Mirabeau B. Lamar to David G. Burnet, March 1847

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During his presidency, Lamar had opposed annexation of Texas by the United States. A few years later, he came to believe that annexation was necessary to prevent Texas from falling into the orbit of Great Britain, and also to protect the institution of slavery, which Lamar strongly supported. After Texas was annexed in 1846, war broke out between the United States and Mexico. Lamar joined the U.S. Army and fought at the battle of Monterrey. Later, he was sent to Laredo to organize a municipal government there. This letter makes clear the difficulty that Lamar had in accepting such a small role and also his deep antipathy for Sam Houston. This draft of the letter is unfinished.

Lamar's correspondent was David G. Burnet, another of Texas's founding fathers. Burnet had come to Texas in the 1820s seeking fortune, first as an empresario and later as a sawmill operator. Articulate and well-educated for the day, Burnet was selected as the first president of Texas by the revolutionary Convention of 1836. He served from March to October of that year, when Sam Houston was sworn in as Texas' first elected president. Burnet served as vice-president under Lamar. He sought the presidency again himself in 1841 but was badly defeated by Sam Houston, returning for a second term. At the time of the Mexican War, Burnet was serving as secretary of state in the administration of Governor James P. Henderson.

In later years, Lamar and Burnet collaborated on a book in which they planned to expose the misdeeds of their political enemy, Sam Houston. Lamar was unable to find anyone to publish the work, and Burnet burned the manuscript shortly before his own death in 1870.

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Lamar to David G. Burnet, 1847

Laredo March 1847.

Dear Judge,

            I thank you profoundly
for your kind letter of the 23rd January.
I had but one objection to it — it was
too short. But I have no right to
complain, in as much as I am such
a poor correspondent myself. I have
no news from the army; though it is
generally understood that it will take
up the line of march next April for
San Louis Potosi. I suppose I shall
be doomed to stay behind. You will
see in my letter of this date to Gov.
Henderson, that I have applied to
him for authority to raise three com-
panies of mounted men for the pro-
tection of the frontier and for the
keeping

Mirabeau B. Lamar to David G. Burnet, March 1847. Mirabeau B. Lamar Papers #2324. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: August 19, 2011