The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947

Hliaon Seitimelt iI Zexas
1861-1865
CLAUDE ELLIOTT
THE ELECTION of Lincoln, "the Black Republican," was the
signal for South Carolina to secede. In less than a week
after the election the South Carolina Legislature, then in ses-
sion, called for a convention to meet at Charleston on December
17, 1860. The convention met and, on December 20, adopted a
secession ordinance. From Charleston the virus spread rapidly,
and soon the entire South was drawn into the maelstrom.
Pressure groups which favored following the example of
South Carolina almost instantly gained the ascendancy in gov-
ernment circles throughout the South. These secessionist leaders
in Texas urged that the legislature be convened in order that
secession machinery might be set into motion, but Sam Houston,
the governor, assumed the role of obstructionist and steadfastly
refused to make the call. He hoped in this manner to prevent
the calling of a convention. Houston and his unionist followers
were foiled in this purpose by determined secessionists who, on
December 3, issued an "Address to the People of Texas" calling
for a convention to consider secession, fixing January 28 as the
date, and naming Austin as the place.' On December 17, 1860,
Houston called the legislature to meet in a special session, on
January 21, 1861, one week in advance of the meeting of the
Texas convention. He hoped, with the support of his Union
friends, to get the state Senate to refuse to recognize the
legality of the convention which was to begin its sessions on
January 28. The attempt was made under the leadership of
James W. Throckmorton, Houston's most able and loyal Union
supporter, but the effort failed.2 The House of Representatives
recognized the convention on January 28, and the Senate con-
curred on the same day.
Excitement ran high as the convention came into session on
January 28, but the outcome was never in doubt. When the vote
was taken on February 1, the Unionists were able to muster
'Southen Intelligencer, February 13, 1861.
2Senate Journal, January 22, 1861, Eighth Legislature, Special Session,
37.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101117/. Accessed September 2, 2014.