The following is an article from a Washington D.C. newspaper discussing Reconstruction in Texas.  It addresses the divisions of the Republican Party in Texas.


[Prepared by Newcomb while he was in Washington – March, 1869]

The Washington Chronicle on Reconstruction in Texas.[1]


In the Chronicle of this morning I notice an article on Reconstruction in Texas, which from its earmarks must have originated in the interest of a grand land speculation or of a pack of hungry office hunters.  It is so untrue a view of the real condition of affairs in Texas that, I have been impelled to answer it. 

The Chronicle states that it regrets to see that there is a good deal of discord among the Republicans of Texas.  I beg leave to answer the Chronicle, that there is perfect harmony among the Republicans of Texas.  They are united to a man. The party has rid itself of the Johnson element and stands forth today, in that murder-cursed state, a stronger, more united band than since the pretended close of the war.

It is true there are men, at whose head stands Ex Governor A.J. Hamilton, who pretend to be Republicans, but who, long since, made a league with Johnsonism.

The differences which actually separated these men from the Rep­ublican party can be enumerated in short order--first, the Republicans demanded that the Military Commander should set ,aside the Rebel legislation and enforce the state laws in force prior to the Rebellion, when not in conflict with the altered state of things.  

This Rebel legislation was vicious and destructive in many par­ticulars to the interests of the loyal people, and particularly favor­able to the old placating interests.

This Rebel legislation found champions among those calling themselves Republicans and Gen. Reynolds was persuaded to put it in force over the people.  It particularly suited the provisional office holders salaries were increased by the Rebel legislation.

When the Reconstruction Convention met the fight opened on the question of the validity of the Rebel legislation.  Ex Gov. Hamilton led the party who maintained that the Confederacy was a de facto government and its laws were valid when they did not conflict with the laws of the United States.  By the aid of the Democrats Ex Gov Hamilton managed to hoodwink enough Republicans to join with him to establish the Rebel laws upon the State.

This was the first "difference,” Mr. Chronicle, and the breach has widened ever since.

The next "difference" was the proposition to have the members of the Convention take the test oath--this would have cut out several who were disabled by the 14th Amendment.  The Democrats and their allies again triumphed.

The Reconstruction Convention closed with a well defined Republican Party, numbering in its ranks the truest men in the state--such men as Gen Davis, Morgan Hamilton, Judge William Alexander, the martyr George Smith and scores of others whose names were a pledge for all the loyal men in every section of the state.

On the other hand there was the regular old Secession party, organized and ready to fight, and between the two, was the Andrew Johnson element headed by Ex Gov. Hamilton, which made frantic attempts to form a third party, but at last we find Hamilton's name as their choice for Governor, flying at the head of every Ku Klux paper in the State.  What true Republican can no longer pretend that there are differences be­tween the Republicans in Texas? There are none. There are but two parties in Texas--the Republican party and the Rebel party.

So there is a delegation in Washington, pleading at the door of Congress, to save the State from political ruin.


[1] James Pearson Newcomb, Sr., Papers, 1835-1941, Box 2F109, Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.