SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
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War of Independence-Index
....slavery played no part in precipitating the revolution....land speculation tended rather to retard than to hasten the outbreak....the minutes of public meetings, town councils, and committees of correspondence, as well as private letters, furnish a mass of testimony....at that time  the people were almost unanimous in wishing to avoid a breach [with their adopted country Mexico]....
Public Opinion in Texas Preceding the Revolution
By Eugene Barker (From Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1911)
Earnest patriots like Benjamin Lundy, William Ellery Channing, and John Quincy Adams saw in the Texas revolution a disgraceful affair promoted by sordid slaveholders and land speculators. Even to the critical ear of the modern historian their arguments sound plausible, and it is not strange that in a period distinguished by sectionalism they were accepted by partisans at full value. The fundamental defect of these arguments lay in the fact that their authors knew too little of contemporary opinion in Texas. The truth is, so far as one may judge from the absence of discussion of the subject in Texas, that slavery played no part in precipitating the revolution; while it is certain that land speculation, of which there was unquestionably a great deal, tended rather to retard than to hasten the outbreak.
[Author Barker footnotes that: I have found but three contemporary references which might indicate a potential connection between the slavery question and the revolution: (1) In a Fourth of July address intended to stir the colonists to resistance R. M. Williamson, a prominent radical, declared that the Mexicans were coming to Texas to compel the Texans, among other things, to give up their slaves (a broadside in the Bexar archives; "Publications" of So. Hist. Assn., VIII, 7-18). (2) Ina letter of August 21,1835, Stephen F. Austin said "Texas must be a slave country. It is no longer a matter of doubt" (Quarterly of Tex. State Hist. Assn., XIII, 271). (3) On August 28 the radicals issued a circular in which they quoted H. A. Alsberry, who had recently returned from Mexico, as saying that the Mexicans boasted that they would free the slaves of the Texans and set them against their masters (Broadside in the Austin Papers)
Von Holst in Constitutional History of the United States 11, 553: "Settlers came with their slaves from the slave States [to Texas]. In this the heads of individual persons may have been haunted by far-reaching projects; but I can find no support for the assertion that back of it there was a definite plan of the South." Stephen F. Austin to William H. Ashby, Oct. 10, 1832, MS. Austin Papers: "It is not our interest to separate [from Mexico) if such a thing can be avoided, unless indeed we should float into the Northern Republic with the consent of all parties, ourselves included."
During 1834 and the spring of 1835 the legislature of Coahuila and Texas made a number of large grants of land in Texas under circumstances that pointed to bribery. Some Texans shared in these questionable transactions, and it was from them that the first rumors of disturbances in the interior reached Texas. The people suspected that for purposes of their own the speculators were trying to raise a revolt against the Federal Government, which had annulled some of the objectionable grants, and for that reason their eyes remained closed to Santa Anna's designs longer than would have otherwise happened. Their attitude toward the speculators is indicated by the fact that the constitution of 1836 expressly annulled the large grants made in 1834 and 1835. (See "Land Speculation as a Cause of the Texas Revolution," by the writer, in Quarterly of Tex. State Hist. Assn., XI, 76-95)]
A study from within reveals some interesting parallels between the Texan revolt and the American Revolution. In each the general cause of revolt was the same---a sudden effort to extend imperial authority at the expense of local privilege. In each the method of molding public opinion by town meetings and committees of correspondence was the same, but with the fundamental difference in aim that, whereas in the American colonies it was the object of such agencies to organize resistance, in Texas their purpose was at first to quiet opposition. In each the divided state of opinion which preceded and accompanied the resort to arms was similar. One cause of exasperation existed in Texas, however, which the American colonists never felt. At the close of summer in 1835 the Texans saw themselves in danger of becoming the alien subjects of a people to whom they deliberately believed themselves morally, intellectually, and politically superior. This racial feeling, indeed, underlay and colored Texan-Mexican relations from the establishment of the first Anglo-American colony in 1821. It was a fertile soil in which throve mutual suspicion and distrust. And on the Mexican side it was powerfully stimulated by the efforts of Adams and Jackson to purchase Texas. With the ultimate aim of the Texan immigrants this inquiry is not concerned. One may find it difficult to believe that they considered their relation to Mexico as permanent, but there is little evidence before 1835 that they thought of the matter at all. And the minutes of public meetings, town councils, and committees of correspondence, as well as private letters, furnish a mass of testimony from which it is hard to resist the conclusion that at that time the people were almost unanimous in wishing to avoid a breach.
