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Homework answers / question archive / "Mexico in His Head": Slavery and the Texas-Mexico Border, 1810-1860 Author(s): Sean Kelley Source: Journal of Social History, Vol

"Mexico in His Head": Slavery and the Texas-Mexico Border, 1810-1860 Author(s): Sean Kelley Source: Journal of Social History, Vol


"Mexico in His Head": Slavery and the Texas-Mexico Border, 1810-1860 Author(s): Sean Kelley Source: Journal of Social History, Vol. 37, No. 3 (Spring, 2004), pp. 709-723 Published by: Oxford University Press Stable URL: Accessed: 09-08-2018 22:14 UTC JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at Oxford University Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Journal of Social History This content downloaded from on Thu, 09 Aug 2018 22:14:15 UTC All use subject to "MEXICO IN HIS HEAD": SLAVERY AND THE TEXASJMEXICO BORDER, 1810-1860 By Sean Kelley Hartwick College In September 1851, six years after Texas w and fifteen years after independence from M and slaveholder of Brazoria County, wrote hi proposal to swap a tract of land for a slave. Br and planned to inspect his brother-in-law's sla rumor prompted him to reconsider. "The negr he wrote, referring to the prospect of seeing th "on this account I may not buy." The record ahead with the deal, but his dilemma reveals so in the U.S. Mexico borderlands: enslaved reside with a set of meanings that formed the core o numerous acts of resistance.1 Historians of Texas slavery have long recogn harbored refugees from the state's plantations of enslaved Texans to reach freedom in Mexi important issues. First, they have generally tr problematic given, ignoring not only the conf redrawing of the boundary between the U.S., ico/New Spain, but also the changing significa nied each shift. The issue warrants serious con delineated the scope of state power, which, t passage of slave codes, was vital to the maint closely related issue is the ability of enslaved the border. They did not simply react to the in the crucible of their own interpretive comm with liberationist significance, helping to set o in Texas independence and the establishment cally though, the drawing ofa clear border bet inspired more flight toward the Rio Grande.2 If historians of Texas slavery have largely i boundaries, historians of Mexico and the U concept of a borderland has evolved consider envisioned it in the early 20th century as th empires in western North America.3 Cultural a Anzaldua, have seen the borderlands as a "thi American and Mexican cultures, characterized and resistance.4 Although most historians ha of a cultural borderland, her tendency to trea generated calls for greater historical specifici and Stephen Aron have proposed a three-part t This content downloaded from on Thu, 09 Aug 2018 22:14:15 UTC All use subject to 710 journal of social history spring 2004 "borderlands," and "bordered lands," with each ideal type d and nature of state control over the area in question. Fr Adelman and Aron, are simply meeting places of peoples meeting places of empires; bordered lands are the formall places of sovereign states. The succession of one form by the important consequences for those "in between," presenting sets of problems and opportunities.5 Anzaldua's emphasis on cultural creativity and resistanc Aron's emphasis on change over time are not inherently resonate with themes in the history of slavery and Afric In Texas, slaves created different meanings for the border divide the process by which the Mexican border became slavery into four periods. In the first, which lasted until ap geographic boundary between the United States and N Mexico) was undetermined. Because slavery was legal in b not attach any particular significance to the border, althou recognizing that it would be difficult for masters to pursue territory. The second period, approximately 1820 to 1829, plantation slavery, but as yet only a faint connection bet idea of freedom. The third period, 1829 to 1845, saw tens Anglo Texans and the Mexican government over a number slavery, resulting in the establishment of an independent and culminating in the annexation of Texas as a slave state for all the linkage of Mexico with freedom. Thousands o vision and fled across the Rio Grande. Finally, in the year the image of Mexico symbolized not only a collective his slavery, but also served as a reminder that the racial hiera South were by no means natural, inevitable, or just.6 Slavery in the Americas was not always limited by nation aries. Until the Age of Revolution, slavery, though more places than others, existed throughout the hemisphere. In an institution of some consequence for more than a centur Epidemics in the sixteenth century had proven so devastat ulation that Spanish landowners found it necessary to loo In 1518, a year before Cortes made landfall on the Mexic tracted with Portugal to supply slaves to its New World c two centuries, enslaved laborers could be found in cities, min shops throughout New Spain. By the eighteenth century, growth among indios and mestizos in the colony had rend unfree laborers unnecessary, and slave prices, the best inde labor, dropped by more than 50% from their early sevent On the eve of independence in 1821, there were only abo in all of New Spain. Most of these worked as domestics a areas, although some toiled on rural farms and haciendas This content downloaded from on Thu, 09 Aug 2018 22:14:15 UTC All use subject to MEXICO IN HIS HEAD 711 number of these lived in Coah provinciai capital. A grand tota of San Antonio and La Bahia, The Mexican War for Indepen relationship with slavery in two state, the war focused attenti of Louisiana in 1803 set off a r United States and Spain. An 18 settled the matter two years b ated state accepted the boundar westward along the Red River cific Coast. Despite grousing fr had been ignored (and who mo border held. Coahuila-Texas ha to borrow Adelman and Aron's The the creation newly of drawn a Mexican boundary, sta lent ultimately rather conservative atmosphere hostile to slavery. ally seen as the catalyst ofthe call for the institution's aboliti eventual successor, called for indio, mestizo, and mulatto. A 1810s, the reluctance of some l prevented decisive action again interest to register objection, an nothing more than symbolic r cotton revolution in the south the two revolutions tumed out ern Mexico known as Coahuila The region had existed as a cla Spain had made several entrad was not until the late seventee established a beachhead on the establish a more permanent p century, Franciscan friars and m sidios, concentrated in San An near French Louisiana. The pur valuable mining regions of nor croachment. The area acquired Indians used their position be even as missionization progres The situation changed after 1 try and began its march westw glo planters and filibusters wer Trinity, Brazos, Colorado, and the threat of Anglo expansion prevent the loss ofthe provinc This content downloaded from on Thu, 09 Aug 2018 22:14:15 UTC All use subject to 712 journal of social history spring 2004 easing Anglo annexation pressure. Early the next year, Mos the new Mexican government for the right to settle Anglo Texas. In exchange he would receive "premium lands," wh lowed to alienate. Moses Austin died before he could begin son Stephen quickly succeeded his him as empresario. Betw at least twenty-four individuals, seventeen of whom wer negotiated contracts for the settlement of 8,000 families.11 New Spain had been a haven for fugitive U.S. slaves for the establishment of a formal boundary with the United St formalization of a U.S.-New Spain border in 1819, U.S. dip to Spanish officials that Mississippi Valley slaves were esc west of the Sabine River. In 1835, one traveler to Texas hea seems to have been early contact between Comanches and in South Texas. While locating a site for a possible settlem Gideon Lincecum encountered a group of Comanches who a short time. "Not desiring to show any signs of uneasines into which I had so carelessly got myself," he soon "disco had first spoken to was the only one who understood me so I happened. He said the language you speak, is known amon the 'slave tongue.' In every clan will be found a few who ca Mexican state and no Mexican antislavery movement, it is would have attached any particular significance to Mexico. the area was prompted by the sparseness of settlement, wh recapture difficult if not impossible.12 With the formalization of the border in 1819, followed Mexican statehood and Anglo/African-American colonizat logic of slave flight changed. Coahuila-Texas was now a sla For runaways and those contemplating flight, the Sabine n the practical limit of the slaveholders' reach. Two options em Some, it appears, sought freedom even further south in Co drawn perhaps by the lingering antislavery rhetoric of th and the war for independence. In the actions of these fug the early linkages between the image of Mexico and ideas o not yet as strong as they would be in the 1830s. One Ang Jim, a slave