Twelfth Texas Legislature

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The Twelfth Texas Legislature met from February 8, 1870 to December 2, 1871 in four sessions — provisional, called, regular, and adjourned.

Rump Senate[edit]

The term Rump Senate is applied to the fifteen Radical Republican members of the Twelfth Texas Legislature, the term is a variation of "Rump legislature". This incident is the only time in history where senators were arrested under a "call of the Senate" and were then prohibited from rejoining their fellow senators and participating in Senate votes.[1]

There had been a rash of incidents with Indian marauders and cattle thieves. One of the responses was on May 6, 1870, Senator Theodor Rudolph Hertzberg introduced a bill to reorganize the state militia. The bill included provisions for a unique "state guard" and for martial law. David Webster Flanagan who had for years been a staunch Radical Republican opposed the bill because of its clauses allowing Governor Edmund J. Davis to impose martial law. The cost was also the reason why some Republicans opposed the bill, but black Senator Matthew Gaines believed that racism was the reason for opposition, since many of the "state guard" would be black. On May 17, at a Republican caucus, Senators Bolivar Jackson Pridgen and E. L. Alford announced their opposition to the bill and were thrown out of the meeting.[1]

Governor Davis announced that he would veto any bills which came across his desk before his militia legislation. Flanagan then offered to support the state militia bill if Governor Davis supported a railroad bill, but Davis publicly refused.[1]

On June 16, 1870, Flanagan put forward a substitute militia bill without the martial law sections, but it failed to pass. Senator Mijamin Priest then publicly supported a bill which had passed the house, which would have suspended the writ of habeas corpus. In a public debate on June 17, Priest said that Texas was in a state of war with Indians and bandits, insisting that "a desperate disease requires a desperate remedy."[1]

On June 21, Flanagan attempted to introduce his previous defeated bill as an alternative to the house bill which suspended the writ of habeas corpus. This motion failed. Flanagan then attempted to adjourn. According to a sworn statement by Parsons, Senator Fountain moved for a vote on the bill by roll. Thirteen Senators, Marmion Henry Bowers, Flanagan, Alford, E. Thomas Broughton, Amos Clark, David W. Cole, Ebenezer Lafayette Dohoney, James Postell Douglas, Andrew J. Evans, Henry Russell Latimer, Edward Bradford Pickett, William H. Pyle, and George R. Shannon, withdrew from the chamber to prevent the presence of a quorum and to prevent passage of the bill, to a nearby Capitol committee room.[1][2]

The Senate rule at the time, as it is today, states that the sergeant-at-arms could be sent to arrest absent senators to secure a quorum. The Senate sergeant-at-arms was sent to retrieve them with instructions to retrieve at least four senators, the number required for a quorum. Because the senators had locked the door, the sergeant-at-arms flung himself through a committee room window despite the efforts of the Senators to close the shutter on him. The sergeant-at-arms convinced the senators to return to the chamber. The Radical Republicans then had their opponents arrested. Nine were immediately arrested, but four of the Senators remained, so the Senate could form a quorum. The Rump Senate then moved forward the militia bill. The next day, one of the Senators pleaded illness, so one of the jailed senators was released so the militia bill could be passed.[1]

During the confinement the Rump Senate took full advantage of their absence to pass as many of Governor Davis's bills as could be rushed through legislature. The House bill to establish a state police was passed on June 28, 1870. The Senate confirmed James Davidson as adjutant general who later stole thirty thousand dollars of state money.[1]

Several senators were held under arrest for three weeks while the Rump Senate passed the legislation and began hearings against the senators for not only walking out of the chamber, but for other allegations, including bribery for Senate votes. Flanagan, who was responsible for most of the incident, was too powerful a figure to be penalized. But Senator E.L. Alford of La Grange lost his Senate seat after an investigatory committee ruled that he "did, in contempt of the Senate, violently resist said arrest, and did forcibly close the shutters, and did refuse to submit to said arrest by the Sergeant-at-arms."[1][3]

As soon as he was released from jail, Alford continued to take his seat in the Senate, and even after the special election, refused to give up his seat. Reinhard Hillebrand, his elected replacement, had to wait in the wings.[1][2]

Sessions[edit]

  • 12th Provisional session: February 8–24, 1870
Legislative members eligible to take the qualifying oath were required to convene February 8, 1870 to ratify the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution in order for Texas to be readmitted to the Union, and to elect two U.S. Senators. Both houses of the legislature were required to adjourn daily until all members had qualified.
  • 12th Called session: April 26–August 15, 1870
  • 12th Regular session: January 10–May 31, 1871
  • 12th Adjourned session: September 12–December 2, 1871

