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) 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.