on John McNeel's plantation in the 1820s, who his determination to leave, and, acting on impulse, threw started away." McNeel's son, Pleasant, aimed his rifle at Jim shoot him if he did not return to work. Jim continued on McNeel promptly shot him dead, which undoubtedly stre connection his slaves may have made between Mexico and hardly be coincidental that when the Mexican Army appr 1836, the McNeel family lost "a great many of there Negro Still, in the absence ofa clear abolition decree, not all run headed straight for the Hispanic regions of Mexico. Some s the burgeoning slaveholding regions, which were for the mom A letter written by Jose de la Pecochans of Nacogdoches to 1829 illustrates the ambiguous geographic logic of slave flig This content downloaded from on Thu, 09 Aug 2018 22:14:15 UTC All use subject to MEXICO IN HIS HEAD 713 ently wrote on behalf ofa loca "interest" in the slave as well), "News has been received that Austin, "it is certain that he is earlier fled from 'Nechas.' "14 in the slave's recapture and tr slave who, after running sever the Mexican interior, but in t would be much clearer: to enj Grande. The history of Mexico was not it would be in one the early Texa inevitable 1830s. Bernar Groce, was the region's larges of over 90 slaves to a site on t Although transporting that m state presence might appear t to establish a profitable cott enslaved population of Bernard had increased to 117. Clearly t to the south even though they nobody to stop them from do inventory, is that all but one o which undoubtedly made them Other factors may have shift U.S.-Mexico border and towa boundary?the ideological bo There can be no doubt that scious of themselves as particip as "redeemers" in a benighted " whether African-Americans s Texans almost certainly did no as their masters. On the other refuge among indigenous resid their natural allies. In 1824, St the Karankawa people, who l pants were thirty unfree resid self-contained cavalry troop. suggest that the region's slave of civilization, regardless of th many of the state's WPA narr days," recalled Lizzie Atkins of and steal everything we had."1 Two developments altered th First, the slave population in t trated, until, by the mid-1830 plantation districts. With a cri This content downloaded from on Thu, 09 Aug 2018 22:14:15 UTC All use subject to 714 journal of social history spring 2004 not simply communities, but interpretive communities, c ambiguities of Mexican politics to their advantage.17 Alt dards the Austin Colony was not densely populated in the overstated the sparseness of settlement by relying on aggreg entire state or colony. But from the start, the slave populat evenly, a condition that facilitated community formation to most historians have appreciated. As early as 1825, at leas colony's slave population lived along the Brazos River, and lived in an area that would later encompass only two cou Brazoria. In 1837, Brazoria County alone had over 1,100 s lived near the river, with 75% residing on units larger th on holdings greater than 20. One in three Brazoria househ and approximately half ofthe county's residents were blac The second development concerned the actions of th return for the lands given to Anglo settlers, Mexico had i tions, many of which were routinely evaded. First and for to abide by Mexican law, which obligated them to acknow the Roman Catholic Church. With little government ove conform, many settlers quietly adhered to their Protesta sures, such as trade restrictions designed to prevent the nor straying into the economic orbit of the United States, fai tlers' evasions on the issue of slavery constituted yet anoth sovereignty, and on April 6, 1830, Mexico placed a ban on from the United States. The action helped to galvanize an of Mexico as a power hostiie to their interests. Later acts ization of power under Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna in the notion. Although they left no direct evidence of their thought slaves undoubtedly took note ofthe ongoing conflict betw ernment and Anglo settlers on these issues, especially sl Mexican government's commitment to antislavery was inc tislavery measures frequently fell victim to the desire t make it profitable. Time and again, officials undercut their cies by permitting exceptions and re interpretations. Wh was not the government's stance on slavery per se, but how interpreted the government's equivocations.19 And equivocations they were. The declarations of Hidal strongest expressions of Mexican antislavery, were null and of their movement in the 1810s. The political struggles of waters even further, as both state and federal governments often-conflicting course on the issue of slavery. Disputes b centralists over the scope of the Mexican state made it dif jurisdiction took priority. Between 1823 and 1829, nationa the following: a prohibition ofthe foreign slave trade (18 of slave children under fourteen (1823); an extra grant of brought in large numbers of enslaved laborers (1823); a re proslavery article in the national colonization law (1824); internal slave trade (1824); the abolition of slavery in M This content downloaded from on Thu, 09 Aug 2018 22:14:15 UTC All use subject to MEXICO IN subsequent HIS HEAD 715 exemption of Tex government at Saltillo was equ period during which slaves cou sunset period for slave import a law providing for the emanc undergoing sale or transfer (18 slaveowners to sign their bond undercutting all previous antis Anglo slaveowners took advan Texas, but through its equivoc weakened slavery in a variety Hemisphere sought legitimizatio a slave code. Nineteenth-centu tomed to a rather extensive bod of the master-slave relationshi obligations of the master-slav addition, since slavery require tween the free members of so out. How, for example, would s another's slaves when the law di property? An unambiguous bo slaves represented not only lab order to raise money? Were sla cession of titles proceed? Were sale of slaves? Could slaves be legal standing? Could slave chil law, while failing to abolish th master-slave relationship.21 Mexican equivocation on sla interpretive community of sla icance, one that helped inspire World, slaves appropriated wh to their own ends. By reading Frey and Betty Wood have ter tion" that lay at the heart of A slaves to reinterpret the prono tant sources that made Mexica slaves, the idea of Mexico was as Christianity and revolution Africans a generation before.22 There can be little doubt that from Saltillo and Mexico City as a potential threat. Although the Anglo regions of Texas, m from its influence. Such was th Texas in 1828 amid fears of A led by General Manuel Mier y despite the sweltering May hea This content downloaded from on Thu, 09 Aug 2018 22:14:15 UTC All use subject to 716 journal of social history spring 2004 Texas' first and wealthiest planter, the normally hospitable grudgingly giving the soldiers some corn for fodder, Groc food or shelter, leaving it to camp underneath some trees. interlopers left the following day.23 If masters increasingly viewed the Mexican state as a thre slaves soon demonstrated that they saw it as an ally. In 183 ing tensions between Anglo settlers and the Mexican gove A number of issues, not the least of which was slavery, lay b Mexican army approached the Austin Colony in 1836 to p become an open rebellion, thousands of Anglos fled towar border at the Sabine River with their slaves, an event me history (usually without any sense of irony) as the "Runa known, but certainly sizable number of slaves ran the oppo Thomas, wife of slaveholder John Thomas, began her flig Three were immediately seized by other Anglo settlers for leaving her with six. Within a week, four of the men fled t "being promised their freedom on doing so," as Ann Thoma slaves who remained were two women, who may have deem life, including possible harassment and abuse, not worth tak Slaves who reached Mexican lines did not always see their realized. Some of the fugitives were freed and sent further so with the fourteen families encountered by General Jose U 1836, whom he "sent free" to Victoria. Other commanders According to Urrea, General Vicente Filisola returned sever ing a man who had served as his own coachman, to Anglo retreated from Texas. Moreover, Filisola also seems to have ers to enter Mexican camps to recover stolen property, incl Mexican legal support for slavery, actual military policy did n freedom to the enslaved. Yet, as with the issue of legality, wh the actual policy, but the significance slaves attached to M To them, the Mexican Army was an army of liberation.25 The most dramatic expression of the linkage between th and freedom came in the form of a slave revolt in October approached the fast-developing plantation district on the the enslaved population rebelled. Virtually all that is know is contained in a letter dated October 17 from B. J. White t which read in its entirety: I now have some unpleasant news to communicate. the [sic] [sic] made an attempt to rise. Majr Sutherland came on here