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The Scotch-Irish in America
General Sam Houston, the Washington of Texas. By Rev. Dr. D. C. Kelley, Gallatin, Tenn.

Ladies, Gentlemen, and Scotch-Irishmen of America:

I come to speak to you of that epoch-making man, General Sam Houston, who was born the 2d of March, 1793, in Rockbridge county, Virginia, seven miles east of Lexington, at a place known as Timber Ridge Church. The day of his birth, he was many years afterward to celebrate as the anniversary of the birth of a new republic, for it was on his natal day that Texas declared herself free and independent.

His ancestors, on his father's and mother's side, are traced back to the Highlands of Scotland. They are there found fighting for "God and liberty," by the side of John Knox. During those times of trouble, they emigrated with that numerous throng of brave men and women, who were driven away from their Highland homes to seek a refuge in the north of Ireland. Here they remained till the siege of Derry, in which they were engaged, when they emigrated to Pennsylvania. For more than a century these families seemed to have kept together in all their wanderings, and at last a union was formed between them by the marriage of his parents, who had been some time settled in Virginia at the time of his birth.

His father was a man of moderate fortune; indeed, he seems to have possessed the means only of a comfortable subsistence. He was known only for one passion, and this was for a military life. He had borne his part in the Revolution, and was successively the inspector of General Bowyer's and General Moore's brigades. The latter post he held till his death, which took place in 1807, while he was on a tour of inspection among the Alleghany mountains. He was a man of powerful frame, fine bearing, and indomitable courage. These qualities his son inherited, and they were the only legacy he had to leave him.

His mother was an extraordinary woman. She was distinguished by a full, rather tall, and matronly form, a fine carriage, and an impressive and dignified countenance. She was gifted with intellectual and moral qualities, which elevated her, in a still more striking manner, above most of her sex. Her life shone with purity and benevolence, and yet she was nerved with a stern fortitude, which never gave way in the midst of the wild scenes that checkered the history of the frontier settler. Her beneficence was universal, and her name was called with gratitude by the poor and the suffering. Many years afterward her son returned from his distant exile to weep by her bedside when she came to die.

Mrs. Houston was left with the heavy burden of a numerous family. She had six sons and three daughters. But she was not a woman to succumb to misfortune, and she immediately sold out her homestead, and prepared to cross the Alleghany Mountains, and find a new home on the fertile banks of the Tennessee river.

Young Houston was now set to work with the rest of the family, in breaking up the virgin soil, and providing the means of subsistence. There seems to have been very little fancy on his part for this occupation.

There was an academy established in that part of East Tennessee about this time, and he went to it for a while, just after Hon. Mr. Jarnagin, who long represented his state in the United States Senate, had left it. He had got possession, in some way, of two or three books, which had a great power over his imagination. No boy ever reads well till he feels a thirst for intelligence, and no surer indication is needed that this period has come, than to see the mind directed toward those gigantic heroes who rise like specters from the ruins of Greece and Rome, towering high and clear above the darkness and gloom of the Middle Ages. He had, among other works, Pope's Iliad, which he read so constantly, we have been assured on the most reliable authority, he could repeat it almost entire from beginning to end. His imagination was now fully awakened, and his emulation began to be stirred. Reading translations from Latin and Greek soon kindled his desire to study these languages, and so decided did this propensity become, that on being refused when he asked the master's permission, he turned on his heel, and declared solemnly that he would never recite another lesson of any other kind while he lived; and from what we have been able to learn of his history, we think it very probable that he kept his word. But he had gathered more from the classic world through Pope's Iliad than many a ghostly book-worm who has read Euripides or Eschylus among the solemn ruins of the portico itself. He had caught "the wonted fire" that still "lives in the ashes" of their heroes, and his future life was to furnish the materials of an epic more strange than many a man's whose name has become immortal. His elder brothers seem to have crossed his wishes occasionally, and by a sort of fraternal tyranny quite common, exercised over him some severe restraints. At last they compelled him to go into a merchant's store and stand behind the counter. This kind of life he had little relish for, and he suddenly disappeared. A great search was made for him, but he was nowhere to be found for several weeks. At last intelligence reached the family that Sam had crossed the Tennessee river and gone to live among the Indians, where, from all accounts, he seemed to be living much more to his liking. They found him, and began to question him on his motives for this novel proceeding. Sam was now, although so very young, nearly six feet high, and standing straight as an Indian; coolly replied that "he preferred measuring deer tracks to tape, that he liked the wild liberty of the red man better than the tyranny of his own brothers, and if he could not study Latin in the academy, he could at least read a translation from the Greek in the woods, and read it in peace. So they could go home as soon as they liked."

At last his clothes were worn threadbare, and he returned home. He was kindly received by his mother, and for awhile his brothers treated him with due propriety. But the first act of tyranny they showed drove him to the woods again, where he passed entire months with his Indian mates, chasing the deer through the forest with a fleet-ness little short of their own, engaging in all those gay sports of the happy Indian boys, and wandering along the banks of streams by the side of some Indian maiden, sheltered by the deep woods, conversing in that universal language which finds its sure way to the heart. From a strange source we have learned much of his Indian history during these three or four years, and in the absence of facts it would be no difficult matter to fancy what must have been his occupations. It was the molding period of life, when the heart, just charmed into the fevered hopes and dreams of youth, looks wistfully around on all things for light and beauty—"when every idea of gratification fires the blood and flashes on the fancy—when the heart is vacant to every fresh form of delight, and has no rival engagements to withdraw it from the importunities of a new desire." The poets of Europe, in fancying such scenes, have borrowed their sweetest images from the wild idolatry of the Indian maiden. Houston later saw nearly all there is in life to live for, and yet he has been heard to say that, as be looked back over the waste of life, there is much that is sweet to remember in this sojourn he made among the untutored children of the forest. Well may it have been doubtful, and it was for a long time, what all this would end in. But the mystery has cleared away, somewhat, since the battle of San Jacinto. Certain it is, that his early life among the Indians was, as the event proved, a necessary portion of that wonderful training that fitted him for his strange destiny. There he was initiated into the profound mysteries of the red man's character, and a taste was formed for forest life, which made him many years after abandon once more the habitations of civilized men, with their coldness, their treachery and their vices, and pass years among the children of the Great Spirit, till he finally led the way to the achievement of the independence of a great domain, and the consolidation of a powerful commonwealth.

A historian says. "During the latter part of June, 1846, General Morehead arrived at Washington with forty wild Indians from Texas, belonging to more than a dozen tribes. We saw their meeting with General Houston. One and all ran to him and clasped him in their brawny arms, and bugged him like bears, to their naked breasts, and called him Father. Beneath the copper skin and thick paint the blood rushed, and their faces changed, and the lips of many warriors trembled, although the Indian may not weep. These wild men knew him, and revered him as one who was too directly descended from the Great Spirit to be approached with familiarity, and yet they loved him so well they could not help it. These were the men 'he had been,' in the fine language of Acquiquask, whose words we quote, 'too subtle for on the war-path, too powerful in battle, too magnanimous in victory, too wise in council, and too true in faith.' They had flung away their arms in Texas, and with the Comanche chief who headed their file, they had come to Washington to see their father. I said these iron warriors shed no tears when they met their old friend ; but white men, who stood by, will tell us what they did. We were there, and we have witnessed few scenes in which mingled more of what is called the moral sublime. In the gigantic form of Houston, on whose ample brow the beneficent love of a father was struggling with the sternness of the patriarch warrior, we saw civilization awing the savage at his feet. We needed no interpreter to tell us that this impressive supremacy was gained in the forest."

