The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999 Page: 2
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
and a Republican; a fine statesman, although by some accused of
Within a few days, Gray, Zavala, and the three delegates from San An-
tonio, Jos6 Antonio Navarro, Jos6 Francisco Ruiz, and J. B. Badgett,
rented a carpenter's shop for their lodging. Gray expected to learn
some Spanish, and he and perhaps the others began taking meals with
Mrs. Pamela Mann who had just arrived to open a boarding house. A
Texas resident for two years, she was known for her good, though plain,
Zavala was the most experienced politician attending the convention.
He had served in Yucatan's provincial assembly and had represented his
state at a special parliament in Madrid, Spain. He was a member of the
constituent congress in Mexico City that drafted and adopted the consti-
tution for the Republic of Mexico in 1824. No other delegate at Wash-
ington had designed a national constitution. Zavala was senator from
Yucatin and later governor of the state of Mexico. In 1829 he became
secretary of the treasury in the cabinet of President Vicente Guerrero.
When that administration fell to a coup d'etat in 1830, Zavala fled to
the United States where he gathered material for a book.5
Thus Zavala was the most experienced politician at Washington-on-
the-Brazos in 1836. The much respected Samuel P. Carson had served
in North Carolina's House and Senate before being elected to the Unit-
ed States House of Representatives from 1825 to 1833. Only three oth-
ers had served in any legislative role: Richard Ellis attended the Alabama
state constitutional convention; Robert Potter served one term in the
North Carolina legislature, and Sam Houston represented Tennessee
two terms in the United States Congress before becoming governor of
Tennessee.6 Houston, however, soon left the convention to organize the
Texas army. Thus only Zavala, Ellis, Potter, and Carson could call on
their past experience to guide the earnest doctors, lawyers, storekeepers,
surveyors, and farmers, all political novices, who spent the next two
weeks creating the Republic of Texas.
What brought the urbane, politically experienced Zavala to Texas? The
answer lies within Zavala's unique background, his education, his person-
ality, his idealism, and his ambition. His great admiration for the Consti-
tution of the United States inspired him to guide the new Mexican
S Ibid., 111.
4 Ibid., xi 16, 119.
5 Raymond Estep, "The Life of Lorenzo de Zavala" (Ph.D. diss., University of Texas at Austin,
1941), 22-24, 36-37, lo8-og9, 141, 184, 249-
6 Ron Tyler, et al. (eds.), New Handbook of Texas (Austin: Texas State Historical Association,
1996; cited hereafter as NHOT) I, 944, II, 833, V, 299, III, 718.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999, periodical, 1999; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101219/m1/27/: accessed March 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.