Imagens das páginas
PDF

SENATE.]

sity for forts. Ships of war must have ports of refuge, as well as merchant vessels; they must have places where they can lie secure when pressed by superior force. All naval Powers provide places of refuge and protection for their ships, not only at home, but abroad. England, France, and Holland, are eminent examples. Why does England seize upon commanding positions all over the globe—Gibraltar, Malta, the Cape of Good Hope, Madagascar, Jamaica, and so many other places, except as naval stations, to protect her own marine and to command others in time of war? We, on the contrary, with ample means in our hands, are delaying and neglecting to establish places of refuge for our marine, even upon our own coasts, and upon that gulf, upon whose bosom, and through whose outlet between Key West and Cuba, the whole commerce of the mighty West is to float. Forts and naval stations upon that gulf are western objects, for which every western man, here or at home, should perseveringly contend. Mr. B. concluded with his standing remark, that Congress was now in the sixth month of the session, and not a shilling voted yet for fortifications! That we were so on two years without appropriations for a single ort When Mr. BENTox had concluded, Mr. SOUTHARD addressed the Senate in opposition to the bill. Messrs. HILL and WALL severally addressed the Senate in favor of the bill; after which, Mr. CALHOUN moved that it be laid on the table, to enable him to make a report from the committee of con

ference; which motion was agreed to by general consent.

CONFERENCE.

Mr. CALHOUN then, from the committee of conference appointed to confer with a similar committee of the House on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses as to the Senate’s amendment to the bill authorizing the President to accept the services of ten thousand volunteers, and to raise an additional regiment of light dragoons, reported that they had had a meeting with the committee of the House of Representatives, and that they had jointly agreed to recommend an amendment to their respective Houses, in substance as follows:

The President is authorized to accept the service of volunteers, the number not exceeding ten thousand, in companies, regiments, brigades, and divisions; the officers to be commissioned in the manner prescribed by the laws of the several States from which these volunteers may offer themselves. Where regiments, brigades, or divisions volunteer, they shall be commanded by the same officers by whom they shall be commanded at the time of volunteering; and that, for volunteers offer. ing their services in single companies, the President shall organize them into battalions, regiments, brigades, and divisions, and apportion the battalion and field officers among the States from which said companies shall conne.

After some remarks from Messrs. KING, of Alabama, and CALHOUN, the report was laid on the table.

At a subsequent period of the day, a message was received from the House of Representatives by Mr. FRANKLIN, their clerk, stating that the House had adopted the report made by their committee of conference, and asked the concurrence of the Senate therein.

On motion of Mr. CALHOUN, the report and message of the House were then considered; and on the question, Shall the Senate concur in the amendment recommended by the committee of conference? it was decided in the affirmative.

FORTIFICATION BILL. On motion of Mr. BENTON, the fortification bill was

[May 21, 1836.