This first becomes apparent in the spring of 1835, through a conflict between State and Federal authority. Toward the end of April Governor Viesca called upon the local departments of Coahuila and Texas for militia to guard the capital from Federal troops who were known to have been ordered against it [the three departments of Texas at the time were Bexar with capital San Antonio, Brazos with capital San Felipe and Nacogdoches with capital Nacogdoches. Each department had a political chief]. The contingent desired from Texas was a hundred men from each of the three departments, and it was only by a show of military force that the Mexican inhabitants of San Antonio were prevented from responding at once; but the political chief of the Anglo-American department of the Brazos frankly declined to muster the militia, and wrote the governor that his people had no sympathy with the State government. He was commended for this by an editorial in The Texas Republican, the only paper then published in Texas. On May 21 the legislature adjourned to avoid capture, and a few days later the governor fled. He was arrested on June 6, and Gen. Cos, the commander of northeastern Mexico, appointed a military governor, pending a new election. This news reached San Felipe by special courier from Cos himself on June 21. Besides being the capital of the department of the Brazos, San Felipe was also headquarters for a small party of radicals who probably desired separation from Mexico. Some members of this party seized the courier, and rifling his dispatches to Capt. Tenorio, who was commanding a garrison at Anahuac, near the head of Galveston Bay, learned that the Government was contemplating a military occupation of Texas.
This seemed a favorable occasion for alarming the people and hurrying them into a position from which it would be difficult to withdraw. The leaders induced the political chief to issue a proclamation calling on the men of the department to march to the governor's rescue, and in a public meeting adopted resolutions enumerating abuses which Texas had suffered through Santa Anna's enlargement of the central power and urging both Texan and Coahuilans to defend the constitution. At the same time, in secret meeting, they authorized an expedition to expel the troops from Galveston Bay. But they soon found that they had reckoned without the host. A meeting of the neighboring municipality of Columbia on June 23 refused by a large majority to indorse the political chief's proclamation (see H. Austin letter to Perry); while a second and larger meeting on the 28th went much farther. It protested against "the acts and conduct of any set of individuals (less than a majority) calculated to involve the citizens of Texas in a conflict with the Federal Government of Mexico;" declared that the participants in this meeting were "faithful and loyal citizens of Mexico," whose "wish and interest" it was "to remain attached to the Federal Government;" and requested the political chief to inform the president of these sentiments, while "commanding" the inhabitants of his department to adhere strictly to the laws and the constitution." It recommended the organization of the militia for protection from the Indians, and advised the establishment of a local provisional government. Within two weeks a number of municipalities adopted the Columbia resolutions on bloc, or passed others of like tenor; while the political chief wrote a public letter apologizing for his proclamation. The news of the governor's arrest and of the plans for occupying Texas had overwhelmed him with surprise, he explained, and he had yielded to "the earnest protestations of a number of influential citizens" in calling out the people.
While this unfortunate episode was being smoothed over, a serious clash developed between certain individuals and the customs collectors. The innate aversion of the average American to paying duties had been strengthened in the Texans by local circumstances. To encourage immigration the Government had practically suspended the tariff until 1831. Collectors appointed in 1832 had left the Province the same year, when the colonists expelled the garrisons from several towns. And between 1832 and 1834 political convulsions had prevented the Government from giving the matter attention. Mexicans as far away as Santa Fe and Chihuahua improved the opportunity to import goods through Texas, and for 1834 Col. Almonte estimated this contraband trade at $270,000. Friction was not long delayed, therefore, when the opening of the new year brought a collector and several deputies to Texas with a small detachment of soldiers. The collector stopped to reconnoiter on the Brazos River, while the deputies and the soldiers went on to Anahuac, which was regarded as the port of Galveston . The collector later established himself at Velasco, near the mouth of the Brazos, but made no effort to collect anything but tonnage duties, while the deputies at Anahuac, backed by the garrison began a rigid enforcement of the tariff.
The first and chief sufferer from this or at least the most outspoken, was Andrew Briscoe, a merchant of Anahuac. Since the collector at Velasco was demanding only the tonnage duties, he felt that he was the victim of unjust discrimination, and his indignation waxed accordingly. His own statement of his grievance is an important testimonial to the attitude of the people:
"The people would calmly stand by and see me lose all, damn them. * * * My business has been delayed, our provisions and groceries seized as contraband, and the whole duties claimed on the balance * * * and all this by a deputy collector and forty soldiers. And when I talk of resistance the people blame me and talk of a jury trial, and the devil knows what all."
