Carolina. Here he spent his time, in the words of his son, "in the cultivation of corn and tobacco, old friendships and old-fashioned hospitality."76 An outspoken advocate for southern separatism, in 1860 he attended the Democratic Convention in Charleston as a delegate from North Carolina, where his radical views set him apart from the majority of the state's delegates. Wracked by gout, he did not participate in the war, living out his final years at Esmeralda, where he died on December 12, 1863.
Thomas Jefferson Green is best known in Texas as an agitator and firebrand, as a man who seemed to embody the independent, nonconformist attitude that at times made the Republic a nation bordering on anarchic dissolution. The contempt many Texans displayed toward their institutions of governance during these turbulent years has often been attributed to a spirit of frontier individualism. This may be true, but Thomas Jefferson Green, whose basic instincts were more commercial than primordial, furnishes no evidence of it. Although he spent much of his adult life on the fringes of western settlement, it was profit, not adventure, that lured him to the frontier. Moreover, his brash, impetuous, and often insubordinate behavior cannot be attributed to a backwoods cultural ethos, but stemmed rather from his intense desire to establish himself as a member of a new society's political and entrepreneurial elite. Green's reputation as a trouble maker was well deserved, but he was not disrespectful of authority per se. In fact, he was an ardent supporter of strong government, so long as it could be employed in the pursuit of his own aggrandizement. His obsessive hatred of Sam Houston, who often stood in the way of his career goals, can only be understood in this context. The collapse of Green's business ventures, the setbacks he suffered in his quest for political office and patronage, even his lengthy incarceration after defeat on the battlefield - all these misfortunes, Green believed, could be traced to Sam Houston. Green pursued many avenues in his quest for fame and fortune, but his feelings toward Houston remained constant, serving as the measure of his thwarted ambition.
To dismiss Green as an irresponsible mountebank would be to miss the real significance of his career, a checkered one, to be sure, but one that nonetheless characterized the "anxious spirit of gain" often associated with the Jacksonian period. No doubt his lack of success was due at least in part to the fact that he was all too anxious. He seemed incapable of devoting his considerable energy to one task for any length of time, quickly losing interest if he did not see immediate results. In his various roles as planter, soldier, politician, speculator, inventor, gold prospector, and author, he was more dilettante than Renaissance man.
But it may also be said that he was as much a man of vision as a visionary, one who foresaw the enormous profits to be made in transportation networks long before railroads became a major industry. Green could conceive of