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nize the difficulties encountered in arriving at the true orthography. The etymology of the Indian language is yet to be reduced to a science; its present orthography is but a field of conjecture, as we have seen.
To illustrate this fact we cite a name which has been written in one of the previous paragraphs as the WINNE-PISC-AQUA. Our authorities say that Winnipiseogee, Winnepesockee, and Winnepesocket are all recognized methods of writing the word. The latter, with its final t, betrays the the hand of a French writer. We desire to notice in a future article the terms in this name more fully, giving our reasons for writing the word differently from modern geographers. For the present, we wish to discuss further the diverse methods of expressing in English the syllabic sounds in the Indian.
There is a corruption of ACHA (as aka, with the hard sound) often found in the river nomenclatures of the world with an expression, rendered, in Eng'ish pronunciation, as eka or ekuh. It is variously written by geog. raphers as “eco,” “ico," "ika,” “eque," "ega,”“ ucuh," " ucah,” “aga," etc. In the Russian language the word for “river" embodies the same sound heard in this corruption of ACHA. That Russian word is transcribed in English as reka, raga or rega--the r merely an abbreviated expression of the Sanscrit RI.
Names that are typical * of countless others in the Indian language are written in our geographies CocHECO, OSEWEGO, TOPEKA, CANECUH, MEXICO, etc. The latter name was once written MEXIQUE. The fact is, this is the present French writing of the word. MEGICO or MEJICO is the Spanish orthography.
Our wise men have speculated long and unwisely over the origin and significance of the word MEXICO. Let us but remember that it comes to us first through the Spanish. That Spanish word, as we have seen, was MEJICO (or Mejaquo). The “ Mej” in this word is but an expression of the syllabic sound heard in the Spanish or Latin pronunciation of the word medius—just as we often hear the syllabic sound in “ Ind-ian" rendered Inj-un, or In-jun, in English pronunciation.
This gives us a key to the long-sought mystery. Other science comes to our aid again. We consider the physical facts pertaining to Mexico. This strip of country is between the two great seas-it lies in the midst of the water, or in plain Latin, media aqua or med-aqua ; and hence MEJ-AQUA or MEXICO.
NL, V. Moore.
* Onega is a typical Russian name. TANGANIKA contains a typical African expression. Stan. ey says that the word Tanganika means in the African dialects “great lake.”
GEN. HOUSTON ON SECESSION
EDITOR OF MAGAZINE OF AMERICAN HISTORY :-Nearly ten years ago, while I was making an evening visit to an acquaintance in Washington, he showed me, among miscellaneous papers of some interest, a letter of Gen. Sam. Houston, written while the latter was last Governor of Texas. My friend had never been in Texas, and did not remember just how the letter came into his possession ; but as he was a collector of papers relating to public affairs, supposed it had been given him with other documents by some contributor to his fund who had been in the State during the war.
The letter is now much faded. It was evidently dictated by the Governor, and then signed by him, and copied by hand press into a letter book of his office. It is paged with printed figures from 12 to 22 inclusive, and in written figures from 1 to 1 inclusive. It contains the answer of Gen. Houston, as Governor of Texas, to the Commissioner sent by the authorities of Alabama to influence the action of Texas favorably to secession. The strong Union sentiments expressed in this letter, its moderation in judgment of those who professed sentiments opposed to those of its author, and the final touching appeal, are worthy of remembrance in the history of the times to which it relates. I, therefore, have copied the letter carefully, and send it as an interesting and worthy contribution to the MAGAZINE OF AMERICAN HISTORY. WASHINGTON, D. C., Oct., 1883.
Executive Department, Austin, Texas, January 2, 1861.
Hon. J. M. Calhoun,
Commissioner from Alabama. Dear Sir:
Your communication of the 5th inst., informing me of the objects of your mission, on the part of the State of Alabama, is before me.
As a citizen of a sister State, bearing an appointment as commissioner to Texas, from her Chief Executive, I welcome you here and trust that whatever ideas you may.adopt in reference to the political opinions of the people of Texas, you may bear back with you the evidences of their kindness, hospitality and friendship.
Having convened the Legislature of the State, with a view to its providing a mode by which the will of the people of Texas may be declared touching their relations with the Federal Government and the States, I cannot authoritatively speak as to the course they will pursue. A fair and legitimate expression of their will through the ballot box is yet to be made known. Therefore were the Legislature in session, or were a legally authorized Convention in session, until the action taken is ratified at the ballot box, none can speak for Texas. Her people have ever been jealous of their rights and have been careful how they parted with the attributes of their sovereignty. They will reserve to themselves the right to finally pass upon the act involving so closely their liberties, fortunes, peace and happiness ; and when through the free exercise of that sacred privilege, which has ever, until now, been deemed the best security for the liberties of the people and the surest means of remedying encroachments upon their rights, they have declared their will, then and then only can any speak for Texas. Until then nothing but individual opinions can be expressed ; and mine are entitled to no more weight than a long acquaintance with the people and a continued intercourse and communication with them, would justify.
That there is a difference of opinion existing in Texas, in relation to the course necessary to pursue at this period, none can deny. Citizens alike distinguished for their worth and public services, hold opposite views, and while all are united in the determination to maintain our constitutional rights they differ as to the mode of accomplishing the same. In this I do not include that reckless and selfish class, who moved by personal ambition or a desire for office or spoil desire a change of Government, in the hope that aggrandisement will attend them. I believe, however, that a large majority of the people, recognizing the obligations they owe to the border States, who have so long stood as barriers against the assaults of Abolitionism, desire to concert such measures as will not only conduce to their safety, but the benefit of the entire South. As Executive of the State, I have deemed it my duty to present to the other Southern States a proposition for a consultation, having that object in view. Alabama has not yet responded to the same, and although the tenor of your letter indicates that she will pursue a different course, I trust that when the great interests at stake are duly considered by her people, they will determine to join with Texas and a majority of the Southern States, in an honest and determined effort to obtain redress for the grievances which the North has put upon us, ere they take the fatal step, which in my opinion ultimately involves civil war and the ruin of our institutions, if not of liberty itself.
