war. The two branches quarrelled over matters great and small -- from appointments to military strategies. After a month of contention, Smith suspended the council on January 9; it retaliated by impeaching him and two days later naming J. W. Robinson as acting governor. Smith refused to surrender his trappings of authority, while most of the council members departed from the seat of government, leaving the two claimants to issue proclamations that few if any respected.
When Gray arrived on January 28, anarchy ruled both the center of Texas and on the local scene in places such as Nacogdoches, where virtually all forms of legitimate government ceased activity. His mission of securing good land titles was nearly hopeless, so he stayed on as observer-participant-recorder and defender of the government's creditors. These duties carried him from east Texas to the Brazos River valley in February, 1836. Before departing from Nacogdoches, Gray witnessed the tumultuous elections for delegates to the Convention that would set the course of the Texas Revolution. He studied and learned about the political economy of land dealings, both in theoretical terms and in the practiced hands of leading speculators. The impressions he set down on his journey to Washington-on-the-Brazos reveal an extraordinary sense of motion -- soldiers and politicians hurrying to their respective fronts to find adventure or fulfill their destiny -- amidst ordinary folk performing timeless routines. At Washington, where the representatives gathered on March 1, Gray spent over two weeks recording debates, listening to dreams and fears, dissecting leadership and personalities, lobbying for his clients, and hustling provisions. His diary is the most important source for the historic Convention that declared Texas independence, drafted its national constitution, and set up a provisional government.
When the delegates broke up on the news of Santa Anna's military advance in their direction, Gray accompanied the politicians on their flight eastward. In late March and April he participated in the exodus of panic known in Texas history as the Runaway Scrape. He recorded the trauma of broken families, demolished properties, and heroic conduct amidst scandalous cowardice and exploitation. Gray left Texas in late April, 1836, despairing of its future and ignorant of the sudden reversal of fortune at the battle of San Jacinto. Once he learned of that triumph, Gray determined to move his family to Texas -- like thousands of other immigrants his optimism for the future of the land outweighed the disordered condition of present circumstances.
During all this tumult, news of his whereabouts and activities filtered back to Virginia slowly and irregularly. Only five days after Gray left his home, Millie wrote, "Missed Mr G. enough --," and she ceased to record regular thoughts as to his condition or whereabouts. At the end of November, cousin Thomas