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The Subscribers to the KNICKERBOCKER are hereby notified, that after the the first of July next, the PostAGE on this work will be reduced to six and a half cents per number : and the publisher now offers to send the work free of postage to all who will remit the amount of one year's subscription in advance, before the 15th of June next.
JOHN ALLEN, New-York, May 1, 1845.
Publisher, 139 Nassau-street.
THE · Lone Star' has arisen above our horizon, and the astronomers, with such mental spectacles or telescopes as have been given them of Heaven, are examining their horoscopes, and proclaiming unto their fellows what manner of star it is. Some say it is a mere meteor, without power to affect the system, which in a blaze of light is harmlessly passing through our atmosphere. Others teach that it is a new planet, which, while moving quietly in its own orbit, will revolve in our sphere round the same Sun of Liberty; and others again think it but a comet passing the outskirts of our system, giving a moment's light to the wise, a moment’s alarm to the ignorant, and going on its errand alone. But the most powerful glass has not yet enabled the astronomer to peer through the dark time-atmosphere, and define the evolutions of the stranger which has so suddenly changed the appearance of the heavens.
The waves of Texas excitement have rolled over the land, and in their course have cut short the career of some of our greatest men, like a submarine volcano: proudly the ships lie upon the waters, while the winds are hushed, and the sky is clear, when lo! they are suddenly destroyed by mountain waves, which are heaved up as if by magic, and overwhelm them. A new isle may be formed by the volcano, from which other ships will gather riches, but they have gone down forever. The Texas question has assumed such an importance that our Greatest find it difficult to handle. Only a short time has passed since it was a • little cloud no bigger than a man's hand,' but it has
grown, until like that which the prophet saw, it has covered the heavens ; but whether, like that, to bring rain, and plenty, and peace, or a hurricane, disorder, and death, the dim vista of the future shadows forth but darkly. To shut our eyes to the importance of this subject, and treat it with contempt as insignificant, is folly; and to rush into union with indecent haste, with foreign and constitutional questions unsettled, is still greater folly. It was the high and solemn duty of those before whom this ques. tion has been so far settled, to mark, learn and inwardly digest all its VOL. XXV.
complicated bearings, with feelings above party considerations, that each one might be able to meet his fellows and his God with the consciousness of having done, as far as in him lay, that which was best for the highest good of his whole country. Texas is one of the fairest spots of our earth; its fruitful fields yield their increase to the husband. man with little effort on his part, so that he can almost reverse the old curse that man should eat bread in the sweat of his brow. Larger than New-England and the Middle States combined, its three hundred thousand square miles extend from the Gulf of Mexico to the Red river, and from the Sabine to the Del Norte : in mineral and vegetable productions, and countless streams for manufacturing, containing within themselves resources for an empire.
And its climate too is unrivalled. In the balmy night air the grass and flowers of her prairies can be used as a couch, with the sky for a canopy, and the stars as tapers, and a new vigor be infused by the refreshing and harmless air. It would be an acquisition of note to any emperor; no wonder then that we plain republicans should be a little dazzled, and feel an itching palm' when thinking of the tempting prize. All this beauty, salubrity, and productiveness, is good, but not the best ; indeed when compared with the important question of who lives, moves and has a being there, it is of little moment. Spain, Mexico, Italy, each has these natural advantages, yet if they were our neighbors, and had the same population which they now have, few persons would wish them to be one with us. The important question is, WHAT ARE THE TEXIANS, not What is Texas ? Are they the heated, the wild, the desperate, drained from our population, and well away, who if again united would add new strife to our councils ? Or are they good citizens, who have gone to till the land, and brave ones, who with a noble impulse have ventured their lives to free the state from bondage ? A desert is better with a people who have one God for a day-star and Liberty and Right for watch-words, than an Eden with a people the reverse of this.
With feelings such as these we have looked with interest to each new light which should enable us to see more clearly into the heart of the matter; and they now induce us to offer the following sketch of the life of MIRABEAU B. LAMAR, that in one point we may add as far as we are able some little to the general knowledge of what manner of men have lived in Texas, or been loved or hated by Texians; and we do it with more interest as he has swayed somewhat, and will probably again before the grave closes upon his career, the destinies of the young republic.
and to escape
SHORTLY after the revolution of the edict of Nantes by Louis XIV.,
from the horrible cruelties and prosecutions which fol. lowed that event, one of the Huguenot families which were fleeing from France by thousands to various parts of the world, bade their native country farewell in haste and terror, and crossed the Atlantic in search of some spot of earth where they might worship their God in peace and safety, unterrified by that bigotry which would annihilate them, while it held the cross aloft as its pole-star to light it on to deeds at which the angels might well weep, and the dark spirits of Hades laugh in tri
umph. The head of this family, which was of noble blood, was named John LA MAR. They reached the colonies in safety about the beginning of the past century, settled in Maryland, and as the family increased and a new generation arose, they branched off from their first restingplace, and took their new abodes principally in Georgia, near and among the wild tribes of Cherokees, in whom they found friends, compared with the civilized fiends from whom their parents had fled in the Old World. Years passed on; another and another generation was born: a century had passed away since the first La Mar stepped upon our shores, and the United States had come into existence as a nation ; and, a giant at its very birth, thrown off the shackles which bound it, when one of the great-grandchildren of the exiled Huguenot, with his young wife, settled at Louisville, then the capital of Georgia ; and there, on the sixteenth day of August, 1798, the subject of this sketch, MIRABEAU B. LAMAR was born.
