East, would cause such a reformation in the wilds of Texas that I should see our country filled with refined society, and by the blessing of God, I have been spared to live to see that day, but alas! I must confess that it fell far below my expectations. Refined society have worse behavior at church, less reverance for their Maker and age, than the rough pioneer. Indeed, we exchanged true and disinterested friendship for that that is affected, pure religion for a kind of formality, in a great measure, free and unembarrassed association for that which is formal and worrysome to me at least, and the religious conversation often for common neighborhood gossip. I have perhaps used language too strong, but all who know, must confess that there is a great deal more gossip now, in proportion to population, than in the good old days.
This year I went to school a short time to Mr. William Carell -- my progress at school was generally considered good, but in justice to myself, I must state that our circumstances were such that I did not go regularly as students do in these days, neither were the facilities so good as now. When I have passed from time, if this sketch should be perused by the educated reader, I hope the above explanation will be sufficient for him to make due allowance for all errors and supply the deficiency.
In consequence of the drouth of A. D. 1860, we had the most extremely hot summer that I have ever experienced, even the wind was hot. I saw fields of corn just ready to tassel, parch up within a few days and not make a grain. During the summer, a great many houses and towns burned up in this state, caused by the heat setting some combustions, or the then servile population were influenced to set them. This, together with the election, caused intense excitement -- the men, old and young, talked nothing else but politics, secession and war. Although I was but a boy, it gave me much trouble -- I was sorry to see any gentlemen visitors; theirs and Father's conversations caused me many wakeful nights. I had an early taste for history, especially of war, and consequently was not so much elated over the idea of one day becoming a soldier, as great many boys of my age.
At the first excitement, there was a variety of sentiments, some were
hot headed Secessionists, fire-eaters, kill ten to one, going if they had
to crawl, have it over with, etc. This kind of men, as a general thing,
never did anything, as the sequal will show. Some few were Union, while
others were more reasonable and wished to contest our rights in the Union,
which all can now see would have been best. But when people get excited
on any subject, they have less sense and reason than any of God's creation.
The Secessionist, however, had the ascendency, and it became unsafe for
one who did not fully coincide with their views to express himself; in
fact, a number of good men in this state were hanged, for no other reason
than they did not agree with the masses in opinion. Times grew more
exciting, as the time drew near for the inaugeration of Mr. Lincoln -- soon
after which the states began to secede, South Carolina leading the way,
which is a matter of history, I need not rehearse it here.