History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families

HISTORY OP TkXA5. 87

1854 and 1857, "Know-nothingism" had
considerable influence. By the latter party,
in 1855, L. D. Evans was elected to Congress
from the Eastern District of Tex.as, and the
same year Dickson, for governor, received
17,968 votes, against Pease, who was then
re-elected.
In 1857 the death of two eminent Texas
statesmen took place,-Thomlas J. iRusk and
James Hamilton, of South Carolina. Their
sketches may be found on a subsequent page,
by the index.
SIGNS OF TIHE COMING STORM.
December 21, 1857, Hardin R. Runnels,
the successful Democratic candidate, was inaugurated
governor. He had been elected by
a vote of 32,552 against 23,628 for Sarn
Houston.
By this time the old slavery question began
to loom up in its various relations to passing
political events, and nothing so exasperating
could happen to the American public, both
North and South. Runnels addressed a message,
in January, 1858, to the legislature,
calling attention to the aspect of affairs in
Kansas, and clearly advocating the doctrine
of secession. During the same month a
Democratic State convention at Austin resolved
that it suspected the United States
Government of abandoning the principle of
" non-intervention" in respect to the slavery
question, in its dealings with Kansas and
Nebraska. T. J. Chambers offered resolutions
to the effect that any act on the part of
Congress tending to embarrass the admission
of Kansas as a member of the Union would
be' a usurpation of power, etc., and that in
%case Congress should do such a thing Texas
should again declare independence. In response
to the governor's message the legisla

ture adopted a resolution to appoint delegates
to a general convention of the Southern States,
to act in self-defense and in protection of
immigrants in Kansas from the South, who
were denied the rights of citizenship there.
Runnels, at the close of his term, again
ran as a candidate for governor, on the Democratic
ticket, but was defeated by Sam Houston,
independent, by a majority in favor of
the latter of 8,757 votes, the latter being
known as opposed to secession. In 1858, a
vacancy occurred on the supreme bench, and
the Democrats nominated for it a Mr. Buckley,
whose reputation was not the best, and
was of well-known disunion proclivities; and
he was defeated by an overwhelming majority,
by Bell, an avowed Unionist.
During the canvass of 1859, the Democratic
convention at Houston contained members
who spoke publicly and vehemently in
favor of secession, and even upheld the African
slave trade. Indeed, so much sympathy
for Southern independence was manifest at
that convention that the Democratic party of
Texas was clearly known as committed in favor
of secession, if the Federal Government
did not recede from its intervention policy
with the great Southern institution.
Houston, therefore, took his seat as governor
at a time when intense political exciteument
prevailed throughout the United States,
as well as in Texas. By the close of 1859
the opposing parties were uncompromisingly
arrayed against each other on the slavery
question, and the fire of disruption was being
kindled. The victory of the Abolition
party in Kansas and the John Brown raid at
Harper's Ferry aggravated the feeling of disappointment
throughout the South. Accordingly,
in December, this year, the legislature
of Sonth Carolina, famous for taking the
lead for the South, passed resolutions in favor

87

HISTO Y OFTEXAS

Lewis Publishing Company, publisher. History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families. Chicago. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth29785/. Accessed December 27, 2014.