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chamber, with all his partisans at his heels! Look at the contagious influence of this example in Ohio. The waters of bitterness have gushed out from the high places of the nation, and no one can tell the length and breadth of the poisonous inundation. What occurred in Tennessee has no analogy. The case stands widely different in all its principles. If, however, anybody shall suppose that there can be the slightest resemblance, let it be remembered, that it cannot be unjust that he who poisons the cup should sometimes be compelled to quaff its deadly contents.
But I must conclude. Gladly would I have communicated all these things, and many more, by personal intercourse with you; but the indisposition of my family detaining me here for a while, some little attention to my private affairs, and the near approach of another session of Congress rendered it impossible.
Your obedient servant,
AARON V. BROWN. WASHINGTON, September 15, 1842.
ANNEXATION OF TEXAS.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
June, 1844. Mr. AARON V. Brown said that he felt constrained to ask the indulgence of the House whilst he submitted a few observations personal to himself. The near approach of the adjournment compelled him to take this course as the only method of vindicating himself against a certain publication in yesterday's Globe. He was compelled to speak of it as a newspaper publication, because he could not, under the rules, refer to the debates in the other end of the Capitol. He begged leave to read the following paragraph from that paper:
“ The war was expiring. The armistice, and the interposition of great powers, was bringing it to a close ; and the day was at hand when the reunion of Texas would have come of itself, and with peace and honor, when this insidious scheme of sudden and secret annexation, and its miserable pretexts, was fallen upon by our hapless administration. From the moment that scheme, and its pretexis, first revealed itself to public view, at a public dinner in Virginia, in the autumn of the last year, I denounced it as an intrigue, got up for the election and to end in the disgrace of its authors, and in the defeat, delay, and embarrassment of the measure which it professed to desire. I particularly made this denunciation to the gentleman (Dr. A. V. Brown] who had got the letter from General Jackson in February, 1843, and who seemed to be vicariously charged with some enterprise on my humble self. It was at the commencement of the present session of Congress; I answered him on the spot; and, as I have no concealments, the gentleman referred to is at liberty to relate all that I said to him to the whole world."
Now, sir, (said Mr. B.,) I mean to make no reply to any portion of that publication but what relates personally to myself. The insinuation as to the “ vicarious" character which I “ seemed” to sustain in the conversation alluded to, is wholly
destitute of foundation. There is not one word of truth in it, whatever the impression of that senator [Mr. Benton] may have been at the time, nor the slightest pretext for it. The conversation referred to, was not confidential, nor held at any private interview between us. We casually fell in company, as members frequently do, in going to or from the Capitol to their boarding houses. We were walking on the public pavements, when the conversation chanced to turn on the subject of annexation. He advanced some of the opinions which he has since avowed in his speeches. The distance of our walk would not have allowed him to advance them all. He was vehement in denouncing the motives which had induced the President to bring forward the subject, and the secret influences which he believed had prompted him to do so.
This latter suspicion, and the surprise which the general tenor of his remarks ercited, (for I had never doubted that he would be warmly for it.) induced me to refer to my correspondence with General Jackson on the subject. I made this reference with the hope that, when he should learn that his great friend (General Jackson) was so intimately connected with the effort to acquire that fine country, he would pause and mature the subject well before he threw himself in opposition to the measure. Sir, up to that time I had never stopped to consider how the question would operate on the coming Presidential election; and my conversation had no reference whatever to its insluence that way. It could not have had any such reference, for I was then a warm and decided friend to Mr. Van Buren's nomination, and had done much, in my own State and elsewhere, to suppress any movement calculated to prevent it. This single fact, known to hundreds, must forever exonerate me from the imputation of having aided or abetted, ricariously or otherwise, in getting up and sustaining this Texas movement for any political purposes.
Whatever part I have taken in getting it up, has been very humble and unimportant; but I am free to make it known to the world, and to defy any man or all men successfully to iinpugn my motives.
