The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967 Page: 472
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
A U/hol Peaop/ lAdicted
Edited by E. W. BOWERS
DO NOT KNOW THE METHOD OF DRAWING UP AN INDICTMENT
against an whole people." Thus spoke Edmund Burke in
his famous speech on conciliation with the American col-
onists, delivered before the Commons on March 22, 1775. What
was but a rhetorical device to Burke became a fact to the citizens
of Red River County, Republic of Texas. The scene took place,
not in the stately chamber of the British House of Commons,
but in a log courthouse in the middle of the public square at
On January 16, 1840, the county jail of Red River County,
Republic of Texas, had been consumed by fire. No action to
rebuild the jail had been taken by the spring term of the district
court. When the fall term of the court met on September 28,
1840o, the Honorable John M. Hansford, judge of the Seventh
Judicial District, instructed the new grand jurors as to their
duties. Among other things he touched on the fact that Red
River County was still without an adequate jail and that some-
thing should be done about it.
On October 8, 1840, a true bill was brought before the court,
indicting the citizens of Red River County for their failure to
provide a "County jail or prison." The indictment was couched
in the most solemn and impressive language possible.'
THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS, ) IN DISTRICT COURT,
COUNTY OF RED RIVER ) SEPTEMBER TERM, 1840
The Grand Jurors for the Republic aforesaid duly Elected, em-
pannelled [sic], sworn and charged to inquire of offenses committed
and nuisances existing in the body of Red River County upon
their oath present--that from the time whereof, the memory of
the Grand Jurors knoweth not to the contrary, there was a certain
Republic's County jail or prison in the town of Clarksville, situate,
used by and for the use of all the good citizens of our said Republic
*Civil Minutes of the Seventh Judicial District of the Republic of Texas, Fall
Term, 184o (Red River County Archives, Clarksville), A, 36-40o.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967, periodical, 1967; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101199/m1/498/?rotate=270: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.