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Full text of "History of Texas, from Wilderness to commonwealth, volume 1"



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Digitized by the Internet Archive 

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A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

Volume One 



72 A I I I 132 




STEPHEN FULLER AUSTIN 

The Father of Texas 



A 
HISTORY OF TEXAS 

FROM WILDERNESS TO 
COMMONWEALTH 



BY 

LOUIS J. WORTHAM, LL. D. 



IN FIVE VOLUMES 

VOLUME ONE 



1924 
WORTHAM-MOLYNEAUX COMPANY 

FORT WORTH, TBXAS 



Copyright, 1924 > by 

WORTHAM-MOLYNEAUX Co. 



Printed in the United States of America 



Printing and Binding by t . 

The World Company, Inc. 

Fort Worth, Texas 



Electrotyping by 

Sam Ross McElreath 

Fort Worth, Texas 



TO MY BELOVED WIFE 

FRU BECTON WORT HAM, 

whose faith and encouragement kept alive an ambition, 

born years ago when, as a government servant, I 

cam fed under the stars along the Rio Grande, 

this work, in some measure a realization 

of that ambition, is, in grateful 

remembrance, 

DEDICATED. 



V 

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976. k 
W932 



n A mm 



Wort ham, Louis J. 
History Of x e xas Vol 1 



Roiemb suae 



HOUSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 



PREFACE 

I have tried in this work to tell the story of the 
conversion of Texas from a wilderness into a common- 
wealth in such a manner as to insure that it would be 
read with enjoyment and at the same time impart to 
the reader a comprehensive knowledge of the history 
of my native state. 

To what degree I have succeeded in this, the reader 
must judge. I think I may say, with due modesty, 
that I have not altogether failed. In any event I have 
done my best and have no excuse to offer if I have 
not achieved completely the ideal I set before myself. 
I have been more concerned with presenting a readable 
narrative for the general reader than with making a 
"contribution" to historical literature. The work, 
therefore, makes no pretension to profound scholarship, 
and I have sought studiously to avoid giving even the 
suggestion of such pretension. However, I do not mean 
to say by this that it does not represent careful and 
thorough research. I think the general lines of the 
story, as it is unfolded in these pages, are those which 
the ripest scholarship must approve. 

In order to avoid elaborate footnotes, references and 
other devices, which the average man seldom reads, I 
have said all I had to say in the running narrative of 
the text. I anticipate no criticism from the general 
reader on this score and, as the method was deliberately 
chosen, I am prepared to accept whatever consequent 

VII 



viii PREFACE 



criticism of an academic character may come from 
other sources. Where I have embodied documents in 
the text, it will be found they are such as possess "his- 
toric news value/' if I may be permitted to coin a 
phrase. I mean by this that they are the kind of docu- 
ments which would be printed in the newspapers if 
they related to contemporary events. For either they 
are official papers — whether decrees, resolutions or what 
not — that serve to "further the story," or they are the 
narratives of eyewitnesses of important events calculated 
to carry greater conviction to the reader than any 
imaginative description could possibly give. 

I make no apology for devoting practically the whole 
of three volumes to the sixteen years between Moses 
Austin's journey to Texas in 1820 and the founding 
of the republic in 1836, while disposing of the events 
of the three centuries preceding that period in four 
chapters. This seeming disproportion is justified, for 
it is the disproportion of history itself. The events 
between 1820 and 1836 fixed forever the destiny of 
Texas, whereas, in spite of three hundred years of 
Spanish dominion prior to 1820, the country was fairly 
on the way toward becoming a complete wilderness 
again. It is the centennial of this period which the 
people of Texas are to celebrate by holding an exposition 
and, in passing, it is pertinent to say that the projectors 
of that enterprise displayed sound judgment in deciding 
to commemorate a period rather than the date of a 
single event. 

The space devoted to this period is justified further 
because of the necessity of presenting adequately the 
work of Stephen Fuller Austin, the "greatest colonial 



PREFACE ix 



proprietor in American history." It is a remarkable 
fact that, after the lapse of a hundred years, the average 
well-informed citizen of the commonwealth Stephen 
Austin founded has no comprehension of his supreme 
greatness nor of the far-reaching effect of his labors 
on the subsequent history of the North American 
continent. And outside of Texas even his name is 
unfamiliar. This has come about through a combina- 
tion of circumstances almost unparalleled in history. 
In Texas, due to a variety of causes which it is unnec- 
essary to detail here, his work has been obscured by 
that of bulkier, though less important, figures, and out- 
side of Texas the passion of party politics as related to 
the question of slavery left its imprint so definitely on 
the whole course of events connected with the annexa- 
tion of Texas to the United States that an entirely erro- 
neous version of the story of those times has become part 
of American tradition. The true tradition of Texas, up 
to the very moment of the founding of the republic, runs 
parallel with the career of Stephen Austin, and the cor- 
rect version of the story of the expansion of the United 
States beyond the Sabine includes the record of his work 
as its most important chapter. It has been a desire to 
present something approaching an adequate account of 
his work that has caused me to devote so much space to 
the period in which he labored. I do not shrink from 
the charge, which some may feel inclined to make, that 
Stephen Austin is the hero of my story. On the con- 
trary, I welcome it. For Stephen Austin is in a very true 
sense the hero of the story of Texas. But I do not think 
it can be justly said that I have found it necessary to 
depreciate the worth of any other man in order to exalt 



PREFACE 



that of Austin. Such a course not only would have been 
a misrepresentation of history, but would have shown 
a very poor appreciation of Austin's greatness and of the 
true character of his work. 

It would not be possible for me to acknowledge for- 
mally every debt I owe to other men and women in the 
preparation of this work. The list would include very 
nearly everyone who has worked in this field of research. 
However, there are some to whom the debt is so great 
that formal acknowledgement is a duty. First of all, let 
me say that without the assistance of my colleague, Peter 
Molyneaux, this work would have been impossible. I 
had been planning a history of Texas and gathering 
material to that end for years, but the arduous duties of 
publishing and editing a newspaper gave me little time 
to devote to the work of whipping it into shape. When 
I finally set about the task, an affliction of the eyes for a 
time proved an almost insurmountable obstacle, and had 
it not been for the encouragement and the assistance 
given by Mr. Molyneaux I fear I should have been com- 
pelled to abandon it. His assistance has been such as to 
amount practically to collaboration, and I am keenly 
conscious of the fact that I am indebted to him above all 
others. 

In the very nature of things I am indebted to men 
who have made special periods of the history of Texas a 
life-study. No man can write about Texas, especially 
of the period covering Stephen F. Austin's activities, 
without becoming indebted to Dr. Eugene C. Barker of 
the University of Texas, for example. The papers he 
has published from time to time in various historical 
journals, and especially in The Southwestern Historical 



PREFACE xi 



Quarterly , of which he is editor, have been usually the 
last word on the particular subject he has discussed in 
each, and while I would not shift the responsibility for 
my own errors, if such there should be, to the shoulders 
of any other man, I must say that I have not hesitated, 
in most cases, to accept his decisions on disputed points as 
final. What I have said here of Dr. Barker would be 
equally true of Dr. Herbert E. Bolton in relation to the 
Spanish period of Texas were it not for the fact that I 
have used that period chiefly as background. He has 
made that field his own quite as truly as Dr. Barker has 
preempted the Anglo-American colonial period, and to 
the extent that I have recorded the Spanish history of 
Texas I am indebted to him. My debt to George Lock- 
hart Rives, however, is quite as great as that I owe Dr. 
Barker. His work, The United State* and Mexico, 
1821-1848> is monumental. It is not only the most ex- 
haustive study of the relations between the United States 
and Mexico from the Treaty of 1 8 1 9 to the end of the 
Mexican war, but it is one of the best works of its kind 
dealing with any period of American history. 

For more than twenty-five years the Texas Historical 
association has been fostering research and the collection 
of data with respect to the history of Texas and pub- 
lishing the results in The Southwestern Historical Quar- 
terly. Directly and indirectly my debt to the work of 
this association and to a host of men and women who 
have published articles in the quarterly is very great 
indeed. I am indebted also, as any writer on the career 
of Stephen F. Austin must be, to the work of the late 
Guy M. Bryan, Austin's nephew, who carefully pre- 
served every scrap of paper relating to his uncle and 



xii PREFACE 



patiently collected the recollections of contemporaries 
about him. In this connection I would acknowledge 
the value of the work known as A Comprehensive His- 
tory of Texas, edited by Dudley G. Wooten, and to 
which Colonel Bryan was a contributor. The work of 
E. W. Winkler in certain fields has been helpful, and 
there are numerous other men and women whose articles 
have been of assistance and whose names I should like to 
mention. But I must bring the list to a close. 

Before doing so, however, I must add the name of a 
man who figures in my narrative, for he was a prominent 
actor in the Texas revolution, and who, like myself, 
cherished for years the ambition to publish a history of 
Texas. I mean Francis W. Johnson, who, after Ben 
Milam was killed, took full command of the Texas 
forces and won the battle of San Antonio, the most hotly 
contested battle of the revolution, and who spent much 
of his later life preparing the manuscript of a history 
of the events in which he participated. Johnson's manu- 
script passed through many hands after his death, and 
some of it was lost in the process. It was finally pub- 
lished, though not under favorable circumstances, and 
his material was thus made available. Many of the 
documents embodied in my text were first collected by 
Johnson, and some of them would have been lost en- 
tirely but for the fact that he preserved them. John- 
son's association with the unfortunate Matamoros 
expedition tended to obscure his services to Texas. His 
services were very great, nevertheless, and his name de- 
serves to be honored above those of many others who are 
better known. 

Finally, I am indebted to the Carnegie Public Library 



PREFACE xiii 



of Fort Worth for the hearty cooperation it has given me 
during a long period of time in the labor of gathering 
much of the material for this work. 

Having thus attempted to acknowledge my debt to 
others in the preparation of my manuscript, I hasten to 
thank all those who have cooperated with me in its pub- 
lication. My ambition has been not only to write a his- 
tory of my native state, but also to have it published in 
Texas. I soon found that in order to do this I should 
be compelled to organize a publishing company myself, 
and that if the venture was to be insured against the risk 
of great loss the cooperation of a large number of pa- 
triotic Texans must be obtained. This first edition of 
the work is the result of such cooperation, and I want 
every man who subscribed for it in advance, and thus 
assisted in underwriting the edition, to feel that he has 
played an important part in making the publication of 
this history possible. 

In organizing and financing the publishing company, 
for which a considerable amount of capital was required, 
a number of patriotic Texans associated themselves with 
me. I feel that I must express my appreciation of the 
cooperation of these gentlemen, for without it I should 
not have been able to put the enterprise over. The mo- 
tive which prompted it was in every case patriotic, for 
ventures of this kind are notoriously hazardous. I am 
particularly indebted, in this connection, to John Henry 
Kirby of Houston, who has interested, himself in the 
enterprise enthusiastically from the first. The other 
gentlemen who have associated themselves with me in 
the company are L. H. McKee, Sam Levy, George H. 
Clifford, W. P. McLean, Sr., S. S. Lard, S. B. Cantey, 



xiv PREFACE 

A. Cobden and Peter Molyneaux of Fort Worth; Lynch 
Davidson, W. S. Farish and F. C. Proctor of Houston; 
W. P. Gage, Alfred H. Johnson and J. Edgar Pew of 
Dallas; Ike T. Pryor of San Antonio; Clifford B. Jones 
of Spur; John Sealy of Galveston; Col. A. E. Humph- 
reys of Denver; R. W. Wortham of Paris, and Walter 
Frisch of New York. 

It is a source of peculiar gratification to me that the 
work is an all-Texas product, and that this beautiful de 
luxe edition has been manufactured entirely in Texas. 
It would not have been possible to produce such a splen- 
did example of the printer's and binder's arts in Texas 
even a year ago, and this edition has historic value in this 
fact alone — that it is the first of its kind to be completely 
produced within the confines of the state. It marks a 
milestone in the history of the printing industry in this 
section of the country and the beginning of a full- 
fledged book-publishing center in the Southwest. It is 
eminently fitting that the first work thus manufactured 
in the state should be a history of Texas, and it is a source 
of genuine pride to me, who have been connected with 
the publishing business all my life, that it should be one 
bearing my name. 

Louis J. Wortham. 



Chapter 

I. 

II. 

III. 

IV. 

V. 

VI. 

VII. 

VIII. 

IX. 

X. 

XI. 

XII. 

XIII. 

XIV. 

XV. 

XVI. 

XVII. 



CONTENTS. 

Manifest Destiny's Path . 
After Three Centuries . 
Two Decades of Friction . 
Moses Austin Leads Way . 
In His Father's Footsteps 
A Year of Revolutions . 
Waiting in the Wilds . . 
First Contract Completed 
Mexico Invites the World 
The Dream of Henry Clay 
Enter Hayden Edwards . 
Republic of Fredonia . . 
Results of the Fredonian 
Austin Hands Over Reins 
In Texas to Stay .... 
Mexico Takes Alarm . . 
The First Step Backward 



1. 

2. 
3. 
4. 



Page 

. 1 
. 15 
. 35 
. 51 
. 69 
. 93 
. 115 
. 141 
. 169 
. 197 
. 213 
. 241 
. 267 
. 287 
. 307 
. 327 
. 351 

Page 

The Treaty of 1819 376 

Austin's Civil and Criminal Codes . .388 

The Old Three Hundred 412 

The Law of April 6, 1830 427 



War 



APPENDIX. 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 

Stephen Fuller Austin Frontispiece 

Mission La Purisima Concepcion de Acuna . 16 

Mission San Jose de Aguayo 32 

Jean Lafitte 48 

Moses Austin 64 

Mission San Francisco de la Espada ... 80 

Mission San Juan Capistrano 96 

James Monroe 144 

Region of First Colony 160 

(Diagram Map Showing Present Counties) 

Region of First Colony 176 

(Diagram Map Showing Relation to the Present State of Texas) 

John Quincy Adams 192 

Henry Clay 208 

Ellis Bean 224 

Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna 320 

R. M. Williamson 336 

David G. Burnet 352 

Andrew Jackson . 368 



A HISTORY OF TEXAS 



CHAPTER I. 



MANIFEST DESTINY'S PATH. 



Late in the autumn of the year 1 820 a lone horseman 
rode through the wilderness of the Spanish province of 
Texas toward the town of San Antonio de Bexar. He 
had come thus on horseback and alone a distance of eight 
hundred miles from the American territory of Missouri. 
To a beholder he would not have seemed a heroic figure. 
There was nothing about him to suggest that he was 
other than a tired and weather-beaten traveler, bent on 
some prosaic mission of little concern to anybody but 
himself. Viewed today, however, through the mists of 
more than a hundred years, that lone pilgrim appears as 
the embodiment of "manifest destiny." For the man 
was Moses Austin, and his journey marked the advent 
of Anglo-American civilization across the Sabine and 
the real beginning of the history of modern Texas. 

Had his mission been widely known among his con- 
temporaries, there can be little doubt that Moses Austin 
would have been regarded as a Utopian dreamer and his 
journey thought to be a fool's errand. He had con- 
ceived something no other man had thought of — a 
project most men would have dismissed as impractical, 
and which some would have laughed at. For he 
dreamed of colonizing Texas with Anglo-Americans, 



A HISTORY OF TEXAS 



and he proposed to obtain the consent of the authorities 
of New Spain to such a plan. The best informed men 
of that day would have declared the idea to be prepos- 
terous and visionary in the extreme. And yet modern 
Texas is the splendid reality which developed from that 
dream. Had not Moses Austin made that journey, or 
had his mission proved unsuccessful — which, but for a 
happy accident, it would have proven- — the history of the 
region which now constitutes the largest state in the 
American union would have been radically different 
from what it has been. That lonely pilgrimage was a 
prelude— a prologue, so to speak — to the drama which 
was to be enacted on the stage of the vast country he 
traversed. The year 1 820 became the starting point of a 
new era in that territory because of Moses Austin's 
journey. 

In 1820 it must have seemed that the limit of the 
expansion of the United States had been reached. A 
treaty with Spain, by which Florida was ceded and the 
western boundary of Louisiana fixed at the Sabine river, 
had been signed the previous year. The whole Atlantic 
coast, from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, was now 
under the American flag, and the gulf coast itself was 
American to the newly established line at the mouth of 
the Sabine. All the territory between the Atlantic and 
the Mississippi river was within the United States, and 
west of the Mississippi its domain included a vast region 
extending to the Rocky mountains, and, north of the 
forty-second parallel, even to the Pacific coast. It 
seemed that an epoch was at an end — the epoch which 
began in 1763 with the withdrawal of France from 
America, and which included the revolt of the British 



MANIFEST DESTINY'S PATH 



colonies against George III, the establishment of the 
United States as an independent nation, the acquisition 
of the immense Louisiana territory from Napoleon, and, 
finally, the cession by Spain, in the treaty of 1819, of 
Florida and all claim to any part of the region east and 
north of the boundary fixed in that treaty. 

No similar period in all history had witnessed any- 
thing resembling the rapid spread of British and Anglo- 
American control of the North American continent 
during the sixty years from 1760 to 1820. There 
were men still living in 1820 who remembered when 
the English-speaking settlements of North America 
were confined to the colonies spread along the Atlantic 
coast. Then the continent was divided among the Eng- 
lish, the French and the Spanish. To the north and the 
west of the English were the colonies and the pos- 
sessions of France, including the Mississippi valley, 
with New Orleans at the mouth of the mighty river. 
To the south, in the territory bearing the general des- 
ignation of Florida, was the Spanish domain, with 
Cuba and the West Indies to the southeast. Mexico, or 
New Spain, was remote, and Texas was an unknown 
wilderness, a vague region lying between New Spain 
and the French colony of Louisiana. The change from 
that situation on the North American continent to the 
aspect it presented in 1820 had seemed to come about 
by natural stages, each growing out of something that 
had gone before. It was no wonder that in the process 
men began to talk about the "manifest destiny" which 
seemed to dominate and direct it. 

The first change came in 1763, when the nations of 
Europe gathered at Paris to settle some of the issues of 



4 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

the Seven Years' war. For England that war had been 
chiefly a struggle with France for colonial supremacy 
in America and India. Indeed, it was largely due to the 
circumstance that this struggle was already in progress 
at the beginning of the Seven Years' war that England 
remained out of the coalition against Frederick the 
Great and joined him against the rest of Europe. Eng- 
land decisively defeated France, both in India and 
America, in spite of the fact that in each case the natives 
had been allied with France. In consequence, France 
gave up all her colonial claims in America, and the 
Treaty of Paris disposed of the territory on the North 
American continent. To England was given Canada 
and all of the territory east of the Mississippi river. 
This included Florida, which had been Spanish territory, 
but Spain was the gainer by the treaty, for, in accord- 
ance with the treaty of Fontainebleu, signed the year 
before, Louisiana, the immense region west of the Mis- 
sissippi, and including the city of New Orleans on the 
east bank of the river, was transferred from French to 
Spanish rule. Thus North America was divided between 
England and Spain, with the Mississippi as the dividing 
line. The west bank of the Mississippi was Spanish, and 
the east bank was English, except near the mouth of the 
river, where both banks were Spanish. 

The germ of the next change was in this settlement. 
One of the problems of the French and Indian war, as 
the American phase of the Seven Years' war was called, 
had been that of obtaining cooperation among the Brit- 
ish colonies in the matter of raising money and men. As 
early as 1754, when the French and Indian war was 
threatening, Benjamin Franklin had proposed a plan of 



MANIFEST DESTINY'S PATH 



unity for this purpose, with an annual meeting of a 
"grand council" at Philadelphia. He advocated this 
for several years in his Pennsylvania Gazette, printing 
in each issue a picture showing the colonies as separate 
parts of a severed snake and bearing the legend, "Unite 
or Die." Immediately after the close of the war it 
became necessary to deal ruthlessly with a conspiracy of 
the Indians which proposed to destroy the British colo- 
nies and drive the colonists from America, and this, with 
the expenses of the war itself, brought up anew the 
question of finances and men. 

It is said that the French minister, in ceding the 
French territory in America to England at the Paris 
conference, remarked, "I give her all, on purpose to 
destroy her." Whether this is true or not, almost imme- 
diately the forces which in part were to fulfill this 
alleged prophecy began to operate. With a vast new 
territory to protect, with the Indians to be held in check, 
and with no central authority in America to provide 
money and men, George III proposed that parliament 
should tax the colonists for the purpose of maintaining 
an army in America and to help defray the cost of the 
war. The colonists liked neither the assumption by par- 
liament of the power to tax them nor the proposal to 
quarter an army from England permanently in the colo- 
nies. They resisted, and the controversy which ensued 
culminated in the Revolutionary war. 

Very naturally the sympathies of both France and 
Spain were with the colonists and against their ancient 
enemy, England. From the very first the Spanish gov- 
ernor of the colony of Louisiana, Don Bernardo de 
Galvez, assisted the Anglo-Americans as much as pos- 



A HISTORY OF TEXAS 



sible, especially by permitting the use of New Orleans 
as a base for operations along the Mississippi. When in 
1779, with the outcome of the conflict in America still 
in doubt, Spain declared war against England, Galvez 
lost no time in obtaining authority from the king of 
Spain for his subjects in America to participate in the 
war. He proceeded to prosecute a campaign against 
Florida, the inhabitants of which had not joined the 
British colonies in the revolution, and during the next 
two years, with a force from New Orleans, he captured 
Baton Rouge, Mobile and Pensacola, and recovered all 
the former Spanish possessions bordering on the Gulf 
of Mexico. It was this campaign by Galvez against 
the British which gave to the people of Louisiana the 
right to say that they helped to win American independ- 
ence. But the important thing here is that when the 
Revolutionary war came to a close, Florida was again 
ceded to Spain. 

This left North America south of the Great Lakes 
divided between Spain and the newly established United 
States of America. Spain was the only European power 
which still retained possessions in the territory now em- 
braced in the United States. England had followed 
France in relinquishing all claims within that region 
(except the claim she set up later to Oregon), and the 
entire western and southern boundaries of the United 
States were bordered by Spanish territory. The Gulf of 
Mexico became a Spanish lake and all of the great 
region stretching from the Mississippi to the Pacific 
coast was under Spanish domination. 

There was some controversy over the boundary line 
of West Florida, but a treaty between Spain and the 



MANIFEST DESTINY'S PATH 



United States, signed October 20, 1795, finally disposed 
of this and set forth the details of the boundary between 
the Spanish dominions and the United States. If this 
situation had continued free from outside influences, 
the whole history of America since that time might have 
been different. But, at the very moment this treaty 
was signed, a new figure stepped upon the world stage 
— a figure destined to influence the course of world 
events during the next twenty years and to upset this 
arrangement of North America in a radical fashion. 
Two weeks before the signing of the treaty between 
Spain and the United States a mob was marching in the 
streets of Paris and it seemed to the members of the 
national convention of the French republic that a 
new Reign of Terror was about to begin. In despera- 
tion the convention entrusted the task of dealing with 
the mob to a young artillery officer, then but twenty- 
six years of age, and he proceeded to handle it in so de- 
cisive a manner that order was restored in a day. That 
young officer was Napoleon Bonaparte, who from that 
point moved rapidly during the next few years upon a 
career which occupied the attention of the whole world 
and changed the course of history. By 1800 he seemed 
to have reached the zenith of his power, having over- 
thrown the directory and established himself as first 
consul. After five years of almost constant war, he felt 
that peace was at hand, and he began to dream of the 
reestablishment of France in America and of building 
up a great colonial empire. To this end he induced 
Spain to agree to return Louisiana to France. 

Here was a change which boded evil for the United 
States. "It completely reverses all the political relations 



8 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

of the United States," wrote President Jefferson to the 
American minister at Paris, "and will form a new epoch 
in our political course. . . . There is on the globe one 
single spot, the possessor of which is our natural enemy. 
It is New Orleans, through which the produce of three- 
eighths of our territory must pass to market." Accord- 
ingly, Jefferson instructed the American minister to 
propose to Napoleon the purchase by the United States 
of New Orleans and West Florida, it being thought at 
first that the latter had been ceded to France along with 
Louisiana. Jefferson's proposal, it will be seen, was to 
extend American control of the east bank of the Mis- 
sissippi to the river's mouth, and thus solve the vexed 
problem which alien control of both banks of the river 
at New Orleans had presented from the beginning of 
the American government. But Napoleon soon found 
that British supremacy on the sea made his colonial 
aspirations futile, and being in need of money for an 
impending war with England, he proposed to sell to 
the United States the whole of Louisiana or none. The 
result was that in 1803 the immense territory from the 
Mississippi to the Rocky mountains passed to American 
control. 

The effect of this was far-reaching. It cut the Span- 
ish possessions in North America into two parts and 
made the defense of Florida against attack from the 
United States, in the event of war at any future time, 
almost impossible. A dispute immediately arose over 
the boundary lines between Louisiana and Florida on 
the one hand, and between Louisiana and Texas on the 
other. This dragged along for several years, and in the 
meantime the Florida Indians becoming a growing 



MANIFEST DESTINY'S PATH 



menace to the settlers of Georgia, Andrew Jackson in- 
vaded Florida and, in addition to administering a crush- 
ing defeat to the Indians, treated the Spanish forces in a 
manner which caused great offense in Spain and a de- 
mand for indemnity. It was this dispute which was 
brought to an end by the treaty of 1819. By that treaty 
Spain ceded Florida to the United States, and the bound- 
ary between Texas and Louisiana was fixed at the Sabine. 

As has been said, all of this happened in the lifetime 
of men still living in 1820. Most of it had happened in 
Moses Austin's lifetime. Indeed, so far as the expansion 
of the United States was concerned, all of it had hap- 
pened during the previous twenty years. Between 1800 
and 1820 the area of the United States had been more 
than doubled. And while its territory was thus expand- 
ing, the tide of population was moving westward. This 
expansion and movement of population seemed inevi- 
table developments. It truly appeared to be the "mani- 
fest destiny" of the Americans to occupy the whole of 
the continent south of Canada. But it was quite as 
natural also that the feeling had begun to grow that the 
limit of this expansion had been reached. When the 
signing of the treaty of 1819 annexed Florida and the 
strip of territory between the old Louisiana line and the 
Sabine, it may be said that the dominant feeling among 
the people of the United States, except, perhaps, in the 
Southwest, was that this was the end. It seemed the 
close of the epoch. 

The great figures of that epoch were passing and 
great issues seemed settled. George III had just died in 
England 5 Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, was in retirement at Monticello; Washington 



10 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

had been dead for twenty years; Napoleon was dying in 
exile at St. Helena; Joseph Bonaparte, whose attempt 
to establish a new dynasty in Spain had given oppor- 
tunity for revolution and independence in the Spanish 
colonies in America, was in seclusion at Point Breeze on 
the Delaware in New Jersey; Ferdinand VII had been 
restored to the Spanish throne by the absolutist mon- 
archs of Europe, and while revolution still stalked in his 
possessions in South America, and was raising its head 
even in Spain, in Mexico it had been utterly crushed. 
Metternich, chief minister of Austria, was the dominant 
power in Europe and absolutism seemed firmly re- 
established throughout the continent. What would hap- 
pen when Europe again turned to the revolting colonies 
in America no man knew. James Monroe had just been 
^selected president of the United States, but the Mon- 
roe Doctrine was still three years away. In Mexico, in 
any event, Spain was in no danger. The last flicker of 
revolution had been stamped out, and now a solemn 
treaty with the United States had fixed definitely 
Mexico's northern and eastern boundaries. After set- 
ting forth those boundaries in detail, the treaty provided 
that the United States ceded to the king of Spain "all 
rights, claims and pretensions to the territories lying 
west and south" of them. These "rights and claims" 
had been little more than "pretensions," no matter how 
firmly some American leaders may have believed in 
them, but whatever ground they may have had, they 
were now "renounced forever." 

Moreover, there were other reasons why men had 
begun to think that the limit of expansion had been 



MANIFEST DESTINY'S PATH U 

reached. The enthusiasm of the western "empire build- 
ers" had been somewhat dampened by a financial panic 
which had prostrated the country in 1818, bringing land 
booms to an end suddenly and sweeping away the pos- 
sessions of men who had believed themselves perma- 
nently rich. The task of rebuilding the country's 
prosperity was beginning to engage men's attention. The 
so-called "era of good feeling" had just begun. Men 
were sobering up and it must have seemed to many of 
them that the task of settling and developing the vast 
territory included in the expanded domain of the United 
States was great enough without seeking more. 

There was also another factor in the situation and one 
which influenced Monroe's attitude. The Missouri 
compromise, fixing a line dividing slave and free terri- 
tory in the region west of the Mississippi, now coupled 
any question of new expansion with the question of 
slavery. Monroe wrote to Jefferson that "the further 
acquisition of territory to the west and south involves 
difficulties of an internal nature which menace the 
Union itself." Already there were evidences in the 
northern and eastern states of actual opposition to any 
further extension of the national domain, an opposition 
which was to grow to formidable proportions during the 
next two decades. 

There were, to be sure, those who still regarded Texas 
as a part of the Louisiana purchase, and who, like Henry 
Clay and Thomas H. Benton, denounced Monroe and 
Adams for having signed away the "rights" of the 
United States to the land beyond the Sabine. Indeed, 
in 1819, when news of the signing of the treaty with 



12 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

Spain was received, an indignation meeting was held at 
Natchez, and a filibustering expedition, under Dr. James 
Long, crossed the Sabine, captured the town of Nacog- 
doches and solemnly set up "the independent Republic 
of Texas." There was some pretense in this expedition 
of acting in the name of the inhabitants of Texas, but 
its real purpose was to "reclaim" what Monroe had 
"given up." However, it was quickly brought to naught 
by the Spanish forces in Texas. Nacogdoches was 
promptly recaptured from the invaders and the "repub- 
lic" disappeared as suddenly as it had been set up. 

The sentiment represented by Long and his follow- 
ers was not widespread, and was confined chiefly to the 
Southwest. Far-seeing men like Andrew Jackson, it is 
true, believed the question would come up again, but 
they were of the opinion, as expressed by Jackson, that 
"for the present we ought to be content with the 
Floridas." However, the average man, whatever might 
have been his wishes with respect to Texas, was not 
disposed to quarrel with the administration over the 
treaty. In the election of the following year Monroe 
carried every state in the union. In fact, only one elec- 
toral vote was cast against him, an elector of New 
Hampshire declaring that only Washington should have 
the honor of a unanimous vote, and even that one vote 
was cast for John Quincy Adams who, as secretary of 
state, had negotiated the treaty. There could have been 
hardly a more general approval of a treaty than that. 
Taking the country as a whole, unquestionably most 
men accepted it as finally settling the southwestern 
boundaries of the United States. Texas, which for the 



MANIFEST DESTINY'S PATH 13 

most part was uninhabited by white men, was to remain 
part of Mexico, it seemed. This probably was the view 
of Moses Austin himself. 

And yet, at that very moment forces were being put 
in operation which in due course would again change 
the map of North America. That lone horseman, trav- 
ersing the wilderness of Texas to San Antonio de Bexar, 
seems today the instrument of "manifest destiny." 



CHAPTER II. 

AFTER THREE CENTURIES. 

The land into which Moses Austin journeyed as the 
forerunner of Anglo-American civilization had been 
Spanish territory, except for a shadowy French claim, 
for nearly three centuries. And yet its total population 
in 1820, exclusive of Indians, was scarcely three thou- 
sand. San Antonio de Bexar was almost the only perma- 
nent settlement, and one needs only to glance at a map 
of Texas and to note the vast territory between that 
point and the Sabine, to say nothing of the territory to 
the north and west, to appreciate how slight was the 
hold of the Spanish power on the province. But whether 
slight or otherwise, the claim of Spain to Texas, for- 
mally recognized by the United States only the year 
before Moses Austin's historic journey, is now known 
to have been indisputable. 

While it was believed by some in the United States 
during the early years of the nineteenth century that 
the transfer of Louisiana created an American claim to 
Texas, and both Monroe and Adams, in negotiating the 
treaty in 1819, put forward such a claim, there really 
never was valid historic basis for it. The early histo- 
rians of Texas, notably Yoakum, adopted this thesis, 
and sought to establish a French claim founded on 
La Salle's attempt to plant a colony on Lavaca bay in 
1685. But this French attempt was a complete failure, 

15 



16 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

and, besides, Spanish exploration of the region dated 
back fully a hundred and fifty years before La Salle. 

The Spaniards were not slow to follow Christopher 
Columbus's world-startling discovery of the West Indies 
in 1492 by colonization of those islands. There were 
flourishing Spanish settlements on the islands of Cuba, 
Porto Rico, Hayti and Jamaica within twenty years 
after the first landing of Columbus, and within thirty 
years after that epoch-making event the whole coast 
of Texas had been explored. Like Columbus, the Span- 
iards continued to search for a passage leading westward 
to India, and expeditions from the islands explored the 
whole of the Gulf of Mexico on this quest. No passage 
was found, of course, because none was there, but in the 
process a number of very accurate maps of the gulf 
coast were charted by the explorers. 

Alvarez de Pinedo, an agent of the governor of Ja- 
maica, was the most important of these map-makers of 
the Mexican Gulf. He explored and mapped the whole 
coast of Texas in 1519 and sent back to Spain, through 
his master, a glowing description of "Amichel," as the 
Spaniards then called Texas. Based probably on tales 
of Indians on the coast, this story pictured a land of 
much gold and other treasure, inhabited by two races 
of men — one a race of giants and the other a race 
of pygmies. This, be it noted, was two years before 
Cortes captured the Aztec capital in Mexico. 

Pinedo's tales of Texas were an early instance of a 
new influence which began to impel Spanish adven- 
turers to set out on expeditions of exploration in the 
unknown regions of the western world just about the 
time all hope of finding a passage westward from the 




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AFTER THREE CENTURIES 17 

Mexican gulf was abandoned. This influence was the 
romancing of the Indians. The familiar story of the 
Fountain of Youth for which Ponce de Leon searched 
in Florida was only one of a great number of such yarns 
with which the natives beguiled the credulous Span- 
iards. Tales of wonderful cities and rich nations sent 
them roaming over the whole of the southern portion 
of North America from the Atlantic to the Pacific 
during the next one hundred years or more. The dis- 
covery of Mexico in 1519, and its subsequent conquest, 
was in part a verification of some of these stories, and 
the quest for "another Mexico" became the motive of 
many expeditions. 

In the spring of 1528 such an expedition which had 
gone to Florida under Panfilo de Narvaez, with the pur- 
pose of planting a colony there, met with disaster, and 
members of the company attempted to make their way 
to the Spanish settlements in Mexico by cruising along 
the coast in five improvised boats made from the hides 
of their horses. Three of these boats were wrecked, 
November 6, 1528, on an island off the coast of Texas, 
probably Galveston island, and Cabeza de Vaca, a Span- 
ish noble who had given up a high office in Spain to 
accompany Narvaez to America, reached shore safely 
with a number of companions. Nearly eight years 
were to pass before Vaca should again set foot in a 
Spanish settlement, for the Indians on the coast de- 
tained him and his companions practically as slaves, 
and though Vaca himself had many opportunities to 
escape, he postponed it from year to year in order to 
save the others as well. 

There is no more interesting narrative in all the rec- 



18 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

ords of early American exploration than the account 
which Vaca wrote of his long sojourn among the Texas 
Indians. Part of the time he acted as a medicine man, 
or rather a healer, and he also became a proficient 
trader among the various tribes. It may be said that 
Vaca was the first physician and first merchant on Texas 
soil. He sought to escape the role of physician, but 
the Indians insisted that as a child of the sun he must 
possess supernatural powers, and for a time he was given 
his choice of healing their sick or going without food. 
His method, which later caused a war of pamphlets in 
Spain, was that of praying for the recovery of his pa- 
tients and, according to his own account, he was very 
successful. 

While Vaca developed as a trader he roamed over a 
great part of South Texas and learned many of the dia- 
lects of the Indians. His account is the earliest accu- 
rate description of the country, and incidentally con- 
tains the first description of the buffalo ever set down 
on paper. Another interesting circumstance connected 
with Vaca's stay in Texas is that one of the company 
who lived to return to civilization was an African 
Moor, called Estebanico, the first black to set foot on 
Texas soil. 

In 1541 an Indian guide, whom the Spaniards called 
El Turco (the Turk) led Francisco Vasquez de Coro- 
nado and his followers out of New Mexico on a wild 
goose chase over the south plains of West Texas, seek- 
ing for one of the many fanciful cities of gold, the 
product of Indian imagination. In this case the Indians 
had method in their deception, for El Turco afterwards 



AFTER THREE CENTURIES 19 

confessed that he had been assigned by tribesmen in 
New Mexico, whom Coronado had treated with cruelty, 
to take the Spaniards out on the plains and lose them. 

The following year (1542) Luis de Morosco, chosen 
by the ill-fated De Soto, discoverer of the Mississippi, 
on his death-bed, to lead his men from the wilderness 
along that mighty stream back to civilization, attempted 
to reach Mexico by traveling overland, and crossing Red 
river near the point where Texarkana now stands, pene- 
trated Texas as far as the Brazos. 

In 1582 Antonio de Espejo, a merchant of Mexico, 
returning from the region around what is now Prescott, 
N. M., passed through West Texas and explored the 
Pecos river for some distance. 

During the next one hundred years the Spaniards 
were moving north from Mexico into California and 
New Mexico, and there is record of several expeditions 
which touched Texas at different points. Finally, in 
1682, a tribe of Indians, friendly to the Spaniards, 
driven from New Mexico by the Pueblo uprising of 
1680, was settled at a point twelve miles from the pres- 
ent city of El Paso. The new village, in which in 
time Spaniards also settled, was called Ysleta, after the 
New Mexico village from which the Indians had fled. 
It stands today, a town of two thousand inhabitants, and 
has been in continuous existence since 1682. It is the 
oldest town within the present boundaries of Texas. 

Up to this time (1682) no Frenchman had set foot 
on Texas soil. It was in that year that Robert Cavelier 
de la Salle reached the mouth of the Mississippi, hav- 
ing explored it from the mouth of the Illinois river, 






20 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

and hastened back to France to organize the expedition 
which was to end in his arrival on the shores of Mata- 
gorda bay. 

La Salle was the first man to recognize the impor- 
tance of the Mississippi as a highway of trade, and to 
propose the planting of a colony at its mouth. With 
that purpose in view he sailed from France, with equip- 
ment for a colony, in the summer of 1684. It was an 
ill-fated voyage from the first. Off the West Indies 
one of his four ships was captured by the Spaniards; 
incorrect and incomplete maps caused him to miss the 
mouth of the Mississippi, and to sail past it to the coast 
of Texas; another of his ships was wrecked entering 
Matagorda bay, and finally his naval commander, 
Beaujeu, who had been unfriendly and quarrelsome 
throughout the voyage, sailed back to France with a 
third ship, taking with him a number of La Salle's sol- 
diers and a quantity of supplies. 

La Salle landed, established a camp for his men, and 
then set out to find the Mississippi, believing it was not 
far away. Hostile Indians attacked his camp, disease 
broke out among his men, and many of them died. 
When he realized he had missed the mouth of the Mis- 
sissippi he moved his camp to another site on Garcitas 
river, near the head of Lavaca bay, and proceeded to 
build a fort and permanent colony, which he called 
Fort St. Louis. Besides the rude fort, which was con- 
structed of timbers from the wrecked ship, the colony 
consisted of five mud-plastered huts. Finally, while 
he was exploring the coast, his last ship was wrecked, 
and now he set out overland, still in search of the Mis- 
sissippi. He reached a point north of the present town 



AFTER THREE CENTURIES 21 

of Nacogdoches, when he was forced to return because 
of illness and discontent of his men. Food became 
scarce and he began to realize that unless he obtained 
help of some sort his men would be facing starvation. 
And so he resolved to attempt to reach the French set- 
tlements on the Illinois river, little dreaming the great 
distance he would be obliged to travel. He started with 
a few companions, including his brother and nephew. 
At a point on the Brazos, believed to be just above the 
town of Navasota, he was murdered by some of his 
men. A few of the party continued the journey and 
finally reached Canada. The colonists who remained 
behind perished at the hands of the hostile Indians, or 
from disease, with the exception of a few who took 
refuge among the Indians. Four years after La Salle's 
landing, when the Spaniards finally found Fort St. 
Louis, it was deserted. 

Such is the tragic story of La Salle's colonization of 
Texas. Its chief effect was to arouse the Spaniards to 
the danger of French encroachment and, temporarily at 
least, to the need of settling north of the Rio Grande. 
For the moment it caused a sensation throughout the 
Spanish settlements, both in the West Indies and 
Mexico, and expeditions were sent out to search for the 
French invaders. 

For three-quarters of a century a race had been in 
progress between the Spanish, the English and the 
French for control of territory in the new world. For 
a hundred years after the discovery of America, Spain 
had been the only colonizer, and her practical suprem- 
acy on the seas made possible her assumption of a right 
to all the new lands. But with the exploits of Sir 



22 A HISTORY OF TEXAS _^ 

Francis Drake, and the defeat of the Spanish armada 
in 1588, the Spanish power at sea waned and other na- 
tions entered the field. In 1607 Jamestown was 
founded in Virginia by the English, and in 1608 the 
French founded Quebec. Both the English and French 
spread rapidly, the English along the Atlantic coast and 
the French in Canada and into the upper Mississippi 
valley. How far English colonization had advanced 
may be appreciated when it is said that Harvard col- 
lege was fifty years old when La Salle landed on the 
Texas coast! There had been more than one clash be- 
tween the French and the English, and the Spaniards 
had encountered the English on the Atlantic coast, north 
of Florida. But more menacing was the fact that in 
1655 the English had forcibly taken the Island of 
Jamaica from the Spanish and had made the seizure 
stick, and that the French had organized the West In- 
dia company in 1664 and planted colonies on the islands 
of Guadeloupe and Martinique and in the Windward 
islands. 

These were the days of the Spanish main, and for 
some time there had been piratical raids on Spanish 
shipping. Spanish ships with rich cargoes had been 
seized and confiscated and coast towns had been at- 
tacked. And now here was an attempt by the French 
to plant a colony on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico 
itself, and just north of the Rio Grande, south of which 
were the Spanish outposts of Nuevo Leon and Coahuila! 
It was no wonder that the capture of La Salle's first 
ship by the Spaniards, thus revealing the arrival of the 
French, had excited all the Spanish settlements neigh- 
boring the gulf. 



AFTER THREE CENTURIES 23 

So expeditions were dispatched to find the French. 
After three of these had been unsuccessful, between 
1686 and 1689, Alonzo de Leon, governor of Mon- 
clova, accompanied by Father Massanet, a Franciscan 
friar, and a hundred soldiers, set out for a fourth time. 
In March, 1689, Leon finally came upon the aban- 
doned Fort St. Louis and its five huts. Three unburied 
bodies, one of them that of a woman, told the gruesome 
story of the French failure and the tragic fate which 
had befallen La Salle's colonists. The bodies of others 
evidently had been thrown into the river to be devoured 
by alligators. A few survivors were found living among 
the Indians, and two of these were taken by the Span- 
iards to Mexico. 

The Spanish authorities were now aroused to the im- 
portance of settling north of the Rio Grande and Father 
Massanet had little difficulty in obtaining their con- 
sent to establish a mission among the Tejas (Texas) 
Indians, a tribe the Spaniards had encountered during 
their search for the French, and had found friendly. 
Accordingly he returned in 1690, accompanied by a mili- 
tary escort under Leon, and established, near the Neches 
river, the first Spanish mission in Texas — the Mission 
San Francisco de los Tejas. The party visited the 
site of Fort St. Louis en route and burned the buildings, 
Father Massanet applying the torch with his own hand. 

The Mission San Francisco de los Tejas was as short- 
lived, however, as the French colony. Its personnel 
consisted of only three friars and three soldiers, Father 
Massanet believing that the presence of soldiers in 
greater number among the Indians would defeat his 
purpose of Christianizing them. Indeed, even this 



24 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

small number of soldiers seems to have contributed to 
the failure of the mission, for outrages committed by 
them among the Indians rendered it unpopular. More- 
over, the Indians were unwilling to live in communities, 
as the friars proposed, and drouth and flood alternately 
added to the difficulties encountered. In October, 
1693, the mission was abolished by order of the viceroy. 
Father Massanet applied the torch to the buildings in 
order that they might not become the nucleus for a 
new colony of the French, and thus the fate of the first 
Spanish attempt at colonization in East Texas was very 
much the same as that of Fort St. Louis. But from 
this contact with the Tejas Indians came one permanent 
result. The Spaniards began, during this period, to 
refer to the region by the name of the Mission San 
Francisco de los Tejas, shortening it, as was their habit, 
to Tejas (Texas). In time this became its permanent 
designation. 

More than twenty years were to pass before a real 
beginning was made in the colonization of Texas. 
Meantime a start had been made by the French in 
Louisiana. A French fort was built at Biloxi in 1699, 
and a little later the colony there was moved to Mobile 
bay. From this base during the next fifteen years the 
French explored much of the territory along the rivers 
flowing into the Mississippi. French influence at the 
Spanish court, it is said, was responsible for this pro- 
gressive encroachment of the French upon what was 
regarded as Spanish territory. In any event, the French 
were soon very firmly established on the gulf coast, and 
La Salle's original dream was on the way toward reali- 
zation. 



AFTER THREE CENTURIES 25 

When Antoine Crozart, in 1712, obtained from the 
king of France a monopoly of the trade of Louisiana 
for fifteen years, the newly appointed governor of the 
province, De la Mothe Cadillac, sought to open up com- 
merce with the Spanish settlements in Mexico, and it 
was this effort which led ultimately to the first suc- 
cessful colonization of Texas. Cadillac sent a ship to 
Vera Cruz and applied directly to the viceroy with a 
proposal to establish commercial relations between 
Louisiana and Mexico. To have agreed to this, the 
viceroy would have been compelled to set aside the 
settled policy of Spain with respect to her colonies, so 
the proposal was rejected. 

It seemed that the whole idea would have to be 
abandoned, when there fell into Cadillac's hands a let- 
ter which had been dispatched to the priests of Louisi- 
ana some time before by Father Francisco Hidalgo, who 
had been one of Father Massanet's companions at the 
Mission San Francisco de los Tejas, and which put an- 
other idea into Cadillac's head. The letter was simply 
a request that the Louisiana priests make an attempt to 
pacify the tribes hostile to the Asinai Indians, pointing 
out that the French were nearer to those tribes than 
the Spaniards. This letter, and another which Father 
Hidalgo had addressed to the governor of Louisiana 
himself, but which never reached its destination, have 
been interpreted as deliberate overtures to the French 
to settle in Spanish territory, with the idea that it would 
arouse the Spanish authorities to make another attempt 
to plant a mission in Texas. Whatever Father Hidal- 
go's purpose may have been, his letter caused Cadillac 
to adopt a plan of action which led to direct communi- 



26 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

cation between the French and Spanish on the Texas- 
Louisiana border, and to the first permanent coloniza- 
tion of Texas. For Cadillac dispatched Louis Juche- 
reau de St. Denis, a trusted agent, to set up a post in 
that region, and to seek out Father Hidalgo with the 
purpose of inducing the Spaniards to do likewise. 

Cadillac's agent was well chosen. Not only was St. 
Denis a seasoned frontiersman, but he was a skilled 
trader and a man of engaging personality. He set 
about his task with characteristic zeal, and late in 1713 
he planted a post among the Natchitoches Indians on 
the Red river. He then proceeded into Texas in search 
of Father Hidalgo. Accompanied by a party of Asinai 
Indians and three Frenchmen, two of whom were the 
survivors of La Salle's colony found among the Indians 
by Leon twenty-five years before, St. Denis crossed the 
Rio Grande, and proceeded to the Mission San Juan 
Bautista, in Coahuila. He did not find Father Hidalgo, 
who was absent, but he was well received by the other 
priests, and by Capt. Diego Ramon, in command of 
the presidio. Whether St. Denis disclosed boldly that 
his real purpose was to obtain the establishment of an 
illegal trade between Louisiana and the Spaniards of 
northern Mexico will never be known, but such was 
the result of his trip. 

Captain Ramon notified the authorities at the City 
of Mexico of St. Denis's presence, and asked for instruc- 
tions, meantime detaining the Frenchman in Coahuila. 
St. Denis himself improved the time by making love 
to the captain's grand-daughter, and he succeeded so 
well that she subsequently became his wife. Conducted 
to the City of Mexico, under guard, he apparently con- 



AFTER THREE CENTURIES 27 

vinced the viceroy and other authorities that he had no 
purposes unfriendly to Spain. In any event, in April, 
1716, nearly two years after his arrival in Coahuila, 
St. Denis had the satisfaction of starting back to Eastern 
Texas as the paid guide of an expedition to establish 
Spanish missions in that region. Evidently, whatever 
else the Spanish authorities thought, they concluded 
that, with the French planted on Red river, the terri- 
tory between that stream and the Rio Grande should 
be settled at once. 

The expedition consisted of sixty-five persons, and 
was under command of Capt. Domingo Ramon, a 
relative of the commander of the presidio, and of St. 
Denis's wife. Nine Franciscan friars, headed by Father 
Espinosa and Father Margil, and including Father 
Hidalgo, constituted the missionary contingent of the 
party. They took with them full equipment for the 
establishment of a number of missions, including about 
a thousand head of livestock, consisting of cattle, sheep 
and goats. 

When the expedition arrived in the region of the 
Neches and Angelina rivers, sites were chosen for four 
missions and, with the help of friendly Indians, ground 
was cleared and rude structures erected. These were 
given the names of Nuestra Senora de la Guadalupe, 
La Purisima Concepcion, San Jose and San Francisco 
de los Neches, the latter being a revival of the Mission 
San Francisco de los Tejas on a different site. Farther 
east, nearer the French territory, another mission, that 
of Nuestra Senora de los Dolores, was established and, 
convenient to the whole group, a presidio or fort was 
built. Finally, proceeding to St. Denis's post of Natchi- 



28 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

toches on the Red river, the eastern outpost of the 
Spanish domain was established by planting a mission 
in the valley of the Sabine, and east of that river, at 
Los Adaes. The site was within fifteen miles of the 
French post, and was known as the Mission San Miguel 
de Linares. The town of Robeline, La., now stands 
on this spot, the strip of land east of the Sabine becom- 
ing part of Louisiana by the treaty with the United 
States in 1819. 

So at last a Spanish center was established in Texas. 
It was soon to be followed by another, for it was recog- 
nized that a half-way point was needed to break the long 
journey from the Mission San Juan Bautista, just south 
of the Rio Grande. Indeed, en route to the French bor- 
der, Ramon and St. Denis had noted that San Pedro 
springs, on the San Antonio river, would make a splen- 
did site for a settlement. Accordingly, in the spring 
of 1718, an expedition under Martin de Alarcon, gov- 
ernor of Coahuila, established the presidio of San An- 
tonio de Bexar on that site, and Father Olivares trans- 
ferred a party of Franciscan friars from the Mission 
San Francisco Colano, on the Rio Grande, and founded 
the Mission San Antonio de Valera beside the presidio. 

This was the beginning of the city of San Antonio. 
In time a number of other missions clustered around the 
presidio, most of them moving there after being first 
established at other points in Texas. These included 
some of those established by Ramon's expedition which 
already have been mentioned. Then, in 1731, in addi- 
tion to the presidio and the mission — military and ec- 
clesiastical establishments, respectively — there was 
founded a civil settlement — the villa of San Fernando. 



AFTER THREE CENTURIES 29 

From the very first San Antonio was the chief Span- 
ish settlement in Texas. Indeed, it was almost the only 
genuinely permanent settlement, for the other two set- 
tlements existing in 1820 — Nacogdoches and La Bahia 
(Goliad) — were of very uncertain population and in- 
capable of defense against a force of any consequence. 
But San Antonio was firmly planted. It was the cen- 
ter of supplies for all the other settlements, whether 
missions or presidios, and it was the haven to which 
settlements were moved when, for any reason, they 
were abandoned. It was only through San Antonio de 
Bexar that there may be said to have been any permanent 
Spanish occupation of Texas at all. 

During the remainder of the eighteenth century 
more than a score of missions and presidios were estab- 
lished by the Spaniards in different parts of Texas, only 
to be abandoned later or moved to San Antonio for one 
reason or another. Most of these were in the eastern 
section, but attempts were made also to plant missions 
among the Apaches and the Comanches in the west. 
The warlike character of these Indians doomed these 
attempts to failure from the start, and even in East 
Texas it can not be said that the missions were more 
than temporarily successful. Splendid work was done 
by the self-sacrificing friars, to be sure, in pacifying 
and civilizing the Indians. The record of their labors 
is a glorious page in the Spanish history of Texas. But 
not much of it was self-supporting and frequently in- 
vestments of comparatively large amounts of money, 
to say nothing of the investment of labor, were brought 
to naught by failure in the end. The purpose of the 
missions was to Christianize the Indians and to civilize 



30 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

them in the sense of inducing them to live in com- 
munities, but their success in doing either was hardly 
permanent in character. Nor can it be said that they 
had a permanent effect upon the settling of the coun- 
try. It was the presidio at San Antonio that made that 
settlement the center, and neither La Bahia nor Nacog- 
doches developed from missions. In 1785 there were 
fewer than five hundred Indians attached to all the 
missions in Texas, whereas twenty years before there had 
been more than two thousand. The number, both of 
missions and of Indians attached to them, had been fur- 
ther reduced when Spain secularized the missions in 
1794. A few of them persisted after that date, but all 
had disappeared by 1820. 

Spain made sporadic efforts during the whole period 
to promote immigration and colonization in Texas, but 
the population did not grow, nor did any very material 
permanent development result. The hostility of the 
Indians was the chief cause of this failure, but it must 
be admitted that the transfer of Louisiana to Spanish 
rule, in 1763, and the Spanish occupation of that rich 
province for forty years thereafter, made the coloniza- 
tion of Texas of little immediate importance, and this 
undoubtedly had much influence upon Spanish effort 
in Texas. It ceased to be border territory when Spain 
took possession of Louisiana, of course. Had the 
French remained in control of Louisiana, and had not 
Spanish effort been directed so decidedly toward the 
development of that province, the history of Texas 
between 1763 and 1803 might have been a record 
of greater progress. But whatever the cause, the 
Spanish effort to colonize Texas had not been bril- 



AFTER THREE CENTURIES 31 

liantly successful. In 1820 the population of the 
province was waning, and it had been falling off for 
several years. 

Two events should be recorded here because of their 
relation to the aspect Texas presented in 1820. One 
of these came shortly after the founding of San An- 
tonio. In 1719 war between Spain and France broke 
out in Europe, and there was some echo of it in the 
colonies in America. The French at Natchitoches 
showed signs of attacking the Spanish settlement at Los 
Adaes and, without waiting to make any resistance, the 
Spaniards at that place, and from all the settlements 
in East Texas, fled to San Antonio. Meantime, an 
expedition was sent from Louisiana to establish a French 
fort on the Texas coast, near the site of La Salle's old 
colony. Hostile Indians prevented this move, but 
after the restoration of peace between France and Spain 
in Europe, when the Spaniards reoccupied East Texas, 
the Marques of Aguayo, governor of Coahuila, built a 
presidio at that point. This was the beginning of Bahia 
del Espiritu Santo, shortened by popular usage into La 
Bahia. The Indians forced the Spaniards to move, just 
as they had the French, and the presidio was reestab- 
lished further inland. In 1749 it was moved again, this 
time to the present site of the town of Goliad. 

The other event referred to was the withdrawal of 
the Spanish settlements from East Texas after the trans- 
fer of Louisiana to Spanish rule, and the subsequent 
reoccupation of that section by its former inhabitants. 
The weakness of the frontier against Indian depreda- 
tions, the comparative failure of the remaining mis- 
sions, the expense of maintaining the presidio at Los 



32 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

Adaes, and the fact that the boundary between Louisi- 
ana and Texas had lost its importance through the with- 
drawal of the French from North America, led to the 
creation of a new frontier by royal order in 1772. This 
order provided for the abandonment of East Texas en- 
tirely, and the fixing of the Texas frontier along a 
line extending from San Antonio de Bexar to La Bahia. 
The presidio at Los Adaes was abolished, and the settlers 
in East Texas were ordered to move to lands around 
San Antonio. To do this meant great sacrifice and 
hardship for these people, for they would be compelled 
to abandon their homes, leaving their crops in the fields, 
and to lose the fruits of years of labor. Many of them 
had been born in East Texas, and therefore felt a nat- 
ural attachment to the region. But, in spite of all this, 
it had been decided that they must leave it. Antonio 
Gil Ybarbo, a prosperous ranchman, and a native of East 
Texas, led in attempting to obtain a stay of the royal 
order. The order was carried out in 1773, however, 
and the entire population, with the exception of a few 
persons who fled to the woods, and others who were 
temporarily left at points along the way because of ill- 
ness, was moved to San Antonio. But Ybarbo and others 
who had most at stake continued to importune the cen- 
tral government to permit them to return, and Ybarbo 
went to Mexico City to obtain the viceroy's consent to 
this. After much controversy between conflicting au- 
thorities, Ybarbo and a number of the East Texans were 
permitted to establish themselves on the banks of the 
Trinity river, somewhere in the neighborhood of the 
present counties of Walker and Madison. They 
founded the pueblo of Pilar de Bucareli, which had an 




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AFTER THREE CENTURIES 33 

existence of varied fortunes from 1774 until the end 
of 1778. The Comanche Indians raided the place in 
the latter year, and became so menacing that the settlers 
petitioned to be allowed to move further east. Indeed, 
in January and February, 1779, without awaiting offi- 
cial sanction, they moved to the site of the "depopulated 
mission of Nacogdoches." 

Immediately following their exodus, the town of 
Bucareli was inundated by an overflow of the Trinity, 
and this circumstance was added to the considerations 
which induced the authorities finally to approve the 
reestablishment of the pueblo on the new site. Ybarbo 
found the mission at Nacogdoches still standing, and 
eighty or ninety wooden houses. He does not mention 
a stone fort, which figured prominently in the subse- 
quent history of Nacogdoches, and this seems to have 
been built at a later date. But it was this migration 
which rejuvenated Nacogdoches, and the town has been 
in continuous existence ever since. 

San Antonio, La Bahia, Nacogdoches — these consti- 
tuted the total result of Spanish colonization in Texas 
when Moses Austin crossed the Sabine in 1820. In 
consequence of Long's escapade the year before, and 
of other similar activities from across the Sabine, the 
latter place was in ruins, only five houses and a church 
standing entire. The country between Nacogdoches 
and San Antonio was a complete wilderness, and to the 
west from San Antonio there were no settlements at all. 
The Apaches, Comanches and other hostile Indians were 
in undisputed possession there, and they did not hesi- 
tate even to make raids upon San Antonio itself. The 



34 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

abandoned missions, east and west, were mute witnesses 
of the failure of the Spanish effort at colonizing Texas. 
During the same period the Anglo-Americans had 
peopled half the continent with a population of ten 
million. They had now arrived at the Texas frontier, 
and Moses Austin was on his way to San Antonio to 
announce their advent to the governor. 



CHAPTER III. 

TWO DECADES OF FRICTION. 

In order to appreciate the daring character of the 
undertaking upon which Moses Austin had launched — 
his journey, alone and unguarded, through the Texas 
wilderness, and his decision to lay before the Spanish 
authorities the audacious proposal to settle Americans 
in that province — it is necessary to understand that 
Americans were the most unpopular people in the world 
among the officials of New Spain in 1820, and that the 
one place in Mexico more than any other where Ameri- 
cans were unwelcome was Texas. 

This unpopularity began in friction over the boun- 
dary of West Florida immediately after the Revolu- 
tionary war; it was intensified by the controversy over 
the navigation of the Mississippi, and by the transfer 
of Louisiana, and everything that had happened be- 
tween the latter event and 1820 had served to increase 
the feeling of antipathy and suspicion with which the 
Spaniards regarded the Americans. When it is consid- 
ered that the area of the United States was more than 
doubled between 1800 and 1820, and that every inch 
of new territory annexed during those twenty years was 
under Spanish rule in 1800, it is hardly to be wondered 
at that the Spaniards should be just a little suspicious of 
American intentions with respect to Texas. 

That Napoleon treated Spain rather shabbily in the 
Louisiana matter can not be denied, for the transfer to 

35 



36 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

France was made reluctantly, and with a stipulation 
in the treaty that the province should not be ceded to 
any third power without Spain's consent. The ink was 
hardly dry on the paper of the treaty when Napoleon 
sold Louisiana to the United States. Spain objected 
very decidedly to the transfer, and it was not until 
two months after the United States was in actual pos- 
session of Louisiana that Spain notified the American 
minister that "the opposition of his Catholic majesty 
to the alienation of Louisiana was withdrawn, in spite 
of the solid reasons on which it was founded." Spain 
was in no position to quarrel with Napoleon. But the 
Spaniards, especially those in the colonial service, con- 
tinued to resent being forced to give up Louisiana. 

The earliest instance of a clash between Americans 
and the Spaniards in Texas, however, antedated the 
Louisiana purchase. In 1800 Philip Nolan, who had 
conducted an unlawful trade between Natchez and San 
Antonio for some years, invaded Texas with a force of 
twenty-one men on a mission, the character of which 
has never been satisfactorily explained. The Spanish 
authorities, in any event, were informed by a deserter 
from Nolan's party that his purpose was to build a fort 
in Northeast Texas to serve as a base for the conquer- 
ing of the province at some later date, and they acted 
upon that information. Nolan penetrated Texas as far 
as the Brazos and established a camp. After capturing 
about three hundred wild horses, the party moved to a 
village of Comanche Indians on Red river, where they 
spent a month, and then returned to the camp on the 
Brazos. Meantime the Spanish authorities, being ap- 
prised of their presence, sent a force of one hundred 



TWO DECADES OF FRICTION 37 

men from Nacogdoches to find them. On March 21, 
1801, the Spaniards came upon Nolan's camp, which 
was situated near the point where the city of Waco now 
stands, and a battle ensued. Nolan was killed and the 
members of his party captured. Three Americans es- 
caped shortly after the battle, and the remainder of the 
party, consisting of eight Americans, one Mexican and 
one Louisiana Creole, were taken to Nacogdoches. 
From there they were sent to San Antonio in irons, and 
later were moved to San Luis Potosi. After spending 
sixteen months in prison they were moved again, and 
in 1804 were given a trial and their release was or- 
dered. This was objected to by the commandant of 
the internal provinces, and the matter was referred to 
Spain. Finally, in 1807, the decision came from Spain 
that one man of each five should be executed, the choice 
to be made by lot, and that the others should serve ten 
years at hard labor. This meant that two out of the 
ten should be chosen, but inasmuch as one had died in 
the meantime, the authorities decided that the execu- 
tion of one would satisfy the decree. The choice fell 
upon Ephraim Blackburn, and he was hanged at Chi- 
huahua on November 11, 1807. The others were sent 
to different penal settlements, and one of them, Ellis 
Bean, subsequently took part in the revolution of Mo- 
rales in 1812, and later served as an officer in the Mexi- 
can army. 

Meantime, following the Louisiana purchase, the 
controversy which arose over the boundaries of both 
Florida and Texas did much to keep alive the ani- 
mosity of the Spaniards. There were clashes on the 
Texas border, and for a time war seemed certain. 



38 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

Finally, when Spanish troops were prevented from oc- 
cupying Los Adaes, and the American commander in- 
sisted that they should remain on the western side of 
the Sabine, an agreement was reached by which the land 
lying between the Sabine and the Arroyo Hondo, the 
old French boundary, was declared a neutral zone which 
neither should occupy until the dispute could be settled. 
This agreement, made between Gen. James Wilkin- 
son, commander in chief of the American army, and 
General Herrera, the Spanish commander, was subse- 
quently ratified by both governments, with the stipu- 
lation that it should remain in effect until the boundary 
could be fixed by treaty. It was in this way that the 
so-called "neutral ground" was created in 1806. 

