Southwestern Historical Quarterly
troops guarding the basement, while the hall between the house
and senate was occupied by the armed pro-Coke Travis Rifles.
In this tense situation, Barziza was one of a joint house-senate
committee of six appointed to consider the governor's message
refusing to acknowledge the legality of the election, but offering
to leave it up to the Federal government as to which legislature
and set of Texas officials it would recognize." The committee
refused to accept these terms and the next day, January 14, named
a sub-committee to wait on the secretary of state and secure the
election returns for canvassing.29 Secretary of State James P. New-
comb refused to deliver the returns unless ordered to do so by
On receipt of this message, the house named a committee of
seven, with Barziza as chairman, to "canvass the returns by any
means practicable, and report the results."" On January 15,
Barziza wrote Governor Davis, requesting him to instruct Sec-
retary of State Newcomb to hand over the election returns. Bar-
ziza delivered this letter in person, in the governor's well-guard-
ed basement office. Davis said he did not think the fourteenth
legislature was entitled to the returns, but that if Barziza would
go to the office of the secretary of state and take them, he would
not be resisted. Barziza went. Newcomb pointed out the returns,
on a table, and Barziza took them. Newcomb then drew up a
note, stating that the returns had been taken under protest, and
Barziza signed it, with three clerks signing as witnesses."
A joint session of the house and senate met at 3:30 that after-
noon to canvass the votes, and by midnight, the count had been
completed and Richard Coke inaugurated as governor, with R.
B. Hubbard as lieutenant governor.
A contemporary historian described Decimus et Ultimus Bar-
ziza, as he was at this period, as "black-eyed, black-haired and of
Italian descent; he was bright, energetic, eloquent and hetero-
geneous ... fiery, impetuous, bold, quick and ready in speech,
'"Galveston Daily News, January 14, 1874. The original of Davis' message is in
the Archives, Texas State Library.
"9Ibid., January 15, 1874.
3"Ibid., January 16, 1874. The original of the note is in the Archives, Texas State
Library. George Clark, in his memoirs, A Glance Backward, or, Some Events In
The Past History of My Life (Waco, 1914) gives a briefer, but similar, account.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed August 28, 2014.