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Jabez D[elano] Hammond to MVB, 7-16 April 1844

Sir,

I am fully aware that your opponents are pushing the question respecting the annexation of Texas and questions in relation to the Tariff for the purpose—perhaps for the sole purpose of embarrassing your Northern Friends, but that our Southern Democratic Friends and your Friends in that quarter should aid in this ungenerous enterprize is to me truly astonishing. More than forty years experience proves that the more the Northern Democracy yields to the South the more she demands; and Individuals at the North after for years acceding to the wishes of Southern men and in the compromising spirit of the Constitution sustaining what are called "Southern principles" generally receive from that section of the Country a feeble and reluctant support.

My views on the subject of Texas were several years ago very fully communicated to Mr Butler in a correspondence with him while he was a member of the American Cabinet. I am willing and I feel bound to support the Slave holding States in their right to hold Slaves but so utterly abhorrent is slavery to my principles & feelings that I can not in conscience consent to the further extension of it. The annexation of Texas would be an extension. Mr Walker in his ably written letter advocates annexation on that ground. I do not wish you to speak on that question but I owe it to candor to say that I could not vote for a Candidate for the Presidency who I believed would under any circumstances favor annexation. It is not a question on which I can be influenced by personal considerations or by political expedience. It affects a principle with me too sacred to be violated for such considerations. I may be mistaken, but I I believe there are thousands of Democrats in this state who on this subject think & feel as I do.

There is another matter to which I will barely allude—a matter about which you must know much more than I.

The state officers whose political life depends on the ascendancy of the Democratic party seem to me to be taking a course, in which if they are successful, they will produce the prostration of their own party. I am told that their efforts are inapart to render the present governor unpopular and to impair the confidence of his Friends in him. I have no partiality for Mr Bouck. Indeed I think as a general rule we ought to have an educated man for a governor of this great State. But he is a man of remarkable good sense and of integrity—and has not so far as I know committed any political sin. He has many Friends on the hire of the Canal and he has many personal Friends throughout the State. Those Friends will not fail to recollect that in Mr Bouck's name we demolished the Whig party which for four years had been in the ascendancy and as he has occupied the gubernatorial Chair for a part of one Term only they will consider the nomination of any other Candidate or even his being forced to decline as a personal insult to the man.

Can we under such circumstances expect to be successful in such an election as will come off next Fall?

The deep interest I feel in your Individual success and in the prosperity of my Country are the sole considerations which induce me to trouble you with these suggestions.

I am with great respect

Your obedt servt

 

Jabez D. Hammond

 

April 16 I left home last monday & forgot to mail this letter. I have ^just^ seen in the Evening Journal of Friday a reported speech of ^a^ Mr. Hard in the Senate. He <illegible> maintains that you were a Federalist ^and opposed the war^! and ^he^ makes garbled extracts from my Political History to maintain his assertion. It seems to me this attempt to produce a false impression on the public mind is too gross to deceive any one.

Source: DLC Library of Congress
Collection: MVB Papers (DLC)
Series: Series 12 (5 March 1841-31 December 1844)