But we have lost the thread of our story. This wild life among the Indians lasted till his eighteenth year. He had, during his visits once or twice a year to his family to be refitted in his dress, purchase many articles of taste or utility to use among the Indians. In this manner he had incurred a debt which he was bound in honor to pay. To meet this engagement, he bad no other resource left but to abandon his "dusky companions," and teach the children of pale-faces. As may naturally be supposed, it was no easy matter for him to get a school; and on the first start the enterprise moved very slowly. But as the idea of abandoning any thing on which be had once fixed his purpose was no part of his character, he persevered, and in short time he had more scholars to turn away than he at first began with. He was also paid what was considered an exorbitant price. Formerly, no master had hinted above six dollars per annum. Houston, who probably thought that one who bad been graduated at an Indian university ought to hold his lore at a dearer rate, raised the price to eight dollars—one-third to be paid in corn, delivered at the mill at thirty-three and one-third cents per bushel, one-third in cash, and one-third in domestic cotton cloth, of variegated colors, in which our Indian professor was dressed. He also wore his hair behind, in a snug queue, and is said to have been very much in love with it.

In 1813 volunteers were called to the Creek war. Jackson was the leader. Houston was just twenty at the time he volunteered in the ranks. As he left home his Scotch-Irish mother said, as she handed her boy a musket: "There, my son, take this musket, and never disgrace it; for remember I had rather all my sons would fill one honorable grave than that one of them should turn his back to save his life. Go, and remember, too, that while the door of my cottage is open to brave men, it is eternally shut against cowards."

At the battle of the Horse-Shoe, one of the most hotly contested of all our Indian battles, he had been promoted to ensign.

While he was scaling the works, or soon after he reached the ground, a barbed arrow struck deep into his thigh. He kept his ground for a moment, until his lieutenant and men were by his side, and the warriors had begun to recoil under their desperate onset. He then called to his lieutenant to extract the arrow, after he had tried in vain to do it himself. The officer made two unsuccessful attempts, and failed. "Try again," said Houston—the sword with which he was still keeping command raised over his head—"and if you fail this time, I will smite you to the earth." With a desperate effort he drew forth the arrow, tearing the flesh as it came. A stream of blood rushed from the place, and Houston crossed the breast-works to have his wounds dressed. The surgeon bound it up and staunched the blood. General Jackson, who came up to see who had been wounded, recognizing his young ensign, ordered him firmly not to return. Under any other circumstances, Houston would have obeyed any order from the brave man who stood over him, but now he begged the general to allow him to return to his men.

The general ordered him most peremptorily not to cross the outworks again. But Houston was determined to die in that battle, or win the fame of a hero. He remembered how the finger of scorn had been pointed at him, at home, as he fell into the ranks of the recruiting party that marched through the village; and rushing once more to the breast-works, he was in a few seconds at the head of his men.

But victory was still incomplete—the work of slaughter was not yet done. A large party of Indians had secreted themselves in a part of the breast-works, constructed over a ravine in the form of a roof of a house, with port-holes, from which a murderous fire could be kept up, whenever the assailants should show themselves. Here the last remnant of the Creek warriors of the peninsula were gathered, and, as the artillery could not be brought to bear upon the place, they could be dislodged only by a bold charge, which would probably cost the lives of the brave men who made it.

An offer of life, if they would surrender, had been rejected with scorn by these brave, desperate savages, which sealed their fate. General Jackson now called for a body of men to make the charge. As there was no order given, the line stood still, and not an officer volunteered to lead the forlorn hope. Supposing some captain would lead forward his company, Houston would wait no longer. Calling on his platoon to follow him, he dashed down the precipitous decent, toward the covered ravine. But his men hesitated. With a desperation which belongs only to such occasions, he seized a musket from one of his men, and, leading the way, ordered the rest to follow him. There was but one way of attack that could prevail—it was to charge through the port-holes, although they were bristling with rifles and arrows, and it had to be done by a rapid, simultaneous plunge. As he was stopping to rally his men, and had leveled his musket, within five yards of the port-holes, he received two rifle-balls in his right shoulder, and his arm fell shattered to his side. Totally disabled, he turned and called once more to his men, and implored them to make the charge. But they did not advance, Houston stood in his blood till he saw it would do no good to stand any longer, and sank down exhausted to the earth.

Later he studied law with James Trimble, of Nashville, Tennessee, became a member of the state legislature, and was importuned to become a candidate for Congress.

In 1827 he was elected governor of the state. During his gubernatorial term, he was married to a lady belonging to one of our best and oldest families. They had been married but a few months, when, with more candor than discretion, she told him, "that she had loved another man," and acknowledged that the ambitious designs of her parents had brought about a separation from her lover and marriage with him. He was by nature extremely jealous. His life with varied classes of society had served to increase his natural sensitiveness.

Resigning the gubernatorial chair, and leaving her in possession of his home, he gave up all ambition. Taking only his old classical books, he sought again the "Indian tribes" who had been the companions of his youth. They were now beyond the Mississippi river. I have this story from his best man who attended him at his bridal. From him, also, I learn that years later, when his fame was continental, his old friends offered him a public dinner (as the custom was), in the county where she was living, the esteemed wife of a worthy man. Houston declined, out of delicacy for her.

Another gentleman of the same county tells me that years afterward, when he met Houston in Washington, at the zenith of his senatorial fame, that he would seek him, take him to his room, and ask minute questions in regard to his first wife, her comfort, her appearance, her methods of dress; every mention of her being thoroughly delicate and kind. At the time when the separation occurred, Houston had but one reply to all questioners: "This is a painful, but it is a private affair. I do not recognize the right of the public to interfere in it, and shall treat the public just as though it had never happened. And remember that, whatever may be said by the lady or her friends, is is no part of the conduct of a gallant or a generous man to take up arms against a woman. If my character can not stand the shock, let me lose it. The storm will soon sweep by, and time will be my vindicator."

News of his arrival reached the Indian chief with whom his boyhood had been spent. He came to meet and welcome him.

This venerable old chief, Oolooteka, had not seen less than sixty-five years, and yet measured full six feet in height, and indicated no symptom of the feebleness of age. He had the most courtly carriage in the world, and never prince sat on a throne with more peerless grace than he presided at the council-fire of his people. His wigwam was large and comfortable, and he lived in patriarchal simplicity and abundance. He had ten or twelve servants, a large plantation, and not less than five hundred head of cattle. The wigwam of this aged chieftain was always open to visitors, and his bountiful board was always surrounded by welcome guests. He never slaughtered less than one beef a week, throughout the year, for his table— a tax on royalty, in a country, too, where no tithes are paid.

Such was the home Houston found waiting for him in the forests. The old chief threw his arms around him and embraced him with great affection. "My son," said he, "eleven winters have passed since we met. My heart has wondered often where you were; and I heard you were a great chief among your people. Since we parted at the falls as you went up the river, I have heard that a dark cloud had fallen on the white path you were walking, and when it fell in your way you turned your thoughts to my wigwam, I am glad of it—it was done by the Great Spirit. There are many wise men among your people, and they have many councilors in your nation. We are in trouble, and the Great Spirit has sent you to us to give us counsel, and take trouble away from us. I know you will be our friend, for our hearts are near you, and you will tell our sorrows to the great Father, General Jackson. My wigwam is yours— my home is yours—my people are yours—rest with us.''

