The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915 Page: 58
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58 The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
4. The First Threats of Secession,
After their victory in 1857, the Democratic leaders became bolder
in their pro-slavery declarations and in their denunciations of the
federal government. Governor Runnels was an extreme state
rights man, and his inaugural speech represented the views held by
his party in regard to the slavery controversy. He severely con-
demned Governor R. J. Walker's attitude in the Kansas troubles,
accusing him of betraying his official trust and of trying to make
Kansas a free state for everybody but Southerners with their
property. He advocated a liberal policy in regard to the organiza-
tion of state militia. And he openly advocated secession as the
remedy if the trouble in Kansas should not be settled in a manner
satisfactory to the South. Again, in his message to the legislature
in January of 1858 he gave a history of the struggle in Kansas,
and added that the Northern states had increased their obstructions
to the operation of the fugitive slave law. In his opinion the
North was determined to defeat the federal government in its
attempts to protect Southern rights. He recommended that the
legislature pass resolutions declaring the sentiment of the people
in Texas in regard to Northern aggression, and that it provide a
way by which Texas could co-operate with the other Southern
states in protecting their rights.35 The legislature responded with
the resolutions suggested, and to meet his second recommendation
authorized the governor to order an election of seven delegates
to a Southern convention, whenever a majority of the other slave-
holding states should think such a convention necessary. Ten
thousand dollars was appropriated to defray the expenses of such
delegates. But if it should become necessary for Texas to act
alone, the governor was authorized to call a special session of the
legislature in order that it might call a convention."6
But a more radical measure had been proposed a little earlier in
the year by Judge T. J. Chambers, an influential leader of the
party in the state convention. He advocated withdrawal from
the Union in case the federal government should try to embarrass,
delay, or defeat the admission of Kansas as a member of the
Union on any pretext referring to slavery, as such an act would
"8Ibid., January 23, 1858.
"SBancroft, North Mexican States and Texas, II, 425.
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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/m1/64/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.