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After the adoption of the federal Constitution, the North increased with still greater rapidity, and began to show a decided superiority to the South. This is partly the result of the industry of the North ; but in part the result of our navigation laws, which gave American bottoms a great national privilege. Most of the ships belonged, as they still do, to the North ; they were the fruits of her industry. Did the Constitution guarantee slavery to the South, it protected the ships of the North. The South got a political advantage, and the North a commercial privilege, whose value in dollars has been greater than that of all the slaves in the United States. In all contests about money, the North carries it over the South ; in all contests for immediate political power, the South over the North.
Some thirty years later, the nation changed its policy. It had taken pains to encourage commerce, and had a revenue tariff. Now it took pains to restrict trade, and established a protective tariff; so the North engaged in manufactures to a greater degree than before. The South could not do this : the slaves were too ignorant, and must remain so as long as they are slaves, otherwise they could not be kept together in the large masses which manufacturing purposes require ; the whites were too indolent and too proud. The South continued to increase constantly in numbers and in wealth, but compared with the North, she did not increase. In America, political power is the resultant of wealth and numbers; it soon became plain that the political centre of gravity was travelling northwards continually, and with such swiftness that the South before long would lose the Monopoly of the Government, which she had long enjoyed by reason of her political character, and which the North cared little for so long as money could be made without it. The prosperity of the North rests on an industrial basis, that of the South on a political basis.
So the South must contrive to outweigh the North. How? Not by industry, which creates wealth directly, and indirectly
475,257 souls ; during the Revolution, according to the above ratio, 316,838. While the six slave States, with their free population of 1,307,549, furnished but 59,336 soldiers for the continental army, and 10,123 militia men. Massachusetts alone sent 68,007 soldiers to the continental army and 15,155 militia. Thus shoulder to shoulder Massachusetts and South Carolina went through the Revolution, and felt the great arm of Washington lean on them both for support." - Letter to the People of the United States touching the matter of Slavery, pp. 99, 100.
multiplies men, but by politics. The North works after its kind, and is satisfied with the possession of commerce and manufactures ; the South, after its kind, rejoices in Slavery, and thinks to outwit the laws of Nature by a little juggling in politics. Behold the results. To balance the North, the South must have new slave states to give her power in the federal government. New territory must be got to make them of.
Texas lay there conveniently near. It had once been a part of Louisiana, as far west as the Nueces. In 1819, James Long went from Natchez in Louisiana to Nacogdoches in Texas, and, on the 23d of June, declared the independence of the republic of Texas.* About two years later, Mr. Austin and his colony went thither from Mississippi, carrying their slaves with them. In 1826, another insurrection took place, under Benjamin W. Edwards, and another declaration of independence followed. At that time the American government did not interfere nor much covet the territory. Texas was a convenient neighbour, and not a dangerous one; slaveholders could migrate thither with their slaves. But in 1824, the Mexicans forbid the introduction of slaves, and declared all free soon as they were born ; Mexico refused to surrender up fugitive slaves. In 1827, Texas and Coahuila were united into one state with a constitution which allowed no new slaves, born or brought thither, and in 1829, Mexico emancipated all her slaves.
Soon as Mexico made advances toward emancipation, the American government began to covet Texas.t In 1827, under the administration of Mr. Adams, an attempt was made to purchase Texas; $1,000,000 were offered. In 1829, Mr. Benton desired “the retrocession." His reasons are instruct ive: - we have now “a non-slaveholding empire in juxtaposition with the slaveholding South-west;” and “five or six new slaveholding states may be added to the Union.” Yes, 6 nine states as large as Kentucky.”
A Charleston newspaper desired it because it would have a favorable influence on the future destinies of the South, by increasing the votes of the slaveholding states in the United States Senate.". In 1829, in a Virginia convention, Judge Upshur said, the annexation of Texas “would raise the price of slaves, and be of great advantage to the slaveholders of that State ;” in 1832, Mr. Gholson, in the Virginia Legislature, thought "it would raise the price of slaves fifty per cent. at least." To sharpen the public appetite for Texas, in 1829 the cry was raised that “England wanted Texas ; British merchants had offered to loan Mexico $5,000,000 if she would place Texas under British protection.” This trick was frequently resorted to, but now it is plain to the public that the apprehension was groundless. The same year, the first of Gen. Jackson's administration, our minister offered $5,000,000 for Texas; the offer was rejected. He then offered a loan of $10,000,000, taking Texas as collateral security; that, also, was rejected. He tried, also, but in vain, to obtain a treaty for the surrender of fugitive slaves.
* Speech of Hon. Luther Severance in the House of Representatives, February 4th, 1847, p. 12
+ This subject has been ably treated by Judge Jay, in his “ Review of the causes and consequences of the Mexican war.” (Boston. 1849. 12mo. pp. 333.) We are indebted to it for several facts. Mr. Porter, in his “ Review of the Mexican War," &c., &c. (Auburn, N. Y. 1849. 12mo. pp. 220,) takes a different view, but writes an impartial and valuable book.