again taken up, and, after some remarks from Mr. CALHOUN in opposition to the amendment, the question was taken, and it was adopted by the following vote: YEAs—Messrs. Benton, Brown, Buchanan, Cuthbert, Ewing of Illinois, Grundy, Hill, Hubbard, King of Alabama, Linn, Morris, Niles, Preston, Robinson, Ruggles, Shepley, Tallmadge, Walker, Wall, Wright—20. NAys--Messrs. Black, Calhoun, Davis, Ewing of Ohio, Hendricks, King of Georgia, Mangum, Naudain, Nicholas, Robbins, Swift, Tomlinson, White—13. Mr. BENTON then moved to fill the blank with $75,000, so as to make the appropriation for Penobscot for two years, $75,000 for each year; which, after some remarks from Mr. PRESTON, who thought the sum too large, was agreed to. Mr. PRESTON then moved to strike out the appropriation of $100,000 for fortifications at Kennebec river, that being one of the places for which there were no estimates or surveys. After some remarks in support of the motion from Messrs. CALHOUN and PRESTON, and from Mr. BENTON in opposition to it, the question was decided in the negative: Yeas 7, nays 21, as follows: YEAs—Messrs. Calhoun, Ewing of Ohio, King of Georgia, Mangum, Preston, Robbins, White—7. NAYs—Messrs. Benton, Brown, Buchanan, Cuthbert, Davis, Ewing of Illinois, Grundy, Hendricks, Hill, Hub. bard, King of Alabama, Linn, Morris, Nicholas, Robinson, Ruggles, Shepley, Tallmadge, Walker, Wall, Wright—21. Mr. BENTON moved further to amend the bill by striking out the appropriation of $100,000 for fortifications at Kennebec river, and inserting $100,000 for the same object for the year 1836, and $200,000 for the year 1837. Mr. PRESTON moved that the Senate adjourn—lost: Ayes 12, noes 13. Mr. WALL moved to amend the amendment, so as to make it read $100,000 per annum for two years; which motion was agreed to. The question was then taken on the amendment as amended, and it was adopted: Yeas 19, nays 9, as follows: YEAs—Messrs. Benton, Brown, Buchanan, Cuthbert, Grundy, Hill, Hubbard, King of Alabama, Linn, Morris, Nicholas, Niles, Robinson, Ruggles, Shepley, Tallmadge, Walker, Wall, Wright—19. NAys—Messrs. Calhoun, Davis, Fwing of Ohio, Hendricks, King of Georgia, Mangum, Preston, Webster, White-–9. Mr. BENTON moved further to amend, by striking out the appropriation for fortifications at Portland, and inserting for the same object $75,000 per annum for two years; which motion was carried in the affirmative: Yeas 20, nays 8, as follows: YEAs—Messrs. Benton, Brown, Buchanan, Cuthbert, Grundy, Hill, Hubbard, King of Alabama, Linn, Morris, Nicholas, Niles, Preston, Robinson, Ruggles, Shepley, Tallmadge, Walker, Wall, Wright—20. NAYs—Messrs. Calhoun, Davis, Ewing of Ohio, Hendricks, King of Georgia, Mangum, Webster, White—8. Mr. PRESTON moved that the Senate adjourn—-lost: Ayes 11, noes 15. Mr. PRESTON then moved to strike out the appropriation for fortifications at Portsmouth, which motion was lost without a division. Mr. BENTON moved further to amend the bill, by inserting in lieu of the appropriation for fortifications at Portsmouth, “ for fortifications at Portsmouth, $150,000 annually, for two years.” On taking this question, it was found that there was not a quorum voting. The following is the vote:

MAr 23, 1836.]

YEAs–Messrs. Benton, Brown, Buchanan, Cuthbert, Grundy, Hill, Hubbard, King of Alabama, Linn, Nicholas, Niles, Robinson, Ruggles, Shepley, Tallmadge, Walker, Wall, Wright—18. NAYs—Messrs. Black, Hendricks, White—3. Mr. DAVIS moved that the Senate adjourn–lost: Ayes 8, noes 13. There still being no quorum, On motion of Mr. GRUNDY, The Senate adjourned.

Mox DAY, MAr 23.

RECOGNITION OF TEXAS.

Mr. WALKER rose and said there had been forwarded to him the proceedings of a large and respectable meeting of citizens of the State of Mississippi, held at the court-house of Warren county, which he had been requested to present to the Senate. The resolutions contained in these proceedings (Mr. W. said) instructed their Representatives and requested their Senators in Congress to use their utmost endeavors to obtain from this Government the immediate recognition of the independence of Texas, stating the reasons which have induced the people of this county to urge this measure. The time had now arrived (Mr. W. believed) for action on this subject; and he therefore moved the reference of these proceedings to the Committee on Foreign Relations. Mr. W. handed up to the table the resolutions in a printed form; upon which, The CHAIR stated that a paper in that form could not be received; that it must be attested by the real signatures of some of the parties, or accompanied by a letter vouching for its authenticity. Mr. WALKER said that he was himself satisfied of the authenticity of the proceedings; their having been sent in a printed form, was merely for the convenience of transmission; and that he had received a letter on thosubject, but that, in consequence of its containing also matters of a private nature, he did not wish to communicate it for publication. The CHAIR stated that the rule of the Senate was imperative on this subject. Mr. WALKER said that if it was out of order to receive this paper, he would, in obedience to the instructions of his constituents, move the reference of the proceedings of the citizens of Cincinnati, having a similar object in view, presented some days since by the Senator from Ohio, [Mr. MoRR1s.] Mr. MORRIS did not feel disposed to take up these resolutions at this time. This was a very important question, which would, in all probability, produce some excitement in the country, and he was not prepared to act on it before it became necessary. He was not willing to take all he had heard as facts, until officially communicated. It was true, it was a glorious struggle, in which our citizens, and he among the rest, felt a deep interest; nevertheless, he did not go the length of the Senator from Mississippi, [Mr. WALKER.] He had received from the capital of his State proceedings of a meeting of highly respectable citizens, warmly espousing the cause of Texas; and he was the first to present to the Senate proceedings on this subject. The recognition of Texas involved a question which did not meet the eye, and which was beyond the mere recognition of her independence—a question that would convulse this Union from one end to the other; and the observance of prudence and caution was necessary. While there was agitation on this subject, it was not the most appropriate time for action upon it. It might have a material effect upon some portions of the country, and he there

