SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
© 1997-2000, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved
War of Independence-Index | Slavery in the DeWitt Colony | War in Texas-Lundy
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We [the author Benjamin Lundy] add a few more facts, collected from various sources, to those already enumerated, tending to prove the determination of southern slaveholders to acquire the Texas country for the purpose of of re-establishing Slavery, and annexing the territory to the United States, as aforesaid. A gentleman of intelligence and veracity residing in Ohio, formerly a member of the Legislature of that State recently visited the Southwestern country and gives the result of his observations upon this particular subject, in a letter to the editor of the National Enquirer, as follows:
"I have read the pamphlet entitled 'The Origin and true Causes of the Texas Insurrection.' I was abundantly satisfied on this point before I saw it. No secret is made of it on the Ohio and Mississippi---it is openly avowed, and warmly defended. The colder slave countries feel themselves very deeply interested, and now think of breeding slaves in earnest. Men and money will be liberally furnished. Numerous Kentuckians---young men, ambitious of fame, and seeking fortunes---will even go from Illinois, where they had previously emigrated."
Another very respectable gentleman, who lately traveled with the Hon. Mr. Peyton, of Tennessee, informs us that distinguished member of Congress unhesitatingly expressed his determination to use his influence in procuring the annexation of Texas to the United States, in order that a number more Slave States may be created and admitted into the Union, to preserve the preponderance of slaveholding influence and power in the government. The following items, extracted from late, newspapers, may very properly be avowed and borne in mind.
"The United States Telegraph" published at Washington City, say: "It is stated, on unquestionable authority, that a letter was found among the papers of the late Huchins G. Burton Ex-Governor of North Carolina, from a person high in an authority, stating that Texas would certainly annexed to the United States at the same time offering to make him (Burton) Governor of said Territory if the statemate be true, and we do not doubt it, what a state of things does it disclose!!"
The Telegraph proceeds to argue that the object of the "Person high in authority," was to obtain the political influence of Gov. Burton, in the coming election contest. We have not a shadow of doubt respecting the truth of the statement. We have heard it frequently, and trace it to unquestionably authentic sources. Some noise has also been made about it recently in the newspapers. The subject is not more connected with politics, than with the long meditated, now operative, attempt to provide for the extension of slavery to that part the continent.
The Mobile Advertiser of a recent date, holds forth this emphatic language:
"The South wish to have Texas admitted into the Union for two reasons: First, to equalize the South with the North, and secondly, as a convenient and safe place calculated from its peculiarly good soil and salubrious climate for a slave population. Interest and political safety both, alike prompt the action and enforce the argument. The South contends that preservation and justice to themselves call for that aid to he tendered to them which would be given by the acquisition of Texas. They are not safe as they are. They are not balanced with the free states. Their exposure to insurrection is fourfold, with not one-fourth the means to redress their grievances. They contend that they have an internal foe within, and an awful foe in all those who demand the emancipation of their slaves, and who call upon them to give up their property now and for ever. The question is therefore put by the South to Congress and the country, 'Shall we have justice done us by the admission of Texas into the Union, whenever that admission may be asked by the Texians themselves!' The question is a fair one and must soon be met by Congress and the nation. The North almost to a man will answer NO. The West will be divided, and the discussion of the question will find two strong and powerful parties; the one in favor of Texas, a slaveholding province, and the other against it."
To the foregoing we subjoin a toast lately given at a public meeting of imminent politicians at Columbia, South Carolina :
"TEXAS-If united to our government as a state, it will prove an invaluble acquisition to the southern states, and their domestic institutions."
Notices, of the following purport, are very frequently to be seen in the southern and southwestern papers. This is copied from a North Carolina Journal.
"WHO WILL GO TO TEXAS? Major J. H. Harry, of Lincolnton, has been authorized by me, with the consent of of Maj. Gen. Hunt, an agent in the western counties of N. Carolina, to receive and enroll Volunteer emigrants to Texas, and will conduct such as may wish to emigrate to that Republic, about the first of October next, at the expense of the Republic of Texas. J. P. HENDERSON, Brig. GenT of Texian Army. August, 1836."
