« PreviousContinue »
critical moment (March 16th) when the fate | which were counted in open Convention, with the of the proposed Ordinance of Secession hung following result, in the aggregate: in the balance. The vote taken on the 18th, as recorded above, rejecting the Ordinance, (35 to 39,) proves the Union sentiment to have been stronger than sympathy for the Davis On the announcement being made, the President, Confederacy. Where Messrs. Rust and Hind- the Hon. O. M. Roberts, pronounced Texas a free man were, during the contest in the Conven- and independent State. A fervent prayer was then tion, we are not informed. Doubtless the pol-offered by the Hon. and Rev. Mr. Maxey, a member
Majority for Secession...... 23,559
of the Convention, after which the Lone Star flag was hoisted upon the dome of the capitol, and greeted by salvos of artillery. The count will be kept open until the 15th inst., by which time the remaining (fifty) counties will have sent up their returns. The result will not be materially changed in any other way than the increasing of the majority for Secession."
itic Rust preferred to await the free expressions of the people, as represented by their delegates; then, 'in event of the rejection of an immediate act of secession, to propose the “compromise”—which, it will be seen, succeeded-of a vote in August. He would see to it that that vote should be polled as would then seem most propitious for his schemes and the interests of his State. In all his ambitions, Mr. Rust really entertained an earnest purpose to promote the ascendency of
The Revolution in
True to the precedent established by the usurpations of other Conventions, the Texas Convention remained in session after the Ordinance of Secession was promulgated, and proceeded to legislate in utter disregard of the Legislature. Governor Houston refused
Affairs in Texas, during
to recognize the legislative or executive functions of the body, elected, at best, in the
March, assumed several remarkable phases. The State was in process of a revolution, not only most irregular and unauthorized manner. against the United States, but also against He considered the authority of the Convenits own Constitution and State authorities; tion-be that what it was—to have ceased while the disbanding of the Federal army, with the passage of the Ordinance of Secesthrough the treason of General Twiggs, and sion. In his communication to the usurping the seizure and occupation of the United delegates, he refused to acknowledge their States posts by the suddenly created military authority in further legislation-telling them power, under general command of Colonel that the Legislature would attend to their Ben McCullough, added not a little to the own business. He gave his views, at some excitement and disorder prevailing. Through-length, in the communication to the Convenout the entire State the spirit of lawlessness tion, favoring a new Convention to amend and insurrection existed long before the vote the State Constitution, and opposing any on secession, ordered by the "bogus" Con- scheme for blending Texan nationality with vention, had been taken. A love of disorder the Southern Confederacy. seemed to animate the people; and, though the United States had sacrificed millions in money to secure the prosperity and safety of the Texan people, the obligation was made the theme of curses instead of thanks. Such was Texan honor-fitly embodied in that precipitate of impudence, Louis T. Wigfall.
This "rebellion" of the old Governor ex
cited the delegates greatly. They procceded, at once, to inform "Old San Jacinto” of their supreme power over Governor and Legislature, and promised to consummate the union of Texas and the Southern Confederacy at as early a day as possible.* The Convention proceeded to pass an Act of Al
A dispatch from Austin, dated March 4th, made the following announcements: "The first business in the Convention to-day was the counting of the vote of the people for and against secession. Eighty-four counties had sent up returns,
The Texas State Convention.
*Texas was already represented in the Montgomery Congress. [See page 335, Vol. I.] Before the State was out of the Union by the provisions of its own Ordinance, delegates were sent to the Montgomery Congress and admitted to seats!
THE STANDING COMMITTEE CHAIRMANSHIPS.
legiance, by which Governor Houston and all officers of the State were to take a new oath to support the Confederate Government and to carry out all ordinances of the State Convention. Governor Houston immediately left Austin, to avoid further conference with the Convention. It was determined to depose him in event of his refusal to subscribe to the oath.
ence was great; but, worn with illness, and seeing the impossibility of anything like successful resistance to the impetuous course of events, the patriotic old man bowed to the tyranny and withdrew to private life, to witness a state of affairs which must have made him weep tears of blood. The Legislature endorsing the acts of the Convention acknowledged its supremacy. The reign of On the 20th March an ordinance was passed tyrranny was complete. Texas, baptized in deposing the old Governor; also calling upon the blood of heroes, and lifted from the the Secretary of State to account for his re- dust by the United States Government, fusal to appear, as did the other State offi- passed her birthright into the keeping of cers, before the Convention, to take the oath dishonored sous, to become a reproach of allegiance. Lieut.-Gov. Clark was soon among men of honor. She nursed at the installed as Governor, while the Secretary of Union's affluent breast until she became State was made to give up his seal of office strong; then she spurned her benefactor, and and the records. This deposition it was would have stabbed the bosom of her life, thought Gov. Houston would resist by had there not been strong arms to shield the calling out the military, over whom his influ- outraged parent.
EXTRA SESSION OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE.
