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    Sam Houston prepares for his inauguration as president

    Sam Houston Autograph Letter Signed. One page, 7.75" x 13", Washington County [Texas], December 2, 1841. Eleven days before being sworn in as the third president of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston writes this cheerful letter notifying Major Thomas G. Western that he will proceed to his inauguration the next day. The letter reads in full:


    My dear Western,
    I wish you to call on Mrs. Houston and tell her if she should require any cash, that 'you are my Banker.' Or if you would deem it a more delicate way, write to her a note. Now this request is made upon the supposition that you can command as much as she might need, and that she might need some, tho she will command the hire of four valuable Negro's after this month. There is no one more economical than she is, and I know will be. Should you find this in your power, and comply with my request, you shall have it returned at any moment that you may desire. Yes, if it required the sacrifice of Saxe-Weimer [sic]! Think of this, I pray you?

    To day I met an express from the city of Austin bearing dispatches connected with the reception intended for me. I sent them to my beloved wife to amuse or gratify her. They have nothing to do with the seat of Government I presume! They need not, as they are merely in the way of courtesy, and that would be business. Tomorrow I hope to proceed on my way, so as to reach Austin on the 7th instant. Matters went off well at Montgomery, and tho I am not well, Embracing all other matters 'just as you would have me to be.'

    I hope you will write to me often, and by all means, give me the news. Call upon Kelly, who promised to get me $40 and if you get it take $10 and hand $30 to Mrs H in Gold if you please, and can exchange for so much.

    Salute our friends, and may God bless you!
    Fraternally thine
    [signed] Sam Houston."

    As a postscript, Houston writes vertically along the left margin, "I will write to you on my arrival at Austin. Be pleased to keep an eye to the Rancho!"

    Six months after defeating Santa Anna's Mexican force at the Battle of San Jacinto in April 1836, General Sam Houston was elected the first president of the new Republic of Texas. Because Texas presidents could not serve consecutive terms, he watched the 1838 presidential election of Mirabeau B. Lamar, his political enemy, who promptly moved the capital from Houston to Austin in 1839. Two years later, the general again threw his hat into the presidential ring for what turned out to be a messy campaign against David G. Burnet. Houston handily won the election in September 1841.

    Four months earlier, he had married his third wife, Margaret Lea, the daughter of Alabama planters. The couple moved into a roughhewn house at Cedar Point, outside of the city of Houston overlooking Galveston Bay. Margaret's family furnished most of the furniture and also sent her four slaves, which, according to this letter, were expected to arrive "after this month." A woman of admirable qualities and habits - she read the Bible every night before going to bed - Margaret encouraged Houston to live a temperate life, which he did, abstaining from strong drink and placing membership in the Baptist church.

    The day before leaving for his Austin inauguration as president, Houston wrote this letter to Major Thomas G. Western, who had served throughout the Texas Revolution as a cavalry major and was serving in 1841 as the Indian affairs superintendent, asking him to lend his new wife financial help if she should need it. According to the letter, $40 could be gotten from "Kelly," mentioned in the final paragraph, who was likely renting a house from Houston and owed him rent.

    The president-elect traveled to Austin, arriving on December 8; he was sworn in on December 13. At the inaugural ball that evening, he refused to dance with anyone in deference to Margaret, whom he remained with until his death in 1863.

    The address panel of this letter, on the fourth page, is addressed to "Maj. Thomas G. Western / City of Houston Texas / M. V. B. Lea." Houston's signature is large and bold with a paraph. The paper is age-toned with separations beginning at some folds. Some mounting reside along one margin on the address panel.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2011
    12th Saturday
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