Houston's effort to see justice done the Indians created for him the bitterest persecutions. Fierce attacks were made upon his character, and his vindication came only after prolonged controversy. He was ever true to the friends of his boyhood and his exile, be it said, to his honor.

Houston, afterward speaking to the United States Senate, said: "During the period of residence among the Indians, in the Arkansas region; I had every facility for gaining a complete knowledge of flagrant outrages practiced upon the poor red man by the agents of the government. I saw, every year, vast sums squandered and consumed without the Indians deriving the least benefit, and the government, in very many instances, utterly ignorant of the wrongs that were perpetrated. Had one-third of the money advanced by the government been usefully, honorably, and wisely applied, all those tribes might have been in possession of the arts and the enjoyments of civilization. I care not what dreamers, and politicians, and travelers, and writers say to the contrary, I know the Indian character, and I confidently avow that if one-third of the many millions of dollars our government has appropriated within the last twenty-five years, for the benefit of the Indian population, had been honestly and judiciously applied, there would not have been at this time a single tribe within the limits of our states and territories but what would have been in the complete enjoyment of all the arts and all the comforts of civilized life. But there is not a tribe but has been outraged and defrauded; and nearly all the wars we have prosecuted against the Indians have grown out of the bold frauds and the cruel injustice played off upon them by our Indian agents and their accomplices. But the purposes for which these vast annuities and enormous contingent advances were made have only led to the destruction of the constitutions of thousands, and the increase of immorality among the Indians. We can not measure the desolating effects of intoxicating liquors among the Indians by any analogy drawn from civilized life. With the red man the consequences are a thousand times more frightful. Strong drink, when once introduced among the Indians, unnerves the purposes of the good and gives energy to the passions of the vicious; it saps the constitution with fearful rapidity, and inflames all the ferocity of the savage nature. The remoteness of their situation excludes them from all benefits that might arise from a thorough knowledge of their condition by the president, who only hears one side of the story, and that, too, told by his own creatures, whose motives in seeking for such stations are often only to be able to gratify their cupidity and avarice. The president should be careful to whom Indian agencies are given. If there are trusts under our government where honest and just men are needed, they are needed in such places, where peculation and fraud can be more easily perpetrated than any-where else. For in the far-off forests beyond the Mississippi, where we have exiled those unfortunate tribes, they can perpetrate their crimes and their outrages, and no eye but the Almighty's sees them."

During the entire period he resided in that region, he was unceasing in his efforts to prevent the introduction of ardent spirits among the Indians; and though, for more than a year, he had a trading establishment between the Grand River and the Verdigris, he never introduced or trafficked in those destructive drinks. This, too, was at a period when he was far from being a practically temperate man himself. But, whatever might be his own occasional indulgences during his visits to Fort Gibson and other white settlements, he had too much humanity and love for the red men ever to contribute to their crimes or their misfortunes by introducing or trafficking in those damnable poisons.

He visited Washington early in 1832, and made such representations as caused an investigation into their conduct, and not less than five agents and sub-agents were promptly removed.


His intention was now to become a herdsman, and spend the rest of his life in the tranquillity of the prairie solitudes. A fondness for rural pursuits was now the only passion he had to gratify. Leaving his wigwam, which was situated on the margin of a prairie between the Verdigris and the Grand River, a short distance from its junction with the Arkansas, he set out on the 1st of December, 1832, with a few companions, through the wilderness to Fort Towson. At Nacogdoches he reported himself to the authorities, and a few days after went on to San Felipe de Austin, the seat of government of Austin's Colony; after reporting to the authorities, he prosecuted his journey to San Antonio de Bexar. Here he held an interview with a delegation of the Comanche Indians, on a visit to that place. In all his intercourse with the authorities and citizens his conduct was marked by great respect for law and the institutions of the country. After some days he returned, with two companions, to San Felipe de Austin. At Nacogdoches he was now warmly solicited to establish his permanent residence, and allow his name to be used as candidate for election to a convention which met in the following April. "In 1832, in view of the probable necessity of revolutionizing Texas, the people of the county openly and generally expressed themselves in favor of inviting either Houston or Carroll to come among them, and head any revolutionary movement that might be determined on."

On his return to Nacogdoches, he learned that during his absence he had been elected by a unanimous vote. He took up his residence among his new constituents, who had extended toward him so generous a greeting.

This convention, which was composed of more than fifty members, assembled at San Felipe de Austin, the first of April, 1833. It was the first deliberating assembly made up of men decended from the Anglo-Saxon race, which had ever assembled within the limits of the ancient dominions of Cortez, and the first step in that stupendous movement, which has already swept across Cordillera mountains to the green shores of the Pacific.

As the delegates had their own expenses to pay, they proceeded forthwith to the business which had called them together, and in thirteen days they completed one of the best models extant, for a state constitution. It was signed by the members, and a memorial adopted by the convention. Stephen F. Austin, William H. Wharton, President of the convention, and dames B. Miller were appointed commissioners to bear the constitution and memorial to the Supreme Government of Mexico, and obtain the recognition of Texas as one of the states of the Confederacy. The memorial set forth various reasons why Texas should become one of the states of Mexico; amongst others, that it would enable her to negotiate terms with the hostile Indian tribes, and secure their rights to land previously promised by the general government. Encroachments had been made on the Indian territory, subsequent to the rupture between the colonists and the Mexican soldiers, stationed at Nacogdoches, Velasco and Anahuac. This rupture had taken place in the summer of 1832, in consequence of a difference between Bustamente and Santa Anna. The former had attempted to subvert the constitution of 1824, and the military throughout Texas had pronounced in his faver. Santa Anna declared himself the friend and supporter of the constitution, and the colonists siding with him in the civil revolution, which had begun in Mexico and spread to Texas, had expelled the military, whose usurpation, up to that time, bad been submitted to without murmuring. Santa Anna was now in power, and the colonists doubted not that Austin and his colleagues would be received with favor and their constitution ratified by the Federal authorities.

Austin alone finally went to the city of Mexico. He was received with some formality, but little encouragement was given to his mission. In the meantime Santa Anna had resolved on establishing a military despotism, which was the only reason that he could have urged against accepting the constitution.

In the organization of the states of Mexico, under the Federal constitution of 1824, the provinces of Texas and Coahuila formed one state, but the right had been reserved to Texas, of constituting herself a distinct state when her population would justify the measure. The Federal government and Coahuila had for some time pursued toward Texas a policy which rendered it necessary for her to become a separate state as soon as possible. They granted away her territory in large tracts, under the pretense of raising funds to enable Mexico to defend her frontier against the Indians, but she had never appropriated one dollar to that object. For, whenever the central administration stationed any troops in Texas, it was in the towns nearest to the sea-board, where no hostile attack from the savages could be apprehended. Here, with a military force to overawe the citizens, a support of the government, which would never otherwise have been conceded, could be extorted. The. frontiers were left without protection, and the colonists were obliged to protect themselves as best they could, against the hostile incursions of fifteen or twenty tribes of Indians.

We have already said that great care was taken to render the new constitution acceptable to the federal government. Mexico, for example, had no banks. In the convention a measure had been brought forward, and an article proposed to be inserted, authorizing the legislature of the state of Texas to create a bank or banks. This measure was introduced by Branch T. Archer, and supported by the principal men in the convention. Houston was the only speaker who opposed the policy. In principle he was opposed to any system of banking, except one whose powers could be brought within very narrow limits, and he did not believe a more fatal precedent could be established in the infancy of the new state. The exigencies of cupidity and of business would prove stronger than the enactment of law, and he was persuaded that no sound system of banking could be hoped for ire so new a community.