But several years were to pass before such a treaty 
was signed. In the spring of 1808 Spain was thrown 
into a condition of civil war by the action of Napoleon 
in attempting to inflict his brother, Joseph Bonaparte, 
upon the Spaniards as their king, and for four years 
thereafter the country was the battleground of the 
Peninsular war between the French and the English. 
Joseph Bonaparte's government was challenged from 
the start and was recognized by only a small class in 
Spain. At one time there were as many as three con- 
flicting authorities presuming to rule the country, and 
meantime all of Spanish America sprang into revolu- 
tion and began a struggle for independence. Disputes 
over colonial boundaries became small matters, and 
when the treaty was finally taken up again all kinds 
of obstacles arose to prevent an agreement. The "neu- 
tral ground," therefore, was for thirteen years a "no- 
man's land," over which no nation exercised authority. 



TWO DECADES OF FRICTION 39 

i — — wmmmmmimm ■ — p— p— — — ■» — ——————— I—— — immmm* 

It became the rendezvous of lawless characters, who 
engaged in every manner of illegal activity, and who 
preyed upon the people of both Louisiana and Texas. 
This was a source of much irritation throughout the 
period. 

Immediately following the establishment of the neu- 
tral ground a sensation was created throughout the 
United States, and in Spain and Mexico, by the arrest 
of Aaron Burr, who had been vice president of the 
United States during Jefferson's first administration, 
on a charge of conspiracy and treason. The charge 
was that Burr had attempted to set on foot an expedi- 
tion into the Southwest with the purpose of establishing 
an empire of which he should be the ruler. This 
scheme, it was said, proposed to include the seizure of 
Texas and other Spanish territory, as well as certain 
territory belonging to the United States. The tech- 
nical charge of treason was not proved against Burr, 
but enough was brought out to show that he and 
those associated with him had seriously contemplated 
some such project, and that apparently a large number 
of persons in the Southwest had regarded it as feasible. 
How these revelations were received in Spain and Mex- 
ico can easily be imagined. They seemed to justify 
Spanish fears and suspicions, and the fact that Burr 
was acquitted was regarded as having a sinister sig- 
nificance. 

In the midst of the Bonaparte controversy in Spain, 
and when all the Spanish colonies in South America 
were rising in revolution, the English settlers in part 
of West Florida held a convention in 1810 and declared 
themselves free and independent. They sent a com- 



40 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

munication to the president of the United States, James 
Madison, asking that they be recognized as such, but 
instead of granting their request, Madison instructed 
Governor Claiborne of Louisiana to send a military 
force into the district and take possession on the ground 
that it was properly a part of the Louisiana purchase. 
Troops were sent and two years later the occupied ter- 
ritory was extended. Spain protested against this ac- 
tion as high-handed and unwarranted, but the American 
troops remained. This territory was finally ceded to 
the United States with the rest of Florida, in 1819, 
but the incident was added to the list of Spanish 
"grievances." 

During the early negotiations over the western boun- 
dary of Louisiana, the American government had set 
up a claim to the whole of Texas to the Rio Grande, 
and the growth of the idea among the American people 
that Texas was really included in the purchase of Louisi- 
ana, and that the Spaniards were usurpers of American 
rights, did not serve to put the latter in a better humor. 
Finally, the activity of American adventurers in con- 
nection with attempted revolutions in Mexico, which 
went even to the extent of invading Texas, served to 
increase Spanish aversion and suspicion. 

In the summer of 1810 Miguel Hidalgo, parish priest 
of the town of Dolores, in the province of Guanajuato, 
Mexico, appeared at the head of a revolt of native 
Mexicans who rallied to the cry, "Death to the Span- 
iards!" He gathered a considerable force around him 
and for a time made much headway. But the Spanish 
authorities put down the movement in a crushing man- 



TWO DECADES OF FRICTION 41 

ner, and Hidalgo was captured and executed in July, 
1811. However, the spirit of revolt had gotten abroad, 
and in 1813 Jose Maria Morelos, another priest, took 
up Hidalgo's cry, and called a Mexican congress. It 
met on September 13, 1813, and, although there were 
only eight delegates present, they declared Mexico in- 
dependent of Spain. This movement, too, was success- 
ful for a time, but in eighteen months it had been com- 
pletely suppressed, and Morelos was executed in De- 
cember, 1815. After that there were sporadic out- 
bursts here and there in Mexico, and small groups con- 
tinued to agitate revolution, but nothing more of a for- 
midable character had appeared in the interior of 
Mexico up to 1820. 

One of Hidalgo's associates, Bernardo Gutierres, es- 
caped to the United States in 1811 and made his way 
to Natchitoches, La., just on the edge of the neutral 
ground. From that vantage point he proceeded to plan 
an invasion of Mexico through Texas. He found many 
Americans ready to become associated with such an 
enterprise, not so much because of sympathy with the 
cause of revolution in Mexico, as because it supplied 
an excuse for the invasion of Texas. It was the popu- 
lar American view at that time that if Mexico ob- 
tained independence of Spain there would be little dif- 
ficulty in fixing the American boundary at the Rio 
Grande, and, besides, a "grateful people" could be ex- 
pected to reward their "deliverers." At Natchitoches 
Gutierres made the acquaintance of Lieut. Augustus 
Magee, an American officer who was stationed there, 
and who had had some experience in hunting criminals 
on the neutral ground. Together they formed the 



42 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

—— ■— ■ ■ ■ — i i i i ii ■ .1.1 ■ i.i.i. h i ii i mi l n 

plan to organize a force for an expedition into Texas, 
Magee having resigned from the United States army 
in order to undertake it. 

The denizens of the neutral ground were the nucleus 
around which their army was recruited, about one hun- 
dred and fifty of these adventurers forming the first 
contingent which Gutierres led across the border in 
person. In August, 1811, Gutierres took possession of 
Nacogdoches, the Spanish troops there fleeing without 
showing fight. Magee, who had been busy recruiting, 
soon joined him with additional forces, and the party 
proceeded, first to the fort at the crossing of the Trin- 
ity, known as Spanish Bluff, and then to La Bahia. 
With the force that Magee had brought, and recruits 
obtained at Nacogdoches, they numbered eight hun- 
dred. Magee was the real leader of the party, though 
Gutierres was nominally commander in order to give 
the expedition the semblance of being officially part of 
the Mexican revolution. Magee's subordinate officers in- 
cluded Major Kemper and Captains Perry, Lockett, 
Ross and Gaines. 

Governor Salcedo, of the province of Texas, had 
been notified of the projected invasion, and he went 
in person to take command of the troops at La Bahia. 
Leaving the fort practically unguarded, he sallied forth 
to intercept the invaders, but Magee got word of this 
and, by a roundabout movement, succeeded in passing 
Salcedo without being discovered, and easily took pos- 
session of La Bahia during the Spaniard's absence. Sal- 
cedo returned and began a siege which lasted four 
months. Several attacks were made, during which the 



TWO DECADES OF FRICTION 43 

Spaniards suffered heavy losses, and finally, after an 
unsuccessful attempt to induce the members of the 
party to lay down their arms and return peacefully to 
the United States, Salcedo marched away toward San 
Antonio, Magee died during this siege, one story being 
that he committed suicide after his companions refused 
to accept Salcedo's offer to permit them to leave Texas 
unmolested. 

Major Kemper now took command, always keeping 
up the subterfuge of Gutierres's leadership. New re- 
cruits flocked to the movement, including a party of 
Indians. In March, 1813, the invading army arrived 
outside of San Antonio and, after a decisive battle with 
Salcedo's forces — known as the battle of Rosillo — en- 
tered the town. 

Now Gutierres began to assume authority, which up 
to that time had been only nominal. He proposed that 
Salcedo and his staff be sent to New Orleans until after 
the war, and started them on the journey to the coast 
under guard of a Captain Delgado and a party of Mexi- 
cans. Delgado, it subsequently developed, simply took 
the prisoners a little way outside of San Antonio and 
ordered his men to fall upon them and behead them 
with their knives. This barbarous order was carried 
out in terrible detail, Salcedo and his entire staff, four- 
teen in number, being murdered and horribly mutilated. 

Major Kemper and his associates were shocked be- 
yond expression when they learned of this, and they 
placed Delgado under arrest. Delgado made the de- 
fense that Salcedo had executed his father and dis- 
played his head on a pole in San Antonio, and that 
Gutierres had given him permission to wreak this ter- 



44 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

rible vengeance. The Americans then deposed Gu- 
tierres, and many of them, including Kemper, Lockett 
and Ross, left for the United States. 

Captain Perry remained, however, with a force said 
to consist of eight hundred Americans, in spite of the 
defections — so rapidly had reinforcements come from 
across the Sabine — and the invading army continued 
in control of San Antonio. General Arredondo, com- 
mandant of the eastern internal provinces, learning of 
the murder of Salcedo and his staff, sent a force under 
General Elisondo to drive the invaders from the town 
and to eject the Americans from Texas. Elisondo ap- 
proached San Antonio in June, 1813, but the Ameri- 
cans met him and in a pitched battle completely de- 
feated him and sent the remnant of his army scurry- 
ing across the Rio Grande. 

The "republicans" now seemed firmly entrenched, 
being completely in control of Texas, and from this base 
proposed to invade the interior of Mexico. In July 
Don Jose Alvarez Toledo, a Spanish revolutionary who 
had been a member of the cortes in Spain, and 
had fled to the United States, came from Louisiana 
and established a governing junta at San Antonio. He 
was elected commander in chief of "the republican 
army of the north," and plans were set under way to 
establish civil government in Texas and to proceed to 
carry the "revolution" south of the Rio Grande. The 
residents of San Antonio seemed to be in thorough sym- 
pathy with the movement, and everything was going 
well. With new forces to be recruited in the United 
States, it was expected that a triumphant march to 
Mexico City would soon be started. 



TWO DECADES OF FRICTION 45 

But Arredondo did not wait for the "republicans" 
to cross the Rio Grande. The course events had taken 
in Texas called for prompt action, so placing himself 
at the head of an army, he proceeded toward San An- 
tonio. Learning of his approach, Toledo went out to 
meet him, and thus fell into a trap Arredondo had 
prepared. Besides the Americans under Perry, Toledo's 
forces consisted of about twice as many Mexicans and 
a party of Indians. The Mexicans are said to have 
fled in confusion at the outset of the battle, and the 
Americans and Indians were left to fight Arredondo's 
superior army alone. The result was the practical de- 
struction of the "republican^ army. Arredondo took 
possession of San Antonio and proceeded to chastise 
the inhabitants for their sympathy with the revolution- 
ists. Perry escaped across the Sabine with ninety-eight 
men, all that remained of the Magee expedition, which 
at one time had numbered nearly a thousand Americans. 

This utter failure of an enterprise which for a time 
seemed so successful, and which excited Americans 
throughout the Southwest, put a quietus upon activities 
in connection with the revolutionary movement in 
Mexico. Morelos was executed in 1815 and things 
quieted down in the interior. But in 1 8 1 6 a new activ- 
ity sprang up on the Texas coast, and here again Ameri- 
can adventurers played an important part. Early in 
that year, Luis de Aury, bearing a commission from the 
Morelos "congress" as "commodore of the fleet" of 
the revolutionary government, took possession of Gal- 
veston island and established a base for operations in 
the gulf against Spanish shipping. He gathered around 
him a force of men, said to have come from the four 



46 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

corners of the earth, and among whom were many 
Americans, and opened up war on Spanish commerce. 
This was the ostensible aim of his activities, but there 
is evidence that the crews of the privateers in his service 
were not particular about the flag a prize ship might 
be flying if it gave promise of a rich cargo, and it is 
certain that a considerable business was carried on in 
the smuggling of negroes into Louisiana in violation 
of the law of 1808, prohibiting the importation of 
slaves into the United States. The plain truth is that 
Aury's commission as "commodore" was used as a cloak 
for piracy, and the "government" which he set up on 
Galveston island was little else than a pirate organiza- 
tion. Indeed, it is said that a number of substantial 
men in New Orleans were interested in the enterprise, 
and that it was quite profitable. 

Aury was soon joined by Captain Perry, whose ex- 
perience in the Magee expedition apparently had not 
cured him, and who brought with him a force of one 
hundred men. Then in September, 1816, there arrived 
at Galveston, Xavier Mina, a Spanish officer who had 
served in the Peninsular war, but who had been com- 
pelled to leave Spain because of republican ideas. Mina 
brought with him three ships and a force of about two 
hundred men. 

Mina's purpose was to invade Mexico from the coast 
south of the Rio Grande, and he sought to enlist Aury 
in the enterprise. Aury was not enthusiastic, probably 
because of the lucrative nature of his "war on Spanish 
commerce," but he finally consented to accompany 
Mina and Perry. Accordingly, after setting fire to the 
buildings Aury had erected on the island, the party 



TWO DECADES OF FRICTION 47 

started for the coast of Tamaulipas in April, 1817. 
They entered Santander river and easily captured the 
town of Soto la Marina, some distance inland. After 
having landed the force, however, Aury washed his 
hands of the undertaking and set sail for Galveston 
island. Mina and Perry had some temporary successes 
and they proceeded to the interior, but Arredondo took 
quick and decisive action in dealing with this latest 
invasion. Mina was captured and executed and Perry 
escaped across the Rio Grande with a remnant of his 
band. The latter encountered a superior force of Span- 
iards near La Bahia and, to avoid capture, he is said 
to have committed suicide, just as his erstwhile com- 
mander, Magee, is said to have done four years before. 

Aury hastened back to Galveston island to resume his 
piratical operations. But he was too late. Another 
"commodore" with a revolutionary commission had 
seized the opportunity presented by his absence and had 
taken possession of the island. This was Jean Lafitte, 
the famed Barrataria buccaneer, who had been com- 
pelled to leave his old haunts out of respect for the 
American navy. Finding himself thus superseded, 
Aury transferred his operations to the Florida coast, 
and Lafitte proceeded to build the pirate town of Cam- 
peche, on the site of the present city of Galveston. 
Lafitte organized his band into a "government," and 
formally swore allegiance to the republican cause in 
Mexico. In this "holy" cause he began such war on 
Spanish commerce and, incidentally, the commerce of 
some other countries on the side, that he finally attracted 
again the attention of the American government, which 
ultimately put him out of business in 1822. 



48 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

Lafitte was at Galveston island in 1820, at the very 
moment Moses Austin was on his way to San Antonio. 
Dr. James Long, who had led an expedition into Texas 
the year before, after the indignation meeting at 
Natchez over Monroe's "surrender of the rights of the 
United States," was in New Orleans organizing an- 
other expedition. He had failed to interest Lafitte in 
his enterprise, but he had built a fort at Bolivar Point, 
and was now recruiting forces for another effort. He 
had a great scheme of conquering Texas and establish- 
ing a government that would sell the land to settlers 
at one dollar an acre. Lafitte found the sea more prof- 
itable for the present, however, though he told Long 
that he had his good wishes. 

In all of these activities adventurous Americans had 
been conspicuous. The Magee expedition was almost 
entirely an enterprise of Americans, many of Aury's 
associates were Americans, Perry's band was made up 
of Americans, Lafitte himself was nominally an Ameri- 
can, with many Americans among his men, and finally 
Long's project was an out-and-out American proposi- 
tion. The United States government had made some 
effort to deal with these gentlemen, and some of them 
had been indicted at New Orleans for violating the 
neutrality laws. But the Spanish colonial officials, far 
from being reassured by this, firmly believed the United 
States had designs on Texas. Whatever Americans 
might have thought of the treaty of 1819, the officials 
of New Spain saw in it chiefly another successful en- 
croachment upon Spanish territory. Many of them had 
expected to see the king of Spain recover Louisiana, 
after the fall of Napoleon, and had freely predicted 




JEAN LAFITTE. 



TWO DECADES OF FRICTION 49 

this would take place, but instead they had witnessed 
more Spanish territory transferred to the United States. 
Would Texas be next? Something of this sort fairly 
represents the view taken by Spanish colonial officials 
in 1820. 

Meantime, Arredondo, who had distinguished him- 
self in suppressing rebels, and who had captured Hi- 
dalgo in 1811, had been commandant of the eastern 
internal provinces, including Texas, for some time. 
He had had much trouble with Americans, most of it, 
as has been seen, being concerned with keeping them 
out of Texas. He had also been called upon to eject 
a colony of French veterans of the Napoleonic wars 
who had settled on the Trinity, in 1818, without so 
much as awaiting Spanish permission to enter the prov- 
ince. But nearly all his troubles had been with Ameri- 
cans, and he was determined to keep them off Texas soil. 
He suspected that Long was contemplating some fur- 
ther move, and had given Martinez, then governor of 
Texas, the most emphatic instructions to the effect that 
Americans were not to be permitted to enter Texas un- 
der any pretext. Arredondo did not have a high opin- 
ion of Martinez, a circumstance of which the latter 
was perfectly aware, and coupled with these instructions 
was the hint that failure to obey them to the letter 
might result in serious consequences. So Martinez had 
promised faithfully to carry them out. 

Such was the condition of affairs when Moses Aus- 
tin, unannounced, unaccompanied, and without a pass- 
port, arrived in San Antonio, sought out the govern- 
ment house and asked to see Martinez. 



CHAPTER IV. 

MOSES AUSTIN LEADS WAY. 

Who was this man Moses Austin? How did he 
come to the decision to make the long and perilous 
journey through the wilderness to set before the au- 
thorities of New Spain such a preposterous proposal as 
that of settling Anglo-Americans in Texas? On what 
ground did he expect to obtain their consent to such 
a plan? Was he merely a dreamer who closed his 
eyes to facts and thus brought himself to believe in the 
probability of the impossible? Or did he take into con- 
sideration facts of the situation which were overlooked 
by men of less insight? As has been said, most men of 
his day would have regarded his project as impractical 
and his journey as a fool's errand. Why did he think 
differently about it? 

Far from being an impractical dreamer, Moses 
Austin was a man of practical common sense, and he 
had decided to make this journey only after mature 
and deliberate consideration of the project from every 
angle. Two events had conspired to induce him to 
undertake it. One was the panic of the previous year, 
which had swept away all he possessed. At the age of fif- 
ty-four years he found himself penniless and faced with 
the necessity of starting life anew. The other event 
was the signing of the treaty fixing the boundary be- 
tween New Spain and the United States at the Sabine. 
The one factor was his own necessity. The other, as 

51 



52 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

he saw it, was New Spain's. For, while the treaty settled 
finally Spain's legal title to Texas, Moses Austin had 
come to the conclusion that in order to prevent that 
territory from becoming a complete wilderness over 
which the Indians would regain absolute sway, and to 
protect it from encroachment by the United States, 
such as had just resulted in the loss of Florida, Spain 
would be compelled to settle up the country without 
delay. There was no hope of settling it with Spaniards 
or Mexicans. A century of effort to that end had failed. 
And if not by Spaniards and Mexicans, then by whom? 
Moses Austin reasoned that Anglo-American coloniza- 
tion was Spain's only hope, and he expected to convince 
the authorities of New Spain of this. 

It is a fact worthy of remark that Moses Austin 
was the first man to recognize this situation. He rec- 
ognized it not only before any other American, but be- 
fore it was recognized by the authorities of New Spain 
themselves. That he should appreciate its significance 
was due in large measure to his previous history, and 
the part he had taken in dealing with a similar situa- 
tion in Upper Louisiana, when it was a Spanish domin- 
ion, prior to its purchase from Napoleon by the United 
States. Twenty-three years before he had been one 
of those Americans who moved into the Spanish do- 
main and became Spanish subjects, when the settlement 
of the frontier was a problem in Upper Louisiana. The 
same problem, it seemed, now presented itself in Texas. 

The policy of receiving non-Spanish settlers into its 
dominions bordering those of another country had been 
followed by Spain in the past, and it will help to an 
understanding of Moses Austin and his mission if this 



MOSES AUSTIN LEADS WAY 53 

is borne in mind. He had observed that policy in opera- 
tion and had seen it bear good fruit. He now proposed 
that it should be applied to Texas. 

Almost from the time that Spain took possession of 
Louisiana, after the treaty of 1765, the question of the 
settlement of the frontier in Upper Louisiana presented 
itself. And, well-nigh from the outset, desirable foreign 
settlers were admitted. The fact that the original settlers 
of that region themselves were not Spanish, but French, 
and were obliged to take the oath of allegiance to Spain, 
may have made this policy seem natural. In any event 
the first foreigners admitted after the Spanish occupa- 
tion were remnants of the unfortunate Acadians and a 
number of French Canadians who, after the transfer 
of Canada to England, desired to live in a Catholic 
country. 

But as early as 1776 we find Don Francisco Bouligny, 
"captain of the battalion of infantry in the province of 
Louisiana," advising as one of the measures calculated 
to render impotent the English settlement of Manchac 
on the east bank of the Mississippi, near the Louisiana 
border, the admission of English Catholics from that 
settlement into the colony. Indeed, he even suggests 
that this might be extended to include non-Catholics. 
"For," said he, "it is so important for the state that 
Manchac should not prosper, that any individual should 
be admitted, whatever be his nation, especially if he 
comes with his family and his negroes." 

During the Revolutionary war, in which the Louisi- 
ana colonists fought as allies of the Americans, a friend- 
liness naturally developed between them and refugees 
from the English colonies settled in Louisiana. In 



54 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

1779, for example, Galvez, the governor of the prov- 
ince, visited the newly established town of Galveztown 
at the junction of the Amite and Iberville rivers, which 
had been founded by "English and Americans who had 
fled to the possessions of the king of Spain." They 
petitioned that the name of the town be not changed, 
"as they had found a refuge there during Galvez's ad- 
ministration." These and other refugees from the 
English colonies were permitted, by royal order, to re- 
main permanently in Louisiana after the close of the 
war, and from that point forward, practically until the 
transfer of Louisiana to the United States, foreigners, 
and especially Anglo-Americans, were admitted as col- 
onists. 

Indeed, it became the policy of Spain to encourage 
such immigration into Upper Louisiana, and contracts 
for the settlement of a stated number of families were 
granted to colonizers, or "empresarios," as they came to 
be called, as early as 1788. In that year the Spanish 
minister at Philadelphia arranged with Col. George 
Morgan, of New Jersey, a veteran of the Revolution- 
ary war, to found a colony on the west bank of the 
Mississippi, in Upper Louisiana. Colonel Morgan se- 
lected a site opposite the mouth of the Ohio river, which 
he bombastically declared to be the most important spot, 
both from a commercial and military standpoint, in 
the whole of Louisiana. He gave it the high-sounding 
name of New Madrid, and he expected it to rival the 
ancient Castilian capital in importance. He projected 
many ambitious plans for his colony, some of which 
the Louisiana authorities refused to approve because of 
their progressive democratic character, but he did in- 



MOSES AUSTIN LEADS WAY 55 

troduce a number of families, all of whom were given 
generous land grants, and at the time of the transfer 
of Louisiana to the United States, New Madrid had a 
population of about eight hundred. Incidentally, Colo- 
nel Morgan was one of the witnesses against Aaron Burr 
in the conspiracy trial in 1806. 

In this connection also it is to be noted that prior 
to the treaty of 1795, the authorities at New Orleans 
intrigued with Gen. James Wilkinson, of Kentucky, 
subsequently commander in chief of the American 
army, and who also figured as a witness against Burr, 
to detach the territories of Kentucky and Tennessee 
from the United States and attach them to Louisiana. 
This intrigue was fruitless, but it serves to illustrate 
the policy of Spain at this time, for had it been suc- 
cessful it would have brought a great number of Anglo- 
Americans into the jurisdiction of the province. More- 
over, Miro, the governor of Louisiana who had most 
to do with Wilkinson, encouraged immigration from 
the American territory into Upper Louisiana. Indeed, 
special inducements were made to get them to immi- 
grate, and Miro even went so far as to guarantee that 
such immigrants would not be molested in the matter 
of their religion. 

An incident which occurred in 1788, and which is 
authenticated by a dispatch from Miro to the home 
government, dated June 3, 1789, is very illuminating 
on this point. A Capuchin priest arrived in Louisiana 
as "commissary of the Spanish inquisition," and applied 
to Miro for military assistance in carrying out the duties 
at his office. Instead of granting the cooperation re- 
quested, Miro had the priest arrested at night and placed 



56 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

on board a vessel about to sail for Spain. Reporting 
the affair to the home government, Miro said: "His 
majesty has ordered that I should foster an increase in 
population, admitting the inhabitants living on the 
banks of the rivers that flow into the Ohio. . . . 
These people were invited with the promise of not be- 
ing molested in matters of religion, although the only 
mode of worship was to be the Catholic. The mere 
name of the inquisition of New Orleans would not only 
suffice to restrain the immigration already beginning to 
take place, but might cause those who have recently 
arrived to retire, and I even fear that, in spite of having 
ordered Father Sadella to leave the country, the cause 
may be found out and have the most fatal consequences." 

This policy of encouraging American immigration 
was continued and many Anglo-Americans and other 
foreigners were admitted under contract and as indi- 
viduals during the next ten years. If it had any effects 
injurious to the interests of Spain, there is no record of 
them, and the policy might have been continued in- 
definitely had it not been interrupted temporarily dur- 
ing the controversy with the United States over the 
question of a port of entry on the Mississippi, and had 
not the province been transferred to Napoleon before 
that controversy was finally settled. 

How well the policy was regarded in Louisiana is 
strikingly shown by the fact that Napoleon was strongly 
urged to continue it when he should take possession of 
the province. Col. Joseph Xavier Delfau de Pontalba, 
a native of New Orleans of French parentage, sent a 
memoir on Louisiana to Napoleon under date of Septem- 



MOSES AUSTIN LEADS WAY 57 



ber 15, 1 80 1, in which, among other things, he discussed 
the whole question of settling Louisiana. He wrote 
without any anticipation that Louisiana would be sold 
to the United States, and he specifically recommended 
that the Spanish policy of settling Upper Louisiana with 
Anglo-Americans should be continued. "It will be of 
the highest importance to employ extraordinary means 
to people Louisiana," he wrote, "so that she may defend 
herself." He then proceeded to point out why the ad- 
mission of Americans would be wise and safe. 

"At first sight," he said, "it seems dangerous to people 
Louisiana with foreigners, but her singular situation 
with regard to the people on the Ohio is such that they 
should be considered as at home, for we may assume 
that, from those districts, those inhabitants have more 
facilities for invading Louisiana than they would have 
for revolting, if they were established there, with this 
difference, that, in the first case, the invasion would be 
glorious, and embarking on the Ohio, favored by the 
swiftness of the current, they would find themselves in 
Louisiana before anyone knew they had thought of it; 
while once emigrated and received among us with prom- 
ise of fidelity to the republic, those who would under- 
take a revolt, not being able to do so without being 
known, would risk everything, and far from finding 
glory, would only expose themselves to condemnation as 
traitors. . . . Similar motives decided the king of 
Spain, in 1790, to give orders to the governor of Loui- 
siana to receive there all immigrants who should present 
themselves from those provinces, to give them lands, 
and to establish districts, six leagues distant from each 



58 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

other, in the center of which there should be a church, 
a house for a commandant, and an Irish curate, but with 
orders not to trouble them in their creed." 

Napoleon never had occasion to act upon this advice, 
for two years later he sold Louisiana to the United 
States, but Pontalba's memoir tends to show how the 
policy was regarded in the province itself. 

It will not be necessary to enumerate in detail the 
projects of various empresarios who received contracts 
for bringing settlers into Louisiana, some of which were 
successful and some not, but two projects should be 
noted because of the part their projectors subsequently 
played in the opening of Texas to colonization. One of 
these men was Felipe Enrique Neri, known as the 
Baron de Bastrop, and the other was Moses Austin. 

Baron de Bastrop was one of the many nobles who 
fled to America when the Reign of Terror in France 
startled all of Europe. He was a Hollander and had 
been in the Prussian service under Frederick the Great. 
When the army of revolutionary France overran Hol- 
land he escaped to America and found refuge in Louis- 
iana, taking the oath of allegiance to the Spanish crown. 
He conceived the ambitious idea of growing wheat in 
Louisiana and establishing flour mills to supply not 
only the needs of the province, but even for export to 
other parts of the New World. Carondelet, then gov- 
ernor of the province, thought well of the plan, and 
being desirous of seeing a settlement established on the 
Ouachita river in Lower Louisiana as a bulwark against 
settlements in American territory on the east bank of 
the Mississippi, he even consented to pay the transpor- 
tation expenses of all persons Baron de Bastrop should 



MOSES AUSTIN LEADS WAY 59 

induce to come from the United States to such a settle- 
ment and to provide for their support for six months 
after their arrival. 

This contract, which included a large grant of land, 
was made on June 20, 1797, and Baron de Bastrop set 
forth to obtain his colonists. Before he returned to New 
Orleans with ninety-nine persons, Carondelet had been 
replaced as governor by Manuel Gayosa de Lemos, who 
was not in sympathy with the broad policies which had 
been followed by previous governors in the colonization 
of Louisiana, and who. raised many objections to the 
contract. He ordered its suspension until it could be 
passed upon by the king, and a long litigation resulted. 
But Baron de Bastrop made a start toward establishing 
his colony, and it is interesting to note that the towns of 
Bastrop and Mer Rouge, which were the scene of the 
Ku Klux Klan investigation in 1922 and 1923, thus had 
their beginning. The land involved in this grant after- 
wards figured in the Burr conspiracy trial as a the Wash- 
ita lands," for it was the Bastrop grant which Burr 
purchased from Col. Charles Lynch in 1806, and the 
settling of which he claimed was the object of his 
expedition. 

When Louisiana was ceded to Napoleon it is probable 
that Baron de Bastrop prepared to leave the province, 
inasmuch as it was from the French power that he had 
fled to America. In any event, when Louisiana was 
subsequently sold to the United States, he elected to re- 
main a Spanish subject, crossed the Sabine into Texas 
and took up his abode at San Antonio. 

Just about the time that Baron de Bastrop was un- 
folding to Carondelet his great plans for supplying 



60 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

Louisiana with flour, Moses Austin arrived in Upper 
Louisiana filled with another ambitious plan, that of 
developing the lead mines west of St. Genevieve. Aus- 
tin was born at Durham, in the British colony of Con- 
necticut, in 1765. He had. been a member of the 
importing house of Stephen Austin & Co., of Philadel- 
phia, and when a branch was established at Richmond, 
Va., under the firm name of Moses Austin & Co., he 
moved to that place. During the Revolutionary war a 
considerable lead industry had been developed in the 
neighborhood of Chiswell, Va., the mines being worked 
vigorously to obtain material for bullets, and after the 
war this was one of the "infant industries" which had 
grown up as a result. It is probable that the panic of 
1785-86 and the general depression which followed 
affected the business of this industry materially. In any 
event, some time after this Austin's company seized the 
opportunity to buy the lead mines in Wythe county, with 
the purpose of developing them. Austin moved to the 
mines and established the town of Austinville on New 
river. He was the first to bring English miners and 
manufacturers of lead to America, and he established 
a manufactory of shot and sheet lead at Richmond. 

In 1796, finding that the mines on New river were 
ceasing to be productive, and learning from a man who 
had just returned from Upper Louisiana that there were 
rich lead deposits in the region of St. Genevieve, he 
decided to investigate. The treaty of 1795, fixing the 
boundary between the United States and the Spanish 
domain, had just been signed, and Austin applied to the 
Spanish minister at Philadelphia and obtained a passport 
to enter the territory. With a retinue of servants, he set 



MOSES AUSTIN LEADS WAY 61 



out on horseback in the autumn of 1796, and reached 
St. Louis, after a perilous journey through the wilder- 
ness, in mid-winter. 

Austin's entrance to St. Louis was in a manner cal- 
culated to impress the Spanish authorities with his im- 
portance. Clothed in a long, blue mantle, lined with 
scarlet and embellished with lace and embroidery, and 
riding his best horse, he traversed the main street of 
the town, past the house of the commandant, followed 
by his whole company. This performance had the de- 
sired effect, for the commandant, struck by the appear- 
ance of Austin and his company, and convinced that 
surely be must be a person of rank, immediately sent 
a messenger to invite him to his house. Being well 
received by the commandant, Austin made known his 
mission, with the result that his petition for a grant of 
lands was promptly transmitted to the commandant at 
St. Genevieve with the highest recommendations. 

Under date of January 27, 1797, Francois Valle, 
commandant of St. Genevieve, granted a contract to 
Moses Austin to settle thirty families in Upper Louis- 
iana, the settlers to be given lands in accordance with 
their trades, their means and the size of their families. 
Two months later he obtained from Governor Caron- 
delet a grant of a league of land, including the lead 
mines at "Mine A Burton," forty miles west of St. 
Genevieve. Austin moved his family from Virginia to 
St. Genevieve the following year. 

At that time the region around "Mine A Burton" was 
in complete control of hostile Osage Indians. The 
colonists had been compelled to remain in St. Genevieve 
and other well-established villages during the winter 



62 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

and the mines were worked only in the summer by par- 
ties of workmen from St. Genevieve. Austin resolved 
to change this situation and to plant a permanent settle- 
ment in the region of the mines. He set about estab- 
lishing a village at "Mine A Burton," in spite of 
menacing activities of the Indians, and finally, in 1802, 
he had a finish fight with the savages. The latter at- 
tacked the village, but were driven back with the aid 
of a three-pounder Austin had taken the precaution to 
provide. After that he had no more trouble with them 
and thus was started the first permanent settlement in 
what is now Washington county, Missouri. 

Austin developed the lead mines at "Mine A Burton," 
erected regular smelting furnaces and mills, and his 
settlement soon became the center of a thriving popu- 
lation. He was a good Spanish subject and served his 
adopted country well in helping to subdue the wilder- 
ness and to add to the wealth of the province. At the 
same time he laid the foundations of his own fortune 
and was on the way toward becoming an important man 
in the province when Louisiana was purchased by the 
United States. 

Upper Louisiana was formally transferred to the 
United States at St. Louis on March 9, 1804, and Moses 
Austin found himself again an American citizen. The 
country began to settle up more rapidly as an American 
territory and he took a leading part in its development. 
He acquired a considerable fortune and was the lead- 
ing stockholder and practically the founder of the Bank 
of St. Louis. Then the panic of 1818 hit him. For, 
like all frontier banks of the day, the Bank of St. Louis 
did an extensive business with the land speculators who 



MOSES AUSTIN LEADS WAY 63 

borrowed money to buy public lands to be sold to set- 
tlers at a profit. When the panic came, which was one 
of those periodical spasms of depression following a 
period of inflation and "prosperity" — in this case being 
the aftermath of the Napoleonic wars and the war of 
1812 — it sent land values down rapidly along with all 
other values. In the crash the Bank of St. Louis col- 
lapsed and the fruits of twenty years of Moses Austin's 
labors in the wilderness were swept away. Thus it was 
that he found himself penniless at the very moment that 
a new Spanish frontier was established by the treaty of 
1819. Except that he was well advanced in years, his 
situation was very much the same as that which he had 
faced in 1796. It was the failure of his lead enter- 
prise in Virginia and the signing of the treaty of 1795, 
insuring, as the latter did, that Spanish grants west of 
the Mississippi would be valid, that had resulted in his 
turning to the wilderness and to Spain more than twenty 
years before. Now he was faced again with the neces- 
sity of making a new start, and now another treaty had 
been signed, a treaty that would make Spanish grants in 
Texas valid. It was quite natural that it should occur 
to him to begin again in the same fashion that he had 
begun as a younger man in similar circumstances. He 
discussed the matter for several days with his son 
Stephen, and finally the decision was made. He would 
turn again to the wilderness and to Spain. And so it 
came to pass that in the autumn of 1820 he made the 
eight hundred mile journey on horseback to San Antonio 
de Bexar. 

The arrival of Moses Austin in San Antonio de Bexar 
was very different from his arrival in St. Louis more 



64 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

than twenty years before. Then he rode with his party 
boldly past the house of the commandant, clad in a 
fashion calculated to impress beholders with his impor- 
tance. Now he was alone and his appearance was any- 
thing but prepossessing. Then the commandant, curious 
to learn the identity and business of his distinguished 
visitor, sent a representative to call upon him and invited 
him to his residence. Now he found a very different 
reception. The governor, Martinez, was mindful of the 
orders he had received from Arredondo not to permit 
foreigners, and especially Americans, to come into 
Texas. He was so disturbed by the sudden arrival of 
Austin at the government house, unannounced and 
without warning, that, without inquiring into his busi- 
ness, he ordered him to depart immediately. It was in 
vain that Austin attempted to converse with him pleas- 
antly in French, which both understood. Austin was an 
American, was he not? That was enough. He must 
begone without delay! It was in vain also that Austin 
sought to show him his papers testifying to the fact that 
he had been a Spanish subject in Louisiana. Martinez 
would not read the papers. He would not look at 
them. Arredondo's orders had been unequivocal. Aus- 
tin must get back across the Sabine as quickly as he 
could travel. 

Austin left the government house, dejected. There 
was nothing to do but to obey the governor's order. He 
had tried every means of inducing Martinez to listen to 
him, but had failed. He was fortunate, indeed, that he 
had not been placed under arrest. If he attempted to 
remain even long enough to rest from his fatiguing 
journey he probably would be arrested. The fine plans 




MOSES AUSTIN. 

From Copy of Painting in the Jefferson Memorial Museum, 

St. Louis, Missouri. 



, MOSES AUSTIN LEADS WAY 65 

for a colony in Texas had come to naught, apparently. 
He must set out at once for the border and abandon 
the enterprise. Stephen Austin tells us that his father 
"was determined to quit the place in an hour, being 
much disgusted and irritated at his reception by the 
governor." 

Then there occurred one of those little accidents such 
as have frequently changed the course of history. Cross- 
ing the plaza, after leaving the government house, 
Austin came face to face with a friend he had not seen 
in years, and whose very existence he had all but for- 
gotten. It was the Baron de Bastrop, now an aged man, 
who, as has been already recounted, had proposed to 
introduce Anglo-American settlers into Spanish Loui- 
siana and establish a wheat and flour industry in that 
province just about the time Moses Austin had received 
his lead mine concession in Upper Louisiana. When 
Louisiana was transferred to the United States, Baron 
de Bastrop had moved to Texas. He was now living in 
great poverty in a single room in San Antonio de Bexar. 
But being a man of talent and education, a gentleman by 
birth and training, he had much influence at the govern- 
ment house and enjoyed the confidence of Arrendondo. 
Austin greeted the baron with the joy one would expect 
him to feel at coming upon a familiar face in such a 
place and in such circumstances. 

The meeting was almost providential. Baron de Bas- 
trop was just the man to understand Austin's proposal 
in all its details and to appreciate its timeliness and 
importance. Like Austin, he was familiar with the 
problem of its frontier which Spain had faced in Loui- 
siana and the measures which had been adopted to meet 



66 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

it. He had witnessed the collapse of the Spanish attempt 
to colonize Texas and had lived through the American 
invasions of the recent past. He knew from experience 
that even San Antonio was not safe against Indian 
attacks and that there was little or no probability that 
the situation would improve in this respect. No man in 
all Mexico, perhaps, could better realize that it was 
necessary to settle the region between San Antonio and 
the Sabine, and that it was futile to expect it to be set- 
tled in the very near future by Spaniards or Mexicans. 
They were moving out of Texas rather than into it. 
Indeed, Baron de Bastrop must have recognized, just as 
did Austin himself, that the only hope of colonizing 
Texas was to admit Anglo-Americans. That policy 
had been successful in Louisiana, and its temporary dis- 
continuance had been due to causes not inherent in the 
policy itself. Baron de Bastrop, in any event, had been 
its advocate to the last, and Austin's success in develop- 
ing the lead mines and settling the wild region west of 
St. Genevieve had been one of the fruits of that policy. 
Moreover, there seemed little choice as to Texas. After 
a century of effort and the expenditure of great sums 
of money, the Spaniards had failed in the colonization 
of the province, Baron de Bastrop was just the man to 
recognize at once that Austin's proposal offered a solu- 
tion, if not the only solution, of the problem of New 
Spain's frontier. 

Baron de Bastrop took Austin to his room, and there 
the latter unfolded to him the details of his project. 
Austin told him of his failure with Martinez and of the 
order for his immediate departure. The baron approved 
of the project as thoroughly feasible and expressed the 



MOSES AUSTIN LEADS WAY 67 

opinion that the authorities could be brought to consider 
it. But first a stay of the order to leave the province 
must be obtained. Austin was tired and ill, and the 
baron undertook to urge this as a reason why the order 
should be held up. He would point out to Martinez that 
Austin should not be compelled to begin the return jour- 
ney until he was fully rested. He would testify to Aus- 
tin's character and to the fact that he had been a loyal 
subject of Spain in Louisiana. 

Upon such representations from Baron de Bastrop, 
therefore, Martinez consented to permit Austin to re- 
main until he was better able to travel. In the meantime, 
the baron became Austin's agent and proceeded to set 
before the governor the advantages of the project. He 
presented the whole matter with such force that by the 
end of a week Martinez and the ayuntamiento of Bexar 
united in recommending a petition to Arredondo and 
the provincial deputation at Monterey for permission to 
Moses Austin to settle three hundred families in Texas. 

Leaving Baron de Bastrop as his agent, and with as- 
surances of success, Austin set out on his return journey. 
Under date of January 17, 1821, Arredondo notified 
Martinez from Monterey that the petition had been 
granted. Moses Austin never saw a copy of the grant. 
He suffered great hardship and exposure on the return 
trip from San Antonio and was taken seriously ill shortly 
afterwards. After arranging with his son, Stephen, to 
carry the project through, he died in Missouri on June 
10,1821. 

But Moses Austin had set in motion the history of 
modern Texas. The mission of the lone rider to San 
Antonio de Bexar had proved successful. 



CHAPTER V. 

IN HIS FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS. 

In 1818 there was a young man in the territorial 
legislature of Missouri who already had attracted some 
attention and who, it was agreed, had a splendid career 
ahead of him. He was only twenty-four years old, and 
yet he had nearly five years of legislative experience to 
his credit, and had already gained the respect of no less 
a man than Thomas H. Benton, who had moved to 
Missouri only three years before, and who was just then 
emerging into a leadership which was destined to be- 
come national in scope and influence. He was a quiet- 
mannered young man, but with a maturity of mind in 
advance of his years and an education far above the 
average of frontier public men in that day. In addition 
to these advantages, he was reasonably wealthy and had 
just been made a director of the Bank of St. Louis. His 
achievement already was considerable, in view of his 
youth, and his prospects were extremely bright. 

Such was Moses Austin's eldest son, Stephen Fuller 
Austin, in 1818, He had come with his father to the 
Spanish province of Louisiana when he was but five 
years old, and had spent his boyhood in the wild frontier 
country around St. Genevieve. In 1804, when Upper 
Louisiana was transferred to the United States, he was 
sent to Connecticut in order to attend better schools 
than the frontier afforded, and he spent four years in 
good educational institutions at Springfield, Colchester 

69 



70 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

and New London, in that state. In his sixteenth year 
he returned to the West and studied for two years at 
Transylvania college, Lexington, Ky., after which he 
joined his father in the business of smelting and manu- 
facturing lead in Missouri. He early became interested 
in public affairs and in 1813, when Missouri was cut 
off from Louisiana and erected into a territory, he was 
elected to the territorial legislature. He had prospered 
both in public life and in business, being reelected to 
the legislature at each recurring term and achieving the 
distinction of a bank directorship before his twenty- 
fifth birthday. 

Those were momentous days in Missouri. Great 
projects were in the air, not the least of which was the 
proposed admission of Missouri into the union as a state. 
The southern part of the territory would be separated 
from the new state and made into the Territory of Ar- 
kansas, and Stephen participated in the preliminaries 
looking toward bringing about these great changes. The 
faces of all men were turned to the future. It was a 
time of progress — the beginning, as men thought, of 
a new era. There were opportunities on all sides for men 
of talent and energy, and for few was the future brighter 
than for Stephen Austin. 

Then the panic swept over the country. Prosperity, 
which had been general for several years, came to a 
sudden halt. The Bank of St. Louis collapsed and the 
Austins turned over everything they possessed to the 
creditors. From an apparently secure position and cer- 
tain outlook, Stephen Austin's condition changed over- 
night. When the storm had passed he found that he 
and his father were penniless. 



IN HIS FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS 71 

Besides his father and mother, the family included 
two other children, both younger — a brother, James 
E. B. Austin, who was sixteen at the time, and still in 
school, and a sister, Emily, who was the wife of James 
Bryan. It was to Stephen, therefore, that the father 
naturally turned in discussing the problem of rehabili- 
tating the family fortunes. Father and son discussed 
their situation and prospects for several days at Durham 
Hall, the family home which Moses Austin had estab- 
lished at "Mine A Burton." This was in March, 1819, 
and it was during these discussions that the father first 
made the proposal of colonizing Texas. The treaty with 
Spain, fixing the Texas boundary at the Sabine, after 
fifteen years of controversy, had been signed in Feb- 
ruary, and it was the news of this event that put the idea 
in Moses Austin's head. He had made one fortune in 
the wilderness. He had laid the foundations for that 
fortune under Spanish rule. He could do it again. He 
was no longer young, it was true, but if his son Stephen 
would agree to help him he would undertake it. And so 
he made the proposal to Stephen. 

The son did not take to the idea so enthusiastically as 
the father. There seemed better opportunities nearer 
home. For one thing, there was Arkansas. Now that 
Missouri was to be made a state, the development of 
that part of it which would be erected into a new terri- 
tory would offer many opportunities. It was not neces- 
sary to go to the extreme of alienating themselves from 
the United States and removing to a country under the 
domination of a despotic government. Besides, there 
was little hope that the Spanish authorities would con- 
sent to such a plan. Things were very different from 



12 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

what they had been in 1796. In short, Stephen knew 
he could make a career for himself either in Missouri or 
Arkansas. He was young, he had ability, experience 
and education. He was in a new country in which these 
qualifications insured success to any man of good char- 
acter and industry. He had friends, and in spite of his 
reverses, had attained a standing among men that would 
help him to succeed. 

But the father was filled with the idea. The more he 
thought about it the stronger it took hold of his imagina- 
tion. Moreover, there were advantages to be urged for 
the Texas plan. A man without very much capital had 
a better chance of succeeding under the Spanish land 
system than under that of the United States. The Span- 
ish system in Louisiana, which was what Moses iUistin 
had in mind, and which had enabled him to make his 
start more than twenty years before, was based on the 
motive of promoting colonization. Settlers were dealt 
with liberally. The motive behind the American system 
up to that time had been the raising of revenue, and 
this lent itself more easily to speculation. In a sense it 
had been the American land system, or rather the specu- 
lation which that system made possible, that had brought 
about Moses Austin's ruin. He might have weathered 
the panic had it not been for the relation of the Bank 
of St. Louis to land speculation. It was not surprising 
that he should feel very strongly on the subject. If the 
Spanish authorities could be induced to apply to Texas 
the same policy which had been followed in Louisi- 
ana, a colonization project would offer a very bright 
prospect. 

The result of this discussion seems to have been a com- 



IN HIS FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS 73 



promise. The plan was adopted, but Stephen was not; 
yet convinced it would succeed. He came to believe, he 
said later, "that the probabilities of success or failure 
were almost equal." Meantime, however, it was agreed 
also that Stephen should move to the new territory of 
Arkansas, taking a farm near the Texas border, which 
might be utilized in connection with introducing set- 
tlers into Texas if the Spanish authorities agreed to 
the plan. At the same time Stephen would be making 
a start in that territory. Accordingly, within thirty 
days he established a small farm at Long Prairie, on Red 
river, in Arkansas, and he also located a land claim on 
the site of Little Rock, which city was subsequently 
founded by his brother-in-law, James Bryan. Then 
Governor Miller appointed him as one of the circuit 
judges for Arkansas Territory. It was plain that if he 
elected to remain in Arkansas he would soon be well on 
the way toward making a career for himself. 

Stephen had been at the Long Prairie farm scarcely 
two months when the whole section became excited over 
the news that Dr. Long and his followers had estab- 
lished the "independent republic of Texas" at Nacog- 
doches. To most of the frontiersmen this was taken to 
mean that Texas would soon be in the hands of Ameri- 
cans. But to Stephen it seemed an end of his father's 
scheme. When Long and his followers were ejected by 
the Spanish forces, and when most of the Mexican set- 
tlers at Nacogdoches fled across the border to the United 
States, it seemed to create a situation which made the 
scheme even less practicable than before. But his father 
did not waver in his determination to make the attempt 
as soon as he could put his affairs in such shape as to 



74 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

permit it. So, in the autumn of 1820, nearly two years 
after the conference at Durham Hall, he completed his 
plans and started on the journey to San Antonio de 
Bexar. 

Falling in with his father's plans, Stephen now went 
to New Orleans to make arrangements for organizing 
a colony in the event the mission to Texas was successful. 
It being necessary for him to support himself in the 
meantime, he obtained employment on a newspaper. He 
was not unknown in New Orleans, for his father used 
to ship lead products to that city, and he had made the 
journey down the river with a cargo as early as 1810, 
as a youth of seventeen. Moreover, Joseph Hawkins, a 
classmate with whom he had been at Transylvania col- 
lege, was established at New Orleans as an attorney of 
some prominence, and Stephen now renewed relations 
with him. 

At Hawkins's invitation Stephen began to devote his 
spare time to the reading of law in his friend's office, 
and the two saw a great deal of each other. Very nat- 
urally the Texas project was often the subject of con- 
versation and Hawkins became very much interested in 
it. He saw great possibilities in it if the Spanish authori- 
ties would agree to open the province to colonization. 

Meantime, Moses Austin was returning from San 
Antonio de Bexar with the assurance that his petition 
would be granted. It was a hard enough trip at best, 
but to make matters worse, he fell in with a company of 
men who, after gaining his confidence, overpowered 
him, robbed him of everything he had and left him in 
the wilderness to die. Entirely exposed to the weather 
and without food except such as he could find along the 



IN HIS FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS 75 

way, he suffered great hardship and privation. By the 
time he reached the Sabine he was so ill that he was 
compelled to remain at the house of Hugh McGuffin, 
on the American side of the river, for three weeks. 
From here he dispatched letters home and to Stephen 
at New Orleans. Elias Bates, a nephew, came on from 
Missouri to meet him, and found him "greatly afflicted 
with a pain in his chest, caused by a severe cold he had 
contracted during his trip of exposure and privation." 

Upon receiving news of his father's return, Stephen 
went to Natchitoches in expectation of meeting him, 
but he had left with Bates for Missouri a few days be- 
fore. Stephen found there, however, a number of men 
who already had engaged to join the Texas expedition 
in the event the petition was granted, and after con- 
ferring with them he returned to New Orleans. Moses 
Austin now set about making arrangements for a colony. 
He planned to return to Natchitoches by the latter part 
of May, and notified several of his prospective colonists 
to meet him at that place. He put his affairs in shape 
and settled finally the Bank of St. Louis matter, which 
left him just about enough funds to outfit an expedi- 
tion. "I can now go forward with confidence," he wrote 
to Stephen on May 22, "and I hope and pray you will 
discharge your doubts as to the enterprise." But his 
feeble health continued and he was unable to make the 
start for Natchitoches. 

A commission representing the authorities of New 
Spain, headed by Erasmo Seguin and Juan Martin de 
Veramendi, arrived at Natchitoches about this time, 
expecting to meet Moses Austin there and to deliver to 
him the confirmation of his grant. News of this reached 



76 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

Stephen at New Orleans, who was also to join his father 
at that place and go with him to Texas. Upon receipt of 
this news he left immediately for Natchitoches by 
steamboat, accompanied by Lieut. William Wilson 
of Washington, D. C, James Beard of St. Louis and Dr. 
James Hewitson, all of whom had become interested in 
the project. The party arrived there on June 26, and 
was welcomed by a number of other prospective colonists 
who had come on in response to Moses Austin's notifica- 
tion. Stephen informed Seguin that his father was de- 
layed by illness, but would come on later. It was part 
of the commissioner's duty to conduct Moses Austin into 
the province in order that he might select a site, but 
he expressed the opinion that there would be no dif- 
ficulty in having Stephen act in his father's stead. It 
was agreed, therefore, that they should return to Texas 
together. 

Most of Austin's party started for the Sabine on July 
3, and Stephen himself followed on the 6th. The next 
day he overtook them and they proceeded together. On 
July 10 they were overtaken by a man whom Stephen 
had left in Natchitoches to await the arrival of his mail, 
and who brought the sad tidings that news had been 
received there that Moses Austin was dead. The mes- 
senger had come on without waiting for the mail, and 
Stephen decided to return immediately to ascertain 
whether the report of his father's death was correct and 
to get his mail. 

The rest of the party continued on their way and 
crossed the Sabine the same day, leaving Lieutenant 
Wilson at Camp Ripley, on the American side of the 
river, to await Stephen's return. In this party, according 



IN HIS FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS 77 

to Austin's diary, were Edward Lovelace, W. Gasper, 
Henry Holstein and a man named Bellew from Cata- 
houla, Louisiana, James Beard and William Little from 
St. Louis, Dr. James Hewitson, W. Smithers and a man 
named Irwin from Indiana, and two others named Neel 
and Barnum. Stephen reached Natchitoches only to find 
that his letters had been sent on in the keeping of Seguin 
and his party, who had left the day before, and he turned 
back to overtake them. He came upon their camp at the 
Teran on the 14th, received his mail, and then proceeded 
to join Wilson. The news of his father's death was con- 
firmed, for Moses Austin had been dead several days 
when Stephen left New Orleans. The responsibility of 
carrying the project forward now rested completely on 
Stephen's shoulders. 

There have been few more striking figures in history 
than that of this young man — he was then only twenty- 
seven years old- — standing at the very border of the land 
in which his mission lay, with the sorrow of his father's 
death filling his heart, facing the responsibility of taking 
up the work his father had projected, but which now 
had been passed on to him. For, on his very deathbed, 
Moses Austin had charged his son to take his place. A 
letter from his mother, written two days before the 
father's death, brought him this commission. 

"He called me to his bedside," she wrote, "and with 
much distress and difficulty of speech begged me to tell 
you to take his place, and if God in His wisdom thought 
best to disappoint him in the accomplishment of his 
wishes and plans formed, he prayed Him to extend His 
goodness to you and enable you to go on with the busi- 
ness in the same way he would have done." 



78 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

It was with the consciousness of this charge fresh in 
his mind that Stephen rejoined Wilson at Camp Ripley, 
and it was with a resolution to fulfill this dying wish of 
his father that he crossed the Sabine river, and for the 
first time set foot on the soil of Texas on July 16, 1821. 

The death of Moses Austin had brought to a close a 
life that had been almost an epitome of the progress of 
Anglo-American civilization across the continent. Be- 
ginning in Connecticut, one of the original British colo- 
nies, where he was born, its course had taken him first 
to the frontier of Virginia, where he founded a town 
in the wilderness, then across the Mississippi into the 
Spanish domain, and finally across another Spanish bor- 
der into Texas. The Americans were at the Mississippi 
when he crossed into Louisiana. Now they were at the 
Sabine. He had died in the midst of plans to lead the 
vanguard of the Americans into a new region. But his 
plans were not in vain, for Stephen had now "dis- 
charged his doubts" finally and was determined "to go 
on with the business in the same way he would have 
done." 

However, it was first necessary for Stephen to have 
himself officially recognized as his father's successor, 
and it was chiefly for this purpose that he now journeyed 
to San Antonio. The confirmation which Seguin was to 
have delivered to his father was in the form of a letter 
from Martinez, the governor of the province, quoting 
an official communication from the commandant gen- 
eral, Arredondo, which in turn transmitted to the gov- 
ernor the resolution of the provincial deputation at 
Monterey recommending that the petition be granted. 



IN HIS FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS 79 

The resolution, to which the commandant general noti- 
fied Martinez he conformed, was as follows: 

"It will be expedient to grant the permission solicited 
by Moses Austin that the three hundred families, which 
he says are desirous to do so, should remove and settle 
in the province of Texas, but under the conditions indi- 
cated in his petition on the subject, presented to the 
governor of that province, and which your lordship 
transmitted to this deputation with your official letter of 
the 1 6th instant. Therefore, if to the first and principal 
requisite of being Catholics, or agreeing to become so, 
before entering the Spanish territory they also add that 
of accrediting their good character and habits, as is of- 
fered in said petition, and taking the necessary oath to 
be obedient in all things to the government, to take up 
arms in its defense against all kinds of enemies, and to 
be faithful to the king, and to observe the political con- 
stitution of the Spanish monarchy, the most flattering 
hopes may be formed that the said province will receive 
an important augmentation in agriculture, industry 
and arts by the new immigrants, who will introduce 
them; which is all this deputation have to say in reply to 
your lordship's aforementioned official letter." 

Martinez, in transcribing all this to Moses Austin, 
directed that he communicate with him as to the time 
and place of the arrival of the colonists, in order that 
land might be allotted to them and the arrangements be 
made for them to take the oath of allegiance to the 
Spanish crown "in order that they may be from that 
time considered as members united to the Spanish nation, 
and enter upon the enjoyment of the benefits which it 
extends and concedes to its citizens and to Spaniards." 



80 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

"I shall also expect/' the letter continued, "from the 
prudence which your deportment demonstrates, and for 
your own prosperity and tranquillity, that all the fami- 
lies you introduce shall be honest and industrious, in 
order that idleness and vice may not pervert the good 
and meritorious who are worthy of Spanish esteem and 
of the protection of this government, which will be 
extended to them in proportion to the moral virtue dis- 
played by each individual." 

Martinez also informed Austin that a port on the 
gulf coast had been opened to navigation for the bene- 
fit of the new settlers. 

Much has been made of the fact that in this, and in 
subsequent documents relating to the colonization of 
Texas, it was required that the colonists should be Ro- 
man Catholics, and that Stephen Austin never made any 
attempt to comply with this requirement. 

It is necessary to remark here only that this require- 
ment was never enforced, either with respect to Austin's 
colonists or any others, nor was any attempt ever made 
to enforce it. Moreover, it was well known to the 
authorities that neither Moses nor Stephen Austin was 
a Catholic. That there must have been a general verbal 
understanding that this requirement was only a matter 
of form seems certain. Incidentally it is to be noted that 
in his cautioning words to Moses Austin in the matter 
of the character of the colonists, Martinez did not in- 
sist that they must be Catholics. 

The journey to San Antonio required nearly a month 
of travel, but it was not unpleasant, for traveling in a 
large company was a much different matter from the 
lonesome journey Moses Austin had made. But on all 




MISSION SAN FRANCISCO DE LA ESPADA. 



IN HIS FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS 81 

sides evidences of the failure of the Spanish effort were 
to be seen. Between the Sabine and Nacogdoches there 
were a few farms, some of the settlers being Americans 
who had crossed the Sabine even at this early date. 
Austin himself mentions Amberson's, eight miles west 
of the river; English's, twenty- five miles inland, and 
J. H. Bell's, a little further on. Bell subsequently be- 
came one of Austin's colonists. John Cartwright had 
settled near the present town of San Augustine two 
years before, and there were a few other hardy frontiers- 
men who, in defiance of the Spanish power and indif- 
ferent to danger from the Indians, had built their cabins 
in the Texas wilderness. Austin spent his second night 
in the province at Bell's cabin and then pushed on to 
Nacogdoches. 

Nacogdoches was in ruins, Stephen noting in his diary 
that only five houses and a church were left standing 
entire of what had once been a flourishing settlement. 
While the party waited there, Seguin had the inhabitants 
to gather in order to receive a message from the govern- 
ment, and only thirty-six persons were thus brought 
together. 

Just beyond Nacogdoches there were two farms, and 
from that point to San Antonio the country was a com- 
plete wilderness. On July 26 Austin's company met 
two parties coming from La Bahia, who said they had 
passed three fresh corpses lying in the road, one of a 
Spaniard and two of Americans, and that nearby was a 
newly-made grave where another had been buried. This 
evidently was the work of Indians. One of the parties 
also imparted the news that Indians had recently com- 
mitted depredations in San Antonio itself — had killed 



82 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

men within the town and stolen horses and mules. The 
inhabitants of the town were said to be much distressed 
over the situation. 

All of this was striking evidence of the waning of the 
Spanish power in Texas, and throws abundant light on 
the question of why Moses Austin's proposal to colonize 
the province under Spanish auspices was so readily ac- 
cepted. To people Texas with settlers who would a take 
the necessary oath to be obedient in all things to the 
government" and a to take up arms in its defense against 
all kinds of enemies," was certainly desirable. In Texas 
the Indians had become far more menacing "enemies" 
than any other, even than invaders from the American 
side of the Sabine. Neither Spaniards nor native Mexi- 
cans could deal with them effectively nor check them 
permanently. A century of experience had proved 
that. If peaceful subjects, capable of winning the 
country from the savages, could be settled in the prov- 
ince the question of "what to do about Texas," which 
was puzzling the authorities of New Spain, would be 
answered. 

As Austin proceeded on his way to San Antonio he 
took careful note of the country through which they 
passed — the character of the soil, the waterways, the 
timber — and was very favorably impressed. It was in- 
deed a fine country, such as the hardy American fron- 
tiersmen could convert into cultivated fields and com- 
fortable homes. That there were difficulties in the way, 
difficulties which the Spaniards and Mexicans had found 
it impossible to overcome, was without doubt clearly 
recognized by Austin and his associates, but, while he 
was not a frontiersman of the leather-stocking variety, 



IN HIS FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS 83 

he had been reared in a frontier country in which hostile 
Indians abounded when he was a boy, and he was en- 
tirely capable, in spite of his comparative youth, to meet 
those difficulties. 

However, for a young man to undertake to induce 
three hundred families to forsake the land of their 
birth, leaving their friends and neighbors in the more 
thickly settled and civilized territory of the United 
States, and follow him into such a wilderness, required 
uncommon courage and self-confidence. That Stephen 
Austin was not deterred from undertaking the task was 
not due to a lack of appreciation of the difficulties which 
were already apparent. Nor was a lack of modesty with 
respect to his own qualifications responsible for his 
course. He recognized the difficulties, but he knew his 
people, and if he had any misgivings they were not 
caused by fear that American settlers would not prove 
equal to whatever conditions they might encounter in 
the Texas wilderness. 

Austin's company and its Spanish escort arrived at 
the Guadalupe river on the evening of August 10, and 
Stephen observed that the country was the most beauti- 
ful he had ever seen. They were now within two days' 
journey of San Antonio, and Seguin sent messengers 
ahead to announce their approach. The next day they 
pushed on sixteen miles and camped at night on the 
banks of a creek. On the morning of Sunday, August 
12, the camp was thrown into a state of excitement by 
the return of Seguin's messengers with the news that the 
independence of Mexico had been achieved and that the 
whole town was celebrating the event. The Spaniards 



84 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

received these tidings with great rejoicing and with 
shouts of "Viva la indefiencia!" There was no mis- 
taking their sentiments. Mexico's destiny henceforth 
was to be in the hands of her own people. To them it 
seemed the beginning of a new day. And so, after par- 
taking of a meal of many Mexican dishes which had 
been sent out by the wives of the Spaniards, dishes which 
Stephen Austin tasted for the first time, the whole com- 
pany proceeded to San Antonio to join the celebration. 

