The Texas Almanac, for 1860, with Statistics, Historical and Biographical Sketches, &c., Relating to Texas. Page: 36
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do TEXAS ALMANAC.
COMPENDIUM OF THE HISTORY OF TEXAS.
[Continued from the TExAs AurarAC, for 1859.]
PREFATORY REmARKS.-Whoever undertakes to write a historical narrative in
compendium, will find it more difficult and perplexing, than to write the same history
with a free and copious dilatation. Brevity and abruptness are almost inseparable
in literature as in manners; and the latter is sometimes as offensive in the one as
Our purpose now is, to explain the cause of our having, in the present annual,
deviated from the strictness of a compend, and indulged with some freedom in com-
ments on men and things. The publication of Gen. Houston's last speech in
the U. S. Senate, we saw with unfeigned regret. It is not oply vindictive
and venomous, but in several instances a gross violation of the command, " Thou
shalt not bear false witness." So regarding it, we could not but feel that it re-
quired some notice in a treatise on the history of Texas.
It is very palpable that the principal intention of the speaker was to register
among the archives of the national Senate, and thus perpetuate, fanciful representa-
tions touching our little history, which we know, and many others know, to be
positively erroneous in substance, and uojust toward many worthy actors in the
scenes of our recent revolution.
The integrity of a people's history is, or ought to be, personally interesting to
every member of the community referred to, and indeed to all societies Let the
fountains of history become corrupt with falsehood, and all knowledge of the past
loses its capacity to instruct, and degenerates into mere fable and romance; as
void of useful enlightenment as the legends of the most barbarous ages.
There is one prominent feature in that speech, which invests it with a most un-
comely expression. In despite of the professed aversion to the pronoun " I," it is
egotistical throughout. In every point of its elaboration, it betrays the unseemly
purpose of extolling the "Commander-in-Chief," who is identical with the speaker,
at the expense, not only of truth, but of the good name of almost all others-his
late companions in arms. Such intensity of selfishness is without example: it
violates every worthy element in a soldier's character.
Gen. Houston's speech is but a succinct repetition of many errors that abound in
Mr. Yoakum's History of Texas. Mr. Y., it is well known, was the intimate friend
and admirer of Gen. Houston. This fact would reflect pleasantly on the author's
partiality, were it not carried to an extreme of adulation of one, while it inflicts
positive injustice on many, and habitually ignores the sanctity of truth. That he
derived his data and his voluminous documents from his favorite, does not imbibe
the shadow of a doubt from Gen. Houston's assertion that, "it is a work with
which the Commander-in-Chief had no connection." And for one, (we believe we
are by no means alone,) we entertain no doubt that there are, in that book, letters,
dispatches, and~ documents, which were concocted for the book, and long posterior
to the events they refer to.--The Author.
Oun last year's narrative closed with the final adjournment of the Consultation,
on the 14th November, 1835. Among other acts, they had passed a decree to or-
ganize a corps of Rangers, to operate on the frontier, and restrain the Comanches
and other savages from trespassing on our exposed border settlements. Antici-
pating a serious rupture with the new authorities of Mexico, they passed a decree
authorising Thomas J. Chambers to raise forces for the common defense. That gen-
tleman forthwith repaired to the United States for that purpose, and was finally in-
strumental in sending some troops and some valuable munitions to our aid.
* The tangled affairs of Texas now devolved on the provisional government,
* The Consultation was a sui generis assemblage of notables, to whom no special duties of a
practical nature wer4 prescribed, and on whom no specific powers were conferred: it was an
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The Galveston News. The Texas Almanac, for 1860, with Statistics, Historical and Biographical Sketches, &c., Relating to Texas., book, 1860~; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth123766/m1/38/: accessed January 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.