Though not elected, he received of the popular vote, 1,341,812, and of the presidential electors, 127. This remarkable combination portended danger to all the cherished political principles of Southern Democrats and ultimately to their peculiar industrial institutions ; notwith standing which it was currently reported that if Fremont had been elected an effort would have been made by leading men in Texas for submission to his administration.
The political situation was made still more perplexing by the espousal by Northern Democrats, and even by some Democrats in Texas, of what was denominated squatter-sovereignty, which was a contention for the right of a territory before becoming a State, but when organized in a territorial government, to admit or exclude slavery at its own discretion. Southern Democrats held that it was only when a constitution was framed in a territory that this could be done; and they believed they had the precedents of the acts of Congress and the decisions of the Supreme court in support of the Southern view on that subject.
With all these matters agitating the minds of the people of Texas, by which differences of opinion had been generated, Senator Sam Houston became an independent candidate for governor. This was in 1857, the most exciting canvass that was ever witnessed through out Texas. As the nominee, H. R. Runnels, did not make public speeches, Senator Houston was answered in many, if not most of the places where he spoke, by prominent Democratic orators. That brought out all of Senator Houston s powers to arouse the people in vindication of his course in Congress. He styled himself an old-time Democrat, but he was supported by the Americans, dis affected Democrats, and his old Texas friends who would vote for him irrespective of their individual views as to his course in Congress. At the election that year, H. R. Runnels received 32,552 votes, and Houston 23,628. For