In the year 1865, Mrs. Margaret M. Houston (widow of Gen. Sam Houston), with whom I had become acquainted at Marion, Ala., in August, 1839, when she was Miss Lea, requested me to undertake to write the life and edit and publish the literary remains of her husband. I did not then feel competent to the task, especially as I had only seen the General twice in my life, once at the President's house in 1846, and again on the floor of the U. S. Senate in 1852; on both occasions while I was with our mutual friend, Hon. Stephen Adams, M. C. from Mississippi. With reluctance I consented, in the belief that the parties to whom she referred me for aid and information would give me their assistance. None of these parties have, to this day, given me any aid, except two; to whom due credit has been given in this work. All counselled delay. An extract from one of the gentlemen named as my counsellor and assistant, will account in some measure for delay. It is dated March 23, 1866: "It does not seem to me that there is any pressing urgency to present the Life and Labors of Gen. Houston to the world. It is true that they will possess a paramount interest so long as the Republic, or State, or Country of Texas, whichever it may be, shall possess an interest for men; yet even in this view there is an advantage in bringing out a book in an opportune time. At the present time every mind that thinks is powerfully, often painfully preoccupied with the strange, anomalous, grave condition of our affairs, with the uncertainty of our future and of that of the gigantic Government of the United States." The writer of the letter from which this extract is taken referred me to my old schoolmate and fellow-townsman in Richmond, Va., Major James W. Scott, of Houston, and Washington D Miller, Esq., the admirable private secretary of Gen. Houston. Both of these gentlemen have passed away; but each did all he could to put me in possession of needed information.
From Mrs. Houston I had one positive injunction; which was, to have at least one chapter setting forth Gen. Houston's religious, character; which I have given. I have consulted the following authorities:
1. "Private Records of Sam Houston's Administration of the Presidency of the Republic, from 1841 to 1844." A most important written volume, the most valuable of Houston's literary remains.
2. C. Edwards Lester's "Houston and his Republic."
3. Hon. Ashbel Smith's "Reminiscences of the Texas Republic."
4. Col. V. O. King's "Battle of San Jacinto viewed from American and Mexican Stand-points."