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[175] in the House, and who was then the regular Democratic nominee for the next House in the election just at hand, was thrown off the ticket unceremoniously, and another nominated in his stead — who, however, failed of success; the election resulting in no choice, so far as this seat was concerned. Three regular Democrats were elected to the others. In no other State was there any open and formidable opposition manifested by Democrats to this sudden consummation of the Texan intrigue.

The Whigs and Abolitionists of the Free States, of course, murmured; but to what end? What could they do? The new Democratic Administration must hold the reins for the ensuing four years, and its decided ascendency in both Houses of the next Congress was already amply secured. There were the usual editorial thunderings; perhaps a few sermons, and less than half-adozen rather thinly-attended public meetings, mainly in Massachusetts, whereat ominous whispers may have been heard, that, if things were to go on in this way much longer, the Union would, or should, be dissolved. This covert menace was emphatically rebuked by Mr. Robert C. Winthrop, of Boston, speaking the sentiment of the great majority of leading Whigs. “Our country, however, bounded,” was declared by him entitled to his allegiance, and the object of his affections. The great majority, even of the murmurers, went on with their industry and their trade, their pursuits and their aspirations, as though nothing of special moment had happened.

Yet it did not escape the regard of keen observers that our country had placed herself, by annexing Texas under the circumstances, not merely in the light of a powerful aggressor on the rights of neighboring helplessness, but of a champion and propagandist of Slavery, as the fit, beneficent condition of the producers of tropical and semi-tropical staples throughout the world. The dispatch of Mr. Calhoun to France, with one or two others of like purport, aimed more directly at England, justified and commended our designs on Texas expressly and emphatically on this ground. England, he argued, was plotting the extinction of Slavery throughout the Western Hemisphere. The United States must clutch Texas, or she would soon fall a prey to British intrigue and British influence — being induced thereby to emancipate her slaves; thus dealing a damaging, if not mortal, blow to Slavery throughout the New World. To avert this blow, and to shield the social and industrial system which it menaced, were the chief ends of Annexation.

Now, it was not literally true that our country was thus presented, for the first time, in the questionable attitude of a champion of Slavery. In our last treaty of peace with Great Britain, our commissioners at Ghent, acting under special instructions from the State Department,1 had adroitly bound Great Britain to return to

1 “The negroes taken from the Southern States should be returned to their owners, or paid for at their full value. If these slaves were considered as non-combatants, they ought to be restored; if as property, they ought to be paid for.” This stipulation is, moreover, expressly included “in the conditions on which you are to insist in the proposed negotiations.” --Letter of Instructions from Mr. Monroe, Secretary of State, 28th January, 1814.

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