But he was opposed to the measure also, on the ground of policy. It would be a valid reason, if inserted, for Mexico to reject the constitution, since it would be an innovation upon legislation of the general government, and he was deeply anxious to preserve harmony, and wished Texas to defer to the prejudices and institutions of Mexico, rather than excite her jealousy by any of these new movements, which would at least be likely to excite suspicion if not positive alarm. Houston spoke on this subject with great eloquence and convincing power. He caused the article in dispute to be stricken out, and one inserted prohibiting the establishment of all banks and banking corporations, for a period of ninety-nine years, which passed the convention by a large majority.

Those present in the convention have always attributed to Houston the moulding influence which controlled the action of the assembly, and gave tone to the political feelings and events that followed. They are also just as confident in the belief, that if restless and ambitious spirits, who will "rule or rend," had been willing to follow Houston's wise counsels, the independence of Texas would have been achieved without much sacrifice of blood or treasure. We shall see how he at last triumphed, and how much sacrifice, care and endurance it cost him and his country.

The convention had just adjourned when Santa Anna began hostilities. A council of war was held in the camp, to which the principal officers and members of the consultation left in power on the adjournment of the convention were invited. A question arose as to the propriety, or rather necessity, of forming a provisional government, which could be done only by the re-assembling of the members of the consultation at San Felipe. In this exigency, the council of war determined to refer the subject to the army. The following day the troops were drawn up and their vote taken. They were unanimous in the opinion that the consultation ought to re-assemble and form a provisional government, and devise ways and means for maintaining the army then in the field, and adopt such measures as would give Texas credit abroad.

After General Austin had marched the army some ten or twelve miles below, to the mission of Espada, the members of the consultation repaired to San Felipe, where they re-organized and once more opened their deliberations. They made a provisional declaration, exhorting all Mexicans to unite in maintaining the constitution of 1824; and pledged their lives, property and sacred honor in support of its principles. They established an organic law for the provisional government of the province, and organized a temporary administration for it. Houston was one of the committee to frame the declaration. A disposition existed on the part of the members of the committee to make a declaration of absolute independence; and such a resolution was adopted. Considering this movement premature and ill-judged, he got a member of the majority to move a reconsideration of the vote. By one of the ablest efforts of his life he carried his point; and on the final vote there was found to be a considerable majority in favor of the provisional declaration.

These deliberations were held in a little framed building of one floor—without ceiling or plaster—whose only apartment was the narrow room where they assembled. Houston, as was his custom in those days, was dressed in buckskin breeches and a Mexican blanket. But the appearance of the room and the costume of the members had little to do with their deliberations.

Another event took place, which decided the fate of Texas. The man in buckskin and Mexican blanket was, with only one dissenting voice among more than fifty members, elected commander-in-chief of the armies of Texas.

There was no alternative for Houston but to accept the office. There was no one else gifted with those great qualities which nature lavishes on men born to command. He accepted the appointment and proceeded to appoint his staff, and draw up the necessary bills for the organization of the army and the appointment of the officers of the line, embracing a competent organization of the forces to be raised.

As the provisional government, by which Houston had been elected commander-in-chief, had ceased when the convention assembled, he resigned his major-generalship. But there was no other man in Texas to whom the people could look in this emergency. The convention went into the election of a commander-in-chief, and of fifty-six votes, Houston, who was not present, received all but one.

Texas had no organization of forces, and the few gallant men from Georgia and Alabama in the field were detached beyond the southern settlements, under the command of a man who had treated the orders of the commander-in-chief with contempt. The treatment Houston had received from the council was known, and the people feared he would decline the office. A deep gloom now hung over the public mind. Apprehension and alarm were written on every face, and the conviction became almost universal, that the cause of Texan independence was lost unless Houston would accept the command of the army. Impressed with the general feeling, and stirred by the heroic spirit which always guided him, he resolved to peril every thing, and stake life itself upon the issue. He accepted the command.

Soon thereafter a messenger with a dispatch arrived. The members and spectators rushed to the hall of the convention, the president to his chair, the members to their seats, without summons or signal. The president rose, and announced the receipt of a document of "the most important character ever received by an assembly of men." He then read a letter from Colonel Travis of the most thrilling character. It was written in all fervor of patriotic and devoted courage, but it breathed the language of despair. Robert Potter rose, and moved that "the convention do immediately adjourn, arm, and march to the relief of the Alamo."

Houston, feeling that the next movement made in the convention would be likely to decide the fate of Texas, determined what should be done by the convention, as well as by himself.

All eyes were turned upon him as he rose from his seat. It would seem that for a moment every heart in the assembly stopped beating. He opposed the motion, and denounced it as madness, worse than treason to the people. They had, to be sure, declared themselves independent, but they had yet no organization. There must be a government, and it must have organic form ; without it, they would be nothing but outlaws, and could hope for neither the sympathy nor respect of mankind. He spoke nearly an hour, and his appeal, if he ever was eloquent, was eloquence itself. He admonished the convention of the peril of the country; he advised them to sit calmly, and firmly and coolly pursue their deliberation; to be wise and patriotic; to feel no alarm ; and he pledged himself instantly to repair to Gonzalez, where he had heard that a small corps of militia had rallied, and interpose them between the convention. The Mexicans should never approach them unless they marched over his dead body. In the meantime, if mortal power could avail, he would relieve the brave men in the Alamo.

Houston stopped speaking, and walked immediately out of the convention. In less than an hour he was mounted on his battle-horse, and with three or four brave companions was on his way to the Alamo. Men looked upon it as an idle and desperate attempt, or surely more would have followed him. The party rode hard that day, and only stopped late at night to rest their horses. They were now in the open prairie. At break of day, Houston retired some distance from the party, and listened intensely, as if expecting a distant signal. Colonel Travis had stated in his letters that as long as the Alamo could hold out against the invaders signal guns would be fired at sunrise. It is a well authenticated fact that for many successive days these guns had been heard at a distance of over one hundred miles across the prairie, and being now within the reach of their sound, Houston was anxiously waiting for the expected signal. The day before, like many preceding it, a dull rumbling murmur had come booming over the prairie like distant thunder. He listened with an acuteness of sense, which no man can understand whose hearing has not been sharpened by the teachings of the dwellers of the forest, and who is awaiting a signal of life or death from brave men. He listened in vain. Not the faintest murmur came floating on the calm air. He knew the Alamo had fallen, and he returned to tell his companions. The event confirmed his conviction, for the Alamo had fired its last gun the morning he left Washington; and at the very moment he was speaking in the convention those brave men were meeting their fate.

On the 12th of March, about eight o'clock in the evening,. Mrs. Dickinson arrived with her child at General Houston's camp, accompanied by two negro guides, sent to attend her by Santa Anna, and also to bring a proclamation of pardon to the insurgent colonists, if they would lay down their arms. The proclamation was, of course, treated as such papers had been by our fathers, when they were sent to their camps of suffering by generals of a British king. Mrs. Dickinson was the wife of one of the brave officers whose bones had crumbled on the sacrificial pyre of the Alamo. Houston was walking alone, a few hundred yards from camp, at the moment this stricken and bereaved messenger arrived. He returned soon after, and found that her fearful narrative of the butchering and burning, with some of the most stirring details of that dark tragedy, had already struck the soldiers with a chill of horror; and when she told them that 5,000 men were advancing by forced marches, and their artillery would soon be heard at Gonzalez, the wildest consternation spread through the camp. Their alarm soon reached a pitch of desperation. Some were stunned with silence, others were wild with lamentations, and even officers had set fire to their tents.

