Was Grant Correct On Texas Secession? (re-visited)

     In the wake of the re-election of President Obama, there is suddenly a lot of media attention being paid to petitions for secession coming from various states. In particular, a petition from the great state of Texas has apparently garnered over 60,000 signatures. According to Wiki, Texas has a population of 25.7 million, so there’s going to have to be a lot more signatures before I am convinced that this is serious. Nevertheless, I thought it might be good to re-visit a post I published last year. See here.

2 thoughts on “Was Grant Correct On Texas Secession? (re-visited)

  1. Grant’s comments on Texas recall those that appear in a message delivered by outgoing governor of the State of Missouri, Robert Marcellus Stewart, on Jan. 3, 1861 in the midst of the secession crisis. Stewart was a Democrat who supported slavery and abhorred abolitionists. He nevertheless vehemently condemned secession as illegal, foolish, and utterly impractical. In the text below, he discusses Texas in his rather cogent arguments for why a government that allows secession cannot function economically or militarily on the national stage [perhaps the current crop of secessionist Texans could benefit from these words of wisdom]:

    “. . . .The very idea of the right of voluntary secession is not only absurd itself, but utterly destructive of every principle on which national faith is founded. With such a doctrine in vogue, the idea of national credit is preposterous. When Texas came into the Union her large debt was paid by the national Government. Has she the right to retire from the compact the moment that the burden is removed from her shoulders? A large portion of our Territory [an obvious reference to Missouri] has been purchased at the cost of hundreds of millions, and this money has been paid by all the States of the Confederacy. Has any State, composed of this purchased territory, a right to retire with a share of the property for which she has paid next to nothing? If this doctrine of secession holds good, our Government is without the first element of stability and is destitute of every feature of respectability. No foreign power will condescend to make treaties with us; no foreign nor even domestic capitalist will be simple enough to loan money to a dissolving partnership.

    If the old Confederacy [the U.S.A.], which has enjoyed the confidence of the world for nearly a century, must lose her credit by giving countenance to this political heresy, what chance has a new Confederacy founded upon the practice of this very doctrine? . . .It would be folly to declare war, for any number of States might withdraw from the compact, and avoid the expense of carrying it on. . . .”

    Journal of the House of Representatives at the First Session of the Twenty-first General Assembly (Jefferson City: W. G. Cheney Public Printer, 1861), pp. 24-25.

    Stewart’s message was delivered by his personal secretary to the General Assembly BEFORE Texas passed and adopted its ordinance of secession on February 1-2, 1861. His words undoubtedly were meant as a warning to Missouri’s legislators to think carefully about this issue. Stewart knew the incoming governor of Missouri, Claiborne Fox Jackson, was sympathetic with secession. The entire speech is quite interesting and can be accessed in the House Journal here (Stewart’s message begins on page 18):


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