The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983 Page: 446
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
one of the several collections of Robertson's family descendants, and
there is evidence of genealogical research on even some of the minor
characters in the drama. Particularly interesting are the stories extract-
ed from Robertson family records that allege that Austin attempted to
arrange the murder of Robertson, that Austin arranged for the impris-
onment of Robertson on false charges, and that Austin either refused
to fight manfully with Robertson over the colony or else was "kicked"
into the Brazos River.
Although the compiler conscientiously calls attention to the prob-
lems of time and circumstance and the lack of evidence that render at
least the first and second of the above stories unlikely, to say the least,
his sympathies with the Robertson faction are nevertheless clear and
unmistakable. In fact, the volume is essentially a well-done advocacy
of the Robertson position. There are some new, or seldom seen, docu-
ments presented, but it is McLean's persuasive organization of the ma-
terial that gives the study distinctive character.
Unfortunately, partisanship is quite in the tradition of historical
writing on this topic. Since the days of John Henry Brown, perhaps
longer, historians of the episode have taken their place in one faction
or the other. McLean charges that Eugene C. Barker deliberately ig-
nored in his classic Life of Stephen F. Austin the available documents
that would have presented Robertson's side. McLean's citation in sup-
port of this charge could and probably should be interpreted other-
wise, but Barker's chapter dealing with the dispute does stand firmly in
the Austin camp. Margaret S. Henson's scholarly biography of Samuel
May Williams is in keeping with Barker's interpretation, but makes
no effort to offer an in-depth study.
It would be naive, even foolish, for anyone not thoroughly conver-
sant with the source materials to enter this historical affray, and equally
presumptuous to question the scholarly integrity of those who have
thus far made their contributions. But some important questions are
still left without answers. Volume VIII of McLean's work will convert
some to the Robertson cause, but there are others who will remain un-
persuaded either way. Perhaps it is time for a new study of the life of
Stephen F. Austin. Barker's work is now more than fifty years old, and
while it will remain invaluable for the foreseeable future, a new biog-
raphy could offer fresh insight on this issue and others.
There are some minor mechanical problems in this volume. The re-
view copy was misbound, with some pages repeated and others missing,
and McLean's review of Robertson's life in the introduction is repeti-
tive, even somewhat confusing. But as a whole, the craftsmanship in
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983, periodical, 1982/1983; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101209/m1/494/: accessed May 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.