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seem insufficient for the momentous effects ascribed to it, possibly a more satisfactory cause may be found in a declaration made in a southern paper during the debate, “We rejoice that those deserting democrats who oppose this vital measure which Mr. Polk so anxiously desires to be settled at this session, WILL HAVE NOTHING TO EXPECT FROM HIS ADMINISTRATION." As Mr. Polk was at this time at Washington, it is not unreasonable to believe that the editor of the Richmond Enquirer, was not the sole confidant of his intention to withhold office from every member who voted against annexation.
One of the gentlemen whose scruples threatened to defeat annexation—but who, on his conscience becoming enlightened, voted for the measure, and thus ensured it a majority in the Senate—was subsequently appointed by Mr. Polk to a foreign mission.
No time was lost by Mr. Tyler in making the choice offered to him by the joint resolutions. On the 3rd March, a few hours before his term of office expired, he despatched a messenger to the American agent in Texas, with a letter from Mr. Calhoun, instructing him to propose the resolution of annexation to the acceptance of the Texan Government, very sensibly objecting to annexation by treaty, because a treaty “ must be submitted to the Senate for its ratification, and run the hazard of re. ceiving the votes of two-thirds of the members present, which could hardly be expected if we are to judge from recent experience.” On the 4th July, Texas consented to
* The late Chancellor Kent, of New York, was at this time unquestionably the most eminent Jurist in America.
He thus wrote to a member of Congress :-“ I acknowledge your speech of January last on the Annexation of Texas. I have perused it with much satisfaction; and I deem it perfectly conclusive, that the Annexation of Texas, by concurrent resolution of Congress, was unwarrantable, and a usurpation of the treaty-making power ; in every view, violent, unjust, unconstitutional, and most pernicious and unprincipled, and will lead to the ruin of the Union.”
be annexed, and the 22nd of the ensuing December, she was formally received as a State into the Federal Union.
Independent of the violence done to the cause of morality in the mode by which annexation was effected, and in the motive by which it was prompted, the measure itself was a gross and palpable violation of the neutral obligations of the United States. It is freely admitted that Texas was at the time an independent State, and as such had a right to form a union with the Federal Republic. But Texas was at war with Mexico; and we have seen that Mr. Tyler not merely acknowledged the existence of the war, but, after his Treaty of Annexation had been rejected, officially remonstrated with Mexico on the barburous manner in which that power intended to prosecute hostilities. It is impossible to deny that a neutral nation, forming an alliance offensive and defensive with another at the time engaged in war, by that very act becomes herself a belligerent. But annexation was an alliance, in the strongest sense, both offensive and defensive. So sensible was the Administration of this fact, that, as we shall see hereafter, a land and naval force was prepared to defend Texas against the meditated assault of Mexico. If after the commencement of hostilities between Mexico and the United States, England or France had accepted a cession of California from Mexico, the acceptance itself would have been tantamount to a declaration of war against this country. Had a fleet and army been sent from Europe to protect Mexico from our invasion, would the fact that Mexico was an independent nation have satisfied us that we had no cause for complaint at such an interference ? By the laws of nations, annexation was an act of war against Mexico.
Eight years before this event, the Rev. Dr. Channing, of Boston, in a publication against the scheme which he
well knew was entertained by the Administration-of adding Texas to the Union-uttered the following fearful prediction, which has now for the most part become history :—"By this act (annexation) our country will enter on a career of encroachment and crime, and will merit the punishment and woe of aggravated wrong-doing. The seizure of Texas will not stand alone. It will be linked, by an iron necessity, to LONG-CONTINUED DEEDS OF RAPINE AND BLOOD. Ages may not see the catastrophy of the tragedy the first scene of which we are so ready to enact. Texas is a country conquered by our citizens, and the annexation of it to our Union will be but the beginning of conquests, which, unless arrested and beaten back by Providence, will stop only at the Isthmus of Darien. Henceforth we must cease to cry-Peace, peace. Our Eagle will whet, not
gorge, his appetite on his first victim, and will snuff a more tempting quarry, more alluring blood, in every new region which opens southward.” .
CHAPTER XVI I.
ANNEXATION OF CALIFORNIA DESIGNED BY MR. POLK.
IMMEDIATELY after the final vote on the annexation of Texas had been taken in the Senate, a senator from Florida arose in his place, and introduced a resolution declaring it expedient for the President to open negotiations for the cession of the Island of Cuba to the United States. No action was called for; the sole object of the resolution being to familiarize the public mind with devices for the acquirement of slave territory. The addition of Texas operated but as blood to the famished wolf; and the appetite for Mexican provinces, instead of being satiated, was stimulated to a ravenous ferocity. Texas had been gained virtually under Mr. Tyler's administration, and there is reason to believe that Mr. Polk was resolved that his should be signalized by the annexation of California. This province had long excited the cupidity of the slaveholders, and great efforts were now made to stimulate public opinion into unison with the designs of the President. The newspapers teemed with articles on the fertility of California, its vast importance to the United States, and, as a matter of course, the secret designs of Great Britain to appropriate it to herself, either by force or by treaty. The reader will recollect the premature seizure and annexation for ever of California by Commodore Jones : he will also call to mind that, at an earlier period, fruitless efforts had been made to purchase the province, whole or in part. Already many of our restless wandering adventurers had penetrated into that distant territory; and the opinion had been extensively propagated, that it was a region too rich and too convenient to be left in possession of the Mexicans. The Mexican Government, taught wisdom by the result of Texan colonization, made an order expelling American citizens from California. Our Minister protested; and the ordinance was so modified as to include all foreigners deemed dangerous to the public peace. But against this Mr. Calhoun, then Secretary of State, ordered a new protest.
Let us now attend to the confessions of our Minister, Mr. Thompson : “ Near the end of December, 1843, I received information that the Government of Mexico had issued an order expelling all natives of the United States from the department of California and the adjoining departments. No attempt, however, had been made up to that time to execute the order. A similar order had been issued a few years before, including not only citizens of the United States, but British subjects also ; and this order had been actually executed to the great damage and, in some instances, ruin of the persons removed. All the efforts of the English and American Ministers to procure a recision of this order were ineffectual for six months. I had the good fortune, however, after a somewhat angry correspondence, to have the order rescinded, not, however, until I resorted to the ultima ratio of diplomacy, AND DEMANDED MY PASSPORTS-a measure which a minister is rarely justified in resorting to without the orders of his government. I confess I was very much afraid that the passports would have been sent; but I thought that the step was justified by the circumstances, and that it would cut short a long discussion. The result showed that in this calculation I was right. The order was rescinded, and expresses sent to all the departments, the