[blocks in formation]

fore thought the time had not yet arrived when it was proper, in his judgment, to act. Mr. PRESTON, with great satisfaction, tendered to his friend from Mississippi the use of the memorial on the subject of Texas presented by him some days since. It might have been supposed that he would call up this memorial himself, and he had proposed to do so this morning; but he had much rather second the views of the gentleman from Mississippi, and follow in his wake, than take the lead himself. There was much propriety in this movement coming from that quarter; the zeal and ardor which that gentleman had manifested on the subject, and the powerful interest in the affairs of Texas which his constituents had exhibited, alike qualified him to take the lead on this occasion. He was glad, for another reason, that the gentleman from Mississippi was the first to move in this business. He himself was in the minority, belonging to that party which had no control over the destinies of this country, except by repulsion; and, therefore, the motion, coming from a distinguished member of the party of the administration, would have a more powerful effect than one coming from him. It showed the strength of the cause of Texas, and indicated the feelings of the administration party in its behalf; or, if it did not indicate such feelings, it showed that a powerful current of public sentiment was urging them on. He had expected this morning to follow the lead of other Senators. He had expected that the Senator from New York would have presented a memorial on this subject from that great State, containing such a vast number of signatures as to put all others in the shade; and he had also expected that a memorial of the same nature would have been presented by the Senator from Pennsylvania. The period had now arrived, when, if public information was not false, some action on the part of this Government would be proper. He did not mean direct and positive, but initiatory action, to put things in a course of investigation. If a tithe of that information was true, no one could question but that the domination of the President of Mexico was forever at an end. If it was true that his army was dispersed, his person captured, and the Texan army triumphant, Texas was in the situation supposed, some days since, by the Senator from Massachusetts, having a Government de facto, and being to all intents and purposes independent. They had, it was true, received no official confirmation of this intelligence; and therefore it was not proposed to do more than take the initiatory steps to obtain further information through the Committee on Foreign Relations; but, without overestimating the feelings of the Senator from Mississippi, he would take it for granted, that if, instead of these rumors, they had been in possession of official confirmation of the Texan victory, the gentleman would at once have laid a resolution on the table for the immediate recognition of the independence of Texas. Mr. WALKER accepted with great pleasure the proceedings tendered him by the Senator from South Carolina, [Mr. Presto N.] Mr. MORRIS said he would not now object to the use of the Ohio proceedings by the Senator from Mississippi. Mr. WALKER then moved the reference of all the proceedings and memorials in relation to Texas to the Committee on Foreign Relations. He said that his feelings had perhaps been more deeply excited than those of any other Senator, by the fact, that he attributed the death of a very near and much beloved relative, in passing through Texas immediately preceding the late struggle, to the unwarrantable proceedings of the Mexican authorities in Texas. Mr. W. said he spoke and acted on this subject upon his own responsibility, and not, as was supposed by the Senator from South Carolina, [Mr. PREston,] as the organ of the administration. Mr. W.