When Houston came up he ordered silence and the fires to be extinguished. He then addressed the soldiery in the most fervid manner, and they all gathered around him, except a few who had, at the first impulse, fled for their horses. He detached a guard instantly to intercept fugitives, and more than twenty were brought back to camp. But a few good runners made their escape to the settlements, and carried panic in every direction.

We come now to the battle of San Jacinto. Houston, with less than 700 raw troops, is about to meet Santa Anna with more than 1,500 veterans—to attack him over a rolling prairie, behind breastworks. He writes:

"Camp at Harrisburg, April 19, 1836.

"To Colonel Rusk, in the Field:

"This morning we are in preparation to meet Santa Anna. It is the only chance of saving Texas. From time to time I have looked for reinforcements in vain. The convention's adjourning to Harrisburg struck panic throughout the country. Texas could have started at least four thousand men. We will only be about seven hundred to march, besides the camp guard. But we go to conquest. It is wisdom growing out of necessity to meet and fight the enemy now. Every consideration enforces it. The troops are in fine spirits, and now is the time for action. We will use our best efforts to fight the enemy to such advantage as will insure victory, though the odds are greatly against us. I leave the result in the hands of an all-wise God, and I rely confidently upon His providence. My country will do justice to those who serve her. The right for which we fight will be secured, and Texas shall be free. Sam Houston,

(Certified copy from the Department of War of the Republic of Texas.)

A proposition was made to the general to construct a floating bridge over Buffalo bayou, "which might be used in the event of danger." Houston ordered his adjutant and inspector-generals and an aide to ascertain if the necessary materials' could be obtained. They reported that by tearing down a house in the neighborhood they could. We will postpone it a while, at all events," was Houston's reply.

In the meantime he had ordered Deaf Smith, his most trusted scout, to report to him with a companion, well mounted. He retired with him to the spot where the axes had been deposited in the morning. Taking one in either hand, and examining them carefully, he handed them to the two trusty fellows, saying, "Now, my friends, take these axes, mount, and make the best of your way to Vince's bridge; cut it down, and burn it up, and come back like eagles, or you will be too late for the day." This was the bridge over which both armies had crossed in their march to the battle-ground of San Jacinto, and cut off all chance of escape for the vanquished.

"This," said Deaf Smith, in his droll way, "looks a good deal like fight, general."

The reader will not fail to notice the difference between Houston's calculations of the results of that day, and those of some of his officers.

They bethought themselves of building a new bridge—he of cutting down and burning up the only bridge in the neighborhood. The fact was, Houston was determined his army should come off victorious that day, or leave their bodies on the field.

The day was wearing away; it was three o'clock in the afternoon, and yet the enemy kept concealed behind its breastworks, and manifested no disposition to come to an engagement. Events had taken just such a current as Houston expected and desired, and he began to prepare for battle.

In describing his plan of attack, we borrow the language of his official report, after the battle was over.

"The First Regiment, commanded by Colonel Burleson, was assigned the center. The Second Regiment, under the command of Colonel Sherman, formed the left wing of the army. The artillery, under the special command of Colonel George W. Hockley, inspector-general, was placed on the right of the First Regiment, and four companies of infantry, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Millard, sustained the artillery upon the right. Our cavalry, sixty-one in number, commanded by Colonel Mirabeau B. Lamar, placed on our extreme right, completed our line. Our cavalry was first dispatched to the front of the enemy's left, for the purpose of attracting their notice, whilst an extensive island of timber afforded us an opportunity of concentrating our forces and deploying from that point. Agreeable to the previous design, every evolution of the troops was performed with alacrity, the whole advancing rapidly in a line, and through an open prairie, without any protection whatever for our men. The artillery advanced and took station within two hundred yards of the enemy's breastworks."

Every thing was now ready, and every man at his post waiting for the charge. The two six-pounders had commenced a well-directed fire of grape and canister, and they shattered bones and baggage wherever they struck. The moment had at last come. Houston ordered the charge and sounded out the war cry, "Remember the Alamo." These magic words struck the ear of every soldier at the same instant, and "the Alamo! the Alamo!" went up from the army in one wild scream which sent terror through the Mexican host. At that moment a rider came on a horse covered with mire and foam, swinging an ax over his head, and dashed along the Texas lines, crying out, as he had been instructed to do, "I have cut down Vince's bridge—now fight for your lives, and remember the Alamo" — and then the solid phalanx, which had been held back for a moment at the announcement, launched forward upon the breastworks like an avalanche of fire. Houston spurred his horse on at the head of the center column, right into the face of the foe.

The Mexican army was drawn up in perfect order, ready to receive the attack, and when the Texan's were within about sixty paces, and before they had fired a rifle, a general flash was seen along the Mexican lines, and a storm of bullets went flying over the Texan army. They fired too high, but several balls struck Houston's horse in the breast, and one ball shattered the general's ankle. The noble animal staggered for a moment, but Houston spurred him on. If the first discharge of the Mexicans had been well directed, it would have thinned the Texan ranks. But they pressed on, reserving their fire till each man could choose some particular soldier for his target. Before the Mexicans could reload, a murderous discharge of rifle balls was poured into their very bosoms. The Texan soldiers rushed on, without bayonets, but they converted their rifles into war-clubs, and leveled them upon the heads of Santa Anna's men. Along the breastworks there was little more firing of muskets or rifles—it was a desperate struggle hand to hand. The Texans, when they had broken off their rifles at the breech, by smashing in the skulls of their enemies, flung them down and drew their pistols. They fired them once, and having no time to reload, hurled them against the heads of their foes, and then drawing forth their bowie-knives, literally cut their way through dense masses of living flesh.

A division of their infantry, or more than 500 men, made a gallant and well directed charge upon the battalion of Texan infantry. Seeing them hard pressed by a force of three to one, the commander-in-chief dashed between them and the enemy's column exclaiming, ''Come on, my brave fellows, your general leads you." The battalion halted, and wheeled into perfect order, like a veteran corps, and Houston gave the order to fire. If the guns of the Texans had all been moved by machinery, they could not have been fired nearer the same instant. There was a single explosion; the battalion rushed through fire and smoke, and those who had not been prostrated by the bullets were struck down by the cleaving blows of uplifted rifles; and the leveled column was trampled into the mire together. Of the 500 only thirty-two lived, even to surrender as prisoners of war.

The Mexican army had now been driven from their position, and were flying before their pursuers. Houston saw that the battle was won, and he rode over the field and gave his orders to stop the carnage if the enemy would surrender. But he had given "the Alamo" for their war cry, and the magic word could not be recalled. The ghosts of brave men, massacred at Goliad and the Alamo, flitted through the smoke of battle, and the uplifted hand could not be stayed.

There is no time to give in detail his magnanimity toward Santa Anna, the broad statesmanship and humanity which led to the final rescue and liberation of his prisoner. Nor is there time to do even partial justice to the wonderful skill, patience, and diplomatic acumen with which he conducted the different questions of annexation of Texas to the United States. It must suffice now to say that while in good conscience he had this end in view, yet he created for his people an alternative if the United States resolved on ultimate refusal. So successful had been his diplomatic approaches to both England and France that he had fully before him, through their aid, a second grand American republic, extending from the gulf to the Pacific, including Texas, California, and Oregon, well planned, and geographically well related. Under Houston as governor, the annexation of Texas to the United States was worked out. He was at once elected to the United States Senate, and stepped quickly into the first rank, at an era when the senate had giants on its floor.