This testimony is supported by the action of the town council (ayuntamiento) of Liberty, the capital of the municipality in which Anahuac lay. On April 17 this body declared that it was the undoubted right of every nation "to establish its own system of revenue," and that "obedience to the laws" was "the first duty of a good citizen." This duty extended farther than mere personal obedience; it entailed the obligation to make others obey. The present tariff laws might be, and probably were, unwise in some of their restrictions on Texas, but to resist them by force "would be more unwise and ill timed than the laws themselves." The way to obtain relief was to memorialize Congress for modification of the laws. In the meantime, could the people not abstain from using imported goods? Turning directly to Briscoe's case, the council suggested that a prudent merchant should inform himself of the revenue laws of the country in which he carried on business, and that he had no right to complain if his failure to do so involved him in trouble. In conclusion it cautioned all persons against interfering with the customs officers, and enjoined the civil and military officers of the municipality to assist, if necessary, in the maintenance of the revenue, laws." Briscoe was willing to try the effect of a memorial, and on May 4 he and some twenty others petitioned the governor to intercede with Congress for a suspension or amendment of the law. But instead of adopting the suggestion for a non-importation agreement, they declared that, until the result of their petition was learned, they would pay no more duties, unless collections were equally enforced throughout Texas. The petition never reached its destination, but a few weeks later the collectors abandoned Texas, and on June 30 a small force commanded by William B. Travis captured the garrison at Anahuac. This action, as we have seen, had been secretly authorized by the radicals at San Felipe on June 22. When news arrived of Travis's attack on the garrison, several communities had already expressed disapproval of Briscoe's petition.
[Author Barker footnotes: "Municipality of Columbia, June 28: "Your committee particularly protest against the proceedings of those persons at Anahuac who gave the collector of customs, Don Jose Gonzales, a series of resolutions declaring that they would not obey the revenue laws of Mexico. They denounce such persons as foreigners, and disclaim all participation in the act whatever" (The Texas Republican, July 4, 1835; "Publications 11 of So. Hist. Assn., VIT, 86): Lavaca and Mina on July 4 indorsed these Columbia resolutions (The Texas Republican, July 18, 1835; "Publications" of So. Hist. Assn., VII, 88-90, VIII, 2-6). Municipality of Gonzales,July 7: We protest against those acts which tend to a resistance to the revenue laws of the Government and sincerely invite the Supreme Executive to carry them into effect, * * * suggesting at the same time a modification of those laws, in order that the duties shall all be collected. We believe reasonable duties, received by collectors understanding both languages, without favor or collusive arrangement would be cheerfully submitted to by the merchants, but in contrary case we pledge ourselves to aid the Federal Government in their collection." Colonial Archives (MS.), Texas State Library.]
Nearly every municipality in the department of the Brazos now adopted resolutions condemning Travis's act or professing loyalty to Mexico. [The Texas Republican, July 18, 1835; "Publications" of the So. Hist. Assn., Vill, 18 Tenorio to Ugartechea, July 15, 1835. Bexar Archives] Tenorio, the captain of the dislodged garrison was invited to attend a meeting at San Felipe and see for himself that "it was not by the vote of the majority nor by the will of the inhabitants that those persons were authorized to commit that outrage against the supreme Government."
Travis himself was so affected by the general disavowal that he expressed to Col. Ugartechea a strong desire to make amends:
"I am extremely anxious to bring all our difficulties to a happy and peaceable termination, and to see the Government firmly established on a permanent basis. It matters not to me what form of government Mexico adopts, so that we are guaranteed in the security of person and property. Therefore, I am disposed to lend my feeble aid to any plan which may be fallen on to bring about these things. There only wants a good understanding between the Government and the people of Texas to set all things right. If you will condescend to open a correspondence with me on this subject, I think that this good understanding may be brought about, as I assure you the inhabitants are in the best disposition for it." (Travis to Ugartechea, July 31, 1 &15. Mexican Archives, Archivo de Guerra y Marina, Frac. 1, Op. Mil. Texas, 1835, Legajo 1, Exp. 9)
For several weeks he printed a card in The Texas Republican, asking the people to suspend judgment against him until he had time to make an explanation. This was somewhat tardily prepared on September 1, but it seems never to have been offered to the public. Down to the middle of August, with three exceptions, every popular meeting whose proceedings are available manifested a conciliatory disposition. [The exceptions were the secret meeting of the radicals at San Felipe on June 22, which, under the excitement produced by the arrest of the governor and news of the contemplated military occupation, voted the attack on the garrison at Anahuac; a meeting at Harrisburg on July 14 (The Texas Republican, Aug. 22, 1835; Publications of So. Hist. Assn., VIII, 107-109); and a meeting of the district of the Navidad and Lavaca on July 17 (Brown, History of Texas, 1, 299)].
