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if they would only do the one needful thing, and that was, to help them to money, place, and power.
Seeing the success with which this sectional pro-slavery party had played their game, by keeping the South generally united upon the slavery question as a political issue for retaining power, it was not unnatural that the Northern politicians, having a large majority of the electoral vote in the Northern States, and which had been steadily increasing, should have made a political hobby of the anti-slavery side of the question, and have used their exertions to unite the North in opposition to the extension of slavery for the purpose of acquiring power. How far, or how soon they would have succeeded in obtaining an ascendancy over the Southern Democracy, is questionable, if Democracy had been gifted with common prudence or common honesty; but the supreme folly of that party in 1854, in order to make another new slavery issue for the election of 1856, in breaking down the Missouri Compromise, in order to force slavery into territory devoted to freedom, and which had been hallowed by time, and recognized by the whole country as a bargain and compact sacred and inviolate as the Constitution itself, was the last grain that broke the camel's back. It aroused the indignation of the whole North; it opened their eyes to the aggressions of the Democratic party in the South; Northern politicians seized upon the occasion, and using with adroitness the instruments thus placed in their hands, have at last succeeded in beating down Southern Democracy with their own weapons and at their own game; and thus the whole story respecting the slavery issue is plainly and fairly told. It has been used by both parties for political purposes; by one, for the purpose of retaining, the other, for acquiring money, place, and power; and while the leaders on both sides have excited their fol
lowers to a condition of unreasonable pretension and demand, they are sitting hob-nob at Washington, dining, drinking wine, cracking nuts, and cracking jokes together, as familiarly and unconcerned, and as careless and indifferent about results growing out of the agitation they have created, beyond its immediate effect upon parties, as if never a slave had been heard of in the country. Thus has Southern Democracy lost the game and the stakes played for; and now they call upon us, the conservative Whigs of the South, whom they have treated as worse than aliens, whose counsels they have spurned, whose fidelity they have derided, whose remonstrances against making a party and sectional issue of slavery they have contemned, whose patriotism they laughed at, and whose loyalty they have denounced; after all this, in the hour of their humility and L defeat, they call upon us for aid which, in the hour of their triumph and pride, they scoffed at and rejected with disdain; failing in which, they threaten to tear down the fairest fabric of government ever erected by human hands. I can only say, if they get no aid until they get it from me, their patience will be exhausted, unless they have an interminable supply; for doomsday might crack, and they would still be found without it. It has been under their control that the country has been brought to its present deplorable and disgraceful condition in every aspect in which it can be viewed. They have shown themselves to be utterly unworthy and incompetent to manage the affairs of the nation, because each one has been managing for himself. Let them be set aside, and let some other party be called to the helm of State, and let them howl, and rave, and "tear their passions to tatters" at the loss of money, place, and power, which they have so long enjoyed and so wildly abused.
Is there any truth or sincerity in the declarations made on the floor of Congress and in the public presses by the Democracy that the institution of slavery is in danger? Let us look for one moment at their declarations, and then at their actions, and every man, with brains or without them, must at once become satisfied that it is the merest hypocrisy, trickery, and jugglery for political effect, for money, place, and power, that was ever played off on the credulity of sensible men.
THE REBELLION FORESHADOWED.
By the foregoing extracts I have shown you how and for what purpose the subject of slavery was kept in constant agitation and in increased peril by those who professed to be its most devoted champions, and the only true friends of the South. They have shown you, too, how and for what purpose Texas was hurried into the Union, in outrageous violation of every constitutional impediment and without a precedent for its justification. I was one of those who made strenuous opposition to the annexation of Texas, and this was another occasion on which I raised a voice of warning to the people. I was the first man in the United States who made public opposition to it at the time, to the manner it was acquired. I had learned through a private source that a treaty was then being negotiated by Mr. Tyler and his prime minister (Mr. Upshur), by which Texas was to be annexed to the United States. I immediately left Washington, came home to Richmond, and in a speech delivered at the African Church disclosed the fact, and took strong grounds against it. I then went on to New York, and there at the Tabernacle also was the first to inform the people of that city of the design of the administration of Mr. Tyler, and then and there foretold the danger to which
the Union would be exposed by the ratification of such a treaty at that time, and in the condition that Texas then occupied. Allow me to give you an extract or two from my New York speech, delivered on the 12th of April, 1844, and from a letter written subsequently to one of my former constituents (Mr. Hackett, of Louisa), which letter was published in the papers of that day through the country. In the speech I said, as taken from the New York papers of that day, "And now, fellow-citizens, I approach a graver and more serious question; one which strikes at the very root of the government, and can not fail to stir up from its utmost depths the very foundations of society. I mean this secret and clandestine attempt to annex Texas to the United States, or, more properly speaking, to annex the United States to Texas - a question, in my judgment, the magnitude of which no man can over-estimate. If accomplished, that it will lead to the disturbance of our harmony, the distraction of our people, and, sooner or later, to the dismemberment of this government, I have no shadow of doubt. That the Union of these States will be hazarded by its success, is enough to deter me from giving it my sanction or approval. I am a Union man! I am no Southern man with Northern principles. I am a Southern man with national principles; and if it ever falls to my lot to be sacrificed for any political act of my life, God grant it may be in the defense of the Union of these States." This prayer has been vouchsafed to me; upon this question I have made a willing sacrifice of myself, and I rejoice that I have done
"Mr. Tyler has made up the issue for Congress whether we or England shall have Texas. For my own part, I do not choose that Mr. Tyler or his minister shall make up any such issue for me. Neither his opinions, nor the ends and
aims of the disunionists, nor the co-operation of Texas land speculators, nor of the holders of Texas scrip or bonds, shall induce me to credit for an instant the absurd idea that England would be willing to take Texas, with her slave population, as a province, if it were offered to her to-morrow.... But what are the terms of this treaty? Who yet knows? But let them be what they may, I for one, if I stand alone, will never accede to the annexation of that country as long as I believe there is any chance thereby of shaking the stability of this Union. I am for this country, this country as it is, and this Union as it is, and I will never agree to dissolve it for the formation of any new one."
The above speech was made in New York in the month. of April; the correspondence which follows took place in December following. In the mean time Mr. Upshur had been killed, and Mr. Calhoun had succeeded him as Secretary of State. I give more of this letter than I should otherwise have done, because this Texas annexation was the starting-point, or first entering wedge of disunion, and gave to the secessionists the first symptoms of encouragement they had met with in the incipient labor of twelve years, which had been devoted to the object of disunion. The following is a letter to me from one of my then constituents: Green Springs, Louisa, December 19, 1844. DEAR SIR,-Taking great interest in your political weal and prosperity, as well as feeling a lively solicitude in your re-election to the Congress of the United States, as also from personal respect, I am induced to make this communication.
As there exists a considerable division in the ranks of the Whig party in relation to the subject of the annexation. of Texas, I would respectfully ask if you are unconditionally opposed to this measure?