We have only time to trace his course in that body as a national man; in heart and with might of brain he stood for the Union, first, last, and all the time. No change of measures, no outside voice, no inside cabal moved him; no beguiling words from the North ever misled him to false views of the duty he owed his whole country; no threats from the South caused him for one hour to shrink from his outspoken devotion to the union of those states.

The year 1850—the middle of the nineteenth century—witnessed a sectional convulsion which threatened the union of the American states. The leaders of parties, and the champions of section, exulted over the prospect of disunion; and for a while the waves of discord ran so high that the most enlightened and prominent friends of the Union became deeply alarmed. This exigency called out all the force of Houston's character. He had shed his blood in the second war with England, where he had learned the science and the practice of warfare from General Jackson himself. He had been the leader, the father, and the savior of Texas, on whose soil he had again bled in behalf of the independence of a new republic. When he came into the Senate of the United States, he had no private views or sectional feelings to gratify. He felt jealous indeed of the interests of his own state after she had ceased to be an independent republic, and its lone star had been added to the national constellation; but he went into the senate as a national man, and every act of his, from that day to this, has only stamped his political character as an American statesman with the broadest impress of nationality.

"Mr. President, I can not believe that the agitation created by this measure will be confined to the senate chamber. I can not believe, from what we have witnessed here to-night, that this will be the exclusive arena for the exercise of human passions and the expressions of public opinions. If the republic be not shaken I will thank heaven for its kindness in maintaining its stability. To what extent is it proposed to establish the principle of non-intervention? Are you extending it to a domain inhabited by citizens, or to a barren prairie, a wilderness, or even to forty thousand wild Indians? Is this the diffusive excellence of non-intervention? I, sir, am for non-intervention upon the principles which have heretofore been recognized by this government. Hitherto territories have been organized—within my recollection, Alabama, Missouri, Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi, Wisconsin, and Iowa have been organized—and the principle now proposed was not deemed essential to their well being; and is there any infirmity in their constitutions or their growth? Sir, has any malign influence attached to them from their simple economical organization?"

Of the same measure he says again:

"It is here, and if I had the power I would kick it out. What if a measure unwholesome or unwise is brought into the senate, and it comes from the party of which I am a member, and its introduction is an error, is it not my duty to correct that error as far as I possibly can? Sir, I stand here for that general purpose. My constituents sent me here for that purpose. But I will not admit for a moment that this meets the sanction of the executive. All his antecedents are in the face of it. Supporting him as I did, I must believe him consistent and truthful. He is upon the record as an opponent to agitation of any kind, whether in the halls of Congress or any-where else. He is pledged to keep down and resist agitation, as far as in his power; and that the institutions of the country shall sustain no 'shock' during his administration. If this bill is passed will there be no shock? Depend upon it, Mr. President, there will be a tremendous shock. It will convulse the country from Maine to the Rio Grande. The South has not asked for it. I, as the most Southern senator upon this floor, do not desire it. If it is a boon that is offered to propitiate the South, I, as a Southern man, repudiate it. I reject it. I will have none of it."

And yet again, with singular prophetic power, he said:

"I recollect when I ventured to make the first address in this chamber on the subject of the agitation in 1850, with what discountenance it was received. So little was there a disposition to harmonize that when I suggested that six senators, without regard to party or section, might be selected from the members of this body, who could compose an address and send it abroad, so as to harmonize the country, and hush the fierce waves of political agitation that were then lashing the base of this capitol, it met with no response. Well, we subsequently obtained peace and harmony. Let us preserve it. And there is no mode by which we can so effectually accomplish that object as by rejecting the proposed measure. I had fondly hoped, Mr. President, that having attained to my present period of life, I should pass the residue of my days, be they many or few, in peace and tranquillity; that as I found the country growing up rapidly, and have witnessed its immeasurable expansion and development, when I closed my eyes on scenes around me, I would at least have the cherished consolation and hope that I left my children in a peaceful, happy, prosperous, and united community. I had hoped this. Fondly had I cherished the desire and the expectation from 1850 until after the introduction of this bill. My hopes are less sanguine now. My anxieties increase, but my expectations lessen. Sir, if this repeal takes place I will have seen the commencement of the agitation; but the youngest child now born, I am apprehensive, will not live to witness its termination. Southern gentlemen may stand up and defend this measure. They may accept it from the Northern gentlemen who generously bestow it; but if it were beneficial to the South it would have been asked for. It was not asked for, nor will it be accepted by the people. It furnishes those in the North, who are enemies of the South, with efficient weapons to contend with."


Governor Houston, in 1857, had, at the request of friends, permitted the use of his name for the office of governor; but he continued to occupy his place in the senate, and gave but little attention to the canvass. Hardin P. Runnels, the candidate nominated by the State Democratic Convention, was elected. Two years afterward, at the still more earnest solicitation of friends, he again reluctantly announced himself as a candidate. A political canvass in a state as large as Texas taxes the full strength of a man in the prime of life. Houston had already spent almost half a century in the service of his country, and age was beginning to tell upon his robust constitution. Moreover it was, with him, a cherished wish to spend the evening of his days in the bosom of his family, and to devote what of life remained in providing that family a home and competence. He then lived at Independence, Washington county. At a public meeting in Brenham he was nominated by acclamation, and a committee appointed to notify him of the fact. In accepting the nomination, he informed the committee that if elected, "The constitution and the Union embrace the principles by which I will be governed. They comprehend all the old Jackson Democracy I ever professed or officially practiced." The ensuing canvass was, in many respects, a most remarkable one, especially in the bitterness and personalities indulged in by his opponents. While he claimed to be a Democrat, he was running in opposition to the candidate put regularly in the field by the State Democratic Convention—the incumbent of the office who could wield all the state patronage in his own interest. A moment's consideration will satisfy the reader that the prospect for his election appeared exceedingly slim.

Texas was overwhelmingly Democratic, and the whole machinery of the party—state, district, county, and precinct conventions and committees—was pledged to defeat him; and at that time voters seldom bolted a regular nomination; moreover, the people of the state had very generally expressed their disapprobation of his Kansas-Nebraska, and other kindred votes in the senate.

He still avowed his uncompromising Union sentiments even to a willingness to submit to the Federal administration under Republican rule, until some overt act of oppression was committed by that government. He declared that "he believed the destruction of the Union would be the ruin of the states." The members of the legislature elected at the same time were more than three-fourths secessionists. Opposed to the Democrats there was no organized party; individuals in various places avowed themselves for Houston, but there was no party machinery at work for him, and no election fund even to pay for the printing of his tickets. As usual, the leading newspapers of the state were, with scarcely an exception, against him. An intense secionalism prevailed, and Houston was accused of being in league with freesoilers and abolitionists of the north. All the old charges against him were revived, with many aggravations. He was accused of cowardice; and of intending to retreat to the Sabine in 1836, leaving Texas to the Mexicans. It was stated that he was forced into the battle of San Jacinto against his wishes; that he had made no effort to prevent the disasters at the Alamo and at Goliad; that at a later period he permitted the Santa Fe and Mier prisoners to languish in their loathsome dungeon without making any effort for their release.

