Chapter IV of Viva Tejas by Reuben Rendon Lozano written in 1936 at the Texas Centennial


Manuel Lorenzo Justiniano De Zavala


    "My name stands first in the Constitution of Mexico---And today I am a colonist of the Province of Texas."---Zavala.

    Of even the most prominent leaders of the Texas revolution the names of Juan N. Seguin, Lorenzo de Zavala, Sr., and José Antonio Navarro, should stand out amongst the most active. Don Lorenzo de Zavala, Sr., the first vice-president of the Republic of Texas, was born in the State of Yucatan, Mexico, on the 3rd day of October, 1788. He started his political career by being elected Secretary of the City Council of Wrida, Yucatan, which post he filled from 1812 to 1814. Being a Liberal since youth he was placed in San Juan de Ulua prison for political activities until 1817, at which time he was released and decided to stay out of politics. Thus he took up the practice of medicine until the year 1819. In 1820, again in politics, he was elected deputy of the Cortes of Spain. In 1822 he was elected congressman to the Mexican Congress; and served as such during the years 1823---1824. In 1825 he was elected Senator to the Mexican Senate and served until 1826. In 1827 he was governor of the State of Mexico, and served until 1830. He also held such positions as Minister of Finance, and member of the Junta of Electoral Censors in Mexico. In some pages of his diary we find,

    "Is a man, I would ask, who has invited these trusts from his fellow citizens a vagrant and a wicked man? I have been President of the general Congress and my name stands first in the Constitution of Mexico. I have been president of the Senate and today I am a Colonist of the Province of Texas."

    In 1834 he was appointed minister to France, but resigned in 1835 to come to Texas, as he had always planned. While in Texas, Zavala's advice to the colonists was as influential as Austin's himself, and during the absence of Austin for any reason, Zavala assumed the leadership. His spirit of love for liberty brought him to Texas and of this, Mirabeau B. Lamar says in his inaugural speech,

    "Gentlemen, I should be doing an injustice to my own feelings if I were to resume my seat, without paying to my predecessor in office that tribute of respect to which he is justly entitled by his public as well as his private virtues. Through a period of a long life the ex-vice-president, Governor Lorenzo de Zavala has been the unwavering and consistent friend of liberal principles of free government. Among the first movers of the revolution he has never departed from the pure and sacred principles upon which it was originally founded. This steady and unyielding devotion to the holy sacred cause of liberty has been amply rewarded by the confidence, of the virtuous portion of two republics. The gentleman, the scholar and the patriot, he goes into retirement with the undivided affections of his fellow citizens; and I know, gentlemen, that I do not express only my own feelings when I say that it is the wish of every member of this assembly that the evening of his day may be as tranquil and happy as the meridian of his life has been useful and honorable; a gentleman, a patriot, a scholar and one who loves his fellow man."

    This wonderful speech of Lamar's about one of Texas' most active patriots speaks loudly through the pages of history, for Zavala's reputation was as one of the outstanding men of principles of that era; his home was where liberty was shorn of its glory, and his nationality was mankind; he was thus attracted to Texas. He was one of the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence, and played an important role in the entire war of independence. General Lorenzo de Zavala died November 17, 1836 and was buried on the banks of Buffalo Bayou in the County of Harris, where the City of Houston has grown and flourished, and his resting place seems to be still guarding the principles he stood for, almost opposite the battle ground where he fought alongside of Houston, and saw Santa Anna captured, the field of San Jacinto.

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