[blocks in formation]

said he had no authority to represent the President's views on this subject; but that, were he to give his own opinion of those views, Mr. W. could not doubt but that, as a man, the President could not be otherwise than friendly to the cause of those who were struggling for liberty against usurpation in any quarter of the globe; that the love of liberty still glowed as warmly in the bosom of our venerated President as when in the morning of life he shed his blood in the defence of his country in the war of the Revolution; that, whatever might be the feelings of the President, as a man, he would no doubt so discharge the duties of his office as to preserve unsullied the national faith and the national honor. If (said Mr. W.) the accounts we had received from Texas were official, he would have moved a resolution for the immediate recognition of the independence of Texas. Mr. W. believed these accounts to be true; but, as the information was unofficial, he had moved the reference of the Texas memorials to the Committee on Foreign Relations, in the expectation that they would immediately investigate the subject, and be enabled to present the facts to us in the authentic form which would justify immediate action. When South America was not yet wholly disenthralled from the power of Spain—when the scale was still balancing, and the question not yet entirely determined which should preponderate, liberty or despotism, Congress had acted upon the question of South American independence. And, at a late period, when the struggle in Greece was still progressing—when her classic soil was still the theatre of a sanguinary and doubtful conflict—when the Moslem crescent had not yet faded before the dawn of liberty-–the distinguished Senator from Massachusetts had moved to accredit an agent to Greece. If we were warranted in thus acting upon that occasion, why refuse now to investigate, through the appropriate committee, the situation of affairs in Texas? The intelligence is, that a division of the Mexican army has been overthrown, and the survivors of the contest captured by the troops of Texas; that Santa Anna, the leader of the Mexican army, and the head of the Mexican Government, the very man in whose person that Government was concentrated, was also a prisoner; and that he had consented to the exaltation of Texas, and the immediate recognition of her independence. If, then, (said Mr. W., ) Texas has maintained, upon the field of battle, that declaration of independence made by her many months since—is that independence has been acknowledged by the head of the Mexican Government, and Texas evacuated by the Mexican troops.--if there be now a Government de facto in operation in Texas, and her enemies overthrown—we must, upon the principles that have always guided our course, recognise at once the independence of Texas. Mr. WFBSTER said that if the people of Texas had established a Government de facto, it was undoubtedly the duty of this Government to acknowledge their independence. The time and manner of doing so, however, were all matters proper for grave and mature consideration. He should have been better satisfied, had this matter not been moved again till all the evidence had been collected, and until they had received official information of the important events that had taken place in Texas. As this proceeding had been moved by a member of the administration party, he felt himself bound to understand that the Executive was not opposed to take the first steps now, and that in his opinion this proceeding was not dangerous or premature. Mr. W. was of opinion that it would be best not to act with precipitation. If this information was true, they would doubtless before long hear from Texas herself; for as soon as she felt that she was a country, and had a country, she

[May 23, 1836.

would naturally present her claims to her neighbors, to be recognised as an independent nation. He did not say that it would be necessary to wait for this event, but he thought it would be discreet to do so. He would be one of the first to acknowledge the independence of Texas, on reasonable proof that she had established a Government. There were views connected with Texas which he would not now present, as it would be premature to do so; but he would observe that he had received some information from a respectable source, which turned his attention to the very significant expression used by Mr. Monroe in his message of 1822, that no European Power should ever be permitted to establish a colony on the American continent. He had no doubt that attempts would be made by some European Government to obtain a cession of Texas from the Government of Mexico. Mr. MORRIS said that on this question he was in hopes he should be able to make himself fully understood. He explained his views of the effect of the motion of the Senator from Mississippi, [Mr. WALRER, ) which he thought was premature and hasty. Mr. M. disclaimed being under Executive influence in this matter. He went with and for the people of the State he represented. It was true he respected the Executive will, when he knew it officially. But, he asked, where was the Government or the authorized agents of Texas? Those gentlemen who were here as agents, he believed, had shown no credentials from the authorities of Texas. He would go as far as any gentleman on this floor in favor of civil and religious liberty, and held that all men were born free and equal. When he acted as the humble organ of a portion of the people of this Government, he desired to act on something official. He would be prepared to act on this most important event at the proper time, and he believed that time would soon arrive. He could sympathize in the feelings of the Senator from Mississippi, [Mr. WALK ra.] That Senator had reason to feel in this matter, having met with the loss of a near relative. But he ought not to suffer his judgment to be misled by the intensity of his feelings. They might, out of these walls, act in their individual capacity like men; but when acting as Senators, they should be cautious. But as the Senator from Mississippi said time would be taken for consideration by the committee, if referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations, and as that committee was an able one, he would withdraw his objection to the reference. Mr. WALKER stated that, from the observations of the Senator from Ohio, it would seem that the gentleman supposed that his course on this occasion had been dictated by the impulses of his heart, and not by his judgment. The gentleman was deeply mistaken; for there was no one subject upon which he had more deeply reflected, and more deliberately consulted his judgment, than on the subject of Texas. At the pe. riod when the treaty was made, by which the valley of the Mississippi was dismembered, and Texas surrentiered to a foreign Power--at that period, not yet having arrived at the age of manhood, and not being entitled to a vote, he had expressed his conviction against that treaty, and, by addresses in 1826 in the public papers over his own signature, had shown his opposition to that unwise and improper measure. These were the deliberate dictates of his own judgment, before he ever had a relative in Texas, before he was a resident of a southern State, and before he ever expected to have a seat on this floor. These, he said, were not southern feelings—they were not northern feelings—no, they were the feelings which were wholly American, prompted by an ardent zeal for civil and religious liberty; and which, he trusted, would ever have influence in every American bosom. It was the May 23, 1836.)