The people were soothed by the assurance that the Government meant them no harm, and an evident effort was made to convince the Government that the people were loyal.
[A meeting at Gonzales on July 7 resolved, 113rd. * * * every act and deed, tending to interrupt the harmony and good understanding existing between Texas and the Federal Government deserves the marked disapprobation and contempt of every friend of constitutional order in the country. 4th. * * * resolved, that we have full confidence in the favorable disposition of His Excellency the President and the General Congress toward Texas, and we believe that when the wants of Texas are fully made known to them they will be provided for. 5th. * * * resolved, that the course pursued by the citizens of Texas when called on by the governor of the State to move against the Federal troops, with offers of reward to those who should obey the order, in refusing to leave Texas to interfere in the quarrels of the Republic, if duly considered, furnishes conclusive proof of the loyalty of the inhabitants of Texas toward the Nation and their unwillingness to become embroiled with them."---Colonial Archives (MS.), Texas State Library
The ayuntamiento of Columbia "would represent to you that the citizens of this jurisdiction hold themselves to be true, faithful, loyal, and unoffending Mexican citizens; that they do not violate the laws and constitution of the land, nor will they countenance others in doing it."---To chairman of public meeting at San Felipe, July 11, 1&35, in The Texas Republican, July 18, 1835.
Public meeting at San Jacinto on August 8: "We have always considered and do still consider the aggregate Mexican Nation the rightful sovereign of the territory we occupy. * * * We consider names as the mere signification of things; and * * * we are not so obstinately prejudiced in favor of the term federal republic' as peremptorily and without inquiry to reject another Government purely because it has assumed a different external sign or denomination. There are certain essential, sacred, and imprescriptible rights which must be guaranteed to every citizen we believe those rights may be as well secured under a consolidated as under a federative government, provided that government be wisely and liberally organized. * * * Resolved, that the dissolution of a government does not of necessity requisite that the constituent parts of the nation should separate finally; that the abstract right to do a thing does not always render the doing of it wise or commendable; that although the citizens of Texas may have the political right to reject the new Government of Mexico and to adopt one more consonant to their habits and feelings, we do very seriously question the policy of doing so, unless constrained by imperious circumstances, such as, we trust, do not and will not exist; that as adopted citizens we ought to exercise even our absolute rights with some diffidence and with a peculiar regard to the moral obligations that may rest upon us."---The Texas Republican, September 19, 1835; Publications of So. Hist. Assn., VIII, 110-116]
Two of the three meetings whose resolutions were less moderate, while expressing a lack of confidence in President Santa Anna, declared that they were ready to support the Federal constitution of 1824. These meetings represented pretty fully the population of the department of the Brazos. The other department, inhabited chiefly by Anglo-Americans, was that of Nacogdoches, in the eastern part of the State, and its political chief wrote on July 28 that his people were tranquil. But pacific efforts did not stop with holding meetings and adopting resolutions. A joint committee representing several municipalities sent to Col. Ugartechea at San Antonio an exposition of public opinion, and asked him to forward it to his superior, Gen. Cos. The committee thought that recent acts, if left unexplained, might justify the belief that the colonists were hostile to the Government, but---
The people at large we know have not participated either in the feelings which prompted the aggressions or any acts opposed to the legal authorities of the Mexican Republic, and do and ever will disavow the course pursued by a few impetuous and misguided citizens whose conduct * * * might implicate the whole community. * * * The citizens of Texas generally have become adopted citizens of the Mexican Republic from choice, after a full knowledge of the constitution and laws. * * * They entertain a grateful sense of the liberality of the Government toward her colonies in the distribution of lands to settlers, and other advantages tending to their convenience and prosperity in agriculture and manufactures. * * * They will be prepared on every constitutional call to do their duty as Mexican citizens in the enforcement of the laws and promotion of order. * * * They will cherish those principles which most clearly demonstrate their love of peace, respect for their Mexican fellow citizens, and attachment to the free and liberal institutions of their adopted country.
