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 OF TEXAS.

of secession, and appropriated a contingent
of $100,000 for military purposes, should it
be required. These resolutions were addressed
to the governors of all the Southern
States. On the receipt of them, Houston
addressed a long message to the Texas legislature,
opposing secession. It had a great
influence upon that body, for the members
very temperately passed resolutions favoring
union, except that they held that a State had
the right to secede, etc. There were majority
and minority reports of the committees of
both branches of the legislature, the minority
holding that a State did not have the right
to secede.
Many years previously, a secret order was
formed for the purpose of establishing a
Southern empire, with slavery, and known as
the Knights of the Golden Circle. Its empire
was to have Havana, Cuba, as its center
and extend in every direction from that sixteen
geographical degrees. It is said that
the filibustering expeditions of 1850 and
1857 were undertaken under the auspices of
this organization, and that now, in the antislavery
agitation at the North, the disappointed
Demnocrats began to turn to it for
aid. "In 1860," says Bancroft, "two members
of the order, George W. Bickley and his
nephew, were employed to organize ' castles,'
or lodges, in Texas, receiving as remuneration
for their work the initiation fees paid by incoming
members. Such castles were soon
established in every principal town and village
in the State, and they became a power
iu the land. In it were many members of
the legislature and prominent politicians.
By its influence the sentiments of the people
were revolutionized; from its fold wer drawn
the first arited rebels in Texas, undo the famous
ranger, Benjamin MeOullough; it furnished
the vigilance committees; and to its'

members were charged murders and incendiary
acts committed during the war."
Even after South Carolina had positively
declared secession from the Union, in Decemnber,
1860, Houston stood true to his principles
of Unionism, though it must be
confessed that many Union men in the State
were suspected of too great sympathy with
the Abolitionism of the North, and were
hanged by vigilance committees, and that
most others were terrorized into silence. So
said Senator Clingman, of North Carolina, at
the time. Remember, it is not understood
that such outrages are chargeable to the
Democrats as such, but to "mobocrats," of
whatever party. Sixty of these Knights, says
Bancroft, issued a call for a State convention
at Austin, to meet January 28, 1861. The
mass of the people considered the proceeding
as irregular, as the Knights took pains to put
in their own men as judges at the primary
elections wherever practicable, and barely
half of the counties were represented at the
convention by the people. The legislature,
by a joint resolution, recognized the informally
elected delegates and declared the convention
a legally constituted assembly. Houston's
veto was overruled, and on the appointed
day the con vention met. February 1, it passed
the ordinance of secession, by a vote of 167
to 7, subject to a vote of the people on
the 23d. This body, also, without waiting to
hear what the result of the popular vote
might be, appointed a ", committee of public
safety," with secret instructions, and appointed
also delegates to the Confederate
convention at Montgomery, Alabama. This
committee of safety usurped the powers of
the executive, and appointed three commissioners
to treat with General Twiggs, in command
of the United States forces in Texas,
for the surrender of his army and the na

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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 July 22, 2014.