In 1840, considerable talk was made about the annexation. The state of Texas had made large grants of land to various persons, some of which had been bought up by Americans. So in addition to the general desire of the slaveholders, the owners of Texan lands had a special motive to stimulate them. Joint-stock companies were formed in the United States; there were the " Galveston Bay and Texas Company ;” the “ Arkansas and Texas Company ;” “the Rio Grande Company.” These had their headquarters at New York. Then there was the “Union Land Company,” and the “ Trinity Land Company," and others whose names we remember not. In Mississippi and Arkansas, attempts were publicly made to excite the people of Texas to revolt. In 1830, candidates for Congress in Mississippi were publicly catechised as to their opinion of annexation. The same year Samuel Houston got up his expedition to wrest Texas from Mexico. In 1832, Mexico was obliged to withdraw her troops from Texas, to suppress disturbances in other quarters ; emigrants continually went, with their slaves, from the United States. In 1833, Texas organized herself as a separate State. Mexico refused her assent, and sent troops which were repulsed. As Mr. Jay says, “The standard of rebellion was raised. Texan agents traversed the United States, addressing public meetings, enlisting troops, and despatching military supplies to the
* Jay, page 13. † Executive Documents No. 25, 19th Congress, 2d Session; also No. 23.
revolted province. On the 2d of March, 1836, the insurgents issued their declaration of independence, and fifteen days after adopted a constitution establishing perpetual slavery.” “Of the fifty-seven signers to this declaration, fifty were emigrants from the Slave states, and only three Mexicans by birth.”. The constitution prohibited the importation of slaves except from the United States ; but every negro in Texas, or who might come there, was declared a slave!
During the war between Mexico and Texas, the American government took little or no pains to prevent our citizens from aiding the Texans ; vessels were openly fitted out in our harbours, and sent to war on a friendly power, yet the Secretary of State had the hardihood to say the President (General Jackson) “ took all the measures in his power to prevent it;” Mr. Van Buren in his letter to Mr. Hammet, says the same thing. Yet he allowed the Brigadier General of the Texan army publicly to advertise for volunteers for that army, in the State of North Carolina, and to enlist soldiers. The Mexican minister protested; it was all in vain. The president sent General Gaines with an army to lie on the Texan frontier, ready to further the designs of our citizens against Mexico. He was ordered to advance as far as Nacogdoches, if needful, and Mr. Forsyth told the Mexican Minister “our troops might, if necessary, be sent into the heart of Mexico.” Our government tried to force Mexico into a war with us. American troops were on the soil of Mexico; her Minister complained, and requested that they might be withdrawn, the answer is “ No.” Two days after, (Oct. 15th, 1836,) the Mexican Minister demands his passports and goes home.
Mexico was too feeble to fight. Neither our infraction of a treaty, nor the insults added to that injury could provoke her to a war. Other measures were to be tried; the American government got up its “ claims” on Mexico - fifteen in number. Of these we have not now space to speak. I
On the 1st of March, 1837, the Senate acknowledged the independence of Texas ; a minister was sent and one was received. In August, 1837, General Hunt, the Texan minister, proposed annexation. Mr. Van Buren was then President: he has been called “the Northern man with Southern principles," though we think he deserves the title rather less than some others not so stigmatized. The offer of annexation was declined : Mexico was still at war with Texas ; the Legislatures of New York, Pennsylvania, and all the New England States had protested against annexation. In regard to Texas Van Buren did not " follow in the steps of his illustrious predecessor.” During his administration little was done to promote annexation. Nothing by the government. The third non-slave holding President did not desire to extend the area of bondage. The consequences we shall presently see.
* Jay, p, 18.
† See the correspondence between Mr. Gorostiza and Mr. Forsyth, and Mr. Dickins, in Executive Documents, No. 2, 24th Congress, 2d Session.
See the correspondence relative to this matter in Executive Documents, No. 139, 24th Congress, 2d Session, and Executive Documents No. 3, 25th Congress, 2d Session, p. 31, et seg, 40, et seq.; Nos. 190. 347, 360; also Nos. 75, and 351. See the remarks of Mr. Jay, chapters V. VI, IX,-XÍ.
In 1811, the Whigs came into power with the shout of Tippecanoe and Tyler too"; as an English traveller has said, “Log cabins with their songs and speeches, their orgies on bacon and hard cider had more to do with the election of Gen. Harrison, .. than had less exceptionable means.”* The Whigs thus gave the Democrats an opportunity, much needed, to turn themselves out of office. We have nothing to do with the motives which led the Whigs to select Mr. Tyler for their candidate for the Vice Presidency. They are too plain to need comment. The nomination was characteristic of the party. What followed would once have been regarded as “ judicial,” a “ direct intervention of God” to punish an artifice. Mr. Tyler, becoming President, was true to his former character and conduct. He set about the work of annexation in good earnest. Commodore Jones was sent with a fleet to lie on the western shore of Mexico to be ready in case of any outbreak with America. His conduct shows the expectation and design of our government. Mr. Upshur, the Secretary of State, is a good exponent of the policy of the administration. In Sept., 1843, he says “ few calamities could befall this country [the United States) more to be deplored than the establishment of a predominant British influence (of which there was not the least danger,] and the alolition of domestic slavery in Texas !” | General Lamar, once president of Texas, had written to his friends in Georgia that without annexation“ the anti-slavery party in Texas will acquire the ascendency. • and may abolish slavery.”
* Mackay's Western World, &c. London. 1849. Vol. II. pp. 25-6.
† Upshur's Letter to Murphy, (our Agent at Texas,) Sept., 1843. Execu · tive Documents, No. 271, 28th Congress, 1st Session.