Confirmation of the
THE Scuate was conven- | ators from the Seceded States, was apportioned ed in extra session, Tues the chair on all the Standing Committees, as day, March 5th, to consider follows: Foreign Relations, Mr. Sumner; Fi. the appointments of the new Administration. nance, Mr. Fessenden; Commerce, Mr. ChandThe first communication from the President ler; Military Affairs, Mr. Wilson; Naval was received at 5 P.M., announcing the nom- Affairs, Mr. Hale; Judiciary, Mr. Truminations to his Cabinet, [see page 490, Vol. I.] bull;. Post-office, Mr. Collamer; Public all of whom were confirmed, unanimously, Lands, Mr. Harlan; Private Land Claims, except Messrs. Bates and Blair. These gentle- | Mr. Harris; Indian Affairs, Mr. Doolittle; men, being from Slave States, were opposed Pensions, Mr. Foster; Revolutionary Claims, by a few of the radical Southern Senators, on Mr. King; Claims, Mr. Clark; District the ground that no Southern man ought to of Columbia, Mr. Grimes; Patents, Mr. find a place in a Republican Cabinet. Simmons; Public Buildings, Mr. Foot; TerOn the 6th, the Commit-ritories, Mr. Wade; To Audit Expenses of tee Chairmanships were an- Senate, Mr. Dixon; Printing, Mr. Anthony; nounced by the Vice-Presi- Enrolled Bills, Mr. Bingham; Engrossed dent. The dominant party being in the ma- Bills, Mr. Baker. jority, owing to the withdrawal of the Sen
This was the first instance, in the history
The Standing Committee Chairmanships.
of the country, wherein the North had received a majority of the chairmanships. The Senate, from the formation of the Government up to 1860, was under the control of the South—so much so as to become recognized as the "Southern House." The South only thought of a disseverance of the Union when it found the uninterrupted control of the Senate about to pass from it. The admission of Kansas, Oregon, and Minnesota, and the early coming in of Nebraska, threw the numerical scale to the North, in the Senate, as the popular voice had thrown the representation in the House. The power of the South, as a section, was indeed gone, and a new Confederacy was conceived by the defeated leaders to be their only remedy if they would remain in power.
The substitute of the Senator fi om North Carolina
assumes that Texas has a right to secede, and it was
The President's Inaugural being called, on a motion to print it, Mr. Clingman, of North Carolina, and Wigfall, of Texas, assailed it in very strong terms, while Mr. Douglas, in an unexpected manner, defended it. [See pages 11-15.] The demeanor of the Texan Senator, in particular, was so offensive —his speech so rank with treason and inso-right or power under the Constitution to secede lent in its tone-that, on Friday, March 8th, Mr. Foster, of Connecticut, introduced the following resolution :
a logical conclusion that in such event she had no right to seats here. In this he differed from the Senator. He did not believe any State has the
or take itself out of the Union of the States which go to make up those of America. He differed widely and radically from such theories. It was altogether monstrous that this Government, one of power and authority, could be dissolved. Argument, therefore, was unnecessary with those who held to a different opinion. Two men might as well undertake to reason in a foreign language which one understood and the other did not. That no such thing as Secession was known to the Constitution, was too plain to argue or admit of a doubt. After a brief argument on this point, he said, whether Texas has seceded he was not informed. He meant by a vote of the peounder-ple, or some body representing them. He should hold that the Senator was entitled to his seat for all that, on sound constitutional grounds. Could that State, by withdrawing from the Union, withdraw him from this body? No. He is entitled to his seat according to the forms of the Constitution and the
The Texan not being in his seat, authority of his State, and the State has no power the resolution was allowed to pass over. legally or constitutionally to withdraw him from The introduction of the resolution created He did not think the substitute met the question. this body during the term for which he was elected. considerable excitement, particularly among | He did not know what right the Senator (Clingman) the Northern Democrats, as they would, on the vote, be compelled to go upon the record in the matter of treason. Thus far in the year they had succeeded in dodging the re
"Whereas, Mr. Wigfall, now Senator of the United States from Texas, has declared in debate that he is a foreigner, and owes no allegiance to this Government, but to a State and foreign Government: therefore,
Resolved, That Louis C. Wigfall be expelled from this body."
The Expulsion of
sponsibilities of votes which might array them clearly and definitively with the North, and they, doubtless, preferred that it should be so to the end of the session; but this resolution, if pressed, would compel a general "showing of hands.”
On Monday, March 11th, the consideration of the resolution was resumed, when Foster supported it in a speech of much decision, while Clingman, Hunter, and Mason all sought to shield the Senator from expulsion. Their own fate was foreshadowed in the rule which should apply to Wigfall. Foster's argument for the expulsion was based on purely Constitutional grounds. The declaration of the Senator that he did not owe allegiance to the United States Government disqualified him for holding a seat. in the Senate. The substance of his argument was thus reported:
Mr. Clingman moved to amend Mr. Foster's resolution by striking out all after the word" whereas," " and insert, "It is stood that the State of Texas has seceded from the Union, and is no longer one of the United States; therefore, be it
"Resolved, That Texas is not entitled to be represented in this body."
