The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 9, July 1905 - April, 1906 Page: 45
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John H. Reagan.
promise having failed and the secession acts of several States hav-
ing passed,-on the floor of the House he declared:
"I have loved the Union with an almost extravagant devotion.
I have fought its battles . .. in times when the result for
the Union seemed hopeless. If I believed we could have security
of our rights within the Union, I would go home and fight the-
battles of the Union in the future with the same earnestness and
energy that I have done in the past."
On the other hand he incisively pointed out that the framers of
the Constitution had recognized slavery, and that the laws formu--
lated since the foundation of the Union had done likewise. "What
right, therefore," he asked, "had the North to force the South to-
abandon the institution ?" To him it was a question of abstract
right, and he hesitated not to follow the fortunes of his State, al-
though it grieved him to sever the old allegiance. But the die was
cast, and, toward the end of January, 1861, he, along with many
Southern members, withdrew from the Capitol.
This was the beginning of the crucial period, for while en route
home he learned of his election to the so-called Secession Conven-
tion of his State, which met at Austin. Here it was in a prophetic
interview which he had with Governor Sam Houston, who stood
aloof from the convention, that the latter pronounced his dismal
forecast: "The people are going to war on the question of slav-
ery, and the firing of the first gun will sound the knell of slavery."
Houston's own attitude, too, was discovered, for, while he strongly
opposed the secession movement, he gave out that he would never
take arms against his own people.
But, spite of the tremendous influence of the governor, the con-
vention passed the ordinance which parted it from the Union, and
Judge Reagan was chosen one of the six delegates to the Provi-
sional Congress of the Confederacy. The other members were Gen-
eral Waul, Judges Gregg and Ochiltree, and former United States-
Senators Hemphill and Wigfall. The latter was a man of marked
ability, and, throughout the life of the Confederacy exerted un-
usual influence in directing the affairs of State. Indeed, toward
the close his attacks on the government were so bitter that Judge
Reagan visited him in a vain effort to stay his tongue. In Mont-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 9, July 1905 - April, 1906, periodical, 1906; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101036/m1/49/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.