Recognition of Texas.

[SENATE.

solemn and deliberate conviction of his judgment, that they should recognise the independence of Texas, whenever they were satisfied that slie had an established Government. Whether they extended their jurisdiction to Texas, as he desired, or not, they should congratulate themselves that American institutions, American feelings, our freedom, our language, and our kindred race, predominated over that fair country, instead of the colored mongrel race, and barbarous tyranny, and superstitions of Mexico. They had not, it was true, received official confirmation of the glorious intelligence, which there was so much reason to credit. If they had, he would have at once laid a reselution on the table, looking to the acknowledgment of the independence of Texas; but not having received such official information, he did not propose more at present, than to take the initiatory steps of an inquiry by the appropriate committee. The Senator from Ohio referred to the agents from Texas now in this city, as being private agents only. He begged leave to tell the gentleman that they were public and accredited agents, and not the less respectable because they were once American citizens, and not less respectable than the accredited agents of the tyrant and usurper, Santa Anna. They had been told to wait till Texas had established her independence. She had established it, and was able to maintain it. By her great and glorious victory, she had her oppressor in her power, and could dictate to him what terms she pleased; and (Mr. W. said) the battle in which Santa Anna was captured was next in importance, to the civilized world, to the conflict which terminated in the surrender of Cornwallis, and would be equally decisive of the fate of an infant republic. Mr. KING, of Alabama, was aware, from the present excited state of feeling on the subject of Texas, that every wise and prudent course would be misunderstood, and probably construed into hostility to the efforts now making by the Texans to establish a free and independent Government; but, so long as he remained a member on that floor, he would, regardless of every consideration, throw himself in opposition to all measures which he conceived were calculated to detract from the exalted character of this country for good faith and an undeviating adherence to all its treaty stipulations. He knew not whether the information received of the extraordinary successes of the 'I'exans was to be relied on or not; he sincerely hoped it might prove true; no man here felt a deeper detestation of the bloodthirsty wretches who had cruelly butchered their defenceless prisoners, than he did; but, whether true or false, did it become wise, discreet, prudent men, bound by the strongest considerations to preserve the bonor and faith of the country, to be hurried along by the effervescence of feeling, and at once abandon the course, and, he would say, the only true course, which this Government has invariably, heretofore, pursued towards soreign Powers? We have uniformly (said Mr. K.) recognised the existing Governments—the Governments de facto; we have not stopped to inquire whether it is a despotic or constitutional Government; whether it is a republic or a despotism. All we ask is, does a Government actually exist; and having satisfied ourselves of that fact, we look no further, but recognise it as it is. It was on this principle, (said Mr. K.,) this safe, this correct principle, that we recognised what was called the republic of France, founded on the ruins of the old monarchy; then the consular Government; a little after, the imperial; and when that was crushed by a combination of all Europe, and that most extraordinary man who wielded it was driven into exile, we again acknowledged the kingly Government of the house of Bourbon, and now the constitutional King Louis Philippe of Orleans. Sir, (said Mr. K.,) we take things as they are; we

move in the matter until the Executive moved.