Austin was welcomed by Baron de Bastrop, and in 
company with him and Seguin called upon Martinez. 
He informed the governor of his father's death and of 
his desire to be recognized officially as his successor. The 
governor agreed that this should be done, and expressed 
the opinion that an official letter from himself to Aus- 
tin, formally setting forth this recognition, would serve 
the purpose. He did not think that the change in gov- 
ernment affected the matter. Accordingly, on Tuesday, 
August 14, Martinez wrote the following letter, offi- 
cially recognizing Austin's status: 

"Inasmuch as the supreme government of this king- 
dom granted to your deceased father, Mr. Moses Austin, 
a permission to introduce three hundred Louisiana fami- 
lies who, through him, solicited to establish a new set- 
tlement in this province under my command, and that 
in consequence of the death of your father you have 
come to this capital charged by him with said commis- 
sion for the benefit of said families ; I have to say that 
you can immediately proceed to the river Colorado, and 
examine the land on its margins which may be best 
suited for the location of the before-mentioned fami- 



IN HIS FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS 85 

lies, informing me of the place which you may have 
selected, in order that on the arrival of said families a 
competent commissioner may be sent to divide out and 
distribute the lands , and inasmuch as they are permitted 
to transport their property by land or by sea, it must 
be landed in the Bay of St. Bernard, where a new port 
has been opened by the superior government ; for which 
purpose, and in consequence of the favorable informa- 
tion which this government has received of you, and in 
order to facilitate the transportation of property, I grant 
you permission to sound the river Colorado from the 
point where the new settlement may be established to 
its mouth, without extending the sounding any farther; 
all of which you will form as correct a map as circum- 
stances will permit, which you will transmit to me. 

"I have also to apprise you, for the information of the 
said new settlers, that all the provisions for their own 
use, farming utensils and tools, can be introduced free 
of duty or charge, but all merchandise for commerce 
must pay the established duties. 

"Inasmuch as the tranquillity of this province under 
my command, and even the individual interest of the 
said families, requires that the immigration which has 
been granted shall be composed of honest, virtuous, 
tranquil and industrious persons, as your deceased father 
offered to this government, I expect that you will de- 
vote the greatest care and attention to this interesting 
point, and reject all those who do not possess the quali- 
fications above indicated, or who appear to be idle, un- 
steady or turbulent ; for you as their head will be respon- 
sible to the government for the whole of them, and 
you will be required to present documents of recom- 



86 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

mendations for each of them. All of which I communi- 
cate to you for your government, God preserve you 
many years!" 

In delivering to Austin this official recognition as 
the successor of his father, Martinez requested him to 
submit in writing a plan for the distribution of the land 
to the settlers. Austin complied with this request, sug- 
gesting that to every man, whether married or single, 
should be allotted a town lot, and a tract of farming 
and grazing land, the farming land to border a stream, 
and that two hundred acres should be added for the 
wife, should there be one, eighty acres for each child, 
and fifty acres for each slave. 

Austin took up with Martinez the question of requir- 
ing each of the colonists to pay a small fee in order to 
help bear the expense of the enterprise, He asked 
whether there was any objection to an arrangement by 
which this fee would be fixed on the basis of the acreage 
received, and suggested twelve and a half cents an acre 
as the proper figure. Martinez replied he could see no 
objection to such an arrangement, that the government 
would expect the contract to be complied with as to the 
number and character of the colonists, and that any pri- 
vate agreement between Austin and the individual 
colonists would be their own affair. 

In presenting the matter, Austin illustrated the 
point by supposing that three times as many families as 
were provided for in the grant should apply to him, and 
he should say to them, "Only three hundred will be 
admitted, and I will receive those who will pay me such 
and such an amount." Martinez said that if no decep- 
tion were used or fraud practiced, even such an arrange- 



IN HIS FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS 87 

ment as that, freely and voluntarily made and under- 
stood by all parties, would not be interfered with by the 
government. He made clear, however, that with respect 
to all this, including the amount of land to be given each 
settler, the superior government might take a different 
attitude. But he expressed the opinion that it would 
agree to the arrangement. 

Having settled all these points, Martinez, on August 
19, provided Austin with written acknowledgment of 
receipt of his statement of terms and authority to pro- 
ceed on their basis. This document read as follows: 

"Having seen your representation to this government, 
and finding it to be conformable with its ideas, I have 
to inform you that, although I shall render an account 
of it to the supreme government for its deliberation, still 
not doubting it will be approved of, you can immediately 
offer to the new settlers the same terms as contained in 
your proposals, assuring you that should the superior 
government make any small variation, I will in due time 
communicate it to you; with which I answer your afore- 
mentioned representation." 

It then occurred to Austin that some arrangement 
should be made for the government of the colonists, 
and he mentioned the matter to Martinez. The governor 
replied that a proper arrangement would be made in due 
time, but that it would have to be given some considera- 
tion. 

Meantime, the hospitable Spaniards entertained their 
guests as best they could with the facilities at hand, and 
among other things they took Stephen on a "mustang 
hunt." Stephen was struck by the fine appearance of 
these wild little animals, and remarks in his diary that 



88 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

many of them would bring as much as two hundred 
dollars at New Orleans. He purchased a number of 
mustangs to take back with him. 

There was apparent among the people of the town a 
general approval of the projected colonization plans, 
and the priest of the parish expressed to Stephen the 
wish that he might be made the padre of the colony. 
The coming of the Americans meant greater security 
from the Indians, and it is significant that the priest 
should have regarded the appointment of padre to the 
new settlement as more desirable than the post he held 
at San Antonio. Stephen had evidence of the precarious 
position of the Spaniards during his stay, for one of the 
men of the town was killed and another wounded by 
Indians while he was dispatching his business. 

There remained now only the selection of a site for 
the colony, and armed with letters to the alcalde of La 
Bahia, Austin and his company set forth for that place 
on the morning of August 2 1 . After five days' travel 
they arrived at La Bahia, but the alcalde informed 
Stephen that the only suitable guides for the explora- 
tion of the country were two soldiers whom he could 
not detail to that duty without a special order from the 
governor. A post was just leaving for San Antonio and 
Stephen decided to await its return in order that the 
required permission might be obtained. 

Here again were evidences of the decay of the Span- 
ish power. The town surrounding the old fort was in 
ruins. The devastation caused by the Magee invasion 
had not been repaired, and Indian depredations since 
then had added further to the dilapidated condition of 
the place. While there was some trade through La 



IN HIS FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS 89 

-I » ll l l i I llll I nrir i ■- !■ II I I ■ ■■ I ' ■ . ■-, ., , i — ! . - . I ll ll I | , 

Bahia from Natchitoches to the coast, and money was 
in evidence, Stephen remarked that a the Spaniards live 
poorly." They had no knives and ate with forks and 
spoons and with their fingers. "The inhabitants/ 5 he 
notes in his diary, "have a few cattle and horses and 
raise some corn." And the priest at La Bahia, like his 
colleague at San Antonio, expressed the desire to be ap- 
pointed padre to the new colony. 

On August 3 1 the post returned from San Antonio 
with the information that even two soldiers from La 
Bahia could not be spared, so Stephen decided to take 
such guides as the town afforded. He now divided his 
company in two parts and sent one part of it back to 
Louisiana by way of Natchitoches with the horses and 
mules. 

The messenger from San Antonio also brought 
Stephen a letter from Baron de Bastrop and one from 
the governor. The latter announced the decision to place 
the government of the new colony entirely under 
Stephen's direction. The commission bestowing this 
authority upon him was dated August 24, and read as 
follows: 

"For the better regulation of the Louisiana families 
who are to immigrate, and while the new settlement is 
forming, you will cause them all to understand that until 
the government organizes the authority which has to 
govern them and administer justice, they must be gov- 
erned by and be subordinate to you; for which purpose 
I authorize you, as their representative, and I am rely- 
ing on your faithful discharge of the duty. You will 
inform us of whatever may occur, in order that such 
measures may be adopted as may be necessary." 



90 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

Considering that Austin was only twenty-seven years 
old and that Martinez had seen him for the first time 
only twelve days before this order was written, it is a 
remarkable testimonial to the confidence which Austin 
inspired. In this he was very much like his father, and 
it was to this characteristic — the power which each pos- 
sessed to win, through sheer force of character, the 
absolute confidence of other men — more than to any 
other influence, that the opening up of Texas to coloni- 
zation was due. 

With a Spanish guide who proved useless, and a few 
Indians who were no better, Austin and the remaining 
members of his company now set out to explore the 
country along the Colorado and Brazos rivers. They 
had no adventures worthy of remark, except that they 
encountered a party of hostile Indians who did not mo- 
lest them because of their superiority of numbers. When 
they reached the Brazos they divided into two parties, 
Lovelace and three companions exploring the region on 
the west side of the river, and Stephen and the rest 
proceeding on the east side. Austin found the country 
"as good in every respect as man could wish for, land 
first rate, plenty of timber, fine water — beautifully roll- 
ing." When Lovelace joined him he reported "that 
the country they came over was superior to anything 
they had seen before in the province." So it was decided 
that in this general region the colony should be located. 

Austin now returned to the United States by way of 
Natchitoches, and from that place wrote to Governor 
Martinez. He took occasion to suggest a change in the 
agreement with respect to the amount of land to be given 
the colonists. This change, to which the governor sub- 



IN HIS FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS 91 

sequently agreed, provided that to each head of a family, 
and to each single man of legal age, there should be 
given six hundred and forty acres, with three hundred 
and twenty acres in addition for the wife, should there 
be one, and one hundred and sixty acres for each child. 
It also increased the allowance for a slave from fifty to 
eighty acres. Austin was now possessed of full authority 
to launch the enterprise and was determined there should 
be as little further delay as possible. The first and the 
greatest of the Texas empresarios had begun his work. 



CHAPTER VI. 

A YEAR OF REVOLUTIONS. 

The last official act of a Spanish viceroy in Mexico 
was performed at Cordova on August 24, 1821, the same 
day that Martinez signed the commission authorizing 
Stephen Austin to govern the proposed new colony in 
Texas. For, on that day, Juan O'Donojii, who had 
landed at Vera Cruz on July 30 with instructions to 
take over the government of New Spain, signed a treaty 
with Augustin de Iturbide, agreeing to the independence 
of Mexico. Then, on September 27, while Austin was 
returning to New Orleans, after having explored the 
Colorado and Brazos rivers, Iturbide entered Mexico 
City in triumph, hailed as the liberator of the Mexican 
nation. 

In the meantime, Dr. James Long had been busy at 
New Orleans and Bolivar Point for some time preparing 
for another expedition into Texas. The turn of events 
in Mexico hastened his plans, for it was important to 
his purposes that he should be on Texas soif before the 
independence of Mexico was achieved. Just what he 
expected is not very clear, but the idea that an independ- 
ent Mexico would consent to a revision of the treaty 
of 1819 and the fixing of a new boundary so as to trans- 
fer most of Texas to the United States, was a favorite 
one with the American adventurers of this period, and 
Long probably had something of this sort in mind. Even 
if he sought nothing more than recognition and reward 

93 



94 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

for his "services to the cause of independence/' it was 
essential that he should have some tangible evidence of 
those services. Iturbide's triumph made it necessary to 
strike without delay. It was a case of "now or never" 
with Long, and, accordingly, in company with other 
"republican" leaders who desired to be on the ground, he 
landed at the mouth of the San Antonio river early in 
October and captured La Bahia without much difficulty. 
He was too late, however, for the party which tri- 
umphed in Mexico was not one which would be likely 
to countenance an American invasion of Texas, under 
whatever guise, and Long was promptly placed under 
arrest. He was sent to Mexico City, and while he was 
soon released, he made little or no headway in impress- 
ing the new government with the idea that his services 
merited a reward. While sojourning in the capital, he 
was shot and killed by a Mexican soldier, apparently 
over something entirely unconnected with his activities 
in Texas. And so the period of American armed inva- 
sions of Texas came to an end at the very moment an- 
other kind of invasion was in preparation. 

These events excited widespread interest throughout 
the southwestern part of the United States. Mexico was 
in the public eye, and the newspapers were filled with 
reports and rumors of what was happening or about to 
happen. In the midst of all this, Stephen Austin re- 
turned to New Orleans and announced through the 
newspapers that Texas was now open to colonization. 
There had been rumors of the forthcoming opening of 
Texas in circulation throughout the border country ever 
since Moses Austin had returned from San Antonio, and 
the news of Mexican independence had increased interest 



A YEAR OF REVOLUTIONS 95 

in this prospect. Stephen now became an object of much 
curiosity. He was pointed out when he appeared in 
public places, and one wag dubbed him "the emperor 
of Texas." It was soon evident there would be no dif- 
ficulty in obtaining colonists, for there were many who 
were willing and ready to try their fortunes in this new 
promised land. 

The difficulty which Austin faced was that of financ- 
ing the project, and now the friendship between him 
and Joseph Hawkins developed into a business partner- 
ship. Hawkins agreed to help finance the enterprise for 
a share of the lands which would be obtained in consid- 
eration of introducing colonists into Texas. So, under 
this arrangement, the new firm was launched. A small 
schooner of about thirty tons, called the Lively, was 
purchased and a full equipment of tools, provisions and 
supplies, including seed for the first crop, was provided 
for the proposed colony. It was agreed that the Lively 
should convey this equipment to Texas by sea, together 
with a small contingent of colonists, and that Austin 
should conduct another party overland from Natchi- 
toches. After seeing his party located, Austin would go 
to the mouth of the Colorado to meet the Lively, and 
thus the two parties would join and establish the nucleus 
of the new settlement. Having completed all arrange- 
ments for the Lively to sail from New Orleans, Austin 
bade good-bye to his friend and partner, Hawkins, and 
left to join the company of prospective colonists at 
Natchitoches. And that was the last time he set eyes 
on either Hawkins or the Lively, as the sequel will 
show. 

Writing of these events several years afterwards, 



96 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

Stephen Austin characterized his father's success in ob- 
taining the colonization grant from New Spain as "the 
entering wedge for opening a legal passage of North 
American immigrants into Texas." "But," he hastens 
to add, "it required inflexible perseverance and years of 
toil and labor to drive it forward." Difficulties beset 
Austin's path from the very start. He arrived with his 
party at the banks of the Brazos near the La Bahia road, 
in December, 1821, and saw his settlers started to work 
at clearing the wilderness. He then hurried to the 
mouth of the Colorado to meet the Lively and to see to 
the moving of the tools and supplies from the coast to 
the site of the settlements. But no Lively appeared. He 
waited many weary weeks in vain, and finally, conclud- 
ing that the schooner had been lost or had missed its 
way, he abandoned the vigil and set about the more 
pressing duty of notifying the authorities at San Antonio 
of the arrival of the colonists. 

The most serious consequence of the failure of the 
Lively to arrive w r as that it left the little group of colo- 
nists without a supply of seed for the first crop. Austin 
had arranged for other shipments of supplies, but even 
if these arrived later, they were likely to be too late for 
planting. It would be necessary to get seed, especially 
corn, from San Antonio, or to send some one to Natchi- 
toches for it. Without other supplies and with such a 
prospect before them, the colonists were indeed facing 
difficulties at the very outset. Added to this, hostile 
Indians were a constant danger to them, and this danger 
was increased by their small number, which the Lively's 
passengers would have strengthened. 

These difficulties were small, however, compared with 




MISSION SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO. 



A YEAR OF REVOLUTIONS 97 

one which awaited them at San Antonio. In March, 
1822, accompanied by a party of his leading colonists, 
including his younger brother, James, who had come to 
Texas in the meantime, Austin went to San Antonio to 
report to the authorities, to obtain seed for planting, 
and to make arrangements for the issuance of land titles 
and the administering of the oath of allegiance. Arriv- 
ing there, he received the astounding information that 
it would be necessary for him to go to Mexico City im- 
mediately, in order to procure from the congress, then 
in session, a confirmation of the grant to his father, and 
receive special instructions as to the distribution of land, 
the issuing of titles, and, in fact, everything else con- 
nected with the proposed colonization. 

This was very discouraging news. It simply meant 
that so far the colony had no legal foundation, and that 
unless the new government consented to it, Austin's con- 
tract was invalid. From San Antonio to Mexico City 
was a distance of twelve hundred miles overland. He 
had made no preparations for such a journey, and, with 
the colony just getting started under great handicaps and 
difficulties, it was very necessary that Austin should be 
with the settlers during this critical period. Besides, his 
funds were very low and he had great need of them for 
other purposes than a trip to Mexico City and a sojourn 
there for a period the length of which he could only 
guess. 

But there was no choice in the matter. It was Aus- 
tin's assurances and representations which had induced 
the colonists to leave civilization and go with him into 
the wilderness. They were now facing hardships and 
dangers because of the promise he had made them to 



98 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

provide them with lands for homes of their own. His 
word had been pledged to them, for he had never 
thought to question the judgment of Governor Martinez 
that the terms of the grant would be approved by the 
new central government. Unless such confirmation 
were obtained the whole project would end in disaster, 
the colonists would have suffered the hardships and dan- 
gers of their stay in the wilderness for nothing, and to 
many of them this would mean a loss of everything 
they had in the world. He must go to Mexico City 
without delay and obtain a confirmation of his father's 
grant, no matter what the cost. 

The patient determination which was one of the chief 
elements of Stephen Austin's make-up, and which over 
and over again was put to the most severe test, was 
strikingly in evidence in his conduct in the face of this 
situation. A less determined man would have given up, 
after such a series of difficulties culminating in this 
climax. But Austin did not hesitate a moment. Without 
returning to the colony, he made arrangements for 
Josiah H. Bell to take charge until his return, and started 
on the twelve hundred-mile journey to Mexico City. 

Austin himself has given a vivid picture of condi- 
tions in Mexico at that time. "The Mexican nation 
had just sprung into existence, 55 he wrote afterwards, 
"but the necessary restraints of law, system and local 
police had not yet been sufficiently established; much 
disorder prevailed in consequence in many parts of the 
country 5 the roads were infested in many places with 
deserters and lawless bands of robbers. 55 In short, a 
condition bordering on anarchy prevailed, and a trav- 
eler was in constant danger. Nevertheless, Austin set 



A YEAR OF REVOLUTIONS 99 

forth. About one hundred miles below San Antonio 
he was stopped by a party of Comanche Indians, who 
robbed him of what they fancied, but permitted him 
to continue on his way. The story is told that among 
the objects which attracted the fancy of these Indians 
was a Spanish grammar, which Austin had been study- 
ing in an effort to acquire the language of his new 
rulers, and that this book was found some time after- 
wards, being passed from hand to hand among the 
Indians. 

From Monterey to Mexico City, Austin had only 
one companion, Lorenzo Christie, who had been a cap- 
tain in the ill-fated expedition led by Mina, Perry 
and Aury on the coast in 1816. Acting upon the ad- 
vice of officials, they disguised themselves in ragged 
clothes, posing as penniless veterans of the revolution 
en route to the capital to be rewarded, so as not to 
tempt the cupidity of robbers along the way. Austin's 
passports explained his identity to officials wherever 
they were encountered, and they were uniformly 
friendly and courteous. In this way he finally reached 
Mexico City on April 29, 1822. 

In order to understand the situation which then ex- 
isted in Mexico, it is necessary to review some of the 
events which led up to it. It is a mistake to think of 
the "revolution" of 1821 as republican in character, 
or as the final triumph of the movement which began 
with Hidalgo in 1810. That movement had been 
crushed utterly, and it is doubtful if it would have 
been soon revived had things gone smoothly in Spain. 
It was events in Spain which brought about the move- 
ment of 1821, and, far from being a republican move- 



100 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

ment, it proposed to create a monarchy and invite 
Ferdinand VII to come to Mexico and accept the crown. 
Moreover, the cry of Hidalgo — "Death to the Span- 
iards" — had no part in it. On the contrary, it de- 
clared the "unity" of Mexicans and Spaniards in 
Mexico. It was not a revolt against the "tyranny" of 
the Spanish crown, but rather a severance of Mexico 
from the liberals who were obtaining control in Spain, 
and who were holding Ferdinand VII practically as a 
prisoner. Ferdinand could not have accepted the invi- 
tation of Mexico even if he desired to do so above 
everything else in the world, for he would not have 
been permitted to leave Spain for that or any other 
purpose. 

The liberal movement in Spain had for its purpose 
the reestablishment of the so-called "constitution of 
1812," to which Ferdinand had promised to adhere at 
the time of his restoration. Ferdinand's promises were 
made to be broken, and this circumstance, together with 
a widespread discontent in the army, led to a condition 
of revolution and mutiny. The soldiers objected to 
being herded upon rotten and leaking transports and 
sent to the American colonies, ostensibly to put down 
rebellion, but really to perish from disease or to be lost 
at sea. The liberals protested against the privileges of 
the clergy and decried government abuses in the face of 
overwhelming burdens of taxation. The movement for 
reform began in the autumn of 1819, and became so 
formidable that in March, 1820, Ferdinand was com- 
pelled to take the oath of allegiance to the constitu- 
tion, to appoint new ministers and to create a provisional 
junta to represent the public until the new cortes could 



A YEAR OF REVOLUTIONS 101 

be elected and assembled. By the end of the year the 
cortes had passed a law abolishing most of the monas- 
teries and, in the struggle which ensued following the 
king's veto of this act, which he exercised at the sug- 
gestion of the papal nuncio, the liberals were victorious. 
Ferdinand seemed helplessly in their power. 

These events caused great alarm to the royalists in 
Mexico. "The revolution in Spain," writes Joel R. 
Poinsett, who was in Mexico City in 1822, and who 
subsequently became the American minister to Mexico, 
"was viewed with dread by the clergy of Mexico ; and 
no sooner had the decrees of the cortes, confiscating 
the estates and reducing and reforming some of the 
higher orders of the clergy, reached America, than the 
indignation of the church burst out against the mother 
country. They declared from the pulpit that these 
tyrannical acts must be resisted, that the yoke was no 
longer to be borne, and that the interests of the Catholic 
religion, nay, its very existence in America, demanded 
that Mexico should be separated from Spain. The 
influence of the clergy, though in some measure di- 
minished, was still powerful, and had for years con- 
trolled the wishes of a vast majority of the nation. To 
have withdrawn their opposition would have been 
sufficient to have occasioned a general movement of 
the people. They did more — they encouraged the 
people to resist the tyranny of Spain, and took an active 
part in organizing the plan of operation by which the 
revolution was successfully effected. They were aided 
in their plans by the wealthy Europeans who were 
anxious to preserve this kingdom in the pureness of des- 



102 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

potism, that it might serve as a refuge to Ferdinand 
VII from the persecution of the cortes, and from the 
constitution of Spain." 

The year 1821 opened with an especially dark outlook 
for absolutism in Spain, and it was this situation which 
brought about the independence of Mexico. "A new 
vigor was infused into the movement for independ- 
ence," says another historian of the period. "The roy- 
alists saw little hope of permanently crushing the revo- 
lution in Mexico with the liberals in the saddle at 
Madrid. Finally, certain of the more powerful classes 
previously opposed to the revolution (including espe- 
cially the higher dignitaries of the church) saw with 
despair that the new order in Spain presaged a serious 
curtailment of their privileges both in Spain and in the 
colonies, and so resolved, by making themselves leaders 
of the revolution, to bend it to their own purposes and 
thus save in Mexico what the liberals were denying them 
in Spain." 

Augustin de Iturbide, the leader of this movement, 
had been from 1810 to 1816 one of the most tireless 
and uncompromising foes of the revolution. In Feb- 
ruary, 1 82 1, while at the head of a large force in South- 
ern Mexico, ostensibly engaged in pursuit of a remnant 
of a revolutionary force under Guerrero, he formed a 
coalition with the rebels instead and published the so- 
called "Plan of Iguala." This document declared for 
the independence of Mexico, for a constitutional mon- 
archy, with Ferdinand as king; guaranteed protection 
to both the secular clergy and the religious orders in all 
their privileges, declared the Roman Catholic religion 



A YEAR OF REVOLUTIONS 103 

to be the only religion of the country, and proclaimed 
the unity and equality of native Mexicans and Spaniards 
in Mexico. The movement spread with such rapidity 
and succeeded so well that by the time O'Donoju, the 
newly appointed viceroy, reached Mexico in July, it 
was plainly in the ascendancy. O'Donoju quickly made 
terms with Iturbide and a treaty was signed at Cordova 
less than a month after his arrival. 

Under the terms of this treaty the independence of 
Mexico was recognized and the principles of the Plan 
of Iguala acknowledged. It was agreed that the crown 
should be offered first to Ferdinand, and, in the event 
he refused it, the offer should then be made to his 
brother, Charles, and then to the other members of the 
Spanish royal family in the order of succession. If none 
of these accepted the crown of Mexico, the Spanish 
cortes should then name a monarch. Meantime, a re- 
gency was named, with Iturbide, O'Donoju and three 
others as members, to govern the country until a mon- 
arch could be chosen. A congress was elected, and in 
February, 1822, this body assembled in Mexico City. 
O'Donoju had died several months before, and Itur- 
bide's progress toward absolute power had been watched 
jealously by many liberal leaders who had been elected 
members of the congress. Then the news came from 
Spain that the cortes had repudiated the action of 
O'Donoju, had authorized the appointment of commis- 
sioners to hear the proposals of all the revolted colonies 
and warned all other countries against recognizing the 
independence of any of the Spanish colonies. With the 
question of the future permanent government of Mex- 



104 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

ico thus left in a state of extreme uncertainty, a struggle 
between Iturbide and the congress for control was in- 
evitable. 

This was the situation when Stephen Austin arrived 
at the capital, with the object of having his father's 
contract to colonize Texas ratified. a The state of polit- 
ical affairs in the capital at this time was very unsettled," 
writes Austin. "Generals Victoria and Bravo and sev- 
eral other political leaders of rank, who had been im- 
prisoned by Iturbide in November for opposing his am- 
bitious designs, had escaped from confinement not long 
before; serious dissensions had already arisen between 
the generalissimo (Iturbide) and congress ; the regency 
was divided and in discord among themselves, Yarez, 
one of its principal and most liberal members having had 
a personal dispute of great warmth with Iturbide dur- 
ing one of the sittings, in which the terms, 'traitor/ 
'usurper,' were mutually passed - y the friends of liberty 
were greatly alarmed at the ascendancy which the gen- 
eralissimo had acquired over the military and lower 
classes of the populace and everything indicated an ap- 
proaching crisis." 

Into such a maze of intrigue walked this quiet, mild- 
mannered young stranger, ignorant of the language and 
without a single acquaintance among the leader of the 
various factions. He possessed neither money nor in- 
fluence and Mexican leaders had other things to think 
about besides such an insignificant matter as a land 
grant in the remote wilderness of Texas. He soon ascer- 
tained what had happened with respect to his father's 
grant, however. Upon learning what was going for- 
ward in Texas, the regency had decided that Martinez 



A YEAR OF REVOLUTIONS 105 

had exceeded his authority in the matter, especially in 
designating the quantity of land each settler was to re- 
ceive. This point, the regency decreed, must be settled 
by a law of congress, and accordingly all the documents 
relative to Austin's enterprise had been transmitted by 
the regency to congress. 

Austin found others on the ground seeking coloniza- 
tion contracts. Hayden Edwards, who was destined to 
play a disturbing part in the future history of Texas, was 
one of them. James Wilkinson, erstwhile commander 
in chief of the American army, who had taken Spanish 
money for services rendered in the past and was now in 
disgrace in the United States, was there also, seeking 
to rehabilitate his faded fortunes with the assistance of 
the new Mexican government. Adventurers, soldiers of 
fortune, gamblers and speculators had gathered at the 
capital of the new empire, seeking whatever opportunity 
for profit the situation might offer. There also were a 
few serious-intentioned colonizers, like Green DeWitt, 
whose business was similar to that of Austin. But many 
applications for land grants in Texas had been made, and 
on this account when Austin sought to have his business 
decided by means of a special law he was told that a gen- 
eral colonization law would be necessary in order that 
all might be placed on an equal footing. A committee 
on colonization had been created by congress previous 
to his arrival in the city. To this committee all the peti- 
tions and Austin's claims had been referred, and it pro- 
ceeded to take up the question of a general law. But 
the condition of politics was such that progress was very 
slow. 

Three weeks after Austin's arrival at the capital the 



106 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

approaching crisis reached its climax. His own impres- 
sions, written down later, give a vivid idea of its dra- 
matic character. "On the night of the 18th of May," 
he writes, "the soldiery and the populace, headed by 
sergeants and corporals, proclaimed Iturbide emperor. 
It was a night of violence, confusion and uproar. The 
seven hundred bells of the city pealing from the steeples 
of monasteries, convents and churches, the firing of can- 
non and musketry from the different barracks and the 
shouts of the populace in the streets, proclaimed to the 
true friends of freedom that a few common soldiers, in 
union with a city mob, had taken it upon themselves to 
decide the destiny of Mexico and to utter the voice of 
the nation. The session of congress on the 19th was held 
surrounded by bayonets, and the man who was thus pro- 
claimed by a rabble, amidst darkness and tumult, was 
declared by a decree of the majority of that body to be 
emperor of Mexico." 

"In such a state of political affairs," Austin observes, 
"all that a person could do who had business with the 
government was to form acquaintances, try to secure 
friends, and wait for a favorable opportunity." Ac- 
cordingly Austin devoted the principal part of his time 
to studying the Spanish language and in a quiet, imper- 
ceptible and almost unconscious way, he began to make 
friends. His sincerity and straightforward manner gave 
the impression of genuineness to those with whom he 
came in contact. It did not take long for many of the 
Mexican leaders to realize that here was a different kind 
of man from those others who were seeking the favor 
of the government. Very naturally he gravitated to 
those of republican principles and who sought the estab- 



A YEAR OF REVOLUTIONS 107 

lishment of a republic. Among these he made many 
friends, with whom he remained on intimate terms for 
years afterwards. But Austin was too practical a man 
to neglect the others who possessed influence with the 
powers then in the ascendancy. He rested his case on 
the obligation of Mexico in the matter, and the justness 
of his cause was very widely recognized. 

The immediate object toward which Austin now 
directed his efforts was the passage of a general coloni- 
zation law. The committee on colonization made prog- 
ress slowly in drawing up a bill, but the wonder is that 
with so many political distractions it made any progress 
at all. Iturbide was crowned as Emperor Augustus I on 
July 21, amid much pomp, and in almost burlesque imi- 
tation of the coronation of Napoleon. The dissensions 
between the emperor and congress continued, and gen- 
eral alarm spread among the liberal members at the 
strides of Iturbide toward absolute power. On the night 
of August 26 fourteen of the principal members of 
congress were seized in their beds and thrown into prison, 
and in consequence there was a growing condition of 
unrest and discontent. The question of providing reve- 
nue for the new empire was a very difficult one also, 
and much attention was absorbed in dealing with it. But 
in spite of all of this the committee made progress with 
the colonization bill, and Austin labored unceasingly 
to further its completion and to obtain a law suitable to 
the purposes for which it had been designated. Finally 
the committee reported a bill, and the congress began 
a discussion of it, section by section. As each section was 
agreed upon, Austin saw his object that much nearer 
attainment. He worked untiringly, discussing debat- 



108 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

able points with members, urging compromises and in 
general seeking to get the business over with. By the 
end of October he saw the bill ready for final adoption, 
save for three articles which still remained to be decided, 
and these he expected to see disposed of in a short time. 
There would remain then only to obtain a grant under 
the terms of the new law, and he could return to Texas. 
He had been away from his colonists seven months and 
was naturally anxious to return and make certain that 
the foundations of the colony were firmly laid. 

Then, on October 31, congress was turned out of doors 
by an armed force, acting under a decree of the em- 
peror, which dissolved congress and vested the legis- 
lative power of the nation in a body to be known as the 
junta instituyente, the members of which were chosen 
by the emperor himself. All of the work of the col- 
onization committee and of congress had come to naught. 
The colonization question was thrown back to the point 
where it was when Austin arrived in the city. It was 
necessary to begin all over again. 

But the patient determination of Austin was not to 
be swerved from its purpose. There were a number 
of hardy pioneers in Texas who had pinned their faith 
in him. They had risked all in going to that wilder- 
ness upon his assurance that he would obtain lands for 
them and enable them to found homes for themselves 
and their families. There was no turning back, and 
it was not in Austin's nature to think of turning back. 
To add to his other difficulties, Hawkins had died at 
New Orleans, and the full burden of the project now 
rested on his own slender purse. For a time he was 
almost entirely without funds for the ordinary necessi- 



A YEAR OF REVOLUTIONS 109 

ties of life and was reduced to the extremity on one 
occasion of selling his watch to provide himself with 
food. But he kept on just the same and proceeded to 
begin the work again with the emperor's new legis- 
lative body. A new colonization committee was ap- 
pointed, a new bill was drawn, differing very little from 
the first, and finally reported. The bill was enacted 
into a law, approved by the emperor and promulgated 
on January 4, 1823. 

Austin now found himself advanced one step. A 
general colonization law was enacted and promulgated. 
The next step was to procure a grant from the executive 
under the terms of this law. The prospect for this 
did not seem very bright, for the opposition to the 
arbitrary proceedings of the emperor was daily becom- 
ing more open and manifest. It seemed to portend 
another revolution and a suspension of all business of 
an individual nature in consequence. But Austin had 
a number of personal friends in the cabinet who now 
interested themselves to see that there should be no 
further delay. The peculiar merits of Austin's case 
was urged. He had gone to Texas with his settlers 
in virtue of a permission legally granted to his father 
by the competent Spanish authorities, previous to inde- 
pendence, and he had been officially conducted into the 
province by a commissioner expressly appointed by the 
governor of Texas for that purpose. He had been 
officially received and recognized as his father's suc- 
cessor by the governor, after the change of government, 
and officially authorized to proceed with a settlement. 
Indeed, he had received an official appointment by a 
legal representative of independent Mexico to govern 



110 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

such a colony. The obligation of Mexico to Austin, 
therefore, was peculiarly strong. In addition to all 
this, through no fault of his own, he had been detained 
in Mexico nearly a year in an effort to have this matter 
straightened out. These considerations enabled Austin 
to bring the matter before the council of state in a shape 
which procured its speedy and favorable consideration 
by that body. The council reported it with a favorable 
opinion to the emperor on January 14, and on February 
18 the emperor's decree, granting Austin's petition, 
was issued. 

Thus after eleven months Austin was ready to return 
to Texas with his object entirely accomplished. He 
made preparations to leave on February 23, but before 
he had started information reached the city that a revo- 
lution against the emperor, which had been in progress 
for two months, had attained such proportions that a 
change was impending. The day following the em- 
peror's decree on Austin's case, one of his ministers 
secretly fled from the capital. During the next few 
days information was circulated in the city to the effect 
that a general defection from the emperor's cause had 
occurred in all parts of the empire. Men began to 
speak openly of Iturbide as a usurper, and it was de- 
clared that all of his acts should be annulled by congress. 

This news was very disturbing to Austin. If all of 
Iturbide's acts, without exception, should be annulled 
this would invalidate his grant and thus put him back 
where he started. He consulted attorneys and others 
likely to know, and found a division of opinion among 
them as to how such a personal matter would be treated. 



A YEAR OF REVOLUTIONS 111 

That any doubt at all existed was sufficient to cause 
him to delay his journey to Texas and await devel- 
opments. 

Developments came fast enough. The success of the 
revolutionary forces had been such that Iturbide was 
forced to do something besides sit in the capital and 
see the whole of the empire wrested from his control. 
Collecting such troops as he could find still loyal, he 
placed himself at the head of them and marched out 
of the city to the village of Iztapulca. But soon he 
received news that a superior force was advancing 
against him along the Puebla road and, finding he could 
not depend upon the adherence of even such troops as 
were under his command, he was forced to make terms. 
He agreed to a truce, and the appointment of commis- 
sioners by both sides to treat. 

The result was the practical abdication of Iturbide, 
pending the decision of the congress, which was recon- 
vened. Congress met on March 29 and promptly 
abolished the executive power which had existed under 
the emperor. On March 31 the executive authority 
was vested in a tribunal of three members, to be known 
as "the supreme executive power," and Nicholas Bravo, 
Guadalupe Victoria and Pedro Celestino Negrete were 
named to compose it. Two alternates were named to 
fill the places of any one of these who might be absent 
from a session, and the government was entirely reor- 
ganized in all of its branches. 

On April 8 congress decreed that the coronation of 
Iturbide was an act of violence and force, and was 
null and void, and that all acts of the government under 
the emperor, of whatever character, were illegal and 



112 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

subject to be revised, confirmed or revoked, as the newly 
established government might decide. This decree 
banished Iturbide from Mexican territory forever, but 
voted him a salary of twenty-five thousand pesos an- 
nually, provided he would reside in Italy. The repub- 
licans were finally in absolute control of Mexico, and 
it was now certain that a republic would be established. 
But, at the very moment that these events were taking 
place in Mexico, the pendulum was swinging in the 
other direction in Spain. For the day before the decree 
of the Mexican congress against Iturbide was issued, 
a French army crossed the frontier into Spain to rescue 
Ferdinand from the liberals, and to reestablish abso- 
lutism in that country. The absolutist monarchs of 
Russia, Austria, Prussia and France had decided to stick 
together, and even to intervene in the internal affairs 
of other nations to protect the power of royalty against 
the revolutionary liberals. Whether this intervention 
in Spanish affairs would extend to her colonies remained 
to be seen. The Mexican republicans, in any event, 
proceeded to their task, heedless of the new danger 
arising on the other side of the ocean. Iturbide was 
sent to Vera Cruz under a strong guard and embarked 
on an English vessel for Italy on May 11. In passing, 
it should be added that just as he had imitated Napoleon 
in his coronation ceremony, he later attempted to imi- 
tate the Corsican's return from Elba. After a year 
spent in intrigue in Europe, during which time he was 
outlawed by the Mexican congress for leaving Italy, 
Iturbide returned to Mexico, landing at Soto la Marina 
on July 14, 1824. Apparently he expected an uprising 
in his favor and the flocking of a formidable force to 



A YEAR OF REVOLUTIONS 113 

his banner. He was sorely disappointed, however, for 
republicanism was now firmly in the saddle. He was 
promptly arrested and shot three days after he had 
landed on Mexican soil. 

During all this time Austin waited patiently at 
Mexico City. The decree of April 8 fulfilled the pre- 
dictions of those who had said all of Iturbide's acts 
would be annulled, and Austin's grant and the law under 
which it was issued were both subject to the will of 
the new government. Austin lost no time in presenting 
a petition to congress, and now a remarkable thing 
occurred. The confidence in Austin which had grown 
up among the Mexican leaders during a year's relations 
with him now bore fruit. All joined in hastening action 
on Austin's petition. Three days after the adoption of 
the decree annulling Iturbide's acts, congress revived 
the colonization law long enough to pass a decree 
referring Austin's memorial to the supreme executive 
power for confirmation, if it had no objection. Then 
it immediately suspended the colonization law perma- 
nently. It authorized the supreme executive power 
to act on any other cases similar to Austin's, but there 
were no other such cases. The effect of this, therefore, 
was to decree that only Austin's grant should be 
allowed. The remainder of the army of petitioners 
must await the future action of congress. With the 
sole exception of the grant to Austin, the colonization 
matter was put back precisely where it had been a year 
before. Austin had come to the city an absolute 
stranger. He now counted among his close friends some 
of the most influential men in Mexico. 

On April 14 the supreme executive power, in ac- 



114 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

cordance with the recommendation of congress, issued 
a decree confirming in full the concession granted to 
Austin by the imperial government of Iturbide on 
February 18. Thus, after a year of patient waiting 
and determined effort, Austin had the satisfaction of 
leaving Mexico City with his colonization grant con- 
firmed by all the governments which had ruled the 
Mexican nation during that year. As the last confir- 
mation was by the sovereign constituent congress, the 
assembled power of the people of the nation, no shadow 
of a doubt could now be raised against its legality and 
validity. Having thus accomplished his mission, 
Austin left Mexico City for Texas on April 28. He 
had spent precisely a year in its accomplishment, but 
he had done more than merely establish the validity of 
a colonization grant. He had become a part of Mexi- 
can public affairs and an influence in the destiny of the 
Mexican nation. 



CHAPTER VII. 



WAITING IN THE WILDS. 



When Austin left San Antonio in March, 1822, on 
his long journey to Mexico City, neither he nor his 
colonists expected he would be away longer than four 
months. Even an absence of this length was regarded 
as a calamity, and only absolute necessity reconciled 
them to it. But it was four times four months before 
he returned, and this nearly brought disaster to the 
whole undertaking. 

How serious was Austin's long absence, and the 
doubt which had been raised as to the validity of his 
contract to colonize Texas, may be judged only when 
it is considered that he and Hawkins had made ar- 
rangements for a great number of colonists to come on 
to Texas during the summer. It was discouraging to 
the little band already in the province to learn that 
they might yet be regarded as trespassers. What would 
be thought by others when they should arrive and find 
the condition of affairs existing, with Austin not there 
to receive them, with nothing settled as to the pro- 
posed colony, and with no assurance that they would 
ever receive titles to the land they might clear and 
cultivate? 

The dominant motive of those who had agreed to 
join Austin's colonization enterprise was the desire to 
acquire land and to found homes for their families. For 
this they were willing to endure hardships and dangers, 
and even to subject their families to the privations and 

115 



116 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

perils of the Texas wilderness, but if Austin's promises 
were not to be redeemed by the government of Mexico, 
why should they remain and undergo such trials? That 
some of them did remain, in the face of sufferings and 
dangers, such as none had anticipated, and that these 
did retain faith in Austin, in spite of repeated post- 
ponements of his promised return, is more remarkable 
than the fact that many went back to the United States 
to tell their friends to "keep away from Texas." 

The patience and determination of Stephen Austin 
during his stay at Mexico City can not fail to impress 
one with their almost superhuman character. But what 
shall be said of the patience and determination of that 
little band of faithful colonists who remained in the 
wilds of Texas during the sixteen months which elapsed, 
from the time Austin departed from San Antonio until 
he returned to them with the news of his final success? 
At Mexico City Austin was at least in a civilized com- 
munity, surrounded by comforts and free from danger. 
The colonists were in a wilderness, without ordinary 
necessities and exposed to constant danger, and in addi- 
tion to this the men were compelled to see their wives 
and children suffer these hardships. The patience, 
determination and unremitting toil of Stephen Austin 
are wrought into the very foundation of Texas, but 
along with them are also the courage, the fortitude and 
the suffering of that little group of pioneers who waited 
along the Colorado and the Brazos, and planted the 
beginnings of a settlement, while Austin was at the 
capital. Few of their names are known conspicuously 
to us today, but the great and prosperous State of Texas, 



WAITING IN THE WILDS 117 



the largest in the American union, is as much the 
fruit of their labors as of the labors of any who have 
come after them. 

After the departure of Austin for Mexico City, 
Josiah H. Bell, James Austin and the others of the 
party returned to the Brazos and the Colorado with 
what supplies they could obtain and a small quantity 
of seed corn. Seed corn was very scarce at San Antonio, 
another evidence of the waning character of the Spanish 
colonization of Texas, and the small amount taken back 
with them was scarcely enough to go around. There 
were practically no agricultural implements in the col- 
ony during that first spring, and most of the planting 
was done in the primitive fashion of making holes with 
sharpened sticks. Adequate supplies of this kind had 
been sent on the Lively , but no word had been received 
from the schooner. It was generally believed among 
the colonists that she had been lost, but, had they only 
known it, at the very time they were planting their 
first crop under such difficulties, the Lively y s passen- 
gers were on the banks of the lower Brazos, near the 
coast, with plenty of agricultural implements and an 
adequate supply of seed. For the Lively had reached 
Texas all right, but for some reason that remains unex- 
plained to this day, she stopped at the mouth of the 
Brazos instead of proceeding to that of the Colorado, 
where it had been expressly agreed to meet Austin. The 
schooner had been delayed four weeks en route by 
unfavorable winds and bad weather, and when she 
reached the Brazos, the men, tools and supplies were 
landed. 

In this party were about twenty men, including some 



118 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

of those who had accompanied Stephen Austin to Texas 
during the previous summer, and who had explored the 
Brazos. Edward Lovelace, who had pronounced the 
region along the west bank of this river to be "superior 
to anything he had seen in the province," was one of 
these, as was also his nephew, Henry Holstein. James 
Beard and William Little, both of whom had been 
among Austin's original companions, were also along, 
the latter being in charge of the party. John Lovelace, 
Edward's brother, who had planned to make the first 
trip, but was prevented from doing so through illness, 
and James A. E. Phelps, another nephew of the Love- 
laces, were likewise among the Lively y s passengers. 
The Lovelaces had advanced Austin some of the money 
with which the Lively had been purchased, and this 
circumstance, together with Edward's opinion of the 
country along the Brazos, may have had something to 
do with the decision to land there. 

It is possible, of course, that they mistook the river 
for the Colorado, and the reminiscences of one of their 
number, who was not in the confidence of the leaders, 
indicate that they were not sure it was the Brazos for 
several weeks. But that Little and the Lovelaces took 
it upon themselves to change the original plans is also 
a possible explanation. Whatever the cause of their 
landing, it had the most unsatisfactory results for all 
concerned. 

Having landed, the Lovelaces, Little and a few 
others started up the river to explore the country and, 
if possible, to get in touch with the party that had 
accompanied Austin by land. They returned, after six 
days' absence, with no news, and it was decided to 



WAITING IN THE WILDS 119 



move a few miles up the Brazos and build boats to 
transport the tools and supplies to a desirable site for 
a settlement. At that very moment Austin was anx- 
iously searching for the Lively along the coast near the 
mouth of the Colorado and, before he abandoned the 
quest, the Lively's passengers had completed the con- 
struction of seven rude boats and moved their full 
equipment up the Brazos to the first high ground and 
proceeded to establish a permanent settlement. They 
built a large log house and then cleared land in prepa- 
ration for the planting of a crop of corn. By this 
time, due to the uneconomical management, their sup- 
plies of food had become exhausted and they were 
forced to subsist upon game and such other provisions 
as could be found in the neighborhood. They suffered 
much privation, and apparently there was not a very 
happy division of labor among them. Many became 
discontented and a lack of organization or of any au- 
thority to command respect created a condition which 
was not conducive to harmony. There were quarrels, 
and soon some of them began to leave. Disintegra- 
tion, once started, became rapid, and all but a few 
returned to the United States long before Austin got 
back from Mexico. The names of only five of the 
Lively' s known passengers appear on the roll of those 
to whom land titles were issued under Austin's contract. 
Thus the Lively's first trip resulted in nothing, so 
far as the furthering of the colonization enterprise was 
concerned. And, as has been seen, its failure to bring 
tools and supplies to the other colonists caused them to 
undergo great privation. They were soon without 
bread of any kind, for they had neither flour nor meal; 



120 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 



coffee and sugar were memories of luxuries of the past, 
and before long even salt, an absolute necessity, became 
extremely scarce. Wild game was the only means of 
subsistence, but this was not a certain source of supply. 
Bear and buffalo were scarce and danger from the In- 
dians made hunting a hazardous undertaking. Wild 
turkeys were plentiful, but soon ammunition became 
too precious to be wasted on such small game. Deer 
were very poor because of the failure of the mast on 
which they fed, and "lean venison" was not very sub- 
stantial food. But there was an abundance of wild 
horses (mustangs) and they were fat and very easily 
killed. Horse meat, therefore, was a frequent article 
of diet. Nothing could illustrate more strikingly the 
extremes of privation the colonists suffered than the 
fact that about one hundred mustangs were eaten during 
the period of Austin's absence. 

To aggravate this situation, the Tonkawa, Lipan, 
Beedle and other Indians living in the region of the 
colonists were continually begging gifts from their 
sparse supplies. These Indians were an insolent and 
beggarly lot and, while not so hostile as the Wacos and 
the Comanches of the interior, and the Karankawas on 
the coast, they were not to be trifled with. They had 
to be suffered in patience until the colonists were numer- 
ous enough to deal with them. "One imprudent step 
with these Indians," Austin wrote later, referring to 
this period, "would have destroyed the settlement, and 
the settlers deserve as much credit for their forbear- 
ance during the years 1822 and 1823 as for their 
fortitude." 



WAITING IN THE WILDS 121 

Capt. Jesse Burnam, one of the settlers, relates an 
incident which illustrates this situation as it affected 
the food supply. "I went out to kill a deer," he says, 
"and had killed one and was butchering it when an 
Indian came up and wanted to take it from me. I 
would not let him have it, but got it on my back the 
best I could and started for camp. The Indian began 
to yell, I suppose for help, but I would have died rather 
than give the deer up. I thought if there was only one 
I would put my knife in him and save my gun for 
another. I walked along as fast as I could, he pulling 
at the deer and making signs that he wanted it on his 
back. I could not put it down to rest, so I walked into 
a gully and rested it on a bank, the Indian all the time 
making threats and grimaces. . . . When I got back 
to camp it was full of Indians, and everyone was divid- 
ing meat with them." The Indians did not get Bur- 
nam's deer, but few were willing to take such risks. 
Had there been three or four Indians instead of one, 
they probably would have taken it from him, just as 
the Indians at camp compelled the colonists to divide. 
This was not a rare occurrence; it was an almost con- 
stant nuisance. The colonists literally had to feed a 
lot of beggarly Indians, in addition to providing for 
themselves, during much of the time Austin was away. 

Austin's continued absence was a constant subject of 
talk, and it can be imagined that there were those who 
did not hesitate to express the opinion that he would 
never come back, and that none of them would ever 
receive a title for land. Some of those who left the 
colony and returned to the United States undoubtedly 
did say such things, and this fact and the general con- 



122 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

dition of privation existing in the colony turned many 
an immigrant back at Nacogdoches, or caused them to 
stop there and to settle on land outside the limits of 
Austin's colony. 

It had been Austin's general plan to have prospective 
colonists come to Texas at their convenience, taking 
their own time and reporting to him, or to some one 
else in charge, on arrival. Before he left Louisiana 
for Texas he had arranged with a number of families 
in Arkansas, Missouri and elsewhere to emigrate in this 
way. Indeed, some of these colonists preceded him to 
Texas by several weeks, and were on the ground when 
he reached there in December, 1821. Among these 
were the three Kuykendall brothers and their families, 
who crossed the Brazos at La Bahia road on November 
26, 1821. They found another such family, that of 
Andrew Robinson, already camped on the west side of 
that river. The Robinsons were the first immigrant 
family to cross the Brazos. 

To fit the cases of such colonists, who agreed to come 
to Texas as soon as they could arrange to leave their old 
homes, Austin provided a printed form which, when 
filled out and signed, authorized the holder to settle 
along the Colorado and Brazos rivers, and which set 
forth the conditions upon which the colonist was ac- 
cepted. A copy of the one given to Abner Kuykendall 
will serve to illustrate the whole arrangement. It read 
as follows: 

"Civil Commandant of the Colony forming on the 
Colorado and Brazos Rivers in the province of Texas: 

"Permission is hereby granted to Abner Kuykendall 
and family to emigrate and settle in the colony forming 



WAITING IN THE WILDS 123 

by me under the authority and protection of the govern- 
ment of New Spain at the points above stated. Settlers 
are required to comply with the general regulations 
hereunto annexed: 

"Stephen F. Austin." 

"1. No person will be admitted as a settler who does 
not produce satisfactory evidence of having supported 
the character of a moral, sober and industrious citizen. 

"2. Each settler must, when called on by the gov- 
ernor of the said province, take the oath of allegiance 
to the government exercising sovereignty of the country. 

"3. Six hundred and forty acres of land will be 
granted to each family, and, in addition to that, three 
hundred and twenty acres to a man's wife, one hundred 
and sixty acres for each child and eighty acres for each 
slave; which land will be laid off in two equal tracts, 
one on the river in an oblong; the other is to be located 
so as not to interfere with the river lands. One of said 
tracts must be actually inhabited and cultivated by the 
person and family who has permission to settle it, within 
the year from the first of January, 1822. 

"Twelve cents and a half per acre must be paid me 
for said land, one-half on receipt of title, the other in 
one year after, which will be in full for surveying fees 
and all other charges — each settler will choose his own 
tract of land within the limits designated by Austin. 

"4. Mechanics and men of capital will receive addi- 
tional privileges in proportion to their capacity to be 
useful. 

"5. Each settler is required to report to me or the 
officer who has charge of the colony, immediately on his 



124 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 



arrival, and to furnish a list of the number of his fam- 
ily, giving the names of his children and their ages, the 
number of his negroes, designating those under twelve 
years of age, those over twelve and under twenty-one, 
those over twenty-one and whether male or female, and 
if any of the family are mechanics to state what kind." 

Many prospective settlers, armed with such certificates 
of permission, and others without them, drawn thither 
by Austin's announcements in the newspapers, arrived in 
Texas overland after he had left for Mexico City. The 
route from the Sabine to the site of the colony was first 
to Nacogdoches, then along the San Antonio road to the 
Brazos and the Colorado, from which points the immi- 
grant would move south along the banks of either river 
until he found a place that struck his fancy. In this way 
settlers were spread along the banks of these two streams 
from the San Antonio road almost to the coast. But soon 
the condition of things among the colonists — the absence 
of Austin and the scarcity of food and supplies — became 
generally known at Nacogdoches, and no doubt the story 
was greatly exaggerated in the telling. Nacogdoches 
itself eked out a hand-to-mouth existence, and one can 
imagine the feelings of a man arriving in such a place 
with his family, and then learning that conditions were 
worse at the point of destination toward which he was 
traveling. Some decided to go no further and "squat- 
ted" on land between Nacogdoches and the Sabine, 
which was not yet open to colonization. Others stopped 
at the Trinity river. But many turned back, very much 
disgusted and a great deal poorer as the result of their 
experience, and these became the purveyors of the wild- 
est reports concerning conditions in Texas. When some 



WAITING IN THE WILDS 125 

of the settlers themselves finally gave up and returned 
to the United States, they joined in the chorus of "Keep 
away from Texas." 

But the land route was not the only one used. At first 
colonists came also by schooner from New Orleans. On 
June 4, 1 822, a little more than two months after Aus- 
tin's departure, the schooner Only Son landed at the 
mouth of the Colorado with a number of families and 
a quantity of supplies. The passengers were in three 
parties, one being made up of William Kincheloe and 
his family and a few friends, and including Kincheloe's 
son-in-law, Horatio Chriesman. There was much sick- 
ness among the new arrivals, and it was decided to leave 
most of their effects at the landing, together with the 
rest of the cargo, under guard, and move up the river 
immediately. Kincheloe's party camped at a little creek, 
about ten miles from the coast, and another party, 
known as "Wilson's party," camped some distance west 
of them. The others went on to a point known as Jen- 
nings' camp, further up the river. 

About the same time the schooner Lively , now mak- 
ing its second trip, was wrecked on the west end of Gal- 
veston island, and its passengers, another party of immi- 
grants, and the cargo, consisting of the effects of the 
passengers and supplies for the colonists, were taken by 
the schooner John Motley and landed at the mouth of 
the Colorado. These immigrants proceeded at once to 
Jennings's camp, also leaving most of their effects and 
supplies at the landing under guard. There was a quan- 
tity of flour and of other supplies to be sold to the colo- 
nists, who were expected to come to the landing and to 
move their purchases, and the whole was left under 



126 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

guard of four men. The news of the arrival of these 
supplies was rapidly circulated among the colonists, and 
some of them came immediately to the coast to buy 
flour, which was offered at twenty-five dollars a barrel, 
either in cash, peltries, beeswax or other saleable com- 
modities. 

Chriesman, who afterwards became surveyor for Aus- 
tin's colony, relates that after the lapse of a few days, 
the provisions at Kincheloe's camp being nearly ex- 
hausted, Pleasant Pruitt, one of the party, was about to 
start for a new supply when a runner from Wilson's 
camp came to inform them that the four men left at 
the landing had been murdered by the Karankawa In- 
dians and all the property of the immigrants and the 
rest of the cargo had been carried away or destroyed. 
Immediately upon receipt of this news, Kincheloe's 
party broke camp and proceeded up the Colorado, "the 
men packing all the effects of themselves and their 
families, except the guns, which were carried by the 
women." All of these immigrants settled at different 
points along the Colorado, and Chriesman records that 
they suffered greatly for want of provisions. 

The destruction of the cargoes of the two schooners 
by the Karankawas was a great disaster, not only to the 
passengers who lost some of their effects, but to the colo- 
nists already on the ground who had been looking for- 
ward to the arrival of a schooner with supplies ever 
since the failure of the Lively to keep the rendezvous 
with Austin six months before. Not only was their tem- 
porary rejoicing over the news of the arrivals turned to 
grim disappointment, but the acts of the Karankawas 
made it hopeless to expect any supplies in the future by 



WAITING IN THE WILDS 127 

the sea route, and packing supplies from Natchitoches 
was a slow and costly operation, even if many of the 
colonists could afford this expense. The Karankawa 
Indians, from all accounts, seem to have been the most 
ferocious ever encountered by American frontiersmen 
anywhere. Indeed, so greatly were they feared and so 
bad was the reputation which they acquired, that it was 
even said they were cannibals. There is no authenticated 
instance of cannibalism to support this view, however. 
They are described by one early traveler in Texas as 
"the most savage-looking human beings I ever saw." 
They were giants in stature, and were armed with great 
bows and arrows in proportion to their size. They 
roamed the whole Texas coast and were quite as much 
at home on the water as on land, being skillful in the 
use of the canoe. They lived chiefly on fish and alliga- 
tors. "Their ugly faces were rendered hideous," says 
one observer, "by the alligator grease and dirt with 
which they were besmeared from head to foot as a de- 
fense against mosquitoes." It was probably these 
Indians that destroyed La Salle's colony, and that pre- 
vented both the French and Spaniards from building a 
fort on the coast. They were a constant menace to 
the colonists during the period of Austin's absence in 
Mexico. 

Shortly after the massacre at the mouth of the Colo- 
rado, the Karankawas committed other depredations. 
Finally, when a party of these Indians attacked three of 
the colonists who were coming up the Colorado in a 
canoe, killing two of them and wounding the other, 
Robert Kuykendall and a party of settlers decided that 
a passive attitude toward them would no longer be safe. 



128 A HIS TORY OF TEXAS 

Accordingly, they organized an expedition against the 
Karankawas. In order to insure the good behavior of 
the Tonkawas during their absence, they took the chief 
of that tribe along with them. Upon arriving near the 
mouth of Scull creek, a reconnoitering party heard a 
number of Karankawas in a thicket pounding briar root, 
from which these Indians extracted a very nutritive 
starch. This was at nightfall, and the Indians were 
camped for the night, so it was decided to wait until 
daybreak to attack them. Kuykendall and his compan- 
ions surrounded the camp in the early dawn. One lone 
Indian was awake and had risen, but before he could 
give the alarm he was shot down and instantly killed. 
The settlers then poured a deadly fire into the Indian 
camp, killing ten or twelve of them as they were aroused 
from sleep in the confusion of the attack. Only a few 
of this party of Karankawas escaped to carry the tid- 
ings to their tribesmen. This was the first chastisement 
administered to these Indians by Austin's settlers. 

To add to the hardships of the colonists along the 
Colorado and the upper Brazos, a severe drouth during 
the summer almost ruined what little corn they had 
planted. In many instances the crop was a complete 
failure, and some scarcely raised as much corn as the 
seed they had planted. In the river bottoms, however, 
a few produced a fair crop, and, after many months 
without bread, the colonists now feasted on such corn 
pone as could be made of meal manufactured by pound- 
ing or grating. Those whose crop had failed purchased 
corn from the others, paying for it with whatever of 
value they might possess. Captain Burnam, for exam- 
ple, relates that his family had been without bread for 



WAITING IN THE WILDS 129 

nine months, and that a fellow colonist offered to sell 
him some corn. "I gave him a horse for twenty bush- 
els," he says, a and went sixty miles after it with two 
horses and brought eight bushels back." Even then his 
family had to be very, economical with it, and only one 
piece of bread all around at a meal was the rule. The 
first corn crop provided only temporary relief and a lit- 
tle variety in the food supply. 

Besides game, wild honey was a regular article of diet 
and the universal substitute for sugar. Very few of the 
colonists had jars or other containers to store it, and so 
they soon reverted to the "wine skins" of biblical times, 
manufacturing containers for the honey from deer skins. 
Deer skins also came into general use as the chief ma- 
terial for wearing apparel for both men and women, 
for the clothing they brought with them became so tat- 
tered and worn in time that it was necessary for most of 
the colonists to provide themselves with new wardrobes. 
While there were a few spinning wheels and looms in 
the colony, there was as yet no cotton to spin or weave. 
Buckskin was soon the prevailing style of dress, and the 
colonists vied with each other in making such outfits 
"artistic" as well as durable. 

It is easy in this modern day to idealize such a life 
as the colonists lived as one of "sylvan simplicity," but 
the truth is, it was a life of privation and hardship. 
There were cases of near starvation, which the colonists 
were frequently too close to the end of their own sup- 
plies to relieve. There was, for example, one case of a 
mother and two children subsisting for several days on 
lettuce, while the husband and father was compelled to 
be absent. There was the case of another family who 



130 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

lived on a little milk for nearly a week, while the only- 
man on the place worked in the field to save eight acres 
of corn which otherwise would have been lost. He 
plowed those eight acres, with only a little buttermilk 
to sustain him, and did not dare to stop long enough to 
hunt. There were other similar cases, for scarcity of 
food was a common condition in the colony, not only 
during this period, but even after Austin's return. 

In December, 1822, Baron de Bastrop visited the 
colonists on the Colorado for the purpose of obtaining 
their oaths of allegiance to the emperor, Iturbide, and of 
forming them into some sort of civil organization. This 
was after Iturbide had assumed absolute powers, and 
just about the time Austin was making headway in get- 
ting a colonization law enacted by that mushroom mon- 
arch's government. The old baron gathered the colo- 
nists together and administered the oath to these remote 
subjects of Augustus I — and last — with fitting cere- 
mony. He then held an election for alcalde and officers 
of the militia. John Tomlinson was elected alcalde, and 
Robert Kuykendall captain of the militia. The whole 
number of votes on the Colorado did not exceed thirty. 
Baron de Bastrop did not go to the Brazos, but author- 
ized Josiah H. Bell to hold the election there and to 
administer the oath. The Brazos colonists met at Bell's 
house and unanimously elected him alcalde. Samuel 
Gates was elected captain of the militia, and J. H. Kuy- 
kendall lieutenant. 

This evidence that the Mexican government had some 
interest in them served to create a little confidence 
among the settlers, and, as it was believed that Austin 



WAITING IN THE WILDS 131 

would soon be returning to Texas, they began to view 
the future a little more optimistically. But this was 
about all the interest the Mexican authorities in Texas 
manifested in them. Far from supplying the colonists 
with any protection against the Indians in the form of 
troops, the authorities did not even protect them against 
the "border ruffians," Mexican and Louisiana despera- 
does from the region along the Texas-Louisiana border. 
On the contrary, Austin's colonists themselves made 
Texas safer for Mexican horse traders against attacks 
from these bandits. During the summer of 1823 a 
Frenchman and two Mexicans from the Louisiana bor- 
der were whipped for stealing horses, and their ponies 
confiscated. Shortly after that an incident occurred 
which gave notice to all the desperate characters of the 
border that the Colorado and the Brazos were extremely 
unhealthy for their kind. A party of Mexicans, driv- 
ing a caballada of horses from the Rio Grande to Loui- 
siana, was camped near Scull creek, when a band of bor- 
der Mexicans attacked it. Two or three of the Rio 
Grande party were murdered and the rest dispersed, and 
the bandits proceeded to take charge of their horses and 
to drive them toward Louisiana. The owner of the 
horses, though wounded, escaped to the settlement on 
the Colorado, and Robert Kuykendall immediately or- 
ganized a posse to pursue the thieves. The latter di- 
vided into two parties, one escaping along the San An- 
tonio road in the direction of Louisiana, but the settlers 
overtook the other party on the west bank of the Brazos 
and in a battle which followed killed two of their num- 
ber. The horses were recovered and restored to their 
owner, and the heads of the two bandits were cut from 



132 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

their bodies and placed on poles at the roadside. After 
that the colonists suffered no more annoyance from 
"border ruffians." 

