The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915 Page: 67
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Beginnings of Secession Movement in Texas
of the state senate, it also became necessary to reinterpret a clause
in the state constitution referring to the ineligibility of a member
of the legislature to any other office.54
Immediately after his election, Senator Wigfall addressed the
legislature on the all-absorbing question of the day. In his opin-
ion Congress under the power to regulate commerce had no right
to declare any branch of trade piracy. He reprehended the at-
tempt he had seen to read Democrats out of the Democratic party
because they held opinions favorable to the reopening of the slave
trade. He denied the right of Congress on principle to prohibit
either the foreign slave trade or the slave trade between the states,
and as for himself, he was a Southern rights man, a state rights
man, and a Democrat." This speech was highly commended as
representing the views of the regular Democrats.
Governor Runnels in his last message to the legislature also pro-
claimed the views of the party and foreshadowed the final result
of the movement now fully inaugurated by the leaders of the
secession movement. He upheld the doctrine of state sovereignty,
and doubted very much that the general government would be able
to uphold and protect the rights of the South. He thought that as
soon as it should become evident that the United States could
"Lubbock, Six Decades in Texas, 258.
Judge Roberts in speaking of Louis T. Wigfall says "that he has been
conspicuous in the advocacy of the principles of 'state rights' ever since he
left South Carolina and moved to Texas, about a year previous to that
time." A Comprehensive History of Texas, 57. In his dates, however,
Judge Roberts seems to be in error; Louis T. Wigfall was in the Texas leg-
islature, 1849-50; a member -of the state senate, 1857-60, and had been the
leader of the ultra-radical element in the state since 1848.-Appleton's
Cyclopaedia of American Biography, VI, 499.
F. R. Lubbock, after defending the action of the legislature in regard
to Wigfall's election, adds: "Besides all this, I should have stated that
Wigfall resigned his seat in the State Senate before the balloting began
for United States Senator." The balloting took place December 5, 1859.
However, I find in the "Journal of the Senate" of the eighth Texas
legislature, page 311, the following letter:
Austin, December 28, 1859.
"Gentlemen of the Senate:
I have the honor to inform your honorable body, that the Hon. Louis
T. Wigfall, of Harrison county, has this day tendered to me his resigna-
tion as Senator from this district, and that said resignation has been
H. R. Runnels."
"State Gazette, December 10, 1859.
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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/m1/73/: accessed May 27, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.