ask not how Governments are established–-by what revolutions they are brought into existence. Let us see an independent Government in Texas, and he would not be behind the Senator from Mississippi nor the Senator from South Carolina in pressing forward to its recognition, and establishing with it the most cordial and friendly relations. Why (said Mr. K.) should our course now be made to differ from that pursued by us when South America was struggling to free herself from the grinding tyranny of Spain, from the horrors of the inquisition? Was there a man who did not deeply sympathize with them, and desire to see them freed from their oppressors? Not one, sir, not one; every heart throughout this widely-extended republic throbbed with joy at their successes, with pain at their reverses. Did we at once acknowledge their independence? No, sir; far from it. The eloquent Senator from Kentucky, then a member of the House of Representatives, exerted all his powers in vain. The then administration, wise, cautious, just, could not be induced to act in the absence of all information on which certain reliance could be placed. Three of our most respectable citizens were deputed to ascertain the true state of things; and it was not until their report was received, that that prudent administration recommended the recognition of the independence of the South American republics, and the whole country joyfully responded to the recommendation. So, he should hope, would be the action of the administration on the present occasion. Let us have information on which we may rely, not mere rumor. Gentlemen had declared their determination to sustain the proposition of the honorable Senator from Mississippi, because they regarded it as evidencing the feelings and wishes of the Executive on this subject. He, for one, could not consent that such an impression should go abroad. He had had no communication with the Chief Magistrate on the subject; but he felt confident that the distinguished individual at the head of the Government was too wise and too prudent to recommend premature action in relation to a matter involving consequences of the deepest importance. He should have been much gratified if it had pleased honorable gentlemen to have waited for the development of coming events, and not, upon the receipt of every rumor, to seize upon it and press for an immediate action. He could not see the necessity of referring these memorialso to the Committee on Foreign Relations; they had not the means of procuring any information not already in the possession of the public. He would have preferred that these manifestations of public feeling should have been received and suffered to lie on the table until the proper period for action should arrive. Ile would not, however, oppose the motion, if gentlemen contin: ued to press it; but he trusted to the intelligence and sound discretion of the Committee on Foreign Relations to let the matter slumber for the present, and not rec ommend any action, until possessed of the fullest information, sustaining the settled policy of this Government, and becoming to the national Legislature. Mr. MANGUM hoped the Senate would not send this matter to the committee—not to sleep, for they ought to report something on the subject. From the relation in which he stood as a member of that committee towards the Executive, he ought to be cautious not to embarrass that department of the Government; and from local causes it would naturally be expected he should have some feeling on this subject. If he had, he dare o: e would not vote for a reference of these, or any other proceedings, to embarrass the executive department. He alluded to a bill before another branch of Congress to fix the boundary line between this Government and the SENATE.]

Government of Mexico, and they ought to act with some delicacy. He knew he would be denounced in a certain quarter as wanting in a due sense of feeling for Texas. But when Texas came up to the standard of independence, he was prepared to act promptly, but was not willing to embarrass the Executive upon mere newspaper rumor. He would vote against the reference, on the ground that he was unwilling to take any step until he could go the whole length. At present, there was no authentic information that there was any Government in Texas. He would not yield that he had less sensibility than others in behalf of Texas; and being unwilling that the committee should be embarrassed by this delicate question, he would move to lay it on the table. Mr. CALHOUN was of opinion that it would add more strength to the cause of Texas to wait for a few days, until they received official confirmation of the victory and capture of Santa Anna, in order to obtain a more unanimous vote in favor of the recognition of Texas. He had been of but one opinion from the beginning, that, so far from Mexico being able to reduce Texas, there was great danger of Mexico herself being conquered by the Texans. The result of one battle had placed the ruler of Mexico in the power of the Texans; and they were now able, either to dictate what terms they pleased to him, or to make terms with the opposition in Mexico. This extraordinary meeting had given a handful of brave men a most powerful control over the destinies of Mexico; he trusted they would use their victory with moderation. He had made up his mind not only to recognise the independence of Texas, but for her admission into this Union; and if the Texans managed their affairs prudently, they would soon be called upon to decide that question. No man could suppose for a moment that that country could ever come again under the dominion of Mexico; and he was of opinion that it was not for our interests that there should be an independent community between us and Mexico. There were powerful reasons why Texas should be a part of this Union. The southern States, owning a slave population, were deeply interested in preventing that country from having the power to annoy them; and the navigating and manufacturing interests of the North and East were equally interested in making it a part of this Union. He thought they would soon be called on to decide these questions; and when they did act on it, he was for acting on both together—for recognising the independence of Texas, and for admitting her into the Union. Though he felt the deepest solicitude on this subject, he was for acting calmly, deliberately, and cautiously, but at the same time with decision and firmness. They should not violate their neutrality; but when they were once satisfied that Texas had established a Government, they should do as they had done in all other similar cases —recognise her as an independent nation; and if her people, who were once citizens of this republic, wished to come back to us, he would receive them with open arms. If events should go on as they had done, he could not but hope that before the close of the present session of Congress, they would not only acknowledge the independence of Texas, but admit her into the Union. He hoped there would be no unnecessary delay, for in such cases delays were dangerous; but that they would act with unanimity, and act promptly. Mr. BROWN said he would not enter into the consideration of the very important topics, on the present occasion, which the gentleman from South Carolina [Mr. Calhou N] had alluded to, in the course of his remarks, as to the position which Texas ought to occupy, in relation to the United States, in the event of her suc