It has been remarked that there was sickness among 
the passengers of the schooner, Only Son. There was 
much sickness among the colonists as a whole during this 
period, for the privations which they underwent, the 
limited food supply and the general character of their 
diet were not calculated to promote health. There was 
not a practicing physician in the whole colony, and any 
serious illness was likely to result in death. Before the 
spring of 1823 the first graves were made by the Amer- 
icans in a soil still alien, but upon which they were des- 
tined to rear a splendid civilization. Among the earliest 
victims of disease were some of the brave women who 
had accompanied their husbands into that remote wilder- 
ness. It was several years later, when the country was 
much more thickly settled, that it was said of Texas that 
it was a a heaven for men and dogs, but a hell for women 
and oxen." It was a woman who said that, and the men 
may have had a different opinion about its application 
with respect to them. But one part of this statement 
was certainly true of Texas during this period: it was a 
hell for women. Much blood has been shed in defense 
of Texas since that day. The Alamo still stands as a 
monument to remind this generation in all countries that 
men can die bravely in a holy cause. But the women 
among that little group of pioneers suffered more for 
Texas than many a soldier wounded on the battlefield, 
and those who died during that first year gave their lives 
for Texas as truly as the heroes who made the last su- 
preme sacrifice within the walls of the Alamo. 



WAITING IN THE WILDS 133 

As the months passed and the return of Stephen Aus- 
tin was postponed again and again, the outlook became 
gloomy. Many of the colonists gave up at last and 
moved back to the United States. There were few events 
to break the monotony of waiting for things to improve 
and to make the outlook brighter. Immigration now 
ceased entirely and this had a very depressing eff ect, for, 
if Texas was not to be settled soon, the prospect for 
those who remained would not be very encouraging. In- 
stead of increasing, their number was decreasing, and 
if no new settlers came to take the places of those who 
had gone, it could be expected that others would leave in 
the future. With no assurance of the time of Austin's 
return, with no certainty that they would receive titles 
to their land, and now with the expectation that the 
country would be settled up also fading, it took grim 
determination to stay on. But, both on the Colorado and 
on the Brazos, a little group of settlers held on in spite 
of all these discouraging circumstances. 

A few of the more prosperous of the colonists made 
trips to Natchitoches in the summer of 1823 to get cof- 
fee, sugar and other supplies, and this, together with the 
outlook for a better corn crop, brightened things up a 
little. Then an enterprising Frenchman from below the 
Rio Grande arrived with several mules loaded with rock 
salt. This was a very great event, for this necessity had 
been almost non-existent in the colony for some time. 
Finally there came the cheering news that Stephen Aus- 
tin was really returning at last and that he had been en- 
tirely successful in his mission. 

Austin had reached Monterey in May, and as he was 
determined that there should be no further hitch in the 



134 A HISTORY OF TEX AS 

legal aspects of his undertaking, he called immediately 
upon Don Felipe de la Garza, now the commandant 
general of the eastern internal provinces. He particu- 
larly desired to obtain from that official, under whose 
jurisdiction Texas still remained, an interpretation of 
his status and powers with respect to the government of 
the colony. The result was that he was made chief of 
the militia in the colony, with the rank of lieutenant 
colonel, and he was recognized as having practically un- 
limited power to govern the colony in all civil, military 
and judicial matters, subject only to the approval of the 
superior government. In all capital cases, however, he 
was to refer a record of the proceedings to the superior 
government, together with a copy of the verdict, and 
while awaiting its action should work the prisoner on 
the public roads. In short, as Austin himself said, the 
local government was thus committed to him with the 
most extensive powers, but without any copies of laws, 
or specific instructions whatever for his guide. 

From Monterey, Austin proceeded to San Antonio. 
The commandant transmitted all the documents in the 
matter to Luciana Garcia, now governor of Texas, on 
June 16, together with instructions to put them into 
effect. On July 16 Garcia appointed Baron de Bastrop 
as commissioner to organize the colony and to install 
Austin formally as legal head of it in all matters of gov- 
ernment. On the same day he notified the commandant 
of this action, and of the fact that he had bestowed upon 
the town, which was to be the capital of the colony, the 
name of San Felipe de Austin, in honor of the com- 
mandant's patron saint, Felipe, and of the empresario. 
It is not improbable that Austin himself, who by this 



WAITING IN THE WILDS 135 

time had acquired a thorough understanding of Mexican 
character, suggested to Garcia this graceful method of 
complimenting Garza. Austin and Baron de Bastrop 
arrived on the Colorado early in August and were wel- 
comed by the colonists there with enthusiasm. The long 
wait was over, the period of uncertainty was at an end, 
and henceforth there would be steady progress. But 
Austin found things in worse shape than he had ex- 
pected. In his own words, he found that "the settlement 
was nearly broken up in consequence of his long deten- 
tion in Mexico, and immigration had totally ceased." It 
appears also that during his absence some of those who 
had arrived had become discontented with the whole ar- 
rangement of Austin's relation to the enterprise, and 
especially with the provision of the agreement that 
twelve and a half cents an acre should be paid to him 
for their land. But Austin set to work immediately to 
build on such foundation as existed and to promote har- 
mony among the settlers. 

Under date of August 5, Baron de Bastrop officially 
notified James Cummins, now alcalde on the Colorado, 
to have the colonists gather at the house of Sylvanus 
Castleman on August 9, in order that he might com- 
municate to them "the superior orders with which I am 
charged, and that said Don Stephen F. Austin may be 
recognized by the civil and military authorities de- 
pendent upon him and by the new colonists who are un- 
der his charge." The baron's instructions informed him 
that "Stephen F. Austin is authorized by the govern- 
ment to administer justice in that district, and to form 
a regiment of national militia, over which for the pres- 
ent he must be chief, with the rank of lieutenant 



136 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

colonel - y all of which you will make known to the in- 
habitants of said district, in order that they may recog- 
nize the said Austin, invested with said powers, and 
obey whatever he may order relative to the public serv- 
ice of the country, the preservation of good order, and 
the defense of the nation to which they belong." It was 
these instructions which were put into effect at the gath- 
ering of the colonists at Castleman's. Austin was thus 
formally installed as the governing head of the Anglo- 
Americans in Texas, an official of the Mexican govern- 
ment, with almost unlimited discretionary powers. He 
had not yet reached his thirtieth birthday when this 
ceremony took place. 

But Austin did not wait for this formal installation 
to communicate with the settlers on the Brazos, where 
some of the discontent referred to existed, and to ac- 
quaint them with the results of his mission to Mexico. 
Under date of August 6, he addressed a letter to them, 
and incidentally took occasion to make it clear that their 
contract with him must be kept. This letter, which 
was addressed to "J. H. Bell, Andrew Robertson (Rob- 
inson), Abner Kuykendall and other settlers on the 
Brazos river," is in a sense the first public proclamation 
issued by Austin in Anglo-American Texas, and it is, 
therefore, given here in full. The letter read as fol- 
lows: 

"Colorado River, 
"House of Mr. Castleman's, 
"August 6, 1823. 

"Fellow Citizens: I have once more the pleas- 
ure of addressing you a few lines from the Colo- 
rado. My absence has been protracted greatly beyond 



WAITING IN THE WILDS 137 

my calculations, and has been in the highest degree un- 
pleasant to me, as it has retarded the progress of the 
most favorite enterprise I ever engaged in; but I now 
flatter myself with the hope of receiving a full compen- 
sation for the difficulties I have encountered by witness- 
ing the happiness of those who compose this colony. I 
assure you that if my own private and personal interest 
had been the only incentive to induce me to persevere, 
I should probably have abandoned the enterprise, rather 
than have surmounted the difficulties produced by the 
constant state of revolution in which the country has 
been, after my arrival in the City of Mexico. But I was 
animated by the gratifying hope of providing a home 
for a number of meritorious citizens, and of placing 
them and their families in a situation to make themselves 
happy the balance of their lives. One of the greatest 
pleasures a virtuous mind can receive in this world is 
the consciousness of having benefited others; this pleas- 
ure I now have in prospect. The title to your lands is 
indisputable — the original grant for this settlement was 
made by the Spanish government before the revolution; 
it was then confirmed, and the quantity of land desig- 
nated by the decree of the Emperor Augustin Iturbide 
on the 18th day of February last, and the whole was 
again approved and confirmed by the sovereign congress 
of the Mexican nation on the 14th of April last, after 
the fall of the emperor. The titles are made by me 
and the commissioner of the government, and are then 
perfect and complete forever, and each settler may sell 
his land the same as he could do in the United States. 

"All that depends on me towards the advancement of 
the colony will be executed in good faith, so far as my; 



138 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

abilities extend, and with all the promptness in my 
power ; but to enable me to benefit them to the full 
extent that I wish, it is necessary that the settlers should 
have confidence in me and be directed by me. I have a 
better opportunity of knowing what will be advan- 
tageous to them as regards their conduct and intercourse 
with the government than any of them could have had, 
and I feel almost the same interest for their prosperity 
that I do for my own family ; in fact, I look upon them 
as one great family who are under my care. I wish the 
settlers to remember that the Roman Catholic is the 
religion of this nation. I have taken measures to have 
Father Miness, formerly of Natchitoches, appointed 
our curate; he is a good man and acquainted with the 
Americans. We must all be particular on this subject, 
and respect the Catholic religion with all that attention 
due to its sacredness and to the laws of the land. 

"I have so far paid all the expenses attending this en- 
terprise out of my own funds. I have spent much time 
and lost much property on the coast in my absence. I 
am now engaged in surveying the land, and must pay 
money to the surveyors and hands employed; besides 
which I have to pay the expenses of the commissioner, 
and heavy expenses attending the completion and re- 
cording of the titles. A moment's reflection will con- 
vince the settlers that all this can not be done without 
some aid from them; but, as regards this point, they 
may expect all the indulgence possible. Those who 
have the means must pay me a little money on receipt 
of their titles; from those who have not money I will 
receive any kind of property that will not be dead loss 
to me, such as horses, mules, cattle, hogs, peltry, furs, 



WAITING IN THE WILDS 139 

beeswax, home-made cloth, dressed deer-skins, etc. 
Only a small part will be required in hand 3 for the bal- 
ance I will wait one, two and three years, according to 
the capacity of the person to pay. In fact, I will ac- 
commodate the settlers to the greatest extent in my 
power. I think that those who know me can state that 
my disposition is not to oppress any man; it is a pleasure 
for me to benefit my fellow-citizens, and I will sacrifice 
my own interest rather than distress them for one cent 
of money. But I have many sacred duties to attend to 
which can not be executed without money. The most 
of what I receive from the settlers will be applied for 
their own benefit, and I think they must all agree that 
it is also my duty to provide for my own family, and 
that in justice I ought to be compensated for the losses 
and fatigue I have sustained in this business, particularly 
when my labors secure handsome fortunes to my follow- 
ers. I could exact the payment of all the expenses in 
hand before the titles are delivered, but shall not do so; 
the settlers may all rely on the terms above stated. 

"The smallest quantity of land a family will receive 
is one thousand yards square, which may be increased 
by me and the commissioner without limit in proportion 
to the size of the family. Young men must join, and 
take land in the name of one. All thus united will be 
ranked as one family ; they can then divide the land 
among themselves. 

"I shall proceed immediately to the mouth of this 
river, and on my return go to the Brazos. 

"The settlers have now nothing to fear; there is no 
longer any cause for uneasiness. They must not be dis- 
couraged at any little depredations of Indians; they must 



140 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

remember that American blood flows in their veins, and 
that they must not dishonor that noble blood by yielding 
to trifling difficulties. I shall adopt every possible 
means for their security and defense. I have brought 
some powder from Bexar, a part of which will be sent 
to Captain Robison for the use of the militia when 
needed. Let every man do his duty, and we have noth- 
ing to fear. Let us be united as one man; discord must 
be banished from among us, or those who cause it will 
meet with the most severe treatment. 

"Hoping to meet you soon in peace and happiness, 
I am, 

"Respectfully, your friend and fellow-citizen, 

"Stephen F. Austin." 

Following his installation, Austin proceeded to make 
an inspection of the whole colony, going first along the 
Colorado to its mouth, and then to the Brazos. The 
settlement now took on new life and the colonists began 
to look to the future with confidence. Anglo-American 
civilization had gained a foothold west of the Sabine. 
It would never be dislodged. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

FIRST CONTRACT COMPLETED. 

While Stephen Austin was laying the foundations of 
Anglo-American civilization in the wilds of Texas and 
the Mexican congress was making a beginning at estab- 
lishing a republican government in Mexico, the fate of 
Texas and of Mexico as a whole hung in the balance of 
international politics. 

For Mexico, including Texas, was regarded by the 
allied monarchs of Europe as simply one of the colonies 
of Spain, in a state of revolt, to be sure, but an integral 
part of the kingdom of Spain none the less. What 
would be done about those colonies would be decided 
after dealing with the upstart republicans in Spain itself. 
The self-styled holy alliance, formed originally by the 
rulers of Austria, Russia and Prussia, and now joined 
by Bourbon France, had decided that it would not do to 
permit the establishment of a constitution in Spain. 
Ferdinand must be restored to absolute power and to this 
end a French army had crossed the Spanish frontier at 
the very moment the republicans in Mexico were ban- 
ishing Iturbide and annulling all the acts of his gov- 
ernment. On May 23 the advance guard of the French 
entered the Spanish capital, and on June 12 the cortes 
had Ferdinand hastily declared temporarily insane and 
fled from Seville to Cadiz, taking the king along against 
his will. The French army, led by the Duke of An- 
gouleme, followed and began a siege of Cadiz. On Au- 

141 



142 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

gust 30 the fort of Trocadero was stormed and three 
weeks later the city was bombarded. The Duke of An- 
gouleme demanded that the cortes surrender the king, 
refusing to treat until Ferdinand was within his lines. 
Finally, on October 1, the king was delivered into the 
hands of the French, and so absolutism was reestab- 
lished in Spain. 

The next natural step would be to turn now to the 
Spanish colonies. Alone Spain could never subdue 
them, just as the royalists of Spain would have been 
helpless without the intervention of the other powers. 
But with the assistance of the holy alliance it was rea- 
sonable to expect that all of Spain's great colonial em- 
pire could be recovered and it would supply rich mate- 
rial for a division of spoils among the powers. The 
Spanish monopoly of colonial trade in America had long 
been an object of avaricious longings on the part of other 
powers. Indeed, its value was even exaggerated, and 
there was little doubt that there would be adequate com- 
pensation in the form of colonial territory for those 
participating in the enterprise of recovering the Spanish 
domain in South and Central America and in Mexico. 

If such an undertaking had been set on foot its chances 
of success would have been extremely good. But there 
were obstacles in the way. Great Britain's attitude 
created one such obstacle, for that country had held 
aloof from the intervention in Spain to restore Ferdi- 
nand. The British position was that such intervention 
in the intestine struggles of another country was neither 
right in principle nor expedient in policy. Great Brit- 
ain refused to join in such a move, contenting herself 
with a policy of strict neutrality. But, while neutral to- 



FIRST CONTRACT COMPLETED 143 

ward such intervention in Spain itself, the British min- 
istry indicated clearly that it would not permit the trans- 
port of armies to America to carry out a like program in 
the colonies. 

Ever since the beginning of the revolutions in Spain's 
American colonies in 1810, the Spanish commercial 
monopoly had been broken down, and a considerable 
trade with Spanish America had been obtained by both 
Great Britain and the United States. The British mer- 
chants were opposed to a restoration of that monopoly in 
any form, and, from an international standpoint, the 
British policy at this time was especially opposed to any 
enhancement of the power of France. This phase of 
British policy can be summed up in the words of Can- 
ning, who formulated it. "I resolved," he said, a that 
if France had Spain, it should not be Spain with the 
Indies." 

The little group of Americans in the Texas wilder- 
ness were entirely unconscious of the fact that the des- 
tiny of the soil upon which they had settled had thus 
become a pawn in the game of international politics. 
The republican leaders in Mexico were scarcely more 
conscious of the situation, and were proceeding to de- 
cide the details of the form of government to be estab- 
lished. It was a real danger, nevertheless, and had the 
British attitude remained the sole obstacle in the way, 
it might have developed into an immediate menace. 
But there was another possible obstacle: What would 
be the policy of the United States of America? 

This was the situation when congress gathered to 
hear the annual message of the president of the United 
States on December 2, 1823. After that message was 



144 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

read, however, there was no longer any doubt about the 
attitude of the United States. President Monroe an- 
nounced the American policy in no uncertain terms, and 
in a few well-chosen sentences put an end to all danger 
of intervention by the allied powers in the Spanish colo- 
nies in America. "The late events in Spain," he said, 
referring to the French invasion, "show that Europe is 
still unsettled. Of this important fact no stronger 
proof can be adduced than that the allied powers should 
have thought it proper, on any principle satisfactory to 
themselves, to have interposed by force in the internal 
concerns of Spain. To what extent such interposition 
may be carried, on the same principle, is a question in 
which all independent powers whose governments differ 
from theirs are interested, even those most remote, and 
surely none more so than the United States. ... It is 
impossible that the allied powers should extend their po- 
litical system to any portion of either continent (North 
or South America) without endangering our peace and 
happiness ; nor can anyone believe our southern breth- 
ren, if left to themselves, would adopt it of their own 
accord. It is equally impossible, therefore, that we 
should behold such interposition in any form with in- 
difference." 

"We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable 
relations existing between the United States and those 
powers," said President Monroe, "to declare that we 
should consider any attempt on their part to extend their 
system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous 
to our peace and safety. With the existing colonies or 
dependencies of any European power we have not inter- 
fered and shall not interfere. But, with the governments 




JAMES MONROE. 



FIRST CONTRACT COMPLETED 145 

who have declared their independence and maintained 
it, and whose independence we have, on great considera- 
tion and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not 
view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing 
them, or controlling in any manner their destiny, by any 
European power in any other light than as the mani- 
festation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United 
States. 55 

It was the announcement of the Monroe Doctrine to 
the world! What it meant with respect to Mexico and 
to Texas was simply that if Spain could reconquer them 
the United States would remain neutral. But, if any 
other powers joined in such a project, the United States 
would resist it with armed force. "If we look to the 
comparative strength and resources of Spain and those 
new governments, 55 said Monroe, "and their distance 
from each other, it must be obvious that she can never 
subdue them. It is still the true policy of the United 
States to leave the parties to themselves, in the hope that 
other powers will pursue the same course. 55 

This pronouncement was well timed. It settled, once 
and for all, the independent destiny of the Western 
Hemisphere, and incidentally the destiny of Texas. 
The Mexican people, along with the people of the other 
Latin- American countries, were thus left to work out 
their salvation free from the interference of the abso- 
lutist powers of the Old World. 

As the destiny of the Anglo-American population he 
was introducing into Texas was linked up with the des- 
tiny of the country as a whole, Austin took a keen in- 
terest in the course of events in Mexico, and exercised 
no small influence in shaping them. During his stay 



146 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

in Mexico City in 1822 and 1823 he formed intimate 
relationships with many of the Mexican leaders, es- 
pecially those of the federal wing of the republicans. 
Indeed, inasmuch as he had become a Mexican citizen, 
it may be said that he attached himself to that faction. 
After the fall of Iturbide, the Mexican congress called 
an election for a new "constituent congress," to repre- 
sent the assembled will of the people and to draw up a 
constitution. The condition of the country was becom- 
ing chaotic, with no certainty as to the future, and Aus- 
tin conferred with the federalist leaders on ways and 
means of bringing order out of chaos. 

"The nation was distracted by factions," says Austin, 
"and on the eve of falling into a general state of an- 
archy. There was a monarchial party, embracing a 
majority of the capital and wealth of the nation, but it 
was divided into two parties, Bourbonites and Iturbid- 
ites, the former wishing to have an emperor from Spain, 
and the latter in favor of Iturbide, who had recently 
been dethroned. The Monarchists were also divided 
into absolute and limited — the former were small and 
quiet, apparently acting with the others. 

"There were two grand parties of republicans, the 
Centralists and Federalists; the former included the 
most wealthy, the latter were the most numerous. The 
lower classes of the people, the rabble, who outnum- 
bered any of the others, belonged to no party and to any 
and all parties as accident or individual influence gave 
them direction. 

"After the fall of Iturbide, in March, 1823, congress 
jeopardized all by not promptly declaring what system 
should be adopted. The reason of the delay was, they 



FIRST CONTRACT COMPLETED 147 

preferred calling a new congress to decide that great 
question; but in the interval the public mind was left 
in a state of dangerous fermentation, and so early as 
April and May some of the provinces indicated a dis- 
position to take their own course and set up for them- 
selves without waiting for the decision of the nation. 
The public mind was distracted and the ferment daily 
increasing; there was no focus, no rallying-point for 
public opinion to center on." 

This was the condition of affairs when Austin was 
journeying back to Texas from Mexico City. When he 
arrived at Monterey he found Ramos Arispe, one of the 
federalist leaders there, and he discussed with him the 
general outlook. Austin was anxious that the new gov- 
ernment should not only be republican in character, but 
federal in organization, and that provision should be 
made for Texas to become a state whenever it possessed 
sufficient population. Moreover, he desired also that 
the province should escape being a territory, in the 
American sense of that term, in the meantime, but that 
it should form an integral part of one of the states of 
the federation from the start. The importance of this 
lay not only in the fact that a maximum of local self- 
government would be insured in this way, but that the 
disposition of the public lands and the general coloniza- 
tion of Texas would thus be removed from the hands of 
the central government and out of the realm of national 
politics. 

With a view to obtaining these ends, Austin made a 
condensation of the principles of the constitution of 
the United States, putting them in the form of a "plan," 
as the Mexicans called it, and submitted it to Arispe. 



148 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

Arispe was much impressed by it — had it printed and 
circulated among the federal leaders, and thus a com- 
mon platform was found for the Federalist party. 
Austin himself very modestly observes: "I believe this 
plan had much influence in giving unity of intention 
and direction to the Federal party. Arispe was the 
chairman of the committee who drew up the Acta Con- 
stitutiva (the provisional constitution), and a compari- 
son of that act with this plan will show a very strik- 
ing similarity." 

The new constituent congress met November 7, 1823. 
Its membership was overwhelmingly republican. The 
point of division among the members was whether the 
government should be federal, with the various prov- 
inces erected into states, or centralized, with provincial 
governments under the jurisdiction of the national gov- 
ernment. There was much debate on this question, but 
many of the provinces had petitioned for a federal gov- 
ernment and a majority of the members of the con- 
gress were federalists. Moreover, the previous con- 
gress had passed a resolution on June 19, directing the 
supreme executive power to inform the people that the 
then existing body favored the federal republican sys- 
tem. So the federalist view prevailed and, on January 
31, 1824, congress passed the Acta Constitutiva de la 
Federacion Mexicana, or act of confederation, by which 
the federal system was formally adopted and the basis 
and outlines of the government established. In ac- 
cordance with this act, the territory formerly consti- 
tuting the provinces of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Texas 
were to be erected into a state. The congress then pro- 
ceeded to carry out the intent of this act by adopting the 



FIRST CONTRACT COMPLETED 149 

permanent constitution, section by section. In due 
course it reached the section providing the various states, 
and, on May 7, 1824, it passed the constitutional or or- 
ganic act relating to Texas. Nuevo Leon was trans- 
ferred to another state, and the two remaining provinces 
were erected into the "State of Coahuila and Texas." 
It was provided that Texas should be made a separate 
state as soon as it "possessed the necessary elements." 
The federal constitution was not finally completed and 
promulgated until October 4, 1824. 

During all this period Austin was laboring valiantly 
to put his colony in order and to complete the quota of 
his colonists. Texas had been given a very bad reputa- 
tion in the United States during his absence in Mexico 
City, and it was no small task to get immigration started 
again. Moreover, the general chaos existing in the 
affairs of the country, and the uncertainty of the outlook 
with respect to the government, did not help in curing 
this situation nor in reassuring the colonists already in 
Texas. The entire absence of any written laws for the 
government of the colony was also a source of annoy- 
ance, and Austin, exercising the extraordinary powers 
bestowed upon him, set to work to draw up a sort of civil 
and criminal code to supply this lack. When he re- 
ceived the news of the action of congress on January 31, 
in passing the Acta Constitutiva, Austin lost no time in 
making this the occasion for issuing a message to his 
people calculated to restore confidence. 

This message, one of the earliest public documents 
of Anglo-American Texas, gives an insight into the 
manner in which Austin dealt with the colonists and 
illustrates the position he continued to occupy for sev- 



150 A HISTORY OF TEXAS ^^ 

eral years afterwards. He was the intermediary be- 
tween the Mexican government and the Anglo-Amer- 
icans. He was held responsible for the colonists by the 
government, and he was the only source of information 
with respect to governmental affairs to which the colo- 
nists could look. This delicate position required that he 
should retain the confidence both of the Mexicans and 
the Americans, and the diverse character of the respec- 
tive races and the peculiar characteristics of each, made 
this a very difficult job at times. It was with genuine 
enthusiasm, therefore, that he seized the opportunity 
to announce to the "North American republicans" under 
his care that the government of the country was to be 
similar to that of the United States. Austin's message 
on this ocasion was as follows: 

"Fellow Citizens: With the most heartfelt and sin- 
cere congratulations, I now have the pleasure of an- 
nouncing to you officially the form of government 
which the Mexican congress has adopted, and which 
you are now called on to swear to; and this I do with 
the more satisfaction, as I am convinced that there is 
not a breast among you that will not palpitate with 
exultation and delight at the prospects of freedom, hap- 
piness and prosperity which the federal republican sys- 
tem of government presents to your view. 

"Words cannot express to you the satisfaction I feel 
from the reflection that those whose fortunes I shall be 
instrumental in promoting in this country can now enjoy 
them without the alloy which the fear of a despotic 
government would have thrown into their future hopes. 
The great Mexican nation is free. Rational liberty, with 
all its concomitant blessings, has opened to the view of 



FIRST C ONTRACT COMPLETED 151 

the world a nation which despotism had hitherto envel- 
oped in intellectual night. The federal republican 
system, that last and glorious hope of persecuted free- 
dom, first established by the great fathers of North 
American independence on the ruins of British colonial 
oppression, and which soon raised a new-born nation to 
a degree of prosperity and happiness unequaled in the 
history of the world, now spreads its fostering arms over 
the vast dominions of Mexico. 

a The hitherto enslaved Spanish provinces are now 
free and independent states. This province forms a 
state in conjunction with Coahuila and Nuevo Leon, the 
two adjoining ones. The convention is to meet at the 
city of Monterey early in the summer to form a consti- 
tution. One year more will see the government com- 
pletely organized, with the several departments of 
executive, legislative and judicial divided and clearly 
delineated, and the civil and military powers forever 
separated as in the government of the United States. 

"In the meantime, fellow citizens, we have nothing 
to disturb our tranquillity here unless we wilfully create 
confusion and discontent among ourselves. As regards 
your lands, I am responsible to you, to the world, to my 
honor, and to my God that no difficulty or embarrass- 
ment can or ever will arise unless produced by your own 
impatience or imprudence. The task I have had before 
me has been a laborious and perplexing one. I have, 
however, never shrunk from the hardships, exposure, or 
the responsibilities which it imposed upon me, nor ever 
shall. I have endeavored to make the fortunes of every 
one who joined me in forming this colony, and the 



152 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

greatest consolation I derive from the enterprise is the 
conviction that I shall do so. 

"It has been my study to treat all with equal justice 
and impartiality, and if I have failed to do so, it must 
be attributed to the imperfections of my judgment, and 
not those of my heart, and, with almost unlimited au- 
thority in my hands, I think you must say that I have 
governed with mildness. It is our true interest to keep 
peace with the Indians as long as we can do so con- 
sistent with our rights; but should a war be unavoidable, 
you will not find me backward in prosecuting it. I 
trust, however, that you will all have too much pru- 
dence to commit any act that would prematurely bring 
on hostilities. 

"I hope, fellow citizens, you will attend to the words 
of the political chief of this province, and in future dis- 
regard those vague rumors that are only put in circula- 
tion by the enemies of good order for the sole purpose 
of creating confusion and discontent, and that you will 
repose with confidence under the authority that governs, 
being assured that the government will always cherish 
and protect you, and that everything in my feeble power 
to do for your benefit will be cheerfully done, for, as I 
before observed, the greatest consolation I ever expect 
to derive from my labors in the wilderness of this prov- 
ince will arise from the conviction that I have benefited 
many of my fellow beings and laid the foundation for 
the settlement of one of the finest countries in the 
world. "Your fellow citizen, 

"Stephen F. Austin." 

Austin's declaration that "we have nothing to dis- 
turb our tranquillity here unless we wilfully create 



FIRST CONTRACT COMPLETED 153 

confusion and discontent among ourselves," was not a 
mere abstract generalization. "Confusion and discon- 
tent" were, in fact, being created through the unwilling- 
ness of some of the colonists to abide by the contract to 
pay Austin for their land at the rate of twelve and a 
half cents an acre, with the understanding that he should 
pay all the fees and other expenses. The original agree- 
ments, based on Moses Austin's contract, had been for 
six hundred and forty acres to the head of a family. 
But the grant which Stephen Austin had obtained at 
Mexico City, under the provisions of the colonization 
law, allotted a sitio or league of land — four thousand, 
four hundred and twenty-eight acres — to a family en- 
gaging in stock-raising, and a labor, or one hundred and 
seventy-seven acres, to a family engaging in farming. 
As most families would engage in both, they would be 
entitled to at least a league of land. An agreement to 
pay twelve and a half cents an acre for six hundred and 
forty acres was regarded by some as a very different 
thing from paying that rate for four thousand four hun- 
dred and twenty-eight acres, or nearly seven times as 
much. That it was solely through Austin's efforts that 
these liberal grants of land were obtained, made little 
difference with the discontented among the settlers. 
They simply added up the total amount of land that 
might be issued to three hundred families and figured 
that at twelve and a half cents an acre, Austin would 
receive at least $166,000. How much of this would 
have to be paid in fees and other expenses they did not 
know, but they felt that Austin was "speculating" on 
them, and the circumstance that they were receiving an 
immense area of land for almost a nominal price was 



154 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

lost sight of entirely. There was much murmuring and 
some outspoken criticism of Austin, but Austin insisted 
that he was entitled to compensation for his labors and 
should be reimbursed for the money spent during the 
previous three years by his father and himself, de- 
claring that most of the money he would receive would 
be devoted to the good of the colony. He had under- 
gone great hardships and his father had sacrificed his 
life in furthering the colonization enterprise. The set- 
tlers would not now have the opportunity to obtain land 
on such liberal terms had it not been for his efforts and 
those of his father. Such land at twelve and a half cents 
an acre was extremely cheap and insured the fortunes 
of those buying it, he contended. 

Many of the colonists, probably most of them, ac- 
knowledged both the validity of the contract made with 
Austin and the liberality of the terms, and if there had 
been no interference from the government it is probable 
that the discontent would have been allayed in time. 
But rumors of the murmuring in the colony reached San 
Antonio, and the political chief of Texas, Antonio Sau- 
cedo, promulgated a schedule of fees, which made no 
provision whatever for Austin's contracts with the colo- 
nists. The total of fees of all kinds for a league of land 
thus fixed was $192.50, whereas at twelve and a half 
cents an acre a league would cost the settler $555.00. 
Austin challenged the right of the governor to annul 
his contracts in this way, and many of the colonists 
agreed to pay his fee. But it was clear that many would 
not pay, and Austin took the position that if some did 
not pay he would not accept the fee from others. To 
attempt to enforce his contracts against those who re- 



FIRST CONTRACT COMPLETED 155 

fused to pay, which he had both the power and right 
to do, would create the very "confusion and discontent" 
which he feared as the only danger to the colony. 
Finally, Bastrop agreed to allow Austin one-third of the 
commissioner's fees, which amounted to $127.50, ac- 
cording to the schedule of the political chief, thus mak- 
ing Austin's share a little less than forty-two dollars a 
league. Thus these two men, for the sake of harmony, 
made mutual sacrifice of their rights. It is significant 
in this connection that, in subsequent legislation on colo- 
nization by the Mexican congress, specific provision was 
made, recognizing the validity of such private con- 
tracts between empresarios and colonists as those which 
existed between Austin and his original "three hun- 
dred." Those original colonists, however, received their 
lands, with clear titles and exact surveys, at a total cost 
of less than five cents an acre! 

In addition to this, the colonists, under the terms of 
Austin's grant, were exempt from all taxes for six years, 
all tools could be imported free of duty, and each 
family could introduce merchandise into the country 
for its own use to the value of two thousand dollars. 
That Austin could have obtained other families to take 
the places of those who were unwilling to pay the price 
they had agreed to pay, is proved easily by the fact 
that many families came in during 1824, while this 
controversy was at its height, who were more than 
willing to accept Austin's terms. But, for the sake of 
harmony, and in the interest of the ultimate success 
of the colony, Austin abandoned the attempt to collect 
what was justly and legally due him. He did more 
than that — he worked day and night in the interest of 



156 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

the colony, performing all kinds of necessary tasks, 
which he could have refused to do without violating 
his contract with the settlers or the terms of his grant 
from the government, but which otherwise would have 
gone undone. He was the governmental head of the 
colony for several years, the chief administrator of 
justice and the general representative of the Anglo- 
Americans in their dealings with the government — and 
for none of this did he receive pay. 

"It would be impossible," says Dr. Eugene C. Barker, 
"to exaggerate Austin's labors in the early years of the 
colony. A letter to the political chief in 1826 gives a 
clue to their character and variety. He had left San 
Felipe on April 4, to point out some land recently con- 
ceded to one of the state officials, and had been detained 
by excessive rains and swollen streams until the 29th. 
On May 1 he had begun the trial of an important case 
that had lasted seven days ; at the same time he had 
had to entertain a delegation of the Tonkawa Indians, 
and make preparations for a campaign against another 
tribe; to talk to and answer the questions of many 'for- 
eigners' who had come to look at the country, explaining 
and translating the federal constitution and some of the 
laws for them; to receive and pass upon applications 
for land, hear reports and issue instructions to survey- 
ors; and to correspond with superior civil and military 
officers. This, the 8th, his first free day since returning, 
was mail day, and he had received two communications 
and dispatched five. Too much of his time, he once 
complained, was consumed in settling 'neighborhood 
disputes about cows and calves/ but it was the patience 



FIRST CONTRACT COMPLETED 157 

with which he devoted himself to the minutiae of the 
colony, as well as his intelligence and ability in more 
important things, that accounts for his success." 

Austin's powers with respect to the amount of land 
to be granted to any settler were very broad, inasmuch 
as he was permitted to increase the allotment for special 
reasons, such as in consideration of the building of a 
grist mill, or of possession of some special skill, or of 
bringing useful slaves into the colony to cultivate the 
land. It is clear today that he exercised these dis- 
cretionary powers with remarkable reserve and purely 
in the interest of the colony itself. But even this was 
made a cause of complaint among some of the colonists, 
who charged him with unfair discriminations. Indeed, 
when he advanced to a few desirable settlers the money 
to pay the fees in order to obtain their titles, he was 
criticized even for that. That he acted solely to insure 
rapid settlement and upbuilding of the colony, and not 
merely in his own interest, was overlooked by these crit- 
ics, who saw in such action only "discrimination." 

"My ambition," he wrote later, referring to his 
labors about this time, "has been to succeed in redeem- 
ing Texas from its wilderness state by means of the 
plough alone, in spreading over it North American 
population, enterprise and intelligence. In doing this 
I hoped to make the fortunes of thousands and my own 
amongst the rest. ... I think I derived more satis- 
faction from the view of flourishing farms springing 
up in this wilderness than military or political chieftains 
do from the retrospect of their victorious campaigns. 
My object is to build up for the present as well as for 



158 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

future generations. ... I deemed the object laudable 
and honorable, and worthy the attention of honorable 
men." 

Dr. Barker has said that "considering the difficulties 
of his task, the completeness of his responsibility for 
its accomplishment, and its far-reaching results, Stephen 
F. Austin has claims to being the greatest colonial pro- 
prietor in American history." Without becoming bom- 
bastic, or indulging in exaggerated superlative, it may be 
added that he was one of the greatest empire-builderS in 
modern history. For, with a full consciousness of the 
real character of the work he was doing, with deliberate 
purpose to lay the foundations of civilization in the 
Texas wilderness, and with extraordinary foresight with 
respect to the future effect of present acts, he worked 
patiently and persistently from the beginning, overlook- 
ing no detail, however trivial it may have seemed to 
others, which he regarded as of importance to his main 
purpose. It is futile to indulge in speculation as to 
what turn history might have taken had not this or that 
circumstance affected its course. But that the history 
of the region now constituting the State of Texas would 
have been radically different had not Stephen Austin 
undertaken the work which he performed with such 
a marked degree of success, there can be not the slight- 
est doubt. 

No aspect of Austin's labors during this early period 
was so far-reaching in its effect upon the future as the 
care he exercised in admitting colonists and the high 
standard he set. To "redeem Texas from its wilder- 
ness state by means of the plough alone" required a 
certain type of population, and he sought to obtain only 



FIRST CONTRACT COMPLETED 15? 

that kind. It has been seen that the very first require- 
ment he laid down in forming the nucleus of his colony 
in 1821 had this end in view. For that requirement 
was that "no person will be admitted as a settler who 
does not produce satisfactory evidence of having sup- 
ported the character of a moral, sober and industrious 
citizen." In setting about the work of rehabilitating 
the colony after his return from Mexico, he laid even 
greater stress upon this point. On October 30 he issued, 
for the benefit of prospective settlers, a statement 
headed: "Terms on which settlers are admitted into 
the colony formed by Stephen F. Austin in the Province 
of Texas," and in this he declared that settlers must 
give "the most unequivocal and satisfactory evidence 
of unblemished character, good morals, sobriety and 
industrious habits," and must have sufficient means to 
pay for their lands and get a start in the colony as farm- 
ers or mechanics. The statement specifically provided 
that "no frontiersman who has no other occupation 
than that of a hunter will be received — no drunkard, 
no gambler, no profane swearer, no idler." Such was 
the standard Austin set and such the spirit in which 
he began the work of establishing the colony on a 
permanent basis. That he meant business was soon 
demonstrated when one gentleman who did not measure 
up to these qualifications was publicly whipped at Aus- 
tin's command for entering the colony without the 
proper credentials. 

Austin fully recognized, however, that to maintain 
order and to insure the protection of property and per- 
son — the fundamental requisites of civilized life — 
would require something more than the mere exercise 



160 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

of care in selecting colonists. It would require just 
laws and open courts, and he set about providing these 
soon after his return from Mexico. In December, 
1822, the governor of the province had divided the 
colony into two districts and installed one alcalde on 
the Brazos and another on the Colorado. These two 
officials had operated under great difficulties, being 
without any established procedure to guide them and 
entirely ignorant of the laws of the country. They 
administered justice according to the dictates of com- 
mon sense, but they knew nothing of the limits of their 
authority and much uncertainty and confusion were 
occasioned in this way. That a community of "North 
American republicans/ 5 as Austin very aptly described 
the settlers, could not be governed successfully very long 
in this fashion was clearly recognized by him, and it 
was to meet this situation that he set about the task of 
drawing up a sort of civil and criminal code for the 
government of the colony. There was greater need of 
the civil code, for the infractions of criminal law in 
such a settlement were not likely to be of a very 
involved character. Frontier justice has seldom been 
timid in dealing with theft, murder and such elemental 
crimes. But questions involving property rights, the 
payment of debts, the fulfilling of obligations of various 
kinds — in short, the numberless questions related to the 
general subject of the security of property — were likely 
to be as involved and troublesome on the frontier as 
elsewhere. Proper legal forms and procedure and 
definite legal provisions were absolutely essential if a 
civilized community was to be established, and the 
alcaldes were without anything of the kind. 



\ NAVARRO 
% 




SHADED PORTION SHOWS REGION OF FIRST COLONY, 
INDICATING PRESENT COUNTIES. 



FIRST CONTRACT COMPLETED 161 

The entire governmental authority in the colony at 
this time was vested in Austin himself, subject only 
to the approval of the superior government, and if it 
was to have laws and standards of procedure he would 
have to provide them. Circumstances, therefore, com- 
pelled Austin to assume the role of paternal law-giver 5 
to become the Moses of these sojourners in the wilder- 
ness. As in other things, he rose fully to the occasion, 
drew up both a civil and a criminal code and, after 
obtaining the official sanction of the political chief of 
the province, boldly promulgated them as the law of 
the colony. Austin had served as a circuit judge in 
the Territory of Arkansas, and had read law sufficiently 
to equip him to be the law-giver of his people. His 
own position in the judicial system of Mexico was that 
of "judge of the colony," which made him the final 
arbiter of justice for the settlers short of an appeal to 
the Mexican government itself, and even if he had 
been provided with a complete system of laws by the 
authorities over him, it would have been his task to 
interpret those laws, and to acquaint his settlers with 
their provisions. With nothing to guide him, and with 
powers of undefined limits, he had no choice but to 
hand down the laws in very much the same manner as 
a benevolent despot might perform a like duty. 

In the case of the civil code he declared modestly 
that he "thought proper ... to form provisionally, 
and until the supreme government directs otherwise, 
the following regulations." In the case of the criminal 
code he boldly "decreed" its provisions. Addressing 
this decree "to all persons," he set forth the authority 
and occasion for it in the following language: 



162 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

"Charged by the superior government of the Mexi- 
can nation with the government of this colony until 
its organization is completed, and observing that the 
public peace and safety of the settlers is jeopardized 
by the pilfering depredations of strolling parties of 
Indians and robbers, and also that the good of the 
colony is endangered by the introduction and transit of 
men of bad character, and its good morals scandalized 
by their irregular conduct, I have thought proper, in 
order more effectually to insure good government, se- 
curity and tranquillity, to decree as follows.' 5 

This "decree," which was promulgated on January 
22, 1824, was formally approved by the political chief 
of Texas on May 24. On the same date he approved 
the civil "regulations," adding two articles himself rel- 
ative to stray cattle and to cattle brands. The full text 
of both these documents, constituting the first civil and 
criminal codes of Anglo-American Texas, is given in 
the appendix of this volume. 

Meantime Austin was establishing the town of San 
Felipe de Austin as the capital and commercial center 
of the colony, and he divided the district of the Brazos 
into two districts, forming the new district of San 
Felipe with a separate alcalde. In the autumn of 1824, 
when the authorities consented to the extension of the 
limits of the colony to include some settlers who had 
established themselves on the San Jacinto, the alcalde's 
district which had previously been created there became 
a fourth district under Austin's jurisdiction. Thus, 
within a year after his return to Texas from Mexico 
City, the full machinery of Austin's paternal govern- 
ment was in operation. Law and order were established, 



FIRST CONTRACT COMPLETED 165 

with regular forms of procedure and a uniform stand- 
ard of practice, throughout the new settlements, and 
both property and person were quite as secure under 
the law as in many of the communities of the United 
States. 

Early in October, 1823, two months after Austin's 
return to the colony, the work of allotting land to the 
settlers was begun. The wisdom and foresight of 
Austin were again in evidence here, for he insisted upon 
having the most precise surveys made, in order that no 
questions could be raised as to titles in the future. He 
employed Horatio Chriesman as surveyor for the colony, 
and the survey of the first league was made on October 
10. New settlers began arriving and within a few 
months the quota of three hundred families was prac- 
tically completed. The surveying progressed so rapidly 
that by July the issuance of titles was begun by Baron 
de Bastrop. The record of these titles in the general 
land office at Austin provides us today with a graphic 
outline of the region occupied by the original colonists. 
Most of the titles were for land along the Brazos and 
the Colorado rivers, now situated in the counties of 
Brazoria, Fort Bend, Waller, Matagorda, Austin, 
Wharton, Colorado, Washington, Grimes, Fayette, 
Burleson and Brazos. But the colonists also selected 
land along other streams, and in the adjoining territory. 
There were a number of titles for land now situated 
in Harris county, and a few for tracts in Jackson, 
Lavaca, Chambers and Galveston counties. These 
seventeen counties, in the southeastern section of the 
present State of Texas, constitute the region in which 



164 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

the "old three hundred," as Austin's original colonists 
came to be known, laid the foundations of Anglo- 
American civilization. 

Austin exercised his discretionary power to increase 
the amount of land granted to several colonists for 
special reasons. A number of those who endured the 
hardships of the period of Austin's absence in Mexico 
City were rewarded in this way. James Cummins, 
John P. Coles and William Rabb received increases 
for erecting water-power grist mills. Jared E. Groce 
received ten leagues "on account of the property he 
brought with him," which included a number of slaves. 
As empresario, Austin himself was given title to large 
tracts in the present counties of Brazoria and Wharton. 

Baron de Bastrop continued to issue titles during the 
months of July and August, but on August 24 he was 
called away before he had completed his work. The 
record shows that he issued two hundred and seventy- 
two titles before that date. The rest were not issued 
until 1827, when Gaspar Flores was appointed as the 
old baron's successor. The actual number of families 
receiving titles under Austin's first contract, including 
single men joined together as families, was two hun- 
dred and ninety-seven. The list of the "old three 
hundred," together with the date of the issuance of 
title, the present county in which the land is situated, 
and the amount of land received by each, is given 
complete in the appendix of this volume. 

Austin had promised the colonists, in advising a 
policy of patience with the Indians, that if war with 
them proved inevitable, "you will not find me back- 
ward in prosecuting it." He had already given them 



FIRST CONTRACT COMPLETED 165 

some demonstration of this, for shortly after his return 
to the colony he had compelled the chief of the Ton- 
kawas to restore a number of horses which five of his 
Indians had stolen, and to deliver up the culprits for 
punishment. Each of these five Indians was condemned 
to receive fifty lashes and to have one side of his head 
shaved, branding him as a thief. It was required that 
the chief himself should administer half of the lashes 
to each Indian, and Abner Kuykendall, as representa- 
tive of the colonists, should administer the other half. 
The sentence was carried out strictly, except that one 
of the Indians escaped a whipping because of illness. 
It is said that the chief's performance was more or less 
perfunctory, and that the Indians feigned swooning 
under his light blows. But when Kuykendall began 
to lay on the whip, the Indians came to life in a hurry 
and let out such yells as left no doubt about the severity 
of the punishment. 

This proved a very effective method of dealing with 
the thieving Tonkawas, but the Karankawas required 
different treatment. The depredations of these Indians 
had become such a menace to the security of the colon- 
ists that Austin decided to lead an expedition against 
them. Accordingly, in July, 1824, he organized a 
force of forty or fifty men and left San Felipe in 
search of the Karankawas. It was the first time the 
colonists had so definitely taken the offensive, and it 
came as a surprise to the Indians. The memory of 
the slaughter at Scull Creek was fresh in their minds, 
and they had no relish to meet such a formidable force 
of the white men. In consequence Austin scoured the 



166 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

• i i '- ' ■ " ' ii miiMiti.ii ir ii iinn.ir- . nini- i . i i .,r.,.m. . , .„ . „„.„ . , i n , r ■ ■i nn i r 

country in the region in which they had been most 
active without finding a single Karankawa. He was 
determined not to be outwitted by the Indians in this 
way, however, and returned to camp to equip a force 
for a more extended expedition. This time the party 
was augmented by a company of thirty slaves belong- 
ing to Col. Jared E. Groce, well mounted and armed, 
and commanded by Colonel Groce in person. The 
expedition mustered about ninety men when it started 
out again. It was well equipped for an extended cam- 
paign, for Austin had determined to have a final 
reckoning with the Karankawas. But still the Karan- 
kawas were nowhere in sight, and it was plain that 
they were in hiding. It was finally guessed that they 
had gone to the San Antonio river, in the neighborhood 
of La Bahia, where they were nominally under the 
jurisdiction of the padre, and Austin and his party set 
out for that region. 

As the settlers approached La Bahia, however, a 
delegation consisting of the Mexican civil and ecclesi- 
astical authorities of that place, came out to meet them. 
It was soon made clear that the Mexicans had come to 
intercede in behalf of the Karankawas. The Indians 
were thoroughly frightened, it seemed, and would 
promise to behave themselves in the future. The 
Mexicans informed Austin that the Karankawas would 
agree not to pass east of the San Antonio river in the 
future if the settlers and Austin agreed not to make 
war on these Indians as long as they kept that promise. 
Thus was comparative security against these Indians 
established. The promise was kept only for a time and, 



FIRST CONTRACT COMPLETED 167 

at a later date, the Karankawas committed other depre- 
dations, but there was a period of peace following this 
demonstration of force. 

The year 1824 closed with the colony firmly estab- 
lished. During the autumn of that year the settlers 
gathered crops from land to which they had valid 
legal titles, duly recorded, and the boundaries of which 
had been fixed by careful survey. They had homes 
to defend, and a regularly organized government to 
secure them in the possession of those homes. The 
population had increased during the year, and the out- 
look for further colonization of Texas had become 
brighter. Social life had begun to develop and the be- 
ginnings of a town had appeared at San Felipe. Finally 
Isaac M. Pennington had inaugurated the educational 
history of Texas by starting a school, teaching those 
fundamentals of all culture — reading, writing and 
arithmetic. There still were less than one thousand 
Anglo-Americans in Texas, but most of them were 
organized into a social body under the benevolent rule 
of Stephen Austin. There were a few settlers east of 
Nacogdoches, in the region of Ayish bayou, but these 
were not yet in legal possession of their lands, and could 
be ejected at the will of the Mexican government. 
Austin's colony was a legal part of the Mexican nation 
and its people citizens of Mexico. Anglo-American 
civilization had been permanently established in Texas. 



CHAPTER IX. 

MEXICO INVITES THE WORLD. 

The project of settling three hundred families west 
of the Sabine, which Moses Austin had conceived and 
started, was now an accomplished fact. Stephen Austin 
had wrought his father's dream into a splendid reality. 
Having succeeded so well in the face of such manifold 
difficulties, the son now proposed to continue the work 
thus begun. There was room in Texas, even within 
the boundaries of his own colony, for many thousands 
of Anglo-American families. To "redeem Texas from 
its wilderness state by means of the plough alone" 
would require a great number of sturdy farmers. The 
establishment of the first colony was only a beginning. 

Accordingly, on November 6, 1824, Austin for- 
warded to Mexico City a petition, addressed to the 
supreme executive power, asking for authority to intro- 
duce two or three hundred additional families into 
Texas, and praying that Galveston be made a port 
of entry. So slowly did news travel from the capital 
to the wilderness of Texas, that Austin did not know 
that the supreme executive power had been supplanted 
by the duly elected president nearly a month before he 
dispatched this petition, and he had not yet received 
a copy of the general colonization law which congress 
had passed the previous August. In accordance with 
a decree of congress, an election for members of the 
legislature of the state of Coahuila and Texas had been 

169 



170 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

held in May, and the colonists had voted almost unani- 
mously for the Baron de Bastrop, who was elected as 
the sole member of that body from Texas. It was to 
attend the first session of the legislature at Saltillo that 
the baron had been called away while issuing titles to 
the colonists. It had been provided that the president 
and vice-president of the new federal republic should 
be elected by a vote of the state legislatures, and the 
legislature of the State of Coahuila and Texas had com- 
plied with this provision. As a result of this election, 
Gen. Guadalupe Victoria, a member of the federalist 
party, and for more than a decade an outstanding revo- 
lutionary leader, was named president, and Nicholas 
Bravo, also a famed revolutionary leader, was named 
vice-president. The new federal constitution was com- 
pleted and signed on October 4, 1 824, and six days later 
the first president and vice-president of the republic 
took the oath of office. However, being unaware of 
the inauguration of Victoria and Bravo, and believing 
the supreme executive power to be still at the head of 
the government, Austin addressed his petition to that 
body. 

In December Austin received a copy of the general 
colonization law, and as it provided that the respective 
states should have jurisdiction over their unoccupied 
lands, and as a state law for Coahuila and Texas was 
taken up immediately by the legislature, he now ad- 
dressed a petition to the governor of the state, under 
date of February 4, 1825, asking for a contract to 
introduce three hundred families. Meantime, the fed- 
eral authorities had forwarded to the governor the 
petition which Austin had sent to Mexico City. Austin, 



MEXICO INVITES THE WORLD 171 

however, had heard nothing from either petition and, 
as the state colonization law was passed in March, he 
addressed to the governor still another petition, this 
time fixing the number of families at five hundred. 
Before this petition reached the governor, that official 
acted on the former requests, and granted Austin a 
contract to introduce three hundred families. In ac- 
cordance with the last petition, however, this was 
subsequently amended, increasing the number to five 
hundred families. 

The general colonization law, which was passed by 
the national congress on August 18, 1824, empowered 
each state to enact its own colonization law, subject 
to certain restrictions. Chief of these restrictions were 
the following: 

1. No colony should be established within twenty 
leagues of a neighboring country, or within ten leagues 
of the coast, without the consent of the federal gov- 
ernment. 

2. The federal government should have the right 
to use the lands within the states for governmental 
purposes. 

3. Preference in the granting of lands must be given 
to Mexican citizens. 

4. No one would be permitted to retain title to more 
than eleven leagues of land, and no transfers in mort- 
main would be permitted. 

5. No one residing outside the republic could acquire 
land under the law. 

6. The federal government might take such precau- 
tionary measures as it might deem expedient for the 
protection of the country as respects foreigners who 



172 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

I H ' ' » ■ ■ »»» I I III II I I I I I - 

came to colonize, but congress was not to prohibit immi- 
gration before 1 840, though foreigners of any particular 
nation might be excluded at any time. 

Through the influence of Erasmo Seguin, who was 
the member of congress from Texas, a provision was 
included in this law which guaranteed private contracts 
entered into between colonists and empresarios. This 
was done at the suggestion of Austin, in order to pre- 
vent the recurrance of controversies similar to that 
which arose between him and his colonists over the rate 
per acre they had agreed to pay him. 

Under the authority of this act, and within the limits 
of these general restrictions, the legislature of the state 
Coahuila and Texas passed a state colonization law, 
which was approved by the governor and promulgated 
on March 24, 1825. Baron de Bastrop, as the member 
from Texas, had much to do with the drafting of this 
law, and through him Austin influenced its provisions 
considerably. 

The preamble of the measure admirably summed up 
the reasons prompting the Mexicans to invite Anglo- 
Americans to settle Texas. "The constituent congress 
of the free, independent and sovereign state of Coahuila 
and Texas," it declared, "desiring by every possible 
means to augment the population of its territory, pro- 
mote the cultivation of its fertile lands, the raising and 
multiplication of stock, and the progress of the arts, 
and commerce; and being governed by the constitu- 
tional act, the federal constitution, and the basis estab- 
lished by the national decree of the general congress 
No. 72, have thought proper to decree the following 
law of colonization." 



MEXICO INVITES THE WORLD 173 

The recognition of the importance of settling Texas, 
even with Anglo-American population, had by this time 
become general among the public men of Mexico. The 
foresight of Moses Austin as to the inevitable course 
which would have to be taken with respect to Texas 
had been fully vindicated. Nothing could better illus- 
trate this than the fact that in both the general congress 
and the state legislature the question of prohibiting 
slavery in such proposed colonies was raised, and in 
both cases the argument which prevented the adoption 
of such a provision was that if slavery should be pro- 
hibited it would retard immigration from the very 
states in the United States which might be expected 
to supply the needed population in Texas. For this 
reason Baron de Bastrop, whose labors in behalf of the 
colonization of Texas have never been fully appreciated, 
opposed vigorously in the state legislature the proposal 
to prohibit slavery. 

"All foreigners/' declared the state colonization law, 
"who in virtue of the general law of the 18th of 
August, 1824, which guarantees the security of their 
persons and property in the territory of the Mexican 
nation, wish to remove to any of the settlements of 
the State of Coahuila and Texas, are at liberty to do 
so; and the state invites and calls them. . . . Those 
who do so, instead of being incommoded, shall be ad- 
mitted by the local authorities of said settlements, who 
shall freely permit them to pursue any branch of indus- 
try that they may think proper, provided they respect 
the general laws of the nation, and those of the state." 

The law provided for the empresario system, such 
as had been in force in Louisiana under Spanish rule, 



174 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

and was thus in this respect also the final triumph of 
the ideas of Moses Austin and Baron de Bastrop. It 
provided for a premium of five leagues and five labors 
of land, or twenty-three thousand and forty acres, for; 
each one hundred families that an empresario might 
introduce into the state, but no empresario should receive 
this premium for more than eight hundred families, 
no matter how many he might bring in. Each family 
engaging in farming would be granted a labor of land, 
but if a family raised livestock also this would be in- 
creased to a league. Only one-fourth of these amounts, 
however, would be granted to a single man, but it would 
be increased to the legal limit upon marriage. If such 
a man married a Mexican woman he would be granted 
one-fourth more land than other settlers. It also was 
provided that the government, upon recommendation 
of the commissioner and the local ayuntamiento, might 
increase these amounts in special cases in proportion 
to the size of a family or the industry or activity of 
a settler. 

A flat charge of thirty dollars for a league of pasture 
land was assessed against the settler, but he was per- 
mitted to pay this in three installments, these being due 
in four, five and six years, respectively. For a labor 
of unirrigable land a charge of two dollars and a half 
was made, and for a labor subject to irrigation the 
charge was three dollars and a half. The fees for 
surveying and other expenses were in addition to these 
charges by the government. 

The law exempted colonists from taxes for ten years 
in the following provision: 

"During the first ten years, counting from the day 



MEXICO INVITES THE WORLD 175 

on which the new settlements may have been estab- 
lished, they shall be free from all contributions, of 
whatever denomination, with the exception of those 
which, in case of invasion by an enemy, or to prevent 
it, are generally imposed, and all the produce of agri- 
culture or industry of the new settlers shall be free 
from excise duty, or other duties, throughout every 
part of the state." 

The government reserved the right to sell land di- 
rectly to Mexicans, but not to foreigners, the price of 
such land being fixed at one hundred dollars a league 
for pasture land, one hundred and fifty dollars for 
unirrigable land, and two hundred dollars for irrigable 
land. In accordance with the limitation set by the 
general law, it was provided, however, that no indi- 
vidual could purchase more than eleven leagues of land 
in this way. 

Finally the law made provision for the establishment 
of towns, setting forth certain regulations governing the 
manner in which they should be laid out. 

Thus it was that the legal machinery "to redeem 
Texas from its wilderness state by means of the plough 
alone" was provided, and it was set in motion three 
weeks after the promulgation of the law. On April 15, 
1825, the first three contracts under the new law were 
made. On that day Green DeWitt obtained a contract 
to settle four hundred families, Frost Thorn obtained 
one for four hundred families, and Robert Leftwich 
and the Nashville company one for the legal limit of 
eight hundred families. Three days later a contract 
was granted to Hayden Edwards, this also being for the 
settlement of the limit of eight hundred families, and 



176 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

on April 27 the grant to Austin, already noted, was 
made. The law had been passed scarcely a month, 
therefore, when contracts had been granted for the set- 
tlement of twenty-seven hundred families in Texas, and 
this was increased shortly to twenty-nine hundred by 
the amendment of Austin's contract. Each of these 
contracts designated certain limits in which the empre- 
sario might settle his colonists. DeWitt's colony was 
assigned to the region just west of Austin's settlement, 
that of Leftwich and the Nashville company was north 
of Austin's colony, Thorn's grant was in the northern 
part of Texas, between the Brazos and the Trinity riv- 
ers, and finally Hayden Edwards's contract called for the 
settlement of the region in East Texas, from a point 
north of Nacogdoches to the margin of the reserved land 
on the coast. There were many settlers, both American 
and Mexican, already within the limits of Edwards's 
grant, and it included the town of Nacogdoches itself, 
but provision was made that Edwards should respect the 
titles already existing. His contract was to settle the 
"vacant" lands in that section. 

Austin's contract was for the further settlement of 
the region in which his original three hundred families 
already were established, and over which he had juris- 
diction as "principal judge and chief of the militia." 
This territory may be said roughly to have been from 
the Lavaca to the San Jacinto and from the San Antonio 
road to the ten league reserve on the coast. 

Austin's greatness as a colonizer is nowhere better 
demonstrated than in the contrast between his work dur- 
ing the next few years and that of the other empresarios. 




THE SHADED PORTION OF THIS DIAGRAM 
SHOWS THE REGION IN WHICH AUSTIN'S 
FIRST COLONISTS SETTLED, IN RELATION 
TO THE PRESENT STATE OF TEXAS. THIS 
REGION WAS THE CRADLE OF ANGLO- 
AMERICAN CIVILIZATION IN TEXAS. 



MEXICO INVITES THE WORLD 177 

In all the army of promoters, of various grades of ability 
and shades of character, who obtained contracts under 
the state colonization law during the next five years, not 
one appeared who in any remote degree approached Aus- 
tin from any standpoint in fitness for the task of settling 
a colony successfully. Indeed, only one may be said to 
have succeeded in carrying out his contract at all, and 
that was Green DeWitt, whose grant, as has been noted, 
was situated immediately adjacent to Austin's colony on 
the west. Many of the others never introduced a single 
family, and the methods of some of them were those of 
the modern "blue sky" promoter. But Austin continued 
to build on the solid foundation he had laid, laboring day 
and night for the development of the colony and for the 
establishment of orderly civilized life in the country he 
had found a complete wilderness. It has been observed 
that Austin had an advantage in that he had a successful 
colony already settled when the other empresarios ap- 
peared on the scene. But the answer to that is that in 
establishing that first colony he faced difficulties and 
conditions which no other empresario had to face, and 
that the very existence of Austin's original colony was to 
the new empresarios an advantage such as Austin did not 
have when he first came to Texas. The real explanation 
of Austin's incomparable success, where so many others 
failed, lies in the man himself. He was, in truth, "the 
greatest colonial proprietor in American history." He 
had a true comprehension of the precise nature of the 
task he had undertaken, a comprehensive knowledge of 
the elements involved, which he had acquired through 
painstaking labor and sometimes bitter experience, and 



178 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

a whole-hearted devotion to his mission as a builder of 
civilization — and all in such a degree as to amount to 
genius. 

"Such an enterprise as the one I undertook in settling 
an uninhabited country," he wrote some years later, 
"must necessarily pass through three regular gradations. 
The first step was to overcome the roughness of the wil- 
derness, and may be compared to the labor of the farmer 
on a piece of ground covered with woods, bushes and 
brambles, which must be cut down and cleared, and the 
roots grubbed out, before it can be cultivated. The sec- 
ond step was to pave the way for civilization and lay the 
foundation for lasting productive advancement in 
wealth, morality and happiness. This step might be 
compared to the ploughing, harrowing, and sowing the 
ground after it is cleared. The third and last and most 
important step is to give proper and healthy direction to 
public opinion, morality, and education, ... to give 
tone, character, and consistency to society, which, to con- 
tinue the simile, is gathering in the harvest and applying 
it to the promotion of human happiness. In trying to 
lead the colony through these gradations my task has 
been one of continued hard labor. I have been clearing 
away brambles, laying foundations, sowing the seed. 
The genial influences of cultivated society will be like 
the sun shedding light, fragrance and beauty." 