take back, he told me?John Davis returned from Brazoria bring near 100 had been taken up and many whipd nearly to death so Williams has nearly Kild one of his.?The carancawa Indians i country killing (stealing) etc. [signed] B.J. White PS?The negroes above alluded to had devided [sic] all the cotto they intended to ship the cotton to New Orleans and make the them in turn [sic] This content downloaded from on Thu, 09 Aug 2018 22:14:15 UTC All use subject to MEXICO IN HIS The militia, it culty. But the Mexico.26 With the HEAD 717 seems, managed incident again s Brazos slave rebel Anglo Texans established an in constitutional convention appr right to hold slave property, th forbidding free blacks to enter ofthe legislature. Earlier legal am status of slave families, and ot and courts elaborated on the s and Mexico, now drawn along boundary between slavery an earlier. In 1845 the United St and won a war to put perman the Nueces the Rio Grande. the consolidation ofthe new sla from Anglo fears that the inst If slave flight during the U.S fait accompli of self-liberatio revolutionary policy of emanc the opposite sort of revolutio Although the border between erased; Texas and Mexico were maps, in practice, and in the m telling evidence is the stream and annexation and persisted t both Mexicans and Anglos. In and an accomplice named Rob "seduce" ten slaves from six d each for safe transport to Mex to defray necessary expenses, a Nine of the ten were soon cap Dennis, was seized after hiding The number of slaves who ma to the Rio Grande is almost c Piedras Negras, a small town Olmsted reported seeing seve who had come to Texas with h of the Catholic Church, and h fugitive estimated that forty three months. Some ofthe form but Olmsted also reported heari outside Piedras Negras and co Government was very just to "They could always have their born."30 This content downloaded from on Thu, 09 Aug 2018 22:14:15 UTC All use subject to 718 journal of social history spring 2004 Texas and U.S. officials understood that ignoring the sou of slaves deprived the state of valuable labor and destabi system. Both the state and private individuals launched ex fugitives but found that Mexican opposition limited their the failures was the expedition of James H. Callahan, who Piedras Negras in 1855 in pursuit of a group of Lipan Ap goal being the recapture of runaways. A Mexican force so and his rangers burned the town of Piedras Negras as the also pressed the United States government to negotiate a but that effort failed as well.31 Flight was not the only form of border-oriented resista annexation. In 1856, officials in Colorado County, in Cen what they believed was a plot by 200 local slaves to k and "make wives" of the women. A search reportedly tu of pistols, long guns, ammunition, and bowie knives. A hanged the three men accused of being the ringleaders, whil were spared. As with so many other incidents, the border According to county officials, the rebels had resolved to 'free state' (Mexico)." In addition, officials claimed that e county, "without exception," was involved in the plot. O known only as Frank, was reputed to be one of the leaders to conclude "that the lower class of the Mexican populat in any country where slaves are held, and should be deal This sentiment translated into the expulsion of all Mexica several nearby counties.32 Although it is difficult to say of the plot was real and how much was a figment of An demonstrates the continuing linkage of Mexico and antisl discourse. The consequences of this linkage were felt in a variety economic sense, the loss of several thousand bondspeople w of the state's slaveowners. If we accept one contemporar successful runaways by 1855, the aggregate loss works out of the slave population.33 If the true number of successfu half that, it would still represent a noticeable proportio Even recaptured fugitives temporarily deprived their own cutting into productivity and profits. One Bastrop Coun catchers $200 to track two fugitives 750 miles to the Rio that the slaves had "escaped ck not [been] found." It is eas planters like Guy M. Bryan, quoted at the beginning of thi before purchasing laborers who had "Mexico in their hea undoubtedly shared Bryan's apprehensions and factored th into their economic calculations.34 The effects of flight to Mexico were not confined to the nor were they limited to the fugitives. For those who rem ico appeared, rightly or not, as a republic built on a mor This content downloaded from on Thu, 09 Aug 2018 22:14:15 UTC All use subject to MEXICO IN HIS HEAD 719 citizenship. The image persiste although with the end of slaver freedom to one of racial equalit Hay wood of San Antonio told They didn't care what color yo slaves did get to Mexico and go they was goin' to be Mexicans only slavery, but the stifling was a perfect inversion of the a nation that liked to see itsel southern neighbor.35 The end of slavery in 1865 ma black Texans across the border demonstrates. During the Civil cotton across the Rio Grande. H poor in post-emancipation Tex and used it to buy clothing for longer marked the spatial divis put to good use by those who Texas slaves were not unique world beyond the boundaries nounced during the late eighte tive communities of slaves rec of liberty and freedom in sett to Bahia. None of this is to su generating subversive ideas int demonstrates clearly that they munity suggests that member experience in their encounters texts were political boundarie coast, the Mason-Dixon Line, t the Union Army. Slaves were a Department of Oneonta,NY History 13820 ENDNOTES The author would like to thank Vicki Howard, Robert Olwell, Mike Campbell, M Nishida, and the members of the Susquehanna Seminar for their criticisms and sug tions. 1. Guy M. Bryan to James F. Perry, September 15, 1851, Perry Papers, Center for American History (CAH), University of Texas at Austin. 2. Randolph B. Campbell, An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas, 1821-1865 (Baton Rouge, 1989) is the standard work on Texas slavery. Other relevant works include Ronnie C. Tyler, "Fugitive Slaves in Mexico," Journal of Negro History 57 (January 1972): 1-12; Rosalie Schwartz, Across the Rio to Freedom: U.S. Negroes in This content downloaded from on Thu, 09 Aug 2018 22:14:15 UTC All use subject to 720 journal of social history spring 2004 Mexico (El Paso, 1975); William Dean Carrigan, "Slavery on the F Institution in Central Texas," Slavery and Abolition 20 (August 19 3. For an introduction to Herbert Bolton's writings, see John Bolton and the Spanish Borderlands (Norman, 1964). The work o been most influential in recent years. See David J. Weber, The Me 1846: The American Southwest Under Mexico (Albuquerque, 198 Frontier in North America (New Haven, 1992). For a discussion see David J. Weber, "Turner, the Boltonians, and the Borderlands Review 91 (February 1986): 66?81; idem, "The Spanish Borderlan A Historiography," OAH Magazine of History 14 (Summer 2000) 4. Gloria Anzaldiia, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza 19. For a generally sympathetic critique and updating of Anzaldii and David E. Johnson, Border Theory: The Limits of Cultural Polit especially the editors' essay, "Border Secrets: An Introduction," 1- 5. Jeremy Adelman and Stephen Aron, "From Borderlands to Bor States, and the Peoples in Between in North American History Review 104 (June 1999): 815-817. It is important to note that Ad pology has been criticized for reviving Frederick Jackson Tumer's em overstating the influence ofthe state, and for understating the age While I agree with all of these critiques, I do appreciate Adelma show that it mattered how, where, and when the boundaries betw See the responses in AHR 104 (October 1999): 1221-1239, espe der and Pekka Hamalainen, "Of Lethal Places and Lethal Essa supporting view, see David J. Weber, "The Spanish Borderlands Historiography," 9. 6. On interpretive communities, see Stanley Fish, "Interpreting There a Text in This Class?: The Authority of Interpretive Communit See also the Introduction for a general overview. For a classic appl see Jan ice A. Radway, Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, (Chapel Hill, 1984). 7. Colin A. Palmer, Servants of the White God: Blacks in Mex bridge, 1976), 9, 65-83; Dennis N. Valdes, "The Decline of Sla Americas 44 (October 1987): 170-175, 168; Robin Blackburn, Th nial Slavery, 1776-1848 (London, 1988), 367-372; Carlos Manuel Davila, Esclavos Negros en Saltillo (Saltillo, 1990); Donaid E. Chi 1519-1821 (Austin, 1992), 206-207. 8. David J. Weber, Spanish Frontier, 290-296. 9. Manuel Ferrer Mufioz, La Cuestion de la Esclavitud en el Mex Repercusiones en las Etnias Indigenas (Colombia, 1998), 13-14. 10. David J. Weber, Spanish Frontier, 147-171. 11. David J. Weber, Mexican Frontier, 160-163. 