THE LAST "CRUSADE"
OF MIRABEAU B. LAMAR
SISTER M. BAPTISTA ROACH
Many who have engaged in the most fascinating of all studies
-the study of men-have expressed the idea that individuals
who possessed vaulting ambitions and boundless idealism were
out of their proper element when some trick of fate had placed
them in the nineteenth rather than in the thirteenth or some
earlier century. It has been said of William Walker, the bizarre
"Prince of Filibusters," that he was born several centuries
too late, and of his unique contemporary, Mirabeau B. Lamar,
that he "needed a commission in King Arthur's Court"' for
the full exercise of his extraordinary faculties. And yet, it is
questionable whether even the boldest of King Arthur's knights
knew greater adventure or more romantic experience than these
two men whose paths so strangely crossed without their ever
meeting, who differed widely from each other, and yet showed
an odd resemblance in many points of temperament, of ideas,
and of experience.
While Walker was weaving fantastic childhood dreams to
develop later into a Central American nightmare, Lamar was
whirling to fame in an environment as remote as another
world. Even in legend there is hardly a parallel to be found
equaling the record of the saddened, rather weary Lamar, who,
abandoning a cultured, comfortable world, and turning his
steps to Texas, was, within ten days after he arrived and
joined the army as a private, raised to the rank of colonel;
became Secretary of War before another ten days had passed;
was commander-in-chief of the armies within two months; was
vice-president within four months; and at the expiration of
his term of office, was elected president of the new state he
had helped to carve out of a Mexican province.
Lamar's work was to be that of laying the foundation of a
nation, for which task it is generally agreed that "wise leader-
ship and rare good luck"2 are almost indispensable requisites.
Though "good luck" had never noticeably attended Lamar-
'Philip Graham, Life and Poems of Mirabeau B. Lamar, 10.
2Herbert P. Gambrell, Mirabeau B. Lamar, Troubadour and Crusader, 217.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146053/. Accessed March 2, 2015.