OTD 1866: Delegate J.K. Bumpass protests proposals to divide Texas

The Constitutional Convention of 1866 adjourned sine die on April 2, 1866. Before the day’s business was concluded, a delegate named J.K. Bumpass rose to address the question whether Texas should divide into several smaller states, a proposal made during the course of the 1866 convention and to arise again at the convention of 1868-69.

Bumpass passionately opposed the idea of dividing Texas:

I stand here to protest, in positive terms, against any and all measures looking to a division, either now or hereafter, of the great State of Texas; against giving the people of any portion of the State the power of doing the same. I declare, that in my judgment, nothing would be more suicidal, nothing more dangerous, nothing more disastrous to the people of this State, and the people of the great south-west, than the adoption of this uncalled for and unholy measure. It will weaken the influence of the south-west in our national Legislature, if our brethren of the North are ever forgiving enough to allow us our representation there. It will create small States, perhaps antagonistic to each other, instead of presenting an unbroken front in opposition to any measure calculated to injure the interest of the south-western portion of this American republic. It will estrange the interest of persons who, above all others, should be friends. It will, while it may increase the number of Senators in the United States Senate, weaken their influence, by causing their interest to clash. I protest against it because the signs of the times indicate that we are on the very eve of important events, which may terminate forever the existence of civil and religious liberty on this American continent, or that it may be lost for a long time amid the ruins of a military despotism; and then, if Texas shall have remained united, it will have territory sufficient, it may have population great enough, to seize once more the old Star of Texas, and raise it above the common ruin by which it may be surrounded; or, like the brave defenders of the Alamo, go down defending Texas as it was, as it is, and as I pray to God it may always be, undivided, unaltered, and unchanged.

I wish Texas to remain the great territorial State she is, that in a future day, if the worst comes, and amid a conflict for power between parties now organizing, both north and south, American liberty should be lost, that Texas, located far to the south west, united as she should be, may furnish a nucleus around which may rally the lovers of free and republican government, or furnish sepulchres for the last who desire to perpetuate the boon.

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