Early in the winter of 1812–3, I became convinced that the asfairs of Texas were coming rapidly to a crisis, and that she
must find some strong support, or she could not sustain herself to any advantage among the independent nations of the earth. Hence it naturally occurred to me, that the most favorable period would shortly arrive for its re-annexation to the United States. I saw the present administration peculiarly situated. A President without a party-nay, worse than that, a President between two great parties, seldom sustained by either, and often warred upon by both. Under such circumstances, I apprehended it might be difficult to prevail on him, however anxious he might be personally to do so, to enter on any great measure such as the acquisition of Texas. Influenced by these opinions, in January, 1843, I addressed a letter to Gen. Jackson, adverting to many or all of these circumstances, and expressing the belief that, if his opinions were still in favor of the measure, as I knew they formerly were, a clear and decided letter from him might be useful in rousing up or sustaining the administration in making such a movement. In the spirit of ardent affection and admiration, I expressed the desire that his name should be connected with a great achievement like that, and that it would be the crowning glory of his long and eventful life. I give the substance and not the words of the letter. I was so explicit as to the use I intended to make of his letter in inciting the administration to make the movement, that I think I desired him, if he was unwilling for it to be so used, not to write it. Sir, his reply was received. It was used, and I have reason to believe that it did much good in encouraging the President to enter on this great work. It has also been published to his countrymen ; and I rejoice to see, every day, the good that it is accomplishing.
And now, Mr. Speaker, what is there in this simple narrative that should have called down on me the animadversion of anybody, especially of that distinguished Senator with whom I perfectly agreed as to a Presidential candidate, and for whom I had ever borne the highest testimony to his patriotism and talents. He speaks of absolving me of all secrecy, and kindly informs me that I am at liberty to state all that he said to me on that occasion. Sir, there was no secrecy, and nothing was said by him which he might not well be willing that the whole world should know. But, let me tell you, in that respect, I stand on as high grounds as he does, and as proudly challenge every insinuation against either my motives or my actions. I have not arraigned his in any respect, neither ought he to have arraigned mine.
My atten'ion has been called to Mr. A. V. Brown's statement on the ffoor of the House of Repr. sentativ s, in which he disclaims the vicarious char acter attributed to him in the affair of General Jackson's letter, and the conversation with mys. If, and in which he says, “ the conversation chanced to. fall on annexation." This is a great mistake. There was no chance about it. M: Prown accosted ne con ing down the steps of the Capitol, and I returned lis salt tion with enti e civility; when he immediately began with, gla ito see m: -wanted to see me—and commenced a ta'k upon Texas, as a thing of premedit . tion, and the evident cause of his wishing to see me. I, seeing the Texas mivement then as I see it now-a scheme, on the part of some of it: movers, to disso've the Union-on the part of some others, as an iotr gue for the Presidency-a: d on the pa't of others, (I only speak of prinne morers, not the milions who follow,) is a land speculation and a job in scrip,-answered ab upt'y and warmly, he may tell what. But I never attributed to Mr. Brown any other ag ney in the movem' nt than the vicarious interpellation above referred to; and, is to his and my Van Burerism being the same thing, I must beg to be excused. I knew that his would evaporate wlen and where it uid, and said so t) some friends; and I knew that mine would s and any t. st.
The General Jack on letter always appeared to me to have been vicarious'y obtained ; and nothii g that Mr. B.own has now said, impairs, in the slightes: degree, that fir t belief.
THOMAS H. BENTON. SENATE CHAMBER, June 13.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.)
June 14, 1844. Me. Blair : I have certainly no disposition to become conspicuous in any controversy with the Senator from Missouri, [Mr. Benton.] He took occasion, in the Senate, to indulge in some reflections on the part I had taken in relation to the annexation of Texas, which I felt it my duty to reply to on the floor of the House.
In his card of this morning. he again refers to the conversation between us in walking from the Capitol, and insists that it was not by chance that the conversation turned on the subject of Texas, because I expressed myself glad to see him, and was myself the first to give the conversation that direction. If the