Many more articles might be added, of similar import with the foregoing; but it would occupy too much space to record them. The paragraph below, however, gives us a view of operations upon the large scale; and while we peruse it, we must recollect, that no measures have been taken by our government, to prevent this bold and glaring violation of our own laws and the integrity of the Mexican Republic!
THREE THOUSAND MEN FOR TEXAS.---Gen. Dunlap, of Tennessee, is about to proceed to Texas with the above number of men. The whole corps are now at Memphis. They will not, it is said, pass this way. Every man is completely armed, the corps having been originally raised for the Florida war. This force, we have no doubt, will be able to carry every thing before it. Vicksburg Register. [Lundy later corrected this exaggeration stating the note referred actually to 300 men-WLM]
It is gratifying to learn that the motives of those engaged in this outrageous Crusade are beginning to be understood and justly appreciated, by some of the most intelligent citizens of the United States. A gentleman of great philanthropy, intelligence, and public spirit, in the State of New York, thus expresses himself in a letter of recent date:
The Texians could have effected nothing, but for the assistance furnished by the southern states, who have as fully waged the war they excited, as though it had been formally declared by them. The number of respectable men in Texas is too small to redeem the country and their cause from the fathomless abyss of misery, degradation, and infamy, into which the projected establishment and perpetuation of slavery must inevitably plunge them as well as the United States. Meanwhile, all the slave-mongers, slave politicians, and slave presses on this side the Sabine and Red rivers, are using the utmost exertions to force the recognition of Texian Independence, and its incorporation with the United States as speedily as possible. This monstrous outrage, unsurpassed in the blackest page of history, is fast tending to its consummation."
An able writer in the same State, who ranks among the most eminent legal professional characters, emphatically remarks as follows, in a communication to the editor of the National Enquirer
Speaking of the Texas Conspiracy," he says---"I cannot now bring to my recollection, in the history of the world, so foul and abominable a conspiracy against the laws of nations, of civil society, and the rights of man, as this nefarious combination of land-speculators, land-pirates, and man-stealers, tinder the name of Texian Patriots presents:-and this too in the nineteenth Century, and in the midst of a people who boast of being highly intelligent, and claim to be the friends of law, order, liberty, and the RIGHTS OF MAN!!!---From my innermost soul I sicken at the thought."
There can be no possible mistake in these indications of an awakening spirit among the intelligent and virtuous of our countrymen. The great question is: Will it be so general as to arrest the grand marplots in their unholy career, before the seal shall have been set to their abominable project? Let the PUBLIC VOICE BE RAISED, IN TONES OF THUNDER, from the shores of the Atlantic to our inland seas, and from the mountain-forests of Maine to the swamps of Louisiana.---Let the nation be thoroughly awakened, and all may yet be well.---Otherwise, the Demon of Oppression will triumph, and our children must wear his chains---or blood will flow it, torrents, and the land be drenched with their crimson gore!
I will now conclude, with one more extract from a late paper. Others are also beginning to sound the tocsin of alarm:---and it is to be hoped, at least, that the NORTHERN PRESS will soon be roused to action. From the "Friend of Man."
The editor of the New-York Sun, of the 22nd, quotes the following extract from Gen. Houston's letter to General Dunlap, of Nashville "for a portion of this force we must look to the U. States. It cannot reach us too soon. There is but one feeling in Texas, in my opinion, and that is to establish the independence of Texas, and to be attached to the U. States" and then remarks:
"Here, then, is an open avowal by the commander-in-chief of the Texian army, that American troops will be required to seize and sever this province of the Mexican republic, for the purpose of uniting it to ours; and this avowal is made by a distinguished American citizen, in the very face of that glorious constitution of his country, which wisely gives no power to its citizens for acquiring for territory by conquest, their own territory being more than amply sufficient to gratify any safe ambition; and in the face, too, of the following solemn and sacred contract of his country with the sister republic which he would dismember:
'There shall be a firm, inviolable, and universal peace, and a true and sincere friendship between the United States of America, and the United Mexican States, in all the extent of their possessions and territories, between their people and citizens respectively, without distinction of persons or Places.'"