12. Gideon Lincecum Autobiography, Typescript, Center for Am versity of Texas at Austin. It is also possible that "slave tongue" ma by Anglo-American captives who became "slaves" of the Comanc 13. Noah Smithwick, The Evolution ofa State, 24.1 have corrected of "McNeal" to "McNeel." For McNeel slaves fleeing to the Mexican Perry to Emily Perry, April 26, 1836, Perry Papers, CAH. This content downloaded from on Thu, 09 Aug 2018 22:14:15 UTC All use subject to MEXICO IN HIS HEAD 721 14. Jose de la Pecochans to Steph 1810-1832, Book A, Austin County unclear. It probably refers to the N slaves occasionally reached Texas fr Natchez. The identity of John Will a criminal accomplice rather than see James Brooks, Captives & Cousin Borderlands (Chapel Hill, 2002). 15. "Personal Recollections of Le Wharton Groce," Groce Family P in 1825), Texas General Land Offi Special thanks to Galen Greaser of 1826 to my 16. J.H. 17. For 18. Austin attention. Kuykendall, "Reminiscen Papers: Recollections of Capt. Gibso 7 (July 1903): 35; Lizzie Atkins Nar A Composite Autobiography, Supp Conn., 1979), 93. For other examp an argument that higher from flight and toward collective Frontier." I find little evidence to and the efforts of white Texans to in lower levels of flight?if anythin World slavery is replete with exam in which flight and marronage we a place of refuge, as with Jamaica' Also, although several alleged plot only, slave rebellion in Texas occur Colony Census of 1826 down by locality. I was able to dete cross-checking the following sourc of Settlers in Austin's First Colony (October 1897): 108-117; The Handb handbook/oniine/ eral Land Office. Figures for 1837 crofilm edition, Texas State Library 264, reports that Brazoria County the number at about 1,100, give o the handwriting in the original. Th seems to be the result of the com dren. Apparently slaveholders did although the children's presence w 19. On slave communication netwo Scott, III, "The Common Wind: Cu ofthe Hatian Revolution," Ph. D. d 20. Campbell, Empire for Slavery, 21. Thomas D. Morris, Southern S Eugene D. Genovese, Roll, Jordan 25_49; Robert Oiwell, Masters, Sla Caroiina Low Country, 1740-1790 Control in Slave Plantation This content downloaded from on Thu, 09 Aug 2018 22:14:15 UTC All use subject to Societies 722 journal of social history spring 2004 1971), 81-112. A partial exception is Brazil, which did not have distinct code, although the Portuguese crown occasionaily weighe Stuart B. Schwartz, Sugar Plantations in the Formation of Brazilian S (Cambridge, 1985), 260-262. 22. Sylvia R. Frey and Betty Wood, Come Shoutingto Zion: African A in the American South and British Caribbean to 1830 (Chapel Hi Genovese, From Rebellion to Revolution: Afro-American Slave Revolt Modem World (Baton Rouge, 1979); Sylvia R. Frey, Wdterfrom the in a Revolutionary Age (Princeton, 1991), 49-51; Carolyn E. Fick The Saint Domingue Revolution from Below (Knoxville, 1990); Jam into Swords: Race, Rebellion, and Identity in Gabriel's Virginia, 1 1997), 39-43, discusses the meaning of "frenchness" among Virgin 23. Jose Marta Sanchez, "A Trip To Texas in 1828," Carlos E. Cas Southwestern Historical Quarterly 29 (April 1926): 274. 24. Richard King, ed., A Victorian Lady on the Texas Frontier: The Coleman (Norman, 1971), 93. 25. Jose Urrea, Diary of the Military Operations of the Division Whi of General Jose Urrea Campaigned in Texas (Victoria de Durang Carlos E. Castaneda, trans., The Mexican Side ofthe Texas Revolution Participants (Dailas, 1928), 238, 269-270. Urrea, it should be not to bolster his charge that Filisola had needlessly forfeited Tex rebuttai to Urrea's charges, but it contained no specific denial returned slaves. See Vicente Filisola, Representation Addressed to the by General Vicente Filisola, in Defense of his Honor (Mexico, 1 trans., The Mexican Side ofthe Texas Revolution, 160-203. 26. B. J. White to Stephen F. Austin, October 17,1835, The Austin ington, 1924-28), 190. 2 7. Recent accounts of the Texas Revolution include David J. Web tier, 1821-1846, 242-255; Paul D. Lack, The Texas Revolutionary and Social History (College Station, 1992); and Gregg Cantrell, S presario of Texas. On slave agency and its effect on war aims in t work of the Freedmen and Southern Society Project, summarized J. Fields, Steven F. Miller, Joseph P. Reidy, and Leslie S. Rowland, Essays on Emancipation and the Civil War (Cambridge, 1992), esp. 28. The Planter (Columbia, Tex.), May 31,1844. For other examp Slaves in Mexico" and Carrigan, "Slavery on the Frontier." 29. John "Rip" Ford, a journalist, legisiator, and filibuster, estimat in 1851 and 4,000 in 1855. See John Salmon Ford, Rip Ford's Texa Introduction and Commentary by Stephen B. Oates (Austin, 1963) Slaves in Mexico," 6. 30. Frederick Law Olmsted, A Journey Through Texas: Or, a Saddle-T ern Frontier (Austin, 1978), 324-325. 31. Tyler, "Fugitive Slaves in Mexico," 7-12; Campbeil, Empire f 32. Galveston Daily News, September 11, 1856 (parentheses in Foley, The White Scourge: Mexicans, Blacks, and Poor Whites in (Berkeley, 1997), 25. This content downloaded from on Thu, 09 Aug 2018 22:14:15 UTC All use subject to MEXICO IN HIS HEAD 723 33. The estimate for the slave popu inJ.D.B. DeBow, Statistical View o and U.S Census Bureau, Population 483. 34. John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger, Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation (New York, 1999), 287-288. 35. Rawick, ed., The American Slave, Texas Narratives vol. 16, Part 4, 224. 36. Rawick, ed., The American Slave, Texas Narratives vol. 16, Part 2, 132. This content downloaded from on Thu, 09 Aug 2018 22:14:15 UTC All use subject to Excerpted from Appendix to the Congressional Globe, 29th Congress, 2d Session, 1847, 315, 317-18. David WILMOT was a Democratic Congressman from Pennsylvania, who approved an appropriation of $2,000,000 to be used by the United States Government in satisfying Mexican claims to the disputed territory of New Mexico and California, provided "that neither slavery or involuntary servitude shall ever exist in any part of said territory, except for crime, whereof the party shall first be duly convicted." This famous proviso, first introduced in 1846, was the bugle-call which aroused the North to the intention of the South to extend slavery beyond Texas. Wilmot made this speech on February 8, 1847, when he again moved his proviso to a bill (appropriating $3,000,000 instead of $2,000,000), which was finally passed without the support of the Democratic Senate. SIR, It will be recollected by all present, that, at the last session of Congress, an amendment was moved by me to a bill of the same character as this, in the form of a proviso, by which slavery should be excluded from any territory that might subsequently be acquired by the United States from the Republic of Mexico. Sir, on that occasion, that proviso was sustained by a very decided majority of this House. Nay, sir, more, it was sustained, if I mistake not, by a majority of the Republican party on this floor. I am prepared, I think, to show that the entire South were then willing to acquiesce in what appeared to be, and, in so far as the action of this House was concerned, what was the legislative will and declaration of the Union on this subject. It passed this House. Sir, there were no threats of disunion sounded in our ears. It passed here and went to the Senate, and it was the judgment of the public, and of men well informed, that, had it not been defeated there for want of time, it would have passed that body and become the established law of the land. There was then no cry that the Union was to be severed in consequence. The South, like brave men defeated, bowed to the voice and judgment of the nation. No, sir, no cry of disunion then. Why now? The hesitation and the wavering of northern men on this question has encouraged the South to assume a bolder attitude. This cry of disunion proceeds from no resolve of the South. It comes, sir, from the cowardice of the North. But, sir, the issue now presented is not whether slavery shall exist unmolested where it now is, but whether it shall be carried to new and distant regions, now free, where the footprint of a slave cannot be found. This, sir, is the issue. Upon it I take my stand, and from it I cannot be frightened or driven by idle charges of abolitionism. I ask not that slavery be abolished. I demand that this Government preserve the integrity of free territory against the aggressions of slavery against its wrongful usurpations. Sir, I was in favor of the annexation of Texas. . . . The Democracy of the North, almost to a man, went for annexation. Yes, sir, here was an empire larger than France given up to slavery. Shall further concessions be made by the North? Shall we give up free territory, the inheritance of free labor? Must we yield this also? Never, sir, never, until we ourselves are fit to be slaves. The North may be betrayed by her Representatives, but upon this great question she will be true to herself true to posterity. Defeat! Sir, there can be no defeat. Defeat to-day will but arouse the teeming millions of the North, and lead to a more decisive and triumphant victory to-morrow. Excerpted from Appendix to the Congressional Globe, 29th Congress, 2d Session, 