Austin's first step upon obtaining his grant under the 
state colonization law was one of caution. Upon receipt 
of a copy of the law he found some of its provisions 
vague and susceptible of varied interpretation. He was 
determined to comply with the law to the very letter, so 
far as that was possible, and where doubtful questions 



MEXICO INVITES THE WORLD 179 

arose to put the responsibility of interpreting them upon 
the government. Although there was a provision guar- 
anteeing contracts made between empresarios and set- 
tlers, it contained a qualifying clause that made it of 
doubtful value, for it provided that such contracts were 
guaranteed where the empresario brought the settlers 
in "at his own expense." Austin had no intention of 
paying the expenses of prospective settlers into the col- 
ony, but he did expect to be paid for the labor of ob- 
taining a title for a settler and the other duties incident 
to the whole business of managing and directing the set- 
tlement of a colony. Moreover, the precise relation of 
the empresario to the region which he was authorized to 
settle was not very clear. The contracts set forth spe- 
cific boundaries within which each empresario was au- 
thorized to settle families, and provided that at the 
expiration of the contract the unoccupied land remain- 
ing reverted to the government. But, as all titles to the 
settlers should be issued by the government itself, the 
land remained public land even during the life of the 
contract. 

Austin decided that he would separate any fees he 
charged entirely from the price to be paid for land, and 
place them on a basis of pay for his services to the colo- 
nists, services he was not bound to perform under the 
law, but which were very necessary in order to insure 
the titles of the colonists to their lands. He also decided 
that he would assume no authority with respect to the 
placing of settlers on their lands, but would hold that 
this responsibility rested upon the commissioner of the 
government. There had been no commissioner in the 
colony since Baron de Bastrop had left to attend the 



180 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

session of the legislature, and a few of Austin's original 
settlers were still without title-deeds to their lands. Ac- 
cordingly, he wrote to the political chief of Texas, the 
official who was directly over that "department" of the 
state of Texas and Coahuila under the new state govern- 
ment, and set forth all this in plain language. He sub- 
mitted a schedule of fees, including both those of the 
government and his own, for official approval, and sug- 
gested that it would be necessary for the government to 
send a commissioner to the colony before he could pro- 
ceed under the new contract. 

All this was done in order to insure the strictest regu- 
larity under the law and to protect settlers coming to the 
colony against even the suggestion of a cloud on the 
titles to their lands. He was also determined to avoid 
any repetition of the controversy over his own compen- 
sation. The statement he submitted to the political 
chief, Jose Antonio Saucedo, was under the heading, 
"Regulations to be observed by those desiring land in 
Austin's Second Colony." It provided that applicants 
for a league of land must pay, in addition to the thirty 
dollars paid to the government, the following fees: To 
the commissioner, fifteen dollars; to the secretary of 
the colony, who filed the application and translated and 
recorded the papers, ten dollars; and to the empresario, 
sixty dollars. Later he explained that this fee of sixty 
dollars was "a compensation for the labor of translating 
and attending to getting the titles for the applicant, 
which I am not bound to do, as empresario, unless paid 
for it." 

This made the cost of a league of land, including the 
fees paid to the government, the commissioner, the sec- 



MEXICO INVITES THE WORLD 181 

retary and to Austin, amount to a total of one hundred 
and thirty-five dollars, or a fraction over three cents 
an acre! But even this fee of sixty dollars was later re- 
duced to fifty, for which a note was given with the ap- 
plication and the whole of which was payable in one year 
after the delivery of the title. Small as it was, this fee 
frequently was never paid, a fact which to this day is 
mutely attested by hundreds of notes for fifty dollars 
each, made out to Stephen F. Austin, which form part 
of the Austin papers now in the archives of the Univer- 
sity of Texas. It was Austin's policy not to turn away 
desirable settlers because they were without means of 
paying, and the success of the whole project of coloniz- 
ing Texas was of greater consideration to him than the 
collection of any amount owed to him by an individual. 

Whatever else he may have been lax about, however, 
Austin was absolutely strict in the enforcement of his 
rule requiring satisfactory recommendations from pros- 
pective colonists. In opening up his second colonization 
project, he laid even greater stress on this point than 
ever — that undesirable settlers were not wanted on any 
terms. It became more difficult to enforce this rule as 
the tide of immigration increased during the years fol- 
lowing the passage of the state colonization law, espe- 
cially as there was little or no regulation of travel 
through Texas. Shady characters from the United 
States drifted into Texas, some coming in search of new 
fields of operation and others as fugitives from justice. 
In time Nacogdoches, because of its proximity to the 
Louisiana border, and because it was the first town an 
immigrant struck, became the chief rendezvous of gam- 
blers, sharpers and thieves, who would lie in wait there 



182 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

to trap the greenhorn just arrived from "the States" and 
relieve him of his money. Austin used every means to 
keep such characters out of his colony, not only as set- 
tlers, but even as transients, and while, in the very na- 
ture of things, it was not always possible to succeed in 
this, he did manage to maintain a very high standard 
among his colonists. 

The immediate effect of the granting of the new con- 
tracts under the state colonization law was to stimulate 
immigration to Texas. Noah Smithwick, an early set- 
tler, who was drawn to the new promised land as a youth 
by the glowing accounts of the new empresarios, says 
that "what the discovery of gold was to California, the 
colonization act of 1825 was to Texas." This is true in 
the sense that it started the tide of immigrants across the 
Sabine which resulted in the settlement of the country, 
just as the discovery of gold brought about the settle- 
ment of California. But it would be a mistake to picture 
the immigration to Texas as resembling the frenzied 
rush across the continent in "forty-nine and fifty." 
However, each new empresario did become a "press 
agent" of Texas, and the ease with which a fortune in 
land might be acquired there was heralded far and wide. 
Indeed, some of the evangels "put it on a little thick," 
so to speak, and many immigrants were led to expect 
quite the opposite of the true conditions existing. 

Smithwick gives a graphic impression of all this, 
which is all the more vivid because it is a recollection of 
the effect which the tales of the empresarios had upon 
him as a lad in his teens. He says of one of them that 
"the glowing terms in which he descanted on the ad- 



MEXICO INVITES THE WORLD 183 

vantages to be gained by emigration, were well calcu- 
lated to further his scheme." After enumerating the 
facts with respect to the amount of land to be had and 
the liberal terms upon which it was granted, this em- 
presario, according to Smithwick, went on to describe 
other advantages. "An abundance of game, wild 
horses, cattle, turkeys, buffalo, deer and antelope by the 
drove," solved the food question, he said. "The woods 
abounded in bee trees, wild grapes, plums, cherries, per- 
simmons, haws and dewberries, while walnuts, hickory 
nuts and pecans were abundant along the water-courses. 
The climate was so mild that houses were not essential ; 
neither was a superabundance of clothing or bedding, 
buffalo robes and bearskins supplying all that was need- 
ed for the latter and buckskin the former. Corn in any 
quantity was to be had for the planting, and, in short, 
there the primitive curse was set at defiance. Mexican 
soldiers were stationed on the frontier to keep the In- 
dians in check. Of the hardships and privations, the 
growing dissatisfaction of the Indians ... he was dis- 
creetly silent. Viewed from that distance, the prospect 
was certainly flattering, and it should not occasion sur- 
prise that men with large families . . . were induced 
to migrate thither with the hope of securing homes for 
themselves and children." 

"I was a boy in my nineteenth year," continues Smith- 
wick, "and in for adventure. My older brothers talked 
of going. They, however, abandoned the project; but 
it had taken complete possession of me, so, early in the 
following year, 1827, I started out from Hopkinsville, 
Kentucky, with all my worldly possessions, consisting of 



184 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

a few dollars in money, a change of clothes and a gun, 
of course, to seek my fortune in this lazy man's para- 
dise." 

So it was that the "lure of Texas" spread over the 
Southern states. During the period of which Smith- 
wick writes there were many who, like his brothers, 
"talked of going," and the stories of the empresarios 
and their agents were repeated, with imaginative addi- 
tions, no doubt, as they passed from tongue to tongue. 
In consequence some of those who "talked of going" 
did go, and, arriving in Texas, many of these stayed in 
spite of disillusionment. That few of them were any 
better equipped to begin life in the new land than Smith- 
wick, with his few dollars, a change of clothes and a 
gun, is not surprising. Indeed, Smithwick was better 
equipped than many, for he was a blacksmith and gun- 
smith by trade and his skill was needed. If a full record 
of the experiences of those who set out for Texas under 
the spell of the stories of the empresarios during those 
first years could be had it would run the whole gamut 
of human experience. It would contain much of sorrow 
and suffering and disappointment, and not a little of 
folly. On the other hand, it would also contain much 
of courage, of intelligent faith in the future and of pa- 
tient labor. For, among the throng, there were those 
of the true pioneer spirit, men and women who realized 
fully what it meant to found a home in a new land, but 
who, nevertheless, felt equal to the task, and who, with 
courage and patience, settled down to work with their 
eyes fixed confidently on the future. It was with such 
that Austin sought to people the territory over which 
his original three hundred were scattered. 



MEXICO INVITES THE WORLD 185 

In the face of the new situation which had developed, 
Austin set about organizing his work on a sounder and 
more businesslike basis. In September, 1824, he ap- 
pointed Samuel M. Williams secretary of the local 
government of the colony, paying him one thousand dol- 
lars a year out of his own pocket. Williams was a man 
after Austin's own heart, for, in spite of the inadequate 
compensation, he worked unceasingly, with patient at- 
tention to detail and whole-hearted concern for the colo- 
nists' interest. His chief duties were to care for the 
land and other records of the colony, and to handle the 
infinite details attendant upon the process of converting 
a newly arrived immigrant into a full-fledged settler, 
with a title to his land, duly recorded in the archives of 
the local government, and a place in the growing com- 
munity. He was especially fitted for this work, for he 
had previously lived in Mexico and spoke and wrote 
Spanish like a native. Austin himself has testified that 
Williams discharged his duties "with a degree of fidel- 
ity and industry which justly entitled him to the appro- 
bation and confidence" of the settlers. "The land and 
other records of this colony," said Austin, "present abun- 
dant evidence of his neatness and accuracy; and the reg- 
istry, or record book, in which the land documents and 
title-deeds are recorded, will forever afford proof of 
the labor, care, and precaution that have been devoted 
to the perpetuation of those important archives." 

It was in the attention to such details as this, and in 
the care he exercised to maintain cordial relations with 
both the Mexican authorities over him and the colo- 
nists under his jurisdiction, that Austin excelled the 
other empresarios. There was something solid about his 



186 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

colony, giving the impression of permanence, and this 
inspired confidence on the part of both the government 
and prospective settlers. 

Only one other contract, besides those already noted, 
was granted by the state government during 1825. It 
was that of Martin de Leon, a prosperous rancher, who 
obtained permission to move forty-one Mexican fami- 
lies to Texas on October 6. These were families of his 
own employes, to each of whom a league of land was to 
be granted. The army of empresarios, however, soon 
began to grow, and, in time, the whole of Texas was 
plastered with their paper grants. Among the other 
leading contracts granted at different times under the 
state colonization act were the following: Benjamin R. 
Milam, January 12, 1826, to settle two hundred fami- 
lies; Gen. Arthur C. Wavell, March 9, 1826, for four 
hundred families; Stephen J. Wilson, May 27, 1826, 
for two hundred families; John L. Woodbury, Novem- 
ber 14, 1826, for two hundred families; Joseph Vehlein 
& Co., December 21, 1826, for three hundred families; 
David G. Burnet, December 22, 1826, for three hun- 
dred families; John Cameron, May 21, 1827, for one 
hundred families; Hewetson & Power, June 11, 1828, 
for two hundred families; McMullen & McGloin, Au- 
gust 19, 1828, for two hundred and ninety-nine fami- 
lies; Exeter & Wilson, February 23, 1828, for one 
hundred families; Manuel R. Arispe, November 12, 
1828, for two hundred families; Joseph Vehlein & Co., 
November 17, 1828, for one hundred families; Martin 
de Leon, April 30, 1829, for one hundred and fifty 
families; J. A. Padilla and T. J. Chambers, February 
12, 1830, for eight hundred families; Gen. Vicente 



MEXICO INVITES THE WORLD 187 

Filisola, October 15, 1831, for six hundred families; 
Jose Manuel Raguela and J. C. Beales, March 14, 1832, 
for two hundred families ; Juan Vicente Campos, agent 
of a Mexican company, May 1, 1832, for four hundred 
and fifty families; James Grant and J. C. Beales, Octo- 
ber 9, 1832, for eight hundred families; Fortunato Soto 
and Henry Egerton, January 1, 1834, for eight hundred 
families. 

Besides these, there was a grant to Austin on Novem- 
ber 20, 1827, to settle one hundred families on the east 
side of the Colorado above the San Antonio road. In 
1828 the federal government granted to Austin the 
right to colonize the reserve tract between his colony 
and the coast, from the Lavaca to the San Jacinto rivers, 
and in accordance with this, on July 9, 1828, the state 
government granted him a contract to settle three hun- 
dred families in that region. This made the territory 
subject to colonization exclusively under Austin's direc- 
tion extend from the tract on the Colorado north of the 
San Antonio road to the coast line between the Lavaca 
and San Jacinto rivers. The contract of Robert Left- 
wich and the Nashville company, which was among the 
first granted, was transferred to Sterling C. Robertson, 
manager of the company. It expired without any great 
number of families being settled, and, though extended, 
was subsequently revoked. This contract, which was 
for eight hundred families, was regranted to Austin and 
Samuel M. Williams on February 25, 1831. 

As has been said, some of these empresarios never in- 
troduced a single family into Texas. Others made the 
contracts the basis of some very questionable practices, 
such as issuing land scrip against the land included in 



I 



188 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

the region they were authorized to colonize, and selling 
this scrip to citizens of the United States. The colo- 
nization law specifically prohibited citizens of other 
countries not resident in Mexico from holding titles to 
land under the law, and even if the holders of the scrip 
migrated to Texas it would not entitle them to a grant 
of land. Many innocent purchasers of such scrip were 
defrauded in this manner, and Austin had occasion more 
than once to accept in his colony immigrants who ar- 
rived in Texas with this worthless scrip, under the im- 
pression that it entitled them to a certain amount of land. 
Some of the empresarios, however, did seriously en- 
deavor to fulfill their contracts, but their success was 
not very marked. DeWitt, who, like Austin, lived in 
his colony among his settlers, was the most successful, 
but even his success was only partial in character. Aus- 
tin's colony was a going concern and within its limits 
civilized life was more nearly approximated than 
within those of any other. Moreover, Austin was the 
most successful from the first in obtaining desirable 
colonists, and in consequence the region under his direc- 
tion became more thickly settled than any other section 
of Texas. In the course of time there was no induce- 
ment for an immigrant to choose any other colony than 
that of Austin, for it was evident to all that it was by 
far the most desirable from every standpoint. Austin ob- 
tained hundreds of families, therefore, where the others 
found it difficult to induce even a few to settle within 
their grants, and this process finally eliminated the 
others. 

The contrast between Austin's colony and the others 
is strikingly illustrated in the naive recollections of 



MEXICO INVITES THE WORLD 189 



Noah Smithwick, already quoted, who first reached 
Texas in the summer of 1 827. He landed on the coast, 
at the mouth of the Lavaca river, and traveled over 
much of Texas during the next two years. 

"It was a dreary place for a lone stranger to land," 
writes Smithwick, telling of his arrival. "A few 
Mexicans came around, but they spoke no English and 
I understood no Spanish. At length two men, Fulcher 
and McHenry, who had squatted on land six or eight 
miles up the river, sighted the schooner and came down 
in a dugout. They took me in with them and I spent 
my first night in Texas in their cabin. My first meal 
on Texas soil was dried venison sopped in honey. After 
having spent some months in New Orleans, where 
everything of the known world was obtainable, it looked 
like rank starvation to me, but I was adaptive. The 
sea voyage had sharpened my appetite and I was 
possessed of a strong set of grinders, so I set to and 
ate a meal; but I was not anxious to trespass on their 
hospitality, so next morning I set out on foot for 
De Witt's colony, ten miles further up the Lavaca. . . . 
Fulcher accompanied me up to the station. The beau- 
tiful rose color that tinged my vision of Texas through 
Robertson's long distance lens paled with each succeed- 
ing step. . . . The colonists (at DeWitt's station), 
consisting of a dozen families, were living — if such 
existence could be called living — huddled together for 
security against the Karankawas, who, though not 
openly hostile, were not friendly. The rude log cabin, 
windowless and floorless, has been so often described as 
the abode of the pioneer as to require no repetition here; 
suffice it to say that save as a partial protection against 



190 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

rain and sun it was absolutely devoid of comfort. 
DeWitt had at first established his headquarters at Gon- 
zales, and the colonists had located their land in that 
vicinity, but the Indians stole their horses and otherwise 
annoyed them so much, notwithstanding the soldiers, 
that they abandoned the colony and moved down on the 
Lavaca, where they were just simply staying." 

"Newcomers were warmly welcomed," he continues, 
"and entertained with all the hospitality at the com- 
mand of the colonists. Sleeping accommodations were 
limited to mosquito bars, a provision not to be despised, 
since they were absolutely indispensable to sleep. The 
bill of fare, though far from epicurean, was an im- 
provement on dried venison and honey in that the 
venison was fresh and cooked, and Colonel DeWitt, 
my host, had bread, though some families were without. 
. . . The outlook was a gloomy one to me. Colonel 
DeWitt, having a colony to settle, was as enthusiastic 
in praise of the country as the most energetic real estate 
dealer of boom towns nowadays." 

Smithwick next visited De Leon's settlement. "We 
struck out on foot and reached Victoria, or De Leon's 
town, as it was then called. There was but one white 
man in the place, and with him we stopped. . . . Martin 
de Leon had settled his grant with Mexicans, most of 
them being his peons and vaqueros. He had a large 
stock of both horses and cattle, and between the 
Comanches, who stole his horses, and the Kronks, as 
the Karankawas were called, who killed his cattle, he 
had a troublous time of it. Becoming exasperated at 
the constant depredations of the Kronks, he determined 
to take matters into his own hands. He organized his 



MEXICO INVITES THE WORLD 191 

ii t wiii lh ■ ■ Brjiinrminiw ii rn ii n m, ■■ ■■— * ■■■ n ■ . 1 — ■■■■■ — ■ ■■ 1 mm ii m im , , 1 ■ ■ i j 1 ■—— iwwmw m — "■— — ' 

retainers into an army and, mounting a four-pounder 
swivel gun on a jackass, set out to annihilate the tribe. 
He ran them to cover, brought his artillery to bear and 
touched it off, but he did not take the precaution to 
brace up the jackass, and the recoil turned him a flying 
somersault, landing him on top of the gun with his 
feet in the air, a position from which he was unable 
to extricate himself. The Mexicans got around him 
and tried to boost him, but the jackass had had enough 
of that kind of fun and philosophically declined to rise 
until released from his burden, so they had to dismount 
the jackass. By that time the Indians had disappeared 
and if any were killed they were taken off the field. 
. • . Senor de Leon was the very essence of hospitality, 
as, indeed, I found the Mexicans everywhere to be. 
He had his caballada driven in for us to choose from. 
The vaqueros rode in among them carajoing and swing- 
ing their lariats, the horses reared and snorted, and we 
concluded walking would be pleasant pastime compared 
to riding such steeds, so we continued our journey 
on foot." 

Gonzales was the next point reached by Smithwick, 
after nine days' travel. "Gonzales," he says, "consisted 
of two blockhouses, and the inhabitants of two men, 

John W. Smith and Porter, the families having 

all gone to DeWitt's station." 

And then he tells of the first point he touched within 
the boundaries of Austin's grant. "We reached the 
Colorado at Burnam's station," he says, "a few miles 
below where La Grange now stands, then the highest 
settlement on the river. . . . Things looked more prom- 
ising there than any place I had seen. The settlers 



192 A HISTORY OF TEXAS ^^^ 

were doing some farming and all had milk cows, chick- 
ens, etc. Corn was in 'roasting ear' and the people were 
feasting. . . . Captain Jesse Burnam had a nice family 
He was anxious to have a school, and when he found 
that I had mastered the rudiments of the 'three rV he 
offered me a situation as teacher, but I had no predi- 
lection for pedagogy." 

Smithwick's reference to "milk cows, chickens, etc.," 
is significant of the progress made by Austin's colonists. 
By this time there was livestock in all sections of the 
colony. Some of the first group of colonists brought a 
few cows with them, notably the Kuykendalls, who 
also had a number of hogs. William Morton brought 
milk cows into the region which is now Fort Bend 
county, and Randal Jones returned to the United States 
in 1823, sold a negro slave and purchased sixty head 
of cattle with the proceeds. He drove these cattle, 
without losing a single one, from Louisiana to his place 
on the banks of the Brazos. 

Continuing his account, Smithwick says: "Upon 
inquiry I learned there was a shop (a blacksmith shop) 
down at Judge Cummins's station, some miles below on 
the Colorado (still within Austin's colony), so I went 
down there. The judge had two daughters and there 
were the two Miss Beasons, all nice, agreeable girls, 
and altogether it was not a bad place to stop, so I went 
to work." 

Soon after this Smithwick became ill, but when he 
recovered he was on his travels again. "The next set- 
tlement I struck," he says, "was Josiah Bell's, where 
Columbia now stands. There I learned that Johnny 
McNeal, out on the gulf prairie, was in need of a black- 







JOHN QUINCY ADAMS. 
S<?<? Page 197 



MEXICO INVITES THE WORLD 193 

smith. There were quite a family of the McNeals. 
They had raised a crop of cotton and were building a 
gin. They had a shop and tools, and so I went out 
and in the intervals between relapses of the fever I 
made the gin irons. Iron was a scarce article, but we 
found an ample supply in the wreck of an old vessel 
that lay high and dry in a belt of timber at least five 
miles back from the gulf. The timbers were all rotted 
away; the knotted hearts of two pine trees that had 
once been masts alone remaining. There was nothing 
to give a clue as to its age or nationality. It had evi- 
dently been there many a long year, probably driven 
ashore by a tidal wave, or one of those fierce tornadoes 
which sometimes drive the water far out over the 
prairie." 

This, of course, was in Austin's colony also. Indeed, 
the McNeals were not the first to build a cotton gin 
or to produce a crop of cotton. Jared Groce brought 
cotton seed with him when he migrated with his slaves 
in 1822, and in 1825 he erected the first cotton gin in 
Texas. Besides Groce's gin, there were at least two 
others in Austin's colony, one erected by James E. B. 
Austin, Stephen's brother, at the time Smithwick was 
building the gin for the McNeals. 

Finally, Smithwick went to the town of San Felipe 
de Austin itself. "There seeming to be a good opening 
for my trade in San Felipe," he says, "I bought a set 
of tools from George Huff on the San Bernardo and 
set up business in the parent colony in the year 1828. 
In the absence of a more comprehensive view, a pen 
picture of the old town may not be uninteresting. The 
buildings, all being of unhewn logs with clapboard 



194 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

roofs, presented few distinguishing features. Stephen 
F. Austin had established his headquarters something 
like half a mile back from the river on the west bank 
of a little creek — Palmito — that ran into the Brazos 
just above the main village. Just above Austin's house 
was the farm of Joshua Parker. Austin's house was 
a double log cabin with a wide 'passage 5 through the 
center, a porch with dirt floor on the front with win- 
dows opening upon it, and chimney at each end of the 
building. In this vicinity the Ingram brothers, Seth 
and Ira, had a store, with them being associated Hosea 
N. League, a lawyer by profession, who, with his wife, 
lived near by. . . . Seth Ingram, a surveyor, laid off the 
town of San Felipe. William Pettus, better known as 
'Buck' Pettus, . . . also resided in a suburban villa in 
the 'west end.' Going on down to the town proper, 
which lay along the west bank of the Brazos, the first 
house on the left was my bachelor abode, and near it, 
on the same side, stood the 'village smithy' over which 
I presided. Then came the Peyton tavern, operated by 
Jonathan C. Peyton and wife; the house was the regu- 
lation double log cabin. The saloon and billiard hall of 
Cooper and Chieves, the only frame building in the 
place, was next below the Peytons. The first house 
on the right as you entered the town from above was 
Dinsmore's store, and next to it was the store of Walter 
C. White. The office of the 'Cotton Plant,' the first 
newspaper in the colonies (its name was The Texas 
Gazette, and it was founded in 1829), and near it the 
residence of the genial proprietor, Godwin B. Cotten, 
filled the space between White's store and the White- 
side hotel, which differed from its companion buildings 



MEXICO INVITES THE WORLD 195 

only in point of elevation, it being a story and a half 
in height, and at either end rose a huge stick and mud 
chimney. . . . The alcalde's office was in a large double 
log house standing back some distance from the main 
thoroughfare almost immediately in the rear of the 
Whiteside hotel, which building it much resembled." 

There were twenty-five or thirty buildings in all in 
the town at this time, Smithwick says. "It must not be 
understood that these rows of buildings presented an 
unbroken or even regular line in front; every fellow 
built to suit himself, only taking care to give himself 
plenty of room, so that the town was strung along either 
side of the road something like half a mile." 

Three stores, a blacksmith shop, two hotels, a news- 
paper and a saloon and billiard hall! Certainly civili- 
zation had arrived in the Texas wilderness! Such was 
San Felipe de Austin between 1827 and 1829, and the 
entire Austin colony, covering a territory which now 
comprises about twenty Texas counties, was developing 
proportionately. Austin introduced more colonists than 
all of the other empresarios taken together, and the 
region over which he had direction became the cradle 
of modern Texas. 



CHAPTER X. 

THE DREAM OF HENRY CLAY. 

"Most of the good land from the Colorado to the 
Sabine has been granted by the State of (Coahuila and) 
Texas and is rapidly peopling with either grantees or 
squatters from the United States, a population they 
will find it difficult to govern and perhaps after a short 
period they may not be so averse to part with that 
portion of that territory (Texas) as they are at present." 

Thus wrote Joel R. Poinsett, American minister at 
Mexico City, to Henry Clay, secretary of state, on July 
25, 1825. The "they" referred to was the Mexican 
government, and the specific proposal with which the 
communication dealt was that of inducing Mexico to 
consent to a change of the boundary from the Sabine 
to a line somewhere between the Brazos and the Rio 
Grande. Poinsett expressed the opinion that the matter 
had better be delayed, saying that it would be important 
"to gain time if we wish to extend our territory beyond 
the boundary agreed upon by the treaty of 1819." 

The project of extending the territory of the United 
States beyond the Sabine was the first fruit of a political 
alliance between John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay, 
formed immediately following the presidential elec- 
tion of 1824. In that election Andrew Jackson had 
received a plurality of the electoral votes, but a majority 
being necessary to elect, the question of naming the 
president was thrown into the house of representatives. 

197 



- 



198 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

The electoral vote for president stood: Andrew Jack- 
son, of Tennessee, ninety-nine; John Quincy Adams, 
of Massachusetts, eighty- four; William H. Crawford, 
of Georgia, forty-one, and Henry Clay, of Kentucky, 
thirty-seven. In spite of Jackson's plurality, the house 
elected Adams, and in forming his cabinet Adams 
named Clay as his secretary of state. Clay had been 
one of those who denounced as a surrender of American 
territory the treaty of 1819, which Adams, as Monroe's 
secretary of state, had negotiated. Adams himself had 
not been averse to including Texas within the bounda- 
ries of the United States, and had urged this in nego- 
tiating the treaty. Upon his election to the presidency 
under such untoward circumstances, it became impor- 
tant for him to mend his political fences and, having 
formed an alliance with Clay to this end, one of the 
first measures agreed upon between them was that of 
obtaining an extension of the territory of the United 
States in the Southwest. 

Such a move seemed the proper one to make from 
a political standpoint, and would tend to gain the sup- 
port of the South and West. The Missouri compromise 
had provided that slavery should not be permitted in 
new states carved from the territory west of the Missis- 
sippi and north of a line fixed at the latitude of 36° 30'. 
States from territory south of that line should be slave 
states. Practically all of the remaining territory in 
1825, from which new states might be formed, was 
north of the Missouri compromise line, and the prospect 
was that the slaveholding states would gradually lose 
political power in national affairs through the multi- 
plication of new states in that territory. Texas was 



THE DREAM OF HENRY CLAY 199 

below the line and, if added to the public domain, would 
supply material for new slave states to offset the new 
free states created above the line. The acquisition of 
Texas, therefore, began to become an important matter 
in relation to domestic politics in the United States. 

Adams, who subsequently became the most violent 
opponent of the annexation of Texas, was at this time 
not unwilling to acquire territory west of the Sabine — 
whether for reasons of political expediency or because 
he had not yet developed his rabid opposition to the 
extension of slavery, it is unnecessary to discuss here. 
With Clay, the acquisition was a pet idea, and the two 
came to an agreement that the effort should be made. 

For a long time prior to the signing of the treaty 
of 1819, it had been a favorite theory of many in the 
Southwest that an independent Mexico would readily 
agree to transfer Texas to the United States, and all 
of the activities of American adventurers on Texas soil 
during the decade from 1810 to 1820 had been based 
on this assumption. Once let Mexico be free of Spain, 
they said, and Texas would come to the United States 
naturally. Well, Mexico was now free of Spain, and 
had adopted the federal republican form of government 
in imitation of that of the United States. The United 
States had recognized that government, and was now 
sending a duly accredited minister to the Mexican capi- 
tal. Moreover, the United States, through President 
Monroe, had practically guaranteed the independence 
of Mexico. Surely it ought not to be difficult to revise 
the boundary line between the two countries, especially 
as Texas would never be of much use to Mexico in 
any event. 



200 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

Accordingly, when Joel R. Poinsett was sent to the 
Mexican capital in the summer of 1 825 he was instruct- 
ed to seek to obtain treaties of commerce and boundaries 
between the two countries. He was to acknowledge, 
of course, that the treaty of 1819, entered into by the 
United States and Spain, was binding, but that if Mex- 
ico had no serious objections to a revision of the 
boundaries fixed in that treaty, he should suggest, as a 
starting point, that the line be fixed somewhere between 
the Brazos and the Rio Grande. The Red and Arkansas 
rivers and their tributary streams should be included 
in the territory sought, in order that the entire water- 
shed of the Mississippi might be within the boundaries 
of the United States. 

Poinsett, who had been in Mexico before, and who 
had performed diplomatic services for the American 
government in other Latin American countries during 
the revolutionary period, was apparently just the man 
to accomplish this delicate mission, but the event proved 
quite otherwise. He was indeed a polished gentleman, 
a thorough Spanish student and acquainted with Latin 
social niceties. But, like many Americans of his time, 
he was filled with the notion that the promotion of 
"republican principles" was a heaven-given mission, 
and he interfered in domestic politics in Mexico to such 
a degree as not only to destroy his usefulness, but also 
to promote distrust of the United States, which be- 
came a passion with Mexican leaders during the next 
decade. However, he was well received, and the rela- 
tions between the two countries began on an amicable 
basis. 

Poinsett presented his credentials on June 1, 1825, 



THE DREAM OF HENRY CLAY 201 

and made an address on the occasion of the formal 
ceremony to a room "crowded to suffocation with sena- 
tors, members of congress and respectable inhabitants 
of the city." He set forth that among the things he 
hoped to accomplish was the negotiation of treaties of 
commerce and boundaries. According to the British 
minister, who was present, the intimation that a treaty 
of boundaries was desirable "appeared by no means so 
palatable as the preceding part of his speech, if one 
might judge by the looks of the spectators, who are well 
aware of the difficulties with which the question of 
boundaries is likely to be attended." That this estimate 
of the Mexican attitude, written at the moment, was 
well founded is amply demonstrated by the fact that 
in less than sixty days Poinsett himself was writing 
Clay that it would be necessary to obtain a delay for 
the treaty of boundaries if the line of 1819 was to be 
changed. Let the immigration of Americans to Texas 
continue. The Mexicans would discover in time that 
they were troublesome citizens, and they might be glad 
to get rid of them. This was the new theory which 
Poinsett put forward at the very moment that the for- 
mer theory was being proved false. That it also was 
a false theory was to be proved later, when another 
president of the United States decided to act upon it. 

The whole policy of the United States with respect 
to Mexico at this time is seen now to have been 
prompted by an entire lack of comprehension of the 
racial characteristics of the people of Mexico. George 
Lockhart Rives, whose monumental work, The United 
States and Mexico — 1821-1848, is the best account 
of the relations between the two countries during this 



202 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

period, says: "The fact of course was that the over- 
emphasis and overconfidence with which the govern- 
ment of the United States had repeatedly asserted its 
claims to Texas had very naturally led Mexican officials 
to suppose that the American minister was desirous of 
reopening the old controversy. Nor could they reason- 
ably have been expected, when that delusion was 
removed from their minds, to agree to surrender any 
part of their acknowledged national domain to a foreign 
government. Even absolute monarchs, as the experi- 
ence of the United States with France and Spain had 
abundantly shown, were not always easy to deal with; 
and a government whose existence depended in any 
degree on popular opinion had never been known to 
part with territory, except as the result of unsuccessful 
war." There never was a chance from the beginning 
that any Mexican government would cede Texas, or 
any part of it, to the United States, no matter what 
the consideration. 

But Clay had no appreciation of this circumstance, 
and when the Mexicans pursued dilatory tactics, which 
Poinsett thought it wise to fall in with, in order to gain 
time for the growth of American settlements in Texas, 
the American secretary of state instructed his repre- 
sentative at the Mexican capital to offer one million 
dollars for all of Texas to the Rio Grande. Poinsett 
regarded this offer as so unacceptable that he never 
presented it. The Mexicans, on their part, became so 
suspicious of the intentions of the United States that, 
when a treaty of commerce was submitted to the cham- 
ber of deputies for ratification, that body refused to 
consider it until a clause should be inserted specifically 



THE DREAM OF HENRY CLAY 203 

recognizing the boundaries fixed in the treaty of 1819. 
This was done, but delays in ratification of this treaty 
left the whole matter still open when Adams went out 
of office in 1829. 

Meantime, however, Poinsett had made himself so 
obnoxious to certain political elements in Mexico as to 
occasion a formal demand in party declarations for his 
expulsion from the country. Without authority from 
the American government he had taken active part in 
the internal politics of Mexico. It happened that fol- 
lowing the overthrow of Iturbide, those who still 
favored a monarchy — men of wealth and of leadership 
in professional and business circles — were found to be 
among the leading members of the Masonic lodges. 
Masonry had been introduced into Mexico by way of 
Spain and France during the previous twenty years, the 
lodges being of the Scottish rite. Finding themselves 
thus thrown together in an existing organization, the 
opponents of republicanism soon began to debase the 
lodges into political bodies for the furtherance of their 
governmental ideas. This situation was soon recognized 
by the republicans and the need of a counter-organiza- 
tion of similar character began to be felt. It was at 
this point that Poinsett injected himself. He proposed 
that lodges of the York rite be organized and de- 
voted to the furtherance of republican principles. The 
idea was taken up with enthusiasm, and Poinsett took 
an active part in launching the movement. Soon York 
rite lodges were being formed in all parts of the re- 
public, and before long the country was divided into 
two political parties, designated by the names of the 
two branches of Masonry — the Escoceses and the Yor- 



204 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

kinos. It was generally known, of course, that the 
American minister was concerned with the launching 
of the Yorkino movement, and that many Mexican 
leaders should draw the inference that the American 
government itself was interfering in the internal affairs 
of the country was only natural. The net effect of 
Poinsett's activities was to increase suspicion of the 
intentions of the United States among the Mexicans. 
It was clear that the United States coveted Texas, and 
the delay in settling the question of boundaries, though 
Mexico was chiefly responsible for it, served to keep 
alive the fear that the territory between the Rio Grande 
and the Sabine, or a good part of it, was in danger. 

Poinsett himself gave a description of this feeling, 
so far as it involved suspicion of the United States, in 
a dispatch to President Adams defending his course. 
"They regard the United States," he wrote, "with dis- 
trust and the most unfounded jealousy — a feeling 
which, I am sorry to say, still exists, and which, during 
the present administration, can not be changed. It is 
in vain that I represent the disinterested and generous 
conduct of the United States towards these countries 
and assure them that so far from our regarding their 
property with envy (as they, with unequalled vanity, 
suppose) we are most desirous that the Mexican states 
should augment in wealth and in power, and that they 
may become more profitable customers and more efficient 
allies. The government has been taught to believe that, 
because the United States and Mexico border upon each 
other, they are destined to be enemies. . . . The most 
bitter hatred of the United States existed long before 
my arrival in this country ; so much so that two of the 



THE DREAM OF HENRY CLAY 205 

ministers of state had declared in secret sessions of con- 
gress that Mexico ought to regard the United States as 
her natural enemies." 

In justice to the Mexicans it ought to be said that 
this hatred of the United States had grown up during 
the period of armed invasions of the province of Texas 
by American adventurers. It was a feeling that the 
Mexican territory bordering on the United States was 
not safe, and the treaty of 1819 supplied a basis for 
the building up of a new confidence in the United States 
among the Mexicans. Stephen Austin had begun to 
build on that basis, and had so far succeeded as to bring 
about the opening of Texas to colonization by Anglo- 
Americans. But when the first minister sent by the 
United States to the new republic began his work by 
suggesting a revision of the boundary fixed in the treaty 
of 1819, what were Mexicans to think? That they 
should be suspicious and envious of the United States 
was not unnatural. It is the usual feeling of a weaker 
race living next to a stronger one of different tradi- 
tions and characteristics. The Mexican leaders had 
seen the United States more than double its area during 
the previous twenty-five years, and every inch of the 
new territory annexed had been Spanish in 1800. The 
United States now wanted part of Texas, and the Mexi- 
cans were unwilling to give up territory acknowledged 
under the laws of nations to be part of their national 
domain. That this was a dog-in-the-manger attitude, 
so far as Texas was concerned, is clear to everybody 
today, for the Mexicans could never succeed in rescuing 
Texas from its wilderness state, and Clay's instructions 
to Poinsett were founded on the facts of the situation 



206 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

when they pointed out that the ceding of part of Texas 
to the United States would be the most certain way to 
cement a lasting friendship between the two countries. 
But those instructions were not based upon a compre- 
hension of Mexican character. To the Mexicans the 
proposal appeared very much like saying, "You give 
me what I want and I'll let you alone," and the Mexican 
make-up was such that this suggestion stirred in them 
the deepest resentment. If there was justice in Poin- 
sett's complaint that the Mexicans did not understand 
the Americans, it can be said with equal justice that the 
American government did not understand the Mexicans. 

It is not improbable that the British minister at Mex- 
ico City, Henry George Ward, did his share toward 
stimulating among Mexican leaders this feeling against 
the United States. Indeed, there is reason to believe that 
he began to implant among them the idea that the whole 
colonization policy in Texas was a mistake and danger- 
ous to the safety of the territory of the republic. His 
dispatches to his home government disclose his attitude 
and, it being his task to defeat the American desire for 
more territory, it is practically certain he expressed such 
views also to his friends among the public men in Mex- 
ico. On September 6, 1825, he wrote Canning, the 
British foreign minister, as follows: 

"On the most moderate computation, six hundred 
North American families are already established in 
Texas j their numbers are increasing daily, and though 
they nominally recognize the authority of the Mexican 
government, a very little time will enable them to set at 
defiance any attempt to enforce it." 

Ward described the settlers as "backwoodsmen — a 



THE DREAM OF HENRY CLAY 207 

bold and hardy race, but likely to prove bad subjects, 
and most inconvenient neighbors." "In the event of a 
rupture between this country and the United States," 
he continued, "their feelings and earlier connections will 
naturally lead them to side with the latter; and in time 
of peace th&ir lawless habits, and dislike of all restraints, 
will, as naturally, induce them to take advantage of their 
position, which is admirably adapted for a great smug- 
gling trade, and to resist all attempts to repress it. In 
short, Mexico, though she may gain in point of num- 
bers, will not, certainly acquire any real strength, by 
such an addition to her population. . . . Were but one 
hundredth part of the attention paid to practical en- 
croachment, which will be bestowed upon anything like 
a verbal cession, Mexico would have little to fear." 

Rives, from whose work this quotation is taken, re- 
marks that it was hardly fair to speak of the "lawless 
habits and dislike of all restraints" of the settlers. "They 
were, in fact, always ready to conform to laws which 
they understood, but that had been their custom and 
the custom of their fathers for many generations. They 
would never submit to the domination of a race they re- 
garded as inferior. They despised Mexicans as they 
despised negroes and Indians, and they calmly ignored 
Mexican laws. They were industrious and brave, and 
their morality, on the whole, stood high. The political 
conditions of their existence were already difficult, and 
were certain to become more and more so, as the dispro- 
portion increased between the numbers and wealth of 
the colonists on the one hand, and of the Mexicans on 
the other. On the side of the Mexicans was legal au- 
thority, backed by^the distant and deeply distracted gov- 



208 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

ernment in the City of Mexico; on the side of the new- 
comers were industry, frugality, intelligence, courage, 
and a great preponderance of numbers within the terri- 
tory itself. A struggle was inevitable." 

Whether in different circumstances a struggle would 
have been inevitable, it would be futile, perhaps, to 
speculate now. Of one thing there should be no 
mistake, however, and that is that Stephen Austin's good 
faith with Mexico is above question. His whole course 
was based upon the assumption that the treaty of 1819 
settled the boundary between Mexico and the United 
States. He believed it was possible for Americans to be 
settled in Mexican territory without endangering Mexi- 
can sovereignty over that territory. He came, in time, 
to recognize the difficulties of the experiment, and the 
almost insurmountable obstacles placed in the way of its 
success by the radical and fundamental differences of 
race and character of the Americans and the Mexicans. 
Indeed, he soon recognized these to be the chief elements 
of his own problem in performing his manifold duties 
as empresario, chief judge, head of the militia and gen- 
eral go-between. "I had an ignorant, whimsical, selfish 
and suspicious set of rulers over me to keep good-na- 
tured," he wrote in 1 829, "a perplexed, confused coloni- 
zation law to execute, and an unruly set of North 
American frontier republicans to control, who felt that 
they were sovereigns, for they knew they were beyond 
the arm of the government, or of the law, unless it 
pleased them to be controlled." 

Austin believed, however, that in spite of these differ- 
ences, it would be possible to "redeem Texas by means 
of the plough" and make the fortunes of his colonists, 




HENRY CLAY. 



THE DREAM OF HENRY CLAY 209 

while at the same time making his own. He was not 
concerned with any of the plans for the expansion of 
American territory into Texas. He did not, as some 
have thought, look forward to "the inevitable time" 
when Texas would be part of the United States. On 
the contrary, he was in thought and deed a loyal citizen 
of Mexico, and it is upon this fact more than any other 
that the legality of the separation of Texas from Mexico 
is based. What would be the future destiny of Texas, 
time would decide. His one supreme aim was to have 
Texas populated with Anglo-Americans, to accomplish 
this in a legal and orderly manner, and to trust to that 
population to take care of itself in whatever vicissitudes 
the future might bring. What might have happened 
in different circumstances it would be idle to speculate 
but the development in American politics of a 
situation which made the acquisition of Texas desir- 
able to a strong faction, and the growing distrust of the 
United States among Mexican leaders were elements in 
the problem of the future of his colonists in Texas which 
Austin had not foreseen. Had these elements been ab- 
sent, had nobody in the United States been actuated by 
a desire to acquire Texas and had the relations between 
the two countries been those of mutual confidence and 
friendship, it might have been possible for an Anglo- 
American Texas to have remained part of the Mexican 
republic. Indeed, the time might have come when it 
would have ruled all Mexico in industry, in commerce 
and in government. But anything of this sort was as 
far from Austin's mind as any thought of detaching 
Texas from Mexico. He looked forward to the time 
when Texas would "possess the necessary elements" to 



210 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

become a separate state from Coahuila and, with a maxi- 
mum of self-government secure for its Anglo-American 
citizens, its future would be safe. 

What should be noted here is that it was the confi- 
dence inspired by Austin, the wide ramifications of the 
personal relations he established with Mexican leaders 
and his evident good faith with respect to Mexico, 
coupled with the treaty of 1819 definitely fixing the 
boundaries between the United States and Mexico, that 
determined the colonization policy which opened Texas 
to Anglo-Americans. But just as that policy was get- 
ting under way, and Anglo-Americans were being estab- 
lished in Texas, other influences came into play. It shall 
be seen presently that events which took place in Texas 
which ought to have had the effect of proving to Mex- 
ican leaders the wisdom of the colonization policy had 
quite the opposite effect, due to those other influences. 
The simple elements of the situation when Austin's 
colony was established consisted of the maintenance of 
good faith between the settlers and the Mexican govern- 
ment. But from 1825 onward the growing distrust 
among Mexicans with respect to the intentions of the 
American government and the increasing importance of 
the question of the acquisition of Texas as a political 
factor in the United States entered to greater and ever 
greater degree as elements in the situation. 

The true tradition of Texas, however, is through Aus- 
tin, down to the very moment of the achievement of in- 
dependence. Without Austin there would have been no 
colonization of Texas worth the name. Indeed, it is 
doubtful if there would have been such a colonization 
policy as Mexico adopted. And, without the coloniza- 



THE DREAM OF HENRY CLAY 211 

tion of Texas, the other influences would hardly have 
brought about the legal detachment of Texas from Mex- 
ico short of actual conquest. Henry Clay's dream of the 
peaceful purchase of Texas was a chimera. In spite of 
the voluminous diplomatic correspondence on the ques- 
tion, there is to be found today not a shred of evidence 
warranting the belief that any Mexican government 
ever would have sold Texas. The American efforts to 
bring about such a sale served chiefly to complicate Aus- 
tin's problems by affecting the attitude of Mexican lead- 
ers toward the Anglo-American settlers. An increasing 
number of Mexicans began to regard the colonization 
policy as dangerous and, as will be seen in subsequent 
chapters, this feeling caused them to regard as part of 
an American scheme to seize Texas an event which in 
reality was decisive proof of the good faith of the 
Anglo-American settlers. That event was the so-called 
Fredonian war. 



CHAPTER XL 

ENTER HAYDEN EDWARDS. 

In January, 1826, Austin made a trip to the coast for 
the purpose of exploring Galveston island with a view 
to finding a suitable site for a port, which he had peti- 
tioned the government to establish. While on this expe- 
dition he visited the settlement on the San Jacinto, which 
was part of his colony, about thirty families of the "old 
three hundred" having located in that vicinity. Austin 
found the settlers there in a state of general excitement 
and very much disturbed over the question of the valid- 
ity of the titles to their lands. Hayden Edwards, one 
of the empresarios, they said, had threatened to put them 
off their lands unless they paid him the price which he 
had fixed for land within the limits of his grant. They 
held titles from Austin, which had been issued by Baron 
de Bastrop not only before the state colonization law 
had been passed, but even before the legislature which 
passed it had been organized. They were discussing 
the project of sending a petition to the political chief 
at San Antonio, praying for protection in their rights 
against Edwards. Upon Austin's arrival in their midst 
they immediately besieged him with inquiries as to the 
right course to adopt in the matter. 

Austin told the colonists they had nothing to fear 
from Edwards. It was not necessary, he assured them, to 
send any petition to San Antonio, for they had good and 
valid titles to their lands, and he, both as empresario and 

213 



214 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

as a civil officer of Mexico, was charged with the duty 
of protecting them in their rights. He advised them 
to pay no attention to Edwards. Threats could not af- 
fect their titles, and so far only threats had been made. 
But, if Edwards should go further and should attempt 
to take any steps to evict them from their lands, it would 
be time enough to act then. Austin told the settlers in 
such event they should notify him immediately and he 
would do whatever was necessary to protect them. But 
he cautioned them against appealing to the Mexican 
authorities, saying that such a course would be highly 
improper. 

It happened that the government had directed that 
elections for militia officers should be held in all the 
districts of the colony about this time, and Austin had 
fixed the date on March 4. In accordance with this 
order, he instructed the settlers on the San Jacinto to 
gather on that day for the election. Then, after further 
reassuring them in the matter of their titles, Austin 
returned to San Felipe. 

After his arrival home, Austin received the following 
letter from Hayden Edwards: 

"Mr. Munson's, Trinity, Feb. 28, 1826. 
"To Colonel Stephen F. Austin, San Felipe de Austin, 

Brazos. 

"Colonel Austin: — Having heard of your expedition 
to the island, I made every exertion in my power to join 
you there, but failed in procuring a conveyance until I 
heard of your return. I then went to the bay by land; 
a very unpleasant trip owing to the weather and rotten- 
ness of the prairies; there again heard you were to leave 



ENTER HAYDEN EDWARDS 215 

Mr. Scott's, on the day of my arrival there, for home. 
Returning to the Trinity, I heard again that you were 
to attend a meeting on the San Jacinto on the 4th of 
March, ordered by yourself, in order to present a memo- 
rial against me to the government for asking my colo- 
nists more than the government tax on the lands, propa- 
gated here in my absence by Mr. Rankin. This I 
placed no confidence in, not believing that Colonel Aus- 
tin could be capable of using any measures to the injury 
of the other empresarios. 

"As to my conditions, I feel myself perfectly justi- 
fied by that article of the securing contracts made be- 
tween the settlers and the empresarios, and I feel myself 
more than doubly justified in asking what I do, for the 
good of the colony and of the government in general, as 
you must admit as a candid man that one colonist that 
is willing and able to pay for the lands as offered is 
worth fifty of those indolent idlers who barely live to 
exist, and have no ambition or enterprise further. If 
you would do me the pleasure of coming to see me, I will 
show you that my families are already engaged at my 
prices, and are unwilling that I should permit others to 
settle upon less terms, being satisfied of the disadvan- 
tages arising to the country from such a course. The 
honest and industrious already in the country are of the 
same opinion, and have complied with the terms al- 
ready. 

"I am constantly told by those worthless idlers that 
Judge Austin gives lands at congress prices, and says we 
have no right to ask or receive more. I have never paid 
any attention to their assertions, believing them to be 
fabrications, only replying to them to get lands of you. 



216 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

I have no doubt but there are hundreds of lies told you, 
perhaps in the same way, in order, as I have understood 
they have said, if they could get the empresarios at va- 
riance they would be able to reap a benefit. I hope you 
will give me the earliest information of your discoveries 
to our advantage in your trip to the island, and should 
you be disturbed by any part of my conduct, that you 
will be candid enough to state your objections to me 
before taking any measures unfriendly. I expect to 
meet Colonel Leftwich on my return to Nacogdoches, 
and should feel very happy if we could all have a meet- 
ing to promote the best interests of the country. 
"I am respectfully your friend, 

"Hayden Edwards." 

Upon receiving this communication, and noting the 
invitation to be candid should he be disturbed by any 
part of Edwards's conduct, Austin wrote a reply, which 
throws so much light on the situation leading up to the 
trouble between Edwards and the government that it is 
reproduced here in full. Austin's reply was as follows: 
"To Colonel Hayden Edwards, Nacogdoches. 

"Dear Sir: — I have just received yours of the 28th of 
February, and hasten to note its contents. In regard to 
Galveston, I found a good entrance of twelve feet and 
a safe harbor and good anchorage in seven and eight 
fathoms, opposite the old town. The harbor is a safe 
one, but the site is inconvenient for a town, owing to its 
low situation and scarcity of wood and fresh water. 

"In regard to the report you heard, that I had ordered 
a meeting of the inhabitants of the San Jacinto on the 
4th of March to present a memorial to the government 



ENTER HAYDEN EDWARDS 217 

against you, all I have to say is that the report is false. 
In the month of January I ordered elections all over 
the colony on the 4th of March for militia officers, in 
conformity with orders from the government, and on 
my arrival on the San Jacinto I found the people there 
highly excited against you, in consequence of threats 
you had made to drive them off the land, for which 
they had received titles in this colony, unless they would 
pay you your price; and they informed me that they 
intended to petition the government. I very plainly 
told them that Colonel Edwards had nothing to do with 
them; he had the settlement of the vacant lands remain- 
ing on the east side of the San Jacinto, but the titles 
already issued on that side were issued under an express 
order of the government and provincial deputation of 
Texas, and were as valid as any others; that it was un- 
necessary and improper for them to draw up any peti- 
tion on the subject to the government at this time, 
because you had as yet proceeded no further than threats, 
but if you should attempt to carry those threats into exe- 
cution by actually disturbing them in their possessions, 
I requested them to give me immediate information 
thereof, for it was my duty, both as a civil officer and 
as empresario, to protect their rights, and I should do so. 
"This is all that passed on the subject, except to one 
man, who pointedly asked me whether you had a rou- 
lette-table in Mexico or not; truth compelled me to say 
that you had. I will here, with perfect candor and in 
friendship, remark that your observations generally are 
in the highest degree imprudent and improper, and such 
as are calculated to ruin yourself and materially to in- 
jure all the American settlements; for example, you 



218 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

have publicly stated that you could have procured a 
grant for all the land on the east side of the Brazos, 
and taken it from the settlers, as you intended to do on 
the east side of the San Jacinto; that Saucedo was not 
governor or political chief of Texas and had no right 
to act, and that his orders were illegal; that the Span- 
iards around Nacogdoches were a set of 'Washenangos,' 
and that you would put them all over the Sabine; that 
you had the absolute right of disposing of the land 
within your colony as you pleased, and the government 
would not make any grants, nor in any way interfere 
with you for six years; that you despised the class of 
people who were now settlers in the country, and only 
wanted rich men, and would drive away all the poor 
devils who had been the first to settle, unless they paid 
you your price. And, finally, it has been very currently 
reported that you had stated many other things which, 
if repeated to the government, would be highly offen- 
sive to them, but which I do not mention here because 
I do not believe you ever stated them. 

"One moment's sober reflection will show you the im- 
prudence and impropriety of such declarations as those 
above mentioned. 

"The only answer I have made when told that Colonel 
Edwards was ridiculing deeds issued in this colony, and 
threatening to drive off the settlers on the San Jacinto, 
and boasting he could have had the power of driving off 
those on the Brazos, was that I was accountable to 
the government for my acts, and not to Colonel Ed- 
wards, and that such declarations displayed a very great 
want of common sense as well as candor on his part, for 
they were calculated to injure himself by weakening 



ENTER HAYDEN EDWARDS 219 

the confidence of the people in the acts of agents of 
the government generally, and it was a want of candor 
to threaten the San Jacinto settlers behind my back, and 
say nothing about them to me in person. 

"The truth is, you do not understand the nature of 
the authority with which you are vested by the govern- 
ment, and it is my candid opinion that a continuance of 
the imprudent course you have commenced will totally 
ruin you, and materially injure all the new settlements. 

"These remarks are made in perfect friendship, al- 
though with blunt candor, and as such I hope will be 
received. I have taken no steps to injure you in any 
way, nor will I, unless you interfere with the vested 
rights of the settlers of this colony. I have made no 
representations, nor ever had an idea of making any. 

"I have not said, even to my brother, as much about 
you as I have now stated in this letter. If you will ask 
Mr. Dee to show you a letter I wrote him some time 
since, in answer to one of his letters requesting a copy 
of the colonization laws, you will see that, instead of 
fomenting discontent against you, I said all I could to 
promote harmony. It has been a misfortune with all 
the empresarios, myself among the rest, that we have 
to be governed by a law that is rather difficult to un- 
derstand, and in many particulars susceptible to various 
constructions; this is of itself a frightful source of dif- 
ficulty, so much so, that the utmost caution and pru- 
dence may not in every instance be able to avoid it. I 
have learned caution from past experience, and have 
in consequence written to the government that if they 
would send me a fee-bill, stating in detail and in full all 
the expenses that were to be paid by the settlers on their 



220 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

lands, and also send a commissioner here to remain and 
attend to his part of the duty, that I was ready to attend 
to my part as empresario; but until high definite instruc- 
tions were received by me, and a commissioner ap- 
pointed, I should decline having anything more to 
do with the settlement of a new colony, for I did not 
feel myself authorized, under the new law, to make 
any survey without the approbation of the commissioner, 
and I should have nothing to say about the price of 
land at all — the government must fix it ; they must give 
positive instructions as to every particular, and I was 
ready to obey them. 

"You may, perhaps, think that I am too blunt and 
candid in my remarks, but there is one thing you must 
believe, or else do me an injustice, my candor proceeds 
from friendship and not from any desire to censure or 
to wound your feelings, and I advise you to be more 
prudent in your remarks and observations generally. You 
have an extremely difficult and laborious task to per- 
form; you will be watched with a jealous eye by every 
one, and the most innocent expression will be misunder- 
stood or wilfully perverted, and nothing will injure you 
more than direct collisions with the old Spanish settlers 
in your colony, and I would advise the utmost prudence 
with them in particular. 

"I wish you to understand distinctly that there is no 
excitement, no irritation nor any unfriendly feeling of 
any kind in me against you; that the plain language 
of this letter proceeds from friendship and a sincere 
desire to see you prosper in the arduous undertaking 
of settling a new colony, and that these remarks are 
only made to yourself, and not to any other person. 



ENTER HAYDEN EDWARDS 221 

I have myself felt the want of blunt and candid 
advice - y it is, however, a species of counsel that is 
seldom well received or duly appreciated, for we gen- 
erally have too much self-love or self-confidence to suf- 
fer deliberate judgment to decide upon our own acts; at 
least I will say for myself, that I fear such has some- 
times been the case with me. 

"Stephen F. Austin." 

The fact that this letter was sent to Edwards himself 
and "not to any other person," and the further fact that 
no man was better qualified than Austin to judge the 
situation and none more directly interested in keeping 
down friction, makes it a valuable guide in the attempt 
to reach correct conclusions with respect to the whole 
affair. 

Austin certainly spoke the truth when he said that 
Edwards had "an extremely difficult and laborious task 
to perform." The Edwards contract called for the set- 
tlement of eight hundred families in the eastern part 
of Texas, including the town of Nacogdoches. This 
was not virgin territory like that which Austin had set- 
tled along the Colorado and the Brazos. On the con- 
trary, it was the region of the earliest Spanish settle- 
ments in Texas and there were titles to land within its 
boundaries that dated back nearly a century. Nacog- 
doches itself, though it had only about a hundred in- 
habitants in 1825, when the grant was made, at one 
time had been a town of more than a thousand people, 
and the ranches and farms of Gil Ybarbo's companions 
had covered a good part of the eastern section of Texas. 
Descendants of these people are to be found in that sec- 



222 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

tion of Texas to this very day, and there probably was 
never a time since the first settlement of the region when 
some of them were not there, in spite of orders to move, 
revolutions, Anglo-American invasions and Indian 
raids. There was a considerable population, relatively 
speaking, in that section when Magee invaded Texas 
in 1811, and many of these Mexicans joined him in de- 
fense of the "republican" cause. When Arredondo 
destroyed the invading army in 1813, he also made a 
clean sweep of East Texas and drove these settlers across 
the Sabine onto the neutral ground. Some of them 
joined Long's expedition in 1819 and attempted to re- 
turn in this way, but they were again driven out. When 
Arredondo granted Moses Austin's petition for the 
settlement of Anglo-Americans in Texas, however, he 
also declared a general amnesty with respect to the for- 
mer inhabitants of East Texas, and shortly after that 
the independence of Mexico had been achieved. Dur- 
ing the four years between 1821 and 1825, therefore, 
these people had been returning to the region and seek- 
ing out their old homes. When Edwards was granted 
the right to introduce colonists into the region he was 
required, under the terms of his contract, to respect all 
existing titles to land, and this applied especially to the 
Mexicans, many of whom had been born in the terri- 
tory within the boundaries of his grant. 

But these Mexican settlers were not the only inhabi- 
tants of the region. The population was made up of 
other elements as well. There were Anglo-Americans, 
for example, like James Gaines and Samuel Davenport, 
who had been there, off and on, for years. Gaines had 
established a ferry over the Sabine at a very early date, 



ENTER HAYDEN EDWARDS 223 

while the neutral ground was still in existence, probably 
for the benefit of the smuggling trade which had been 
carried on along the frontier even before the days of 
Gil Ybarbo. In 1811 he had joined Magee as one of 
his captains, and he was among those who washed their 
hands of the expedition and returned to the United 
States after the massacre of Salcedo and his staff at San 
Antonio. He had returned to Texas and was living at 
Nacogdoches when the Edwards grant was made. Dav- 
enport had moved into Texas even before the Louisiana 
Purchase, had become a Spanish subject and had been a 
leading citizen of Nacogdoches in the days of its glory. 
He had a large ranch near the town, and in some re- 
spects was the successor of Gil Ybarbo, both commer- 
cially and socially. It is not improbable that he had 
participated in the smuggling trade. Davenport had 
also joined Magee, acting as quartermaster of the expe- 
dition, and had been driven out when the movement 
collapsed. He came back with Long in 1819, and was 
a member of the provisional government of the ephem- 
eral "republic." He was ejected again with Long, but 
after the independence of Mexico he returned to 
Nacogdoches and had been living there for some time 
when the Edwards contract was granted. 

There were other Americans whose history and status 
were similar to those of Gaines and Davenport. In addi- 
tion to these there were "squatters," daring pioneers 
who had crossed the Sabine, cleared a tract of land and 
built a cabin, before the advent of the Austins or the 
fixing of the boundary in the treaty of 1819. Some of 
these had come with the idea that the boundary would 
be fixed farther west and they proposed to be on the 



224 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

ground first. When the treaty left them on Mexican 
soil, they elected to remain, some of them, like John 
Cartwright, contending to the end that the treaty was 
a surrender of American territory and bound to be re- 
vised sooner or later. These people had no written title- 
deeds to their lands, though in the practice of the time 
some of them would be regarded as having valid claim 
to ownership. 

This last element had been augmented by the arrival 
of immigrants destined for Austin's colony during the 
period Austin was in Mexico City. Learning of the 
conditions existing along the Brazos and the Colorado, 
some of these settled on Ayish bayou, between Nacog- 
doches and the Sabine, and others had ventured fur- 
ther west, but stopped at the Trinity. They had no 
valid titles to their lands and were just staying on until 
the passage of the colonization law would determine 
the method to be followed to obtain titles. Now the 
Edwards contract had placed all of them within the 
boundaries of his grant. 

A few of Austin's colonists, those on the San Jacinto, 
were also within the boundaries set forth in Edwards' 
contract, but they had titles to their land, which, as has 
been seen, were issued by Baron de Bastrop, and under 
the specific terms of the contract Edwards was bound 
to respect these titles. 

And finally there was an element which had infested 
this region ever since the establishment of the neutral 
ground in 1806, the so-called "border ruffians" and 
other desperate characters, fugitives from justice, gam- 
blers and sharpers and idlers among the younger genera- 
tion of the Mexicans. A traveler with any amount of 




ELLIS BEAN. 



ENTER HAYDEN EDWARDS 225 

money on his person would be likely to disappear in the 
territory between the Sabine and Nacogdoches in those 
days, and the true explanation of his disappearance 
would generally be that he had been waylaid, robbed 
and murdered by some of these outlaws. If he escaped 
this fate, he would be fleeced by gambling sharps at 
Nacogdoches if he were not extraordinarily careful, or 
he might have counterfeit money passed onto him in 
exchange for his genuine coin. For Nacogdoches was 
"a gambler's heaven" and counterfeiting was openly 
practiced there even at a much later date. 

To complicate matters, Nacogdoches was the seat of 
an alcalde's district, which was not coextensive with 
the limits of Edwards' grant. The alcalde's district 
extended east to the Sabine, but the eastern boundary 
of Edwards's grant was twenty leagues from the Sabine, 
there being a reserved tract between his line and the 
border, which, under the general colonization law, the 
state was prohibited from opening to settlement by for- 
eigners. Then there was part of Edwards's grant that 
was outside the alcalde's district. 

That the government of such a district was not likely 
to be free from corruption, especially in a Latin juris- 
diction, can be readily appreciated, and when it is con- 
sidered that the opportunities for graft were very numer- 
ous and that Nacogdoches was so remote from any other 
authority in the state or the republic, it will be seen that 
with such a constituency it would have been a miracle if 
there was anything approaching "clean government." 
James Gaines seems to have organized a band of "regu- 
lators" among the better element for the purpose of 
dealing with the "border ruffians" and others of their 



226 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

ilk, and seems to have done something toward making 
the region safer against their operations and earned the 
thanks of the government at San Antonio. But, in the 
very nature of things, there could be no real "law and 
order" amid such conditions as existed in the district. 