He was accused of a general hostility to West Texas and the frontier, especially to Austin. It was asserted that he had threatened to turn the city over to the moles and bats, and convert the Colorado Valley into a buffalo range, and many other equally absurd reports were put in circulation against him. That he was elected under the circumstances is one of the most remarkable events in our political history, and illustrates his personal influence over the masses.

Houston entered the campaign with great spirit and prosecuted it energetically. Governor Runnels, the regular nominee, met him a few times and retired chopfallen from the unequal combat. In East Texas Wigfall, Houston's successor in the senate, followed him through a few counties. In Central Texas Judge Oldham met him on the stump, and in the west James C.Wilson. We have not thought it best to fill up this sketch with anecdotes of the old hero. Many of these which pass current are apocryphal, others are exaggerations. Then again in others there is more or less slang—the perusal of which would not edify the audience. In the United States Senate Houston was dignified, and his style elevated and pure English; on the stump he descended to the level of average political speakers. But toward his opponents he was unmerciful. In this last canvass he appeared in Galveston, after having gone pretty well through the state. When he arose before the assembled multitude he stood for some little time looking over the crowd and the first words he uttered were: "I see him." Waiting a moment he went on: "Ever since I entered upon this campaign some little fice has been dogging me. Over in East Texas there was a little fellow, Wiggle-tail," Houston shaking his forefinger to remind his audience of the shake of a sheep's tail. "In Middle Texas it was old ham," turning up his nose as though he smelled something very unpleasant. "In the west it was a fellow who had forfeited his life to two governments, and ought to have been hung by the third [Mr. J. C. Wilson was an Englishman and a Mier prisoner]; and here," says Houston, "I see him over there; it is the man wearing out Mike Menard's old clothes." He referred to Colonel John S. Thrasher, who had married the Widow Menard. During a period of intense political excitement, December 21, 1859, Sam Houston was inaugurated governor of Texas, at the capitol, in Austin. When he was called first to the presidential chair of the Republic of Texas he found the government in a state of chaos and reduced it to order. The second time he was elevated to the same office he found the country in a disturbed and unsettled condition, and the treasury bankrupt. Again he introduced order, economy, and a state of peaceful prosperity. When he vacated the office the second time the Indians on the frontier had been pacified ; the credit of the country restored; an armistice agreed upon with Mexico, and preliminary negotiations entered upon for the annexation of Texas to the United States—a measure speedily consummated under the administration of his successor, Dr. Anson Jones.

And now, nearing his three-score years and ten, this venerable patriot was called to the executive chair of this empire state at a most critical period, when the administration must grapple with the most momentous questions, and under circumstances of peculiar embarrassments. The mutterings of the coming revolutionary storm were already heard in the distance. The public mind was in a state of profound perturbation, and the wisest trembled for the result. It was the 13th day of January before the governor sent in his regular message to the legislature; a press of business and the difficulty of getting information necessitating this delay. We transcribe a paragraph from his inaugural, which describes the situation of the state:

"The office of the executive falls into my hands in a peculiar period in our history as a state. Contemplating alone the vastness of its extent, the diversified interests of its people, and the character of its resources, yet undeveloped, there is enough to demand continued labor and attention, in order to apply the benefits of government with sound discretion, and a proper regard to the relative demand of each interest; but apart from these, a considerable portion of our state bordering on the Rio Grande River, is in a state of tumult and war, our frontier is unprotected and harassed by Indians; and our treasury, which we have hitherto regarded as of exhaustless capacity, considering the probable expenses of government, is without a dollar subject to appropriation, beyond the amount necessary to defray current expenses of government for the present year."

He seized the gubernatorial reins with a firm grasp, and acted with vigor. Five days after his inauguration he commissioned Captain W. C. Dalrymple to raise a company of sixty men for frontier protection; and a few days later ordered out two other companies. To restore quiet on the Rio Grande, on the 28th of December he issued a proclamation, printed in English and Spanish, and sent two commissioners to distribute—also sent Major Forbes Britton to Washington to secure the co-operation of the government in suppressing the Cortina disturbance. Colonel Robert E. Lee was then commander there, and with Major Heintzelrnan of the U. S. Army and Colonel Ford of the Texas Rangers, quiet was soon restored.

In 1858, during the intense excitement about Kansas, the Legislature of Texas had passed a bill authorizing the government to order an election "for seven delegates, to meet delegates appointed by the other southern states in convention, whenever the executives of a majority of the slave-holding states shall express the opinion that such convention is necessary to preserve the equal rights of such states in the Union."

Governor Houston sent an address to the governors of the southern states, and issued a proclamation ordering an election for the delegates as provided for in the above resolution. He received no response from the governors addressed, and the people of Texas paid no heed to the proclamation for an election. A wise man among------s.

On the 17th of December, 1860, the governor issued a proclamation convening the legislature in extra session, on the 21st of January ensuing. Three topics were presented to this body for their consideration: the state of the frontier, the financial condition of the state, and the relations of the state with the the federal government.

The frontier was in a deplorable condition. The Indians had been driven from their reservations on the Brazos, and were not restrained to their new homes in the territory. Exasperated, they returned in squads to their old hunting grounds in Texas to rob and murder defenseless women and children. "Their savage work," says the governor in his message, "was not confined to the frontier alone, but extended to counties within fifty miles of the capital."

The force of rangers in the field not affording adequate protection, the governor sent instructions to the chief-justices of some twenty-five counties to organize scouting companies of fifteen men each, and keep them in service as long as danger threatened their several localities. Experienced officers were sent to command the troops on the frontier; and the United States, at the earnest solicitation of the executive, reinforced the frontier posts, so that the governor thought all danger from any considerable number of Indians had been effectually guarded against.

The finances of the state were represented as in a very unsatisfactory condition. The troops on the frontier were unpaid; and commissary stores had been furnished by a gentleman on his own responsibility, trusting that the state would finally reimburse him. The United States Congress had appropriated over $175,000 to Texas to pay for Texas troops mustered into service of the United States by General Persifor F. Smith. This money could have been procured, but the comptroller declined to furnish the necessary vouchers. The governor then requested the chief clerk in the comptroller's office to visit Washington and receive the money; but the clerk also declined the mission, and the money was not paid. It is one of the peculiarities of our complex system of government, that the governor has no power to enforce the laws he is sworn to see in execution. The head of each department of the government is almost entirely independent of the governor.

In a message to the legislature he says, referring to federal relations:

"Were governments formed in an hour, and human liberty the natural result of revolution, less responsibility would attach to us as we consider the momentous question before us. A long struggle amid bloodshed and privation secured the liberty which has been our boast for three-quarters of a century; wisdom, patriotism and the noble concessions of great minds trained our constitution. Long centuries of heroic strife attest the progress of freedom to its culminating point. Ere the work of centuries is undone, and freedom, shorn of her victorious garments, is started out once again on her weary pilgrimage, hoping to find, after centuries have passed away, another dwelling place, it is not unmanly to pause and at least endeavor to avert the calamity.

"The executive feels as deeply as any of your honorable body, the necessity for such action on the part of the slave-holding states as will secure to its fullest extent every right they possess. Self-preservation, if not manly love of liberty inspired by our past history, prompts this determination. But he can not feel that these dictate hasty and unconcerted action, nor can he reconcile to his mind the idea that our safety demands an immediate separation from the government, ere we have stated our grievances or demanded redress. A high resolve to maintain our constitutional rights, and failing to obtain them, to risk the perils of revolution, even as our fathers did, should, in my opinion, actuate every citizen of Texas; but we should remember that we owe duties and obligations to states having rights in common with us, whose institutions are the same as ours. No aggression can come upon us which will not be visited upon them, and whatever our action may be, it should be of that character which will bear us blameless to posterity, should the step be fatal to those states."

