The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969 Page: 342
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
tent. I submitted a title, which Tuffly Ellis trimmed down to fit the
program page, and we now all are faced with the mutual hazard of
What follows, I must warn you, is personal opinion. Reasoned
opinion I like to think. You may feel that reasoned personal opinion
is the same snare that makes a man draw four cards to an inside
straight. I mention this simply in order that those of you who may
decide now to spend your time at HemisFair can do so in the sure
knowledge that your leaving will give no offense.
California and Texas have been, are, and will continue to be for
some time to come, truly imperial powers in their relations to the other
states of the Trans-Mississippi west. It is an article of faith with me that
these imperial postures and the forces which shaped them have
played no small role in creating the current stereotyped image of
both states. With these things said, it is time for me to quit wander-
ing around like a blind dog in a meat safe.
Both Texas and California were inextricably entwined in the
nation's aspirations in the quarter-century before the Civil War. I
refuse today to render an opinion as to whether it was a desire to
protect Texas or to acquire California that triggered the Mexican
War. There are limits to the temerity of a visting professor at UT-
Austin. It is worth noting, however, that our minister to Mexico in
1842, Waddy Thompson, wrote Daniel Webster as follows: "As to
Texas, I regard it as of but little value compared with California-
the richest, the most beautiful and the healthiest country in the world."
Thompson might change his mind could he see the Golden State
Many facts attest to the Texas interest in California in the decade
before Fort Sumter. Among these is the 60,ooo head of cattle, mds 6
meos, from the Gulf Plains between Houston and Corpus Christi
that were trailed to the meat-hungry camps along California's Mother
Lode. Another facet of this interest is the "Jackass Mail" between
San Antonio and San Diego, which one wit described as "running from
nowhere through nothing to no place." The enduring obsession with
a railroad from Texas to California spawned some of the gaudiest
"paper railroad" promotions in our national history. Finally, it is
worth noting that one of Texas' most persistent folk figures, Sam
Bass, found his one truly successful illegality in extracting California
gold from a Union Pacific train in Nebraska.
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969, periodical, 1969; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117146/m1/176/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.