Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

land? This question is best answered by ascertaining whether annexation is compatible with our duty as a moral and Christian people; for no nation is required to avert war, by any other means than to act justly. Next April, nine years will have elapsed since the capture of Santa Anna and his army, by the Texians, at the battle of San Jacinto. Mexico has ever since refrained from the subjugation of Texas, from a want of power, or an abandonment of its exercise. In the War of our Revolution, the capture of Burgoyne by our troops was alone deemed so virtual a seal of Independence, that France forth with treated with us as an independent nation ; though her obligations towards Great Britain with reference to us were as great as our obligations to Mexico, with reference to Texas. In the recent struggle between the provinces of Greece and the Empire of Turkey, nothing occurred that will compare in decisiveness with the battle of San Jacinto, or the acquiescence of Mexico; still England and the other principal governments of Europe decided that Greece had virtually freed itself from the authority of Turkey, and they assisted in consolidating her provinces into a separate kingdom. The same sovereigns, at the subsequent revolt of Belgium from the authority of Holland, allowed the King of Holland a brief period to reduce to obedience his rebellious province, but prohibited him from continuing, in vengeance, efforts that were seen to be ineffectual for the purposes of subjugation ; and Belgium also was organized into an independent kingdom. These results differ from the incidents of remote history, but the difference is claimed by the governments of Europe, as a triumph of justice over physical power, whose reign terminated, they say, with the overthrow of Napoleon. England, therefore, is morally estopped, by her own practices, from any exceptions

against the independent volitions of Texas, and in the judgment of all Europe, as evinced by the foregoing cases, Mexico has no just cause of offence against us, by our disregard of her latent sovereignty. We are apt to estimate the right of Mexico to Texas, as identical with a man's ownership of a chattel. But I deny that the rules of ownership which apply to chattels, should apply to the sovereignty of one nation over another. In the spirit of our Declaration of Independence, and nearly in its language, all governments are instituted for the happiness of the governed ; hence the right of Mexico over Texas is instituted for the benefit of Texas ; while the ownership of Mexico in a mere chattel, is for the benefit not of the chattel, but of Mexico. We have the authority of the Word of God for a still more restricted estimate of the proprietary right of nations. The division of the earth into distinct sovereign ownerships is a contrivance of man, instituted for his social benefits; but revelation declares, that the earth is the Lord's, and the use thereof is for man in

In this enlarged sense, Texas, so far from being the property of Mexico, is not exclusively the property of the Texians, except as their use of it quadrates with its use. fulness to all men in common. On this Christian principle, and on this alone, was justified the recent successful attempt by Great Britain, to constrain the people of China to relinquish the exclusive monopoly which they have usurped for ages over the regions which they inhabit. On this principle alone we can justify our forcible obtrusion on the aborigines of America; and our compelling them to abandon to us such lands as they could not use themselves beneficially to the common rights of all-in thus acting, instead of being wrong-doers, we are but fulfilling the command of Providence, to multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue it.

common.

a

TEXAS ANNEXED.* The Bible declares that in a multitude of counsellors is wisdom. The truth of this proverb constitutes the safety of our country, for what nation but ours possesses 20 millions of counsellors; and it constitutes the glory of our institutions, for what government but ours exalts every man into a counsellor of state. And nothing verifies more clearly the scripture above quoted, than the Annexation of Texas, which is strictly a product of our 20 millions of counsellors, against Presidents and aspirants to the Presidency, with a United States Senate superadded; and against the combined spectres of sectional, partisan, and Abolition ravings. The evidence thus furnished to ourselves, of the intelligence of the most unschooled part of our constituency, (for these rather than the better conditioned advocated the measure,) is worth morally more than Texas, how much soever any of us may prize her. It proves distinctly that the people are not merely sovereign by law, but that they are intellectually capable of sovereignty, and morally deserving thereof; while every true-minded man who appreciates such a combination of intelligence, must ejaculate in his heart, Bless the people! May their reign be perpetual. And what an evidence is thus furnished to the world, that wisdom is subserved by giving to the people the powers which our institutions accord to them, despite the prejudices of Europe, that the art of government is suited to the capacity of only a favored few; for who sees not now, that annexation is better for humanity, than that Texas should have been cast back into the slaughter-house of Mexico, where anarchy, civil war, and a consequent massacre between contending factions, are ordinary occurrences ; where travellers must hire an armed escort, or fall a prey to banditti, which the Government is too feeble to suppress; and where consequently civilization is retrograde and population stagnant? Who sees not now, a political benefit, in the addition to our country of a multitude of patriotic citizens of the temper of the Texians. A noble people, who, unterrified by threats of war, unseduced by the vanity of nationality, and the promises of commercial and pecuniary favors, declared for annexation—not one dissenting voice in the congressional representation of the whole nation; and dragging with them a chief magistrate, vainly struggling against the popular will. And who sees not now, a benefit in the acquisition of a fruitful territory? If a man happens to be a producer of nothing but children, (a branch of industry in which the poor seem more expert than the rich,) a new demand is created for them in the beautiful cotton lands and sugar plantations of Texas.

* Published in 1845.

But connected with annexation are considerations which yet demand the counsel of our 20 millions. Never before have arms and bribery been invoked, and three nations confederated together, to prevent an independent sovereignty from voluntarily relinquishing its nationality, and merging itself into another Government,—this too when the prof. fered terms of admission by the receiving nation, are something less than liberal; a sort of initiatory fee being demanded of the incoming member. We have required the Texians to surrender to us their forts, arsenals, navyyards, and ships of war, while the debts, by which these forts, arsenals, and ships were constructed, are still to be paid by the constructors. Even the import duties, by which alone public debts can well be paid, we require the Texians to surrender also. What a contrast is here exhibited by Texas, to the agony of Poland, at a con nection with Russia ; or to the agitation of Ireland, to be released from her union with England ! Should not justice in these exactions be accorded to Texas, by our coming Congress ? Her debt is the price which she paid for her sovereignty, to say nothing of her blood, above all price; and when we accept from her a surrender of this sovereignty, can we wish to leave her burdened with its cost, and thus take advantage to her injury, of her patriotic yearnings to re-unite her citizens with their pristine family ? and when we take possession of her ships and fortresses, with what heart can we turn out their brave defenders, and replace them with men who never bore the heat or burden of achieving Texian independence ?

And in the annexation of Texas, lies something further, that our millions may well contemplate, as indicative of their future destiny. Till lately, Texas was an unexplored waste, where, perchance, a wanderer had painfully forced his way, and given to some few streams a name significant of barbarous or foreign associations; now it is fast being dotted over with habitations, whose inmates possess our language, laws, and institutions. Already some of our citizens may be preparing to reach this but recently foreign land, and to checker it with electric telegraphs, and bring it within the compass of our rail-road and steam-boat excursions. Above it, and around, are regions still more remote, not as heretofore, blank spaces on the world's map, but as bountiful fields, towards which our civilization is fast pouring with an impulse that must sweep away the metaphysical obstructions, that would fasten these fine regions, like a widowed Gentoo, to the dead body of a nominal lord. The earth's occupancy is the right of man; and when men occupy, theirs is the right to pursue their

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »