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slave press.

A SUCCESSOR to Mr. Tyler was to be chosen at the close of 1844; but, when the treaty was rejected in June of that year, no political sagacity could predict upon whom the choice would fall. Mr. Tyler's wayward course, together with other causes, had greatly curtailed the power of the whigs; but there was no proof that they had lost their ascendency.

In many instances the slaveholders had boldly declared, that no candidate opposed to annexation, should receive their vote. This sentiment was uttered in the formal resolves of their popular meeting, and reiterated by the

Mr. Clay was the whig candidate; and to his influence at the South was added the cordial and unanimous support of the whigs at the North ; under his auspices the party anticipated a decided victory. The democratic party presented a much less imposing front than its rival. Its prominent candidate was Mr. Van Buren who, as well as Mr. Clay, had expressed a cautious qualified opinion adverse to annexation at the present time, and under existing circumstances; but neither had ventured to hint an objection to the extension of slavery. The democratic nominating convention met at Baltimore late in May, and gave Mr. Van Buren a majority of its votes, as the democratic candidate for the Presidency. But the Southern members insisted and finally succeeded, that a majority of two-thirds should be necessary to a nomination.

The two-third rule of course made those members masters of the Convention ; and it was soon found that no candidate could be selected except the nominee of the slaveholders. Mr. Van Buren was rejected; and the northern democracy were compelled to accept Mr. Polk in his room. The qualifications which procured for this gentleman the honor of a nomination, were doubtless his devotion to the cause of slavery, his vituperation of the abolitionists and a recent printed letter in which he advocated the IMMEDIATE ANNEXATION OF TEXAS.

The Convention having thus been compelled to nominate Mr. Polk, the triumph of the democratic party, and its possession of power and office, of course depended on his election. To secure that election, the party were necessarily compelled to adopt as their own the policy avowed by their candidate. Hence it became expedient for the Convention, as the representatives of the whole democratic party, to insist upon the immediate annexation of Texas, and to enter the contest with these ominous words inscribed on their banners. Many of the party presses at the North had been loud in their denunciations of the Texan plot; and in the northern legislatures, democrats had vied with the whigs in passing resolutions condemning annexation. But the council of Baltimore was deemed infallible in matters of faith ; and forthwith the democracy of the North united with the slaveholders of the South in their efforts to extend the curse of human bondage. Mr. Polk received a majority of the electoral votes, but not of the popular suffrage by which the Electors had been chosen.

CHAPTER XVI.

ANNEXATION BY JOINT RESOLUTION.

UNTIL the refusal of the Senate to ratify -Mr. Tyler's treaty, no other mode of annexation than by treaty had been imagined. Texas claimed to be an independent nation, and had been acknowledged as such by the United States, France, and Great Britain. But contracts between independent nations are treaties, and the constitution-intrusts the power of making treaties to the President and two-thirds of the Senate. Of all contracts between two nations, none can be more important and solemn than that which surrenders the sovereignty and domains of the one to the other. All the territory which had been added to the United States, had been acquired by treaty. Hence, when Texas contemplated annexation, she proposed doing it by treaty; and Messrs. Tyler, Upshur, and Calhoun, all concurred at a later date in inviting Texas to enter the confederacy by the operation of a treaty. But the slaveholders were reminded by the recent occurrences, that it required a majority of two-thirds of the Senate to annex a foreign territory in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution; and that, as half of the Senators represented free States, such a majority was at present unattainable. Necessity is the mother of invention ; and the truth of the aphorism now received a remarkable illustration. It was suddenly discovered, that what could not be effected by treaty, could as well be performed by a joint resolution of the two houses of Congress. Such a resolution required only a bare majority in each branch. In this way treaties for the future, might be dispensed with whenever the Senate was found uncomplying ; and the foreign intercourse of the nation might be regulated, disputed boundaries settled, and even the conditions of peace determined, by joint resolution. To whom is to be attributed this ingenious device for setting aside the Constitution, smothering the oaths taken to support it, and usurping the treaty-making power, is not known; but Mr. Tyler has the credit of first announcing the discovery to the public. Mortified and irritated by the rejection of his treaty, he immediately appealed to the House of Repretatives, laying the dishonored document before them, and hinting that it was possible to effect annexation by other means than a treaty. But Mr. Tyler had so utterly annihilated the respect and confidence he had once enjoyed, that his influence was nugatory for good or for evil. The annexation of Texas was indeed effected, but it was effected by other influences than those wielded by himself or by Mr. Calhoun.

The administration of Mr. Tyler was to close, and that of Mr. Polk to commence, on the 4th March, 1845. The vote againt the annexation treaty the preceding June, had convinced the partisans of Texas, of the impossibility of effecting their favorite object in a constitutional mode, and the friends of human liberty congratulated themselves that the danger was passed. The election, however, of Mr. Polk, by identifying the democracy of the North with the policy of the South, revived the hopes, and invigorated the efforts of the friends of Texas. The patronage of the government had now for the next four years been placed at the disposal of an avowed and zealous advocate of annexation. Under these circumstances, it was determined to make a new effort to secure Texas, regardless of the Constitution. Nor was the expectation very unreasonable, that a majority of the very Senate that had treated Tyler with contumely, as he was sinking below the horizon, might do homage to the rising sun.

Mr. Polk was to be sworn into office on the 4th March ; and this circumstance afforded an excuse for the arrival at the Capitol some weeks earlier, of the dispenser of the nation's patronage.

His presence is well understood to have exerted a powerful influence on the votes subsequently given. On the 1st March, 1845, the famous joint resolutions, for the annexation of Texas as one of the States of the Federal Union, were finally passed after a severe and doubtful struggle.

One of the most extraordinary incidents of this most extraordinary and calamitous legislation, was the very peculiar tenderness of conscience evinced by certain southern Senators. The Lower House had passed a simple resolution of annexation by a majority of twenty-two. But some of the Senators, although rabid for Texas, were troubled by the oath they had taken to support the Constitution, and they did not well know how to reconcile that oath with the trickery by which it was intended to nullify the treaty-making power. They were happily relieved by the addition of another resolution virtually giving to the President the option of effecting annexation by resolution or by treaty. This ingenious device of authorizing the President to respect or contemn at pleasure the requirements of the Constitution, and throwing upon him the responsibility of the choice, relieved the scruples of these conscientious gentlemen, and enabled them almost at the very last hour, by the change of their votes, to carry the question of annexation, in the Senate, by a majority of two. Should this strange expedient for satisfying constitutional scruples

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