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[159]

Great Britain has already made treaties with Texas; and we know that far-seeing nation never omits a circumstance, in her extensive intercourse with the world, which can be turned to account in increasing her military resources. May she not enter into an alliance with Texas? and, reserving, as she doubtless will, the North-Western Boundary question as the cause of war with us whenever she chooses to declare it, let us suppose that, as an ally with Texas, we are to fight her! Preparatory to such a movement, she sends her 20,000 or 30,000 men to Texas; organizes them on the Sabine, where supplies and arms can be concentrated before we have even notice of her intentions; makes a lodgment on the Mississippi; excites the negroes to insurrection; the lower country falls, and with it New Orleans; and a servile war rages through the whole South and West.

In the mean time, she is also moving an army along the western frontier from Canada, which, in cooperation with the army from Texas, spreads ruin and havoc from the Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.

Who can estimate the national loss we may sustain, before such a movement could be repelled with such forces as we could organize on short notice?

Remember that Texas borders upon us, on our west to 42° of north latitude, and is our southern boundary to the Pacific. Remember also, that, if annexed to the United States, our Western boundary would be the Rio Grande, which is of itself a fortification, on account of its extensive, barren, and uninhabitable plains. With such a barrier on our west, we are invincible. The whole European world could not, in combination against us, make an impression on our Union. Our population on the Pacific would rapidly increase, and soon be strong enough for the protection of our eastern whalers, and, in the worst event, could always be sustained by timely aids from the intermediate country.

From the Rio Grande, overland, a large army could not march, or be supplied, unless from the Gulf by water, which, by vigilance, could always be intercepted; and to march an army near the Gulf, they could be harassed by militia, and detained until an organized force could be raised to meet them.

But I am in danger of running into unnecessary details, which my debility will not enable me to close. The question is full of interest also as it affects our domestic relations, and as it may bear upon those of Mexico to us. I will not undertake to follow it out to its consequences in those respects; though I must say that, in all aspects, the annexation of Texas to the United States promises to enlarge the circle of free institutions, and is essential to the United States, particularly as lessening the probabilities of future collision with foreign powers, and giving them greater efficiency in spreading the blessings of peace.

I return you my thanks for your kind letter on this subject, and subscribe myself, with great sincerity, your friend and obedient servant,


This letter was secretly circulated, but carefully withheld from the press for a full year, and finally appeared in The Richmond Enquirer, with its date altered from 1843 to 1844, as if it had been written in immediate support of the Tyler-Calhoun negotiation.

Col. Benton, in his “Thirty years view,” directly charges that the letter was drawn from Gen. Jackson expressly to be used to defeat Mr. Van Buren's nomination, and secure, if possible, that of Mr. Calhoun instead; and it doubtless exerted a strong influence adverse to the former, although Gen. Jackson was among his most unflinching supporters to the last.

Mr. John Quincy Adams had united with Mr. William Slade, Joshua R. Giddings, and ten other anti-Slavery Whig members of the XXVIIth Congress (March 3, 1843), in a stirring address to the people of the Free States, warning them against the Annexation intrigue, as by no means abandoned, but still energetically, though secretly, prosecuted. In that address, they recited such of the fore-going facts as were then known to them, saying:

We, the undersigned, in closing our duties to our constituents and our country as members of the Twenty-Seventh Congress, feel bound to call your attention, very briefly, to the project, long entertained by a portion of the people of these United States, still pertinaciously adhered to, and intended soon to be

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