The Texas Senate - Vol. 1

The Texas Senate - Vol. 1

The Texas Senate - Vol. 1

The Texas Senate - Vol. 1


When the Ninth Legislature convened in November, 1861, representatives gave little thought to the somber days that lay ahead, instead making exultant predictions of a quick victory over the enemy to the north. Houston's warning was forgotten.

The Texas Senate, Volume II, picks up where the first volume left off, covering the story of this sometimes venerable, sometimes raucous, and sometimes unsavory body from the onset of the war until another eve, that of the period sometimes called the Era of Reform.

Written by members of the Senate Engrossing and Enrolling Department and edited by Engrossing and Enrolling Clerk Patsy McDonald Spaw, this volume comprises the years of the war itself, Reconstruction and Republican dominance, Redeemer politics and the return of the Democrats, and the rise of agrarian reform.

Sources for the history include the Senate journals, the letters and private papers of senators, newspapers of the era, committee reports, and other primary sources, as well as general and specialized histories of the topics. As in the previous volume, carefully selected illustrations and appendices listing members of the Senate for each of its sessions add significant details.

The Texas Senate, Volume II, presents a narrative account of the issues fought; the legislation proposed, rejected, and accepted; and the actors who filled the stage of this period in Texas history. It offers both an account of the times and a guide to the sources for other historians to mine.


Some of you laugh to scorn the idea of bloodshed as a result of secession, and jocularly propose to drink all the blood that will ever flow in consequence of it! But let me tell you what is coming on the heels of secession. The time will come when your fathers and husbands, your sons and brothers, will be herded together like sheep and cattle at the point of the bayonet; and your mothers and wives, and sisters and daughters, will ask, Where are they? and echo will answer, where?

You may after the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure, and hundreds of thousands of precious lives, as a bare possibility, win Southern independence. . . but I doubt it. I tell you that, while I believe with you in the doctrines of State rights, the North is determined to preserve this Union. They are not a fiery impulsive people as you are, for they live in cooler climates. But when they begin to move in a given direction, where great interests are involved, such as the present issues before the country, they move with the steady momentum and perseverance of a mighty avalanche, and what I fear is they will overwhelm the South with ignoble defeat.

-- Sam Houston, 1859

Little heed was paid to this dire warning Sam Houston uttered during his campaign for governor in 1859, yet its prophetic accuracy would in time be apparent to all.

Houston won the 1859 election overwhelmingly despite his strong antisecession views and held firm throughout the regular session of the Eighth Legislature in his refusal to call a state convention to consider secession. The governor had apparently interpreted his . . .

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