Clipped From The Kerrville Times

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 - WEEK IN TEXAS HISTORY Mirabeau Lamar:...
WEEK IN TEXAS HISTORY Mirabeau Lamar: Presidential Pressures Send Chief Into Seclusion __ By BARTEE HAILE &$&&%te&s&*s& — -•-•—•• • • • * -^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ | ^j ^^ | ^^| | believed that dubious distinction rightfully belonged his to Sam Houston. Many Texans agreed with the assessment of nQf\fi .Tnnae *>tns\ nVk«A«M*A«l _«_._ A 1.1 . . i at 3an Jacinto, . people's choice to „.— was the Idle to Sam Houston as the of 837 ' Lmar was _ 0 •"" ""•* Jf**""*? jfc*»t»»«\«»o VTiuvit llG *,VUUAVI, control, and prejudices which are the result of ignorance." Even admirers were forced to admit that Lamar was prone to depression and virtually unapproachable in his black moods. During his presidency, Lamar defiantly hoisted the banner of Texas nationalism in testy contrast to ttie annexation argument. He envisioned a Lone Star Republic that someday would stretch'to the fterrtotll* Op-Ed A Page Of Opinion PAGE 5A Sunday, December 13, 1987 ^FM^T 8eve E Bl sena tors, fed up with dictatorial Houston, secretly summoned him. Returning to Texas, Lamar was surprised to learn that his friends na 2' i auncne ,°, a grass-roots campaign to insure his ^ejwwn of Cteneral Sam « who wasconstitutionally forbidden to seek re-election. Lamar initially shied away from the contest because he feared a drubbing at the polls from Thomas Rusk, who could count upon the backing of the influential incumbent. But when Rusk declared himself, out of the running and 11 of the 14 senators offered their support, Lamar eagerly entered the race. The bizarre suicides of the top two contenders left Lainar with only a paper opponent, "Honest Bob" wuson. He was an eccentric who had earned his nickname with the frank confession, "I'm always as honest as the circumstances of the case and the condition of the country will allow." Lamar's defeat of Honest Bob" by the whopping margin of 6,695 to 252 caused critics to quip that he had beaten a couple of dead men and a political nobody. The high-strung President-elect was upstaged at his own inauguration by the outgoing Houston. Though not on the list of scheduled speakers, the wily politician pulled a fast one by seizing the podium for a marathon three-hour speech. When his long winded predecessor at last vacated the platform, Lamar was so flustered that he could not give his prepared remarks and had to ask an assistant to read the address. This episode underscored Lamar's main weakness — a serious lack of emotional toughness. His psychological vulnerability proved to be a tragic handicap that held back a brilliant mind. In short, Laihar was his own worst enemy, although he firmly daily demands of running a government overwhelmed Lamar. He tried his best to bring order out of the financial chaos enveloping the new nation but ^- thpHc'P 1 - 010 ^ ^tes of the destitute Republic were worth no more than 15 cents on the dollar. The economic crisis and myriad of political problems drained Lamar emotionally and physically. When Congress flatly refused in December 1840 to grant his ill-conceived request for a declaration of war against Mexico, he surrendered to bleak despair. Vice President David G. Burnet took over and Lamar vanished on a mysterious leave of abs- GHC6* n £^? n ? of k* r °Pe, *e disoriented President fcfn • ! ra !i el !?u Ne u W Orleans for ^atment but stopped instead at the home of a physician in Independence. He remained in seclusion for several months as the doting doctor nursed him back to health. The presidential disappearing act moved newspaper editor Francis Moore to uncharacteristic compassion. Abandoning his standard attack against Lamar s every word and deed, Moore wrote: "We sincerely regret the misfortunes which for a season will deprive us of the presence of General Lamar rie has our warmest sympathy." Others were neither so find nor understanding A rumor made the rounds that the unstable chief executive had lost his mind. After the much needed break, Lamar finished his tumultuous term, yet the pernicious doubts about his sanity were never put to rest. Until his dying day, the former President of Texas had to live with the whispers. free - lance wrrter it, an on for the the of for to city

Clipped from
  1. The Kerrville Times,
  2. 13 Dec 1987, Sun,
  3. Page 5

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