The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952 Page: 449
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Sam Houston and Secession
the following year, during the negotiations leading to the Com-
promise of 185o, he expressed a willingness to make necessary
compromises in the interests of harmony, and while the compro-
mise itself indicated that he had no intention of making unnec-
essary concessions, he subsequently asserted that he would have
been willing to see every foot of the territory claimed by Texas
become a lake of fire and brimstone rather than see it throw an
impediment in the way of the peace and harmony of the Union.4
Thus far Houston's attitude had aroused little opposition in
Texas. But the Kansas-Nebraska bill was another matter; its ex-
plicit repeal of the Missouri Compromise elicited enthusiastic
Southern support, and it was assumed that Houston would vote
for it. Instead he spoke for an hour and a quarter in opposition
to the bill,6 arguing eloquently, but vainly, that the abandonment
of the compromise portended civil war.6
He attributed the subsequent denial of re-election by the
legislature to his opposition to this measure, but it seems im-
probable that the legislature would have so acted had he not
aggravated popular resentment by two subsequent political indis-
cretions-far from pouring oil on troubled waters he had in a
speech delivered in Boston denounced slavery as a great national
and social evilP and in spite of the evident offensiveness of such
an organization, he had joined the American Party." Both James
H. Bell9 and George N. Paschal" were convinced that the Kansas-
Nebraska affair alone would not have caused a denial of re-elec-
tion, and several facts substantiate their opinion. Newspaper
comment on his vote was disapproving, at times incredulous, but
seldom bitter. For example, the Texas State Gazette, which had
strongly advocated passage of the measure, while deploring Hous-
ton's stand, hoped there was no truth to the rumors that he
4Congressional Globe, 33rd Congress, Ist Session, Appendix (December 22, 1854),
@National Intelligencer (Washington), February 16, 1854.
eCongressional Globe, 33rd Congress, 1st Session, Appendix (February 15, 1854),
7Texas State Gazette (Austin), September 16, 1855.
slbid., December 1, 1855.
9Speech of the Honorable James H. Bell (Austin, 186o).
loGeorge N. Paschal, "The Last Years of Sam Houston," Harper's Magazine,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952, periodical, 1952; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101139/m1/551/: accessed December 14, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.