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event which led to the war with Mexico. In this Houston took no part, but sought to avert it in the United States Senate, to which he had been elected. He was returned for a second term in 1853, and in 1859 was chosen governor of Texas. In the following year the secession excitement came on, a movement which he warmly deprecated, using argument and illustration in opposition. Thus while he was speaking on this subject at Galveston, he was interrupted by a restive horse, that tried to kick itself loose from its harness. “That fellow is trying a little practical secession," remarked the speaker, much to the amusement of his audience. Finally the horse quieted down and the teamster began beating it. “ You see how secession works,” said Houston dryly. After the beating, the teamster began to fasten the harness. “ See the fix in which he is brought back into the Union," concluded the orator. By this time the audience was in a roar of laughter.
But all his efforts were in vain; the secession sentiment was too strong to combat. A Confederate State government was formed, to which he was bidden to take an oath of allegiance. This he declined to do and was deposed from office.
“ It is perhaps meet that my career should close thus," said the old soldier. “I have seen the statesmen and patriots of my youth gathered to their fathers, and the government which they had reared rent in twain, and none like them are now left to reunite them again. I stand almost the last of a race who learned from them the lessons of human freedom.”
In less than two years afterwards, on the 26th of July, 1863, he passed away.
ZACHARY TAYLOR, THE ROUGH AND
READY OF BUENA VISTA
THERE were two leaders who won fame in the war with Mexico, General Scott, the tall, handsome, dignified soldier, and General Taylor, the short, dumpy, plain-faced fighter, blunt as a handspike and brave as a lion. “Old Rough and Ready” his men called him, and the name fitted him well, for he put on no more airs than the plainest man in the ranks. A faithful, kindly, true-hearted old fellow, who knew his work and did his duty, he was a success as a soldier, but it was a sad mistake to make a President of the rough old warrior.
Zachary Taylor was born in Orange County, Virginia, on the 24th of September, 1784, but he lived there only a year, for his father and mother, with their three children, set out in 1785 to make a new home in Kentucky, a wild country, in which Daniel Boone was still hunting game and fighting Indians. The father, Colonel Richard Taylor, had been an able soldier in the Revolution, and had won admiration for courage and patriotism. He settled down on a farm near the present city of Louisville, built a rude cabin, and began to till the ground for a living.
There was not much chance there for education, and Zachary, as he grew up, got very little. He was a daring fellow, who feared neither wild beasts nor Indians, and when old enough he was eager to fight the latter, who were then making frequent attacks the frontier settlers. Colonel Taylor had become a man of influence in Kentucky, and seeing that his son wanted to be a soldier, he succeeded in getting him a commission as lieutenant in the United States army. His first service was in New Orleans, where in 1808 he was sent to join the army under General Wilkinson. General Scott, then Captain Scott, served there at the same time.
In 1812, when the war with Great Britain broke out, Taylor was promoted to the rank of captain, and sent to command an outpost station called Fort Harrison, on the Wabash River. General Harrison had built this fort before the battle of Tippecanoe; it consisted of a row of log huts surrounded by high pickets and with a block-house at each end. The garrison was no more than fifty men.
Fort Harrison was in the heart of the Indian country and Captain Taylor needed to be very vigilant, especially as about two-thirds of his men were on the sick list. One night a large body of Indians crept stealthily up and tried to surprise the fort, but Taylor was on the alert and was not taken unawares. The first attack repulsed, the savages set fire to a hut containing a large store of whiskey, the mounting flames lighting up the scene like the light of day. The savages, excited by the flames, again attacked the fort viciously, but the garrison, invalids and all, fought with splendid courage the whole night through. At six the next morning the enraged assailants withdrew in savage disappointment.
Captain Taylor did other work on the frontier during the war, and was promoted major, but after the war, indignant at being reduced to the rank of captain again, he left the army. He was not long out, the army was his true home, and in the years that followed