In the earlier days of our republic, when a high-minded and honorable fidelity to its constitution was an object proudly paramount to every mercenary consideration that might contravene it an avowed design of this kind against the sessions of a nation with whom the United States were at peace would have subjected its author, if a citizen, to the charge of treason, and to its consequences.---Aaron Burr and his associates were suppose to meditate the conquest of Mexico and attempted to raise troops in the southern states to achieve it, they were arrested for treason, and Burr, their chief, was tried for his life. But now, behold!, the conquest of a part of the same country is an object openly proclaimed, not in the letters of General Houston alone, but by many of our wealthy citizens at public banquets, and by the hireling presses in the chief cities of our Union. The annexation of a foreign territory to our own by foreign conquest, being thus unblushingly avowed, and our citizens who are integral portions of our national sovereignty being openly invited and incited to join he crusade with weapons of war, it becomes, an interesting moral inquiry---what is there in the public mind to excuse or even to palliate so flagrant a prostitution of national faith and honor in these days, any more than in the days that are past?
The answer is ready at hand, and is irrefutable. An extensive and well organized gang of swindlers in Texas lands, have raised the cry, and the standard of "Liberty!" and to the thrilling harm of this glorious word, which stirs the blood of a free people, as the blast of the bugle arouses every nerve of the war-horse, have the generous feelings of our citizens responded in ardent delusion. But as the Commercial Advertiser truly declares, "Never was the Goddess of American Liberty invoked more unrighteously;" and we cannot but believe that the natural sagacity, good sense, and proud regard for their national honor, for which our citizens are distinguished the eyes of all nations, will speedily rescue them from the otherwise degrading error in which that vile crew of mercenary, hypocritical swindlers would would involve them. The artful deceivers, however, have not relied upon the generosity and noble sympathy only of our fellow citizens, for they insidiously presented a bribe to excite their cupidity also. They have not only falsely represented the Texian cause as one of pure, disinterested liberty and justice, as opposed to perfidious tyranny and cruel oppression, but they have themselves assumed something more than the liberty which they basely and hypocritically advocate, by impudently promising a fertile paradisiacal piece of Texian land, a mile square, to every American citizen and foreign emigrant, who will sally forth to capture it from the Mexican republic! Induced by one or both of these objects, many hundreds of our enterprising citizens left their own ample and unobjectionable country, to unite with Irish, English, and other foreign adventurers in a war, from the fullest success of which, only some six or eight Land Companies, who have fraudulently and audaciously monopolized the Texian territory, would gain an important benefit. And to this shrine of Mammon, concealed by the crowding banners of ostensible liberty, have many hundreds of our gallant youth been treacherously sacrificed---sacrificed by a mercenary treachery, compared to which that exercised by Santa Anna, in defense of the Republic of which he was President, was innocence and patriotism.
Had we in the Texians, a brave and injured people, struggling in the land of their birth, or even of their adoption, for those abstract and social rights of mankind which were the objects of our revolution, and which we obtained and enjoy, theirs would be a cause with which angels might sympathize, and which the bolts of heaven might well be launched to aid. But is it such a cause! Deceived by misrepresentations, we were ourselves lead so to consider it, in its earlier efforts; but a fair examination of facts has undeceived us, and we look in vain either for such a cause or such a people in the Texians. What are the facts?
