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Presidential Election of 1841

tinued, to state "that whilst I was President, the whole amount placed at my disposition for that purpose was only $50,000. I was denounced because I did not render the protection required. I had no newspapers to tell the cause. Millions have been expended by the present Executive, and nothing done; yet I hear no complaints made." On the question of the removal of the seat of government, a matter on which the people of the west also felt very strongly, Houston in the true style of a politician, "rode the fence."

I never have entered upon the discharge of any public office or national trust, embarrassed by any pledge, which, to maintain it, might in any event prejudice the welfare of my country. I did not think well of the removal of the seat of government, at the time it was made, because I thought it unnecessary and unwise, for we were poor, and I doubt not but it cost the nation at least $300,000, and violated a pledge given, by a former act of Congress, (which could not be cancelled before 1841)[6]  for it to remain at Houston. I never was in favor of it being located at Houston, in the first instance, but once being located, I thought it well for it to remain there for some time to come. . . .

The course which I pursued in relation to the subject of removal, while a member of congress (session before last) was in strict obedience to the instructions of my immediate constituents, and if I had not done so, it would have been my duty to resign my seat, as their representative. I was opposed to molesting the subject at the last session, because I was unwilling to see any matter mooted, that might by possibility create any feelings which in the end might add to the present embarrassments and calamities of the country.

The seat of government being now at Austin, would present many considerations connected with any change in future. I have no prejudice against Austin; I have no interest in its removal to any other place; and therefore, if the subject shall be agitated, so as to be presented to me as a chief magistrate, in the event of my election to that station, I would give it my calm and unbiased consideration, as a matter of national interest, and without advertency to either local or sectional feeling or interest.

A short while later, Houston's views on frontier protection were reported to be acceptable to the people in the Gonzales section of the Republic; however, wrote Miller, the enactment of the last session of

6. By an act passed on December 15, 1836, Congress, while in session at Columbia, provided that the capital should be located at Houston until the close of the legislative session of 1840. Stanley Siegel, A Political History of the Texas Republic, 1836-1845, p. 58.

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AFTER SAN JACINTO: The Texas-Mexican Frontier, 1836-1841
Joseph Milton Nance, 1963