Title: "Should Texas Be Admitted into the Union?" Debate Speech of William J. Long for the Dialectic Society, June 23, 1837: Electronic Edition.
Author: Long, William John, 1815-1882
Editor: Erika Lindemann
Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Erika Lindemann
Images scanned by Mara E. Dabrishus
Text encoded by Sarah Ficke
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 31K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
The electronic edition is a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2005-03-15, Sarah Ficke finished TEI/XML encoding.
Part of a series:
This transcribed document is part of a digital collection, titled True and Candid Compositions: The Lives and Writings of Antebellum Students in North Carolina
written by Lindemann, Erika
Title of collection: Dialectic Society Addresses (#40152), University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: "Should Texas Be Admitted into the Union?" Debate Speech of William J. Long for the Dialectic Society, June 23, 1837
Author: William J. Long
Description: 11 pages, 12 page images
Note: Call number 40152 (University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Politics and Government/Political Issues
War/Other Wars
Examples of Student Writing/Debating Society Writings
Editorial practices
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Document Summary

Long's debate speech favors admitting Texas to the Union because of her agricultural advantages, her ability to absorb foreigners, the need to prevent her alliance with other powers, and the low cost of conferring statehood.
"Should Texas Be Admitted into the Union?" Debate Speech of William J. Long for the Dialectic Society, June 23, 18371
Long, William John, 1815-1882

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Should Texas be admitted into the Union?
The late triumphant success of the Texians, over their Mexican masters should cause every patriotic heart to throb with pleasure and pulsate with gratitude. How much, then, is the exultation enhanced when this theme excites emotions in the bosom of a citizen of these United States. And why? Were it some savage foe leaping in wild enthusiasm over the fallen fortunes of a Christian enemy, or were it some vice stained Tyrant proudly vaunting that he had probed the Goddess Liberty to her vitals, and was gazing with fiendish joy as her gasping vitality withered from the crimsoned blade, then, indeed, would that, which we now contemplate with rapture and delight, excite within us feelings of sorrow and regret.
But so far from having our joy marred by either of these appalling exhibitions, we hail with gladness the prosperous termination of an effort made in the noblest of all causes, and by those to whom we are allied by the strong ties of affinity and affection.
Having our sympathies early enlisted in favour of the struggle—at one time weeping over the tragical fate of Fanning and his gallant band, at another rejoicing at the unrivalled success of Houston and his

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undaunted followers. While thus suspended between hope and fear, the welcomed intelligence at length greeted our ears that victory had declared in their favour; and forthwith we pronounced them an independent people. And now we wish to urge upon the same body that made this commendable declamation to advance one step farther and recognize this Province as a member of the Union.
However dangerous and chimerical this measure may at first appear, yet if viewed in a calm and unprejudiced manner, if reason is suffered to direct judgement and if the true interest of the Union is consulted its adoption must unavoidably follow. That it would prove an immense source of wealth is unquestionable. With a soil fertile beyond comparison, and a climate far more genial and salubrious than the bordering country and in every respect adapted to Southern productions she bids fair to rival in agricultural pursuits the valley of the Mississippi itself Here, then, will be accumulated many of the materials of trade and commerce. To give a direction to which equally demands the attention of every portion of the Union. For such is the nature of our interests, that upon the success of the one depends the prosperity of the other. Whatever tends to promote the agricultural advantages of the South has a direct bearing in favour of Northern manufactures.

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Their mutual interest cannot be more forcibly illustrated, than by the pressure at present existing in every branch of trade. The sudden depreciation in value, of the staple commodity of the South, paralyzed instantly the whole North. If, then, the interest of North is so nearly identified with that of the South, would it not be the most consummate folly, in her, to take umbrage at this event resulting directly in her, because in conjunction with her the South is benefitted for whose welfare she should feel the deepest solicitude? No, rest assured that New. York and New. England in all their pride and magnificence, so far from exulting at, will ever deplore any adversity which may befal Southern agriculture. For here, as they are well aware, is the source of all their greatness. But it may be alleged that the pecuniary emolument thus acquired, would not be equivalent to compensate for the inequality of power which, it is supposed will be produced by throwing the preponderancy in favour of the South. Any circumstance having a tendency to unequalize this is truly to be deprecated. But the proposed addition instead of having this effect, contributes, directly, to the ballance great disproportion which has hitherto existed And after the South has witnessed so many deleterious consequences resulting from this—after she has seen this Union strained and tottered to its very centre, she would prove lamentably recreant to her best interest not to avail herself of the first opportunity presented of correcting an evil long and grievously borne.–

