91st PA-Texas Freedman's Bureau, Saturday Evening Post

The Laws of Texas

[source: Saturday Evening Post, 7 July 1866, page 2]


We see it stated in one of our contemporaries, that on General Gregory's arrival in Texas, he visited a lawyer at his office, and asked him for a copy of the laws of Texas. The lawyer opened a drawer, took out a large and handsome bowie-knife, and gave it to the general. The general carefully examined it, laid it down, and said--"I desire to look at the laws of Texas." The lawyer replied--"That (the bowie-knife) is the laws of Texas. A few statutes have been passed. Nobody notices them. The only law used in this state, the only laws here noticed, referred to and used, are the bowie-knife."

It is also further said that the rule in Texas is at night, to walk in the road with a cocked revolver held forth; let no person come near you; if they do, shoot, and kill if you can. Any other plan will insure your own death.

We rather suppose the above to be slight exaggerations--the more so, as we remember a conversation we once had with Mr. C. W. Webber, the novelist and naturalist. After living in Texas, he resided for some time in this city, and once amused me exceedingly by his complaints of the danger there was in walking the streets of Philadelphia. Several persons had been knocked down and robbed, and Webber seemed to think it was about as much as a man's life was worth to walk in the streets of the "Quaker City" after nightfall.

Hearing him talk thus, we said it sounded rather oddly from the lips of one who came from Texas--a State of which such bloody stories were told. But Webber insisted that there was ten times as much danger in Philadelphia as in Texas. "Now, in Texas," said he, "I was always armed, and of course I allowed no man to walk at night behind me--but here, one goes unarmed, and people are walking behind you all the evening. And it is ten times more dangerous than in Texas."

Webber spoke of Texas, however, in a very disorderly period, shortly after its annexation to the United States. There ought to have been a great improvement since that period, and we are inclined to think there has been, though perhaps a still further improvement would not be undesirable.

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revised 15 Aug 05
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