If Alabama has been the first to move in the direction which may possibly result in the severance of all connection with the Federal Government it is a matter of pride to me that Texas has, in the time of peril, been the first to move in that direction calculated to secure Southern unity and co-operation. Texas is the only one of the States which possessed, ere her connection with the Union, full and complete sovereignty. Though she brought an empire into the Union and added vastly to the area of slavery, she arrogates to herself no special privileges, nor has she yet consulted her own safety, or interest, save in common with that of the entire South. Knowing the obligations which she took upon herself when she came into the Union, she has thus far shown no desire to relieve herself of those obligations, until it is manifest that the compact made with her will not be observed. Having made an effort in concert with her sister slaveholding States, to secure the observance of that compact, and failed in that effort, it would then be her pride to sink all considerations prompted by her own ambition and share a common fate with them; but if on the contrary they consulting their own interests and their own inclinations, neither seeking her counsel or co-operation, act separately and alone and abandon a Union and a Government of which she yet forms a part, Texas will then be compelled to leave a policy whereby she has respectfully sought the good of the whole South, and will pursue that course which her pride and her ancient character marks out before her.
Were I permitted to trust alone to the tenor of the first part of your communication and had you given me no assurances of the fact that although Alabama “desires to assure her sister slaveholding States that she feels that her interests are the same with theirs ; and that a common destiny must be the same to all,” yet that she will through her convention, which assembles to-day, the 7th inst., "withdraw from the present Union and take her position as a sovereign State,” I could give you more assurance of my co-operation as Executive of Texas, with Alabama, in the present emergency. Should Alabama without waiting for the action of Texas withdraw from the Union, and Texas, by the force of circumstances, be compelled at a future period to provide for her own safety, the course of Alabama, South Carolina, and such other States as may follow their lead, will but strengthen the conviction already strong among our people that their interest will lead them to avoid entangling alliances and to enter once again upon a national career. No claim would then exist upon Texas for her co-operation, for her co-operation has not been deemed important at a time when it was essential to her safety ; and her statesmen will deem that she violates no duty to the South in unfurling once again her Lone Star banner and maintaining her position among the independent nations of the earth. If the Union be dissolved and the gloomy forebodings of patriots be realized in the civil war to follow, Texas can “tread the wine-press” alone in the day of her misfortune even as her freemen trod it in the past, and if she falls in the effort to maintain liberty and her institutions upon her own soil, she will feel that posterity will justify her and lay no blame at her door.
Texas, unlike Alabama, has a frontier subject to hostile incursions. Even with the whole power of the United States to defend her, it is impossible to prevent outrages upon her citizens. The numerous tribes of Indians now controlled by the United States and restrained by treaty stipulations and the presence of the army, would by the dissolution of the Union be turned loose to provide for themselves, and judging from the past it is not unreasonable to suppose they will direct their savage vengeance against Texas. The bandits of Mexico have, within the past year, given an evidence of their willingness to make inroads upon us, could they do so with impunity. These are some of the consequences of disunion, which we of the border cannot shut out from our sight. If Texas has been compelled to resort to her own means of defense when connected with the present Union, it is not to be supposed that she could rely for protection upon an alliance with the Gulf States alone; and having grown self-reliant amid adversity and continued so, as a member of the Union, it will be but natural that her people, feeling that they must look to themselves while sympathizing fully with those States whose institutions are similar to their own, will prefer a separate nationality to even an equal position in a confederacy which may be broken and destroyed at any moment by the caprice or dissatisfaction of one of its members. Texas has views of expansion not common to many of her sister States. Although an empire within herself, she feels that there is an empire beyond, essential to her security. She will not be content to have the path of her destiny clogged. The same spirit of enterprise, which founded a Republic here, will carry her institutions southward and westward. Having, when but a handful of freemen, withstood the power of that Nation and wrung from it her independence, she has no fear of abolition power while in the Union, and should it be the resolve of her people to stand by the Constitution and maintain in the Union those rights guaranteed to them, she will be proof against the "utter ruin and ignominy" depicted in your communication. A people determined to maintain their rights can neither be ruined nor disgraced ; and if Texas takes upon herself the holy task of sustaining the Constitution even in the midst of its enemies, history will accord her equal praise with those who sought only their own safety and left the temple of liberty in their possession.
Were I left to believe that Alabama is disposed to second the efforts made to secure co-operation of the South in demanding redress for her grievances, or that her course would in the least depend upon that of Texas, I would suggest such views as sincere and earnest reflection have induced. But, as you express the opinion that Alabama will, through her convention, without waiting to know the sentiments of the people of Texas, act for herself, there can be no reason why I should press them upon your attention, nor is it a matter of importance whether they reflect the popular sentiment of the State, or not. They would be alike unavailing. Nor will I enter into a discussion as to how far the idea of the adoption of the Constitution of the United States will be acceptable to the people of the States forming a Southern Confederacy. That Constitution was a compromise of conflicting interests. It was framed so as to protect the slaveholding States against the encroachments of the non-slaveholding. The statesmen of the South secured a representation of three-fifths of our slave property. Whether this and other provisions of that instrument will be deemed applicable to States which have no conflicting interests so far as slavery is concerned, is not for me to say ; but I cannot refrain from expressing the opinion, that if the proud and gallant people of Alabama are willing to "still cover themselves and their posterity under the folds of the old Constitution of the United