1847, 315, 317-18. But, sir, we are told, that the joint blood and treasure of the whole country being expended in this acquisition, therefore it should be divided, and slavery allowed to take its share. Sir, the South has her share already; the installment for slavery was paid in advance. We are fighting this war for Texas and for the South. I affirm it every intelligent man knows it Texas is the primary cause of this war. For this, Sir, northern treasure is being exhausted, and northern blood poured out upon the plains of Mexico. We are fighting this war cheerfully, not reluctantly cheerfully fighting this war for Texas ; and yet we seek not to change the character of her institutions. Slavery is there: there let it remain. Now, sir, we are told that California is ours ; that New Mexico is ours won by the valor of our arms. They are free. Shall they remain free? Shall these fair provinces be the inheritance and homes of the white labor of freemen or the black labor of slaves? This, sir, is the issue this the question. The North has the right, and her representatives here have the power. . . . But the South contend, that in their emigration to this free territory, they have the right to take and hold slaves, the same as other property. Unless the amendment I have offered be adopted, or other early legislation is had upon this subject, they will do so. Indeed, they unitedly, as one man, have declared their right and purpose so to do, and the work has already begun. Slavery follows in the rear of our armies. Shall the war power of our Government be exerted to produce such a result? Shall this Government depart from its neutrality on this question, and lend its power and influence to plant slavery in these territories? There is no question of abolition here, sir. Shall the South be permitted, by aggression, by invasion of the right, by subduing free territory, and planting slavery upon it, to wrest these provinces from northern freemen, and turn them to the accomplishment of their own sectional purposes and schemes? This is the question. Men of the North answer. Shall it be so? Shall we of the North submit to it? If we do, we are coward slaves, and deserve to have the manacles fastened upon our own limbs. Description of Bowie I found Colonel Bowie, of Louisiana, in the fortress, a man celebrated for having been in more desperate personal conflicts than any other in the country, and whose name has been given to a knife of a peculiar construction, which is now in general use in the south-west. I was introduced to him by Colonel Travis, and he gave me a friendly welcome, and appeared to be mightily pleased that I had arrived safe. While we were conversing, he had occasion to draw his famous knife to cut a strap, and I wish I may be shot if the bare sight of it wasn't enough to give a man of a squeamish stomach the cholic, especially before breakfast. He saw I was admiring it, and, said he, “Colonel, you might tickle a fellows ribs a long time with this little instrument before you'd make him laugh; and many a time have I seen a man puke at the idea of the point touching the pit of his stomach.” My companions, the Bee hunter and the conjurer, joined us, and the colonel appeared to know them both very well. He had a high opinion of the Bee hunter, for turning to me, he said, “Colonel, you could not have had a braver, better, or more pleasant fellow for a companion than honest Ned here. With fifteen hundred such men I would undertake to march to the city of Mexico, and occupy the seat of Santa Anna myself before three months should elapse." The colonel's life has been marked by constant peril, and deeds of daring. A few years ago, he went on a hunting excursion into the prairies of Texas, with nine companions. They were attacked by a roving party of Comanches, about two hundred strong, and such was the 8cience of the colonel in this sort of wild warfare, that after killing a considerable number of the enemy, he fairly frightened the remainder from the field of action, and they fled in utter dismay. The fight took place among the high grass in the open prairie. He ordered his men to dismount from their horses and scatter; to take deliberate aim before they fired, but as soon as they had discharged their rifles to fall flat on the ground, and crawl away from the spot, and reload their pieces. By this scheme, they not only escaped the fire of the Indians, but by suddenly discharging their guns from another quarter, they created the impression that their party was a numerous one; and the Indians, finding that they were fighting against an invisible enemy, after losing about thirty of their men, took to flight, believing themselves lucky in having escaped with no greater loss. But one of the colonel's party was slightly wounded, and that was owing to his remaining to reload his rifle without having first shifted his position. Description of Santa Ana The 'Mexican government, by its colonization laws, invited and induced the AngloAmerican population of Texas to colonize its wilderness, under the pledged faith of a written constitution, that they should continue to enjoy that constitutional liberty and republican government to which they had been habituated in the land of their birth, the United States of America. In this expectation they have been cruelly disappointed, as the Mexican nation has acquiesced in the late changes made in the government by Santa Anna, who, having overturned the constitution of his country, now offers the settlers the cruel alternative, either to abandon their homes acquired by so many privations, or submit to the most intolerable of all tyranny, the combined despotism of the sword and the priesthood. But Santa Anna charges the Americans with ingratitude! This is something like Satan revi1ing sin. I have gathered some particulars of the life of this moral personage from a gentleman at present in the Alamo, and who is intimately acquainted with him, which I will copy into my book exactly as he wrote it. At San Antonio I WRITE this on the nineteenth of February, 1836, at San Antonio. We are all in high spirits, though we are rather short of provisions, for men who have appetites that could digest any thing but oppression; but no matter, we have a prospect of soon getting our bellies full of fighting, and that is victuals and drink to a true patriot any day. We had a little sort of convivial party last evening: just about a dozen of us set to work, most patriotically, to see whether we could not get rid of that curse of the land, whiskey, and we made considerable progress; but my poor friend, Thimblerig, got sewed up just about as tight as the eyelet-hole in a lady's corset, and a little tighter too, I reckon; for when he went to bed he called for a bootjack, which was brought to him, and he bent down on his hands and knees, and very gravely pulled oft' his hat with it, for the darned critter was so thoroughly swiped that he didn't know his head from his heels. But this wasn't all the folly he committed; he pulled off his coat and laid it on the bed, and then hung himself over the back of a chair; and I wish I may be shot if he didn't go to sleep in that position, thinking every thing had been done according to Gunter's late scale. Seeing the poor fellow completely used up, I carried him to bed, though he did belong to the Temperance society; and he knew nothing about what had occurred until I told him the next morning. The Bee hunter didn't join us in this blow-out. Indeed, he will seldom drink more than just enough to prevent-his being called a total abstinence man. But then he is the most jovia1 fellow for a water drinker I ever did see…. The caravan had no sooner disappeared than one of the hunters, who had been absent several days, came in. He was one of those gentleman who don't pride themselves much upon their costume, and reminded me of a covey who came into a tavern in New York…. He stated that he had met some Indians on the banks of the Rio Frio, who informed him that Santa Anna, with a large force, had already crossed the Neuces, and might be expected to arrive before San Antonio in a few days. We immediately set about preparing to give him a warm reception, for we are all well aware, if our little band is overwhelmed by numbers, there is little mercy to be expected from the cowardly Mexicans – it is war to the knife. I jocosely asked the ragged hunter, who was a smart, active young fellow, of the steamboat and alligator breed, whether he was a rhinoceros or a hyena, as he was so eager for a fight with the invaders. "Neither the one, nor t'other, Colonel," says he, "but a whole menagerie in myself. I'm shaggy as a bear, wolfish about the head, active as a cougar, and can grin like a. hyena, until the bark will curl oft' a gum log. There's a sprinkling of all sorts'in me, from the lion down to the skunk; and before the war is over you'll pronounce me an entire zoological institute, or I miss a figure in my calculation. I promise to swallow Santa Anna without gagging, if you will only skewer back his ears, and grease