On February 1, a secession convention in Texas voted to leave the Union. Three weeks later, a popular vote ratified the decision by a three-to-one margin. Texas Governor Sam Houston (1793-1863), who owned a dozen slaves, repudiated secession and refused to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy. As a result, he was forced from office. Houston predicted: "Our people are going to war to perpetuate slavery, and the first gun fired in the war will be the [death] knell of slavery." His opponents, however, confidently looked forward to the future.
I am here attending upon the Convention. Today we adopted an Ordinance of Secession. Our connexion with the U.S. ends on the 2d....
You will recall what I said to you last summer. The Union is defunct--dead, never to be revived. No concessions now would occasion its reconstruction--The South cannot be conquered. Peace we prefer but do not dread war. The cost has been counted and we are ready to pay it.
We had a glorious country, great in all respects. Blind infatuation has destroyed it. Had simple equality been evinced, the South would have submitted to every other wrong.