The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915 Page: 53
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Beginnings of Secession 1Movement in Texas
and a few authorized the appointment of vigilance committees.
The general object of the associations, as given in an address on
the purposes of such organizations by a committee appointed by
the Travis County association, was to secure the permanent success
of the national Democratic party, whose effort had always been to
protect the national rights of the South from outrage, to elevate
the condition of the people, to extend and strengthen Southern
institutions, and to protect Southern rights when threatened with
violence."" The duties of vigilance committees were of a general
nature. For instance, the chairman of the Cass County con-
vention was authorized to appoint a vigilance committee whose
duty it should be to perform all things necessary to further the
cause against "Know-Nothingism" and "abolitionism;" and the
chairman of the Freestone County convention was authorized to
appoint a vigilance committee of twenty-five to act in concert with
the Democratic association.
The legislature of 1855 reflected the general feeling of resent-
ment against Houston for working against what the people con-
sidered their interests. According to the Austin correspondent
of the Galveston News, nearly everything connected with the history
of the Compromise of 1850, the fugitive slave law, and the record
of Houston was under discussion. Not even Houston's personal
friends sustained him in his course.20 After much heated dis-
cussion the legislature, by a vote of seventy-three to three, adopted
the following resolution, disapproving of Houston's vote: "Be
it resolved by the legislature of the State of Texas, that the
legislature approves the course of Thomas J. Rusk, in voting for
the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and disapproves the course of Sam
Houston, in voting against it.'21 As a further indication of its
approval of Rusk's position on the Kansas-Nebraska bill, the leg-
islature, more than a year before his term expired, unanimously
re-elected him to the United States Senate for another term of six
years, from March, 1857.22 Houston found it necessary to visit
the legislature and justify his action. On November 23, 1855,
he delivered an address before the legislature wherein he explained
"Ibid., December 1, 1855.
"2Galveston News, November 27, 1855.
"State Gazette, December 1, 1855.
'Ibid., November 27, 1855.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915, periodical, 1915; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101064/m1/59/: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.