There is evidence that the authorities themselves 
reaped some of the benefit of the dishonest traffic of the 
town. Moreover, now that a republic had been estab- 
lished and lands were likely to be valuable, certain per- 
sons at Nacogdoches had begun to get hold of old titles 
where the owners had not returned, and in the absence 
of both titles and owners to provide forged deeds and 
bogus owners in their stead. This had been started, it 
seems, before the Edwards grant was made, and even 
before the colonization law was passed. The situation 
offered an unusually fine opportunity for a scheme of 
this kind, and if it had not been molested the schemers 
might have succeeded in getting hold of most of the 
good land in the region. 

The granting of the Edwards contract was a compli- 
cation the schemers had not anticipated, and from the 
very first Edwards was regarded as an intruder. This 
was true with respect to many of the most influential 
men in the district, even though they were not con- 
cerned with the land-grabbing schemes. Men who had 
been in the country for years could not be expected to 
regard this newcomer with a friendly eye, and Edwards 
was not the kind of a man to win them over to his side. 
He was among enemies, therefore, from the start. The 
task before him was indeed "extremely difficult and la- 
borious." To have performed it successfully would 
Have required rare qualities, not only of courage and 



ENTER HAYDEN EDWARDS 227 

determination, but of patience, discrimination and al- 
most infinite tact. Edwards was not lacking in courage 
and determination, but of the other qualities he seems 
to have been totally bereft. Besides, he seems to have 
had a very erroneous and exaggerated conception of his 
powers under his contract. He was simply the head of 
the militia, until some other arrangement could be 
made, but he was endowed with none of the civil powers 
possessed by Austin, who had received his first grant 
from the federal government, and not, like Edwards, 
under the state colonization law. The jurisdiction of 
the alcalde at Nacogdoches, as has been said, extended 
over a good portion of Edwards's grant, and included 
among its constituents many who were outside of his 
grant on the twenty-league reserve. This was the local 
government, and Edwards's relation to it, in law and in 
fact, was totally different from Austin's relation to the 
alcalde's districts within his colony. Austin was the 
chief judge of his colony to whom appeals from the 
alcalde's courts were made; Edwards was subject to the 
alcalde's jurisdiction, and possessed no authority in re- 
spect to it. In the most ideal circumstances such an 
arrangement would be likely to make trouble. 

But the circumstances were not ideal, and from the 
very first Edwards got into trouble. He got into trou- 
ble at the outset with the acting alcalde of Nacogdoches, 
Luis Procela, and lodged complaints against him with 
the political chief at San Antonio. He lodged com- 
plaints also against one Jose Antonio Sepulveda, a 
Mexican of great political influence in the town. He 
was pretty severe in his description of these two Mexi- 
cans, denouncing the acting alcalde as a fugitive from 



228 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

justice and wife-deserter, and declaring him to be too 
ignorant and incompetent to fulfill the duties of his 
office, and charging Sepulveda with forgery of land 
titles and other dishonest practices. He was not very 
discreet in his language and took occasion to remark 
that such a situation as existed in Nacogdoches could not 
exist in the United States. That such a communication 
did not favorably impress the political chief, who could 
not escape his racial instincts in judging it, can be ap- 
preciated by anyone acquainted to any degree with 
Mexican character. So the net result of his protest was 
to prejudice the political chief against him. 

It was not only with the authorities that Edwards 
clashed, however. He clashed with the old Mexican 
settlers, with the "squatters," and even with Austin's 
colonists within the limits of his grant. His letter to 
Austin gives an idea of the general attitude he assumed. 
Edwards, no doubt, acted in the honest belief that he 
was doing only that which he had a right to do, but it is 
clear today that he misinterpreted his powers, first of all, 
in believing that he had absolute jurisdiction over all the 
land within the limits set forth in his grant, that all per- 
sons on lands must show valid titles, or arrange with him 
on his terms to obtain valid titles. Those who refused 
to do this must get off the land, and he even believed 
he had power to eject such persons from their lands him- 
self. Moreover, he believed, and seems to have boasted 
of it, that the government would not molest him in the 
exercise of these powers for six years. The truth was 
that Edwards had neither the power to pass on the 
validity of titles nor to put settlers off their lands. It 
was the function of the government alone to judge the 



ENTER HAYDEN EDWARDS 229 

validity of titles, and whether a settler should be evicted 
from the land he occupied was also for the government 
alone to say. Edwards's contract was to settle the unoc- 
cupied lands, but to respect titles already in existence. 
If anybody was occupying land within the limits of 
his grant to which he held no valid title, Edwards's rem- 
edy was to direct the government's attention to the case. 
But he interpreted the terms of his contract as meaning 
that he should be the judge as to the validity of titles. 

Acting on this belief in good faith, Edwards issued 
public notice to all the inhabitants holding titles to land 
to bring them to him on a certain date to be passed upon. 
It was in carrying out this operation that Edwards dis- 
covered indications that somebody was forging land 
titles. Having discovered evidences of fraud in one 
case, it was not difficult for a man of his tempera- 
ment to see fraud where none existed. In any event 
he questioned some of the titles of the old Mexican 
settlers, which the authorities said were valid. When 
this was reported to the political chief at San Antonio, 
whose sympathies were readily enlisted in favor of the 
Mexicans in a controversy with a "foreigner," he noti- 
fied Edwards that his action in "demanding of the old 
inhabitants the titles of the lands which they possess" 
was unwarranted and that charges would be made 
against him on this ground, and on the further ground 
that he had published himself as military chief of the 
district. These charges, he was informed, would be 
filed "when the government shall so order." 

In the face of this, Edwards continued to supply 
causes for complaint against him. He had fixed a fee 
which settlers would be required to pay him, in addition 



230 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

to the fees to be paid the government, and he interpreted 
his contract as giving him the right to assess this charge 
against all persons within the limits of his grant who had 
no titles to their lands. Indeed, he even contended he 
had a right to collect such a fee from the colonists on the 
San Jacinto who possessed titles they had received from 
Austin. When some of the "squatters" learned they 
were expected to pay Edwards such a fee, besides those 
to be paid the government, in order to obtain title-deeds 
to their lands, they objected strenuously. They con- 
tended that whatever might be an empresario's right 
to charge extra fees from colonists he had introduced 
into the country himself, and who had voluntarily con- 
tracted to pay them, he had no right to collect such fees 
from men who had been in the country long before his 
contract was granted. Those on Ayish bayou and on the 
Trinity, who had come to Texas with the intention of 
joining Austin's colony, had the case of what had hap- 
pened with respect to the "old three hundred" before 
them as an example. Austin had abandoned his claim 
to the twelve and a half cents an acre his settlers had 
agreed to pay. He had given titles to them at "congress 
prices." Some of those on Ayish bayou and on the Trin- 
ity, therefore, asked why they should be required to 
pay Edwards anything, when he had had nothing to do 
with their coming to Texas. Why couldn't they get land 
at "congress prices" like the settlers in Austin's colony? ; 
Edwards, on his part, contended that all must pay. 
In his letter to Austin he cited the clause of the colo- 
nization law guaranteeing private contracts between the 
empresarios and their settlers as justification. But it 
is clear he misunderstood its provisions. That clause 



ENTER HAYDEN EDWARDS 231 

provided for the guarantee of "the contracts which the 
empresarios make with families they bring at their own 
expense, provided they are not contrary to the laws." 
None of the settlers already in the territory within Ed- 
wards's grant had been brought in at his expense, and 
none of them had made any contracts with him. The 
settlers on the San Jacinto already had titles to their 
lands, and those on Ayish bayou and the Trinity had come 
into the country before the colonization law had been 
passed. Indeed, there were a few within the limits of 
the Edwards grant who had come to the country even 
before Austin. 

There was confusion throughout the territory, there- 
fore, and to make matters worse for Edwards he seems 
to have done a lot of loose talking. Austin's letter gives 
an idea of the general trend of this talk, and Austin's 
advice to him on this point was the best he could have 
received, had he only appreciated the sincerity in which 
it was given. "You will be watched with a jealous eye 
by everyone," Austin wrote, "and the most innocent 
expression will be misunderstood or wilfully perverted." 
That is precisely what happened, and before long the 
political chief at San Antonio was being deluged with 
complaints against Edwards. When the "squatters" and 
the old Mexican settlers complained they could not be re- 
strained in the manner that Austin had restrained the set- 
tlers on the San Jacinto. On the contrary, they were 
encouraged by the authorities at Nacogdoches to make 
complaints, and these were supplemented by official 
complaints by the local authorities themselves. They 
gave free vent to their resentment against Edwards, and 
informed Saucedo that the empresario was attempting 



232 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

to extort money from them, that he was guilty of illegal 
acts, and that he had made declarations uncompliment- 
ary to the government. It is possible that "innocent ex- 
pressions" were misunderstood and wilfully perverted, 
but Edwards unquestionably supplied his enemies with 
plenty of material for complaints. 

Edwards's defense was that his course was in the 
best interest of the colony. "I can show you that my 
families are already engaged at my prices," he wrote 
to Austin, "and are unwilling that I should permit 
others to settle on less terms." He stated that "the 
honest and industrious already in the country are of 
the same opinion, and have complied with the terms 
already." Undoubtedly some of the settlers without 
titles had complied with the terms, being willing to 
do so in order to obtain titles. And having done so, 
it was only natural that they should think that others 
should be required to do the same. Edwards saw no 
injustice in this, and believed he was acting within the 
terms of his contract. Indeed, he carried that belief 
to the extent of contending that those within the limits 
of his grant who already had obtained titles through 
Austin should nevertheless pay him his fee. The 
political chief, however, interpreted the law differently, 
and, as the complaints piled up, the conviction grew upon 
him that something would have to be done to stop 
Edwards. 

In December, 1825, an election for alcalde was held 
in the Nacogdoches district, the candidates being Ed- 
wards's son-in-law, Chaplin, and James Gaines's brother- 
in-law, Norris. Chaplin received a majority of the 
votes cast, but many of these were of "squatters" on 



ENTER HAYDEN EDWARDS 233 

the twenty-league reserve, and Sepulveda and Gaines 
contended they were not citizens and not entitled to 
vote. With these votes thrown out, Norris was elected. 
Edwards's party seized the archives of the office and 
installed Chaplin as alcalde. Gaines and Sepulveda 
appealed to the political chief at San Antonio, and he 
upheld their contention that the votes thrown out were 
illegal, directed that Norris be sworn in as alcalde, and 
that if Chaplin did not hand over the archives of the 
office peaceably he should be compelled to do so by 
force. Chaplin made no resistance, and a violent clash 
was thus averted. 

But having obtained control, the Norris faction then 
proceeded to subject members of the opposing party 
to all kinds of petty annoyances and to carry things 
with a high hand generally. There was constant fric- 
tion and, as the leaders of the Norris faction were 
unfriendly to the whole plan of colonizing Texas 
through empresarios, every method was used to em- 
barrass Edwards in his efforts. A settler would select 
a site for his home and proceed to move on the land, 
when a Mexican would appear with an ancient title 
to it and the alcalde would recognize the title. There 
was ground to believe that some of these titles were 
forged, and that the hand of Sepulveda had done the 
forging. This was a cause of more friction and of 
further complaints by the local authorities to the politi- 
cal chief. Moreover, in the general administration of 
the district the Gaines-Norris faction practiced discrim- 
inations against members of the Edwards faction. Fees 
in all legal transactions were fixed at a maximum, and 
any controversy between members of the opposing fac- 



234 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

tions was likely to be decided against the Edwards 
adherent. Soon the whole district was torn asunder in 
a violent quarrel in which feeling ran high and passion 
ruled supreme. 

One incident that has been cited in all accounts of 
those disturbances gives an idea of how trivial matters 
were magnified into affairs of a great moment, so tense 
had become the situation between the factions. A man 
named Tramel, who had been appointed by the alcalde 
of Nacogdoches to operate a ferry at the crossing of the 
Trinity during the time when Austin's first colonists 
were coming into the country, had sold his right to 
another man, whose name has not come "echoing down 
the corridors of time." This ferryman, it seems, hear- 
ing that an old Mexican named Ignatius Sertuche, 
together with his family, was starving at Spanish Bluff, 
a little way below the ferry, went to his aid, moved 
him down to the ferry, provided his family with food 
and ministered to their needs generally. Sertuche, 
having been restored to health and strength, and finding 
that the ferry was a berth worth having, applied to 
the alcalde at Nacogdoches for the appointment as fer- 
ryman. The alcalde appointed him, and dispossessed 
the man who had purchased the place from Tramel. 
Whereupon Edwards in turn ousted the Mexican and 
reinstalled the former occupant. There was an appeal 
to San Antonio, and Saucedo, the political chief, ordered 
that Sertuche should be placed again in charge of the 
ferry, because in such cases Mexicans should be given 
preference. 

And so it went. Friction and misunderstanding 
grew worse with each passing day, and the cabal at 



ENTER HAYDEN EDWARDS 235 

Nacogdoches took advantage of every opportunity to 
complain to the political chief and to intensify the 
prejudice of that official against Edwards. 

In the midst of all this turmoil, Benjamin W. Ed- 
wards, brother of the empresario, stepped upon the 
stage. It became necessary for Hayden Edwards to 
return to the United States in the interest of his enter- 
prise, and he induced his brother to take charge of the 
colony during his absence. Judging from the literary 
style of his letters, B. W. Edwards was even less fitted 
to deal with the delicate situation existing than the 
empresario himself. Being unacquainted with the 
Spanish language he was half the time not sure what 
was going on and, when he was informed by the alcalde 
at Nacogdoches that orders had been received giving 
the local government jurisdiction over the disposition 
of all lands within the district, he finally appealed to 
Austin to advise him as to the best course to pursue. 

"Order after order has been transmitted here con- 
taining censure of Hayden Edwards," he wrote to 
Austin, "without any inquiry into the truth or false- 
hood of the accusations presumed to be made against 
him; and no list of charges furnished him even, to give 
an opportunity of self-defense. In the first place, orders 
have been recently received here by the alcalde (as it 
is said) that Hayden Edwards was not entitled to charge 
anything for lands. A more recent order says that all 
contracts already made may stand, but that none here- 
after will be good, and that any person hereafter con- 
tracting to pay said Edwards for lands shall forfeit 
them and be ordered out of the country. A still later 
order says that said Edwards shall refund whatever he 



236 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

may have received for lands, making it the duty of 
the alcalde here to compel him, should he refuse. An- 
other order a few days ago says that this town shall 
have its original jurisdiction (which is said to extend 
to the Sabine on the east and nearly to the Trinity on 
the west, etc.) and that the junta alone, and not the 
empresario, shall dispose of said lands within said dis- 
trict. The last order, said to be received by Tuesday's 
mail, directs the alcalde to inform H. Edwards that, 
unless he changes his conduct (without informing him 
what it is that is complained of), his grant will be 
taken from him, and that he will be held amenable 
to the tribunals of the country." 

The letter recited a long list of abuses and expressed 
fear that the Americans would not stand for such things 
much longer. It concluded by requesting Austin's ad- 
vice. "I have opened this correspondence with you 
in the most friendly confidence," it read, "hoping to 
receive from you every information and advice as to 
what steps had best be taken on my part in the present 
attitude of affairs. ... I am sensible of the im- 
portance of a personal interview with you, but this at 
present is impossible. I hope to hear from you as 
soon as possible. I should deem a private conveyance 
much safer than by mail." 

Austin, who had been watching the course of events 
at Nacogdoches with much misgiving as to their effect 
upon the future of American colonization in Texas, 
was reluctant to take any part in the matter. He wrote 
to B. W. Edwards, however, giving him the benefit 
of such advice as he felt competent to offer. "I hope 
you will credit me," he wrote, "when I assure you 



ENTER HAYDEN EDWARDS 237 

that I sympathize with you fully on account of the 
unpleasantness of your situation. The affair will be 
highly injurious to the future prospects of immigra- 
tion, and of general detriment to the whole country. 
The subject has caused me great unhappiness, but I 
had determined not to interfere with it in any way — 
it is a dangerous one to touch, and particularly to write 
about. You wish me to advise you. I scarcely know 
what course will be best. The uncertainty as to the 
precise nature of the charges against you renders it 
difficult, nay, impossible, to make a regular defence. I 
think, however, I would write directly to the governor 
of the State, give him a full statement of facts and 
a very minute history of the acts of your principal 
enemies and their opponents, and their manner of doing 
business in every particular, both in regard to your 
brother as well as all others. State the general situa- 
tion of the country, the confusion and the difficulties 
which exist, and the cause of them, etc., in order that 
the government may have the whole subject fully be- 
fore them, and be enabled to judge of the motives that 
have influenced those who have been most clamorous 
against you. Write in English, and make an apology 
for doing so, as that it is impossible to procure trans- 
lators, etc. I advise the utmost caution and prudence 
on your part and that of all your friends as to your 
expressions, for every word you utter will probably be 
watched and reported if considered exceptionable." 

If Austin had been as well acquainted with B. W. 
Edwards's letter-writing propensities at that time as he 
later became, it is probable that the last thing he would 
have advised was for that gentleman to write a letter 



238 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

to the governor. But the letter was written, and in 
it the author gave such an account of the situation at 
Nacogdoches as seemed to him likely to impress the 
governor. He asked that proceedings against his 
brother be held up until he returned, and that he be 
given an opportunity to make a defense. The governor, 
Victor Blanco, took offense at the tone of the letter, 
declared that it was not sufficiently respectful and, in- 
stead of granting the request for delay, he cancelled 
the Edwards contract and ordered the expulsion of both 
brothers from the country. Blanco recited the com- 
plaints against the empresario and then concluded as 
follows: 

"In view of such proceedings, by which the conduct 
of Hayden Edwards is well attested, I have declared 
the annulment of his contract, and his expulsion from 
the territory of the republic, in discharge of the su- 
preme orders with which I am invested. He has lost 
the confidence of the government, which is suspicious 
of his fidelity; besides, it is not prudent to admit those 
who begin by dictating laws as sovereigns. If to you 
and your constituents these measures are unwelcome 
and prejudicial, you can apply to the supreme govern- 
ment; but you will first evacuate the country, both 
yourself and Hayden Edwards; for which purpose I 
this day repeat my orders to the authorities of that 
department — in the execution of which, as they will 
expel from the country all evil-doers, so they will 
extend full protection to those of worth, probity, and 
useful skill, that have settled therein and are submissive 
to the laws and constituted authorities." 

This order was dated October 2, 1826. Hayden 



ENTER HAYDEN EDWARDS 239 

Edwards had returned to Texas in the meantime and 
was present when it was received. It meant great 
financial loss to him, even if the supreme government 
should decide ultimately to reverse it. If the order 
should stand it meant utter ruin. He very justly 
thought that he had been dealt with unfairly. More 
than that, he felt he had been insulted personally by 
the tone of the order and the arbitrary judgment of 
the governor against him. It was in this mood that 
he conceived the wild scheme of making his private 
wrongs into public grievances and attempting to bring 
about an armed revolution to detach Texas from 
Mexico. 



CHAPTER XII. 



"republic of fredonia." 



Whether it was Hayden Edwards himself or his 
brother who first suggested the mad plan of raising 
the banner of revolt is not known, but that something 
of the sort was in the mind of B. W. Edwards as early 
as July, before he had written the letter to the gov- 
ernor, is indicated by certain expressions in his letter 
to Austin. 

B. W. Edwards was one of those who viewed the 
whole movement of immigrants into Texas as a prelude 
to ultimate annexation of the territory to the United 
States. But he wanted to see the country settled first. 
He wrote Austin that it had been his hope and wish 
that Texas "would peaceably fill up with enterprising 
Americans, without any interruption to their enterprise 
or premature collision with the authorities." The use 
of the word "premature" is significant, implying that 
he regarded an ultimate "collision with the authorities" 
as inevitable. It is more than probable that Hayden Ed- 
wards shared these views. To one having such opinions, 
it would be only a short step, especially when one's 
personal interests were involved, to decide the time had 
come to strike. B. W. Edwards seems to have antici- 
pated that developments might bring about such a 
situation, and it is not improbable that the advice which 
Austin gave him in reply to his letter was not precisely 
what he had hoped to receive. For he had strongly 

241 



242 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

intimated that conditions might get beyond control in 
the Nacogdoches district. "I know American char- 
acter too well to feel indifferent to what is passing here," 
he wrote. "Once shaken in their confidence in this 
government, an outrage upon the rights or person of 
one influential American will produce the spark of ig- 
nited matter that will kindle into a conflagration, which, 
we can not doubt, will immediately extend itself to the 
sympathies of the people of another government." 

The "people of another government" that B. W. 
Edwards had in mind were, of course, the American 
people. That letter was written in July, so that it would 
seem that even then revolt was thought of by him as 
a final resort if the government should persist in its 
attitude. There can be little doubt that the Edwards 
brothers reasoned that if they launched a revolt it would 
draw strength from the east side of the Sabine as well 
as from the Americans in Austin's colony and the other 
settlements in Texas. If there was any purpose in 
B. W. Edwards's mind to sound out Austin on the sub- 
ject when he asked for advice, he received no encour- 
agement whatever. It is significant that when the 
decision to revolt was finally made it was done without 
consulting anybody in Austin's colony. The fatal step 
was taken first, the standard of revolt unfurled, before 
an appeal was made to any of the settlers outside the 
Nacogdoches district. And then it was to the militia 
officers of the various settlements that the appeal was 
sent. 

The decision was made in the middle of December, 
and before making any public declaration of their pur- 
pose the Edwards brothers sought an alliance with the 



REPUBLIC OF FREDONIA 243 

Cherokee Indians in the region north of Nacogdoches, 
who had migrated from the United States a few years 
before. These Indians had sent representatives to 
Mexico City in 1822 to ask for a grant of land, and 
the reply of the government had not been satisfactory 
to them. They were resentful of the delays which had 
occurred, and Hayden Edwards sought to capitalize 
this situation by promising these Indians the lands they 
desired if they joined him in a movement to drive the 
Mexicans from Texas. On December 18a committee, 
of which both the Edwards brothers were members, 
went into conference with Richard Fields, John Dunn 
Hunter and three other Cherokee chiefs, on the terms 
of an alliance. The powwow lasted three days, at the 
end of which a treaty was signed. This treaty provided 
that the Indians would join Edwards and his followers 
in a war against the Mexicans, and that Texas would 
be divided into two parts by a line drawn east and west 
from a point just north of Nacogdoches. The region 
north of this line would be given to the Indians and 
the territory south of it, to the Rio Grande, would be 
formed into an independent republic, to which the 
Edwards brothers gave the high-sounding name of 
Fredonia. 

Meantime the movement had gathered a number of 
adherents from the region between Nacogdoches and 
the Sabine, and on December 18 they took possession 
of the old "stone fort" and proceeded to fortify it. It 
was then that the Fredonians turned to the other colo- 
nists, and the facile pen of B. W. Edwards was brought 
into play in writing "stirring appeals." At the same 
time an appeal to the people of the United States for 



244 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

aid was dispatched to Natchitoches, but no sooner was 
the messenger out of the country than he renounced 
his allegiance to the Fredonian cause and published an 
unfavorable account of the whole affair in the news- 
paper at Natchitoches. 

The literary productions of B. W. Edwards are among 
the chief remains of the Fredonian war, as it has come 
to be known, and they give a vivid picture of the affair, 
from his point of view at least. He sent stirring mis- 
sives to Capt. Aylett C. Buckner, in Austin's colony on 
the Colorado; to Capt. Jesse Thompson, on the San 
Bernard; to Col. James Ross, on the Colorado; to Capt. 
Bartlett Syms, on the Brazos, and to others. And in 
addition to these specific appeals, he issued a general 
proclamation calling upon all Anglo-Americans to rally 
to the glorious Fredonian cause. 

To Captain Buckner he wrote as follows: 
"Enclosed are papers which will explain their mean- 
ing. Though a stranger to you, I take it upon myself 
to forward you these documents at the request of my 
brother; and from a high regard for your character 
and true American feelings, long since known to me, 
I am prompted at this moment to open a correspond- 
ence with you, believing that in times like these we 
would both feel superior to the little formalities of 
fashionable intercourse, which too often cramp the acts 
of congenial souls. 

"Buckner, c this is the time to try the souls of men! J 

"The flag of liberty now waves in majestic triumph 

on the heights of Nacogdoches, and despotism stands 

appalled at the sight. I need not say to you why we 

have taken this bold and determinate stand. You are 



REPUBLIC OF FREDONIA 245 

not ignorant of the oppressions here, nor can you be 
less acquainted with the treachery and perfidy of the 
government. 

"We have found documents in the office here mak- 
ing it evident that troops would be sent on to force us 
into submission to our wrongs, and to dragoon us into 
slavery. We are Americans, and will sooner die like 
freemen than to live like slaves! 

"We have not acted blindly or precipitately in this 
matter. We have for some time looked forward to 
this issue, and were preparing for it. The Indians on 
our north have long since intended the same thing, and 
have only been waiting for us to say the word. They 
were determined to have a part of the country, which, 
they say, was promised to them by the government, 
and which they will never yield. They have immi- 
grated of late in great numbers to the northern part 
of this province. Under those considerations, and for 
our own security and protection, we have just completed 
a treaty with them, designating a line to the north of 
this, running westwardly to the Rio Grande, securing all 
individual rights within their territory. 

"The treaty was signed by Dr. John D. Hunter and 
Richard Fields as the representatives of the United 
Nations of Indians, comprising twenty-three tribes. 

"They are now our decided friends, and by compact, 
as well as interest, they are bound to aid us in effecting 
the independence of this country. The Comanches are 
in alliance with them, and their united efforts will be 
immediately directed against this base and faithless 
government. We will be in motion in a short time. 
We have sent communication to yours and to every dis- 



246 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

— — —— — i— — — — — — — — — — — —— — i i — — i — ■ M 1III1.I1I.I..I . i mm mmmtmmm — — wmmam 

trict in the province inviting each district to appoint 
two delegates, to assemble here and make a declara- 
tion of independence, etc. On your patriotism and 
firmness we much rely in promoting this glorious end. 
I have no doubt that the people in Austin's colony are 
true Americans j indeed, I have pledged my word on 
it. Do not hazard too much; but, my dear sir, we can 
send you an ample force to secure the people of that 
colony, and will do it the moment we ascertain they 
are for independence. 

"We are now waiting to ascertain that fact in due 
form; morally, we can not doubt it. You are Ameri- 
cans and our brothers, and, besides, you are the sons 
of freemen. To arms, then, my countrymen, and let 
us no longer submit to the caprice, the treachery, and 
oppression of such a government as this! 

"Our friends in the United States are already in 
arms, and only waiting for the word. We had some 
little opposition, on the Ayish bayou, from a few servile 
tools of Norris and Gaines; but the indignation of the 
multitude rose in the majesty of the American feeling, 
and they have fled in precipitation, and returned to the 
United States, there to meet the indignant scorn of every 
American. 

"The cause of liberty will prevail, and in a little 
time we will once more be freemen! 

"I have written to you like an old acquaintance, be- 
cause, in times like these, our souls should speak forth 
their unaffected feelings. 

"Adieu. Let me hear from you without delay." 

This flowery epistle is a fair sample of the effusions 
which B. W. Edwards turned out with seeming facility 



REPUBLIC OF FREDONIA 247 

and dispatched to the militia officers of Austin's colony. 
He assured all of them that it was "a time to try the 
souls of men," but he neglected to give a bill of par- 
ticulars of the grievances which justified so rash a step 
as revolution. He predicated his appeals almost en- 
tirely on the circumstance that the colonists were 
Americans and their "oppressors" were Mexicans. 
"We are Americans," he wrote to Capt. Jesse Thomp- 
son, "and will die sooner than submit to slavery and 
oppression. We have now planted the standard of lib- 
erty and independence, and, like our forefathers, will 
support it or perish by it. Are you not Americans, too, 
and our brothers? Will you not rally around this glo- 
rious standard and aid us in support of this holy cause? 
To arms, then, like freemen and the sons of those de- 
parted patriots who fought and bled for freedom! 
Should the Spanish troops pass the Brazos, if you are 
Americans, they never will return; they never will reach 
this place." In his letter to Col. James Ross, with no 
apparent sense of incongruity, he coupled this appeal 
with the assurance that they were backed up by the 
sacred pledge of savage Indians! "We call upon you 
and every American, as brothers in a foreign land," 
he wrote, "to aid us in this holy cause. Twenty-three 
nations of Indians, exclusive of the Comanches, are 
now sacredly pledged to aid us in our independence. 
We must succeed, and this base government will soon 
shake to its foundations." To Capt. Bartlett Syms he 
declared that volunteers from the United States were 
already on the move. "To arms, my dear fellow," he 
urged patronizingly. "I know you have the soul of 
an American in your bosom. Rouse our countrymen 



248 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

to arms, and tell them that in a short time we will 
be with them in considerable force. Many volunteers 
from the United States are now making preparations to 
join us. We are determined upon liberty or death !" 

It was in the general appeal to the colonists as a 
whole, however, that B. W. Edwards gave his muse 
full rein. That ornate and eloquent document read 
as follows: 
"Fellow Citizens: 

"An important crisis is at hand — the clouds of Fate 
are fast gathering over our heads, full of portentous 
import — the rude clarion of War already reverberates 
through our forests; whilst the majestic Flag of Liberty 
is joyously waving over this once hopeless country. 
Yes, Fellow-Citizens, that glorious Flag which con- 
ducted our Fathers to freedom, has been reared by 
descendants, who burn with a generous ambition to 
equal their immortal deeds; and under its shadow and 
protection we invite you to unite with us in brotherly 
confidence, and in bloody battle, if our common enemies 
shall force this issue upon us. 

"You have been much more fortunate than we have 
been, in being permitted to enjoy the benefits of self- 
government, without the continual intrusion of tyran- 
nical monsters appointed to harass and to persecute in 
the name of the miscalled Mexican Republic. Your 
laws are merely social, and such as were compatible with 
your own feelings; and dictated by the genius of that 
Constitution which gave you political birth. But here 
the true spirit of this perfidious government has op- 
erated in its natural channel. Here have we seen 
exemplified the melancholy fact that an American free- 



REPUBLIC OF FREDONIA 249 

man, so soon as he enters the confines of the Mexican 
Empire, becomes a slave. Here have we seen tyranny 
and oppression in its rankest shape, not surpassed by 
monarchy itself, even in the darkest period of colonial 
bondage. Not only the petty tyrants here, but the Gov- 
ernor himself has sanctioned those oppressions, and has 
decreed the expulsion and even the sacrifice of your 
fellow-citizens for asking for justice. Yes, Fellow- 
Citizens, the documents found in the Alcalde's office 
at this place, develop facts that speak awful warning 
to us all. They prove, too, that a brutal soldiery were, 
ere this time, to be let loose upon this devoted country ; 
and that our best citizens were selected as victims of de- 
struction. In a little time you, too, would have felt the 
rod, the galling yoke, that bore us down. Your chains 
were already forged, and so soon as the laws and genius 
of this government, administered by its own officers, had 
operated upon you, you would have awoke from your 
fatal delusion and, like ourselves, have sprung to arms 
for the protection of your rights and liberty. 

"And yet, Fellow-Citizens, we are told we shall meet 
you in the ranks of our oppressors; that the flag of lib- 
erty, which waves on high, is to be assailed by Ameri- 
cans; and that the first bloody conflict must be 'Greek 
against Greek.' Forbid it Heaven! ! ! O, no, this can 
never be! The world will never witness such a horrid 
sight! What! Americans marching in the ranks of 
tyrants, to prostrate the standard of Liberty, raised for 
the protection of their oppressed and suffering brothers? 
The graves of our forefathers would burst open and 
send forth the spirits of the dead! The angel of Lib- 
erty, hovering over such a scene, would shriek with hor- 



250 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

ror and flee from earth to Heaven! Fellow-Citizens, I 
know you better! I have already pledged my honor 
upon your patriotism and your bravery. I am now will- 
ing to stake my life upon it, and to lay my bosom bare 
to the bayonets of you, my Fellow-Citizens and Friends, 
in such a case. I am not ignorant that attempts have 
been made to invoke your hostility against us, and that 
even official documents have been read to you, impugn- 
ing the motives and misrepresenting the designs of those 
who have rallied around the standard of Liberty. But, 
my Friends, those imputations are false as hell, and only 
worthy of those who know not how to appreciate the 
holy feelings of freemen, and whose great ambition is 
to be the pliant tools of power. 

"We have undertaken this cause in defense of our 
violated rights, and are actuated by such feelings as 
prompted our forefathers to draw their swords in 
'Seventy-six.' Our oppressions have been far greater 
than they ever bore ; and we should be unworthy of 
those departed patriots and of our birthright had we any 
longer bowed our free-born necks to such abject tyranny. 
You have been told, Fellow-Citizens, that we are rob- 
bers, and that your lives and property are in danger from 
us. You cannot believe it. We have saved you, Fellow- 
Citizens, from impending ruin. A few months will de- 
velop to you facts that will draw forth ejaculations 
of gratitude toward those who are now shamefully 
traduced because they are too proud to be slaves. We 
have made a solemn treaty with Col. Richard Fields 
and Dr. John D. Hunter, as the representatives of 
twenty-three nations of Indians, who are now in al- 
liance with the Comanche Nation. In that treaty your 



REPUBLIC OF FREDONIA 251 

rights, your lands, are guaranteed, unless you take up 
arms against us. Fellow-Citizens, most of you know 
me, and will do my motives justice. I have been hon- 
ored with the chief command of our forces. I will 
pledge my life, my honor for the security of your rights, 
and the safety and protection of your wives and chil- 
dren. You have nothing to fear from us, or from our 
allies. You have everything to hope from our success. 
We have not taken up arms against you, my Friends, 
but to protect you and ourselves. If we meet in bloody 
conflict, we at least will not be the aggressors. 

"Fellow-Citizens, we must succeed! We will be free- 
men, or we will perish with the Flag! Be firm, be faith- 
ful to your brothers, who are now struggling for their 
rights, and the conflict will be short! We have rejected 
the overtures of peace, because we know this perfidious 
government too well to be betrayed a second time. Lib- 
erty and Independence we will have, or we will perish 
in the cause! Like Americans we will live — like 
Americans we will die! I have pledged myself! You 
will do the same ! " 

That this outburst of eloquence, announcing the in- 
auguration of a revolution, created a sensation through- 
out the settlements can be well imagined. But every- 
where the proposal of the "Fredonians" was condemned 
and it was soon clear that, far from joining in the re- 
volt, the colonists were ready to support the govern- 
ment in putting it down. 

Austin lost no time in taking steps to deal with the 
situation. As soon as he learned of the proceedings at 
Nacogdoches, he dispatched messages to all the settle- 



252 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

ments, calling upon the colonists to be ready to stand by 
the government. He wrote to some of the eastern colo- 
nists who had joined Edwards and begged them to turn 
back before it was too late. Without delay also he sent 
a committee from his colonists, headed by Captain Wil- 
liam S. Hall, to Nacogdoches to confer with the leaders 
of the revolt, offering to intercede with the government 
and to attempt to bring about an adjustment of the con- 
troversy. One of the members of Edwards's governing 
committee was B. J. Thompson, with whom Austin was 
on very friendly terms, and to him Austin sent a per- 
sonal appeal. "My friend, you are wrong," he wrote, 
"totally wrong from the beginning to the end of this 
Nacogdoches affair. I have no doubt that great cause 
of complaint exists against the alcalde and a few others 
in that district, but you have taken the wrong method 
of seeking redress. The law has pointed out the mode of 
punishing officers in this government from the president 
down, and no individual or individuals ought to assume 
to themselves that authority; but what is past is done — 
let us forget it, and look to the future. If you will take 
reason for your guide in the future and do your duty as 
a citizen of this government, all will be right. The 
Chief of this department is on his way to Nacogdoches; 
his object is to regulate the government and do justice 
to all — he is a mild and good man and will never do an 
act of injustice to anyone, and if you will come forward 
freely and without reserve and in a respectful manner 
submit to his authority, you will save yourself and fam- 
ily from total and inevitable ruin. You have been most 
astonishingly imprudent, but I do not think it is too late 



REPUBLIC OF FREDONIA 253 

for you to settle all that is past, for I cannot believe that 
you have been so mad as to think of joining the Indians 
and opposing the government by force. 

"The people of this colony are unanimous. I have not 
heard of one here who is not opposed to your violent 
measures, and there is not one amongst us who will not 
freely take up arms to oppose you and sustain the gov- 
ernment, should it be necessary to do so. My wish is 
to befriend you all, so far as I can consistent with my 
duty, and if you will rely upon me and listen to my ad- 
vice all will be settled easily. Separate yourself from 
all factions; disband your volunteer company raised in 
violation of the laws; and submit to the government 
freely and without hesitation, and put aside your arms. 
If you do this I have no doubt but everything will be 
satisfactorily settled; take the opposite course and you 
are lost, for you need not believe those who tell you that 
this government is without force. They can send three 
thousand men to Nacogdoches, if it should be necessary, 
and there is not a man in this colony who would not join 
them. Think what you are about, my friend, and save 
yourself by adopting the course I have pointed out before 

it is too late." 

i 

Captain Hall and his committee returned to say that 
Austin's offer to mediate had been refused and that noth- 
ing could be done with the rebels. They reported also 
that the total force of the Fredonians was rather small, 
not exceeding forty men. Meantime, Saucedo, the po- 
litical chief, started for San Felipe, and also dispatched 
a force of soldiers, under Colonel Mateo Ahumada, to 
that place. He directed Austin to raise a force of vol- 
unteers among the colonists. 



254 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

Austin had sent messages to all the settlements in the 
colony, immediately upon receipt of the news of the 
trouble at Nacogdoches and of the action of B. W. Ed- 
wards in attempting to obtain the adherence of his colo- 
nists. The message sent to the district of Victoria was 
characteristic of all of them. It was as follows: 

"My Friends: An important crisis has arrived in the 
progress of this country, and in the destiny of this col- 
ony. We stand high with the government, and an op- 
portunity is now presented of raising our characters still 
higher and placing this colony on a firm footing as re- 
gards the opinion of the government, and I think there 
is not one man in the colony who will not with pleasure 
embrace it. 

"A small party of infatuated madmen of Nacog- 
doches have declared Independence and invited the In- 
dians from Sabine to Rio Grande to join them, and wage 
a war of murder, plunder, and desolation on the inno- 
cent inhabitants of the frontier. The leader of this 
party is Martin Parmer ; and Jim Collier, Bill English, 
the Yokums, and men of that character are his asso- 
ciates. Agreeable to information received this day un- 
der date of 28th of December, this party is about forty 
strong. All the well disposed and honest part of the peo- 
ple on Ayish Bayou are decidedly opposed to them, and 
there is a force of seventy men united there against the 
Nacogdoches madmen and in favor of the government. 

"The chief of department and the military com- 
mander will be here tomorrow or next day on their way 
to Nacogdoches, and I wish to raise an escort of about 
thirty men to go with them. This is a mark of respect 
we owe these officers, and at this particular time it will 



REPUBLIC OF FREDONIA 255 

have a decisive influence on the future prospects of this 
colony. It will also have a very great influence in the 
quieting and settling the difficulties in that part of the 
country, for the men who go from here, by their pres- 
ence under the banner of the government, will at once 
dissipate the errors which these people have been in- 
duced to believe by a few artful men, as regards the 
part this colony will take. It will have a much better 
effect for the people to volunteer on this service than 
to be called on officially, and, in order to give them a 
full opportunity of showing their patriotism and their 
love of good order, virtue and justice, I have made no 
official call, but merely appeal to you as men of honor, 
as Mexicans, and as Americans, to do your duty, but I 
am happy to say that, in this instance, they are the same. 
It is our duty as Mexicans, to support and defend the 
government of our adoption, by whom we have been 
received with the kindness and liberality of an indul- 
gent parent. It is our duty as men, to suppress vice, 
anarchy, and Indian massacre. And it is our duty as 
Americans to defend that proud name from the infamy 
which this Nacogdoches gang must cast upon it if they 
are suffered to progress. It is also our interest, most 
decidedly our interest, to do the same, for without reg- 
ular government, without law, what security have we 
for our persons, our property, our characters, and all we 
hold dear and sacred? 

"None, for we at once embark on the stormy ocean of 
anarchy, subject to be stripped by every wave of fac- 
tion that rolls along, and must finally sink into the gulf 
of ruin and infamy. 

"The occasion requires an effort on the part of the 



256 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

people of this colony, and to give it its full force I wish 
that it should be voluntary and unanimous. And I wish 
the inhabitants of the District of Victoria to meet and 
adopt such resolutions on this subject as their patriotism 
may suggest, and to come out openly and above board in 
expressing their disapprobation of this Nacogdoches 
business and make an offer of their services to the Gov- 
ernor to march against the insurgents, should it be nec- 
essary to do so. And then appoint a committee to wait 
on the chief of department with the respects of those in- 
habitants and to present the resolutions. Such a thing 
will be done by every other part of the colony and will 
have a very happy influence on our future prosperity. 

"I wish the men who volunteer to go with the chief 
to be here as soon as they can conveniently prepare them- 
selves for the trip, ten men from the District of Vic- 
toria will be enough, unless more wish to go, for it is 
good and honorable service. 

"I have no doubt that you will be active and prompt 
in this business and embrace the opportunity that is now 
presented with pleasure. Wishing you a happy New 
Year, I remain very respectfully your friend and fellow- 
citizen and recommend to you Union and Mexico." 

The settlers in all parts of the colony were of one 
mind about the Nacogdoches movement. Universally 
they were against it, and they promptly followed Aus- 
tin's suggestion to hold meetings for the purpose of ex- 
pressing their sentiments. Resolutions were adopted, 
strongly condemning the insurgents, expressing loyalty 
to the government and volunteering to serve in putting 
down the revolt. On January 4, for example, the citi- 
zens of Mina, Austin's Colony, met under the chair- 



REPUBLIC OF FREDONIA 257 

manship of Thomas M. Duke, alcalde, adopted strong 
resolutions, and appointed a committee consisting of 
William Kincheloe, William Selkirk and Isaac Phillips, 
to present them to the political chief. The resolutions 
were as follows: 

"1st. We unanimously declare our firm resolution 
to support the Mexican Constitution and the Constitu- 
tion of the State of Coahuila and Texas. 

"2nd. We feel deeply incensed at the conduct of 
those Americans at Nacogdoches who have openly raised 
the standard of Rebellion against the Government, and 
offer our services unanimously to suppress it. 

"3rd. We would wish the Government to understand 
clearly and distinctly that those traitors at Nacogdoches, 
at least the leading men, are of infamous character, who 
have been obliged to fly from the United States for mur- 
der and other crimes committed there. 

"4th. We likewise from the personal attachment we 
feel towards the Governor as the chief executive officer 
of our state wish him every success, and that he may be 
able to quell in a short time the insurrection, and restore 
peace and harmony to the people." 

On January 6 the inhabitants of the town of San 
Felipe and of the surrounding country held a similar 
meeting and adopted resolutions. These resolutions de- 
clared that "they view the attempt of the Nacogdoches 
party to declare independence and call in the aid of 
Indians to wage war against the peaceful inhabitants 
of Texas with the most decided disapprobation, and are 
ready to rally round the standard of the Mexican Na- 
tion and sustain its government and authority by force 
of arms whenever called upon. 



258 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

"The inhabitants frankly and freely declare they are 
satisfied with the government of their adoption and are 
grateful for the favors they have received from it, and 
have full reliance on its justice and magnanimity, and 
that they will take up arms in its defense whenever 
necessary to do so. 

"With the greatest pleasure they receive the chief of 
this department and commandant of arms and respect- 
fully present to those distinguished officers their most 
sincere welcome and congratulations on their arrival in 
this colony, and through them to the superior govern- 
ment the assurance of our firmness and patriotism in 
defense of the liberty, honor, and rights of the Mexican 
Nation to which we have the honor to belong. 

"Resolved, by this meeting, that this declaration be 
signed by the alcalde in the name and in behalf of the 
inhabitants of this District and that two persons be ap- 
pointed a committee to present one copy of them to the 
Chief of Department and another to Col. Mateo 
Ahumada, the commandant of arms of this Department 
of Texas." 

This document was signed by M. M. Battle, alcalde, 
and was presented to Saucedo, the political chief, and 
Colonel Ahumada, the military commander of the de- 
partment, who had just arrived in San Felipe. Similar 
resolutions were sent in from other settlements in the 
colony, and when word of these proceedings in Austin's 
colony was received in DeWitt's colony on the Lavaca 
similar action was taken there. The resolutions of De- 
Witt's settlers, which were signed by Byrd Lockhart, 
as chairman, and James Norton, as secretary, declared: 

"1st. That the people of the Colony came to, and set- 



REPUBLIC OF FREDONIA 259 

tied in the Mexican Nation, by the benign influence of 
her laws; that as adopted children they have full confi- 
dence and faith in the equity, justice and liberality of 
the Federal and State Governments of their new parent. 

"2d. That their great object in leaving their parent 
country and emigrating hither was not for the purpose 
of unsheathing the sword of insurrection, war, blood- 
shed and desolation, but as peaceable and industrious 
subjects to cultivate and inhabit the bounteous domain 
so liberally extended and offered them by the governors 
of the land of their choice. 

"3d. That we hope that the Mexican Nation will 
draw a just line of distinction between the honest, in- 
dustrious and peaceable American emigrants, and those 
of bad character, whom we consider refugees and fugi- 
tives from justice, who have raised the flag of 'Inde- 
pendence' at Nacogdoches, but with them have spread 
confusion, robberies, oppressions, and bloodshed 3 that 
we look upon the ring-leaders of that party with con- 
tempt and disgust, and that they are unworthy the char- 
acter of Americans. 

"4th. That we pledge our lives and our fortunes to 
support and protect the constitutional authorities in this, 
our much beloved and adopted country. 

"5th. That we feel every sentiment of gratitude to- 
ward our fellow citizens and brothers, His Excellency 
the Political Chief, and the officers and men with him 
for their indefatigable exertions, by forced marches, 
etc., to allay, suppress, and bring to condign punishment 
those persons who may be found guilty of treason against 
this government, and to establish subordination, good 
order, and tranquillity. 



260 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

"6th. Resolvedy that the chairman and secretary sign 
the foregoing resolutions, and transmit same to Colonel 
Stephen F. Austin, and that he be requested to translate 
them and submit them to His Excellency the Political 
Chief." 

Such was the answer of the settlers throughout Texas 
to the "ringing appeals" of B. W. Edwards in behalf of 
the "Republic of Fredonia." When Saucedo and 
Ahumada arrived at San Felipe they found the entire 
population of Austin's colony loyal to the government 
and ready to assist in putting down the insurgents. 

Austin, however, was resolved to bring about a peace- 
ful settlement of the whole affair if that was possible, 
and to this end he importuned Saucedo to offer to the 
insurgents a general amnesty, together with a promise 
to make a full investigation of grievances, including the 
cancellation of Edwards's contract and the claim of the 
Indians for a grant of land. He proposed that a delega- 
tion of settlers from his colony convey this offer to 
Nacogdoches and present it to the leaders. Saucedo con- 
sented to this plan, and accordingly official communica- 
tions were prepared setting forth these terms. A letter 
from Saucedo to Hayden Edwards agreed to overlook 
all that had occurred in Nacogdoches and to reopen the 
case with respect to his contract, provided the insur- 
gents would lay down their arms. In addition to this 
there were letters from Saucedo and Ahumada to Rich- 
ard Fields, chief of the Cherokees, and a letter from 
Austin to John Dunn Hunter, the representative of the 
Cherokee tribes in their petition for lands and in their 
compact with Edwards. A committee, consisting of 



REPUBLIC OF FREDONIA 261 

Richard Ellis, James Cummins and James Kerr, was 
accordingly sent to Nacogdoches to present these com- 
munications. 

The character of the whole mission may be judged 
from a passage in Austin's letter to Hunter. "As re- 
spects the Edwardses," he wrote, "they have been de- 
ceived or are deceiving themselves as to my feelings to- 
wards them, and the letters of the chief of department 
and commandant-of-arms to Hayden Edwards ought to 
be sufficient to prove to them that I have at least done 
nothing against them. This government has by these 
letters offered a complete and full and unequivocal ob- 
livion as to the occurrences at Nacogdoches since the 
commencement of these last disturbances, provided they 
now cease. This places Edwards and the others on the 
same ground they occupied before this affair; also the 
door is open for a new hearing, or, if you please, a hear- 
ing in full (supposing none to have been heretofore 
had), as to the affairs of his colony and everything con- 
nected with his acts since he came to the country. 

"The personal security of all concerned is guaranteed 
expressly by the chief in his letters while these matters 
(whose origin was previous to the last disturbance) are 
under investigation; and as to the union and acts of the 
party at Nacogdoches, there will be no investigation of 
any kind, for the general oblivion settles all that forever 
as respects the government. . . . Edwards can have an 
opportunity of showing that the information given 
against him by the local authorities of Nacogdoches was 
false, and that the government has been deceived by 
those subordinate officers; and if he proves this, justice 



262 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

and equity and honor will at once say that if injustice 
has been done to him by a hasty decision, that decision 
should be reversed." 

With high hopes of success, therefore, Ellis, Cum- 
mins and Kerr set out for Nacogdoches. The result of 
their visit is best told in the report which they made on 
their return. This report, which was addressed to Aus- 
tin, read as follows: 

"Sir, — We have the honor to report to you, and 
through you to His Excellency, the political chief of 
the department of Texas, that we have failed of suc- 
cess in the hoped-for object of our mission to Nacog- 
doches. We proceeded with all possible dispatch to the 
Neches River, where we met an outpost of the insur- 
gents stationed in the house of Colonel Bean. They had 
taken possession of the boat and all of Bean's property 
and declared it confiscated. On our arrival at said post 
the soldiers informed us that the country was revolu- 
tionized from there to the Sabine River. 

"We therefore deemed it important and to our safety 
to make known to those people the object of our mission, 
and to inform them of the generous and friendly propo- 
sition of his Excellency: that justice was offered and 
mercy would be extended to all who would return to 
their duty; at which they seemed well pleased, and ex- 
pressed a wish that we would succeed in the hoped-for 
object. 

"We reached Nacogdoches the next day, and direct- 
ly made known to the principal men of the factionists 
our business. They informed us that the laws of war 
had been declared in Nacogdoches, and that they should 
expect us to be governed by them. We were therefore 



REPUBLIC OF FREDONIA 263 

under the necessity of meeting the principals in private, 
which we did, viz: Hay den and Benjamin Edwards, on 
the part of the white people, and one John D. Hunter 

and — Bassett, on the part of the red people. (This 

Hunter said he was the representative of twenty-three 
tribes of Indians and, further, that he was the absolute 
agent and attorney in fact for Dick Fields.) 

"We delivered the official documents to those pres- 
ent, and those for Fields were delivered to Hunter. We 
then went into a friendly discussion by way of exhorta- 
tion of them, founded on the proclamation and amnesty 
granted by his Excellency, and urged the same with all 
our force 3 that it held forth to view justice and mercy, 
and the bounty and munificence of this our beloved and 
adopted country. We argued that this highly benevo- 
lent act on the part of the Mexican government must 
place the same on high and very exalted ground with 
and in the eyes of all the republics of the earth, and 
gives at one view every assurance of a warm-hearted 
and affectionate step-mother ; that it was proof and 
guarantee of the republic resting on the broad basis of 
justice, liberty and equal rights! 

"For all of which we received for answer that they 
never would concede one inch, short of an acknowledg- 
ment on the part of the government, of their entire, 
free, and unmolested independence, from the Sabine to 
the Rio Grande; that they viewed the Mexican govern- 
ment (as it was called) as a corrupt, base, and faithless 
government! 

"Here our negotiations ended. Fields was in his own 
village, and we deemed it not only hazardous, but dan- 
gerous, to attempt to see him; which, however, is the 



264 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

less to be regretted, as we are satisfied that he is under 
the influence of Hunter. Two principal war-chiefs — 
Bowls and Big Mush — have, as it is said, refused to 
join Fields. 

"We are happy to inform his Excellency that the 
citizens on the Trinity and Neches Rivers are firm 
friends to the government, and also those of the Ayish 
Bayou, who are in deep distress for want of aid from 
the government. Some of them have crossed the line 
for safety, while others are acting the hypocrite, in 
order to save their little property until relief by the gov- 
ernment may enable them to come out with full front 
in favor of the government. 

"We would here beg leave to state that there is 
scarcely one of the perverse party that has any property; 
not one slaveholder among them, but many vagabonds 
and fugitives from justice, who have fled from the 
United States of the North, and who have so shame- 
fully debased the American character. 

"We take the liberty to recommend to the notice of 
the political chief and to yourself Colonel B. Foster and 
Captain P. Nesby, who have aided our efforts in all 
things, and highly deserve our warmest gratitude. 

"God and Liberty. 

"We have the honor, sir, to be, very respectfully, 
"Your obedient servants, 

"Richard Ellis, 
"James Cummins, 
"James Kerr." 

The result of this mission was disappointing to Aus- 
tin and his colonists. The word had been passed around 



REPUBLIC OF FREDONIA 265 

that the government had offered the insurgents such 
terms as they would be bound to accept, and it was 
believed that the whole trouble would soon be settled. 
Austin had exhausted every means to bring the affair 
to a peaceful conclusion. There was nothing left to do 
but to suppress the revolt by force. Accordingly he 
now sounded a call to arms. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

RESULTS OF THE FREDONIAN WAR. 

The circumstance which has been overlooked in 
practically all accounts of the Fredonian war heretofore 
published is that Austin did exhaust every means of 
bringing about a peaceful settlement of the trouble and 
that, so far as the great body of the colonists was con- 
cerned, the settlement was peaceful. The terms which 
he obtained from Saucedo, and which Ellis, Cummins 
and Kerr presented to the Edwards brothers at Nacog- 
doches, were not only such as could have been honorably 
accepted; they were in effect terms the acceptance of 
which would have constituted a victory both for the Ed- 
wardses and the Indians. That they were rejected in- 
dicates the extent to which the leaders of the revolt had 
deceived themselves as to the possibility of the success 
of their move for independence. But the very rejection 
of such terms robbed them of any hope that might have 
existed of obtaining support from the other colonists, for 
it left nothing for Austin and his settlers to do but to 
support the government to the limit. 

In issuing the call to arms, Austin made this very 
clear, and predicated his action on the refusal of the 
Fredonians to accept the government's terms. "The 
persons who were sent on from this colony by the chief 
of department and military commandant to offer peace 
to the Nacogdoches madmen," he declared in a proc- 
lamation, "have returned without effecting anything. 

267 



268 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

The olive branch of peace that was so magnanimously 
held out to them has been insultingly refused. . . . The 
people of the colony after a full understanding of the 
pretended cause of complaint on the part of the rebels, 
as well as of the mild and magnanimous course of the 
government in offering them a full and universal am- 
nesty and an impartial and public investigation of their 
alleged grievances, have unanimously, solemnly, and 
voluntarily pledged themselves in writing to the gov- 
ernment, to oppose the factionists by force of arms. To 
arms then, my friends and fellow citizens, and hasten 
to the standard of our country!" 

This proclamation was issued on January 22, and 
called for immediate and general mobilization. "The 
first hundred men who were called out from this col- 
ony," he said, "will march on the 26th inst. I now 
conjure you turn out in mass, and join as soon as pos- 
sible. The necessary orders for mustering into service 
and other purposes will be given to the commanding 
officers." 

On the same day that Austin issued this proclamation, 
Saucedo, the political chief of the department of Texas, 
decreed a general amnesty to all of Edwards's followers 
who would abandon the revolt and submit to the will of 
the government. The delegation which had been sent 
by Austin to Nacogdoches had reported that most of 
the inhabitants of the district were loyal, and that even 
among those who were in arms there were many who 
were playing the hypocrite in order to protect their prop- 
erty against confiscation. Still following the policy of 
Austin, to have as little violence as possible and settle 
the controversy peacefully, the political chief therefore 



RESULTS OF FREDONIAN WAR 269 

offered all "the inhabitants of the Trinity, Neches and 
district of Nacogdoches" full amnesty if they would 
abandon Edwards. 

This proclamation of amnesty presents the version 
of the government of its quarrel with Edwards so com- 
prehensively that it is given here in full. It follows: 

"The difficulties which unhappily arose in Nacog- 
doches between the people of that district and the local 
authorities attracted the attention of the government, 
and I lost no time, after hearing of them, in marching 
from the capital of this province to that place, accom- 
panied by the military commandant and a body of 
troops, for the purpose of regulating the government of 
that section of the Mexican territory, hearing the com- 
plaints of those who have been unjustly injured, and 
redressing the grievances of all in the mode prescribed 
by the laws. The Mexican government has opened its 
bosom to the reception of foreign emigrants with a de- 
gree of liberality unprecedented in other nations. The 
law prescribes the mode of their reception, and desig- 
nates the quantity of land allowed to each settler and 
the manner of procuring it; and it is the duty of the 
government scrupulously to watch over the execution 
of the law, and see that no impositions are' practiced on 
the people. 

"An empresario was appointed for the people border- 
ing on the reserved lands adjoining the United States. 
The people complained that Hayden Edwards, the em- 
presario, was practicing speculations on them by exact- 
ing exorbitant fees, and by turning off their places old 
settlers and giving them to new immigrants, who would 
pay the price required. These complaints and many oth- 



270 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

ers came from the people, and the voice of the people 
was heard. Proof was exhibited in writing, under the 
signature of said Hayden Edwards, that the material 
part of those charges were true, and it therefore became 
the duty of the government to notice them, and to in- 
terpose its arm to protect the innocent emigrants, igno- 
rant as they were of the language and laws of the 
country, from any further act of injustice or oppression 
on the part of said empresario. Proof upon proof of his 
illegal acts were multiplied, and the government had no 
alternative but to stop him by annulling his contract, 
or suffer him to grind the poor emigrants and extort 
from them all they possessed. 

"An erroneous opinion has, I fear, existed as to the 
nature of the authority granted to the empresarios. They 
are, according to the colonization law, nothing more 
than colonizing agents, employed by the government 
to settle a specified number of families of a certain 
description within a specified boundary. Hayden Ed- 
wards violated his duty and obligations as a colonizing 
agent or empresario by disregarding the law and specu- 
lating on the people, and the government were therefore 
not only authorized but in duty bound to take his agency 
from him. They did so, and for this reason he and 
his associates have declared themselves in open rebellion 
against the government, and he is endeavoring to excite 
the very people he was oppressing, and to protect whom 
the government interposed, to take up arms and join 
them in their mad scheme of independence. Will you 
suffer yourselves to be deceived by such men? Can you 
so far forget the bounties of this government and your 
duty as men to unite with renegades to wage a war of 



RESULTS OF FREDONIAN WAR 271 

murder and plunder against your fellow-citizens and 
against your government? No! Some of you may have 
been deceived, but, when you hear the voice of truth 
and reason, you will listen and be governed by it. Hear 
what this government have done, and then ask yourself 
if they could or ought to have done less. They annulled 
Edwards' contract because he was unjustly oppressing 
the new emigrants, but in order to give him a full hear- 
ing, even after he had taken up arms, they offered him 
a full amnesty and an impartial rehearing by the com- 
petent tribunals as to his acts as empresario. This act 
of moderation on the part of the government was in- 
sultingly refused by him, and he is endeavoring to excite 
the Indians to war. 

"Fellow-citizens, do not suffer yourselves to be misled 
by the Nacogdoches faction, for they will ruin you and 
the country. 

"I march from this place tomorrow, in conjunction 
with the military commandant of Texas and the militia 
of this colony, and have authorized Lawrence Richard 
Kenney to call upon all persons living in that section of 
the country to take up arms under the national standard 
and act in concert with the commandant-at-arms in at- 
tacking and putting down this faction. 

"All persons who prove themselves faithful on this 
occasion will receive their lands in the manner prescribed 
by law, and those who live on the reserved lands will be 
recommended to the President, whose approbation is 
necessary in order that they may procure titles in con- 
formity with the law. 

"Rely with good faith on the justice and liberality of 
this government, and do not, I again repeat, suffer your- 



272 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

selves to be deceived by the sinister schemes of the fac- 
tionists. Extend your views to the future, reflect on 
your situation and that of your families and property; 
reflect on your duties as men of honor and as Americans, 
and you will see that anarchy, disgrace and ruin must 
be the fate of those who stray from the true path of 
reason and justice, and that prosperity and happiness 
will be the reward of those who steadily pursue it. 

"I therefore call on you to rally round the standard 
of your country and unite your eff orts with the national 
troops and militia of this colony to crush this most 
unjust and unnatural rebellion in its infancy." 

This proclamation of amnesty was sent into the dis- 
turbed territory for circulation, its purpose being to draw 
away from the insurgents as many of the colonists as 
possible. Austin now turned his attention to the In- 
dians. The delegation that had gone from the colony to 
Nacogdoches had reported that some of the war chiefs 
had refused to join Fields in the compact with Edwards, 
and that the real conspirator was Hunter, referred to 
as "the representative of twenty-three tribes." Hunter 
was an American who had been captured by Indians 
while a boy and, though subsequently rescued, had re- 
turned to the wild tribal life and had been adopted by 
the Cherokees. He had been made the "representative 
of twenty-three tribes" for the purpose of negotiating 
with the government of Mexico for a grant of lands, 
and it was upon his representations that an alliance with 
Edwards would further this object that the compact 
had been made. But the Indians had also been assured 
that the other American colonists would join in the war, 
and that Americans would come to help them from 



RESULTS OF FREDONIAN WAR 273 

across the Sabine. Fields was a half-breed and appar- 
ently under the influence of Hunter. Austin now re- 
solved to appeal directly to the Cherokee chiefs, ignor- 
ing Hunter, but including Fields because of his standing 
as a chief. He selected from among his original colo- 
nists two men, John Cummings and William Robbins, 
who were well known to the Cherokees and likely to 
have influence with them, to make their way to the 
Indians' camps and deliver a letter setting the whole 
matter before them. This letter was addressed to "Cap- 
tains Fields, Bowles, and Big Mush, and other Warriors 
of the Cherokee Nation living in Texas," and was as 
follows : 

"To My Friends and Brothers, the Chiefs and War- 
riors of the Cherokees living in Texas: — 

"This will be delivered to you by two of your old 
friends and brothers, John Cummings and William 
Robbins j they will tell you the truth; listen to their 
counsel and follow it. 

"My brothers, I fear you have been deceived by bad 
men who wish to make use of you to fight their battles; 
they will ruin you and your people if you follow their 
counsel. 

"The governor wrote to you and sent Judge Ellis, of 
Huntsville, Alabama, and Mr. James Cummins from 
the Colorado, and James Kerr from the Guadalupe, to 
see you at Nacogdoches and tell you the truth; but I 
fear John D. Hunter has concealed the letters and the 
truth from you, for he and Edwards would not suffer 
those men to talk with the Indians. I therefore now 
send you copies of the same letters that were sent by 
the governor and delivered to Hunter, which he prom- 



274 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

ised to send to you immediately. By these letters you 
will see the government have never had any intention 
to break the promises made to you, and that they are 
ready to comply with them, provided you do your duty 
as good men. 

