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[156] the scheme still more openly and vigorously, and under whose auspices a Treaty of Annexation was concluded April 12, 1844, but which was resolutely opposed in the Senate, and rejected, receiving but fifteen votes.

It is not probable that the master-spirits of the Annexation intrigue were either disappointed or displeased by this signal defeat of their first public movement. It is very certain that they were not disconcerted. For the Presidential Election of 1844 was now in immediate prospect; and they had two darling objects to achieve by the Annexation project: first, the defeat of Mr. Van Buren in the Democratic National Convention; next, the defeat of Mr. Clay before the people.

The defeat of Mr. Van Buren's nomination was first in order, and a matter of very considerable difficulty. He had been the candidate of the party at the preceding election, and beaten, as his supporters contended, “without a why or wherefore,” by a popular frenzy incited by disgusting, though artful, appeals to ignorance, sensuality, and every vulgar prejudice and misconception. The disorganization of the Whigs, following Gen. Harrison's death and Tyler's defection, had brought their antagonists into power in at least two-thirds of the States, and they were quite as confident as the Whigs of their ability to triumph in the approaching Presidential election.

“The sober second thought” of the people had been specially appealed to by Mr. Van Buren for the vindication of his conduct of public affairs, and that appeal had been favorably responded to by his party. There was no room for reasonable doubt that a great majority of his fellow-Democrats earnestly desired and expected his nomination and election. To prevent the former was the more immediate object of the preternatural activity suddenly given to the Texas intrigue, which, never abandoned, had for several years apparently remained in a state of suspended animation. Mr. Thomas W. Gilmer, of Va., formerly a State Rights Whig member of Congress, now an ardent disciple of Calhoun and a partisan of John Tyler, by whom he was made Secretary of the Navy a few days before he was killed (February 28, 1844, on board the U. S. war steamer Princeton, by the bursting of the big gun already noticed), was the man selected to bring the subject freshly before the public. In a letter dated Washington, January 10, 1843, and published soon after in The Madisonian, Mr. Tyler's organ, he says:

dear Sir:--You ask if I have expressed the opinion that Texas would be annexed to the United States. I answer, yes: and this opinion has not been adopted without reflection, nor without a careful observation of causes, which I believe are rapidly bringing about this result. I do not know how far these causes have made the same impression on others; but I am persuaded that the time is not distant when they will be felt in all their force. The excitement, which you apprehend. may arise; but it will be temporary, and, in the end, salutary. * * * I am, as you know, a strict constructionist of the powers of our Federal Government; and I do not admit the force of mere precedent to establish authority under written constitutions. The power conferred by the Constitution over our foreign relations, and the repeated acquisitions of territory under it, seem to me to leave this question open as one of expediency.

But you anticipate objections with regard to the subject of Slavery. This is, indeed, a subject of extreme delicacy, but it is one on which the annexation of Texas will have the most salutary influence. Some have thought that the proposition would

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