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Houston, Sam (1793-1863) to Gen. Edward Burleson

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01170 Author/Creator: Houston, Sam (1793-1863) Place Written: City of Houston Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 10 April 1842 Pagination: 4 p. ; 29 x 24 cm.

Summary of Content: An eloquent letter written as President to Vice President Burleson, acting as a general, relating to the Mexican invasion of 1842. Houston tries to encourage Burleson to pursue the retreating Mexican troops, rather than to disband his volunteers. He writes about the proper conduct of troops and "waken a spirit of endurance" among citizens. Houston anticipates military support from U.S. volunteers, but he is cautious in his expectations. Houston also writes that "Texas must be saved."

Full Transcript: City of Houston
10th Apl 1842
Dear General
Your favors were delayed of all measure, from same cause. A letter from Bexar [San Antonio] of the same date, had reached me ...many days previously as the subjects embraced in your letter have ceased to exist I will not deem it necessary to render any opinion. I was happy to hear of the fine spirit of the men, but regret that they did not organize under the orders of the Government so that they might have gone to the Rio Grande & avenged the indignity sustained by Texas. I hope it will yet be done, with a full measure of recompense to the honor of our country.
In the progress of the war, if it is to result honorably we must pursue a [2] line of conduct, marked, by subordination to the laws, and one of humanity towards our foes. At the same time, we must in cases of necessity, make such retaliation as the usages of war will justify. In camp the most rigid discipline must be enforced or we will achieve nothing either advantageous or Glorious to our arms or our country. To keep such a police, as will not give the enemy access to all our movements or plans. But of these things, I hope to have an opportunity of conversing with you fully.
Where our people have not been diverted from the cultivation of their farms, I rejoice, that the prospect of crops is fine. We must have food, & A arment [sic] also to prosecute a war and [3] as we have no money, we must produce the means within ourselves the excellence [inserted: of] our country where compared to all others will stimulate our citizens to exertions & waken a spirit of endurance, and a willingness to meet and sustain privation which under other circumstances would be unsupportable! Texas must be saved and Texans have capabilities and will employ them in its salvation.
The world will look, not to Texas, but those with whom its destiny is confided under the constitution and laws of this nation. Our situation at this time is attractive to the whole civilized world and we are regarded with peculiar sensations! You, as well as myself have to bear a full share of responsibility. This we can sustain successfully if [inserted: we] only regard [4] the laws, sound policy and the dictates of good common sense! Volunteers are coming from the U. States but to what extent they may come no one can guess. Every encouragement is held out to them which I felt authorized by law to suggest. In a few days I intend to present a Proclamation to the people of Texas, and indeed I wou'd have done so before, had it not been that I wished to form some intimate of the aid, which we are to receive from abroad. Promises tho' well intended rarely meet expectation! Men change opinion, and enthusiasm is often short lived! I hope for the best!
If you cou'd visit Houston, I wou'd be happy to see you.
Truly your friend,
Sam Houston
Gen E. Burleson
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People: Houston, Sam, 1793-1863

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: Mexican WarLatin and South AmericaMilitary HistoryTexasWestward ExpansionAmerican West

Sub Era: Age of Jackson

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