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Mr. Murphy, have suggested that it was not expedient to say too much about this object, that it might create some alarm. At any rate, Mr. Murphy wrote to him, that England was anxious to get rid of the Constitution of Texas, because it was a constitution establishing slavery; and that what the United States had to do was to aid the people Texas in upholding their constitution; but that nothing should be said which should offend the fanatical men. But, sir, the honorable member did avow this object, himself, openly, boldly and manfully, he did not disguise his conduct or his motives.
MR. CALHOUN. Never, never.
MR. WEBSTER. And I honor him for it. This admission of Texas was in 1845. Then, in 1847, flagrante bello between the United States and Mexico, the proposition I have mentioned was brought forward by my friend from Georgia, and the Northern Democracy voted straight ahead against it. Their remedy was to apply to the acquisitions, after they should come in, the Wilmot Proviso. What follows? These two gentlemen worthy and honorable, and influential men, -- and if they had not been, they could not have carried the measure these two gentlemen, members of this body, brought in Texas, and by their votes they also prevented the passage of the resolution of the honorable member from Georgia, and then they went home and took the lead in the Free Soil party. And there they stand, sir! Tbey leave us here, bound in honor and conscience by the resolutions of annexation they leave us here to take the odium of fulfilling the obligations in favor of slavery which they voted us into, or else the greater odium of violating those obligations while they are at home making rousing and capital speeches for free-soil and no slavery. [Laughter.] And, therefore, I say, sir, that there is not a chapter in our history, respecting public measures and public men, more full of what should create surprise, more full of what does create, in my mind, extreme mortification, than that of the conduct of this Northern democracy.
Mr. President, sometimes, when a man is found in a new relation to things around him and to other men, he says the world has changed, and that he has not changed. I believe, sir, that our selfrespect leads us often to make this declaration in regard to ourselves when it is not exactly true. An individual is more apt to change, perhaps, than all the world around him is to change. But under the present circumstances, and under the responsibility which I know I incur by what I am now stating here, I feel at liberty to recur to the various expressions and statements, made at various times of my own opinions and resolutions respecting the admission of Texas, and all that has followed. Sir, as early as 1836, or in the
earlier part of 1837, a matter of conversation and correspondence between myself and some private friends was this project of annex. ing Texas to the United States, and an honorable gentleman with whom I have had a long acquaintance, a friend of mine, now perhaps in this chamber-I mean Gen. Hamilton, of South Carolinawas knowing to that correspondence. I had voted for the recognition of Texan independence, because I believed it was an existing fact, surprising and astonishing as it was, and I wished well to the new republic, but I manifested from the first utter opposition to bring. ing her with her territory into the Union. I had occasion, sir, in 1837, to meet friends in New York, on some political occasion, and I then stated my sentiments upon the subject. It was the first time that I had occasion to advert to it, and I will ask a friend near me to do me the favor to read an extract from the speech for the Senate may find it rather tedious to listen to the whole of it. It was delivered in Niblo's Garden in 1837.
Mr. GREENE then read the following extract from the speech of the honorable Senator, to which he referred :
“Gentlemen, we all see that, by whomsoever possessed, Texas is likely to be a slaveholding country; and I frankly avow my entire unwillingness to do any thing which shall extend the slavery of the African race on this continent, or add other slaveholding States to the Union.
“When I say that I regard slavery in itself as a great moral, social, and political evil, I only use language which has been adopted by distinguished men, themselves citizens of slaveholding States.
“ I shall do nothing, therefore, to favor or encourage its further extension. We have slavery already among us.
The constitution found it among us ; it recognised it, and gave it solemn guaranties.
“ To the full extent of these guaranties, we are all bound in honor, in justice, and by the constitution. All the stipulations contained in the constitution in favor of the slaveholding States, which are already in the Union, ought to be fulfilled, and, so far as depends on me, shall be fulfilled in the fulness of their spirit and to the exactness of their letter. Slavery as it exists in the States is beyond the reach of Congress. It is a concern of the States themselves. They have never submitted it to Congress, and Congress has no rightful power over it.
“I shall concur, therefore, in no act, no measure, no menace, no indication of purpose which shall interfere or threaten to interfere with the exclusive authority of the sevěral States over the subject of slavery, as it exists within their respective limits. All this appears to me to be matter of plain and imperative duty.
“ But when we come to speak of admitting new States, the subject assumes an entirely different aspect. Our rights and our duties are then both different. *
“I see, therefore, no political necessity for the annexation of Texas to the Union — no advantages to be derived from it; and objections to it of a strong, and, in my judgment, of a decisive character.”
