The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985 Page: 328
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
son. McLean is surely entitled to his point of view, but, if pursued with
too much vigor, this approach may restrict the usefulness and value
of the work. Readers may well conclude that the editor is biased and
The current volume contains several examples that may lead to such
a conclusion. For instance, McLean asserts (p. 279) that Austin disliked
Anthony Butler because Butler forced Austin to pay him in full on an
old debt, thus leaving the impression that Austin was a deadbeat. The
list of people who did not like Butler was a long one; presumably not
all owed him money. In another passage, McLean asserts that Samuel
Williams published an incendiary broadside under the pseudonym
of Coahuiltexanus and that he did not use his real name because "he
personally stood to profit tremendously by stirring up the Texans...."
(p. 57) Perhaps this was the reason, but other reasons are equally logi-
cal. Use of pseudonyms was commonplace in revolutionary rhetoric of
that time and Williams was likely aware of Antonio L6pez de Santa
Anna's not-too-gentle treatment of revolutionaries in the state of
Zacatecas. McLean also had prepared and included in this volume a
cartoon depicting Williams as a man of several faces, one of them
quite malevolent; the reader will conclude that Williams was a deceit-
In this same volume McLean includes without significant comment
a June 1835 letter published by Sterling C. Roberston in which
Robertson continues to speak as the empresario of the Nashville colony,
even though the legislature (possibly illegally) had awarded the colony
to Austin and Williams. Perhaps Robertson was unaware of the de-
cree in June, but surely he was aware of it before the letter was pub-
lished in August. One might conclude that Robertson was not always
totally candid in his public dealings, just as others were not. McLean
includes the documents but offers no judgment.
None of these matters are of particular consequence when con-
sidered individually, but they form a part of a pattern persistent
throughout the series. In effect the story of Texas history continues to
be told in terms of good guys and bad guys, saints and villains; only
the names have been reversed. Actually, there were few, if any, halos
in Mexican Texas. We would be better served if the actors in the
drama were viewed as the entrepreneurs that they were, each striving
for advantage in a world where the name of the game was land.
This is not the proper place to debate the relative merits of opposing
factions in the Robertson-Austin dispute, nor is this reviewer quali-
fied to venture even an opinion on them. My concern is that the editor
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985, periodical, 1984/1985; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101210/m1/376/: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.