We pledge ourselves to answer the question with a perspicuity which shall defy all future obscuration, and with a rigid adherence to truth which shall defy the most desperate efforts to refute. We have at present only room to state, in brief, that the Texian revolution was concerted by the planters and slave speculators in the southern states ever since the first permission given by the Spanish authorities to Moses Austin, of Missouri, in the year 1820, to introduce 300 families, professing the Catholic religion, as colonists of grant of land which lie obtained on this express condition. From that time to the Present moment the aggressions have been on the part of the colonists, under the sanction of the southern speculators; and riot until their purpose of getting a physical force into the province which should detach it from Mexico, and make it a slaveholding state, became flagrant and undisguised, the settlers, ever received aught but protection encouragement, toleration and kindness, from the Mexican government. They, paid no taxes, had their own laws and tribunals, were allowed to profess and exercise all the religions they chose, though contrary to the Mexican constitution; enjoyed all the fruits of a beautiful and bounteous soil without return or tribute to the government to which it and were, without exception, the freest civilized people upon the face of the earth. But the object of the colonizing land agents of the South was to make this prolific province their own, and the field of a new and lucrative negro slavery. To this they still tenaciously adhere; and if they can induce a strong force of our American youth to shed their blood for the unjust and avaricious cause of slavery, under the name of Texian liberty and independence, they will undoubtedly secure their object. We doubt not the ability of our gallant countrymen to exterminate any number of Mexicans that can be brought against them, but in fighting for the union of Texas with the United States, which is the avowed meaning of "Texian Independence," they will be fighting for that which, at no distant period, will inevitably DISSOLVE THE UNION. The slave states, having this eligible addition to their land of bondage, with its harbors, bays, and well-bounded geographical position, will ere long cut asunder the federal tie, which they have long held with ungracious and unfraternal fingers, and confederate a new and distinct slaveholding republic, in opposition to the whole free republic of the North. Thus early will be fulfilled the prediction of the old politicians of Europe, that our Union could not remain one century entire; and then also will the maxim be exemplified in our history, as it is in the history of the slaveholding republics of old, that liberty and slavery cannot long inhabit the same soil."
PEOPLE OF AMERICA!---Again I entreat you to read, and reflect seriously upon the alarming facts, stated in the preceding pages. Let your voice be heard, immediately, in the strongest language of reprobation, and denunciation of the UNHALLOWED SCHEME. A CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES.
(From The New Handbook of Texas) LUNDY, BENJAMIN (1789-1839). Benjamin Lundy, antislavery advocate, was born in Sussex County, New Jersey, of Quaker parentage on January 4, 1789. He became active in the antislavery movement in the 1820s. He organized abolitionist societies, lectured extensively, and contributed to many abolitionist publications. Believing that the slavery problem could be solved by settling free blacks in thinly populated regions, he visited Haiti and Canada and between the years 1830 and 1835 paid three visits to Texas in hopes of obtaining land for such a colony. While in Texas he talked to free blacks, planters, and Mexican officials and visited Nacogdoches, San Antonio, and the Brazos and Rio Grande areas. He concluded that Texas was an ideal place for his colonization experiment; the Mexican government was friendly to his proposal. The Texas Revolution intervened before Lundy could carry out his plans, however, and the Republic of Texas legalized slavery. Lundy charged that the revolution was a slaveholders' plot to take Texas from Mexico and to add slave territory to the United States. He began publishing the National Enquirer and Constitutional Advocate of Universal Liberty in Philadelphia in August 1836 to set forth his thesis. In the same year he published The War in Texas, a pamphlet arguing against the annexation of Texas to the United States. Lundy won many influential adherents, among them John Quincy Adams, who represented his views in the United States Congress. Adams, Lundy, and their followers were instrumental in delaying the annexation of Texas for nine years. Lundy died on August 22, 1839. After his death his children collected some of his writings, including his accounts of his Texas journeys, and printed them as The Life, Travels and Opinions of Benjamin Lundy (1847).
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Dictionary of American Biography. Marilyn M. Sibley
SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
© 1997-2000, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved
War of Independence-Index | Slavery in the DeWitt Colony | War in Texas-Lundy