March 2, 1845, two days before Tyler
was succeeded by Polk
, who was instigated by the same pro-slavery ambition as his predecessor.
The slave-power was then the master of the Democratic party; and Northern Democrats—some from pro-slavery sympathies, and others from servile fear—voted for the measure in Congress,1
joined by a sufficient number of Whigs in the Senate to carry it through.
It is painful, in reading the history of that period, to see how feeble was the resistance to the great conspiracy; to observe the sham neutrality of our government in the contest between Mexico
,—its pretences of offended dignity and its support of unfounded claims; its unconstitutional use of the navy and army in threatening, and at last invading, a sister republic, to whom we were bound by conditions of peace and a common polity; the sophistry, disingenuousness, and falsehood of its diplomatic papers, and its unblushing avowal of its purpose to extend and perpetuate slavery.
Viewed in connection with the war which followed, and the age and country in which it took place, history records no baser transaction than the annexation of Texas
The spirit of the people had fallen low indeed, if they would not rise up to drive from power and punish all who had borne a part in it. At least the time had come to organize a resistance as determined as the conspiracy itself, and to abandon political combinations which openly aided or weakly submitted to it.3
No such general revolt
as might have been expected followed the consummation of the iniquity.
Partisans were disposed to accept an accomplished fact, and discountenanced further contention as useless.
The Southern Whigs, who had put their opposition on mild grounds of detail or expediency, yielded very graciously to the final result; but among Northern Whigs, instead of such general resignation, a divergence of sentiment developed.
They had, in State legislatures and political conventions, as also in journals and popular meetings, affirmed their unalterable purpose to resist the scheme to the end, going so far