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It is then clear that if the affirmation of our question is acquiesced in, a fund of wealth will be added to our Government and the power so equall distributed as to give it permanency and stability.
Another reason why this addition should be made, is to provide for Foreigners. We have proclaimed to the world that our Land is the asylum of the oppressed. We have thrown open our ports and extended the invitation to the distressed of every region, telling them they will find a welcome upon our shores. The paupers of Europe and other quarters of the Globe have caught the enchanted tale and every vessel that now cuts a foreign wave is annually landing myriads of their migratory hordes at our wharves, who are bending their eager steps to the fairy land of West. Yet not one of them daring to advance beyond the pale of our protection. With this yearly increase and the large number of slaves annuall transported there, the population of this clime will become exceedingly dense; upon which will be entailed the concomitant evils of indigence, disease and death. Though this may seem incredulous in this fruitful land yet Virginia once equalling it in fertility can now scarcely afford sustenance to her sparse inhabitants.

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Turn for a moment to the kingdom of Great Brittain and witness the ill effects of the want of Territory. Though her bards may hymn forth her freedom and prosperity and her statesmen laud with admiration the wholesome provisions of her Government, yet what are the facts? Even she possesses thousands of the vilest menials that ever inhaled the breath of vitality. Doomed to the performance of the most servile offices that ever exercised human hands. That too for the paltry equivalent of a scanty subsistence, and even this liable to be withheld at the whim or caprice of some despotic Lord. And unfortunately the evil consequences have not been spared our own country. Every breeze that floats across the Land of New England performs the office of resperation for a race of beings a grade lower than our Africans who cringe for their daily support to the commands of some opulent proprietor. Yes so great is their dependence, that even the sacredness of the ballot has not escaped pollution. As not unfrequently the demands of nature have awed them to exercise this right in order to meet the approbation of an employer, however discordant with their own views.
Since their remains to us but two alternatives to avert from the South a similar state of things—Either to revive the Alien Law of-ninety-eight-forbid them access to our borders or extend the Territory, let the latter and more expedient be adopted

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Again, the rapid emigration of the intellectual and enterprising part of the community, speaks to us imperatively to make some provision for this national loss. A large number of those who are completing their Collegiate educations are generally bent upon locating in this Province. To endeavor to turn them from their course would be a fruitless attempt. We have no lucrative resources whence they may repair their beggared fortunes, exhausted for the laudible purpose of fitting them to grace with credit any part of the circle of society. We have no stations of honour for their promotion, from which they add a new stimulus to their noble aspirations to eminence. Hence their views will continue to be turned thither where fortune is lavishing profusely the richest of her gifts, and where talent and intelligance meet with the esteem to which their excellence entitle them. But this nursery of genius will be of no avail to us, pro[vi]ded this stipulation does not take place; as the benefit of their influence and wisdom of their councils will not extend to the precincts of our Government
And farther, our own security should prompt us to this recognition. If her independence remains permanent (of which their is but little doubt) she will shortly become one of the strongest Governments, in proportion to her magnitude, any where existing. Setting aside her numerous other facilities for increasing her population, the great quantity of land at her disposal, and which she is gratuitously conferring upon those who are willing to make no other sacrifice

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but of fixing their residence within her borders will enable her to induce many of the most efficient men to settle here. Seeing here will be a large amount of wealth and power ready to be wielded by men of talent and influence, it is incumbent upon us, to provide that we may not be the first to feel its effects; of which we may be apprehensive on two accounts.– First having refused her admittance into the Union, a measure tending greatly to her safety, her affections which are now so strong for us will become alienated. Secondly her nearness of location to much of our fertile Lands for instance those of Louisiana, may tempt her to unite with some Foreign Ally and reduce to subjection much of the Southern country. But did she form part of the Union she would serve as a barrier against aggressors.
No question has ever been discussed before our body upon which the decision is more liable to be biassed by prejudice, than the present. The idea of enlargement of Territory will naturally suggest to the mind of every one the melancholy fates that have befallen other Governments from this source. The enervating and corrupting influence which Eastern luxuries, thus acquired, have exercised over Greece and Rome will be arrayed in gloomy colours. But the reference is wholly inaplicable. It was not to be expected that wealth acquired in this lawless manner at the expense of blood and carnage, should procure to its possessors that tranquil enjoyment it otherwise would if equitably purchased. Besides, the soldiery who had borne the brunt and fatigues of war could not brook the idea nor look with composure upon the fruit of their toils contributing to enhance

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the fortunes of Princely Rulers, while indigence and disease were their common lot. Thus feuds dissensions and finally civil commotions gradually sapped and over threw these Ancient Republics. What they accomplished by conquest we wish to effect by stipulation No treasury is to be exhausted, no armies levied nor no lives hazarded. Nothing more than a simple treaty is to be made; similar to that by which any of our Territories are recognized as states.
It may be affirmed that a difference in the mode of procuring, will not counteract the attendant evils of wealth. The facts, however, have been to the contrary relative to the United States; as may be inferred from the example of Louisiana. Purchased for the small sum of fifteen-millions its sugar interest is annually worth forty five millions and to estimate the wealth which has and will continue to flow from this lucrative source is utterly impossible. And have opulence and luxuries such charms for her citizens that, to acquire the one or revel in the other they have become lost to all manly virtue. No, a more Loyal people lives not on earth. And she now forms one of the brightest orbs in the Southern galaxy. This recognition often and unjustly been deprecated merely from the personal characters of the inhabitants. Nothing is more common than to hear many deploring the day, when this band of robbers, this lawless banditti as they choose to term them shall be made members of this Union.

