The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 41, July 1937 - April, 1938 Page: 84
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
gress, at least in matters pertaining to residence, was tacitly rec-
ognized in the provision giving Congress the power to grant them
the right of permanent residence in the Republic.5 Most Negro
petitions were endorsed by white men whose intercessions, doubtless,
added strength to the pleas, but were not at all a legal necessity."
Two unsuccessful attempts were made to interfere with the petition
process. At the beginning of the fourth Congress which convened
,close upon the failure of the city of Houston to rid itself of free
Negroes by judicial procedure and adjourned with the passage of
the law of February 5, 1840, which made such procedure effective,
Beden Stroud introduced a bill, part of which prevented the
Senate from receiving or entertaining petitions from free Negroes.'
The bill was at first tabled, later referred to the judiciary com-
mittee" and finally emerged as the law of February 5, 1840, which
denied them the right to remain in the country but did not disturb
the privilege of petition for exemption from the law. The second
attempt was made by Francis Moore, Jr., in the sixth Congress
by moving to reject the petition of Henry Lynch. This motion
was not for a denial of the prayer but for an expulsion of the
petition itself as an intruder into the Senate. The proposal was
defeated by a seven to three vote and the petition referred to the
judiciary committee for consideration, thus affirming the right of
-the free Negro to be heard.'
In addition to the formal procedure of petition, free Negroes
presented their grievances personally or by private letter to mem-
'bers of Congress.o0 They had come to know some of these public
1073. The statute was adopted on December 20, 1836. Gammel, The
Laws of Texas, I, 1217.
"General Provisions, Section 9. Gammel, The Laws of Texas, I, 1079.
"Pleasant Bious, Henry Lynch and John Hemphill presented unendorsed
petitions which were received and considered. Memorials No. 45, File 5,
November 5, 1841; No. 54, File 17, December 15, 1840; No. 28, File 54,
7Austin City Gazette, November 27, 1839. A later issue reported that
Such a "gag" resolution was adopted by the Senate on November 29, 1839
,(Austin City Gazette, January 8, 1840), but this report was erroneous.
No mention of it was made in the journal and the Senate received and
considered numerous Negro petitions subsequent to that date.
"Senate Journal, Fourth Congress, 37.
"Senate Journal, Sixth Congress, 76.
l"Greenbury Logan to R. M. Forbes, November 22, 1841. Document
No. 2582, File 28, Sixth Congress. Logan's letter gives a rare glimpse
into some of the grievances, presently to be discussed, as they appeared
to a Negro. He wrote, "I hope you will excuse me for taking the lib-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 41, July 1937 - April, 1938, periodical, 1938; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101103/m1/92/: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.