History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families

112 HISTORY 'OF TEXAS.

jer than he. His military strategy was extraordinary.
The instances are too numerous
to mention here. The reader will have to
consult nearly half the pages of Texas history
to discover them all. His intuitive quickness
of perception, his foresight and farreaching
mental grasp, his penetration and
ready comprehension of the drift of parties,
and his sagacity and tact in devising means
for the attainment of specific ends, were indeed
exceptional. In self-possession and confidence
in his own resources he was unrivaled;
his influence among the masses was extraordinary,
and as a speaker his power over a
Texan audience was magical.
As president of the Republic his administration
was marked by economy, by a pacific
policy toward the Indians, and by a defensive
attitude toward Mexico. IHe would rather
feed Indians than kill them; he was ever
ready to ward off threatened invasion and
adopt protective measures against predatory
incursions on the frontier, but not organize
such undertakings as the Santa Fe expedition;
and such an enterprise as the one attempted
by Colonel Fisher and his followers in their
attack on Mier was never contemplated by
him.
In the Senate of the United States, where
he represented Texas for nearly fourteen
years, he was persistently conservative and
democratic. He voted against the extension
of the Missouri compromise line to the Pacific
coast, and thereby favored free territory
south of that parallel; he voted for the Oregon
Territorial bill with the slavery exclusion
clause, and he voted against the Kansas-Nebraska
bill of Stephen A. Douglas, thereby
favoring free territory where the Missouri
compromise had fixed it, and by tyfs last act
he incurred the displeasure of hi( Southern
adherents more than by anything else he had

ever done. He also became identified with
the "Know-Nothing" party, and by this
means also alienated many of his old Democratic
friends. But who can guard the rights
of the righteous without incurring the displeasure
of the unrighteous? For the ignorant,
the hasty and the iniquitous will not
only promulgate falsehoods, but even truths
in such a way as to turn friends into enemies.
Gossip, especially in haste, will unavoidably
distort everything.
The following is one of the numerous instances
illustrating the humor as well as the
sternness of character of that eminent statesman:

In 1860, while Houston was governor of
Texas, an expedition was fitted out for frontier
protection. In the purchase of medical supplies,
the governor gave strict orders that no
liquor should be included, under penalty of
his serious displeasure. In the requisition for
medical stores made by Dr. T , surgeon
of the regiment, were included, ("Spts. Vini
Gallici, bottles 24. " This was duly furnished
with the other articles, and the bill was taken
to General Houston for his approval. .The
old gentleman settled his spectacles upon his
nose, and, gravely putting his eagle quill behind
his ear, read the bill through slowly and
carefully until he came to the item in question,
when he turned to the druggist and
said: " Mr. B-, what is this,-Spts. Vini
Gallici?" "That, General, is brandy." "Ah,
yes! and do you know that I have given positive
orders that no liquor should be furnished
for this expedition?" "No, General; I was
not aware of it. "
The general rang his bell. " Call Dr. T-."
The doctor was summoned. "Dr. T-, what
is this 'Spts. Vini Gallici' for?" "That,
Governor, is for snake-bites." Appealing to
the druggist the governor continued, "Mr.

112

TORY -OP TEXS.

Lewis Publishing Company, publisher. History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families. Chicago. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth29785/. Accessed July 22, 2014.