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This formerly being a refuge for fugitives from justice, all adventurers here, have injured their reputation by being suspected either of fleeing from punishment or seeking their own emolument. Thus the barbed arrows of envy and malice have been hurled unsparingly upon them; and they have been undeservedly lashed by every opprobrious epithet the heart of invective could invent or the tongue of calumny coud pronounce. But who are they, who have been so maltreated? Are they not our brethren; but a short [time] since inhabitating the same household. A race of men who have ever bowed with an Eastern adoration at the shrine of Liberty, ever ready not only to avenge an injury but resent even an insult that may be offered this majestic Divinity. Witnessing a gross violation of a contract made to induce our citizens to inhabit this county, and an effort made to reduce them to servility, have dared to redress their wrongs at the hazard of life itself. And after they have so graciously achieved their Liberty, because the kind hand of fortune has been propitious and amply rewarded all their toils, ungrateful indeed, is it to brand them as avericious and lovers of lucre. It is desirous before submitting the question to anticipate one other objection, likely to be urged by our opponents namely, the probability of involving us in a war with England of which, from some late proceedings in Parliament many have been apprehensive

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Is she never to lay aside her officious character and cease to interfere with the order of our affairs? Shall she ever extend her potent arm over our dominions and exclaim thus far shall you come and no farther—this much you may have and no more? That we should consult the interest of England before taking any steps to promote our welfare, that all our acts should be sealed with devotion to her, who, the instant it would conduce to her own emolument2 would wish to wither us from existence, is idle in the extreme. Doubtless she views with jealous and envious eyes any measures that adds to our prosperity and would willingly concur in any means to check the same. But is it possible so servile an idea pervades an American bosom, that we, who, in our infantine State dared set at defiance Brittain interference will yield a passive obedience to her dictatorial mandates? No, palsied be the hand and faltered be the tongue that would dare write or give utterance to such a sentiment. Having long writhed under the wounds inflicted upon her pride, she may burn with avidity for some pretext to wipe from her escutcheon the stains received at Yorktown, Lake Erie and New Orleans.3 Yet if the daring deeds of our army, could then strike with awe these veterans bred amid the clash of arms, if the prowess displayed by our undisciplined crews could draw from Buonaparte, while the scourge of Europe and wonder of the world, the praises of esteem and admiration, how much longer will England hesitate to provoke

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us to anger, when we are so much nearer able to compete4 with her power? The fear of receiving still deeper disgrace and incurring greater injury will deter her from any such proceedings But should she imprudently involve us in a war, we are ready to meet the crisis. However much the people of the U. States may wish to cherish peace and harmony, yet when this is to be done at the expense of impingement of their Liberties and curtailment of their rights, domestic tranquility then looses all its charms and enchantments. See this verefied between in the late rupture between her and France, when the latter was refusing to refund the paltry sum of a few million of francs. If the American pulse beat high for war at this trivial offence of her ancient ally with how much greater disdain will she view this presumtive measure of her avowed enemy?
Great, indeed, must be the change, before Brittain or any other power shall commit with impunity any violation upon our chartered Liberties. First erase from our flag the motto of "free trade and sailors rights." Next wipe from the memory of every American citizen the remembrance of a Washington. And last blot from chronological annals the era of seventy-six. Then and not til then, can this deplorable state of affairs be brought about

Envelope page


1. Dialectic Society Addresses, UA. The debate on the question "Should Texas be annexed to the Union?" was held on June 21, 1837, and was decided in the negative (Dialectic Society Minutes, Vol. 8, UA). Three of the four speeches addressing the question survive. William John Long's speech, which opened the debate and affirmed the question, contains the endorsement "Wm J. Long ./Debate/June 23rd 1837."Long was followed in the debate by George R. Davis (negative), Charles James Fox Craddock (affirmative), and William Richmond Walker (negative). Davis' speech has not survived.

2. Long wrote u on top of a second l.

3. Yorktown, Lake Erie, and New Orleans were sites of important battles during the Revolutionary War, French and Indian War, and War of 1812 respectively.

4. Long wrote m on top of p.