Here spoke the statesman in contradistinction to the hot-headed fanatic of the day.

After referring to the possible proceedings of the convention, the governor assured the legislature that all final action must be referred to the people, for their ratification, and if that tribunal of last resort decided in favor of secession, the executive would interpose no obstacles, but bow submissive to their sovereign will; he exhorts the legislature to a calm and dispassionate consideration of these momentous questions.

His calm conservatism in consultation was as marked a characteristic as his boldness in execution. To his determination to submit to the will of the people he remained true, though against his convictions of what ought to be. This is shown by the following dispatch:

A communication dated Headquarters Department of Texas, San Antonio, April 1, 1861, signed C. A. Waite, Colonel United States army commanding the department, and addressed to the assistant adjutant-general, headquarters of the army, Washington, D. C, says:

"Yesterday I received from Governor Houston, through the agency of an influential Union man, a note dated at Austin the 29th ultimo, and one of the same date from F. W. Lander, a government agent who recently visited this state, which are herewith inclosed. By these communications it will be seen that Governor Houston not only declines all military assistance from the United States, but strongly protests against a concentration of troops or the construction of fortifications within the borders of Texas. He earnestly requests that the troops may be moved from the state at the earliest day practicable."

The following is a copy of the letter from General Houston to Colonel Waite:

"Austin, March 2, 1861. "Dear Sir:—I have received intelligence that you have or soon will receive orders to concentrate United States troops under your command at Indianola, in this state, to sustain me in the exercise of my official functions. Allow me most respectfully to decline any such assistance of the United States government, and to most earnestly protest against the concentration of troops or fortifications in Texas, and request that you remove all such troops out of the state at the earliest day practicable, or, at any rate, by all means take no action toward hostile movements until further ordered by the government at Washington, or particularly of Texas. Thine,

Sam Houston.

He had long been called "Old Sam," partly in derision, partly because it seemed to designate him so well. That now became among his friends a most endearing name. In the past he had done much for Texas. He had stood at the helm of the ship of state and safely guided her through many boisterous seas. His old and long-tried friends asked, half hoping and half despairing, "Can Old Sam save now from the angry waves of revolution which threaten to engulf the ship?" They called upon him for an expression of his views. Would even his words of warning and of wisdom, the result of a long life of careful study of the political institutions of the country and its perils ; would his eloquent tongue that had so often been heard in patriotic appeals to his fellow-citizens, now be heard, and could he speak those words that should calm the agitated billows? With vehement emphasis he protested against the course pursued by the leaders of the secession movement, depicting the sad scenes which a civil war would introduce.

Freely he discussed these questions among his friends, and during the sitting of the convention he made two eloquent addresses, one standing in front of the Baptist Church in Austin, and the other in the Buas Hall. It was useless.

The secession convention assembled, and had a consultation with the governor, who stood firm. But on the same day of this interview with the governor, an ordinance passed uniting Texas with the newly formed Southern Confederacy. On the 14th of March a resolution was adopted requiring all state officers to take the oath of loyalty to the constitution which had just been proclaimed at Montgomery. The governor and his secretary of state, E. W. Cave, declined to take this oath. The other state officers, having subscribed the oath, were continued in office. Edward Clark was lieutenant-governor. Houston continued to occupy the executive office in the capitol for two days longer, when Clark, getting there first in the morning, quietly took possession. The legislature had adjourned to meet on the 18th. Houston had declared that he would take no measures but peaceful ones to retain the office to which the people had elected him, and when the legislature met he protested against the usurpation of power by the convention, by which he had been displaced without the warrant of law and contrary to the constitution, the highest law of the states. He appealed to the legislature to be reinstated, but anticipating the result, he added: "The executive can, therefore, but await your action and that of the people. If driven at last into retirement, in spite of the constitution of the state, he will not desert his country, but his prayers for its peace and prosperity will be offered up with the same sincerity and devotion with which his services were rendered while occupying public station." This March 18.

Grand a figure as Socrates dying at Athens, grander than Cicero pleading for Rome, tall as the patriots who signed the Declaration of Independence of these states, Houston had confidently appealed to the sovereign people, and when they uttered their voice through the ballot-box he could but abide the decision, and gracefully and with becoming dignity he retired to private life. Once again, in deathless love for freedom, he comes to the front amid the alarms of war. After martial law had been proclaimed in Texas, Houston in July, 1862, sent a communication to Governor Lubbock, from which we make some extracts : "A proclamation issued by General Herbert in May last, and I presume not revoked, is the most extraordinary document I have ever seen, and I venture to say was ever seen in any country, unless it was where despotic sway was the only rule of law. In that proclamation he arrogates all the powers of your excellency as governor of the state, ignores the bill of rights, the constitution and the laws, and arrogates to himself undefined and unlimited powers. By this proclamation of martial law he has created provost-marshals, who are authorized to remove citizens upon suspicion, without trial, out of the state; call in the military to aid in the execution of the provost-marshal's pleasure or will, and has established an inquisition as to all male persons over the age of sixteen."

Six months elapsed before any Texas paper would give publicity to this earnest protest against military usurpations. His last appearance before a public assembly was in the city of Houston, March 18, 1863, when he said:

"Ladies and Fellow-citizens:—With feelings of pleasure and friendly greeting I once again stand before this, an assemblage of my countrymen. As I behold this large assemblage, who from their homes and daily toil have come to greet once again the man who so often has known their kindness and affections, I can feel that even yet I hold a place in their high regard. This manifestation is the highest compliment that can be paid to the citizen and patriot. As you have gathered here to listen to the sentiments of my heart, knowing that the days draw nigh unto me when all thoughts of ambition and worldly pride give place to the earnestness of age, I know you will bear with me, while with calmness and without the fervor and eloquence of youth, I express those sentiments which seem natural to my mind in the view of the condition of the country. I have been buffeted by the waves, as I have been borne along time's ocean, until shattered and worn I approach the narrow isthmus which divides it from the sea of eternity beyond. I would say that all my thoughts and hopes are with my country. If one impulse arises above another, it is for the happiness of these people. The welfare and glory of Texas will be the uppermost thought while the spark of life lingers in this breast."

He had removed from Independence to Huntsville, but was in feeble health. Two years had produced a marked change in the sentiments of the people, even in Texas. The times were critical, and not a few turned their attention to the venerable Houston as the man to be again entrusted with the governorship of the state. He was appealed to to allow his name to be used, but he declined. In his letter declining the nomination, published in the Huntsville Item, he declared that he "would support no man who apologized for martial law or plead military necessity. Acquiescence," said he, "in usurpation is slavery."

He died at his home in Huntsville, July 26, 1863, universally lamented. The papers at the time contained many eulogistic notices of the old hero, and after the close of the war, a brief but appreciative sketch of his life and character appeared in Harper's Magazine, prepared by his friend, George W. Paschal. It is remarkable that the news of his death, as it fell sadly upon the ears of his old comrades in arms, hushed to silence all opposition. His most vindictive enemies buried in his grave their last words of censure. From that time until the present his fame has been growing, and it will continue to grow, and generations yet unborn will learn to speak his Heme with glowing gratitude. He had lived for years a member of the Baptist Church. The benign influence of his second wife had led him to this church. His home was lighted with tenderest love, and faith cast its eternal halo over his declining years.

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