Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Saturday, March 30th, 1861

To day Frank Stewart arrived with the little wagon and mules, having brought down my negro man Bill & woman Louisa with sundry articles. I am still engaged in drawing off wine. Mr. Leaverton still here but very anxious to leave. he is floundering about like a fish out of water. weather clear during the day with a hard rain at night.

3 comments:

  1. FYI . . . the March 30, 1861 edition of Harper's Weekly features a number of important Civil War news events . . .

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  2. HARPER'S WEEKLY. March 30, 1861. GENERAL SAM HOUSTON. THE accompanying portrait of General SAM HOUSTON, Governor of Texas, will be recognized by all who know the old hero. Even those who remember him as he was two years ago, when he wore a heavy mustache, will readily recall the noble brow and the fierce eye.

    Probably no man in this country has led so adventurous a life as Sam Houston. Born, sixty--eight years ago, in Rockbridge County, Virginia, he lost his father when very young, and removed with his mother to the confines of the forest in Tennessee. Here he grew up as best he could, associating much with Indians and imbibing a fondness for their rude mode of life. As he reached manhood he tried to earn a living as a school-master, and then as a clerk in a country store. But neither pursuit pleased his fancy, and in 1813, when General Jackson called for volunteers to fight the Creeks, Sam Houston responded to the call. He won credit during the campaign ; when it ended, he had risen to the rank of lieutenant. But as there was no more fighting to be done then, he laid down the sword, studied law at Nashville, and soon rose to be a prominent lawyer and politician. In 1823, he went to Congress from his district in Tennessee ; in 1827, he was elected Governor. In 1829, a fit of restlessness seized him. He resigned his post as Governor ; tried life a while in Arkansas, where the frauds practiced by the Government Agents upon the Indians disgusted him ; went to Washington, to endeavor to have his red friends righted, and found himself involved in no end of lawsuits with the rogues whom he sought to expose ; became a good deal disgusted with every thing and every body, and finally migrated to Texas.

    Texas was then about to be admitted as a State of the Mexican Union. It was in a miserable condition. Its people comprised among them the worst vagabonds and scoundrels in the world When a man was so infamous and hopeless that he could not ship on board a whaler, he went to Texas. There was no money in the country, no trade, no industry, very little judicious agriculture. The whole State was overrun by wild bands of Indians, Comanches, Apaches, etc., who regarded the white man as an invader and robber, and shot him whenever they could. This was the condition of Texas when the people met, adopted a Constitution, and asked admission to the Mexican Confederacy—the American Sam Houston being elected as their first Governor.

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  3. Santa Anna refused, Texas declared its independence, and war was begun. The Texans organized a militia, and elected General Austin Commander-in-Chief. Austin soon gave way to Houston, and after a brief campaign he met Santa Anna at San Jacinto, in April, 1836, and totally routed him. The Mexican President was taken prisoner, and in the agony of defeat was forced to acknowledge the independence of Texas.

    For eight years, during which General Houston was twice President, Texas was an independent nation. But its independence was intolerable. There was still no money, no credit, no commerce, no industry, no peace, no safety in the country. There was no means to pay the interest on the bonds issued by the Texan Government for the war of independence. Wars with the Indians never came to an end. Foreign nations treated the new State with contempt. Desperadoes only sought it as a home. These miseries becoming at length too grievous to be borne, the leading men of Texas, with General Houston at their head, sought admission to the Union, and after a long struggle carried their point. The last act of President Tyler's career as President was to sign an Act admitting Texas to the Union. This Act bound the United States to pay the Texan debt—some $10,000,000 ; to keep the Indians in check, at a cost of some $2,500,000 annually ; and to take the further measures which brought on the Mexican war. In return, Texas agreed to enter the Union as an independent State, with the reservation, however—which was not suspected at the time—that she would secede when she pleased.

    In the year 1844, when Texas was admitted, General Houston was chosen to the United States Senate. He held his seat in that body some fifteen years, and was always a useful member, not given to long speeches, and scrupulously tender of his colleagues' feelings.

    Two years ago he was elected Governor of Texas. He fills the post still ; and, if the newspaper reports are to be credited, he is by no means the facile tool of the disunionist Convention which seems to have been expected.. An irrepressible conflict between him and the secessionists seems to be impending; if it comes on, we may rely upon it Governor Houston will give a good account of himself.

    Governor Houston is a man of very simple habits and genial manners. He eats no flesh and drinks no wine. His ordinary dinner is a plate of oranges or other fruit, and a glass of milk. One of his many peculiarities, which used to form the subject of conversation at Washington, was his habit of whittling. When he took his seat in the Senate, a page always appeared bearing a fagot of small pine sticks, which he laid respectfully beside the hero of San Jacinto. One of these the Senator soon seized, and began unconsciously to whittle. If the debate was dull the Senatorial knife traveled slowly, and exquisite little images were carved out of the stick to serve as mementoes to lady friends. If, on the contrary, the debate waxed warm, the knife worked nervously and quickly, and stick after stick fell in their shavings around the desk, until the whole fagot disappeared. Very few Senators were so personally popular at Washington as Senator Houston.

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