his head a little." Filed Under: War and Military • Westward Expansion • 1813-1855: Expansion and Reform Mexican-American War Justified Response to Mexican Aggression or Unscrupulous Land Grab? Mexican Proclamation Criticizing the U.S. Annexation of Texas In June 1845, José Joaquin de Herrera, president of the Republic of Mexico, issued a public proclamation that criticized moves by the U.S. government to annex the Republic of Texas. The following is the text of that proclamation: PROCLAMATION The minister of foreign affairs has communicated to me the following decree: José Joaquin de Herrera, general of division and president ad interim of the Mexican Republic, to the citizens thereof. Be it known: That the general congress has decreed, and the executive sanctioned, the following: The national congress of the Mexican Republic, considering: That the congress of the United States of the North has, by a decree, which its executive sanctioned, resolved to incorporate the territory of Texas with the American union; That this manner of appropriating to itself territories upon which other nations have rights, introduces a monstrous novelty, endangering the peace of the world, and violating the sovereignty of nations; That this usurpation, now consummated to the prejudice of Mexico, has been in insidious preparation for a long time; at the same time that the most cordial friendship was proclaimed, and that on the part of this republic, the existing treaties between it and those states were respected scrupulously and legally; That the said annexation of Texas to the U. States tramples on the conservative principles of society, attacks all the rights that Mexico has to that territory, is an insult to her dignity as a sovereign nation, and threatens her independence and political existence; That the law of the United States, in reference to the annexation of Texas to the United States, does in nowise destroy the rights that Mexico has, and will enforce, upon that department; That the United States, having trampled on the principles which served as a basis to the treaties of friendship, commerce and navigation, and more especially to those of boundaries fixed with precision, even previous to 1832, they are considered as inviolate by that nation. And, finally, that the unjust spoliation of which they wish to make the Mexican nation the victim, gives her the clear right to use all her resources and power to resist, to the last moment, said annexation; IT IS DECREED 1st. The Mexican nation calls upon all her children to the defence of her national independence, threatened by the usurpation of Texas, which is intended to be realized by the decree of annexation passed by the congress, and sanctioned by the president, of the United States of the north. 2d. In consequence, the government will call to arms all the forces of the army, according to the authority granted it by the existing laws; and for the preservation of public order, for the support of her institutions, and in case of necessity, to serve as the reserve to the army, the government, according to the powers given to it on the 9th December 1844, will raise the corps specified by said decree, under the name of "Defenders of the Independence and of the Laws." MIGUEL ARTISTAN, President of the Deputies. FRANCISCO CALDERON, President of the senate. Approved, and ordered to be printed and published. JOSÉ JOAQUIN DE HERRERA. A. D. LUIS G. CUEVAS Palace of the National Government, City of Mexico, June 4, 1845. Citation Information ( MLA ) “Mexican Proclamation Criticizing the U.S. Annexation of Texas.” Issues & Controversies in American History. Infobase Learning, Web. 30 Oct. 2016. . Copyright © 2016 Facts On File. All Rights Reserved. During the 1944 election, Democratic candidate James K. Polk ran on a pro-Texas annexation platform. There’s something to read into that: the annexation of Texas carried with it a promise of war with Mexico; thus, a vote for Polk was a vote for war. The election was close. Of the 2,698,605 votes cast, Polk only won by 38,181 – narrowly defeating his Whig candidate Henry Clay. Below is an excerpt of Polk’s inaugural address. Of course, Texas loomed large in his speech. Inaugural Address of James Knox Polk TUESDAY, MARCH 4, 1845 Fellow-Citizens: Without solicitation on my part, I have been chosen by the free and voluntary suffrages of my countrymen to the most honorable and most responsible office on earth. I am deeply impressed with gratitude for the confidence reposed in me. Honored with this distinguished consideration at an earlier period of life than any of my predecessors, I can not disguise the diffidence with which I am about to enter on the discharge of my official duties. …. The power "to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises" was an indispensable one to be conferred on the Federal Government, which without it would possess no means of providing for its own support. In executing this power by levying a tariff of duties for the support of Government, the raising of revenue should be the object and protection the incident. To reverse this principle and make protection the object and revenue the incident would be to inflict manifest injustice upon all other than the protected interests. In levying duties for revenue it is doubtless proper to make such discriminations within the revenue principle as will afford incidental protection to our home interests. Within the revenue limit there is a discretion to discriminate; beyond that limit the rightful exercise of the power is not conceded. The incidental protection afforded to our home interests by discriminations within the revenue range it is believed will be ample. In making discriminations all our home interests should as far as practicable be equally protected. The largest portion of our people are agriculturists. Others are employed in manufactures, commerce, navigation, and the mechanic arts. They are all engaged in their respective pursuits and their joint labors constitute the national or home industry. To tax one branch of this home industry for the benefit of another would be unjust. No one of these interests can rightfully claim an advantage over the others, or to be enriched by impoverishing the others. All are equally entitled to the fostering care and protection of the Government. In exercising a sound discretion in levying discriminating duties within the limit prescribed, care should be taken that it be done in a manner not to benefit the wealthy few at the expense of the toiling millions by taxing lowest the luxuries of life, or articles of superior quality and high price, which can only be consumed by the wealthy, and highest the necessaries of life, or articles of coarse quality and low price, which the poor and great mass of our people must consume. The burdens of government should as far as practicable be distributed justly and equally among all classes of our population. These general views, long entertained on this subject, I have deemed it proper to reiterate. It is a subject upon which conflicting interests of sections and occupations are supposed to exist, and a spirit of mutual concession and compromise in adjusting its details should be cherished by every part of our widespread country as the only means of preserving harmony and a cheerful acquiescence of all in the operation of our revenue laws. Our patriotic citizens in every part of the Union will readily submit to the payment of such taxes as shall be needed for the support of their Government, whether in peace or in war, if they are so levied as to distribute the burdens as equally as possible among them. The Republic of Texas has made known her desire to come into our Union, to form a part of our Confederacy and enjoy with us the blessings of liberty secured and guaranteed by our Constitution. Texas was once a part of our country--was unwisely ceded away to a foreign power--is now independent, and possesses an undoubted right to dispose of a part or the whole of her territory and to merge her sovereignty as a separate and independent state in ours. I congratulate my country that by an act of the late Congress of the United States the assent of this Government has been given to the reunion, and it only remains for the two countries to agree upon the terms to consummate an object so important to both. I regard the question of annexation as belonging exclusively to the United States and Texas. They are independent powers competent to contract, and foreign nations have no right to interfere with them or to take exceptions to their reunion. Foreign powers do not seem to appreciate the true character of our Government. Our Union is a confederation of independent States, whose policy is peace with each other and all the world. To enlarge its limits is to extend the dominions of peace over additional territories and increasing millions. The world has nothing to fear from military ambition in our Government. While the Chief Magistrate and the popular branch of Congress are elected for short terms by the suffrages of those