The same committee appointed commissioners to visit Cos and make a personal explanation of the situation, but they were halted at San Antonio by Ugartechea and never reached him. [Ugartechea said that it would be useless to make explanations, unless the colonists would prove their loyalty by surrendering the radical leaders to the military authorities. This was later confirmed by Cos. The radicals were not surrendered and the commissioners went no further---Barrett and Gritten to Cos., Aug. 9, 1835, Bexar Archives; Publications of So. Hist. Assn., VIII, 343-344]
At the same time, however, the colonists were organizing the militia, and they went so far as to propose a committee to raise subscriptions for the purchase of arms and munitions. The menacing activity of the Indians was sufficient to justify this [See Yoakum, "History of Texas," 1, 336; Brown, "History of Texas," 1, 290; Navarro to Political Chief of Nacogdoches, June 4, 1835, Bexar Archives; Lynch to Brown, July 20,1835, Colonial Archives, Tex. State Library], and it was used as a pretext; but the real motive seems to have been fear that the Government would push them to extremes.
[Even the most earnest advocates of peace approved the organization of the militia. Columbia advised it on June 28, Lavaca on July 4, Mina on the 5th, Matagorda on the 13th, and Gonzales on the 19th (The Texas Republican, July 4 and 18,1835, for Columbia and Lavaca; Colonial Archives, Tex. State Library, for other references). The double purpose of the organization is shown by the Proclamation in which the political chief ordered it: "The critical and peculiar situation" of the country, he said, demanded "speedy and decisive measures for defense against military usurpation on the one hand and the depredations of the Indians on the other." It is further illustrated by a writer who thought that every exertion should be made to avoid a conflict, but, lest this should fail, advised the organization of the militia. The Mexican view of the situation is shown by a letter from Ugartechea. Cos wrote him Sept. 28, to find out what the four tribes were of which the political chief of the Brazos was complaining and against which he was keeping 300 men in arms. Ugartechea replied that he had no information that the tribes of that department were hostile, and "as for placing 300 carbineros under arms in San Felipe, there is no other motive than to contribute to the revolution which is fomenting in the colonies." BexarArchives]
Students familiar with the development of the American Revolution will not consider this necessarily inconsistent with a desire for peace. Nevertheless, it raises a question of the sincerity of the Texans, which demands some attention. The best evidence that the professions of loyalty were made in good faith by the public meetings is the fact that they convinced certain contemporaries. Travis, a prominent radical, leader of the attack on the garrison at Anahuac, and an intelligent lawyer who would have been likely to detect subterfuge, wrote on July 30, "The peace party, as they style themselves, I believe are the strongest and make much the most noise. Unless we could be united, had we not better be quiet and settle down for awhile?" Three weeks later he wrote, "I found the tories and cowards making a strong effort, and for a time they were but too successful. I was, therefore, disgusted and wrote you but little, as I had nothing to communicate but what I was ashamed of as a free man and a friend of my country." On July 25 Dr. James H. C. Miller, an intense loyalist, who viewed these proceedings with feelings directly the opposite of Travis's, wrote from San Felipe, "All here is in a train for peace; the war and speculating parties are entirely put down." So convinced was he that the people would make almost any sacrifice for peace that he advised Col. Ugartechea to demand the surrender of the radical leaders to the military authorities. Finally we have the testimony of a neutral. Edward Gritten, an Englishman who was making at this time a semi-official inspection of the colonies for Ugartechea, wrote on July 5, "From what I have observed and the conclusions that I have drawn, the greater part of the colonists desire to avoid any breach with the Government. * * * If the executive could adopt a conciliatory policy it would meet the support of the sane portion of Texas, which is truly numerous." And again on the 17th he said, "All, even to the Sabine, unanimously desire to preserve the peace, and they manifest without exception their disapprobation of the offenses committed against the nation. * * * In my opinion * * * no more is needed to consummate the work of pacifying this country than to abstain from bringing troops into it for offenders."