Mr. WEBSTER. I have nothing, sir, to add to, nor to take back from those sentiments. That, the Senate will perceive, was in 1837. The purpose of immediately annexing Texas at that time was abandoned or postponed ; and it was not revived with any vigor for some years. In the meantime, it had so happened that I had become a member of the Executive Administration, and was for a short period in the Department of State. The annexation of Texas was a subject of conversation—not confidential- with the President and heads of Departments, as well as with other public men. No serious attempt was then made, however, to bring it about. I left the Department of State in May, 1843, and shortly after I learned, though no way connected with official information, that a design had been taken up of bringing in Texas, with her slave territory and population, into the United States. I was here in Washington at the time, and the persons are now here who will remember that we had an arranged meeting for conversation upon it. I went home to Massachusetts and proclaimed the existence of that purpose, but I could get no audience, and but little attention. Some did not believe it, and some were too much engaged in their own pursuits to give it any heed. They had gone to their farms, or to their merchandise, and it was impossible to arouse any sentiment in New England or in Massachusetts that should combine the two great political parties against this annexation; and, indeed, there was no hope of bringing the Northern Democracy into that view, for the leaning was all the other way. But, sir, even with Whigs, and leading Whigs, I am ashamed to say, there was a great indifference towards the admission of Texas with slave territory into this Union. It went on. I was then out of Congress. The annexation resolutions passed the 1st of March, 1845. The Legislature of Texas complied with the conditions and accepted the guaranties; for the phraseology of the language of the resolution is, that Texas is to come in “
upon the conditions and uniler the guaranties herein prescribed.” I happened to be returned to the Senate in March, 1845, and was here in December, 1845, when the acceptance by Texas of the conditions proposed by Congress was laid before us by the President, and an act for the consummation of the connexion was laid before the two Houses. The connexion was not completed. A final law doing the deed of annexation ultimately and finally had not been passed ; and when it was upon its final passage here, I expressed my opposition to it and recorded my vote in the negative; and there that vote stands, with the observations that I made upon that occasion. It has happened that, between 1837 and this time, on various occasions and opportunities, I have expressed my entire opposition to the admission of slave States, or the acquisition of new slave territories, to be added to the United States. I know, sir, no change in my own sentiments or my own purposes in that respect. I
will now again ask my friend from Rhode Island to read another extract from a speech of mine, made at a Whig Convention in Springfield, Massachusetts, in the month of September, 1847.
Mr. Greene here read the following extract:
“We hear much just now of a panacea for the dangers and evils of slavery and slave annexation, which they call the 'Wilmot Proviso. That certainly is a just sentiment, but it is not a sentiment to found any new party upon. It is not a sentiment on which Massachusetts Whigs differ. There is not a man in this hall who holds it more firmly 'than I do, nor one who adheres to it more than another.
I feel some little interest in this matter, sir. Did not I commit myself in 1838 to the whole doctrine, fully, entirely? And I must be permitted to say that I cannot quite consent that more recent discoverers should claim the merit and take out a patent.
I deny the priority of their invention. Allow me to say, it is not their thunder."
“We are to use the first and last and every occasion which offers to oppose the extension of slave power.
But I speak of it here, as in Congress, as a political question, a question for statesmen to act upon. We must so regard it. I certainly do not mean to say that it is less important in a moral point of view; that it is not more important in many other points of view, but, as a legislator, or in any offi. cial capacity, I must look at it, consider it, and decide it as a matter of political action."
Mr. WEBSTER. On other occasions, in debates here, I have expressed my determination to vote for no acquisition, or cession or annexation, North or South, East or West. My opinion has been that we have territory enough, and that we should follow the Spartan maxim, "improve, adorn what you have, seek no further.” I think that it was in some observations that I made here on the three million loan bill that I avowed that sentiment. In short, sir, the sentiment has been avowed quite as often, in as many places, and before as many assemblies, as any humble sentiments of mine ought to be avowed.
But now, that, under certain conditions, Texas is in, with all her territories, as a slave State, with a solemn pledge that if she is divided into many States, those States may come in as slave States south of 36° 30', how are we to deal with this subject? I know no way of honorable legislation but, when the proper time comes for the enactment, to carry into effect all that we have stipulated to do. I do not entirely agree with my honorable friend from Tennessee, (Mr. Bell,) that, as soon as the time comes when she is entitled to another representative, we should create a new State. The rule in regard to it I take to be this; that, when we have created new States out of Territories, we have generally gone upon the idea that when there is population enough to form a State, sixty thousand or some such thing, we would create a State ; but it is
quite a different thing when a State is divided, and two or more States made out of it. It does not follow, in such a case, that the same rule of apportionment should be applied. That, however, is a matter for the consideration of Congress when the proper time arrives. I may not then be here. I may have no vote to give on the occasion, but I wish it to be distinctly understood to-day, that, according to my view of the matter, this Government is solemnly pledged by law to create new States out of Texas, with her consent, when her population shall justify such a proceeding, and so far as such States are formed out of Texan territory lying south of 36° 30', to let them come in as slave States. That is the meaning of the resolution which our friends, the Northern Democracy, have left us to fulfil; and I for one, mean to fulfil it, because I will not violate the faith of the Government.
Now, as to California and New Mexico, I hold slavery to be excluded from those Territories by a law even superior to that which admits and sanctions it in Texas. I mean the law of nature of physical geography – the law of the formation of the earth. That law settles forever, with a strength beyond all terms of human enactment, that slavery cannot exist in California or New Mexico. Understand me, sir; I mean slavery as we regard it; slav in the gross, of the colored race, transferable by sale and delivery like other property. I shall not discuss the point, but I leave it to the learned gentlemen who have undertaken to discuss it; but I suppose there is no slave of that description in California now. I undersrand that peonism, a sort of penal servitude, exists there, or rather a sort of voluntary sale of a man and his offspring for debt, as it is arranged and exists in some parts of California and New Mexico. But what I mean to say is, that African slavery, as we see it among us, is as utterly impossible to find itself, or to be found in Mexico, as any other natural impossibility. California and New Mexico are Asiatic in their formation and scenery. 'They are composed of vast ridges of mountains of enormous height, with broken ridges and deep valleys. The sides of these mountains are barren; entirely barren, their tops capped by perennial snow. There may be in California, now made free by its constitution, and no doubt there are, some tracts of valuable landy But it is not so in New Mexico. Pray, what is the evidence which every gentleman must have obtained on this subject, from information sought by himself or communicated by others ? I have inquired and read all I could find in order to obtain information.
What is there in New Mexico that could by any possibility induce any body to go there with slaves ? There are some narrow strips of tillable land on the borders of the rivers ; but the rivers themselves