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“ [167] affect the question, one way or the other,” was most embarrassing. The “Liberty party,” so called, pushed this view of the matter beyond all justice and reason, insisting that Mr. Clay's antagonism to Annexation, not being founded in anti-Slavery conviction, was of no account whatever, and that his election should, on that ground, be opposed. Mr. James G. Birney, their candidate for President, went still further, and, in a letter published on the eve of the election, proclaimed that Mr. Clay's election would be more likely to promote Annexation than Mr. Polk's, because of Mr. C.'s superior ability and influence! It was in vain that Mr. Clay attempted to retrieve his error — if error it was — by a final letter to The National Intelligencer, reasserting his unchanged and invincible objections to any such Annexation as was then proposed or practicable.1 The State of New York was carried against him by the lean plurality of 5,106 in nearly 500,000 votes — the totals being, Clay, 232,482, Polk, 237,588, Birney, 15,812;--one-third of the intensely anti-Slavery votes thrown away on Birney would have given the State to Mr. Clay, and elected him. The vote of Michigan was, in like manner, given to Polk by the diversion of anti-Slavery suffrages to Birney; but New York alone would have secured Mr. Clay's election, giving him 141 electoral votes to 134 for his opponent. As it was, Mr. Clay received the electoral votes of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee--105 in all, being those of eleven States; while Mr. Polk was supported by Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, and Arkansas--fifteen States, casting 170 electoral votes. The popular votes throughout the country, as returned, were, for Clay, 1,288,533; for Polk, 1,327,325; for Birney, 62,263. So the triumph of Annexation had been secured by the indirect aid of the more intense partisans of Abolition.

1 This letter bears date “Ashland, September 23, 1844,” and says:

In announcing my determination to permit no other letters to be drawn from me on public affairs, I think it right to avail myself of the present occasion to correct the erroneous interpretation of one or two of those which I had previously written. In April last, I addressed to you from Raleigh a letter in respect to the proposed treaty annexing Texas to the United States, and I have since addressed two letters to Alabama upon the same subject. Most unwarranted allegations have been made that those letters are inconsistent with each other, and, to make it out, particular phrases or expressions have been torn from their context, ind a meaning attributed to me which I never entertained.

I wish now distinctly to say, that there is not a feeling, a sentiment, or an opinion, expressed in my Raleigh letter to which I do not adhere. I am decidedly opposed to the immediate Annexation of Texas to the United States. I think it would be dishonorable, might involve us in war, would be dangerous to the integrity and harmony of the Union; and, if all these objections were removed, could not be effected upon just and admissible conditions.

It was not my intention, in either of the two letters which I addressed to Alabama, to express any contrary opinion. Representations had been made to me that I was considered as inflexibly opposed to the Annexation of Texas under any circumstances; and that my position was so extreme that I would not waive it, even if there was a general consent to the measure by all the States of the Union. I replied, in my first letter to Alabama, that, personally, I had no objection to Annexation. I thought that my meaning was sufficiently obvious, that I had no personal, individual, or private motives for opposing, as I have none for espousing, the measure — my judgment being altogether influenced by general and political considerations, which have ever been the guide of my public conduct.

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