Foster vs. Wigfall.
had to say that Texas has seceded from the Coafederacy of the States and no longer belongs to the United States, but even if there were official notice it would be a nullity. If a State has withdrawn and
MASON'S SUPPORT OF WIGFALL.
given the Senate even official notice, what right had they to say that she should be no longer entitled to representation? They were clothed with no such authority." Clingman's defence of Wigfall was sought to be on purely logical grounds —the North Carolina Senator not caring to speak out personally in the matter. He said: “Was it ever maintained, because one Senator differed from another on a constitutional question, that that was a reason to expel him? It might be supposed that the Senate could expel a man who thought and agreed that the moon was made of green cheese, [laughter,] and that such a one should be driven out. But would any gentleman say he ought to be driven out? Fifteen Senators have gone out, believing their States have a right to secede. The mother of States and statesmen, Virginia, has always maintained that opinion. If it is an error for the Senator from Texas to believe his State has a
right to secede, why not expel the Virginia Senators; and especially why not expel those gentlemen who declared it, and have gone away? Why is it that their names are still called? They have gone away, showing an utter disregard for contrary opinions. But the Senator says Texas has taken possession of some of the public property. Is that a good reason? If so, it applies with more force to other States than Texas. Why did the Senator from Connecticut allow the name of Jefferson Davis to be called, and not move to expel him? Not only had that geutleman's State seceded, but he had advised arms and forts to be seized, and was at the head of a foreign Republic; but no motion was made to expel him. The Senator said he deemed it his
duty to make a motion to expel Mr. Wigfall. Senator after Senator had made similar avowals, and even advised their citizens to take possession of the defensive works of the United States. Senator Toombs declared that he gave such advice. Why, then, single out the Senator from Texas? His friend, Mr. Wigfall, had said his State has seceded, and with great frankness added that therefore he regarded himself as a foreigner. But this did not afford sufficient ground for his expulsion. He had pursued the policy of other retiring Senators by remaining here, and was awaiting official information. The course proposed by the Senator from Connecticut was not the proper one. All they could do was to say that the Senator from Texas is mistaken on a constitutional and legal point. If Texas has not seceded, he is entitled to his seat here, notwithstanding the opinion he expresses.'
This reference to the Virginia Senators called up both Mason and Hunter, who had
Clingman's Defence of Wigfall.
remained to attend the extra session, although both refused to be present at the Inauguration ceremonies. Their speeches were unequivocal and open avowals of their antagonism to the General Government.
Mason remarked, in substance, that the resolution was clearly for the expulsion of the Senator from Texas for what he
had said on the floor. The Constitution enables the Senate to protect itself, and gives power to expel a member, provided that twothirds vote for the resolution. But the expulsion of a Senator is punative in character, and the intention of the Senator from Connecticut is to punish the Senator from Texas for what he uttered in debate. The Senator from Connecticut said what the Senator from Texas had avowed was inconsistent with holding a seat on this floor. The Senator had declared that he was a foreigner, and not a citizen of the United States, but owed allegiance to a foreign Government. If the Senator from Connecticut thought the Senator from Texas ought not to occupy a seat there, because he is not a citizen of the United States, he ought to move to refer the subject to a committee, so that if the facts warrant, the seat will be declared vacant. If it be a punishable offense to allege a constitutional truth, then the resolution may be well founded. For one, he (Mason) recognized no allegiance to this Government. He recognized and acknowledged no allegiance to this Government, none whatever; and he there took his position beside the Senator from Texas, although Virginia is a constituent of this Government, and he one of her representatives. He owed allegiance to Virginia, and to no one else. Did the Senator from Connecticut resist the doctrine of constitutional law, and hold that the Government of the United States is still a sovereign? If he did, God help him! So far as the Senator from Texas has committed an offense by saying he owed no allegiance to this Government, he stood by his side. He should be unfaithful to Virginia if he did not. The old feudal idea of allegiance was the relation between the subject and sovereign, between the vassal and lord. Allegiance here is that which is due from a citizen to a sovereign power. He
Mason's Support of Wigfall.
Mason's Support of
and not the Government.
knew of no sovereign ex- | He was sworn to support the Constitution, cept the State. He took it for granted that Connecticut is the Senator's sovereign, and that if he yields allegiance to this Government, he is faithless. The oath of allegiance in Virginia, to be taken by all who are admitted to the political powers of the State, is faithfully and truly to support the Commonwealth. If the Senator from Texas is a foreigner, he is not a citizen of the United States. But that is because of the fact, not because of the allegation, for the Constitution says that a foreignered that he owed obedience to the Constitu
Hunter regarded this movement as calculated to be dangerous. The resolution proposed to censure a member for a mere expression of opinion. The Senator from Texas had done nothing more than declare his belief in the doctrine of Secession, and that his State had seceded, but that until he had the evidence of this he would sit here. With other State Rights men, he avow
shall not have a seat on this floor. The
tion and laws, but not allegiance. All that
We have given these arguments from their novelty, and as showing the peculiar philosophy of that "Southern idea" which sought
Hunter's Endorsement of Mason.