"My brothers, why is it that you wish to fight your 
old friends and brothers, the Americans? God forbid 
that we should ever shed each other's blood. No; let 
us always be friends and always live in peace and har- 
mony. The Americans of this colony, the Guadalupe 
and Trinity, are all united to a man in favor of the 
Mexican government, and will fight to defend it. We 
will fight those foolish men who have raised the flag at 
Nacogdoches; we will fight any people on earth who 
are opposed to the Mexican government, and we are all 
united as one man. The bad men, who have been try- 
ing to mislead you, have told you that we would all join 
you. This is not true; not one of us will join them. 
Those bad men have told you that Americans would 
come on from the United States and join them. This 
is not true; a few runaways and vagabonds who cannot 
live in their own country may join them, but no others. 
The American government will not permit such a thing, 
and, if this government asks it, will send troops to 
aid us. 

"Why do you wish to fight the Mexicans? They 
have done you no wrong; you have lived in peace and 
quietness in their territory, and the government have 
never refused to comply with their promise, provided 
you do your duty as good men. What, then, is it you 
ask for, or expect to gain by war? 

"My brothers, reflect on your situation; you are on 



RESULTS OF FREDONIAN WAR 275 

the brink of a dreadful precipice. The Cherokees are 
a civilized and honorable people, and will you unite 
yourselves with wild savages to murder and plunder 
helpless women and children? Will you unite with bad 
men of any nation to fight and plunder peaceable inhab- 
itants? No, my friends, I know you will not. Bad men 
have tried to make you believe that the Mexican gov- 
ernment had neglected you, and you have for this reason 
complained 5 but, my friends, those bad men have de- 
ceived you. The government is new, and it requires 
much time and attention to regulate all its different 
branches, and this may have delayed your business, but 
it is no proof that it would never be done. Open your 
eyes to your true interests, drive away those bad men 
who wish to lead you into ruin, and come with Cum- 
mings and Robbins and see the governor and your true 
friends, and all will be right. 

"My brothers, Edwards is deceiving you; he once 
threatened to take your land from you, and would have 
done it if he could, but he had no right to interfere 
with you; the government gave him no right to disturb 
you, and he is the only man who has ever attempted to 
molest you, and now he pretends to be your friend, 
and wants you to fight his battles and ruin yourselves. 

"Will you suffer such a man to deceive you? The 
government annulled his contract because he was trying 
to take away land from those who were settled before 
he went there. He tried to take away your lands, but 
the government stopped him, and defended and pro- 
tected your rights as well as the rights of the whites; 
and will you fight for such a man and turn against the 
government who has protected you from his attempts 



276 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

to ruin you? No, my friends, you will not. You have 
been deceived by him; leave him and come and see the 
governor and hear the truth." 

Having thus provided a way for both the Indians 
and the settlers in the Nacogdoches district to abandon 
the leaders of the revolt and come under the protection 
of the government, Austin was now ready to march. 
During all the time of the negotiations looking toward 
a peaceful settlement, Saucedo, the political chief, and 
Colonel Ahumada, the military commander of Texas, 
had waited at San Felipe de Austin with a force of about 
two hundred men. They were now joined by one hun- 
dred of Austin's colonists, and the march to Nacog- 
doches was begun. On the way contingents of colonists 
from the Trinity and the San Jacinto joined the little 
army, so that it soon mustered about four hundred men 
all told. 

This force would have been adequate to deal with the 
largest number of adherents that the Fredonians could 
have counted upon at any time, but before the end of 
January the Edwardses and their lieutenants were find- 
ing themselves nearly isolated. In the first excitement 
of the "revolution," when the offices of the authorities 
in Nacogdoches were seized, it is said they had two hun- 
dred men, though this figure might have been an ex- 
aggeration. But the force soon dwindled, and early in 
January Gaines, Norris and Sepulveda, with about 
eighty of their adherents, had made an attempt to retake 
the town. They were repulsed by a small force of the 
Fredonians and a few Indians, however, with one man 
killed and a few wounded, and Norris, Sepulveda and 
many of their followers escaped across the Sabine. The 



RESULTS OF FREDONIAN WAR 277 

month that elapsed after B. W. Edwards had sent out 
his appeals to Austin's colonists was a period of inac- 
tivity, during which nothing but disappointing news 
was received by the insurgents. They succeeded in "rev- 
olutionizing" the district around Nacogdoches for the 
simple reason that those settlers who were out of sym- 
pathy with the movement made a great show of siding 
in with it, depending upon the government to send 
troops to suppress it in due time. Further than this, the 
"revolution" made no progress. 

But now things began to look dark. A superior force 
was advancing against Nacogdoches and no help had 
come either from Austin's colony or from across the 
Sabine. Meantime, the Indians had begun to doubt the 
wisdom of their alliance. Ellis Bean, who had recently 
come into East Texas as the Indian agent of the gov- 
ernment, did some effective work in persuading some 
of the chiefs to have nothing to do with Edwards, and 
now that Austin's messengers were among them and 
giving them an account of the true situation, they began 
to hold aloof. Hunter was absolutely loyal to Edwards, 
but the Cherokees began to suspect him. Finally, while 
watering his horse at a creek, and entirely off guard, 
Hunter was treacherously shot down by a party of war- 
riors, and the Indians then practically withdrew from 
the enterprise. Finding their situation hopeless, the 
Edwards brothers and a small party of their followers 
fled from Nacogdoches and crossed the Sabine into the 
United States. When the government's troops and the 
colonial militia approached the town they were met by 
a messenger from that place who brought the news of 
the flight of the insurgents. The Fredonian war was 



278 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

ll i mnrinr— .1 I I II ■ nrn.i - ~. — ■ n . 11 ■ 1 111 1 1 .......i 1 1 i. 1 ... -1, ■ „ i. .... - . 1 ... t . nim.n .i i l l ■ ■ ■ 111 ■■ 

over. It had been brought to a close without one shot 
being fired by either the government troops or Austin's 
colonists. Such fighting as had marked its brief course 
had been between the factions in the Nacogdoches dis- 
trict. The affair had in fact been brought to a close 
peacefully, as Austin had hoped, and it was chiefly 
through his efforts that this result had been attained. 

Saucedo carried out the terms of his proclamation of 
amnesty to the letter. A few of the most conspicuous 
of the Fredonians who remained in the country were 
taken into custody, but upon Austin's advice they were 
released without punishment. The political chief set 
industriously about the task of reestablishing order in- 
stead of punishing the guilty. The truth is that most 
of the disturbers of both factions were temporarily 
across the Sabine and outside of the district. 

As a finishing touch, B. W. Edwards, from the safety 
of the American side of the border, wrote another letter. 
The trouble had started with his letter to the governor, 
and he had written many letters during its course. It 
was fitting that he should pen one final missive. It 
was addressed to Colonel Ahumada and referred to the 
treatment the prisoners had received. "Your kind, your 
friendly and generous deportment towards my friends 
and fellow soldiers, while prisoners of yours," he wrote, 
"entitles you and the officers under your command to 
the expression of my thanks, and has insured to you 
and them a distinction in our hearts that will ever sep- 
arate you from the rest of your countrymen who have 
oppressed us." 

The manner in which Austin and the Anglo-Amer- 



RESULTS OF FREDONIAN WAR 279 

ican colonists had rallied to the support of the 
government in dealing with the Fredonian affair should 
have reassured Mexican leaders with respect to the 
colonization policy Mexico had adopted in Texas. But 
this aspect of the incident was lost sight of entirely in 
the general excitement which it caused, and the net 
effect of it was to increase the alarm which some Mexi- 
cans had begun to feel over the steady increase of Amer- 
ican immigration. Moreover, the details of what was 
happening in East Texas were very slow in getting to 
the Mexican capital, and at the very moment that Sau- 
cedo was putting things in order in the Nacogdoches dis- 
trict, the Mexican congress was getting ready to repel an 
invasion from the United States. 

For that was the interpretation of the revolt which 
immediately gained general belief in Mexico. It was 
an American conspiracy to take Texas by force! In 
the Mexican congress this charge was openly made, and 
on February 23 a bill was passed providing for meas- 
ures to put down the revolt and appropriating five hun- 
dred thousand pesos for extraordinary expenses. Poin- 
sett reported to Washington that the Mexican govern- 
ment proposed "to set on foot an expedition against the 
rebels in Texas that would have been sufficient to repel 
an invasion." President Victoria informed Poinsett 
that he did not believe the United States was concerned 
in the affair, but he expressed the hope the American 
government would officially disclaim connection with 
it. Obregon, the Mexican minister at Washington, 
called upon Clay, the American Secretary of State, for 
an expression as to the attitude of the United States, and 



280 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

Clay very promptly assured him that the American 
government had not given the slightest encouragement 
to the Fredonians. 

But the same could hardly have been said of the 
American press and of the American public. "The 
Fredonian revolt," says Nathaniel W. Stephenson, 
"was the sensation of the hour both in the United States 
and Mexico. American newspapers in 1827 teemed 
with reports of the 'Fredonian War' — the war of two 
hundred men against a nation — and with expressions of 
sympathy with the Fredonians. The American people, 
having in them the egotistic passion of the Lord's 
Annointed, saw nothing of the point of view of the 
Mexicans. Democracy, freedom of the individual, as 
Americans conceived it, was for them the supreme law. 
No delicate questions of legal right or of the political 
duty of the revolters were allowed to color the main 
theme. In the sharpest black and white the ardent 
Americans of 1 827 pictured their kinsmen defeated in 
Mexico as apostles of democracy crushed by an alien 
civilization." 

Obregon took note of all this, and in reporting Clay's 
disclaimer to his government, expressed the opinion that 
the American secretary of state told only the truth so 
far as the government was concerned, but that the sym- 
pathy of the American people with the insurgents was 
unmistakable. He saw danger ahead if the colonization 
policy was continued, and he suggested as the proper 
safeguard against it the closing of the Texas frontier 
against Americans! 

At this point President Adams and Secretary Clay 
gave a singular demonstration of how little they under- 



RESULTS OF FREDONIAN WAR 281 

■ i i ii i i I i — — — — i 

stood the situation and of what small appreciation they 
had of Mexican character. Poinsett's opinion that the 
American settlers in Texas would prove troublesome and 
that after some experience with them the Mexicans 
might be more willing to part with Texas was called 
to mind. The Fredonian affair had demonstrated the 
truth of the first half of that opinion, why would it 
not be a good idea to test the truth of the second half 
of it? The Americans in Texas had caused a critical 
diplomatic situation to develop between the United 
States and Mexico, in spite of the fact that the American 
government was wholly innocent of any complicity in 
the revolt. Would not such an occasion arise again, 
and might it not cause trouble between the two coun- 
tries? If Mexico desired the establishment of permanent 
friendly relations between the two countries, could she 
not insure this by turning over these troublesome Amer- 
icans to the United States? 

"Impressed with these views," wrote Clay to Poinsett 
in March, "the President has thought that the present 
might be an auspicious period for urging a negotia- 
tion at Mexico to settle the boundaries between the two 
republics." 

A less auspicious period could not have been chosen 
for such a delicate suggestion, and Poinsett was per- 
fectly aware of it. He was very timid about urging 
anything of the kind, but the Mexicans left no doubt as 
to their feeling in the matter. A treaty of commerce 
had been negotiated shortly before and was now pend- 
ing before the chamber of deputies for ratification. 
During the debate the question of the intentions of the 
United States with respect to Texas was raised, and it 



282 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

was asked why the treaty of commerce should be com- 
pleted before a treaty of boundaries had been negotiated. 
What stood in the way of a treaty of boundaries if, as 
Poinsett had said, the United States was willing to ac- 
cept the boundary of 1819 unless Mexico was willing 
to change it? Accordingly the chamber adopted a reso- 
lution containing the following declaration: 

"This chamber will not take into consideration the 
treaty which the government has concluded with the 
United States of America, until an article shall be in- 
serted in it recognizing the validity of that which was 
entered into by the cabinet of Madrid, in the year 1819, 
with the government of Washington, respecting the 
Jimits of the territories of the two contracting parties." 

Plainly, Mexico had no intention of surrendering 
Texas, either by treaty or through revolution of Ameri- 
can colonists settled within the boundaries of the Mexi- 
can national domain. Poinsett, in the meantime, was 
becoming increasingly unpopular in Mexico. His con- 
nection with the Yorkino movement was common 
knowledge by this time, and the members of that party 
themselves were outspoken in the opinion that the Amer- 
ican minister should not concern himself in the internal 
affairs of Mexico. The Escoceses, on the other hand, 
began to declare openly that he ought to be expelled 
from the country. The question was taken up in the 
state legislatures, and during the summer of 1827 reso- 
lutions were adopted by the legislatures of several states 
demanding that Poinsett be given his passports. Poin- 
sett had a private interview with President Victoria 
about these resolutions and insisted that the president's 
attitude should be made clear by a public pronounce- 



RESULTS OF FREDONIAN WAR 283 

ment. Victoria, however, finding himself between two 
fires, and being unwilling to appear in a role that would 
be interpreted as pro-American, did nothing. 

Finally, on December 23, 1827, a revolt, of which 
Nicolas Bravo, the vice-president of Mexico and leader 
of the Escoceses, was the real head, broke out at the vil- 
lage of Otumba, with the purpose of overthrowing Vic- 
toria's government. The demands of the revolutionists 
were passage of a law prohibiting secret societies, the 
dismissal of Victoria's cabinet, strict observance of the 
constitution, and the expulsion of Poinsett from Mex- 
ico. The revolt was quickly put down, and Poinsett 
stayed on. But it had given expression to anti- Ameri- 
canism as a national issue, and in this it was a reflection 
of public opinion. The Fredonian war was as little un- 
derstood by the Mexicans as by the people of the United 
States, for it was generally represented in the Mexican 
press as an uprising of Americans that had been put 
down by the Mexican authorities. That the majority 
of Anglo-Americans in Texas were opposed to the re- 
volt, and had been chiefly responsible for its suppression 
was not generally understood. Nor was the official opin- 
ion that the United States was not a party to it accepted 
by most Mexicans. On the contrary, it was believed 
that the revolt had been fostered by the American gov- 
ernment. The Mexicans, be it said, were quite as 
egotistic as the Americans, and it appealed to their van- 
ity to think that the Mexican authorities in Texas had 
been able to repel a move by the giant of the north to 
seize Mexican territory. 

In January, 1828, Poinsett again took up with the 
Mexican representatives the question of a treaty of 



284 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

commerce, which the chamber of deputies had refused 
to ratify, and he was informed that it would be neces- 
sary, in order to insure ratification, for the United States 
to acknowledge the validity of the boundary fixed in the 
treaty of 1819. Poinsett agreed to this with such alac- 
rity as to surprise the Mexican commissioners. But he 
suggested that it would be proper to put this in a sepa- 
rate treaty. The Mexicans consented to this arrange- 
ment, and accordingly on January 12, 1828, a treaty 
was signed recognizing the boundary of 1819. After 
citing the fact that the treaty of 1819 had been entered 
into when Mexico was a part of Spain, and that it was 
thus deemed necessary "to confirm the validity of the 
aforesaid treaty of limits," this new treaty declared: 

"The dividing limits of the respective bordering ter- 
ritories of the United States of America and of the 
United Mexican States being the same as were agreed 
and fixed upon by the above-mentioned treaty of Wash- 
ington, concluded and signed on the twenty-second day 
of February, in the year one thousand eight hundred 
and nineteen, the two high contracting parties will pro- 
ceed forthwith to carry into full effect the third and 
fourth articles of said treaty." 

The third and fourth articles of the treaty of 1819 
defined the boundary line in detail and provided for 
the appointment of commissioners to make surveys and 
fix this line with more precision. 

For the moment, therefore, the question of bounda- 
ries between the two countries was settled. It had been 
set forth again in a solemn treaty that the United States 
renounced forever "all their rights, claims, and preten- 
sions to any territories lying west and south of the said 



RESULTS OF FREDONIAN WAR 285 

line." Texas, the land lying west of the Sabine river, 
was acknowledged to be Mexican territory. On April 
28 this treaty was ratified by the United States senate, 
but, as shall be seen in due course, delays in the exchange 
of ratifications postponed its going into effect. How- 
ever, for the present the matter was universally regarded 
as settled. 

While this treaty was pending before the United 
States senate a certain distinguished Mexican gentleman 
was making a quiet tour of Texas, In connection with 
the negotiations looking to a treaty of limits and bound- 
aries, Don Manuel de Mier y Teran had been appointed 
a commissioner to gather geographical and other mate- 
rial. Though the treaty was signed in the meantime, 
Teran proceeded to visit Texas in discharge of his com- 
mission. He arrived at San Antonio in March, and 
made a leisurely journey to the Sabine lasting into the 
summer, and noted carefully all he saw. He reported 
to President Victoria on other matters besides those per- 
taining to the boundary. He told something of the 
condition of Texas, pointing out that as he traveled east 
from San Antonio he was struck with the fact that 
Mexican influence became less and less as the American 
border was approached. He said that the ratio of 
Americans to Mexicans in the region was ten to one, 
and that the Mexicans were of the very lowest class. 
The Americans, he said, maintained an English school 
at Nacogdoches and sent their older children to the 
United States to be educated. 

"Thus I tell myself," said Teran, "that it could not 
be otherwise than that from such a state of affairs should 



286 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

arise an antagonism between the Mexicans and foreign- 
ers which is not the least of the smouldering fires I 
have discovered. Therefore, I now warn you to take 
timely measures. Texas could throw the whole nation 
into revolution." 



CHAPTER XIV. 

AUSTIN HANDS OVER REINS. 

The troubles in the Nacogdoches district leading up 
to the Fredonian revolt supplied a striking object les- 
son of the importance of strict regularity in the issuance 
of land titles to settlers, and of the dangers arising from 
loosely constituted authority in territory subject to set- 
tlement by an empresario. 

Austin's relation to his colonists from the beginning 
had been unique. In a very real sense to them he was 
"the government/' 5 for he was chief judge of the dis- 
trict in which his colony was situated, he was head of 
the militia and in practically all of their dealings with 
the government the colonists proceeded through Aus- 
tin. But in addition to this, he was an empresario, like 
the other empresarios, and had relations with the set- 
tlers and new immigrants in that role, independent of 
his governmental relations. When trouble first appeared 
in the Nacogdoches district, Austin made up his mind 
to bring about a change in this situation as soon as pos- 
sible. He wanted to be relieved of all his governmental 
duties and to place upon the colonists the responsibility 
of self-government. This could not be done completely 
until the final adoption of a state constitution, but he 
made a beginning toward shifting the responsibility to 
the colonists themselves in July, 1826, just when the 
trouble between the Edwards brothers and the gov- 
ernment was reaching a head. On July 6 he issued a 

287 



288 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

proclamation, ordering each of the six alcalde districts 
in his colony to elect a representative to meet with him 
for the purpose of forming a new judicial system. The 
result of this was the creation of a supreme court, subse- 
quently known as the court of alcaldes, which was com- 
posed of three alcaldes sitting in joint session at San 
Felipe. This court was given jurisdiction over appeals 
from Austin himself and from individual alcaldes di- 
rectly to it, without passing through Austin's hands. 
This was a beginning of the process of transferring the 
responsibility of governing the colony to the colonists 
themselves, and Austin was resolved that the process 
should continue until he was entirely free of any con- 
nection with the government of the colony. 

He was resolved also that, in settling colonists under 
his new contract, there should be no room for confusion 
of titles, and that the state government should assume 
full responsibility, through a properly constituted com- 
missioner, for every title issued. He had written the 
state authorities on this subject, and incidentally called 
attention to the fact that some of his original colonists 
had not yet received titles because of Baron de Bastrop's 
absence in attendance at the legislature. The Fredonian 
controversy served to emphasize the importance of legal 
titles to lands, and the authorities at Saltillo now gave 
ear to Austin's insistence on this point. Gaspar Flores 
had been appointed commissioner for Austin's second 
colony, but he had not entered upon his duties, and 
meantime Austin had taken the position that he would 
not proceed until the commissioner was on the ground. 
On February 7, or just about the time that Saucedo was 
getting started with the delicate work of hearing griev- 



AUSTIN HANDS OVER REINS 289 

ances in the Nacogdoches district and restoring confi- 
dence and contentment among the inhabitants, the lieu- 
tenant governor authorized Flores also to complete the 
business of Austin's first colony in Baron de Bastrop's 
place and to issue the remaining titles. Saucedo, while 
still at Nacogdoches, transmitted this order to Austin 
on March 19, and Flores began his duties in April. 

The manipulation and even forgery of land titles at 
Nacogdoches, however, had served to emphasize the 
fact that it was not enough to issue titles, but that there 
should be a permanently preserved record of them. Aus- 
tin concluded that it was necessary "for the future 
security of the settlers that the records should be placed 
in such shape as would render them less liable to be lost 
or defaced." For, in accordance with the mode of issu- 
ing titles, each one was on a separate and loose sheet of 
stamp paper, the original having been retained in the 
office as the record, and a certified copy issued to the 
owner of the land. "It is evident," said Austin, "that 
records kept in that way would be liable in time to wear 
out and be totally destroyed, even if they were not mis- 
placed." In order to cure this situation, Austin wrote 
the governor on May 5, 1827, asking that an order be 
issued authorizing the transfer of all the records of the 
colony that were on loose sheets into a large bound reg- 
ister or record book. An order authorizing this was 
accordingly issued on May 31, the method of the trans- 
fer being minutely outlined, and it being required that 
each document recorded should be compared word for 
word by the government land commissioner, the em- 
presario and the alcalde of the district, and that each 
should attest to the correctness of the copy with his sig- 



290 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

nature inscribed in the presence of two witnesses. It 
was provided that documents thus transferred should 
have the same validity in law as the originals. In ac- 
cordance with this order all of the titles already issued 
in the colony were thus transferred to the permanent 
record book, and thereafter every title issued within 
Austin's colony was recorded in like manner. It was 
in this way that Austin provided at the earliest oppor- 
tunity against the irregularities which had arisen in the 
Nacogdoches district. 

Meantime, the state constitution was completed by 
the legislature in March, and Austin now took steps to 
obtain his full release from responsibility for the gov- 
ernment of the colony and to place it under constitu- 
tional government. The new constitution provided that 
an ayuntamiento or governing body must be established 
in towns which "of themselves or with the territory 
they embrace contain a population of one thousand 
souls." The colony came under this classification and, 
in the autumn of 1827, Austin went to Saltillo in per- 
son to urge the establishment of constitutional govern- 
ment within its limits. In accordance with this request, 
on November 17 the governor instructed the political 
chief of Texas to order an election of an ayuntamiento 
for Austin's colony, fixing its jurisdiction as the territory 
from the Lavaca to the watershed between the Trinity 
and the San Jacinto, and from the coast to the San 
Antonio road. The order provided that Austin should 
preside over the electoral assembly and install and ad- 
minister the oath to the newly elected officers. On 
December 1 1 the political chief transmitted this order 



AUSTIN HANDS OVER REINS 291 

to Austin and, under a call issued by the latter, the first 
constitutional election in the colony was held on Feb- 
ruary 3 and 4, 1828. 

The election was held in each district under the 
direction of the existing alcaldes. The officials to be 
elected consisted of an alcalde for the whole jurisdic- 
tion, officially styled "the jurisdiction of Austin," two 
regidores and one sindico procurador — these four con- 
stituting the ayuntamiento. In addition to this, in the 
districts of Victoria and Mina a local comisario and a 
sindico were voted on. On one or the other of the 
days of election the voters gathered under the chair- 
manship of the district alcalde, elected tellers and a 
secretary, and then proceeded to choose their favorites 
by open vote. The voter called out the name of the 
candidate for whom he wished his vote to be recorded, 
or if he handed in a written list the secretary read the 
names aloud. Everybody thus knew for whom every- 
body else voted. In this way the first election was held 
throughout the colony — the jurisdiction of Austin — the 
election itself being preceded by a rather spirited cam- 
paign for the office of alcalde. There were those who 
wanted Austin himself to be a candidate for alcalde, 
but his purpose was to transfer the responsibility of 
government to the colonists themselves. He remarked 
that he had more important things to do in the interest 
of the colony than to spend so much of his time in the 
settlement of neighborhood quarrels over cows and 
calves. 

However, he did take an interest in the election, 
being anxious that men should be chosen who would 
place the government of the colony on a sound and self- 



292 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

supporting basis. He supported Ira Ingram for alcalde, 
Thomas M. Duke being Ingram's opponent. A ma- 
jority of the colonists differed from Austin as to the 
better man of the two, and Duke was elected. A 
total of two hundred and thirty-two votes was cast, 
Duke receiving one hundred and twenty-one, and In- 
gram one hundred and eleven. Thomas Davis and 
Humphrey Jackson were elected first and second regi- 
dores, respectively, and Rawson Alley was elected 
sindico procurado. In the district of Victoria Thomas 
Barnett was elected comisario and John D. Taylor 
sindico. William Kincheloe was elected comisario in 
the district of Mina, and Amos Rawls sindico. The 
returns were transmitted to Austin, and on February 
10, 1828, the alcaldes and election officials met with 
him at San Felipe de Austin, which now had come to 
be shortened to Austin, and to appear officially by that 
designation. 

The minutes of the meeting, marking the beginning 
of constitutional government in the colony, open as 
follows: 

"Town of Austin, capital of the jurisdiction of that 
name, in the department of Bexar, State of Coahuila 
and Texas, February 10, 1828. Citizen Stephen F. 
Austin, appointed on November 17 to hold the first 
municipal electoral assembly of the said jurisdiction — - 
which order was circulated by the chief of the depart- 
ment on December 11, last — met with John P. Coles, 
James Cummins, Thomas M. Duke, Alexander Hodge 
and Humphrey Jackson, alcaldes; Alexander Calvit, 
Green B. Jamieson, Philo Fairchild, Thomas Barnett, 
Moses Morrison, William Kincheloe, Rawson Alley, 



AUSTIN HANDS OVER REINS 293 

John Elam and Clement C. Dyer, tellers - y Lawrence 
Richard Kenney, John D. Taylor, John Andres, 
Shubael Marsh and John R. Foster, secretaries. The 
lists of the electoral assemblies of the respective dis- 
tricts of the jurisdiction were opened, in conformity 
with the 3d article of the above superior order, and in 
fulfillment of the 100th article of the Regulation for 
the Administration of Towns, and the three general lists 
which said article 100 prescribes were formed." Then 
follows a record of the result in detail, and the various 
officers were duly declared elected. 

"In virtue of the foregoing act of election," con- 
tinue the minutes, "in which Citizen Thomas M. Duke 
was elected Alcalde, Citizens Thomas Davis and Hum- 
phrey Jackson were elected Regidores, and Citizen Raw- 
son Alley as Sindico Procurador, and the said individuals 
having, under said act, taken the oath prescribed in 
art. 220 of the state constitution, proceeded to the in- 
stallation of the Municipal Ayuntamiento of the juris- 
diction of Austin. The persons aforesaid took their 
respective places presided by Citizen Thomas M. Duke, 
Alcalde, and having declared themselves as ready to 
proceed to the discussion and organization of the sub- 
jects more immediately connected with their formation, 
the Ayuntamiento was proclaimed to be duly installed 
and organized, and then proceeded to the discussion and 
decreeing the following subjects." 

Thus was constitutional government established and 
the reins passed over by Austin to the newly organized 
ayuntamiento. He had been the official head of the 
government of the colony — almost the entire govern- 
ment, in fact — since August 9, 1823, on which day he 



294 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

had been installed by Baron de Bastrop, who on that 
occasion had charged the colonists to "recognize said 
Austin, invested with said powers, and obey whatever 
he may order relative to the public service of the coun- 
try, the preservation of good order, and the defense of 
the nation to which they belong." But in laying down 
the reins of government, Austin was by no means get- 
ting rid of the cares attendant upon the general 
oversight of the welfare of the colony. In the very 
nature of things he would still have remained the chief 
connecting link between the colonists and the superior 
government, even if the new officials had launched upon 
a vigorous prosecution of their duties. It was the 
plain truth that he had more important things to do 
in the interest of the colony. 

The first duty which the new ayuntamiento faced 
was that of procuring a secretary and, inasmuch as this 
official must be skilled in the use of both Spanish and 
English, it was no easy task. Samuel M. Williams, 
employed by Austin as secretary of the colony, declined 
to accept the appointment, but agreed to act until 
another could be found. Another was not found very 
soon and, at a great sacrifice, Williams acted in the 
capacity of secretary throughout most of the colonial 
period. 

The alcalde was the executive head of the ayunta- 
miento and of the jurisdiction which it governed; he 
was chief judge of the district, with final jurisdiction 
in cases involving amounts up to ten dollars and, acting 
with a representative of each side of a suit, final juris- 
diction up to one hundred dollars, and preliminary 
jurisdiction in all other cases; and finally he was the 



AUSTIN HANDS OVER REINS 295 

official representative of the colony in communication 
with the superior government and other municipalities. 
The regidores were something like modern city com- 
missioners, and the sindico was the notary and attorney 
of the municipality. The district comisario was a local 
justice of the peace, with certain administrative func- 
tions, and the district sindico performed the same duties 
as the municipal sindico within the limits of his juris- 
diction. These local officials, of course, were under the 
authority of the ayuntamiento. 

The routine duties of these officials undoubtedly were 
performed in a manner efficient enough to insure 
the security of property, the protection of life and the 
preservation of the peace. To "frontier republicans," 
such as made up the bulk of the population of the 
colony, men chiefly engaged in farming their own land, 
raising their own livestock and attending to their own 
business generally, this sufficed. It is not to be won- 
dered at, perhaps, that they had little concern for "civic 
improvements," even for such essentials as a courthouse 
and jail. They were notoriously impatient of paying 
taxes, and undoubtedly the members of the new gov- 
ernment knew their constituents well. In any event the 
officials were very timid about levying taxes, and even 
more timid about collecting them. The municipality, 
therefore, was continually short of funds, and until 
1832 it was even without a jail. 

In such a situation, no matter how much he might 
wish to do so, Austin could not escape concerning him- 
self about the affairs of the municipality. In Novem- 
ber, 1829, in an address to the colonists explaining 



296 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

certain matters connected with the history of the colony 
which required explanation in the interest of the public 
welfare, Austin wrote as follows: 

"It is well known that up to February, 1828, the 
labor and expense of the local government fell princi- 
pally on me individually, and that since that period 
all the Spanish part of the labor has fallen on Williams 
and myself, without any compensation. It is also well 
known that the translating and other duties connected 
with the local government are sufficient to occupy all 
the time and attention of a secretary. Since February, 
1828, I have held no office which imposes any other 
duty on me to aid or interfere in the local civil gov- 
ernment than what belongs to any other citizen. As 
a citizen, I advised the ayuntamiento of 1828 to resort 
to a municipal tax; that body thought it would be 
unpopular, and feared to move. I repeated the advice 
to the ayuntamiento of 1829, and strongly urged the 
vast importance of giving respectability, system, and 
permanency to the local government by the creation of 
funds and the erection of public buildings; as a friend 
of the settlers, I again repeat the same advice. The 
municipality is without a jail, a house for public use, 
or a place to keep records in; and it is also without 
a secretary, when it is well known that all its official 
business must be transacted in Spanish, and that not 
one of the municipal officers understands one word of 
that language. For two years past the business of the 
ayuntamiento has been done for it, and not by it, and 
an excessive burden has thus been thrown upon the lib- 
erality of others. I have before stated that all the land 
records would shortly pass from my hands to the alcalde 



AUSTIN HANDS OVER REINS 297 

and ayuntamiento; perhaps I ought to be more explicit 
and state distinctly that it is, and for some time past 
has been, my wish and intention to withdraw, as soon 
as the welfare of the colony will permit, from every 
kind of public charge, either direct or indirect. This 
course is rendered necessary by the state of my health, 
which is perceptibly declining, and also by the em- 
barrassed situation of my private affairs, which will 
require more of my time and attention than I have 
heretofore been able to devote to them. These con- 
siderations may, perhaps, have caused too much anxiety 
to see our local government placed on a more respect- 
able and systematic basis than it is at present. I may 
have wished to accelerate matters more than the re- 
sources of the country will admit, and been too far 
influenced by an excess of zeal for what I considered 
to be the general welfare. My motives, however, were 
good, and had no other object in view than general 
utility; and I must be permitted to say this colony is 
abundantly able to support its local government with 
decency and energy. . . . For eight years I have en- 
deavored to be a faithful servant to this colony; it 
ought not to be supposed that I am to be its slave for 
life. Owing to my exertions when at the seat of 
government, in 1827, the local government of this 
municipality was placed exclusively in the hands of the 
people sooner than it otherwise would have been, and 
all that I now ask is that they will provide the necessary 
means of administering it for their own welfare." 

All of which shows clearly that the transfer of the 
responsibility for the government to the people of the 
colony did not relieve Austin altogether of the necessity 



298 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

of performing public services constantly. As a matter 
of fact he remained a public servant to the last, whether 
holding any official position or not, and more than half 
of the seven years he lived after he wrote the above 
quoted lines were devoted exclusively to the public 
service. 

The first ayuntamiento enacted only two measures 
that might be regarded as of importance. One was 
the drafting of the "Municipal Ordinance for the 
Government and Regulation of the Ayuntamiento of 
Austin," which set forth the rules and regulations of 
procedure of that body, defined the duties of the va- 
rious officers, and provided for a system of license fees 
and taxes. The other was the adoption of a memorial 
to the state government asking for the passage of a 
law guaranteeing contracts entered into by "emigrants 
to this state or inhabitants of it with the servants or 
hirelings they introduce." The purpose of this was 
to evade the provision of the state constitution prohib- 
iting the further introduction of slaves into the state, 
the effect of which was beginning to be felt. The 
state constitution provided that the immigration of 
slaves should be prohibited after six months from the 
date of promulgation of that document, and that in 
future the children of slaves born within the state would 
be free. This meant, of course, that there was no 
disturbance of the property rights of the owners of the 
slaves already in the state, nor of those who might in- 
troduce slaves during the six-month period. The six 
months had elapsed, however, and as the most desirable 
class of colonists would be excluded in the future if 



f\ AUSTIN HANDS OVER REINS 29? 

immigrants from the southern states could not bring 
their slaves along with them, the method had been 
devised of having the slave make a labor contract with 
his master before entering the state. Such contracts 
set forth the amount which the master had paid for 
the slave, and divided that amount into annual pay- 
ments of wages calculated so as to require the probable 
remaining years of the slave's life to exhaust the full 
amount. The slave agreed to serve the master in con- 
sideration of these wages until the full amount had 
been paid, and also to add the cost of his food and 
clothing. Provision was also made for the children of 
slaves by a like device. 

It was necessary, however, to make sure these con- 
tracts could be enforced by law for an immigrant to 
feel certain his property was safe in Texas. The situ- 
ation had begun to affect immigration unfavorably, and 
the ayuntamiento passed the following resolution: 

"Considering the paralyzed state of immigration to 
this jurisdiction from the United States, arising from 
the difficulties encountered by immigrants in bringing 
servants and hirelings with them, this body conceive 
it to be their duty to propose to the Legislature of this 
state, through the Chief of the Department, a project 
of a law whereby immigrants and inhabitants of this 
state may be secure in the contracts made by them with 
servants or hirelings in foreign countries, which project 
the president will make out in the following terms, to 
wit: 'Are guaranteed the contracts made by immi- 
grants to this state or inhabitants of it with the servants 
or hirelings they introduce/ and solicit the said chief 



300 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

to forward it on to the Legislature with such additional 
influence as he may think proper to attend to it." 

As a result of this request, the legislature passed a 
bill, on May 5, legalizing such contracts, so that this 
check to immgration was removed. 

One effect of the establishment of constitutional 
government in the colony was to bring the colonists into 
closer touch with the politics of the country. They 
were no longer merely "colonists" or "settlers," but 
full-fledged citizens of the jurisdiction of Austin, de- 
partment of Bexar, of the free, independent and sov- 
ereign State of Coahuila and Texas. As such they 
would participate in the elections to name the electors 
who would cast the vote of the department for the 
various state officers, the members of the state legisla- 
ture, and of the federal congress. The presidential 
election of 1828 was approaching, and the legislature 
named at the next electoral gathering would cast the 
vote of the state for its choice for president. 

The first constitutional president, Victoria, was near- 
ing the end of his term. The experiment of repub- 
licanism apparently was succeeding. There had been 
some disturbances during his term of office, and one 
formidable attempt at revolution, but the latter had 
been put down without difficulty. The second presi- 
dential election was now at hand. 

As has been said, the country had divided up between 
two political parties under the banners of the two 
branches of Masonry. They were, roughly speaking, 
the centralist and the federalist parties, the Escoceses 
being chiefly centralists and the Yorkinos being fed- 



AUSTIN HANDS OVER REINS 301 

eralists. The fact that the constitution of 1824 had 
settled definitely that the form of government was to 
be federal republican did not dispose of the question for 
many of the leaders of the centralists, who could not be- 
come reconciled to the idea of "free, independent and 
sovereign states." To no group of citizens in the whole 
Mexican federation, however, was this question of such 
importance as to those of the "jurisdiction of Austin." 
Stephen Austin had recognized from the first the im- 
portance of obtaining for Texas as much of local self- 
government as possible, and it was for this reason that 
he had used his influence with the federalist leaders 
to have Texas attached to Coahuila as a state instead 
of being made a territory, like New Mexico and 
California. 

The Yorkino party was the party of republicanism 
and was composed of the men chiefly responsible for 
the form of the constitution of 1824. It was the nat- 
ural party of the Anglo-Americans, and as a matter 
of course they were all supporters of the Yorkino cause. 
In addition to this, Stephen Austin was a York Rite 
Mason, a member of St. Louis Lodge No. 3, and there 
were a number of other York Masons among the 
colonists, including both of the candidates for alcalde 
in the first election. One of the first acts of the leaders 
among the colonists, therefore, following the establish- 
ment of constitutional government in the colony, was 
to take steps to form a York lodge. The ayuntamiento, 
as has been seen, was officially installed on February 
10, 1828. The very next day, on February 11, Austin 
and a number of the leading colonists met at San Felipe 



302 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

for the purpose of applying for a charter. The minutes 
of this meeting, signed by H. H. League as chairman, 
and Thomas M. Duke as secretary, follow: 

"At a meeting of Ancient York Masons, held in the 
town of San Felipe de Austin, on the 1 1th of February, 
1828, for the purpose of taking into consideration the 
expediency of petitioning the Grand Lodge of Mexico 
for granting a charter or dispensation for organizing 
a subordinate lodge at this place, the following Brethren 
were present: Brothers H. H. League, Stephen F. 
Austin, Ira Ingram, Eli Mitchell, Joseph White, G. B. 
Hall and Thomas M. Duke. 

"On motion of Brother Stephen F. Austin, and sec- 
onded, it was unanimously agreed that we petition the 
Grand York Lodge of Mexico for a charter or dis- 
pensation to organize a lodge at this place, to be called 
the Lodge of Union. On balloting for officers of 
the lodge, the following Brothers were duly elected: 
Brother S. F. Austin, Master; Brother Ira Ingram, 
Senior Warden; Brother H. H. League, Junior 
Warden. " 

It is significant that the name chosen for the lodge 
was "the Lodge of Union." The slogan which Austin 
had proposed in the movement against the Fredonians 
had been "Mexico and Union," and expressed oppo- 
sition to the detaching of territory from the Mexican 
federation. "Union under the Constitution of 1824" 
supplies a key to Austin's whole point of view, and 
explains his course throughout the disturbed period 
leading up to independence. It was especially fitting, 
therefore, that the name of this lodge should embody 
this sentiment. 



AUSTIN HANDS OVER REINS 303 

It will be seen presently that the project of obtain- 
ing a charter for a lodge was subsequently permitted 
to die out because of the course of events in Mexico, 
but the meeting reflects the political sentiment existing 
among the Anglo-American colonists at this time. As 
a matter of fact, from this point forward political con- 
ditions in Mexico became such as to make any active 
participation in the affairs of the republic by the Anglo- 
American citizens extremely difficult. However, the 
circumstance that Victoria had managed to serve 
through his full term gave the impression at the time 
that Mexico was making unusually good progress 
toward establishing and maintaining a federal repub- 
lican government. 

As the election of 1828 approached it became ap- 
parent that the nominal division between the Yorkinos 
and the Escoceses would not decide the result. Vic- 
toria's secretary of war, Don Manuel Gomez Pedraza, 
had made the most of the political possibilities of the 
Bravo revolution. He promptly suppressed it, to be 
sure, but instead of shooting the leaders of the revolt, 
as the extreme Yorkino leaders expected him to do, he 
contented himself with banishing them, thus making 
a good stroke of practical politics. The Escoceses 
could not put forward candidates in their own name, 
but Pedraza now became a candidate for the presidency, 
and besides the support he drew from the moderate 
Yorkinos, he attached the Escoceses to his cause almost 
to a man. The regular Yorkino candidate was Gen. 
Vicente Guerrero, an uneducated half-breed Indian, 
who had been one of the popular heroes of the revolu- 
tionary period, and who had received the same number 



304 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

'i ' ■ ' — ———»———— — ii ■ 

of legislative votes for vice-president as Bravo in 1824. 
He contrasted sharply with Pedraza as a candidate, the 
latter being of Spanish blood, well educated, and alto- 
gether a polished gentleman. Moreover, during the 
Spanish regime, Pedraza had been an uncompromising 
opponent of revolution. 

The election was held and Pedraza was elected. Ten 
state legislatures voted for him and eight for Guerrero. 
The State of Durango refrained from voting. Where- 
upon there stepped into the limelight for the first time 
a man who was to play a dominating role in the affairs 
of Mexico — Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. The 
result of the election was scarcely known when a small 
force of troops under the command of Santa Anna at 
Jalapa marched against the fortress at Perote, captured 
it, and issued a pronouncement declaring the election 
illegal and denouncing Pedraza as a secret enemy of his 
country. Santa Anna contended that in voting for 
Pedraza the legislatures had ignored the wishes of their 
constituents. He proposed, with the aid of the army, 
to compel the legislatures which voted for Pedraza to 
rescind their action and to have Guerrero declared 
President. He also demanded the enactment of a law 
expelling all Spaniards from the country. 

In order to appreciate the full significance of Santa 
Anna's platform, it is necessary to understand that Spain 
continued to regard Mexico as a Spanish colony, and 
that plans had been under way for some time to send 
a Spanish expedition to reconquer the country. There 
had been more than one demand for the expulsion of 
Spaniards, and it was strongly suspected that certain 
parties in Mexico were intriguing to prepare an up- 



AUSTIN HANDS OVER REINS 305 

rising in favor of Spain, for which the landing of 
Spanish troops on the coast was to be the signal. 
Pedraza had been a royalist before the revolution and 
a friend of Iturbide; he was of Spanish blood and, 
whether there was any basis for the charge or not, 
Santa Anna hinted that he desired the restoration of 
the Spanish power in Mexico. 

Santa Anna's platform was one well calculated to 
be popular, but the support he expected did not come 
promptly. On the contrary, congress immediately de- 
clared him an outlaw and a force was dispatched to 
capture him. Santa Anna withdrew to Oaxaca, Guer- 
rero's old stamping ground, and thus eluded his pursuers. 
Several weeks passed, and it began to appear that the 
whole incident was closed when, on the night of No- 
vember 30, a party of Guerrero's friends seized one 
of the prison buildings in Mexico City, converted it 
into a fortress and, after several days of street fighting, 
obtained complete control of the city. Victoria capitu- 
lated to the insurgents and thenceforth did their 
bidding. Pedraza was compelled to resign from the 
cabinet, and Guerrero was made secretary of war in his 
place. Pedraza then renounced all claims to the presi- 
dency and went to England. Throughout the country 
there were pronouncements in favor of Guerrero for 
president and demands for the expulsion of Spaniards. 
In this situation, the same congress which a few months 
before had declared Santa Anna an outlaw, now pro- 
claimed Guerrero to be the duly elected president of 
the republic. 

It was amid such scenes that the administration of 
Victoria came to an end. Today it is clear that from 



306 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

that moment was demonstrated the complete inability 
of the Mexicans to maintain a republican form of gov- 
ernment. The support of the army was more important 
than the support of the people, and the presidency 
became a prize to be sought through influence with the 
military leaders. That was not so evident at the mo- 
ment, for the suspicion of Pedraza, and the outcry 
against Spaniards, gave a semblance of justification for 
armed action. It was, however, the beginning of a 
condition of affairs which is familiar to all today, a 
condition of politics entirely alien to the Anglo-Ameri- 
can point of view, and under which Anglo-Americans 
could not live very long. 

Guerrero, the candidate who had been defeated in 
the election, was inaugurated on April 1, 1829. Before 
handing over the office, however, Victoria issued a 
proclamation of general amnesty, including in its pro- 
visions all who had participated in the disturbances in 
the capital and in different sections of the country. 
This included also Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, 
and events were shortly to occur that would make him 
the national hero of the moment. 



CHAPTER XV. 

IN TEXAS TO STAY. 

"From having been reared among them," writes 
Guy M. Bryan, nephew of Stephen Austin, "I can say 
truthfully that I never knew anywhere, as a class, 
better men and happier communities than were found 
in the colonies of Austin." 

All contemporary accounts based upon actual knowl- 
edge agree with this estimate. Bryan came to Texas 
in 1831, when his mother, Austin's sister, migrated 
from Missouri, together with her second husband, 
James F. Perry, and her two sons. But his description 
of the colonists applies to conditions existing for three 
or four years prior to his arrival. 

Austin's dream of "redeeming Texas from its wilder- 
ness state by means of the plough alone" was being 
realized. Between 1825 and 1830 the families which 
came in a constant stream from all sections of the 
United States, but chiefly from the southern states, were 
of a very high character. Before 1830 the several 
settled communities which had sprung up in the terri- 
tory included in the "jurisdiction of Austin" began to 
develop their own peculiar social standards. "They 
came to better their condition," says Bryan, "to obtain 
land for themselves and families in a new and unin- 
habited country." They got the land and founded 
homes and then proceeded to create community life. 
"Some of the colonists," continues Bryan, "subdivided 

307 



308 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

their lands, selling the same to enable others to settle 
among them, and thus the colonies of Austin rapidly- 
populated and improved under his judicious and 
parental government. " Newcomers were welcomed, 
and if they seemed desirable colonists, all joined to make 
them feel at home. An article published in The Family 
Magazine in the United States, written by a traveler 
who made a tour of Texas about this time, particularly 
emphasizes this point. 

"Those who have settled in Texas a few months," 
says this writer, "really enjoy more comforts (and these 
in addition to the opportunity of possessing a handsome 
property) than any other peasantry with which I am 
acquainted. One act of liberality and hospitality which 
is constantly practiced by all his neighbors tow r ard a 
newcomer, whose character is found exceptionable, 
would do honor to the most highly civilized people. 
They all assemble at the spot which he has fixed upon 
as his residence, with their axes and draught-oxen, fell 
the timber, and build for him his log-hut. This gen- 
erally consists of three apartments, one for sleeping, 
another for eating, both closed in all round, while in the 
center, which is left open on both sides, he keeps his 
saddles and tools, and takes his meals during the hot 
weather. . . . The log-hut is by no means an incon- 
venient residence; indeed, some of them are roomy, 
neat, and durable, very strong, and well calculated 
to afford protection from every inclemency of the 
weather." 

"The newcomers who had not yet procured cattle," 
says another witness, W. P. Zuber, an early settler, 
"were supplied with milk and butter by the voluntary 



IN TEXAS TO STAY 309 

loan of cows. No man whose neighbors had meat and 
bread suffered from hunger. Working tools, of which 
no family for a long time had a full supply, circulated 
by loan, as common property." 

This cooperation was not confined to newcomers, 
however. It became the settled habit of these young 
communities, and a mutual helpfulness took on the 
character of a social convention. "If a settler was 
weak-handed in making his improvements," says Bryan, 
"or in log-raising or log-rolling, in ploughing or culti- 
vating his crop, ample gratuitous aid w r as at hand, and 
no one suffered for want of this aid." So it was that 
they all prospered, for in very truth they bore one 
another's burdens so that they fell heavily upon the 
shoulders of none. "All were landholders," says Bryan, 
"and were, or expected to be, householders . . . and 
owners of cattle, horses and hogs. . . . Nowhere was 
a pauper to be found, and rarely a thief. There were 
no locks, and the latch-string ever hung out. ... If 
the great object of a man in this life is contentment, 
and to live in a society where each one respects the 
rights of the other, having the largest share of freedom 
of thought and action, nowhere has it been realized more 
thoroughly than among these intelligent, contented, 
honest, hospitable, self-supporting communities." 

Such a society would inevitably develop standards in 
keeping with this economic foundation. Isolated from 
the rest of the world — for a wilderness separated them 
from the United States on the one hand and the interior 
of Mexico on the other — they settled down to the busi- 
ness of living together in mutual helpfulness, which, 
after all, is the very essence of civilization, and their 



310 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

pursuits, their industries, their amusements and social 
institutions developed accordingly, within the limits of 
the means at hand and in keeping with their environ- 
ment. 

"All were industrious," says Zuber, the early settler 
already quoted. Austin had made this characteristic a 
required qualification for entering the colony, and his 
insistence upon this point had borne fruit. "The wilful 
non-payment of a just debt was regarded as no better 
than theft. To sue an honest but unfortunate debtor, 
who was not able to pay a debt, was condemned as an 
outrage. The wilful non-compliance with a promise 
was an intolerable disgrace. . . . The promises of most 
persons were given and accepted as their most binding 
obligations." 

"Socially," says Bryan, "all were on an equality, merit 
being the only distinction. There were men of educa- 
tion, ability, and superior qualifications among them; 
the great majority were intelligent, practical, useful, in- 
dustrious and moral. There were among the women the 
refined, cultured and accomplished, and as a class they 
all understood the duties and requirements of their situa- 
tion, possessing in a high degree the best qualities of 
wife, mother, daughter and sister ; cheering the men in 
their varied duties, softening their manners and rough 
experiences." It is indeed true that men of education 
and ability were early among the immigrants to Texas. 
David G. Burnet, destined to figure prominently in 
Texas affairs, came in 1 826 3 Robert M. Williamson, for 
a long time the leading lawyer of the colony, and popu- 
larly known as "three-legged Willie," because he was 
one-legged and used a crutch, came in 1827; Gail Bor- 



IN TEXAS TO STAY 311 

den, who in after years gained world-wide fame for 
his invention of condensed milk, joined his brother 
Thomas, one of the "old three hundred," in 1828; Wil- 
liam H. Wharton, a brilliant lawyer, came from Nash- 
ville in 1829; William T. Austin, a brother of John 
Austin, who had been in the colony since 1823, arrived 
in 1830; and a great many others — lawyers, doctors, 
school-teachers, newspaper writers, and especially sur- 
veyors — flocked to this land of promise, where the 
growing population was creating a demand for their 
services. Among the surveyors and civil engineers who 
migrated early were James Kerr and Francis W. 
Johnson, both arriving in 1 826, the former as the official 
surveyor for Green De Witt's colony, and the latter to 
offer his services wherever they might be needed. Both 
became prominent men among the colonists, Johnson 
being elected alcalde of Austin's colony in 1830. 

The amusements of the colonists were such as might 
be expected among such people in such surroundings. 
There were many occasions which supplied opportunity 
for social recreation. Whenever there was a neighbor's 
house to be built or repaired, or other work to be done 
which called for cooperation, and the men gathered for 
that purpose, the women and young girls came, too, 
not only to prepare food, but to participate in the fun 
which would be bound to follow when the work was 
done. On such occasions there would be dancing and 
games and other innocent amusements. Picnics and 
hunting and fishing parties were not infrequent. "We 
frequently make up parties of men, women and chil- 
dren," wrote one settler to "the States," "and start out 



312 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 



on hunting or fishing expeditions, and are gone for 
several days. These excursions are very pleasant." And 
another observer says, "It is not uncommon for ladies 
to mount their mustangs and hunt with their husbands, 
and with them to camp out for days on their excursions 
to the seashore for fish and oysters. All visiting is 
done on horseback, and they will go fifty miles to a 
ball, with their silk dresses, made perhaps in Philadel- 
phia or New Orleans, in their saddle-bags." 

"Sunday was a day of visiting," says Bryan, "and to 
ride five or ten miles on horseback, take dinner and 
spend the day with families, was the custom. Their 
religion was only in the family circle, where there 
were readings, prayers and singing. The Roman Cath- 
olic was the legal religion, but the colonists at home 
kept the faith of their fathers, and dfd nothing to pro- 
voke censure of the established church or government." 

"The colonists," he continues, "had their amusements 
of balls, and parties, and neighborhood gatherings for 
athletic exercises, fishing, picnics, horse-racing, rifle- 
shooting, mustang-catching, story-tellings of their trad- 
ing, surveying, hunting, and Indian expeditions." 

There were amusements of a rougher sort for men, 
of course. There was some "hard drinking" at times, 
and card playing was an almost constant occupation of 
idle hours. Francis W. Johnson tells of his first visit 
to San Felipe, for example, as follows: "We visited 
the store, owned and kept by Stephen Richardson and 
Thomas Davis, both good and true men. Their stock 
consisted of two or three barrels of whiskey, some sugar, 
salt and a few remnants of dry goods, in value not 



IN TEXAS TO STAY 313 



exceeding five hundred dollars. Here we found a 
number of the lords of Texas. They seemed to be 
enjoying themselves - y some were engaged in a game 
of 'old sledge 5 or seven-up at cards ; others drinking 
whiskey, eating ftelonce (Mexican sugar) or pecans; and 
all were talking. We were kindly received and soon 
felt ourselves at home," Smithwick says that the stakes 
were never very high in the card games, for actual 
money was scarce, especially small coins. To meet the 
need of "change," he says, it was not an unusual thing 
to cut a Mexican silver dollar into four pieces, thus 
providing four quarters, which passed current with- 
out question. 

Smithwick tells also of other parties among the men. 
"There being little opportunity for social intercourse 
with the gentler sex," he says, "the sterner element 
should not be too severely censured if they sought di- 
version of a lower order. And if our stag parties 
were a bit convivial, they would probably compare 
favorably in that regard with the swell club dinners 
in the cities. Godwin B. Gotten was the host in many 
a merry bout; love feasts, he called them. Collecting 
a jovial set of fellows, he served them up a sumptuous 
supper in his bachelor apartments at which every guest 
was expected to contribute to the general enjoyment 
according to his ability. Judge Williamson (three- 
legged Willie) was one of the leading spirits on these 
occasions. Having a natural bent for the stage, Willie 
was equally at home conducting a revival meeting or 
a minstrel show, in which latter performance his wooden 
leg played an important part; said member being 



314 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

utilized to beat time to his singing. One of his best 
choruses was, 

" 'Rose, Rose, my coal-black Rose! 

I nebber see a nigger dat I lub like Rose/ 

a measure admirably adapted to the banjo, which he 
handled like a professional. 

"Some sang, some told stories and some danced. 
Luke Lesassier, a Louisiana Frenchman, and by the 
way a brilliant lawyer, was our champion story teller, 
with Cotten and Doctor Peebles (Dr. Robert Peebles) 
worthy competitors. I, being reckoned the most nimble- 
footed man in the place, usually paid my dues in jigs 
and hornpipes, 'Willie' patting juba for me." 

Smithwick gives a description of two or three wed- 
dings he attended, which supply a vivid picture of 
such affairs, which seem to have been the biggest social 
events in the colony. One of these was the marriage 
of Nicholas McNutt and Miss Cartwright. "There 
was a large number of invited guests," he says, "both 
the families occupying prominent social positions. 
Jesse Cartwright, father of the bride, was a man in 
comfortable circumstances and himself and family 
people of good breeding. They were among the very 
first of Austin's colonists. . . . The bridegroom was 
a son of the widow McNutt, also among the early 
arrivals. The family, consisting of mother, two sons 
and three young daughters, came from Louisiana, where 
they had been very wealthy, but having suffered re- 
verses they came to Texas to recoup their fortunes. 
Bred up in luxury, as they evidently had been, it was 



IN TEXAS TO STAY 315 

a rough road to fortune they chose, but they adapted 
themselves to the situation and made the best of it. 
. . . But to get back to the wedding. Miss Mary 
Allen, daughter of Martin Allen, a very pretty girl 
and a great belle by the way, was bridesmaid, and John 
McNutt, brother of the bridegroom, was groomsman. 
There being no priest in the vicinity, Thomas Duke, 
the c big alcalde,' was summoned from San Felipe. The 
alcalde tied the nuptial knot in good American style, 
but the contracting parties had in addition to sign a 
bond to avail themselves of the priest's services to legal- 
ize the marriage at the earliest opportunity. 

"The first and most important number on the pro- 
gram being duly carried out, the next thing in order 
was the wedding supper, which was the best the market 
afforded. That being disposed of, the floor was cleared 
for dancing. It mattered not that the floor was made 
of puncheons. When young folks danced those days 
they danced; they didn't glide around; they 'shuffled' 
and 'double-shuffled,' 'wired' and 'cut the pigeon's 
wing,' making the splinters fly. There were some of 
the boys, however, who were not provided with shoes, 
and moccasins were not adapted to that kind of dancing 
floor, and moreover they couldn't make noise enough, 
but their more fortunate brethren were not at all selfish 
or disposed to put on airs, so, when they had danced 
a turn, they generously exchanged footgear with the 
moccasined contingent and gave them the ring, and we 
just literally kicked every splinter off that floor before 
morning. The fiddle, manipulated by Jesse Thomp- 
son's man Mose, being rather too weak to make itself 
heard above the din of clattering feet, we had in another 



316 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 



fellow with a clevis and pin to strengthen the orchestra, 
and we had a most enjoyable time." 

An incident related by Smithwick in connection with 
the marriage of Brown Austin, Stephen's brother, and 
Miss Westall, illustrates the inconvenience which re- 
sulted at times from the provision of the law that all 
marriages must be performed by a priest. "Anxious 
to show due respect for the law of the land," says 
Smithwick, "Austin had notified Padre Muldoon to be 
on hand; but the priest's residence being in San Antonio, 
and the distance and mode of travel rendering inter- 
course uncertain, the padre failed to arrive at the 
appointed time." The wedding, therefore, had to be 
delayed. 

For several years, before a priest was regularly set- 
tled in the colony, the practice was to have a ceremony 
performed by the alcalde, the parties signing a bond 
to obtain the services of a priest at the earliest oppor- 
tunity. Then when the priest did make a visit to the 
colony, there would be a general wedding of all the 
couples that had married in the meantime. 

This was only one of the peculiar provisions of 
Mexican law to which the colonists had to conform. 
Another had to do with the trial of capital offenses. 
A man charged with murder, for example, could not 
be finally convicted and sentenced in the colony. A 
hearing was given the accused and a verdict reached, 
but a transcript of the whole proceeding had to be 
sent to Saltillo for final disposition. As there was 
no jail in the colony, there being only occasional need 
of one, it became necessary to provide special means 
to keep the prisoner in custody while the slow processes 



IN TEXAS TO STAY 317 



of Mexican law finally disposed of the case. In such 
cases, the village blacksmith was mustered into service 
to put the prisoner in irons, and some citizen was hired 
to provide food for him and keep him under guard. In 
more than one instance this led to the escape of the 
prisoner. 

The "celebrated case" of the colonial period had a 
sensational climax because of this arrangement. A man 
named Early passed through San Felipe on his way 
to the interior of Mexico to buy mules. He was 
accompanied by a traveling companion, who had picked 
a casual acquaintanceship with him, and who gave his 
name as Parker. They lingered at San Felipe for a 
few days, and while there Early purchased a mustang 
from William Cooper, of Cooper & Cheaves, proprietors 
of the "saloon and billiard hall." Riding this animal, 
Early started for San Antonio, accompanied by Parker, 
and that was the last time Early was seen alive. 

Some time after this, Noah Smithwick, who had been 
working at San Antonio as a blacksmith, returned to San 
Felipe, riding the identical mustang Cooper had sold to 
Early. Cooper recognized the pony immediately and 
asked Smithwick how he came into possession of it. 
Smithwick had purchased the pony from "Mustang" 
Brown, who made a business of catching and breaking 
mustangs, and who had found it running wild with a 
number of others. Luckily for Smithwick, the transac- 
tion had taken place in the presence of two witnesses. 
Moreover, Smithwick and these two men had met Par- 
ker on the road going in the direction of San Antonio, but 
Early was not with him. All this he told Cooper. The 
question which naturally arose in everybody's mind was 



318 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

what had become of Early. It was known that he had 
had money on his person, for he expected to buy a 
number of mules in Mexico. Therefore, suspicion 
that Parker had killed Early and robbed him soon 
became general. 

This suspicion was converted into a conviction when 
persons returning from San Antonio reported that they 
had seen Parker there, and that he was gambling and 
spending money freely. But San Antonio was three 
hundred miles away, and it began to look as though 
nothing would be done. Then one day, all unconscious 
of the turn events had taken, Parker returned to San 
Felipe. Smithwick's purchase of the mustang from 
Brown had taken place after Parker had met him, so 
the latter was not aware that Early's pony had been 
found. When questioned, he said that Early had gone 
on into the interior of Mexico. Confronted with facts 
which conflicted with his story, however, he finally 
broke down and confessed that he had killed Early, 
robbed him and squandered the money at San Antonio. 
He had hidden the body, he said, in a hole in Plum 
Creek, and had turned the mustang loose. A search 
was made and Early's body and his saddle, bridle, 
blankets and saddlebags were found at the point indi- 
cated by Parker. 

But this was not all the accused man told in con- 
fessing to the alcalde. He said that Parker was not 
his real name, that he was the son of the governor of 
a southern state, and had come to Texas to escape pun- 
ishment for a murder committed there. The case was 
well known, for, after exhausting every other means 
of saving his son from the gallows, the governor had 



IN TEXAS TO STAY 319 

pardoned him and resigned his office. The murderer 
then fled from the state to avoid being lynched. He 
had fallen in with Early and came on to Texas with 
him. After leaving San Felipe he had taken the first 
opportunity to kill him. 

The testimony in the case, in accordance with the 
law, was transmitted to Saltillo, and in the meantime 
Parker was placed in irons and given into the custody 
of an old man in the colony. Before any return was 
made, Parker apparently became ill, and finally the 
old man who had him in charge reported that he had 
died, and forthwith proceeded to prepare the body for 
burial, assisted by his negro servant. There was no 
coroner, and the burial was unattended by any official 
proceeding. "Everybody was satisfied," writes Smith- 
wick in relating the story, "and the incident was almost 
forgotten, when a citizen of San Felipe, having business 
in Mobile, Ala., met and talked with Parker in the 
flesh. On returning to San Felipe he reported the 
meeting; the coffin was exhumed and found to contain 
a cottonwood chunk which, when green, was about the 
weight of a man." According to Smithwick, Parker 
had worked upon the sympathies of the old man "with 
a pitiful story of persecution, from which he was trying 
to escape to Mexico; of a quarrel with Early, whom 
he was forced to kill in self-defense, and thus prevailed 
on his kind-hearted jailor to assist him in his escape." 

A sequel to these events developed years later when 
a representative of the American government wrote to 
the leading newspaper of Parker's native state that he 
had discovered a half-breed missionary in Hawaii who, 
upon investigation, proved to be the fugitive's son. 



320 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

Parker evidently had resumed his family name after 
leaving Texas, and the name, being an unusual one, 
attracted the American official's attention and led to 
the identification of the son. The father had died in 
Hawaii some years before. 

There was at least one other instance of a prisoner 
escaping while being held in irons at San Felipe, but 
in that case the fugitive was pursued and killed. The 
fact that despite the cumbrousness of this arrangement 
the colony was for years without a jail throws much 
light on conditions prevailing. The truth is that capital 
offenses were rare, for bad characters were not per- 
mitted to remain within the limits of the jurisdiction 
of Austin. The colonists themselves were law-abiding, 
for the most part, so that the need of a jail was not 
felt. They were all engaged at the task of establishing 
homes for themselves and of furthering their own for- 
tunes. Such offenses as they committed were venial 
in character, and were disposed of without much trouble. 

