William R. Hackett Advocates the Annexation of Texas, 1844
[John Minor Botts, The Great Rebellion… (New York, 1866), pp. 84-86:]
1. slavery—national extension
2. politics—Texas annexation, Whig Party]
…this Texas annexation was the starting-point, or first entering wedge of disunion, and gave to the secessionists the first symptoms of encouragement they had met with in the incipient labor of twelve years, which had been devoted to the object of disunion. The following is a letter to me from one of my [Whig Congressman from Virginia and future Unionist John Minor Botts] then constituents:
Green Springs, Louisa, December 19, 1844.
DEAR SIR, —Taking great interest in your political weal and prosperity, as well as feeling a lively solicitude in your re-election to the Congress of the United States, as also from personal respect, I am induced to make this communication.
As there exists a considerable division in the ranks of the Whig party in relation to the subject of the annexation of Texas, I would respectfully ask if you are unconditionally opposed to this measure?
There is a large and respectable portion of the Whig party (much larger than is generally supposed, I am, from indubitable evidence, induced to believe), not only in this county, but in Goochland and Hanover, who consider this question of paramount importance, so much so as to induce them to hesitate in casting their vote for a candidate unconditionally and "unqualifiedly" opposed to them on this important measure. Indeed I have, on several occasions, heard gentlemen of considerable influence, who have uniformly cooperated zealously with the Whig party, and who consistently advocate and support its prominent measures, declare that the vital importance of this subject to the particular interests of the Southern portion of this Confederacy, and the dependence arising from our peculiar institutions, under the present aspect of political affairs, for support and balance of power, has induced them to waver in their allegiance to their party, and produced in their minds a condition of doubt and uncertainty as favorable to the success of the opposite party as injurious to the prospects and organization of our own. This is the prolific source of the numerous calls for a convention for the purpose of selecting a suitable candidate to represent this congressional district, and not "individual attachments," as represented by the Whig. I believe that an answer favorable to the views of those gentlemen will insure your re-election without the least difficulty, and an adverse one will detach a "' segment of a larger vote" than the nomination of either Rhodes, Daniel, Lyons, or Fleming, with you in the field.
For myself, individually, though ardently in favor of this measure, I shall unhesitatingly yield a cheerful vote to the man who has battled so gloriously in defense of our cause; who has stood forth the fearless champion of our invaded rights; who, alike unseduced by the blandishments of power as unappalled by its frowns, has ever exposed its corruptions; who has, with chivalrous courage, unheeding the siren songs of place or office, lifted the veil that concealed the traitor, and exposed him in all his hideous deformity to the astonished gaze of a deluded people, and defied his impotent rage, be the response what it may.
But why may not a Whig, without divesting himself of his party allegiance, without worshiping Baal, without being expelled from his political church, without yielding the cherished opinions of a lifetime on those subjects so dear to his heart, which he has ever been and will ever be proud to maintain-yes, why may he not favor the annexation of Texas to this Union? The fact of the purchase of Louisiana by Mr. Jefferson did not detract from his republicanism. May we not have a national bank and a tariff as well with Texas as without it? But verbum sap. Excuse the liberty I have taken, for I can assure you that nothing but an earnest zeal in your behalf, and a deep interest in the ensuing contest, would have induced me thus to trespass on your time and patience.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. R. HACKETT.