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October 26, 2007

Thomas J. Green Slings Mud at Sam Houston

No Turkey Gobblers, Peacocks, Bears, Elephants, Wild Boars, or Stud Horses Allowed

60. HOUSTON, Samuel. Lithograph of an autograph letter signed, written by Houston to Colonel William Bryan, Texian Counsel, New Orleans, dated at Washington, January 24, 1843; second leaf with Houston’s list dated January 26, 1843. On p. [4] is Thomas J. Green’s printed statement dated October, 1855, that he is publishing this proof of Houston’s treachery and dishonesty. 4 pp., on grey wove paper. 4to (27 x 21.2 cm). Creased where formerly folded, a few minor voids professionally stabilized (some with loss of letters), minor staining, especially on second leaf, otherwise good. Rare.

            In this letter, Houston gives instructions for purchasing household goods in his name, although Green implies in his footnote that the articles were actually paid for by the State of Texas, rather than by Houston himself. The list of goods Houston requests gives interesting insight into the material culture of Sam Houston’s household during the Texas Republic. Houston states he does not want furniture coverings exhibiting “turkey gobblers, peacocks, bears, elephants, wild boars, or stud horses”; he prefers “vines, flowers, or any figure of taste.” In the included memorandum, Houston says he also needs flour, sugar, coffee, butter, a fine carriage with four seats, a china set for coffee, calico, and silk socks.

            According to the statement at the end, Thomas J. Green published this letter in response to Houston’s attacks on him in the U.S. Senate, which themselves were responses to Green’s attacks on Houston in his 1845 book, Journal of the Texian Expedition against Mier..., in which Green viciously attacks Houston for failing to support the expedition after it was captured. In Jenkins’s entry in Basic Texas Books (80) for Green’s book on the Mier Expedition, he comments: “Green’s vilification of Sam Houston so incensed Houston that he made a lengthy speech refuting [Green’s book on the Mier expedition] on the floor of the U.S. Senate, calling Green a loafer, a pirate, a robber, a fugitive, a felon, a slanderer, a swindler, a reckless villain, and a dastardly coward. Houston maintained that the Mier Expedition under Green was ‘without authority,’ made in order to ‘filibuster, rob, steal, and pilfer.’” Green was one of four Texans with the rank of general in the Texas Revolution (outranking Travis, Bowie, Fannin, and Crockett), leader of the anti-Houston party during the Republic era, and commander of the Mier Expedition. See Handbook of Texas Online: Thomas Jefferson Green.

            The original letter, which Green here says is in his possession, has apparently disappeared. Another copy of this facsimile is in the Lamar Papers at the Texas State Library (#2150). The place of printing is unknown, but Green apparently was in California in 1855. ($500-1,000)

Sold. Hammer: $500.00; Price Realized: $587.50

Auction 21 Abstracts

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