Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago Page: 6 of 58
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6 RECONSTRUCTION IN TEXAS.
Federal government would be towards those who had espoused the
cause of the Confederate States created a feeling of unrest that was
positive torture, paralyzing the energies, and casting over the people
the shadow of hopeless despair. Many determined to go to
Mexico and South America, in order to flee the wrath they supposed
was coming; others, and they constituted the great majority,
who could provide no means of flight, determined to remain and
with sullen resignation take whatever might be in store for them.
Soon after the cessation of hostilities President Johnson issued
his proclamation appointing a provisional Governor for Texas, and
providing for the assembling of a constitutional convention to
amend the constitution, so as to restore Texas to her constitutional
relations with the Federal government. A. J. Hamilton was appointed
Provisional Governor of the State. On July 25, 1865, he
issued a proclamation and soon after made some addresses. The
proclamations of the President and Governor Hamilton, and the
addresses of the latter, allayed to a great extent the fears of the
people of Texas and led them to believe that there would not be
instituted against them, personally, persecutions or prosecutions,
and that their property would not be confiscated.
As soon as practical after his arrival in the State, Governor
Hamilton organized civil rule, by the appointment of civil officers,
and in the majority of these appointments he manifested great liberality
and selected generally good men. An election was ordered
for delegates to a constitutional convention. The delegates to the
convention were elected, assembled at Austin, amended the State
constitution, and by ordinance provided for the election of Governor,
members of the Legislature, all other State and county officers,
members of Congress, and at the same time submitted to the
people for'ratification or rejection the amendments made to the
constitution. This election was held on the fourth Monday in June,
1866. At said election the amendments to the State constitution
were ratified by a vote of 28,119 for and a vote of 23,400 against.
The amended constitution ratified the emancipation of the slaves.
The Eleventh Legislature, under the amended constitution, assembled
at Austin, on the 6th day of August, 1866, and adjourned
on the 13th day of November, 1866. Under the amended constitu-
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Wood, William D. Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago, book, 1902; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth14387/m1/6/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .