Having called you together to provide for an expression of the sovereign will of the people at the ballot-box, I also deem it my duty to declare that, while the people of the State of Texas are deliberating upon this question, no impending threats of coercion from the people of another State should be permitted to hang over them, without at least the condemnation of their representatives. Whatever that sovereign will may be when fairly expressed, it must be maintained. Texas, as a man, will defend it. While the Executive would not counsel foolish bravado, he deems it a duty we owe to the people, to declare that, even though their action shall bring upon us the consequences which now seem impending, we shall all (be our views in the past and present what they may) be united.Now that not only coercion, but a vindictive war is about to be inaugurated, I stand ready to redeem my pledge to the people. Whether the Convention acted right or wrong is not now the question. Whether I was treated justly or unjustly is not now to be considered. I put all that under my feet, and there it shall stay. Let those who have stood by me do the same, and let us show that at a time when peril environs our beloved land, we know how to be patriots and Texans. Let us have no past, except the glorious past, whose heroic deeds shall stimulate us to resistance to oppression and wrong, and burying in the grave of oblivion all our past difficulties, let us go forward, determined not to yield from the position which the people have assumed until our independence is acknowledged, or if not acknowledged, wrung from our enemies by the force of our valor. It is no time to turn back now — the people have put their hands to the plough; they must go forward. To recede would be worse than ignominy. Better meet war in its deadliest shape than cringe before an enemy whose wrath we have invoked. I make no pretensions as to myself. I have yielded up office and sought retirement to preserve peace among our people. My services, perhaps, are not important enough to be desired. Others are perhaps more competent to lead the people through this revolution. I have been with them through the fiery ordeal once, and I know that with prudence and discipline their courage will surmount all obstacles. Should the tocsin of war, calling forth the people to resist the invader, reach the retirement to which I shall go, I will heed neither the denunciations of my enemies, nor the charms of my own fireside, but will join the ranks of my countrymen to defend Texas once again. Then I will ask those who have pursued me with malignity, and who have denounced me as a traitor to Texas and the South, to prove themselves more true, when the battle shock shall come. Old and worn as I am, I shall not be laggard. Though others may lead, I shall not scorn to follow; and though I may end life in the ranks, where I commenced it, I shall feel that the post of duty is the post of honor. We have entered upon a conflict which will demand all the energies of the people. Not only must they be united, but all of the heroic virtues which characterize a free people must be brought into requisition. There must be that sacrificing spirit of patriotism which will yield the private desires for the public good. There must be that fortitude which will anticipate occasional reverses as the natural consequences of war, and meet them with becoming pride and resignation; but, above all, there must be discipline and subordination to law and order. Without this, armies will be raised in vain, and carnage will be wasted in hopeless enterprises. The South, chivalric, brave, and impetuous as it is, must add to these attributes of success thorough discipline, or disaster will come upon the country. The Northern people by their nature and occupation are subordinate to orders. They are capable of great endurance and a high state of discipline. A good motto for a soldier is, Never underrate the strength of your enemy. The South claims superiority over them in point of fearless courage. Equal them in point of discipline, and there will be no danger. Organize your forces; yield obedience to orders from Headquarters. Do not waste your energies in unauthorized expeditions; but in all things conform to law and order, and it will be ten times better than running hither and thither, spending money and time, without accomplishing any of the plans of a campaign which your leaders have marked out. Once organized, stay organized. Do not be making companies to-day and unmaking them to-morrow. If you are dissatisfied with your captain, wait until the battle-day comes, and he gets killed off, then you can get another. It is better to fight up to him and get rid of him in that way than to split off, and make a new company to be spilt up in the same way. I give this advice as an old soldier. I know the value of subordination and discipline. A good citizen, who has been obedient to law and civil authority, always makes a good soldier. I have ever been conservative, was conservative as long as the Union lasted — am a conservative citizen of the Southern Confederacy, and giving to the constituted authorities of the country, civil and military, and the Government which a majority of the people have approved and acquiesced in, an honest obedience, I feel that I should do less than my duty did I not press upon others the importance of regarding this the first duty of a good citizen.--N. Y. Tribune, May 31.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.