The family consisted, beside himself, of five daughters and four sons, who, under the care of a father of inflexible integrity, and a fond and intellectual mother, grew up respected and esteemed, and several of them afterward filled various official stations. When Lamar was three years old, the family removed to Putnam county, where, on the plantation which had been selected as a homestead, they remained for the next quarter of a century. Lamar grew up a lively, healthy, and vigorous boy, with inexhaustible animal spirits, and an insatiable fondness for fun and frolic. A melancholy part of Lamar’s life was the period when he attended school, the routine-duties and confinement of which he hated; but parental authority of course kept him there for a number of years, during which, as each new sun arose, and the school hours approached, the boy, so generally gay, his companion's favorite and leader, trudged off to his six hours' confinement with a heavy heart, to repeat his half-learned tasks; and then, as the happy hour of dismissal arrived, like the uncaged bird, fly off to revel in some new sport, or with favorite and school-forbidden authors, find young romance, and store his mind and enlarge his thoughts with knowledge which from task-books he found it impossible to acquire. The release from school came at last, and Lamar with his large capacity revelled in his new liberty, and passed the days and nights in fencing, dancing, and riding, being one of the most expert equestrians in the country, and in reading and poetry, a taste for which was born with him; and he now composed with facility and published his effusions in the newspapers of the neighborhood.
Having arrived at manhood, he entered into mercantile life as copartner with Dr. Willis ROBERTS, at Cahawba : the Doctor, however, was extravagant and careless, and Lamar too fond of poetry and politics to be very successful as merchants. The copartnership lasted but one year, when he sold out to the Doctor, and united with Mr. William Allen in the publication of the • Cahawba Press,' which step was occasioned by his interest in Governor Bibb's measures; and these having been carried through, he left the paper and returned once more to his father's home. The time was now passed principally in attention to politics, in travelling from town to town, and speaking at the various
meetings on such measures as his party were endeavoring to carry through. While on one of these excursions, he accidentally met the being who was to have a marked and powerful influence over his future life. He saw the face but a moment; it was that of a mere upon whose cheeks some fourteen summers had scattered their roses. He knew neither her name nor residence, nor did he endeavor to discover them until it was too late ; but he had seen his beau-ideal of female loveliness, and the memory of that face haunted him like the recollection of a pleasant dream. The three following years were passed in a somewhat desultory manner, yet at times with a deep earnestness, and eager prosecution of undertakings to which his imagination on the one hand, or his love of justice and principle on the other, directed him. He had already become a favorite with his party, both as a writer and stump-orator, and with his friends as a poet and a man of large heart. His political influence was perhaps widened by his utter refusal to accept or run for any office in the gift of the people about him.
Being at Edenton in the spring of 1824, he was invited to and attended a social party. As he entered the gay saloon, what was his surprise and pleasure to behold the fair girl whom he had met four years before, now grown up to womanhood, with full and graceful form, and large blue eyes, whose expression told of intellect and affection. Lamar with enthusiasm poured his fancies and thoughts into the ear of the being, the recollection of whom had given brightness to his dreams for so long a time. Before the evening was over, he proposed and was as promptly refused. He was not however to be put off so easily, but made immediate overtures to her friends. The unsettled state of La. mar's existence, however, and the lady's youth, with other reasons, were held up as barriers, and he had to retire from the field without hope. He left the place with a feeling of recklessness, and plunged somewhat into dissipation, more deeply than ever into party politics, and at the request of Gov. Troup, accepted office as his private secretary. The Governor had been long acquainted with him, and placed much confidence in his integrity and abilities; and for the next year Lamar engaged warmly in supporting the measures of the administration, the principal of which arose from difficulties with the general government, about the line then being drawn between Georgia and Alabama, and the removal of the Indians from the State. One day while passing along the street, he was startled by the sight, through the window of a carriage, of Miss the lady who had refused him at Edenton. He followed her to the hotel. The lady was on her way to Alabama to settle there with her brother-in-law. Lamar met her, and in a burst of passionate eloquence, begged her to reverse her cruel decision; and the lady, softened by his enthusiasm, gave him some words of encouragement. He soon after followed her to Alabama, where, after a few months, they were married; and, happy beyond what most of us are capable of feeling, bore his bride back toward his father's house.
But misfortune followed; the · Evil Eye' was upon him; and he was about to pass through an ordeal, compared with which the death-strife of battle was to him a pleasure. He had left the carriage for a moment, while passing through the Indian country, in charge of his negroes,