Southwestern Historical Quarterly
i, when he wrote, "I would call Congress, but I cannot trust their
wisdom in our present attitude. I could not rely upon them from
the indications given at last session. I do not wish bad made
worse."'"'4 If matters had been desperate, or had Houston been
sincere in his statements promising an offensive war, one of the
first actions, considering the depleted finances, would have been
to call a special session of Congress. As it was, he was content
to guarantee payment for supplies personally and allow the war
fever to recede. General Alexander Somervell, that excellent
choice as commander of the troops, was allowed to become the
Collector of the Customs for the Port of Calhoun,44 and the
country as a whole began to forget the imminence of war with
On May 24, almost three months after the invasion, with only
a few of the War Hawks still clamoring for an immediate re-
prisal, Houston finally called a special session of Congress.'" An-
other month was to pass before Congress finally met. In his war
message, President Houston guardedly suggested an offensive war
with Mexico and placed the question of war or peace with
Mexico. He stressed that Texas would need an army of some five
thousand men to insure success in the venture. He made it clear,
however, that his approval of any such affirmative vote would be
conditional upon Congress' solving the knotty problem of the
necessary finance. He pointed to the fact that "the government
cannot exist without a revenue. Its officers and agents must be
supported."" To support an army one must have funds; thus
Houston placed the question directly before Congress-if the
members wished war they must find the key to the finances. He
knew full well that this problem which had not been solved in
seven years of the Republic's existence could not be settled over-
night. Thus the outcome of the deliberations was known by
Houston beforehand. After discussing the subject for almost a
month, the House of Representatives passed a bill authorizing
an offensive war against Mexico. Having no other asset, they
48Houston to Daingerfield, April 1, 1842, ibid., 15.
44Houston to Somervell, May 16, 1842, ibid., 5o.
45Proclamation calling a special session of Congress, May 24, 1842, ibid., 58.
46Houston's speech to Congress, June 27, 1842, ibid., 74.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/. Accessed March 15, 2014.