The Personal Correspondence of Sam Houston - Vol. 2

The Personal Correspondence of Sam Houston - Vol. 2

The Personal Correspondence of Sam Houston - Vol. 2

The Personal Correspondence of Sam Houston - Vol. 2

Synopsis

Volume III of Sam Houston's personal correspondence continues the projected four-volume series of previously unpublished personal letters to and from Sam Houston. This volume begins in the fall of 1848 as Houston returns to Washington for the Second Session of the Thirtieth Congress after the close of the Mexican War. His first focus was on settling the Texas boundary and other problems relating to the welfare of his state. Once these were solved he seriously considered resigning his senate seat. However, he sensed the coming Civil War and seemed to feel that he should do all in his power to prevent it.

Houston's letters reflect the political activities as he struggled to maintain a strong Union stand against the radicals who favored secession. Intriguing new information comes to light on the plot to distract Houston, and perhaps get him out of the Senate, with an attack on Margaret's character through their ward Virginia Thorne, resulting in Margaret's indictment in 1850 on charges of assault and battery. His letters concerning the presidential election of 1852 are particularly interesting, as they are filled with colorful observations of the Washington social scene, as well as his thoughts concerning his own possible candidacy.

Excerpt

The editorial guidelines for Volume I have been continued in this work, with the exception of omitting the address at the end of Houston's letters. Because of poor quality of the paper and ink used in the letters from Volume I, they were very difficult to read. While it was possible to decipher most of the words, many punctuation marks were no doubt missed in the maze of spots and bleed-throughs from the opposite sides. Cross-writings also added to the problems.

In transcribing these later letters, which were written on a higher quality of paper and were much more legible, I became aware of Houston's unusual punctuation patterns. His use of commas followed no rules I had ever seen. It may be that he added them as he paused to replace his ink, or when his train of thought was interrupted. One can almost visualize his pausing at his desk in the Senate to listen to a speech, or his stopping to answer a question posed by a visitor in his rooms. The letters in this volume have been transcribed with the commas exactly as Houston placed them. For some of the letters, this meant examining them with a magnifying glass.

Adding to the problem of deciphering the letters in the current volume was the fact that for much of this time period Houston was suffering from the effects of a flair-up of an old shoulder wound from the War of 1812. Apparently, this caused his hand to shake, spattering ink spots onto the letters. There were times when I simply had to make an editorial decision as to whether a mark was an ink spatter or a comma.

As in the previous volume, word omissions or repetitions are usually found at the beginning of a new page. Often, Houston added a postscript explaining that he did not have time to re-read the letter to check for mistakes.

In this volume, Houston's personal correspondence begins when he leaves Texas in 1846 to travel to Washington, D.C., to take his place in Congress as a U.S. Senator. He was away from home for . . .

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