It seems clear that until well into August the war spirit was confined to a few individuals [the prominent ones were W. B. Travis, John A. and William H Wharton, R. M. Williamson, Henry Smith, Mosely Baker, and James Bowie. But until the end of July we have no record of any active agitation from any of them except Travis, Williamson, and Bowie].
Public meetings, which may be said to have expressed organized opinion, were almost unanimously opposed to anything that might precipitate a breach. Conservative leaders from the beginning of the colonies had deliberately advocated the policy of standing aloof from Mexican party dissentions; and they hoped that a continuance of the policy might avert the present threatening storm from Texas. There were sacrifices, however, which they would not make, and these were now unfortunately demanded. Col. Ugartechea made a requisition on the political chief for the surrender of the radical leaders to the military authorities [Ugartechea to Tenorio, July 31, and to Cos, August 1, 1835, Bexar Archives]; and it became apparent that Santa Anna was fixed in the determination to establish a number of strong garrisons in Texas. Had there been no atmosphere of racial distrust enveloping the relations of Mexico and the colonists, a crisis might not have followed. Mexico might not have thought it necessary to insist so drastically on unequivocal submission; or the colonists might not have believed so firmly that submission would endanger their liberty. As it was, the Texans at first evaded and then categorically declined to make the arrests; while the same municipalities that had professed unswerving loyalty to Mexico were entirely outspoken in opposing the military occupation of the province. If their action needs palliation, it may be somewhat to the point to remember two things. In the first place, these men who refused to deliver their neighbors to military authority for trial outside the colony were sons of the generation that indignantly protested against Great Britain's revival of Henry VIII's law of treason and against the extraordinary powers of the Gaspee commission; and in the second place, they had already experienced some inconvenience from Mexican garrisons in 1832.
It remains to say a word about the motives of those who at first opposed a breach with Mexico. Most of the rank and file, perhaps, was merely indifferent to the alleged abuses of Santa Anna. They recognized certain rights of the central Government in Texas, and, desiring peace, were slow to believe that these rights would be exceeded. More thoughtful conservatives who may have seen the danger from Santa Anna's plans probably feared that Texas could not sustain a struggle with Mexico, and advocated non-resistance as a policy of expediency. But beyond indifference, a readiness to recognize constitutional rights of the Federal Government, and resignation to present ills lest worse should be provoked by resistance, the loyalty of the colonists did not perhaps extend.
Correspondence related to Public Opinion in Texas 1835
Miller to Public 21 Jun 1835
Chieftaincy of' the Department of Brazos Fellow Citizens
It has become my duty as chief of thc Department to advise you of the critical situation in which you and your rights as freemen & as citizens of the state of Coahuila & Texas are placed by the usurpation of the Military that Garrison the towns of the three Eastern States. So far back as September of last year, they in conjunction with a faction at Saltillo overthrew the constitutional authorities of the State and placed a Military officer in the supreme executive, power of the state as its Governor. In December last you were told by that officer that certain individuals had incurred the displeasure of the President General of the Republic and you were instructed not to vote them as officers of the state. As freemen & lovers of liberty and the rights guaranteed by a federal republican Government, you chose to exercise your suffrage freely & openly, you voted for Augustine Viesca as your Governor, your votes thus openly and manfully given called loudly upon that individual to yield to your wishes although he knew he would be driven from his office by the military force of the nations: he took the oath of office and entered upon its duties. He saw too soon the clouds gathering around film and applied to the legislature for permission to establish his government in some place of safety ere the storm burst in its violence upon him. Texas was hailed by him as that favored spot, its inhabitants had been born and nursed in the cradle of liberty, their bosoms expanded with the breath of freeman & their proud hearts spurned the yoke of military power. Permission was granted to the Governor to come to Texas; he gathered together the documents of his office important to the country and started, he was compelled to return to Monclova because the military had declared he should not pass to Texas. Persuaded that could he reach Texas military rule and misrule would fall paralyzed, he, made an attempt to [illegible] the vigilance of the military in and reach Texas, but who can escape the bayonets of a sanguinary soldierasy he has been taken and is thrown into a dungeon without a hope, without a prospect, except such as your proud spirits may determine on--Let me ask you as one in common with yourselves, are you prepared to received such a government as it may please the commandant General Cos and his masters to give you, and again receive as military officer as your Governor? or will you support and sustain the officer your own voluntary vote place din office, and who now lies in prison on account of that vote made in his favor. I think by the feelings which I have that I can answer, you will never submit tamely to such a course--The object is to establish the supreme executive authority of the State of Texas, this is highly important and it behooves everyman to strain every nerve to accomplish so desired an object--Then let me call upon you in furtherance of your interest and in obedience to the orders we have received to turn out immediately, organize and march to his relief and bring him to a place of safety, in this our favored Texas You will march to this place as soon as possible and wait for further orders. Given at office in the town of San Felipe de Austin this 21st day of June 1835 J B Miller
Columbia Resolutions 23 Jun
At a meeting of the citizens held in the town of Columbia, on Tuesday the 23d of June, 1835, Silas Dinsmore, Jr., was called to the chair. On motion of John A. Wharton, seconded by Win. H. Jack, Esq. (the letter of the Political Chief being under consideration) the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:
1st. Resolved. That in the sense of the present meeting it is inexpedient to adopt any measures of committal, until all the citizens of this Jurisdiction can be consulted in general meeting.
