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    [C.S.A.]. The Constitution of the State of Texas, as Amended in 1861. The Constitution of the Confederate States of America. The Ordinances of the Texas Convention: and an Address to the People of Texas. Printed by order of the Convention and the Senate. Austin: Printed by John Marshall, State Printer, 1861. First edition. 8vo. Wrappers. 40 pages. Sewn self-wrappers. Moderate foxing throughout. With "A. M. Gentry / Senate" in ink on front cover. Very good. The secessionist constitution of Texas. Scarce.

    Abram Morris Gentry (1821-1883) was a legislator and one of the earliest railroad promoters in Texas. He was one of four delegates elected to the Constitutional Union Party's national convention in Baltimore, and as a Union Democrat had been an active participant at the San Jacinto assembly.

    The Texas Constitution was a conservative document designed partly to allay public fear of the more radical of the secessionists, and partly to ease the transition of Texas into the Confederacy. It was as remarkable for what it did not do as for what it did. It did not substantially change any important law, it did not take an extreme position on the issue of states' rights, nor did it legalize the resumption of the African slave trade, a move advocated by some leaders of the secession movement.

    Following ratification of secession from the Union on February 23, 1861, the Secession Convention reconvened. Delegates were dedicated to overseeing the transition of Texas as it left union with the United States and joined the Confederate States of America. In this effort, they relied heavily on the United States Constitution, making a few distinct changes to the text to suit the circumstances. Slavery and states' rights were more directly defended. A clause providing for emancipation of slaves was eliminated, and the freeing of slaves was declared illegal. All current state officials were required to take an oath of loyalty to the Confederacy, and all existing laws not in conflict with the constitutions of Texas or the Confederate States were declared valid. From the papers of B.A. Shepherd.

    References: Parrish & Willingham 4147. Winkler 70.


    More Information:

    Benjamin Armistead Shepherd was born in Virginia on May 14, 1814. Due to the poor conditions of the land and a dwindling family fortune, he left Virginia in the 1830s and arrived in Galveston, Texas. He married Mary Dobson in 1841 and settled in the growing town of Houston. A personal friend of General Sam Houston (whom he had met at age 19), Shepherd established himself as a prominent landowner and one of the foremost citizens of Houston, involving himself in many entrepreneurial adventures before founding and serving as president of the First National Bank of Houston in 1866. In 1875, he arrived in the newly formed San Jacinto County where he organized the town of Shepherd along the proposed Houston, East, and West Texas Railway. He died in Houston in 1891.



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    March, 2012
    3rd Saturday
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