There he stood, and old man of seventy years, on the balcony ten feet above the heads of the thousands assembled to hear him, where every eye could scan his magnificent form, six feet three inches high, straight as an arrow, with deep-set and penetrating eyes, looking out from heavy and thundering brows, a high forehead, with something of the infinite intellectual shadowed there, crowned with white locks, partly erect, seeming to give capillary conduction to the electric fluid used by his massive brain, and a voice of the deep basso tone, which shook and commanded the soul of the hearer, adding to all this a powerful manner, made up of deliberation, self-possession, and restrained majesty of action, leaving the hearer impressed with the feeling that more of his power was hidden than revealed.2 (See Books)
It was the moulding period of life, when the heart, just charmed into the feverish hopes and dreams of youth, looks wistfully around on all things for light and beauty
[Sam Houston, on his boyhood with the Cherokees]1 (See Books)
My heart is sad! A dark cloud rests upon your nation. Grief has sounded in your camp. The voice of Flaco is silent
....His life has fled to the Great Spirit ....Your warriors weep ....The song of birds is silent ....Grass shall not grow in the path between us.
Thy brother Sam Houston.2 (See Books)
...when a young man in Tennessee I kept a country school, being then about eighteen years of age, and a tall, strapping fellow. At noon after the luncheon, which I and my pupils ate together out of our baskets, I would go into the woods and cut me a sour wood stick, trim it carefully in circular spirals and thrust one half of it into the fire, which would turn it blue, leaving the other half white. With this emblem of ornament and authority in my hand, dressed in a hunting shirt of flowered calico, a long queue down my back, and the sense of authority over my pupils, I experienced a higher feeling of dignity and self-satisfaction than from any office or honor which I have held since.
[Sam Houston, about the joys of being a teacher]1 (See Books)
...my son, take this musket and never disgrace it; for remember, I had rather all my sons should fill one honorable grave, than that one of them should turn his back to save his life. Go, and remember, too, that while the door of my cottage is open to brave men, it is eternally shut against cowards.
[Elizabeth Houston, on giving her son Sam a musket and ring when he left for the army]1 (See Books)
April 9, 1829
Mr. Allen, the most unpleasant & unhappy circumstance has just taken place in the family, & one that was entirely unnecessary at this time. Whatever had been my feelings or opinions in relation to Eliza at one time, I have been satisfied & it is now unfit that anything should be averted to
....Eliza stands acquitted by me. I have received her as a virtuous wife & as such I pray God I may ever regard her, & trust I ever shall.
She was cold to me, & I thought did not love me. She owns that such was one cause of my unhappiness. You can judge how unhappy I was to think I was united to a woman that did not love me
[portion of a letter from Sam Houston to John Allen, father of Eliza, at the time of the separation]1 (See Books)
...publish in the Nashville papers that if any wretch ever dares to utter a word against the purity of Mrs. Houston I will come back and write the libel in his heart's blood.
[Sam Houston to representatives of the Allen family]2 (See Books)
Some of you laugh to scorn the idea of bloodshed as the result of secession, but let me tell you what is coming
....Your fathers and husbands, your sons and brothers, will be herded at the point of the bayonet ....You may after the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure and hundreds of thousands of lives, as a bare possibility, win Southern independence ...but I doubt it. I tell you that, while I believe with you in the doctrine of state rights, the North is determined to preserve this Union. They are not a fiery, impulsive people as you are, for they live in colder climates. But when they begin to move in a given direction ...they move with the steady momentum and perseverance of a mighty avalanche; and what I fear is, they will overwhelm the South.
[Sam Houston, with a prophetic warning at the time of the secession of Texas from the Union]2 (See Books)
The sunlit balm of Indian summer lay upon the rolling landscape. In a corner of the lawn, under a great oak, General Houston loved to sit and smoke, with a blue velvet cap on his head, soft yellow moccasins on his feet and the San Jacinto leg on a stool. Shadows played on the green hills and the melodies of Stephen Foster floated from Margaret's piano. The General's chair was the dependable rawhide bottom one that had twice served him while president of the Republic
Thus an old man under an old tree, smoking and thinking, still on the bourne of the dream world that had drawn into the forest a boy with a book and a rifle--half mystic, half showman; half poet, half sage.2 (See Books)