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[339] regarding them as a sort of theatrical, sheet-iron thunder, which might scare the North into greater subserviency to the Slave Power, and, at the worst, could do no harm. And now, these resolves were triumphantly quoted by the conspirators, and the people asked whether they meant any thing by passing them, or were only uttering threats which they never intended to make good.

4. The Governors of nearly all the Slave States, including even Delaware, had actively and zealously supported Breckinridge, and had thus justified the withdrawal of a majority of the Southern delegates from the Charleston Convention, on grounds not essentially differing from those whereon Disunion was now urged. The action now taken by South Carolina was very fairly claimed to be a direct and necessary sequence of that bolt. The Governors and other leading politicians who had supported Breckinridge and Lane in the recent canvass, were held to have thereby pledged themselves to prosecute that policy to its legitimate results. And most of them were fully aware of and ready to meet this expectation. Hence, South Carolina had scarcely thrown up her signal rocket, announcing the outbreak of the long meditated revolution, when it was responded to by proclamations and calls of Legislatures in most of the Slave States.

Texas was not originally of the number. Her leading politicians had shown the cloven foot a year too soon, by nominating, early in 1859, a State ticket pledged to favor the reopening of the African Slave-Trade, which was a well-understood Shibboleth of the South-Western plotters of Disunion. Hardin R. Runnells, a Mississippian, who was the incumbent, was placed at its head as a candidate for Governor. The people were alarmed by this bold step; Gen. Sam Houston took the field in opposition to it as an independent Union candidate for Governor; and, though there was no political organization in the State but that which he confronted, while Texas had gone overwhelmingly for Pierce against Scott, and for Buchanan against Fillmore, Gen. Houston carried it with all ease, beating Runnells by 8,670 majority,1 in by far the largest vote ever yet polled in the State. Andrew J. Hamilton, running as a Unionist for Congress, in the Western District, in like manner beat T. N. Waul, the regular Democratic candidate, by 4482 majority. In the Eastern District, John H. Reagan,3 Democrat, had no serious opposition.

Gen. Houston was thus in a position to thwart the Texan conspirators, had he evinced either principle or courage, when they commenced operating to take their State out of the Union at the close of 1860. He did refuse to call the Legislature, or a Convention; whereupon the conspirators called the Legislature themselves, by a document signed by sixty of their number, having just as much legal validity and force as a harangue at a negro camp-meeting. But the Disunionists were thoroughly united, determined, and ready; while their adversaries, owing to Houston's pusillanimity,

1 Houston, 36,170; Runnells, 27,500.

2 Hamilton, 16,409; Waul, 15,961.

3 Since, Confederate Postmaster-General. Reagan was elected to Congress from Eastern Texas in 1859, by 20,565 votes to 3,541 for Judge W. B. Ochiltree; but Houston for Governor had 4,183 majority in the District at that election; showing that Reagan had no serious opposition.

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