Our old pal Lynn Ashby, who once delivered a lecture to us at the University of Texas and later worked only a few yards from our cluttered desk at The Houston Post, has taken Texas Gov. Rick Perry (pictured above) to task for raising the idea of Texas seceding from the Union.
Perry's floating of Texas secession once again gave out-of-staters an opening to take pot shots at the Lone Star State. We don't need that. We've had eight years of it and it has become tiresome. We've had so much of it that our head hurts.
Moreover, the governor showed his ignorance. We don't need that, either. It makes us look like hayseeds. OK, maybe we are hayseeds, but there's no need to advertise it. His public relations people need to rein him in or he'll be sent back to his cotton farm in the Panhandle in short order.
Anyway, as Ashby writes in a column carried by the Clute daily:
Nice try, Gov, but you have bought into a Texas myth....
The truth is that we can’t secede from the United States, although some say that power is written in the Texas Annexation Treaty with the United States. The document was not a treaty, but a joint resolution of both the U.S. and Texas congresses. A treaty takes a two-thirds approval by the U.S. Senate, and Texas, being a slave nation at the time, would never get two-thirds approval. A resolution took only a majority, and the agreement barely got that.
Part of the confusion is because there were so many proposed treaties, agreements and resolutions submitted over the years — 17 of them. Some called for “the re-annexation of Texas” since, the measures claimed, Texas had been bought as part of the Louisiana Purchase. One proposal said Texas should come in no bigger than the biggest state at that time. Another divided the land into two territories, neither one of which would be called “Texas.”
When Texas first considered joining the Confederacy, some people, including Gov. Sam Houston, wanted the state to return to being the Republic of Texas. President Lincoln offered to send Houston an army to prevent the breakaway. Houston refused.
In Waco, Houston told a crowd that Texas should “unfurl again the banner of the Lone Star ... and re-enter upon a national career.” During the debate in Austin over secession, Houston planned to disperse the Secession Convention, take over the government and declare the Republic of Texas is alive and well. Texas did secede, of course, but until it officially joined the Confederacy, the flag of Texas was once again the Lone Star flag.
The new governor of Texas, Edward Clark, warned, “An effort will soon be made ... to establish an independent republic.” Also, the Confederate Army had requested 18 regiments from Texas — all infantry. Didn’t Jeff Davis know that the Texas cavalry was the best in the world?
Well, if at first you don’t secede, try, try again. A Texas congressman, Jim Collins, introduced a resolution in the U.S. House: “And in conclusion, if Texas citizens favor the establishment of the Republic of Texas, I would ask that both the Senate and House in the U.S. Congress be provided the opportunity to confirm this transfer of authority to the Republic of Texas.” — April 13, 1978. That’s right. 1978.
(if you want to send Ashby an e-mail, his address is ashby2(at)comcast.net)