2nd. Resolved. That the Political Chief be requested to take the sense of the citizens of his Department, in regard to the most proper political measures to be adopted on the present occasion.
3rd. Resolved. That we recommend to the citizens of Texas, union, concert, and moderation in the adoption of measures to meet the present crisis; and that we pledge our fortunes, lives and honors In support of such measures as the majority may adopt.
4th. Resolved. That a general meeting of the citizens of this Jurisdiction be called to take place in the town of Columbia, at 12 o'clock on Sunday, the 28th inst.
5th. Resolved. That the Chairman be requested to address a letter to the Political Chief, enclosing him a copy of these resolutions, and assuring him that he will find us at all times ready and prompt to discharge our duty as good citizens.
6th. Resolved. That the proceeding together with the Political Chief's letter be published in handbill form, and in the Texas Republic. On motion of Wm. J. Russell, Henry Smith, Branch T. Archer, Silas Dinsmore, Jr., Robert H. Williams, W. H. Sledge, William H. Jack and John A. Wharton, were appointed to draft a report for the next meeting. On motion of Branch T. Archer, the thanks of the meeting were presented to the Chairman. On motion the meeting adjourned until Sunday next, at 12 o'clock. SILAS DINSMORE, JR., Chairman.
Columbia Meeting 28 Jun 1835
At a very large and respectable meeting of the citizens of the jurisdictions of Columbia on the 28th day of June, 1835, held in pursuance of a previous call, for the purpose of considering the present situation of the country, and determining upon the course of conduct for the people of this jurisdiction to pursue, in the present and approaching crisis---Col. W. D. C. Hall was called to the chair and Byrd B. Waller elected secretary. The letter of the Political Chief of this department together with a number of documents throwing light upon the real situation of the country, having been read to the meeting, Messrs. John A. Wharton, W. D. C. Hall, H. Smith. J. F. Perry, J. W. Bell, S. Whiting, G. B. McKinstry, W. C. White, P. B. McNeel, F. Dingham, J. E. Phelps, Edwin Waller, E. Andrews, J. P. Caldwell and E. G. Head, were unanimously chosen to prepare a report and resolution to be submitted for the consideration of this meeting. The committee retired, but shortly returned with the following report and resolutions which were unanimously adopted:
To the citizens of the jurisdiction of Columbia:---Your committee
having given the subject on which they were to report, as thorough an investigation as
time and circumstances will permit, beg leave to present the following report:
Your committee view with the deepest regret, and greatest alarm the present political situation of Texas, and recommend to this meeting, and their fellow citizens generally, union, moderation, organization and a strict adherence to the laws and constitution of the land. Your committee protest against the conduct and acts of any act of individuals (less than a majority) calculated to involve the citizens of Texas in a conflict with the Federal Government of Mexico, and Particularly Protest against the proceedings of those persons at Anahuac who gave the collector of customs, Don Jose Gonzales, a series of resolutions declaring that they would not obey the revenue laws of Mexico. The denounce said persons as foreigners, and disclaim all participation in the act whatsoever. Your committee further declare that they are the faithful and loyal citizens of Mexico, and that they are disposed and desirous to discharge their duty as such, and that it Is their wish and interest to remain attached to the Federal Government of Mexico. Your committee recommend to the Political Chief. The adoption of the most prompt & energetic measures to chastise the savages that have lately committed depredations upon our frontier citizens: and beg leave to present the following resolutions:
Resolved, That it is the duty of the citizens of Texas to write in the support of the constitution and laws of their adopted Country.
