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Texas Germans declare slavery to be evil
May 14, 1854

On this day in 1854, Texas Germans gathered to discuss the national crisis over slavery. At the the annual Staats-Saengerfest (State Singers' Festival), held on May 14 and 15, delegates from various local political clubs of German citizens in western Texas met in San Antonio and, following the lead of the Freier Mann Verein (Freeman's Association) organized by fellow Germans in the Northern states, adopted a mildly worded plank declaring that slavery was an evil and that abolition was the business of the states. The resolution went on to maintain that a state should be able to obtain help from the federal government to effect abolition. By "help" the convention meant that the state would ask the federal government to pay the owners for freed slaves. The declaration, along with more strongly worded antislavery newspaper articles in the German language press, led many Anglo-Texans to question the loyalty of their German neighbors on the slavery question, and eventually helped fuel mistrust when Texas joined the Confederacy in 1861.

Leaks notwithstanding, new Capitol dedicated in Austin
May 14, 1888

On this day in 1888 began a week-long celebration dedicating the present Capitol building of Texas. Unfortunately, the Capitol Board refused to accept the structure because its copper roof leaked and because of several other minor problems. After builder Gustav Wilke repaired the roof and made other corrections, the board accepted the building on December 6 of that year.

Santa Anna and Burnet sign Treaties of Velasco
May 14, 1836

On this day in 1836, in the aftermath of the decisive Texan victory at San Jacinto, ad interim president David G. Burnet and Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna signed two treaties at the town of Velasco. The public treaty was to be published immediately, and the secret agreement was to be carried into execution when the public treaty had been fulfilled. The public treaty, with ten articles, provided that hostilities would cease, that Santa Anna would not again take up arms against Texas, that the Mexican forces would withdraw beyond the Rio Grande, that property confiscated by Mexicans would be restored, that prisoners would be exchanged on an equal basis, that Santa Anna would be sent to Mexico as soon as possible, and that the Texas army would not approach closer than five leagues to the retreating Mexicans. In the secret agreement, in six articles, the Texas government promised the immediate liberation of Santa Anna on condition that he use his influence to secure from Mexico acknowledgment of Texas independence; Santa Anna promised not to take up arms against Texas, to give orders for withdrawal from Texas of Mexican troops, to have the Mexican cabinet receive a Texas mission favorably, and to work for a treaty of commerce and limits specifying that the Texas boundary not lie south of the Rio Grande. Both the governments of Texas and Mexico then proceeded to violate the terms of the treaties, and their conflict continued.