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

HISTORY OF TI'XAS.

ciliate the Indians, Houston left Nacogdoches
for Columbia, arriving October 9; but according
to the constitution he could not
commence the duties of his office until the
second Monday in December. However, as
both presidentt Burnett and Vice-President
Zavala were both equally willing to retire
from office, and sent in their resignations,
Congress considered it judicious to inaugurate
the new president immediately.
In his inaugural address Houston insisted
upon hlarinony between the legislative and
executive departments of the government, as
the situation was peculiarly a delicate one;
recommended that the friendship of the Indians
be obtained by treaty and a strict maintenance
of good faith with them; urged ab.
stinence from all acts of aggression, and the
establishment of commerce with the different
tribes; con trasted the barbarous mode of war.
fare practiced by the enemy with the humanity
and forbearance displayed by the Texans
in the hour of victory, citing the fact that the
moral effect of such conduct had done more
toward the liberation of Texas than the defeat
of the army of veterans, and dwelt upon the
question of annexation to the United States,
-a consummation unanimously wished for
by the Texan people, who were cheered by
the hope that they would be welcomed into the
great family of freemen. General Lamar, as
president of the Senate, delivered an address
breathing thle same spirit and deprecating
party antagonism.
According to the spirit of the above
speeches, President Houston appoi .ted as
members of his cabinet eminent men from
the principal parties. Stephen F. Austin
was made secretary of State; Henry Smnith,
secretary of the treasury; Thomas J. Rusk,
of war; S. Rhodes Fisher, of the navy; Robert
Burr, postmaster general, and J. Pinckney

Henderson, attorney general. General Felix
Houston was given command of the army.
On November 16 Congress empowered tlie
president to appoint a ,minister to the United
States, to negotiate with this government
for the recognition of the independence of
Texas and her annexation to this republic.
The president accordingly appointed Williami
H1. Wharton to that position.
A writer relates an interesting anecdote in
this connection. It seems that Wharton, by
being tendered this appointment, felt that
the president was endeavoring to send hin
into honorable exile, to get himi out of some
one's else way. Houston did not hear of this
till some months afterward, when three commnissioners
were to be appointed to purchase
a navy. John A. Wharton, brother of William
H., was one of the candidates, and, to
the surprise of many, was not appointed.
Meeting the latter after his return from the
United States, the president could not refrain
from delivering a home thrust, saying, ," I
did not appoint John A. Wharton one of the
three naval commissioners, because I did not
wish to drive any more of the Wharton family
into exile!"
This Congress also ordered the issue of
bonds to the extent of $5,000,000, to bear interest
at ten per cent. atnd be redeemable in
thirty years. Two commissioners were appointed
to negotiate these bonds, $1.000
each, either in the United States or Europe,
and holders were to be allowed the privilege
of purchasing public lands of the Republic
at the lowest government price, payable in
bonds.
This Congress continued in session until
the close of December, passing many benefic;al
laws and performing many embarrassing
duties. Provisions were made for the increase
of the navy, by the purchase of a twenty

- . -~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~6

65

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 April 23, 2014.