Party summary[edit]

Officers[edit]

Senate[edit]

Lieutenant Governor
James W. Flanagan (Provisional) [1]
President pro tempore (Lieutenant Governor ex officio)
Donald Campbell, Republican, Called Session, Regular Session
David Webster Flanagan, Republican, Adjourned Session
Albert Jennings Fountain, Republican, Adjourned Session
David Webster Flanagan, Republican, Adjourned Session

^ Flanagan was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1869. He was declared “Provisional Lieutenant Governor” by Special Order No. 6, Fifth Military District, on January 8, 1870 and presided over the Provisional session of the Senate. During that session, he was elected to the U.S. Senate and was never sworn in as Lieutenant Governor.

House of Representatives[edit]

Speaker of the House
Ira Hobart Evans, Republican, 1870–1871
William Henry Sinclair, Republican, 1871–1873

Members[edit]

Members of the Twelfth Texas Legislature at the beginning of the provisional session, February 8, 1870:

Senate[edit]

District Senator Party Took office
1 Pickett, Edward Bradford 1870
2 Clark, Amos 1870
3 Priest, Mijamin 1870
4 Pettit, E.[2] 1870
5 Flanagan, David Webster Republican 1870
6 Douglas, James Postell 1870
7 Rawson, Henry 1870
8 Campbell, Donald Republican 1870
9 Latimer, Henry Russell 1870
10 Cole, David W. 1870
11 Dohoney, Ebenezer Lafayette 1870
12 Ruby, George Thompson Republican 1870
13 Bell, John G. Republican 1870
14 Parsons, William Henry 1870
15 Mills, John S. 1870
16 Gaines, Matthew 1870
17 Saylor, William A. 1870
18 Hall, Phidello W. 1870
19 Evans, Andrew J. 1870
20 Pyle, William H. 1870
21 Samuel Evans[3] 1870
22 Broughton, E. Thomas 1870
23 Shannon, George R. 1870
24 Pridgen, Bolivar Jackson Republican 1870
25 Foster, Abner K. 1870
26 Alford, E. L. 1870
27 Baker, Thomas H. 1870
28 Bowers, Marmion Henry 1870
29 Hertzberg, Theodor Rudolph 1870
30 Fountain, Albert Jennings Republican 1870
  • ^ Petit did not attend the Provisional Session. He was sworn in on February 26, 1870 at the beginning of the Called Session.
  • ^ Evans refused to qualify on February 8, 1870, but did qualify and was sworn in on February 10, 1870.

House of Representatives[edit]

Membership changes[edit]

District Outgoing
Senator
Reason for Vacancy Successor Date of Successor's Installation
District 2 Amos Clark Clark died February 18, 1871 William H. Swift[4] after October 6, 1871
District 3 Mijamin Priest Priest resigned August 15, 1870 James Elizer Dillard[5] January 10, 1871
District 3 James Elizer Dillard Dillard declared ineligible April 10, 1871 James Elizer Dillard[6] October 31, 1871
District 14 William Henry Parsons Parsons resigned December 4, 1871. Vacant
District 19 Andrew J. Evans Evans unseated in election contest February 18, 1870. S. W. Ford February 18, 1870
District 25 Abner K. Foster Foster died March 9, 1870. Robert P. Tendick January 10, 1871
District 26 E. L. Alford Alford was expelled for resisting arrest during the call of the session. Reinhard Hillebrand[7] February 17, 1871
District 29 Theodor Rudolph Hertzberg Hertzberg resigned December 2, 1871. Vacant
  • ^ District 2: Swift elected in special election October 3–6, 1871.
  • ^ District 3: Dillard elected in special election November 28–December 1, 1870.
  • ^ District 3: Dillard reelected in special election October 3–6, 1871.
  • ^ District 26: Hillebrand elected in special election November 28–December 1, 1870.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Spaw, Patsy McDonald, The Texas Senate Civil War to the eve of reform 1861-1889, p. 120-125
  2. ^ a b Fikac,Peggy, August 21, 2003, Senators' 1870 walkout also drew GOP's wrath Reconstruction-era tiff led to arrests and one expulsion, San Antonio Express-News
  3. ^ Rump Senate The Handbook of Texas Online

External links[edit]