The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957 Page: 357
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James Bowie, Big Dealer
most fascinating manners, exceedingly lavish in the expenditure of
money. He had an extraordinary capacity for getting money from
his friends. Dr. Richardson was very much under his influence,
as were most of his other friends." Richardson, a man of ample
means, was liberal and generous. Bowie could easily have obtained
$5,000 from him and then have conveyed the league of land to
him as all he had to pay. Be all this as it may, the courts held that
half of the league still belonged to Ursula's heirs.
James Bowie was an adventurer of the first order, but he was
more. For one thing, he never indulged in cant. No man could
say of him as Lord Birkenhead said of a piety-pretending politi-
cian: "I am not especially offended when my opponent cheats at
cards, but I find it nauseating when, having cheated and won, he
ascribes his success to intervention of the Most High." Bowie was
as fearless as nature makes men, and always his deeds of bravery
were coupled with the "art of daring." Take his last authenticated
gesture. He was on a cot, sick unto death, the evening Travis drew
with the point of his sword that immortal line across Alamo earth
and invited all who would stay and die with him to step over."5
"Boys," Bowie requested, "will some of you kindly lift my cot
Bowie was a legend-a gaudy legend of gaudy violence-before
he died. No deus ex machina in Greek tragedy ever extricated a
character from peril more neatly than the Alamo extricated Bowie
from defeat in life and from tarnish on reputation. For the pop-
ular mind, particularly of posterity, the Alamo blotted out all but
the heroic and noble from the records.
soOrthodox historians have discounted the story of Travis' drawing the line,
based on a relation by Rose to Zuber. It is vindicated by R. B. Blake, "Rose and
His Story of the Alamo," Texas Folklore Society Publications, No. XV, 1939, PP. 9-41.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957, periodical, 1957; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101163/m1/386/: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.