The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 41, July 1937 - April, 1938 Page: 90
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Soulthweslcrn Historical Quarterly
Negroes." Unsuccessful attempts were made to include free
Negroes in an act to prohibit the sale of spirituous liquors to
slaves; to prohibit them from keeping arms without license; to
make it a criminal offense for a Negro "to lift a hand" in oppo-
sition to any white person; and to bar them from exercising "the
functions of a minister of the Gospel."34 In addition, efforts
were made to restrict their movements to the county in which
they resided." Attempts were also made, beginning in 1842, to
inaugurate a slave patrol to "visit in negro quarters and places
suspected of containing unlawful assemblies of slaves and other
disorderly persons." The broad powers extended to the patrol
authorized them to force open the doors of free Negroes when
33Texans generally had no qualms over the violation of democratic
principles so far as they applied to Negroes, but were rather touchy
when the same violations seemed to threaten any class of white men.
When opposition developed in the constitutional convention of 1845, to
the provision making clergymen ineligible for seats in the legislature,
Mr. J. S. Mayfield drew the analogy. He declared: "I shall first notice
the argument that this provision is an infringement of the declaration
that all men are free and equal, and entitled to equal rights. Now, sir,
we have made no such declaration, and if we had made it, it would not
be true in fact. We have simply declared that all freemen when they
form a social compact, have equal rights, and shall be entitled to equal
privileges. Now I will ask, gentlemen, if a free black in this country,
declared so by the laws of Texas, and a party to the compact, is not as
much a freeman, as any who occupies a place upon this floor, or any
minister of the gospel? And yet in sections long anterior to this, these
gentlemen voted without any compunction of conscience, and without
fears that in what they were doing, they were violating republican prin-
ciples, or the rights of the dear people, to exclude the African and the
man of mixed blood from any participation whatever in the legislation
of the country. Their fears and alarms were not raised then, though
the free black is as much a freeman according to that declaration as
any man here. If gentlemen would be consistent with themselves, why
not come forward and vindicate the rights of the free blacks, and admit
him to a seat and companionship with themselves in our deliberative as-
semblies? They may show that the political situation of the country
may render it necessary that such a qualification should be introduced
into the Constitution itself to limit all these general principles. If then
from the peculiar nature of the case and the circumstances by which we
are surrounded, they see proper in that case to adopt a qualification
seemingly incompatable with a declaration formerly made, is there any-
thing inconsistent in this? . . . In what respect is a restriction of this
kind an injury to the people? If it is the intention to give them un-
limited power and control, if no restriction whatever of a political char-
acter is to be placed upon the exercise of their judgment and their will,
why not throw the subject broad cast, and allow them to elect represent-
atives from freemen of African blood?" Wm. F. Weeks (Reporter),
Debates of the Texas Convention, 192-193.
"Bill No. 2497, File 27, Fifth Congress.
"House Journal, Ninth Congress, 109, 112.
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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/m1/98/: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.