millions who must in their own persons bear all the burdens and miseries of war, our Government cannot be otherwise than pacific. Foreign powers should therefore look on the annexation of Texas to the United States not as the conquest of a nation seeking to extend her dominions by arms and violence, but as the peaceful acquisition of a territory once her own, by adding another member to our confederation, with the consent of that member, thereby diminishing the chances of war and opening to them new and ever-increasing markets for their products. To Texas the reunion is important, because the strong protecting arm of our Government would be extended over her, and the vast resources of her fertile soil and genial climate would be speedily developed, while the safety of New Orleans and of our whole southwestern frontier against hostile aggression, as well as the interests of the whole Union, would be promoted by it. In the earlier stages of our national existence the opinion prevailed with some that our system of confederated States could not operate successfully over an extended territory, and serious objections have, at different times, been made to the enlargement of our boundaries. These objections were earnestly urged when we acquired Louisiana. Experience has shown that they were not well founded. The title of numerous Indian tribes to vast tracts of country has been extinguished; new States have been admitted into the Union; new Territories have been created and our jurisdiction and laws extended over them. As our population has expanded, the Union has been cemented and strengthened. AS our boundaries have been enlarged and our agricultural population has been spread over a large surface, our federative system has acquired additional strength and security. It may well be doubted whether it would not be in greater danger of overthrow if our present population were confined to the comparatively narrow limits of the original thirteen States than it is now that they are sparsely settled over a more expanded territory. It is confidently believed that our system may be safely extended to the utmost bounds of our territorial limits, and that as it shall be extended the bonds of our Union, so far from being weakened, will become stronger. None can fail to see the danger to our safety and future peace if Texas remains an independent state or becomes an ally or dependency of some foreign nation more powerful than herself. Is there one among our citizens who would not prefer perpetual peace with Texas to occasional wars, which so often occur between bordering independent nations? Is there one who would not prefer free intercourse with her to high duties on all our products and manufactures which enter her ports or cross her frontiers? Is there one who would not prefer an unrestricted communication with her citizens to the frontier obstructions which must occur if she remains out of the Union? Whatever is good or evil in the local institutions of Texas will remain her own whether annexed to the United States or not. None of the present States will be responsible for them any more than they are for the local institutions of each other. They have confederated together for certain specified objects. Upon the same principle that they would refuse to form a perpetual union with Texas because of her local institutions our forefathers would have been prevented from forming our present Union. Perceiving no valid objection to the measure and many reasons for its adoption vitally affecting the peace, the safety, and the prosperity of both countries, I shall on the broad principle which formed the basis and produced the adoption of our Constitution, and not in any narrow spirit of sectional policy, endeavor by all Constitutional, honorable, and appropriate means to consummate the expressed will of the people and Government of the United States by the reannexation of Texas to our Union at the earliest practicable period. Nor will it become in a less degree my duty to assert and maintain by all Constitutional means the right of the United States to that portion of our territory which lies beyond the Rocky Mountains. Our title to the country of the Oregon is "clear and unquestionable," and already are our people preparing to perfect that title by occupying it with their wives and children. But eighty years ago our population was confined on the west by the ridge of the Alleghanies. Within that period--within the lifetime, I might say, of some of my hearers--our people, increasing to many millions, have filled the eastern valley of the Mississippi, adventurously ascended the Missouri to its headsprings, and are already engaged in establishing the blessings of selfgovernment in valleys of which the rivers flow to the Pacific. The world beholds the peaceful triumphs of the industry of our emigrants. To us belongs the duty of protecting them adequately wherever they may be upon our soil. The jurisdiction of our laws and the benefits of our republican institutions should be extended over them in the distant regions which they have selected for their homes. The increasing facilities of intercourse will easily bring the States, of which the formation in that part of our territory cannot be long delayed, within the sphere of our federative Union. In the meantime, every obligation imposed by treaty or conventional stipulations should be sacredly respected. In the management of our foreign relations it will be my aim to observe a careful respect for the rights of other nations, while our own will be the subject of constant watchfulness. Equal and exact justice should characterize all our intercourse with foreign countries. All alliances having a tendency to jeopardize the welfare and honor of our country or sacrifice any one of the national interests will be studiously avoided, and yet no opportunity will be lost to cultivate a favorable understanding with foreign governments by which our navigation and commerce may be extended and the ample products of our fertile soil, as well as the manufactures of our skillful artisans, find a ready market and remunerating prices in foreign countries. In taking "care that the laws be faithfully executed," a strict performance of duty will be exacted from all public officers. From those officers, especially, who are charged with the collection and disbursement of the public revenue will prompt and rigid accountability be required. Any culpable failure or delay on their part to account for the moneys entrusted to them at the times and in the manner required by law will in every instance terminate the official connection of such defaulting officer with the Government. Although in our country the Chief Magistrate must almost of necessity be chosen by a party and stand pledged to its principles and measures, yet in his official action he should not be the President of a part only, but of the whole people of the United States. While he executes the laws with an impartial hand, shrinks from no proper responsibility, and faithfully carries out in the executive department of the Government the principles and policy of those who have chosen him, he should not be unmindful that our fellow-citizens who have differed with him in opinion are entitled to the full and free exercise of their opinions and judgments, and that the rights of all are entitled to respect and regard. Confidently relying upon the aid and assistance of the coordinate departments of the Government in conducting our public affairs, I enter upon the discharge of the high duties which have been assigned me by the people, again humbly supplicating that Divine Being who has watched over and protected our beloved country from its infancy to the present hour to continue His gracious benedictions upon us, that we may continue to be a prosperous and happy people. Annexation of Texas 187. The Raleigh Letter (1844) BY SENATOR HENRY CLAY Oay was at this time a candidate for the presidency, hence a recital of bis views on the Texas question was of great importance. Unfortunately for bim. be later thought it necessary to explain away some of the statements in this straight. forward exposition. This letter was addressed to the NalifJllal /nJelligmur.-ffil Clay, see No. 125 above.