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CONGRESS REPRESSING AGITATION.
in the States, was affirmed-Yeas This resolve was adopted-Yeas 201, Nays 7. The third proposi- 117, Nays 68; the Nays being subtion, affirming that that "Congress stantially, but not entirely, composed ought not to interfere in any way of the Whig members from the Free with Slavery in the District of States. Columbia," prevailed Yeas 163, Nays 47-the Nays, of course, from the North. And the third clause, being now divided, the question was taken on the remaining part-" because it would be a violation of the public faith, unwise, impolitic, and dangerous to the Union"-and that was also affirmed-Yeas 129; Nays 74: the Nays being all from the North, and nearly all Whigs. The remainder of the proposition was then affirmed-Yeas 169; Nays 6.
The Committee appointed under the above resolution consisted of Messrs. Pinckney of South Carolina; Hamer of Ohio; Pierce of New Hampshire; Hardin of Kentucky; Jarvis of Maine; Owens of Georgia; Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania; Dromgoole of Virginia; and Turrill of New York—all Democrats, but Hardin, a Southern Whig. This Committee, in due season, reported, First, That Congress possesses no constitutional authority to interfere, in any way, with the institution of Slavery in any State of this confederacy. Secondly, That Congress ought not to interfere in any way with Slavery in the District of Columbia. And, "for the purpose of arresting agitation, and restoring tranquillity to the public mind," they recommended the adoption of this resolve:
"That all petitions, memorials, resolutions, propositions, or papers relating in any way to the subject of Slavery, or the abolition of Slavery, shall, without either being printed or referred, be laid upon the table."
18 January 18, 1837.
Amazing as it may seem, this heroic treatment was not successful in "arresting agitation, and restoring tranquillity to the public mind;" so that, when this Congress met for the second session, it was found necessary to do the work all over again. Accordingly, Mr. Albert G. Hawes, (Democrat) of Kentucky," offered a resolution, providing:
"That all memorials, etc., on the subject of the abolition of Slavery, should be laid on the table, without being referred or printed, and that no further action should be had
Which was adopted-Yeas 129; Nays 69-the Nays mainly Northern Whigs, as before. All debate was precluded by the Previous Question.
And still the agitation refused to be controlled or allayed; so that, on the meeting of the next Congress, Mr. Patton, of Virginia," offered the following "as a timely sacrifice to the peace and harmony of the country:"
"Resolved, That all petitions, memorials, and papers touching the abolition of Slavery, or the buying, selling, or transferring of slaves in any State, District, or Territory of the United States, be laid upon the table without being debated, printed, read, or referred; and no further action whatever shall be had thereon."
The Previous Question having again been ordered, this resolve was adopted-Yeas 122; Nays 74-the Nays, as before, mainly, if not entirely, the Whig members from the Free States.
19 December 21, 1837.
At the next session,20 Mr. Charles | A.'s resolves duly passed, as follows: G. Atherton, of New Hampshire, No. 1-Yeas 198; Nays 6. No. 2 moved the following resolutions: -Yeas 134; Nays 67-mainly, if not wholly, Northern Whigs. The third resolution having been divided, the House first resolved "That Congress has no right to do that indirectly which it cannot do directly," etc.-Yeas 170, Nays 30. The residue of the third resolve passed-Yeas The fourth resolve 164, Nays 39. was in like manner divided, and passed in two parts, by 182 and 175 Yeas to 26 Nays. The last of Mr. Atherton's resolves was in like manner divided, and the former part adopted by Yeas 147 to Nays 51; and the latter or gag portion by Yeas 127, Nays 78-Henry A. Wise refusing to vote.
"Resolved, That this government is a government of limited powers; and that, by the Constitution of the United States, Congress has no jurisdiction whatever over the institution of Slavery in the several States of the confederacy.
"Resolved, That the petitions for the abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia and the Territories of the United States, and against the removal of slaves from one State to another, are a part of the plan of operations set on foot to affect the institution of Slavery in the several States, and thus indirectly to destroy that institu
tion within their limits.
"Resolved, That Congress has no right to do that indirectly which it cannot do directly; and that the agitation of the subject of Slavery in the District of Columbia, or the Territories, as a means or with a view of disturbing or overthrowing that institution in the several States, is against the true spirit and meaning of the Constitution, an infringement of the rights of the States affected, and a breach of the public faith on which they entered into the confederacy.
"Resolved, That the Constitution rests on the broad principle of equality among the members of this confederacy; and that Congress, in the exercise of its acknowledged powers, has no right to discriminate between the institutions of one portion of the States and another, with a view of abolishing the one and promoting the other.
