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dent that the tendency to accept the Mexican point of view, which has not been uncommon among American publicists and historians,1 is due rather to the connection of the annexation movement with slavery than to any careful application of international law.
The joint resolution was at length passed by the House, January 25, 1845, by a vote of 120 to 98.2 In the form then taken it was a modification of one that had been submitted on January 13 by Foster of Tennessee in the Senate and by Milton Brown of the same state in the House. In presenting the plan Foster remarked that, while he favored annexation "on just and proper principles alone, as he hoped and believed," he could not conceal his sympathy for the Texans, of whom, he estimated, onetenth were from Tennessee. The resolution provided that the territory "rightfully belonging to the Republic of Texas" might be erected into the "State of Texas" in order to secure its admission into the Union; and that the consent of Congress was given on conditions and with guarantees as follows:
(1) Questions of boundary that might arise with other governments in forming the state were to be subject to adjustment by the United States government; and the constitution of the state, with proper evidence of its adoption by the people, was to be laid before the United States Congress for final action on or before January 1, 1846.
1 Cf. Schouler, United States, IV., 44X. 'Cong. Globe, 28 Cong., 2 Sess., 194.
(2) The state was to cede to the United States all public edifices, ports, and harbors, and other property and means of public defence, and to retain its public funds, debts, taxes, etc.; and in no event were its debts to become a charge upon the government of the United States. A further provision for the cession of "all mines, minerals, salt lakes, and springs"1 was stricken out.
(3) Additional states, not to exceed four in number, of convenient size and sufficient population, might be formed from the territory of Texas by its consent; and such states south of the Missouri Compromise line, 3 6° 30', should be allowed to enter the Union with or without slavery as the people of each might desire; while in those north of the line slavery or involuntary servitude, except for crime, was to be prohibited. The last provision was suggested by Douglas, and was incorporated in the resolution just before its passage.2
Two interesting facts suggest themselves in connection with the third condition. The first is that it extended the Missouri Compromise to Texas, a provision which has some bearing on the later claim that that compromise was repealed by that of 1850. The second is that in the adjustment of the boundaries of Texas by the latter compromise all the territory north of 3 6° 30', and therefore free soil by the terms of annexation, was cut off from the state; the northern boundary was fixed on the line of 3 6° 30', and Texas was thus permanently impressed with the stamp of the Missouri Compromise.
1 Cong. Globe, 28 Cong., 2 Sess., 128. Ibid., 193
The joint resolution went to the Senate, and was adversely reported on by the committee on foreign relations. The opposition emphasized mainly the question of its constitutionality, most of those who spoke against it claiming that Congress had no power to admit a state formed from foreign territory into the Union. On the last day of the debate, Walker of Mississippi offered an amendment to the resolution which was intended to give senators like Benton a chance to abandon their struggle against it without seeming to have completely yielded the point of constitutional law. It consisted of an additional section which gave the president the option of negotiating for annexation, instead of submitting the resolution as an offer to Texas.1 The amendment was adopted, and the resolution passed the Senate by a vote of 27 to 25. All the Democrats voted for it, together with three Whigs: Henderson of Mississippi, Johnson of Louisiana, and Merrick of Maryland. Thomas Corwin, a most notable addition to the Whig ranks of the Senate, had already been elected senator from Ohio in place of Tappan. Could the exchange have occurred before the final vote took place, annexation would have been defeated. Two Democratic senators, Benton and Tappan, afterwards claimed that their votes, as well as those of two or three others, were secured by giving them the assurance that Tyler would not act on the resolution, but would leave it to Polk, who, as it was averred, had intimated that his choice would be negotiation.1 Polk, however, has left on record an emphatic denial that he committed himself in any such way.2 The forecast of Tyler's attitude seems to have rested on the opinion of McDuffie.3
1 Cong. Globe, 28 Cong., 2 Sess., 359.
The resolution now went back to the House, which, on February 28, passed it without further change by a vote of 132 to 76. The vote by which it had first been adopted in that body, January 25, showed twenty-two northern Democrats against it, twelve of them being from New York; while six southern Whigs, four of them from Tennessee, were for it. In the interval, however, between that time and the final passage of the resolution, the broken party lines had been restored, and the last vote showed little defection on either side. Only two southern Whigs—Dellet of Alabama and Chappell of Georgia—were recorded in favor of annexation; and two northern Democrats—R. D. Davis of New York and John P. Hale of New Hampshire — against it.
Tyler cared neither to negotiate nor to wait for Polk, and he despatched a messenger to Texas at once with the offer of annexation. Had the situation in Texas been fully understood by the annexationists, there would have been more uneasiness among them than there was. Both Houston, who was president till the latter part of 1845, and Anson Jones, who then succeeded him, were doubtful in their attitude, and were popularly believed to be against the measure. On June 24, 1844, Aberdeen told Ashbel Smith that England and France would be ready, if the treaty of annexation failed (and it had already been voted down in the Senate June 8), to join the United States and Texas in a "diplomatic act" settling the boundaries and guaranteeing the independence of the republic, in which Mexico should, if necessary, be forced to acquiesce.1 President Houston directed his secretary of state, Anson Jones, who was then president-elect, to close with the offer, giving pledges that would have put the policy of annexation thenceforth under the control of the governments from which the propositions came. Jones, however, suppressed the order, which did not come to light till four years later.2
1 Benton, Thirty Years' View, II., 635-638.
* See Polk, MS. Diary, July 31, August 1, and August 3,1848.
"Benton, Thirty Years' View, II., 636, 638.
The English government continued its efforts to prevent annexation, and they were now made less difficult by a more conciliatory attitude on the part of Mexico. Finally, through the joint mediation of England and France, the preliminaries of a treaty
1 Smith to Jones, June 24, 1844, in MS. Diplomatic Correspondence of Texas, file 1714. 'Niks' Register, LXXIV., 413.