- Bibliography as in No. 186 above. RALEIGH, April 17, 1844. rejection of the overture of Texas, some years ago, to become annexed to the United States, had met with general acquiescence. Nothing had since occurred materially to vary the question. I had seen no evidence of a desire being entertained, 011 the part of any considerable portion of the American people, that Texas should become an integral part of the United States. • •• To the astonishment of the whole nation, we are now informed that a treaty of annexation has been actually concluded, and is to be submitted to the Senate for its consideration. . • . • . . If, without the loss of national character, without the hazard of foreign war, with the general concurrence of the nation, without any danger to the integrity of the Union, and without giving an unreasonable price for Texas, the question of annexation were presented, it would appear in quite a different light from that in which, I apprehend, it is now to be regarded. • • • • •• Annexation and war with Mexico are identical. Now, for one, I certainly am not willing to involve this country in a foreign war for the object of acquiring Texas. I know there are those who regard such a war with indifference and as a trifling affair, on account of the weakness of Mexico, and her inability to inflict serious injury upon this country. But I do not look upon it thus lightly. I regard all wars as great calami· ties, to be avoided, if possible, and honorable peace as the wisest and truest policy of this country. What the United States most need are union, peace, and patience•••• Assuming that the annexation of Texas is war with Mexico, is it competent to the treaty-making power to plunge this country into war, not only without the concurrence of, but without deigning. to consult CODgress, to which, by the Constitution, belongs exclusively the power of declaring war? I have hitherto coDSidered the question upon the supposition that the ·.. THE Digitized by Google No. 187] Clay's Raleigh Letter annexation is attempted without the assent of Mexico. If she yields her consent, that would materially affect the foreign aspect of the question, if it did not remove all foreign difficulties. On the assumption of that assent, the question would be confined to the domestic considerations which belong to it, embracing the terms and conditions upon which annexation is proposed. I do not think that Texas ought to be received into the Union, as an integral part of it, in decided opposition to the wishes of a considerable and respectable portion of the Confederacy. I think it far more wise and important to compose and harmonize the present Confederacy, as it now exists, than to introduce a new element of discord and distraction into it. In my humble opinion, it should be the constant and earnest endeavor of American statesmen to eradicate prejudices, to cultivate and foster concord, and to produce general contentment among all parts of our Confederacy. And "true wisdom, it seems to me, points to the duty of rendering its present members happy, prosperous, and satisfied with each other, rather than to attempt to introduce alien members, against the common consent and with the certainty of deep dissatisfaction. Mr. Jefferson expressed the opinion, and others believed, that it never was in the contemplation of the framers of the Constitution to add foreign territory to the Confederacy, out of which new States were to be formed. The acquisitions of Louisiana and Florida may be defended upon the peculiar ground of the relation in which they stood to the States of the Union. After they were admitted, we might well pause awhile, people our vast wastes, develop our resources, prepare the means of defending what we possess, and augment our strength, power, and greatness. If hereafter further territory should be wanted for an increased population, we need entertain no apprehensions but that it will be acquired by means, it is to be hoped, fair, honorable, and constitutional. It is useless to disguise that there are those who espouse and those who oppose the annexation of Texas upon the ground of the influence which it would exert, in the balance of political power, between two great sections of the Union. I conceive that no motive for the acquisition of foreign territory would be more unfortunate, or pregnant with more fatal consequences, than that of obtaining it for the purpose of strengthening one part against another part of the common Confederacy. Such a principle, put into practical operation, would menace the existence, if it did not certainly sow the seeds of a dissolution of the Union. It would be to proclaim to the world an insatiable and unquenchable Digitized by Google Annexation of Texas thirst for foreign conquest or acquisition of territory. For if to-day Texas be acquired to strengthen one part of the Confederacy, to-morroW' Canada may be required to add strength to another. And, after that might have been obtained, still other and further acquisitions would become necessary to equalize and adjust the balance of political power. Finally, in the progress of this spirit of universal dominion, the part of the Confederacy which is now weakest, would find itself still weaker from the impossibility of securing new theatres for those peculiar institutions which it is charged with being desirous to extend. But would Texas, ultimately, really add strength to that which is now considered the weakest part of the Confederacy? If my information be correct, it would not. According to that, the territory of Texas is susceptible of a division into five States of convenient size and form. Of these, two only would be adapted to those peculiar institutions to which I have referred, and the other three, lying west and north of San Antonio, being only adapted to farming and grazing purposes, from the nature of their soil, climate, and productions, would not admit of those institutions. In the end, therefore, there would be two slave and three free States probably added to the Union. If this view of the soil and geography of Texas be correct, it might serve to diminish the zeal both of those who oppose and those who are urging annexation. • •• If any European nation entertains any ambitious designs upon Texas, such as that of colonizing her, or in any way subjugating her, I should regard it as the imperative duty of the Government of the United States to oppose to such designs the most firm and determined resistance, to the extent, if necessary, of appealing to arms to prevent the accomplishment of any such designs. The Executive of the United States ought to be informed as to the aims and views of foreign Powers with regard to Texas, and I presume that, if there be any of the exceptionable character which I have indicated, the Executive will disclose to the co-ordinate departments of the Government, if not to the public, the evidence of them. From what I have seen and heard, I believe that Great Britain has recently formally and solemnly disavowed any such aims or purposes - has declared that she is desirous only of the independence of Texas, and that she has no intention to interfere in her domestic institutions. If she has made such disavowal and declaration, I presume they are in the possession of the Executive. . . . . In conclusion . . • I consider the annexation of Texas, at this time, without the assent of Mexico, as a measure compromising the Digitized by Google No. 188] Calhoun's Reasons national character, involving us certainly in war with Mexico, probably with other foreign Powers, dangerous to the integrity of the Union, inexpedient in the present financial condition of the country, and not called for by any general expression of public opinion. Daily National Inle//igmc" (Washington), April 27, 1844• • 188. Reasons for Annexation (1844) BY SECRETARY JOHN CALDWELL CALHOUN As an ardent pro-slavery man, Calhoun was an active promoter of the annexation of Texas. This letter was addressed to Richard Pakenham, English minister to the United States.- For Calhoun, see No. 161 above. - Bibliography as in No. 186 above. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WASHINGTON, A/ri/1St.. , l&w. T HE undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has laid before the President the note of the Right Honorable Mr. Pakenham, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of Her Britannic Majesty, addressed to this department on the 26th of February last, together with the accompanying copy of a despatch of Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to Mr. Pakenham. In reply, the undersigned is directed by the President to inform the Right Honorable Mr. Pakenham, that, while he regards with pleasure the disavowal of Lord Aberdeen of any intention on the part of Her Majesty's Government" to resort to any measures, either openly or secretly, which can tend to disturb the internal tranquillity of the slaveholding States, and thereby affect the tranquillity of this Union," he at the same time regards with deep concern the avowal, for the first time made to this Government, "that Great Britain desires and is constantly exerting herself to procure the general abolition of slavery throughout the world." So long as Great Britain confined her policy to the abolition of slavery in her own possessions and colonies, no other country had a right to complain. It belonged to her exclusively to determine, according to her own views of policy, whether it should be done or not. But when she goes beyond, and avows it as her settled policy, and the object ~f her constant exertions, to abolish it throughout the world, she makes it the duty or all other countries, whose safety or prosperity may be endangered by her policy, to adopt such measures as they may deem necessary for their vrotectiQD, Digitized by Google

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