The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981 Page: 198
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
founded the Columbus Enquirer; in its pages he demonstrated both
political and literary eloquence.2
In his own first political contest (in the summer of 1829), Lamar won
a seat in the Georgia senate. He was campaigning for a second term in
August, 1830, when his young wife Tabitha, who had borne him one
daughter, died. Two subsequent years of restless wandering in Georgia
and Alabama appeared to have at least partially restored his soul, and
to have rekindled his political ambitions, this time his goal being the
United States Congress. His defeat in that race, however, was followed
by the death of his father and a sister, and then by the suicide of an
admired older brother. It was in these circumstances, then, that Lamar
determined to go to Texas.3
A variety of motives have been suggested to explain Lamar's decision
to leave Georgia for Texas in June, 1835: his grief over the family
deaths; his frustrated political ambitions; personal ill health; and the
promise of adventure in Texas, where a number of his acquaintances
had already gone, including his close friend James W. Fannin. Lamar
himself later testified that he had "resolved to visit Texas with a view
of settling there, if pleased with the province." In any case, Lamar left
Georgia for Texas, the first of the seventeen times he was to cover those
thousand miles. He traveled alternately by stage and steamer as far as
Natchitoches, Louisiana, where he acquired a horse and set out west-
ward toward the Sabine River and the Old San Antonio Road.4
The Texas that Lamar rode into on July 17, 1835, was a giant kettle
near the boiling point. Gone were the liberal Mexican colonization
policies of the 1820s, along with generous land grants under the em-
presario system. The respected federal constitution of 1824, which had
governed Texans as citizens of the combined Mexican state of Coahuila
and Texas, was under serious threat from the powerful centralist ele-
ments now dominating the unstable Mexican government. As the num-
ber of Anglo-American settlers in Texas grew, so did their resentment
at the tightening Mexican grip. For three years, Texans had been
chafing as Mexican laws restricted immigration, stopped the issuing of
2Graham, Life and Poems, 4, 6-7, 14-16; Lamar, Papers, I, [viii, ix]; Herbert P. Gam-
brell, Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, Troubadour and Crusader (Dallas, 1934), 41.
3Graham, Life and Poems, 25, 27, 29-30.
4Graham, "Trip," 369, 370, 384; Gambrell, Miabeau Buonaparte Lamar, 52, 53; Mira-
beau B. Lamar, "Journal" [short diary], 1 (quotation); Graham, Life and Poems, 31-33.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981, periodical, 1980/1981; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101225/m1/234/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.