, knew their men, and had not exaggerated the weakness of the victim they had selected to despoil. All apprehensions of a Mexican war have long since died away; and, by the last accounts, there is a prospect of a speedy renewal of diplomatic intercourse between the two Republics!

At the opening of the present Congress, therefore, the Nation of Texas offered herself at the threshold of the Union, and presenting the proofs that she had complied with all the conditions required of her, and proffering a constitution to which the most devoted lover of the peculiar institutions of his country could not object, demanded that she should be permitted to merge her nationality in the embrace of the United States. So reasonable a request was not to be gainsaid or denied. At the earliest possible moment, the neces


sary resolutions were introduced into the House of Representatives, and carried, at the point of the bayonet, under the previous question, moved before the resolutions were before the House, by a vote of ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-ONE to FIFTY-NINE. In the Senate the farce was conducted with rather more regard to appearances; but the resolutions passed, after a short debate, by a vote of THIRTY-ONE to THIR

They immediately received the signature of the President, and the long contest is at last ended by the triumphant union of the two nations. They twain are henceforward one. The area of Freedom is indefinitely extended into the dominions of Mexico, and there seems to be no consistent reason to be given why it should not extend itself till it cover the whole continent embraced, on either side, by the Atlantic and the Pacific, and terminate its career of Annexation only at Terra del Fuego.

During the progress of this nefarious business, we are proud to say, that Massachusetts was not wholly silent and supine. · Her words of remonstrance at least were heard protesting against the deed. The House of Representatives passed resolutions, by a majority of 288 to 41, denying the constitutional right of Congress to annex a foreign country by legislation; that such act of admission would have no binding effect upon the people of Massachusetts; that such annexation could only be made by the people in their original sovereign capacity; and that Massachusetts would never consent to the admission of Texas, or any other State, except on the basis of persect equality of freemen. When these resolutions came up for concurrence before the Senate, Mr. Wilson, of Middlesex, moved as an amendment, that if Texas should be admitted by a legislative act of Congress, this act could, and ought to be, repealed, at the earliest possible moment. This was rejected by a vote of twenty-four to eight. Other amendments were proposed, but finally the House resolutions were adopted by a unanimous vote.

« PreviousContinue »