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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 excited, (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 influence 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 caleulated to prevent it. This single fact, known to hundreds, must forever exonerate me from the imputation of having aided or abetted, vicariously 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 impugn my motives.
Early in the winter of 1812-3, I became convinced that the allairs of Texas were coming rapi«lly to a crisis, and that she
Hence it naturally occurred to me, that the most favorable period would shortly arrive for its ro-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. 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 any. body, 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 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 attention has been called to Mr. A. V. Brown's statement on the floor of the House of Representatives, in which he disclaims the vicarious character ati ributed to him in the affair of General Jackson's letter, and the conversation with mys-lf, and in which he says, “ the conversation chanced to fall on annexation.” This is a great mistake. There was no chance about it. M'. Brown accosted me con.ing down the steps of the Capitol, and I returned lis salut.tion with entire civility ; when he immediately began with, glad to see me wanted to see me—and commenced a ta'k upon Texas, as a thing of premeditation, and the evident cause of his wishing to see me. I, seeing the Texas me vement then as I see it now-a scheme, on the part of some of its movers, to dissolve the Union-on the part of some others, as an intrigue for the Presidency-and on the part of others, (I only speak of prime movers, not the millions who follow,) as a land speculation and a job in scrip,-answered ab: uptly and warmly-he may tell what. But I never attributed to Mr. Brown any other ag ncg in the movem nt than the vicarious interpellation above referred to; and, as to his and my Van Burenism being the same thing, I must beg to be excused. I knew that his would eraporate wlen and where it did, and said so to some friends; and I knew that mine would s. and any tist. The General Jackson letter always appeared to me to have been vicariously obtained ; and nothirg that Mr. Brown has now said, impairs, in the slightest degree, that first belief.
THOMAS H. BENTON, SENATE CHAMBER, June 13.
IIOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
June 14, 1841. S MR. 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 Ilouse.
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
them at all with him ; for in those days I was ever glad to see him to walk with him, and hear his conversations; and, as I have felt from the beginning great solicitude on the subject of Texas, I may have been the first to advert to it. But I again aver, that there was no such premeditation or design on my part, as he gratuitously attributes to me. But all this is not the question. Did I seek out that conversation, at the instance of any other person, and in the way of an “enterprise" on Colonel Benton ? That is the precise question which I sought to meet by an unequivocal denial. I adverted to some facts which I supposed would confirm that denial, and convince Mr. Benton that he had done me injustice in the suspicion. But he is incredulous, and I am indifferent. He says (after naming the different lights in which he then and still views this Texas movement) that he answered abruptly and warmly," he may tell what.” I have already stated that his manner was vehement and denunciatory of the President and those under whose influences he supposed him to have been acting. But I did no suppose, of course, that any portion of all this was either aimed at General Jackson for writing his letter, or at me for corresponding with him on the subject; but to have been aimed entirely at others in the South, who might be supposed to be connected with the public dinner in Virginia. But I repeat, in justice to him, that he said nothing, now remembered, which he either has not since repeated, or might well be willing for anybody to know.
The Senator is mistaken (if he ever can be mistaken) when he supposes that I have anywhere said that his and my Van Burenism were the same. I only spoke in the positive, never in the comparative degree. My Van Burenism, I thought, at all times, was good; but I would have admitted, at any time, if he desired it, that his was better. Mine evaporated when I thought my duty to Democracy demanded it. His, I hope, has not lasted any longer than that. Col. Benton closes his card by saying: “ The General Jackson letter always appeared to me to have been vicariously obtained.” I have already stated the circumstances connected with the correspondence between
make no further allusion to it for Col. Benton's satisfaction.
No man who knows anything of either my personal or political history, could be made to believe that I either could, or would, be willing to practice on General Jackson, under any sort of vicarious agency.
Beside this, it is now nearly eighteen months since that correspondence took place. General Jackson has followed it up by many letters to others. He has seen all that some of his best friends (Col. Benton among the number) have said, and can say, and yet he complains of no vicarious practices upon him. He can discover no insidious schemes, with all their miserable pretexts--no indelible stains of national dishonor, in these efforts to acquire the noblest country upon this continent. Having embarked in this great work, he is going on bravely with it. He would have been glad, I know he would, if Col. Benton could have thought it right to co-operate with him. But whilst he has never pretended to arraign Colonel Benton's motives for the course which he has doubtless felt it his duty to pursue, he and those friends who do co-operate with him are entitled to a like exemption from censure.
A. V. BROWN.