Sam Houston's Letter to Andrew Jackson


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The History of Texas: Sam Houston Letter to Andrew Jackson

Sam Houston

To President Jackson.


DEAR SIR: Having been as far as Bexar, in the province of Texas, where I had an interview with the Comanche Indians, I am in possession of some information that will doubtless be interesting to you, and may be calculated to forward your views, if you should entertain any, touching the acquisition of Texas by the United States. That such a measure is desirable by nineteen twentieths of the population of the province, I can not doubt. They are now without laws to govern or protect them. Mexico is involved in civil war. The federal constitution has never been in operation. The government is essentially despotic, and must be so for years to come. The rulers have not honesty, and the people have not intelligence.

The people of Texas are determined to form a state government, and to separate from Coahuila; and, unless Mexico is soon restored to order, and the constitution revived and reenacted, the province of Texas will remain separate from the confederacy of Mexico. She has already beaten and expelled all the troops of Mexico from her soil, nor will she permit them to return. She can defend herself against the whole power of Mexico; for really Mexico is powerless and penniless to all intents and purposes. Her want of money, taken in connection with the course which Texas must and will adopt, will render a transfer of Texas inevitable to some power; and if the United States does not press for it, England will most assuredly obtain it by some means. Now is a very important crisis for Texas, as relates to her future prosperity and safety, as well as the relation it is to bear toward the United States. If Texas is desirable to the United States, it is now in the most favorable attitude, perhaps, that it can be, to obtain it on fair terms. England is pressing her suit for it, but its citizens will resist if any transfer should be made of them to any other power but the United States.

I have traveled nearly five hundred miles across Texas, and am now enabled to judge pretty correctly of the soil and the resources of the country. And I have no hesitation in pronouncing it the finest country, to its extent, upon the globe; for, the greater portion of it is richer and more healthy, in my opinion, than West Tennessee. There can be no doubt but the country east of the Rio Grande Would sustain a population of ten millions of souls. My opinion is, that Texas will, by her members in convention on the first of April, declare all that country as Texas proper, and form a state constitution. I expect to be present at the convention, and will apprise you of the course adopted so soon as its members have taken a final action. It is probable I may make Texas my abiding-place: in adopting this course, I will never forget the country of my birth.

From this point I will notify the commissioners of the Indians, at Fort Gibson, of my success, which will reach you through the war department.

I have with much pride and inexpressible satisfaction seen your messages and PROCLAMATION touching the nullifiers of the south and their "peaceable remedies." God grant that you may save the Union! It does seem to me that it is reserved for you, and you alone, to render millions so great a blessing. I hear all voices commend your course, even in Texas--where is felt the liveliest interest for the preservation of the republic.

Permit me to tender you my sincere felicitations, and most earnest solicitude for your health and happiness—and your future glory, connected with the prosperity of the Union.

Your friend and obedient servant,


Sam Houston's Letter to the Indian Commissioners at Fort Gibson

To Indian Commissioners at Fort Gibson.


GENTLEMEN: It was my intention to have visited Fort Gibson, and to have reported to you my success, so far as it was connected with the Comanche Indians; but at this season, as I may expect a great rise in the waters, and the range for horses on the direct route is too scarce to afford subsistence, I will content myself with reporting to you the prospects, as they are presented to me, of a future peace. Since my report from Fort Towson, I proceeded through Texas as far as Bexar, where I had the good fortune to meet with some chiefs of that nation, who promised to visit the commissioners in three moons from that time. This will make it the month of April before they will be enabled to set out for Fort Gibson, and perhaps defer their arrival at that point until the month of May next.

I found them well disposed to make a treaty with the United States, and, I doubt not, to regard it truly and preserve it faithfully if made. It was necessary for them to return to their people, and counsel before they could send a delegation. I requested that they should endeavor to see both tribes of the Comanches, as well as the Pawnees and their bands, that when a peace is made it may be complete and lasting between all the tribes that meet in convention.

I presented a medal of General Jackson, to be conveyed to the principal chief (who was not present), with the proper explanations. I do not doubt but it will have an excellent effect in favor of the wishes of the commissioners.

At this season it would be impossible for the Comanches to visit Fort Gibson, as their horses are unaccustomed to the use of grain, and the range is destroyed by the season and the burning of the woods. I think it may be fairly calculated that, by the 15th or 20th of May, the chiefs will reach Fort Gibson, and be well disposed to make a peace. I found them entertaining a high regard for the Americans, while they cherish the most supreme contempt for the Mexicans.

One fact, of which I was not apprized in my last report, is, that intercourse between the Northwest Fur-Company and the Pawnees is much more direct and general than I supposed; and, no doubt, carried on much to the prejudice of the Americans, and those tribes of Indians friendly to them. It has been reported to me that the influence and intercourse of the company has extended as far as the Brazos and Colorado, in Texas.

You may rest assured that all the information in my power shall be collected and presented in such character as will be most useful to your commission. I am at a loss for the means to enable the delegation to reach Fort Gibson; but, so far as my resources will enable me, nothing shall be wanting on my part to realize the wishes of my government, and bring about a general peace. If anything can defeat the present expectations, it will be the indirect influence of the Spaniards, who are jealous of everybody and every-thing ; but even this, I trust, will not prevail.

I will leave here shortly for the interior, where I have promised to meet the Indians preparatory to their start for Fort Gibson. They are a dilatory people, and very formal in all matters of a national character. Should anything occur, in the meantime, contrary to my expectations, I will apprise you of it with pleasure.

You will be so kind as to forward a copy of this communication to the secretary of war, that he may be apprized of the prospect of peace with the Indians of Texas.

I have the honor to be your obedient servant,






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