Hillsborough (NC) Recorder
June 19, 1861
Houston Telegraph publishes a speech lately delivered by General Houston, from
which we take the following extract:
trouble is upon us, and no matter how it came, or who brought it on, we have to
meet it. Whether we have opposed this
secession movement or favored it, we must alike meet the consequences. I sought calm and prudent action. I desired a united and prepared South, if we
must leave the Union. Entire cooperation may not now be possible,
but we have ample strength for the struggle if we husband it aright. We must fight now whether we are prepared or
position was taken months since. Though
I opposed secession, for the reasons mentioned, I saw that the policy of
coercion could not be permitted. The
attempt to stigmatize and crush out this revolution, comprehending States and
millions of people, as a rebellion, would show that the administration at
Washington did not comprehend the vast issues involved, or refused to listen to
the dictates of reason, justice, and humanity.
A stubborn resort to force, when moderation was necessary, would destroy
every hope of peace and the reconstruction o the Union.
that not only coercion, but a vindictive war is about to be inaugurated, I
stand ready to redeem my pledge to the people.
Whether the Convention acted right or wrong is not now the
question. Whether I was treated justly
or unjustly is not now to be considered.
I put all that under my feet, and there it shall stay. Let those who have stood by me do the same,
and let us all show that, at a time when peril environs our beloved land, we
know how to be patriots and Texans.
us have no past, except the glorious past, whose heroic deeds shall stimulate
us to resistance to oppression and wrong, and burying in the grave of oblivion
all our past difficulties, let us go forward, determined not to yield the
position which the people have assumed, until our independence is acknowledged,
or, if not acknowledged, wrung form our enemies by the force of valor. It is no time to turn back now; the people
have put their hands to the plow—they must go forward. To recede would be worse than ignominy. Better meet war in its deadliest shape, than
cringe before an enemy whose wrath we have invoked. I make no pretensions as to myself; I have
yielded up office and sought retirement to preserve peace among our
people. My services, perhaps, are not
important enough to be desired; others are, perhaps, more competent to lead the
people through this revolution. I have
been with them through the fiery ordeal once, and I know that with prudence and
discipline their courage will surmount all obstacles. Should the tocsin of war, calling forth the
people to resist the invader, reach the retirement to which I shall go, I will
heed neither the denominations of my enemies nor the charms of my fireside; but
will join the ranks of my countrymen to defend Texas once again. Then I will ask those who have pursued me
with malignity, and who have denounced me as a traitor to Texas and the South, to prove themselves
more true, when the battle shock shall come.
Old and worn as I am, I shall not be laggard. Though others may lead, I shall not scorn to
follow, and though I may end life in the ranks, where I commenced it, I shall
feel that the post of duty is the post of honor.
have ever been conservative, was conservative as long as the Union lasted—am a
conservative citizen of the Southern Confederacy, and giving to the constituted
authorities of the country, civil and military, and the government which a
majority of the people have approved and acquiesced in, an honest obedience, I
feel that I shall do less than my duty, did I not press upon others the
importance of regarding this the first duty as a good citizen.