The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985 Page: 129
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Lincoln's Overture to Sam Houston
official count in the journal of the secession convention. After the
count, Governor Houston dutifully proclaimed the state's secession on
March 4, the same day as Lincoln's inauguration. On the next day the
convention took a further step, voting that Texas be united with the
Confederate States of America. Even before the referendum and Hous-
ton's proclamation, the convention had sent delegates to the Confed-
erate capital at Montgomery, Alabama, where they were seated in the
Confederate Congress. The Confederate secretary of war actually wrote
Houston, on March 2, that the president of the Confederacy was as-
suming control of military operations in Texas. The convention's ac-
tion allying Texas with the Confederacy was too much for Houston.
He insisted that the convention had been empowered to do no more
than propose secession and that it had no authority to subject the state
to another sovereignty. Rather, he insisted, a new convention, properly
called, should determine what the restored Republic of Texas should
Defiantly, on March 14, the convention adopted another ordinance,
requiring all officers of the state to take an oath of loyalty to the Con-
federacy. Houston refused to do so, and thereupon the convention de-
clared that the governor's office was vacant and that its powers were
transferred to the lieutenant governor. The legislature backed the con-
vention and the new governor was sworn in on March 18. Houston
insisted that he remained the legal governor. Yet in an address to the
people of Texas on March 16, the eve of his deposition, and again in
his last message to the legislature on the day the new governor took
over, he promised that he would seek to maintain his authority only
by peaceful means. On March 19, as he began packing to move from
the executive mansion, he flatly rejected violent resistance to the new
regime, tendered by friends who came to him already armed. Though
maintaining that the governorship was still his and strongly arguing
against the convention's course, Houston left Austin on March 31 for
his home near Galveston. He lived out his life in retirement.9
SJoe T. Timmons, "The Referendum in Texas on the Ordinance of Secession, Febru-
ary 23, 1861: The Vote," East Texas Historical Journal, XI (Fall, 1973), 12-15, 16 (vote
results), 17-28; Houston to Rogers and others, Mar. 6, 1861, Houston, Writings, VIII,
265-266; Eber W. Cave, Texas secretary of state, to L. Pope Walker, secretary of war,
Mar. s13, 1861, ibid., 268-271; Houston to the People of Texas, Mar. 16, 1861, ibid.,
271-278; Friend, Sam Houston, 337-338; Bruce Catton, The Coming Fury (Garden City,
N.Y., 1961), 234.
9Houston to the People of Texas, Mar. 16, 1861, Houston, Writings, VIII, 271-278;
Message to the Texas Legislature, Mar. 18, 1861, ibid., 278-292; anonymous memo, Mar.
g19, 1861, ibid., 293; Houston to F. W. Grasmeyer, Mar. 31, 1861, ibid., 293 (shows Hous-
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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/m1/163/: accessed June 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.