The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985 Page: 126
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
sparked interest, too, among antislavery elements. For there was hope,
among many, that great reaches of the vast Texas region would become
a land of freedom, perhaps with a center at San Antonio, the state's
largest town. That hope even led to a movement to encourage settlers
who had no slaves-especially immigrants from Germany and En-
gland-to migrate to Texas to buttress antislavery sentiment.2
As the sectional conflict approached the crisis stage, Texas ap-
peared to be different from states in the Deep South. Its governor, Sam
Houston, who had taken office in December, 1859, insisted that elec-
tion of a Republican as president could offer no excuse for disunion.
He even proclaimed that there was no constitutional right to secede,
that secession would be revolution, and that he would "raise the stan-
dard of revolution" only if the Lincoln government were to trample
on the constitutional rights of Texas.8
The northern impression that Texas was not solid for secession was
strong enough to endure long after fighting had begun. In the sum-
mer of 1861, General George B. McClellan, asked by the president for
his strategic thinking, listed Texas as a potential objective "for the pur-
pose of protecting and developing the latent Union and free-State
sentiment well known to predominate in Western Texas." Before the
year's end he actually had a plan for a drive from Kansas "to make a
descent upon Northern Texas, in connection with one to strike at
Western Texas from the Gulf." Edwin M. Stanton, on becoming sec-
retary of war in January, 1862, met with General Benjamin F. Butler
to be briefed on a proposition for an invasion of Texas. The proposal
was to make a landing on the Texas coast and then advance to San
2Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States, 5 Stat. 797-798 (1845);
Joint Resolution for the Admission of the State of Texas into the Union, 9 Stat. 1o8
(1845); An Act Proposing to the State of Texas the Establishment of Her Northern and
Western Boundaries, ch. 49, 9 Stat. 446-447 (1850o); H P. N. Gammel (comp.), The Laws
of Texas, 1822-1897 . . . (so vols.; Austin, 1898), II, 1, 226; Laura Wood Roper, "Freder-
ick Law Olmsted and the Western Texas Free-Soil Movement," American Historical Re-
view, LVI (Oct., 1950o), 58-64. The division between slave and nonslave elements in Texas
in 186o can be seen in U.S., Department of the Interior, Census Office, Population of the
United States in 186o; Compiled from the Original Returns of the Eighth Census (Wash-
ington, D.C., 1864), 486-487, Table 3. San Antonio and Galveston see-sawed as the largest
town in Texas. In 185o Galveston had 4,117 people and San Antonio 3,488; by 186o Gal-
veston had 7,3o7 and San Antonio 8,235. Texas Almanac and State Industrial Guide,
1972-1973 ([Dallas], 1971), 162, 164.
5Address at the Union Mass Meeting, Austin, Texas, Sept. 22, 186o, Houston, Writings,
VIII, 145-160; Houston to H. M. Watkins and others, Nov. o20, 186o, ibid., 192-193, 194
(quotation), 195-197; Address to the People of Texas, Dec. 3, 186o, ibid., 2o6-212.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985, periodical, 1984/1985; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101210/m1/160/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.