The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937 Page: 155
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Travis-A Potential Sam Houston
on the part of Travis, and partly because the manuscript, if
spurious, must have been written within a few years after Travis'
death, to be marketed in Europe while Alamo copy was still in
demand, and, showing evidence of research by the author, may be
accurate as to Travis' military dreams.
Did Travis, along with Aaron Burr and Sam Houston, dream
of liberating Texas and thereby establishing himself as the George
Washington of a new country? Some data are pertinent. One of
the few available comments on the character of Travis by a per-
sonal acquaintance says he was very ambitious but put Texas
before self." The commentator doesn't say whether Travis' ambi-
tion was political or financial or social; but much of the man's
activities in Texas dealt with matters of colonial politics-and it
was he more than any other Texan who brought about the rise
of the war party. That he looked forward to wealth is indicated
in his letter to a friend regarding the care of his little son, "If
the country should be saved, I may make him a splendid for-
tune. . . ." There is little indication that he had any social
ambition other than that attending a good name.
A search of his letters shows that he diplomatically concealed
selfish ambition, if such he had; but a glimpse of his manoeuvres
during the Revolution leads to a plausible conclusion. Travis was
a peaceful young lawyer in Austin's colony, rapidly climbing in
clientele and influence, but speaking his mind more and more
forcefully in opposition to Mexican tyranny. In May, 1832, Colonel
Bradburn's impositions irritated him to the point of outspoken
opposition; and from the time of his arrest and imprisonment, as
the probable "tall man, covered with a cloak," he was a militant
leader of the war party. In the spring of 1835 there was again
friction at Anahuac. On his own initiative Travis raised a small
company of volunteers and took the fort. He unhesitatingly
assumed authority to demand and accept the surrender of the mili-
tary forces, to take their arms and send them back to Mexico on
parole, like a duly appointed general.
For a few weeks colonists were loud in denunciation of his
"rash" act, while Travis quietly, diplomatically went about re-
establishing himself in the good graces of important men, with-
out, however, compromising his stand for military opposition.
1Ruby Mixon, "Life and Letters of Travis." Manuscript, University of
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937, periodical, 1937; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101099/m1/169/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.