Resolved. That inasmuch as Texas is left in a state of anarchy, and without governor, vice-governor of council, that we recognize the Political Chief as the highest executive officer, and that we earnestly recommend an immediate organization of the militia for the protection of the frontier, and that we suspend further orders until the whole people are consulted, and also that we recommend a similar course to the Chief's of the other departments of Texas.
Resolved, That the Political Chief be requested to correspond with the other chiefs of department in Texas and request them to cooperate with him in electing three deputies from each jurisdiction of their several departments, to meet the chiefs of departments in public council, with full powers to form for Texas a Precisimial Government, on the principles of the constitution, during the reign of anarchy in the state, and that they meet as soon as circumstances will possibly permit.
Resolved, That a committee of five be chosen to wait on the Political Chief with the view of this meeting, and that they remain a permanent committee of vigilance, correspondence and safety.
Resolved, That the Political chief be requested [illegible] the Executive of the Federal Government of Mexico, representing to him the peaceable and loyal disposition of the citizens of Texas, and their great desire to remain attached to the Federal government.
Resolved, That the Political Chief be requested to address the citizens of his department, commanding thern to adhere strictly to the laws and constitution of the land.
Resolved, That we will support the Political Chief in the discharge of all constitutional duties.
Resolved, that the chairman of this meeting be requested to address a letter to the Political Chief, enclosing him a copy of the proceedings of this meeting. Messrs. W.D.C. Hall, I.A. Wharton, W. H. Jack. J. G. McNeel, and and G. B. McKinstry were chosen by the meeting, the committee of vigilance, correspondence and safety, and to wait on the political Chief with the views of this meeting. On motion, it was resolved: that the thanks of this meeting to the Chairman and Secretary. And then the meeting adjourned. W. D. C. Hall. Ch`n, Byrd C. Waller, Secretary.
H. Austin to James Perry 24 Jun
Columbia 24 June 1835 Mr J F Perry
An attempt has been made here to day to involve us in an immediate Revolution, by sending troops forthwith in obedience to a call by the chief of Police to fight the federal force a rport and resolution were produced Cut and dried in Caucus last night, Compromiting us at once- I moved as an amendment- That the further consideration of the subject matter before the meeting should be postponed until the great body of the people of this Municipality could be convened to express their sentiments as to the expediency of a measure involving the Security of the rights and property and the safety and lives of the families of the people this was not admitted by the agitators as an amendment, when it was determined to put the Report and Resolutions to Vote first and then take the Vote upon my motion, on division 2/3 were against their report- They then without taking a vote upon my motion, so modified their resolutions as to effect the same purpose which being agreed to They appointed a committee to draft a report and resolution to be proposed to the meeting on Sunday- Archer Wharton Jack and Henry Smith It was proposed to add me and R. Williams I declined to aid in forestaling the sentiments of the people. Thinking the meeting on Sunday ought to be left free to appoint their own committee and the people will reject their report on that ground if it be put to them You and Pleasant McNeel must be here all the McNeels Grev, Crosby-, every one, who can give a vote, for the cast is to be which will lose or win all our hopes in Texas The court is adjourned until Monday I am still quite unwell with the cold I took below--12 oclock is the hour---best remembrances to Emily and truly your friend H. Austin [Adressed:] Mr. Jas F Perry Peach Point
Rueg to Political Chief 28 Jul 1835
Chieftaincy of the Department of Nacogdoches I have received your address to the people of Bexar and about the minutes of the Commission of public security. I agree with your honor on every point of his content. The excitment which has existed in this dept. has much ceased since we heard of the measures which have been taken in yours. I do most regret that the time does not allow us the chance of sending on a committee of a couple of Citizens of this department to join your depaticher to the comand. Genl. for the inform the jenl. Gov by this channel of our govd dispositions for peace and order, but I do cooperate with your views by adrissing by todys's mail, Genl. Cos with an official Staterant of our Situation and our good dispositions to obey the laws of our adopted Country and to respect the Constitutional authorities, with request to be forwarded to the Supreme powers of the Union. I take this opportunity to present to Your honor my best respects.---God and Liberty Nacogdoches July 28 of 1835 E. Henry Brigs [Addressed:] to Political Chief of the depart. Of Brassos.
SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
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