"Resolved, therefore, That all attempts on the part of Congress to abolish Slavery in the District of Columbia or the Territories, or to prohibit the removal of slaves from State to State, or to discriminate between the institutions of one portion of the country and another with the views aforesaid, are in violation of the Constitution, destructive of the fundamental principles on which the Union of these States rests, and beyond the jurisdiction of Congress; and that every petition, memorial, resolution, proposition, or paper, touching or relating in any way, or to any extent whatever, to Slavery as aforesaid, or the abolition thereof, shall, on the presentation thereof, without any further action thereon, be laid on the table, without being debated, printed, or referred."
Mr. Cushing, of Massachusetts, objecting, on motion of Mr. Atherton, the rules were suspended; and Mr.
20 December 11, 1838. 21 January 18, 1840. 22 The members from the Free States, twentyeight in all (all Democrats but Proffit, a Tylerized
This would seem quite stringent enough; but, two years later," the House, on motion of William Cost Johnson (Whig), of Maryland, further
"Resolved, That upon the presentation of any memorial or petition, praying for the abolition of Slavery or the Slave-Trade in any District, Territory, or State of the Union, and upon the presentation of any resolution or other paper touching that subject, the reception of such memorial, petition, resolution, or paper, shall be considered as objected to, and the question of its reception laid on the table, without debate or further action thereon.
"Resolved, That no petition, memorial, resolution, or other paper, praying for the abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia, or any State or Territory, or the Slave-Trade between the States or Territories of the United States, in which it now exists, shall be received by this House, or entertained in any way whatever."
On this proposition, the votes were
Yeas 114; Nays 108 several Northern Democrats and some Southern Whigs voting with all the Northern Whigs in the minority."
In a little more than ten years Whig), who voted for this resolve, were as follows:
Maine.-Virgil D. Parris, Albert Smith.
TEXAS UNDER SPAIN.
Congress at last discovered and applied the true, enduring remedy for agitation,' in hearing and heeding the demands of Justice, Humanity,
after this, Congress prohibited the
TEXAS AND HER ANNEXATION.
nated an ill-defined and mainly uninhabited region lying between the French possessions on the Mississippi, and the Spanish on the Rio Grande, but including no portion of the valley of either of those great rivers. Though the first European settlement on its soil appears to have been made by La Salle, a Frenchman, who landed in Matagorda Bay, and erected fort St. Louis on the Lavacca, prior to 1687, he is known to have intended to settle on the Mississippi, and to have drifted so far westward by mistake. The region since known as Texas was, even then, claimed by Spain as a part of Mexico; and a Spanish expedition under De Leon was dispatched to the Lavacca in 1689 to expel La Salle; but, on entering that river, learned that he had
THE name Texas originally desig- | never seriously disputed, though another French attempt to colonize it was made in 1714, and proved as futile as La Salle's. The cession of Louisiana by France to Spain in 1763, of course foreclosed all possibility of collision; and when Louisiana, having been retroceded by Spain to France, was sold to the United States, we took our grand purchase without specification of boundaries or guaranty of title. For a time, there was apparent danger of collision respecting our western boundary, between our young, selfconfident, and grasping republic, and the feeble, decaying monarchy of Spain; but the wise moderation of Mr. Jefferson was manifested through the action of his subordinates, so that Gen. Wilkinson, our military commander in Louisiana, and Gen. Her
been assassinated by one of his follow-rera, who directed the small Spanish
ers, and his entire company dispersed. De Leon returned next year, and founded the mission of San Francisco on the site of the dismantled fort St. Louis. From that time, the Spanish claim to the country was
force on our frontier, after some threatening demonstrations, came to an understanding in October, 1806, whereby the Sabine was practically recognized as our western boundary, and all peril of collision obviated by
New Hampshire.-Charles G. Atherton, Edmund
James Gerry, George M'Cullough, David Petriken, William S. Ramsay. Ohio.-D. P. Leadbetter, William Medill, Isaac Parrish, George Sweeney, Jonathan Taylor, John B. Weller. Indiana.-John Davis, George H. Proffit.— Illinois.—John Reynolds.
a withdrawal of the Spanish troops behind the Arroyo Honda, some miles further west. The weakness of Spain, the absorption of her energies and means in the desolating wars for her independence into which she was soon after forced by the rapacity of Napoleon, and the consequent revolutions in her continental American colonies, whereby they were each and all lost to her forever, afforded tempting opportunities to adventurer after adventurer, from Burr to Lafitte and Long, to attempt the conquest of Texas, with a view to planting an independent power on her inviting prairies, or of annexing her to the United States. Two or three of these expeditions seemed for a time on the verge of success; but each in turn closed in defeat and disaster; so that, when Spanish power was expelled from Mexico, Texas became an undisputed Mexican possession without costing the new nation a drop of blood. About this time (1819), our long-standing differences with Spain were settled by treaty, whereby Florida was ceded by her to this country, and the Sabine was mutually acknowledged and established as our western boundary. In other words, it was agreed that the region known as Texas appertained not to Louisiana, but to Mexico. Mr. Clay-then in quasi opposition to Mr. Monroe's Administration-demurred to this, and there were a few others who indicated dissatisfaction with it; but this stipulation of the treaty was so clearly right, and the course of the Administration in negotiating it so wise and proper, that all dissent was speedily drowned in avowals of general and hearty satisfaction.