[blocks in formation]

ceeding in the establishment of her independence. Whether she was to be incorporated into our confederacy as one of its members, or whether she was to stand in the relation of an independent sovereignty, having no political connexion with us, as a nation, were questions which were fraught with the most important conse. quences, and would, when presented for deliberation, deserve the most solemn consideration. He would proceed to say a few words on the motion to refer the memorials in favor of the recognition of the independence of Texas to the Committee on Foreign Relations. We had been called on (said Mr. B.) to take this step, by the advocates of the motion, confessedly on the grounds of the propriety of an immediate acknowledgment of the existing authorities in Texas as a Government. He, therefore, should view the motion as looking to that result, and as the means by which it was sought to be accomplished. What, he would ask, was the nature of the information on which this important step was to be predicated? Were we in possession of that well authenticated intelligence, as regards the condition of Texas, and the competency of its existing authorities to maintain themselves against the power of the Mexican Governinent, which would authorize such a measure? These were important preliminary inquiries, and should not be regarded as settled, until we had received more certain and definite information than we yet had in our possession. Mr. B. could not, he said, consider the effort which was now making by honorable gentlemen to stimulate action on this subject by our Government, in any other light than an attempt to change practically and radically the neutral and pacific character of our Government, which had long been cherished as one of its wisest and best settled principles of policy—a policy under the guidance of which we had grown, , and strengthened, and become powerful at home and respectable abroad. He, sor one, was not willing to exchange a policy which had produced such rich, and valuable fruits, for one of novel experiment and of uncertain issue. He could not yield his judgment to the enthusiastic appeals which had been made to our sympathies on this occasion. He trusted that he, too, felt a becoming and proper sympathy for those in every clime, and in every country, who were engaged in a struggle for liberty against arbitrary power. But there was a sympathy which he owed in another quarter, and which he acknowledged he felt in its full extent-higher, stronger, and of more sacred obligation than that which had been on the present occasion claimed of us. It was a sympathy for the preservation of our national character, for justice, and for the preservation of our own free institutions. Such was the ardent anxiety and solicitude that he felt for the success of our own great and hitherto eminently successful experiment in selfgovernment, that he believed we should not only be doing great injustice to our own country, but to the cause of liberty everywhere, by embarking our Government, which was the best and brightest hope of the friends of civil liberty, in schemes, if not dangerous, to say the least of them, injudicious and precipitate. Mr. B. thought he could see, in the considerations to which he had adverted, reasons at least as strong, and motives as powerful, to call forth our patriotic sympathies, and to afford us an ample occasion for their exercise, as any which had been urged on the other side. It had repeatedly (said Mr. B.) been charged against republics, by the advocates of power, that they were too much governed by a spirit of conquest, and had often endeavored to aggrandize themselves at the expense of other nations, disregarding the principles of justice. He believed the charge unfounded, and trusted that the United States would continue, as they had heretofore done, to afford an exemplification of the truth, that a

« AnteriorContinuar »