Mexico having practically vindicated her independence, and all attempts to grasp Texas by force having proved abortive, Mr. Moses Austin-a native of Connecticut settled in Missouri-tried a new tack. Representing himself as a leader and mouth-piece of a band of Roman Catholics suffering from Protestant intolerance and persecution in this country, he petitioned the Mexican government for a grant of land, and permission to settle in the then almost unpeopled wilderness, vaguely known as Texas. His prayer was granted, though he did not live to profit by it. Returning, in the early months of 1821, from western Texas to Louisiana, he was robbed and left exposed to every hardship in that uninhabited region, thus contracting a severe cold, whereof he died the following June. His son, Stephen F. Austin, received the grant for which his father had sued, and under it made a settlement on a site which now includes the city of Austin.
Swarms of like adventurers, invited by the climate, soil, and varied natural resources of Texas, from this time poured into it; some of them on the strength of real or pretended concessions of territory-others without leave or license. They found very few Mexicans to dispute or share with them the advantages it presented; of government there was very little, and that not good; Texas being a portion, or rather appendage, of Coahuila, a Mexican State situated on the lower Rio Grande, with the bulk of its population west of that river. Revolutions succeeded each other at short intervals in Mexico, as in most Spanish American countries; and it was fairly a question whether
SAM HOUSTON GOES TO TEXAS.
the allegiance sworn to the
In the year 1827-Mr. John Q. Adams being President-Mr. Clay, his Secretary of State, instructed Joel R. Poinsett, our Minister to Mexico, to offer one million of dollars for the cession to us by the republic of Mexico of her territory this side of the Rio Grande. Mr. Poinsett did not make the offer, perceiving that it would only irritate and alienate the Mexicans to no good purpose.
them. governMore than twenty years later-having, meantime, been a gallant soldier in the War of 1812, an Indian agent, a lawyer, district attorney, major-general of militia, member of Congress, and Governor of Tennessee-he abruptly separated from his newly-married wife, and repaired again to the Cherokees, now settled west of the Mississippi, by whom he was welcomed and made a chief. After living with them three years longer as a savage, he suddenly left them again, returned to civilization-of the Arkansas pattern—set out from Little Rock, with a few companions of like spirit, for the new country to which adventurers and lawless characters throughout the Southwest were silently tending. A Little Rock journal, noticing his departure for Texas, significantly said:
In 1829, Mr. Van Buren, as Gen. Jackson's Secretary of State, instructed our Minister at Mexico to make a similar offer of four or five millions for Texas, including no part of the valley of the Rio Grande, nor
of that of the Nueces, this side of it," We shall doubtless hear of his rais
and, of course, no part of New Mexico. Still, Mexico would not sell.
SAM HOUSTON, born in Rockbridge County, Virginia, in 1793, had early migrated to Tennessee, settling very near the reserved lands of the Cherokee Indians, to whom he speedily absconded, living three years among
1 In the Winter of 1830, the first year of Jackson rule at Washington, Houston came to that city from the wilds of the far West, in company with a band of Indians, who professed to have business there. He remained some weeks or months, ostensibly attending to this business, and made or renewed the acquaintance of one Dr. Robert Mayo, with whom he became intimate, and to whom he imparted his Texas project; and by him it was betrayed to President Jackson, who, very probably, had already heard it from Houston himself.
"I learned from him," wrote Mayo, "that he was organizing an expedition against Texas; to afford a cloak to which, he had assumed the Indian costume, habits, and associations, by settling among them in the neighborhood of Texas. That nothing was more easy to accomplish than
ing his flag there shortly."
For the Slave Power had already perceived its opportunity, and resolved to profit by it. Houston and other restless spirits of his sort were pushed into Texas expressly to seize upon the first opportunity to foment a revolution,' expel the Mexican au
the conquest and possession of that extensive and fertile country, by the coöperation of the Indians in the Arkansas Territory, and recruits among the citizens of the United States. That, in his view, it would hardly be necessary to strike a blow to wrest Texas from Mexico. That it was ample for the establishment and maintenance of a separate and independent government from the United States. That the expedition would be got ready with all possible dispatch. That the demonstration would and must be made in about twelve months from that time. That the event of success opened the most unbounded prospects of wealth to those who would embark in it," etc., etc.
Dr. Mayo further learned from one Hunter, a confederate of Houston, that there were then secret agencies in all the principal cities of the Union, enlisting men for the Texas enterprise.