All that has been said here of the life of the colonists 
applies especially to those under the jurisdiction of 
Austin. Much of it would apply also to the routine 
of the lives of the colonists in East Texas under the 
jurisdiction of Nacogdoches, but in Nacogdoches itself 
and to a very great extent in "the Redlands," between 
that town and the Sabine, conditions were radically 
different. An ayuntamiento was established at Nacog- 
doches shortly after the adoption of the state consti- 
tution, and as settlers continued to come into the country 
the general character of the population improved. But 
Nacogdoches itself remained the "gamblers' heaven," 
and the "Redlands" continued to be the habitat of "bad 




ANTONIO LOPEZ DE SANTA ANNA. 



IN TEXAS TO STAY 321 

men" corresponding to the "border ruffians" of an 
earlier date. The influx of settlers seeking only a home 
in the new country gradually put this element in the 
minority, but conditions continued to be bad. There 
was a jail at Nacogdoches, but the local administration 
still suffered from the same influences which had sur- 
rounded it during the time of Hayden Edwards. 
Therefore, a murderer like Parker, where guilt was 
so definitely clear, would likely be strung up to the 
nearest tree in that section, for it was the only way 
the better element could handle the criminals who were 
constantly crossing the Sabine from the United States, 
to say nothing of the crooks of various kinds who made 
Nacogdoches their headquarters. 

The state government was not altogether guiltless 
of the situation in that section, for it did not take a 
sufficiently determined course in dealing with the ele- 
ment which was opposed to the new colonization 
movement, so far as it involved the granting of valid 
titles to the land in the district. Two empresarios who 
succeeded to the Edwards grant, being without funds 
to handle the business properly, sold out to a New York 
company of speculators, the methods of which became 
a public scandal. In consequence the settlers who 
moved into the district during the period following 
the Fredonian affair were still without legal titles 
to their lands, and certain parties in Nacogdoches 
continued to commit petty land frauds. It was an intol- 
erable condition to the honest settlers, who were soon 
in the majority, but it was permitted to go on un- 
remedied, a circumstance which reacted against the 
Mexican government in the end, for it gave the settlers 



322 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

no reason to feel any obligation or sense of loyalty to 
Mexico, and every reason to desire separation from that 
country. 

Austin was deeply concerned over this situation, for 
he recognized that it was the condition existing in the 
district which had led up to the Fredonian revolt, and 
he feared that if that condition was permitted to con- 
tinue it might breed more trouble. He therefore urged 
upon the state government the importance of appoint- 
ing a land commissioner for the Nacogdoches district, 
and of issuing titles to the settlers. In response to this 
the state government finally acted, in 1829, and ap- 
pointed Juan Antonio Padilla as land commissioner and 
Thomas Jefferson Chambers surveyor general for the 
district. Padilla opened a land office in Nacogdoches 
and Chambers put a force of surveyors to work, includ- 
ing the leading surveyors of Austin's colony, and it 
seemed that at last the chaotic condition was going to 
be changed. 

This hope was very short-lived, however, for the 
work had been hardly started when Padilla was arrested 
by the local authorities on a charge of murder. A 
Mexican attached to Padilla's force was mysteriously 
killed, and whether the authorities really suspected the 
land commissioner or not, he was thrown in jail and 
all his papers were confiscated. He was kept in jail 
for some time and then released without trial, for want 
of evidence. But in the meantime a gang of land- 
grabbers in Nacogdoches got hold of the supply of 
blanks, bearing the official seal of the state, which were 
among Padilla's effects, and proceeded to issue titles 
to eleven-league tracts of land by the wholesale. These 



IN TEXAS TO STAY 323 

were sold at such prices as they would bring, and it 
was believed that some of them were sent into Louisi- 
ana to be sold to rich planters. So the net result of 
the sending of a land commissioner to Nacogdoches was 
to create more confusion in the district. 

Little or no effect of this was felt in Austin's colony, 
however, though Austin himself sought to bring about 
further action to clear up the situation. Good settlers 
continued to come to San Felipe, and to increase the 
population of the communities growing up within Aus- 
tin's jurisdiction. By 1830 it had grown to be the 
most prosperous section of Texas, with a regularly 
established trade with New Orleans and Natchitoches. 
Already a considerable amount of cotton was shipped 
from the mouth of the Brazos to New Orleans, and 
small herds of cattle were driven to market at Natchi- 
toches. All the corn was consumed in the colony, but 
the annual crop was considerable, and a comparatively 
large number of hogs were produced. A beginning 
had also been made in the production of sugar, tobacco 
and indigo, and hides and pelts formed an important 
part of the colony's trade. There were cotton gins in 
all parts of the colony by this time, and a number of 
grist mills. There had even been a start at the manu- 
facture of dressed boards and other lumber. Butter, 
cheese, eggs and all kinds of vegetables were produced in 
abundance, so with what was to be had at home, arid 
the commodities obtained from Louisiana in exchange 
for cotton, cattle and other exports, the colonists had 
attained to a condition of material well-being and 
economic security not surpassed in the older communi- 
ties of the United States. 



324 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

The cooperative spirit already referred to insured a 
share in this prosperity to practically all of the popu- 
lation. Indeed, it was even shared by the slaves. 
"Some owned slaves," says Bryan; "no one many, except 
Colonel J. E. Groce. These were treated with great 
kindness. They were clothed, fed, attended to in sick- 
ness, and each family had a 'patch 5 of land to cultivate, 
— their masters sending the products of their labor with 
their own to market, and giving them the proceeds, 
which they could expend as they pleased, except not 
for liquor." For all, therefore, except the most shift- 
less (and there were very few such within the juris- 
diction of Austin) there existed a condition of economic 
security that has seldom, if ever, been equalled in a 
similar settlement. 

Moreover, along with this economic security also 
came security from the Indians. There were some 
Indian depredations during the years between 1825 and 
1830, but they were chiefly in outlying districts, and 
they were followed by such prompt chastisement that 
the colony soon became a great deal more secure against 
annoyance from the Indians than was San Antonio 
itself* As a matter of fact, the Comanches treated 
the authorities at San Antonio with contempt, and are 
said to have jestingly referred to that town as their 
"rancho." In any event, they stole horses from within 
the municipal limits almost whenever they chose to do 
so. The security of the colonists against depredations 
from the Indians, however, became so marked that it 
planted in the minds of some Mexican leaders the sus- 
picion that there was an understanding between the 
Anglo-Americans and the Indians and against the Mexi- 



IN TEXAS TO STAY 325 

cans. The truth is, of course, that the Indians came 
to appreciate that depredations upon the Americans 
were sooner or later punished, and they behaved toward 
them accordingly. 

The settlers in DeWitt's colony had more trouble 
with the Indians at first, because of their small num- 
ber and, as has been seen, they were forced to abandon 
the site of Gonzales. But by degrees they reoccupied 
the site of that town and soon it became a flourishing 
community, in all things joined to the other Anglo- 
American settlements, except that the colonists were 
under a different empresario. In 1828 a settlement 
of Irish-Americans, introduced by Empresarios Mc- 
Mullen and McGloin, was begun on the banks of the 
Nueces, and given the appropriate name of San Patricio. 
These settlers were Catholics, and their situation was 
remote from that of Austin's colonists, so that there 
was little or no intercourse between them. Their re- 
lations were more directly with San Antonio than those 
of any of the other colonists, but they were nevertheless 
part of the process of "Americanizing" Texas. 

So it was that the daring project which Moses Austin 
conceived in 1819 had become a splendid reality in 
ten years. Baron de Bastrop, whose support of the pro- 
posal had been prompted by a conviction, as well- 
grounded as Moses Austin's, that it would succeed, lived 
to see the first fruits of that success. He passed away, 
however, just about the time constitutional government 
was being established in the colony which he had 
assisted in bringing into being. Had it not been for 
these two men, and for the untiring labors and great 
faith of Stephen Austin, who knows what would have 



v. 



326 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

been the history of those ten years? Even with the 
influx of Americans and the consequent favorable eco- 
nomic effect upon San Antonio and La Bahia, the 
Mexican part of the population was hardly prospering. 
La Bahia, to be sure, was raised to the dignity of a 
"villa," and its name changed to Goliad, but there can 
be little doubt that the Mexican hold on Texas would 
have gradually lessened almost to the vanishing point 
during the decade between 1820 and 1830 had it not 
been for the colonization movement which had its birth 
when Moses Austin made his historic journey to San 
Antonio in 1820. Now, however, civilization was 
permanently established in the Texas wilderness. There 
were thousands of hands to carry on the work. 
The people who lived in mutual helpfulness in these 
new communities had found their home. They were 
there to stay, no matter what might be the changes in 
politics or in government, and no matter what course 
the destiny of nations might take. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

MEXICO TAKES ALARM. 

On the morning of July 31, 1829, the inhabitants 
of the Mexican capital awoke to hear the startling news 
that a Spanish army had landed on the coast near Tam- 
pico four days before. It was like a thunderbolt from 
a blue sky and great alarm spread rapidly among all 
classes of the population. The long-threatened recon- 
quest of Mexico was about to begin! All sorts of wild 
rumors became current. The expedition was said to 
be of sufficient size and equipment to sweep all oppo- 
sition before it 5 it was said to be supported by the 
Spanish navy, and that all ports of Mexico would be 
blockaded. Knowing ones expressed the opinion that 
it probably would be followed by other expeditions, 
and that the country was in no condition to put up a 
successful defense. A feeling of apprehension and 
fear became general. 

There were those, however, who ridiculed the report 
as groundless. The leading enemies of Guerrero's 
regime said the story was manufactured to divert criti- 
cism of his administration. Guerrero's first four 
months as president had not served to increase his pres- 
tige, and the opposition was making headway against 
him. A Spanish invasion would rally all classes, except 
the remaining monarchists, to the president's support 
and, the wish being father of the thought, they were 
reluctant to believe that such an event was intervening 

327 



328 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 



to spoil their plans. The Spaniards and monarchists, 
of course, secretly rejoiced and furtively sought confir- 
mation of the report. 

The report was true. At the moment that the news 
reached the capital, the Spanish forces were marching 
toward Tampico. The expedition, consisting of three 
thousand men on fifteen transports, under the command 
of Gen. Isidro Barradas, and convoyed by a fleet of 
five men of war, commanded by Rear Admiral Laborde, 
had left Havana on July 6. On July 24 it had ap- 
peared off the Mexican coast, and on the 26th a 
proclamation was sent ashore, calling upon all the 
people of Mexico to rally to the support of their king, 
and making all kinds of promises of reward to the faith- 
ful. The next day the entire force was landed, without 
meeting resistance, and the march toward Tampico 
was begun. 

These details reached the capital in due time, and 
along with them also came the news that General Santa 
Anna at Vera Cruz had already begun vigorous prepa- 
rations to set forth with an adequate force to meet the 
invaders. Santa Anna became the man of the hour. 

Santa Anna, who was then governor of Vera Cruz 
and commander of the forces stationed there, had in 
fact received word of the approach of the Spaniards 
as early as July 16. A French frigate arrived at Vera 
Cruz on that date and brought the first tidings of the 
expedition. Santa Anna immediately mustered the 
militia, used his private credit to raise such funds as 
were necessary to equip it for a campaign, and by the 
time the news of the invasion had reached the capital 



MEXICO TAKES ALARM 329 

he was ready to march. In consequence of his prompt 
action, Guerrero, upon being informed of it, appointed 
him commander in chief of the army of operations. 

Guerrero called congress to assemble in special ses- 
sion to take the necessary steps to place the country in 
a state of defense, and it convened on August 6. Mean- 
time, however, the first excitement had died down and 
little was heard of the Spaniards. The invaders were 
having a hard time of it, for they were still making 
their way toward Tampico, suffering greatly from the 
extreme heat and from scarcity of water, and being 
tormented to exasperation by attacks of insects. 
Fever broke out among the men, and soon they were 
dying like flies. On August 18 General Barradas and 
his army filed into Tampico and found the place de- 
serted, the inhabitants having fled. When the news 
of the "fall of Tampico" reached congress it bestirred 
itself, and on August 25 invested President Guerrero 
with extraordinary powers. 

Upon landing the troops, both the transports and the 
fleet had sailed back to Havana, in obedience to orders, 
and left Barradas without protection from the sea, for 
it was believed by the Spanish authorities that a popular 
uprising would welcome the expedition with open arms. 
Finding the sea open, therefore, Santa Anna dispatched 
a force of cavalry overland and embarked with one 
thousand men by water for Tampico. Teran, who had 
been in Texas, was at Matamoros, and he hastened to 
join Garza in Tamaulipas, and to march against the 
Spaniards from the north. These two forces formed 
a junction, and it is recorded that they had "several 
bloody encounters" with the invaders. The truth seems 



330 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

to be that the epidemic of fever among Barradas's men 
rendered it impossible for him to show much fight. 
In any event, on September 11, about six weeks after 
landing, the Spanish commander surrendered to Santa 
Anna on the banks of the Panuco river, with the under- 
standing that the remnant of his force should be sent 
back to Havana. The Spanish invasion was at an end. 
There was great rejoicing, and the name of Santa 
Anna on the banks of the Panuco river, with the under- 
savior of his country. 

These events created quite as much excitement among 
the Anglo-American settlers in Texas as in any other 
part of Mexico. The reconquest of Mexico by Spain, 
had it gained any headway at all, would have been 
resisted to the end in Texas, and the news of the sur- 
render of the Spaniards was hailed with enthusiasm. 
This enthusiasm was changed into indignation in the 
course of a few days, however, when word was re- 
ceived that Guerrero, acting under the extraordinary 
powers vested in him by congress because of the 
invasion, had issued an edict abolishing slavery through- 
out the republic. The edict was unequivocal and pro- 
vided for the absolute emancipation of all slaves, though 
it contained a rather indefinite provision that the gov- 
ernment would reimburse the owners whenever the 
state of the public treasury permitted it. Jose Maria 
Tornel, who had made several unsuccessful attempts 
during the previous three years to get a law through 
congress abolishing slavery, took advantage of the situ- 
ation created by the invasion, drew up the edict himself 
and presented it to President Guerrero for his signature. 
Tornel evidently was one of those who had become 



MEXICO TAKES ALARM 331 

alarmed over the influx of Americans into Texas, and 
who believed that the abolition of slavery would put 
a stop to it. The edict undoubtedly was aimed at Texas, 
for there were practically no slaves in any other part 
of Mexico. It was the first fruits of the suspicion 
which had been planted in the minds of the Mexicans 
by the efforts of the United States to acquire Texas, 
and by the Fredonian war. Its purpose was to reverse 
the colonization policy by indirection. 

The idea that the abolition of slavery would check 
immigration of Americans to Texas was not a new 
one. Teran had expressed this thought in his first com- 
munication to Victoria from Texas more than a year 
before, and it is not improbable that there was a direct 
connection between him and Tornel. Referring to 
the slavery provision in the state constitution of Coahuila 
and Texas, and the national law prohibiting slave 
trading, Teran had said: "The wealthy Americans of 
Louisiana and other western states are anxious to secure 
land in Texas for speculation, but they are restrained 
by the laws prohibiting slavery. If these laws should 
be repealed — which God forbid — in a few years Texas 
would be a powerful state which Could compete in 
wealth and production with Louisiana. The repeal of 
these laws is a point toward which the colonists are 
directing their efforts. They have already succeeded 
in getting from the legislature of Coahuila a law fa- 
vorable to their prosperity 3 the state government has 
declared that it will recognize contracts made with 
servants before coming to this country, and the colonists 
are thus assured of ample labor to be secured at a very 
low price in the United States." Teran did not propose 



332 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

the abolition of slavery, as he recognized the impor- 
tance of slaves to the colonists, and the relation between 
slavery and immigration from the southern states. 
He had concluded that something must be done to 
modify the colonization policy, however, and had very 
definite ideas on the subject. Tornel, on the other hand, 
apparently proposed to deal the colonization policy a 
death blow by means of a stroke of Guerrero's pen, and 
whether Guerrero appreciated the full significance of 
his act or not, he signed the edict. 

The news that the edict had been issued created a 
sensation in Texas. By this time there were about one 
thousand slaves among the various Anglo-American 
settlements, including those in the Nacogdoches dis- 
trict, and the enforcement of the edict would have 
meant ruin to many of the colonists. Jared Groce was 
the chief slave-holder, and in his case it would have 
meant disaster, for he had cast his lot entirely with 
Texas, and was the largest planter in the whole state. 
Even if he removed his slaves to the United States, it 
would mean the abandonment of his extensive prop- 
erties in Texas, and this would be a great loss both 
to himself and to Texas. There were others similarly 
situated, relatively speaking, though none owning as 
many slaves as Groce. Moreover, the enforcement of 
the edict would absolutely stop desirable immigration 
from the United States, and would accordingly affect 
the value of land and other property of everybody 
in Texas. 

The question of what should be done about it imme- 
diately became the paramount one in Texas. There 
was much excited talk, but Austin at once came forward 



MEXICO TAKES ALARM 333 

and advised a course of calmness. "There ought to be 
no vociferous and visionary excitement or noise about 
this matter," he said. "Our course is a very plain 
one — calm, deliberate, dispassionate, inflexible, firm- 
ness ; and not windy and ridiculous blowing and wild 
threats." He proposed that the ayuntamientos of Texas 
agree to withhold publication of the edict, when it 
should arrive, until the matter could be taken up with 
the government. 

"I know nothing of the men who compose the Ayun- 
tamiento of Nacogdoches," he wrote to John Durst 
of that place, "but if they are true patriots and true 
friends to themselves and to Texas, they will not suffer 
that decree to be published or circulated in that munici- 
pality, and they will take the stand I have indicated 
or some other that will preserve the constitution, and our 
constitutional rights from open and direct violation." 

The stand that Austin proposed was that the edict 
violated the federal and state constitutions by depriv- 
ing the owners of slaves of their property without 
warrant. "What the people of Texas have to do," he 
said, "is to represent to the Government, through the 
ayuntamientos or some other channel, in a very respect- 
ful manner, that agreeable to the constitution and the 
colonization laws, all their property is guaranteed to 
them without exceptions, in the most solemn and sacred 
manner. That they brought their slave property into 
the country and have retained it here, under the faith 
of that guarantee, and in consequence of a special invi- 
tation publicly given to emigrants by the government 
in the colonization law to do so. That the constitution 
of the state expressly recognizes the right of property 



334 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

in slaves by allowing six months after its publication 
for their introduction into the state. That they will 
defend it, and with it, their property." 

Austin took his stand firmly on the constitution, and 
the rights of Mexican citizens under it. He advised 
against taking any course that would be "anything like 
opposition to the Mexican Constitution." "Nothing of 
this kind," he said, "will do any good; it will, in fact, 
be unjustifiable, and will never be approved by me, but 
on the contrary opposed most decidedly. I will not 
violate my duty as a Mexican citizen. The constitu- 
tion must be both our shield and our arms; under it, 
and with it, we must constitutionally defend ourselves 
and our property." 

Specifically Austin proposed that if the political chief 
of the department should finally be compelled to pub- 
lish the edict and circulate it in Texas, "the ayunta- 
mientos must then take a unanimous, firm and consti- 
tutional stand. The people will unanimously support 
them." 

"What I do in this matter will be done openly," 
declared Austin. "Mexico has not within its whole 
domain a man who would defend its independence, the 
union of its territory, and all its constitutional rights 
sooner than I would, or be more ready and willing to 
discharge his duties as a Mexican citizen; one of the 
first and most sacred of those duties is to protect my 
constitutional rights, and I will do it so far as I am 
able. I am the owner of one slave only, an old decrepit 
woman, not worth much, but in this matter I should 
feel that my constitutional rights as a Mexican were 
just as much infringed as they would be if I had a 



MEXICO TAKES ALARM 335 

thousand; it is the principle and not the amount; the 
latter makes the violation more aggravated but not more 
illegal or unconstitutional. " 

Ramon Miisquiz, the political chief of the depart- 
ment, recognized fully that the enforcement of the 
decree would mean ruin to the prosperity and develop- 
ment of Texas, and when Austin importuned him to 
hold up the publication of the decree in the department, 
and to memorialize the president to exempt Texas from 
its provisions, he readily agreed to follow this course. 
He addressed a letter to the governor of the state on 
the subject, to be transmitted to the president. The 
governor, in forwarding this communication to Guer- 
rero, wrote one on his own account, pointing out the 
difficulties that would arise from the enforcement of 
the edict in Texas. The economic importance of slaves 
as the only form of labor procurable by the settlers was 
urged, and it was pointed out that the Mexican gov- 
ernment had guaranteed property in slaves when the 
settlers were invited to the country. Moreover, the 
governor added, any attempt to enforce the edict in 
Texas would be certain to cause "commotions. " He 
hastened to say, however, that it should not be inferred 
that the settlers were of a turbulent and insubordinate 
character. Up to this time, he said, he had received 
nothing but proof to the contrary. It was to "the con- 
dition of man" that he referred, and "the inclinations 
of which he is capable, when, from one day to another, 
he is about to be ruined, as would result to many of them 
whose whole fortune consists of their slaves." 

It is a striking fact, too seldom appreciated by writers 
on the Mexican period of Texas, that such insight into 



336 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

the local situation in Texas by the state and department 
officials was not unusual. When all that can be said 
on the subject of the natural incompatibility of the 
Mexicarfs and the Americans is considered, it still re- 
mains true that very little of the trouble between the 
Anglo-Americans in Texas and the Mexican govern- 
ment originated in Texas itself. The Mexicans on the 
ground for the most part had none of the fears with 
respect to the colonization policy that were manifested 
by leaders from other sections of the republic. The 
attitude of the political chief and of the governor on 
this occasion supplies a very striking illustration of this. 
Were it not for the Americans at Washington and the 
Mexicans at Mexico City, there would not have been 
so much friction. 

The representations made to Guerrero by the gover- 
nor and the political chief had the desired effect. 
Under date of December 2, 1829, Guerrero notified 
the governor that the department of Texas had been 
exempted from the general decree, and thus the episode 
ended. But before the news of this action had reached 
Texas, events had occurred which were destined to bring 
about a more serious crisis. Two days after Guerrero 
dispatched this notification to the governor of Coahuila 
and Texas, Anastasio Bustamante, the vice-president, 
began a revolution with the avowed purpose of unseat- 
ing the president. He denounced the dictatorial powers 
with which Guerrero had been invested as unconstitu- 
tional and proposed to destroy the government in order 
to preserve the constitution. 

Bustamante, however, cared very little for the consti- 
tution. He had surrounded himself with a cabal strong 




R. M. WILLIAMSON. 

Th?-ee-Legged Willie. 



MEXICO TAKES ALARM 337 

enough to seize the government and he proposed to do it. 
Guerrero hastily assembled congress, and on December 
1 1 , formally tendered the resignation of his dictatorial 
powers, thus hoping to rob Bustamante of his battle cry. 
But it was too late. The ramifications of Bustamante's 
support ran through the whole army, and Guerrero was 
left without the power to maintain himself in office. 
Santa Anna, almost alone among the outstanding lead- 
ers, declared his intention to defend the established gov- 
ernment and insisted that Guerrero was the lawful chief 
magistrate of the nation. He urged Guerrero to remain 
in the capital while he proceeded to raise a force to put 
down the rebellion. But against this advice Guerrero 
resolved to take the field in person, and with this object 
in view quitted the capital. 

This was a fatal error, for soon he found himself iso- 
lated with only a small force of troops loyal to him. 
Bustamante assumed the office of president and pro- 
ceeded to organize a cabinet on January 7, 1830. A 
month later, congress "recognized accomplished facts," 
and in lieu of a better excuse, formally declared Guer- 
rero incompetent to discharge the duties of the presi- 
dency. Santa Anna, realizing that resistance would be 
futile, announced that inasmuch as the president had 
voluntarily abandoned the capital, there was nothing to 
do but to recognize his successor. That wily gentleman 
then retired to his estate, far from the tumult of the 
moment, and bided his time. 

The change of government meant disaster for the 
colonists in Texas, for the cabal of which Bustamante 
was the head was composed of the very men who had 
become most alarmed over the intentions of the United 



338 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

States with respect to Texas and who saw something 
sinister in the migration of Americans into Mexican 
territory. Teran and Bustamante were bosom friends, 
and when the latter resigned as commandant of the 
eastern internal states, a division which was still kept 
up for military purposes in spite of the federaliza- 
tion of Mexico, Teran had succeeded him to that office. 
Bustamante was in thorough accord with Teran in his 
opinions about Texas. With Bustamante as president 
and Teran as military commandant over the territory 
which included Texas, it could be expected that trouble 
for the colonists would follow. But to make the situa- 
tion worse, Bustamante, in organizing his cabinet, named 
as his secretary of foreign relations, the official who 
would have direct dealings with the United States and 
who would fix the foreign policy of the country, the 
most rabid anti-American in public life in Mexico, 
Lucas Ignacio Alaman. 

Alaman was a Mexican with European ideas. He 
was highly educated, a centralist in his point of view, 
anti-republican almost to the point of monarchism, and 
filled with the conceptions of statesmanship which pre- 
vailed in the Old World. His ideal statesman was Met- 
ternich, and he had lived in Europe during the period 
of the famous Austrian's ascendancy. He had a 
grotesque conception of the American government, and 
despised the principles upon which it was founded. He 
wanted no American colonies in Mexico, for he re- 
garded American colonization of foreign territory as 
the first step in a studied method of the United States 
to expand its national domain. That such a man should 
become a dominant figure in Mexican affairs meant the 



MEXICO TAKES ALARM 339 

undoing of all of Austin's labors of the past decade to 
create a feeling of confidence among Mexican leaders. 
The colonization policy for which Austin had been 
chiefly responsible was in danger, for the men who had 
established that policy were now without power or in- 
fluence. 

During the previous two years the relations between 
Mexico and the United States had not improved. If 
anything they had gone from bad to worse. The treaty 
ratifying the boundary of 1819 had not gone into effect 
because the time limit for the exchange of ratifications 
had been permitted to expire without completing the 
exchange. The United States Senate had ratified it on 
April 28, 1828, which was two weeks before the expira- 
tion of the time limit, and while the Mexican congress 
had ratified it also, various delays had occurred, and it 
was not until August 2, 1828, that the Mexican min- 
ister at Washington notified the state department that 
he was ready to exchange the ratifications. But inas- 
much as the time limit had expired, the president was 
without power to act unless by authorization from con- 
gress. Congress was not in session, so the matter lay 
over. Meantime, a treaty of commerce, negotiated at 
the same time as the treaty of boundaries, was pending 
before the Mexican congress without action because of 
objection to two clauses dealing with the surrender of 
fugitive slaves and control of the Indians on the border. 
When the American congress met in December, Adams 
had been defeated for reelection, and he decided to 
leave the whole question for the new president, Andrew 
Jackson. Adams's alliance with Clay had failed to pro- 
duce results in strengthening him politically, and their 



340 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

project of obtaining new territory south of the Missouri 
Compromise line through the purchase of Texas had 
come to naught. Adams received one electoral vote 
less in 1 828 than he had in 1 824, all the slave states but 
one, Maryland, voting for Jackson. From that moment 
Adams became the leader of the anti-slavery forces, and 
the uncompromising opponent of the annexation of 
Texas. But the treaty of boundaries was carried over 
into Jackson's administration as unfinished business. 
Jackson was in no hurry to complete the treaty of boun- 
daries while the Mexican congress withheld ratification 
from the treaty of commerce. So the matter rested 
until August, 1829, and when Jackson finally turned his 
attention to the subject he did so by reviving the proposal 
to acquire Texas. 

This new project of purchasing Texas was born in 
the fertile brain of Col. Anthony Butler, who had 
served under Jackson at the battle of New Orleans, and 
who was among the president's ardent supporters. But- 
ler had settled in Mississippi after retiring from the 
army, and had been a member of the Mississippi legis- 
lature. He had acquired some kind of interest in Texas 
lands, and when his former commander became presi- 
dent, he went to Washington in the summer of 1 829 for 
the dual purpose of seeking a job and of interesting 
Jackson in Texas. He succeeded in both aims, for he 
obtained a commission to go to Mexico to negotiate the 
purchase of Texas. 

It was while the Spanish army was on Mexican soil 
that Jackson took up with his secretary of state, Martin 
Van Buren, the project of acquiring Texas. On August 
13, 1829, Jackson sent a memorandum to Van Buren 



MEXICO TAKES ALARM 341 

directing him to instruct Poinsett to reopen negotiations 
on the subject. He proposed that the line should be 
fixed along the watershed between the Nueces river and 
the Rio Grande and that it should follow the watershed 
between the Rio Grande and other streams to latitude 
42 north. "Poinsett should be authorized/ 5 wrote Jack- 
son, "to offer $5,000,000 for such a line, and propor- 
tionately smaller amounts for less advantageous boun- 
daries." On the two following days he sent supple- 
mentary memoranda to Van Buren, one saying that un- 
completed grants in Texas to individuals should be rec- 
ognized, and the other, evidently written in the light of 
the news of the Spanish invasion, urging that the pres- 
ent moment was the proper one to make the attempt to 
acquire Texas and thus cement the relations between 
Mexico and the United States. On August 25 Van 
Buren carried these suggestions into effect by preparing 
instructions to Poinsett on the subject and confiding 
them to Butler who was to take them to Mexico by way 
of Texas. 

Meantime, a newspaper campaign to prepare the pub- 
lic mind for the purchase was begun. On August 1 8, 
within a week after Jackson had penned his first memo- 
randum to Van Buren, the Nashville Republican and 
Gazette printed a long article on the advantages that 
the acquisition of Texas would offer, and during the 
next two months similar articles appeared in other 
newspapers in different parts of the country. It was not 
disclosed, however, that the president contemplated such 
a purchase. Butler, who was delayed by illness on his 
way to Texas, wrote Jackson that he feared these arti- 
cles were doing harm, and anybody acquainted with the 



342 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

temper of the Mexicans on the subject would have been 
certain of it. There can be little doubt that the Mexican 
minister at Washington transmitted copies of all such 
articles to his government. 

Little opposition to the proposal seems to have been 
expressed in the American newspapers. Rives, from 
whose work most of the information with respect to this 
episode is gleaned, finds one publication, however, that 
voiced a protest. The Genius of Universal Emancipa- 
tion y edited by William Lloyd Garrison and Benjamin 
Lundy, without any knowledge of Jackson's intentions, 
branded the project as a scheme of the advocates of 
slavery to add "five or six more slave-holding states to 
this union." "A greater curse could scarcely befall our 
country," it declared, "than the annexation of that im- 
mense territory to this republic, if the system of slavery 
should likewise be reestablished there." The editor evi- 
dently was under the impression that slavery did not 
exist in Texas. 

While these plans were being laid in Washington, 
Poinsett was having a rather unpleasant time of it in 
Mexico. He was making no progress toward getting 
the treaty of commerce ratified, and attributed his fail- 
ure to the growing anti-American feeling among the 
Mexicans. Butler had scarcely left Washington, when a 
letter from Poinsett was received expressing despair of 
ever seeing accomplished the very project Jackson was 
contemplating. "I am still convinced," he wrote, "that 
we never can expect to extend our boundary south of the 
Sabine without quarreling with these people and driv- 
ing them to court a more strict alliance with some 
European power." 



MEXICO TAKES ALARM 343 

Jackson did not wish to recall Poinsett, for the latter 
had supported him for the presidency while a member 
of the house of representatives from South Carolina in 
1 824. But he did think it would be better to leave the 
whole negotiation in the hands of Butler, who expressed 
absolute confidence of success, and so he now had Van 
Buren prepare instructions for Poinsett to return to the 
United States on leave, turning matters over to Butler 
as charge d'affaires. Van Buren expressed the opinion 
that Butler possessed "qualifications peculiarly adapted 
to the station," but on this point a passage from Rives 
will suffice. He says: 

"Butler in later years quarrelled with Jackson, who 
declared he was a scamp and a liar. He quarrelled with 
Wilcocks, the American consul in the City of Mexico, 
who charged him with all sorts of immorality. And he 
quarrelled with Sam Houston, who asserted that he had 
squandered his wife's property, and then abandoned 
her 3 that he was a gambler 5 that he was not a citizen 
of Mississippi, but a resident of Texas, in 1829; and 
that altogether he was a much worse man than anybody 
else whom Houston knew. 

"John Quincy Adams, who examined Butler's dis- 
patches on file in the state department, declared that his 
looseness of moral principle and political profligacy were 
disclosed in several of his letters, and his vanity and 
self-sufficiency in others. This statement is fully war- 
ranted. Some of Butler's correspondence is insolent and 
even scurrilous in tone; and all of it betrays the author 
as vain, ignorant, ill-tempered, and corrupt. A man 
more unfit to deal with the punctilious, well-mannered, 
sensitive people who controlled the Mexican govern- 



344 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 



ment, or to attempt the delicate task of restoring confi- 
dence in the objects and purposes of the American gov- 
ernment, could scarcely have been found." 

Such was the man who was being sent to succeed 
Poinsett, who, with all his faults, was a gentleman and 
possessed of qualities which made him socially popular 
in Mexico, and such was the "diplomat" who was com- 
missioned to represent the United States of America in 
dealing with the able and scholarly Mexican secretary 
of foreign relations, Lucas Ignacio Alaman. 

Before the instructions to Poinsett had been dis- 
patched from Washington to overtake Butler, however, 
news arrived that Poinsett's situation in Mexico had 
reached a climax. The popular demand for his expul- 
sion had continued to grow, and finally Guerrero had 
yielded to the extent of requesting the American gov- 
ernment to recall him. The Mexican minister at Wash- 
ington presented the request on October 16, and Jack- 
son complied with it, changing the instructions to Poin- 
sett accordingly. 

Butler proceeded to Mexico City through Texas and 
stopped at San Antonio on the way. He could not keep 
his "big secret" to himself, and seems to have boasted 
of his mission to persons there, who, in due course, passed 
the information on to the political chief, Ramon Miis- 
quiz. "When Mr. Butler, charge d'affaires from 
Washington City to our government, passed through 
this city in the year 1829," Musquiz wrote three years 
later, "he avowed to some here, but confidentially, that 
the object of his mission to Mexico was the purchase of 



MEXICO TAKES ALARM 345 

Texas." In any event, the object of his mission was 
currently known in Mexico City by the time he arrived 
there. 

Poinsett received word of his recall before Butler's 
arrival and, without waiting for him, he called upon 
Guerrero and requested that a day be fixed for his formal 
leave-taking. This was on December 15, and Busta- 
mante's revolt was already in progress. Guerrero had 
his hands full elsewhere, and Poinsett had to wait. But- 
ler arrived on December 19, in the midst of the confu- 
sion attendant upon the violent change of administra- 
tion, and on Christmas day Poinsett presented his letter 
of recall to the new administration. He turned the af- 
fairs of his office over to Butler and returned home. 

Butler had been installed only a few days when the 
newspapers of Mexico City printed articles declaring 
that the object of his mission was to purchase Texas for 
five million dollars. Rives quotes El Sol y the organ of 
the Bustamante party, as expressing editorially the opin- 
ion that as Butler had so far made no overtures on the 
subject, "we presume that he does the new administra- 
tion the justice to suppose it incapable of a transaction 
as prejudicial and degrading to the republic as it would 
be disgraceful to the minister who would subscribe to it." 

That was a fair reflection of the Mexican attitude on 
the matter, but Butler had his own opinion about the 
chances of success. For his plan was nothing short of 
that of bribing his way to the accomplishment of his 
object. President Jackson, let it be said, very probably 
had no knowledge of this circumstance at first, and 
when Butler openly proposed it later Jackson promptly 
and indignantly rejected the suggestion. Jackson's own 



346 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

point of view as to the best arguments to be put forward 
to induce Mexico to part with Texas was expressed in 
a private letter to Butler, dated October 19, 1829. 

"I have full confidence," wrote Jackson, "you will 
effect the purchase of Texas, so important for the per- 
petuation of that harmony and peace between us and 
the Republic of Mexico, so desirable to them and to 
us to be maintained forever, and if not obtained, is sure 
to bring us into conflict, owing to their jealousy and the 
dissatisfaction of those Americans now settling in Texas 
under the authority of Mexico — who will declare them- 
selves independent of Mexico the moment they acquire 
sufficient numbers. This our government will be 
charged with fomenting, although all our constitutional 
powers will be exercised to prevent. You will keep this 
steadily in view, and their own safety, if it is considered, 
will induce them to yield now in the present reduced 
state of their finances." 

This letter illustrates strikingly the maze of misun- 
derstanding and confusion which was being created to 
the embarrassment of the colonists in Texas. The view 
expressed by Jackson was precisely the view held by 
Alaman. Both believed the Americans in Texas would 
not remain loyal to Mexico, but would seize the first 
opportunity to declare Texas independent. Jackson be- 
lieved that Mexico ought to be willing to part with 
Texas in order to avoid such a development. Alaman 
had no idea of parting with Texas, nor had any other 
Mexican of prominence, but he shared Jackson's views 
with respect to the danger of the colonization policy. 
Moreover, this view was also being urged by the British 
minister, in furtherance of British influence in Mexico. 



MEX ICO TAKES ALARM 347 

Butler, therefore, would not find it difficult to convince 
Alaman that the colonists would "declare themselves 
independent of Mexico the moment they acquire suf- 
ficient numbers." But Alaman had another remedy for 
that situation. Instead of selling Texas, he proposed to 
checkmate the supposed plans of the United States to 
get possession of that territory through colonization and 
subsequent revolution in a very different way. He pro- 
posed to stop the migration of Americans to Texas and 
to take proper steps to control those already there. 

Nothing had happened in Texas to justify either the. 
opinion of Jackson or that of Alaman, and the colonists 
had given no ground for the fear which the leaders of 
the new government felt with respect to them nor to 
warrant the course which Alaman contemplated. In-* 
deed, almost at the very moment that Jackson was writ-* 
ing this letter to Butler, the governor of Coahuila and 
Texas was writing to President Guerrero that he did 
not wish it to be inferred that "these settlers are of a 
turbulent and insubordinate character, for up to this 
time I have received nothing but proof to the contrary." 
And about the same time Austin was writing to John 
Durst of Nacogdoches and declaring, "Mexico has not 
within its whole dominions a man who would defend 
its independence, the union of its territory, and all its 
constitutional rights sooner than I would." The only 
disturbance which had taken place in Texas since the 
inauguration of the colonization policy had been the 
Fredonian war, and far from indicating any tendency 
toward insubordination on the part of the colonists, that 
event had demonstrated their loyalty to Mexico. As 
William H. Wharton pointed out, in a document pro- 



348 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

testing against such opinions as to the intentions of the 
colonists, when it is considered by whom those disturb- 
ances were originated and by whom quieted, instead of 
exciting the suspicion of the government "that affair 
should confirm its confidence in their patriotism." The 
movement, Wharton said, was inaugurated by "fifteen 
or twenty infatuated individuals" and was opposed by 
ninety-nine hundredths of the settlers. And, with the 
exception of the Fredonian war, there had been no dis- 
turbance in Texas at all. 

John Austin truly represented the situation when in 
1832 he wrote as follows: "The enemies of Texas, the 
enemies of the enterprising men who have devoted their 
time and labors to improve a country that was never 
before trod by civilized men, have taken pains and are 
continually doing it, to attribute to us a disposition to 
separate from the Mexican confederation. We have 
not entertained and have not any such intention or desire. 
We are Mexicans by adoption, we are the same in hearts 
and will so remain." 

This was the situation in Texas. But in spite of it the 
new government was preparing to adopt a course based 
on a very different conception. Bustamante in the 
president's chair, Alaman as the secretary of foreign 
relations, Teran as commandant of the eastern internal 
states — all these were convinced that the United 
States wanted Texas so intensely that it was fostering 
immigration of Americans as a first step toward seizing 
the territory, and they would act on that conviction. 
The American government, on the other hand, through 
its representative, Butler, at Mexico City, was following 
a course calculated to confirm this belief. Bustamante, 



MEXICO TAKES ALARM 349 

Alaman and Teran felt that something must be done to 
avert the calamity that would certainly result from a 
continuance of the colonization of Texas by Americans. 
All three believed that the loss of Texas was impending. 
"He who consents to, or does not oppose the loss of 
Texas," wrote Teran, "is an execrable traitor!" So one 
of the first objects toward which the new government 
directed its efforts was that of "safeguarding" Texas. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

THE FIRST STEP BACKWARD. 

"Either the government occupies Texas now, or it is 
lost forever, for there can be no possibility of a recon- 
quest when our base of operations would be three hun- 
dred leagues distant, while our enemies would be 
carrying on the struggle close to their base and in pos- 
session of the sea." 

Such was the declaration of Teran in urging upon the 
new government the importance of immediate action 
with respect to Texas. As soon as his friend Bustamante 
was in control, Teran submitted a detailed plan for 
dealing with the situation as he conceived it to exist. 
He sent his aide, Lieut. Constantine Tarnava, to the 
capital to lay this plan before Bustamante, recommend- 
ing that it be put into operation without delay. 

Teran's program was divided into two sets of meas- 
ures, military and political. The military measures he 
proposed were as follows: 

1. The removal to the Nueces of several companies 
now on the Rio Grande. 

2. The establishment of a strong and permanent gar- 
rison at the main crossing of the Brazos river, that there 
may be an intermediate force in the unsettled region 
separating Nacogdoches and Bexar. 

3. The reinforcement of the existing garrisons by 
filling the quota of infantry properly belonging to them. 

4. The occupation and fortification of some point 

351 



352 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

above Galveston bay, and another at the mouth of the 
Brazos, for the purpose of controlling the colonies. 

5. The organization of a mobile force equipped for 
sudden and rapid marches to a threatened point. 

6. The establishment of communications by sea be- 
tween other Mexican ports and Texas. 

The political measures consisted of the following: 

1. The transportation of Mexican convicts to Texas, 
where they should serve their sentence and then settle. 

2. The encouragement by all legitimate means of the 
migration of Mexican families to Texas. 

3. The colonization of Texas with Swiss and German 
colonists, whose language and customs, being different 
from those of the people of the United States, would 
make less dangerous the proximity of the latter. 

4. The encouragement of coastwise trade, as the only 
means of establishing close relations between Texas and 
the other parts of the republic, to the end that the de- 
partment of Texas, so North American in spirit, might 
be nationalized. 

Teran urged especially the importance of colonization 
of Texas by Mexicans. "It is a fact," he said, "that 
Mexicans are little disposed to enterprises of this nature, 
but it is also a fact that the state governments have made 
no attempts in this direction. Whatever obstacles may 
be encountered must be overcome, for these measures in- 
volve the safety of the nation and the integrity of our 
territory. To stimulate this settlement of Mexican 
families the government should create a loan fund for 
the assistance of poor laborers, for the purpose of sup- 
plying them with agricultural implements, etc. It might 
perhaps be possible for the government to promote 




DAVID G. BURNET. 



THE FIRST STEP BACKWARD 353 

among Mexican capitalists some kind of an association 
for the development of these lands in Texas." In order 
to overcome the disadvantage Mexican settlers would be 
under because of the lack of slave labor, he proposed that 
the government should offer cash prizes to those who 
distinguished themselves in the production of agricul- 
tural products. 

In emphasizing the need of coastwise trade, he 
pointed out that this might be made advantageous to the 
colonists. Their trade was exclusively with New Or- 
leans, and they were required to pay duty on their cotton 
and other exports, whereas they would escape these 
charges if they could ship to Tampico or Vera Cruz for 
the European trade. 

Sharing Teran's convictions that these measures in- 
volved the safety of the nation and the integrity of 
Mexican territory, Bustamante and Alaman lost no time 
in bringing them to the attention of congress. As the 
policy they involved was inspired entirely by fear of the 
United States and the conviction that the American 
government was determined to acquire Texas by fair 
means or foul, the duty of presenting the matter was 
allotted to Alaman, the secretary of foreign relations. 
Accordingly, on February 8 Alaman submitted it to 
congress in the form of a report on the evident purpose 
of the United States to possess Texas, together with rec- 
ommendations as to the proper means of circumventing 
that purpose. He embodied the measures suggested by 
Teran, and added a few of his own, the latter being of 
more far-reaching and radical character. The report 
set forth that the United States was pursuing with re- 



354 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

spect to Texas a well-defined policy, such as had been 
followed in the case of the Floridas and of Louisiana. 

"The United States of the North/ 5 said Alaman, 
"have been going on successfully acquiring, without 
awakening public attention, all the territories adjoining 
theirs. . . . They begin by introducing themselves into 
the territory which they covet, upon pretense of com- 
mercial negotiations, or of the establishment of colonies, 
with or without the assent of the government to which 
it belongs. These colonies grow, multiply, become the 
predominant party of the population ; and as soon as a 
support is found in this manner, they begin to set up 
rights which it is impossible to sustain in a serious dis- 
cussion, and to bring forward ridiculous pretensions, 
founded upon historical facts which are admitted by 
nobody. . . . These extravagant opinions are, for the 
first time, presented to the world by unknown writers , 
and the labor which is employed by others, in offering 
proofs and reasonings, is spent by them in repetitions 
and multiplied allegations, for the purpose of drawing 
the attention of their fellow-citizens, not upon the jus- 
tice of the proposition, but upon the advantages and 
interests to be obtained or subserved by their admission. 

"Their machinations in the country they wish to 
acquire are then brought to light by the appearance of 
explorers, some of whom settle on the soil, alleging that 
their presence does not affect the question of the right 
of sovereignty or possession of the land. These pioneers 
excite, by degrees, movements which disturb the polit- 
ical state of the country in dispute, and then follow dis- 
content and dissatisfaction, calculated to tire the patience 
of the legitimate owner, and to diminish the usefulness 



THE FIRST STEP BACKWARD 355 

of the administration and of the exercise of authority. 
When things have come to this pass, which is precisely 
the present state of things in Texas, the diplomatic in- 
trigue begins. The inquietude they have excited in the 
territory in dispute, the interests of the colonists therein 
established, the insurrection of adventurers, and savages 
instigated by them, and the pertinacity with which the 
opinion is set up as to their right of possession, become 
the subject of notes, full of expression of justice and 
moderation, until, with the aid of other incidents, which 
are never wanting in the course of diplomatic relations, 
the desired end is attained of concluding an arrangement 
as onerous for one party as it is advantageous to the 
other. 

"Sometimes more direct means are resorted to; and 
taking advantage of the enfeebled state, or domestic dif- 
ficulties, of the possessor of the soil, they proceed 
upon the most extraordinary pretexts to make themselves 
masters of the country, as was the case in the Floridas; 
leaving the question to be decided afterwards as to the 
legality of the possession, which force alone could take 
from them. This conduct has given them the immense 
extent of country they occupy, and which they have 
acquired since their separation from England; and this 
is what they have set on foot with respect to Texas." 

This grotesque distortion of history and gross mis- 
representation of conditions in Texas was sufficiently 
plausible to obtain general acceptance among the mem- 
bers of the Mexican congress. It was not a true picture 
either of what had happened with respect to Louisiana 
and the Floridas, or of what was happening with respect 
to Texas. Such Anglo-Americans as had settled in the 



356 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

Spanish province of Louisiana had caused no disturb- 
ances nor was their settlement remotely connected with 
the transfer of Louisiana to the United States. No 
claims, whether through "unknown writers" or others, 
based upon manufactured historical facts or upon any- 
thing else, were set up as to Louisiana. Spain had lost 
Louisiana by transferring it to Napoleon, an act with 
which the United States had nothing to do, and Jeffer- 
son proposed to buy only the east bank of the Mississippi 
near the river's mouth, in order to avoid trouble with 
France over the navigation of that river. The offer was 
of outright purchase, and there was no pretension that 
any American claim to the territory existed. It was 
Napoleon himself who proposed to sell the whole of 
Louisiana, and he refused to sell less than the whole. So 
there was not the remotest justification for Alaman's cit- 
ing of the case of Louisiana. 

Whatever may be said about the case of the Floridas, 
certainly it bore no resemblance to the case of Texas. 
The settlers in West Florida were the remnant of the 
English occupation of that territory, and quite other 
reasons than that of acquiring territory induced Madison 
to occupy it after the inhabitants had declared them- 
selves independent. The troubles in Florida proper were 
due to the absolute helplessness of Spain and her entire 
lack of power to exercise even the slightest control over 
the Indians who made raids upon the American settlers 
across the border. None of these cases, therefore, could 
be said to correspond to the description given by Alaman. 

But Texas resembled neither the case of Louisiana 
and the Floridas nor Alaman's description. In Loui- 
siana there had been the same colonization policy, to be 



THE FIRST STEP BACKWARD 357 

sure, but no empresario had achieved the success in that 
province which Austin had achieved in Texas. The 
nearest approach to it was Colonel Morgan's settlement 
of New Madrid, but that project was not to be com- 
pared with Austin's colony in importance. Moses Aus- 
tin's colony at "Mine A Burton" was merely the adjunct 
of his lead industry, and possessed none of the civil 
significance of his son's colony in Texas. But even if a 
resemblance were admitted, the Spanish authorities 
never had occasion to complain about any trouble caused 
by these settlers, and certainly no reason to fear that 
their presence on Spanish soil was a menace to Spanish 
sovereignty over the territory. In the Floridas there 
had been nothing resembling the colonization of Texas. 
As a matter of fact what had happened in Texas was 
unique. Austin and the Anglo-American colonists had 
gone into a complete wilderness under the authority of 
the government having jurisdiction over it, had estab- 
lished civilized communities, set up orderly government 
and finally had become an integral part of the Mexican 
nation itself. They had given the supreme evidence of 
their loyalty in defending the nation against a rebellion 
fostered by men of their own nationality. Alaman's 
report was indeed a grotesque distortion of history and 
a gross misrepresentation of conditions in Texas. 

Alaman sought to make out a case in support of the 
contention that conditions in Texas itself were such as to 
fit into his general thesis. Already, he pointed out, a 
majority of the inhabitants of Texas were Anglo-Amer- 
icans. In spite of the law prohibiting the settlement of 
foreigners within twenty leagues of the border and ten 
leagues of the coast, Americans already occupied that 



358 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

territory, he said. The law of July 13, 1824, required 
colonists to emancipate their slaves, he contended, but 
the colonists paid no attention to it; they still retained 
their slaves, and slaves continued to be introduced into 
Texas. The state government, he declared, was very 
lax in this matter. The provision of the colonization 
law that all colonists should be Catholics had been dis- 
regarded altogether - y not one of the colonists, he 
charged, was a Catholic. And finally he pointed out 
that such was the power of the colonists already to com- 
pel the government to grant them privileges, that 
President Guerrero had had no choice but to exempt 
Texas from his decree abolishing slavery because the 
government was without the necessary military force 
in the department to enforce it. 

If all of this had been the precise truth, it would not 
show the slightest disposition on the part of the colonists 
toward separation from Mexico, nor would it bolster up 
Alaman's main thesis that the migration of Americans 
to Texas was part of a scheme of the United States gov- 
ernment to get possession of the territory. There was, 
of course, no connection between the United States gov- 
ernment and the colonization of Texas. The coloniza- 
tion movement was the result of the labors of Stephen 
Austin and the policy of the Mexican government. The 
federal and state governments had invited Americans 
to Texas, and if already the majority of the population 
was American, it was an evidence of the success of the 
government's policy. The presence of Americans on the 
reserve tracts on the border and the coast could have 
been remedied by enforcing the law, and most of the 
colonists in Texas would have supported the government 



THE FIRST STEP BACKWARD 359 

in this move. Besides, that part of the reserve ground 
on the coast between the Lavaca and the San Jacinto had 
been thrown open for colonization by the act of the 
federal government itself. In any event, the colonists 
who were legally in the country were not responsible for 
the fact that American squatters had settled along the 
Sabine. Alaman's interpretation of the law of July 13, 
1824, with respect to slaves was a strained one which 
nobody accepted at the time. The state constitution of 
Coahuila and Texas itself, which was adopted three 
years after the enactment of that law, permitted the in- 
troduction of slaves for six months after its promulga- 
tion, proving clearly that nobody interpreted the existing 
law as providing for the emancipation of slaves. It 
was a very late day to raise the question of the religion 
of the colonists, for everybody knew that they were not 
Catholics, and that Stephen Austin himself was not a 
Catholic. And, finally, it came with bad grace from a 
member of a government that had been placed in power 
as the result of a violent revolution against the dictato- 
rial powers of Guerrero to criticise the colonists for 
obtaining by means of peaceful petition the revision of 
a single one of Guerrero's arbitrary measures. 

These items of Alaman's indictment of the colonists 
in Texas, of course, were not reasons for his attitude. 
They were far-fetched excuses. The real reason was the 
fear that the United States was intriguing to seize Texas 
which had taken hold of the leaders of the dominant 
party with an intensity approaching frenzy. There was 
just enough of fact in his report, however, to insure 
ready acceptance by those who shared with him his ani- 
mosity against the United States. It was true that the 



360 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

United States was seeking to acquire Texas ; it was true 
that certain "unknown writers" were publishing articles 
in the American newspapers in which more attention 
was given to the advantages to be derived from such 
acquisition than to the grounds for legal claim to the 
territory; it was true that there had been "insurrection 
of adventurers, and savages instigated by them," if the 
Fredonian affair and the alliance of Edwards and his 
followers with the Cherokees may thus be described. 
And, of course, it was true that the United States had 
doubled its national domain during the previous thirty 
years by the acquirement of territory which had been 
Spanish in 1800. But none of this could be connected 
with the colonists in Texas. They had nothing to do 
with the efforts of the United States to buy Texas, they 
were in no way concerned with the articles in the Amer- 
ican newspapers, and finally they had put down the Fre- 
donian insurrection and pacified the Indians involved 
in it. Alaman, however, was so filled with animosity 
toward the United States and so convinced that the colo- 
nization of Texas was a part of a well-planned scheme of 
the American government to acquire Texas, that he 
could not recognize the true situation in Texas. 

In keeping with this view, he proposed a program 
with respect to Texas that was directed, not against the 
alleged abuses in Texas of which he complained, but 
against encroachment upon Mexican territory by the 
United States. He included the measures suggested by 
Teran — the establishment of military posts in Texas, 
the colonization of Texas by Mexicans and the sending 
of Mexican convicts to that territory with a view of 
their ultimate settlement, the granting of financial aid 



THE FIRST STEP BACKWARD 361 

to such Mexican colonists, the colonization of Texas by 
settlers from nations of different language and customs 
from those of the Americans, and finally the encourage- 
ment of the coastwise trade. But Alaman believed that 
Teran's program did not go far enough. He proposed 
to reverse the entire colonization policy with respect to 
Americans and recommended that all empresario con- 
tracts issued under the state law which had not been ful- 
filled should be suspended, and that the frontier should 
be closed against American immigrants altogether, only 
American travelers with proper passports being permit- 
ted to enter the country. 

As the whole program was presented on a basis of pa- 
triotism and as one involving the safety of the nation 
and the integrity of Mexican territory, it obtained the 
hearty support of congress. Accordingly, on April 6, 
1830, Alaman's recommendations were enacted into 
law. This law provided for an entirely new policy with 
respect to Texas. It authorized the president to take 
such lands as were necessary for fortifications and ar- 
senals "in frontier states," indemnifying the states for 
them, and thus provided for Teran's program of mili- 
tary occupation of Texas. It authorized the government 
to transport "convict-soldiers' 5 theretofore sent to Vera 
Cruz and other ports, to the colonies, "there to establish 
them as is deemed fit," and provided further that "the 
government will furnish free transportation to the fami- 
lies of the soldiers should they desire to go." These 
"convict-soldiers" were to be employed in constructing 
fortifications, public works and roads, and the law di- 
rected that "when the time of their imprisonment is 
terminated, if they should desire to remain as colonists, 



362 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

they shall be given lands and agricultural implements, 
and their provision shall be continued through the first 
year of their colonization." 

This meant that the government proposed to trans- 
port at its own expense a constant stream of Mexican 
criminals into Texas, to have them first serve as soldiers, 
and then to provide them with food and clothing for 
a year if they agreed to settle in the country, giving them 
land and agricultural implements for that purpose. But 
this offer was not confined to criminals. The law pro- 
vided also that "Mexican families who voluntarily ex- 
press the desire to become colonists will be furnished 
transportation, maintained for one year, and assigned 
to the best of agricultural lands." To carry out this 
program the government was authorized to expend five 
hundred thousand pesos, it being provided also that a 
suitable amount of this money should be expended "on 
premiums to such farmers among the colonists as may 
distinguish themselves in agriculture." 

So it was that the new Mexican government proposed 
to "nationalize" Texas. But it did not propose to con- 
fine this process to increasing the Mexican population; 
the increase of the American population of Texas was to 
be stopped altogether. For the law contained the fol- 
lowing sweeping provisions: 

"The introduction of foreigners across the northern 
frontier is prohibited under any pretext whatever, un- 
less the said foreigners are provided with a passport 
issued by the agents of this republic at the point whence 
the said foreigners set out. 

"No change shall be made with respect to the slaves 
now in the states, but the federal government and the 



THE FIRST STEP BACKWARD 363 

government of each state shall strictly enforce the colo- 
nization laws and prevent the further introduction of 
slaves. 

"In accordance with the right reserved by the general 
congress in the seventh article of the law of August 18, 
1824, it is prohibited that immigrants from nations 
bordering on this republic shall settle in the states or 
territories adjacent to their own nation. Consequently, 
all contracts not already completed and not in harmony 
with this law are suspended." 

In other words, the American colonists already in 
Texas were doomed to see the lands all around them 
settled by the lowest class of Mexicans — the prisoners 
who had been convicted of crimes — while the bars were 
put up against settlers of their own kind, even their own 
relatives and friends in the United States. 

There were other features of the law designed to 
make the plan self-sustaining. The period of exemp- 
tion from import duties which had been granted the 
settlers under the colonization laws was about to expire 
and the previous year a stringent tariff law had been 
passed. This law prohibited altogether the importation 
of many of the necessities of life, especially cotton goods, 
it being the policy of the government to encourage the 
production of such commodities within the republic. 
But now this new law provided that "frame houses and 
all kinds of foreign food products may be introduced 
through the ports of Galveston and Matagorda, free of 
duty, for two years." In addition to this, cotton goods 
were taken off the excluded list and it was provided that 
such goods could be imported, on payment of duties, 
until January 1, 1831. These duties were expected to 



364 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

provide the revenue to defray the expenses of the mili- 
tary occupation of Texas, the Mexican colonization 
projects, the subsidizing of cotton manufacturing en- 
terprises and the creation of a fund for defense against 
Spanish invasion. Coastwise traffic was thrown open 
to foreign ships for four years. 

Finally, the law provided for the appointment of 
commissioners to put its provisions into effect, to make 
an investigation of the American colonies, the condition 
of the colonization contracts and general conditions in 
Texas, and to determine which contracts should be sus- 
pended. The government was required to make a re- 
port to congress within one year, giving "a record of the 
emigrants and immigrants established under the law, 
with an estimate of the increase of population on the 
frontier." 

So it was that Mexico completely reversed the coloni- 
zation policy which had been conceived originally by 
Moses Austin, supported by the Baron de Bastrop, and 
brought into being through the labors of Stephen Aus- 
tin and the federalists leaders of Mexico. The practical 
effect of the new law was to cancel the contracts of all 
the empresarios, except those of Austin, DeWitt and 
De Leon. And the prohibition of immigration from the 
United States was almost equivalent to the cancellation 
of Austin's unfulfilled contracts. 

The local administration of the law was placed in the 
hands of Teran, the commandant of the eastern internal 
states, and the practical effect of this was the estab- 
lishment of military government in Texas, so far as the 
settlement of colonists and the collection of import du- 



THE FIRST STEP BACKWARD 365 

ties were concerned. For the military program was 
carried out without delay. Garrisons already existed 
at Nacogdoches, San Antonio and La Bahia. New gar- 
risons were established at Tenoxtitlan, the point where 
the San Antonio road crosses the Brazos; at Anahuac, 
on Galveston bay; at Velasco, near the mouth of the 
Brazos, and at Lipantitlan, near the mouth of the 
Nueces. The garrisons immediately in contact with the 
colonists, therefore, were those at Nacogdoches, Ana- 
huac and Velasco. Colonel Piedras was stationed at 
Nacogdoches with three hundred and twenty men; 
Col. John Davis Bradburn, an American in the Mex- 
ican service, at Anahuac with one hundred and fifty 
men; and Col. Dominic Ugartechea at Velasco with 
one hundred and twenty-five men. The garrison at the 
San Antonio crossing on the Brazos was commanded by 
Col. Francisco Ruiz. 

The program of "nationalizing" Texas was thus be- 
gun. It caused great excitement among the colonists of 
Texas, of course, but while Austin was chagrined at the 
turn events had taken, he advised calmness and patience. 
Nothing was to be gained by any show of resistance or 
insubordination; on the contrary, this would only tend 
to justify the government's attitude and increase the 
fear the Mexican leaders now felt with respect to the 
danger of losing Texas. The settlers by this time had 
come to understand that nothing was permanent in Mex- 
ico. For the moment Bustamante, Alaman and Teran 
were in the saddle. Tomorrow it might be somebody 
else. Quien sabe? Let the colonists continue to go about 
their business as usual and adjust themselves as far as 



366 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

possible to the new order of affairs. In due time the 
proper course to be followed would be indicated by 
events. 

Nothing could better illustrate how literally this 
policy of "business as usual" was followed in the juris- 
diction of Austin than a perusal of the minutes of the 
ayuntamiento during the period immediately after the 
promulgation of the law of April 6, 1830. One gets 
a picture of that body concerning itself chiefly with 
matters affecting the progress of the settlements. It 
authorized the laying out of new roads and named com- 
missioners to determine the shortest and most convenient 
routes. It conducted public sales of lots in the town 
of Austin, provided for the collection of license fees 
from merchants, assessing penalties when these fees 
were not paid, fixed ferry charges and granted permis- 
sion for the establishment of new ferries and did a 
dozen and one other things of like character. 

At the session on July 5, 1830, for example, the 
ayuntamiento took notice of the fact that physicians 
were practicing within the colony without giving evi- 
dence of their qualifications to do so. To meet this 
situation a board of examiners was accordingly created, 
and a regular license system established. Indeed, before 
twelve months had gone by, the ayuntamiento fined 
two physicians twenty-five dollars each for practicing 
medicine without a license. At this same session an 
ordinance was passed prohibiting the discharge of fire- 
arms within four hundred yards of the improved part 
of the town, and a resolution was adopted giving ten 
days' notice for the removal of "sheds, shanties, cabins 
and houses" erected on "the streets and public squares 



THE FIRST STEP BACKWARD 367 

of the town of Austin." Moreover, the ayuntamiento 
gave its attention also to ridding the colony of vaga- 
bonds, gamblers and bad characters. It passed a special 
ordinance on gambling, and promptly arrested a number 
of men for violating it, fined them the minimum fine 
for the first offense, and refused to remit the fines. It 
ordered one "bad character" put in irons until it could 
decide what to do with him, and gave orders to another 
to leave the colony without delay under penalty of being 
similarly dealt with. 

Striking evidence of the temper of the colonists is 
given with respect to this matter of continuing the 
policy of Austin in keeping the standard of the com- 
munity as high as possible. The ayuntamiento took 
notice of the fact that in two or three instances certain 
colonists were "harboring bad characters," and that 
certain others were not conducting themselves entirely 
as they should. Citing the clause in Austin's contract 
requiring him to refuse to admit colonists of bad char- 
acter, the ayuntamiento submitted a list of such persons 
to Austin, with a request that titles to lands be withheld 
from them until they had demonstrated that they had 
changed their ways. In two or three instances names 
were removed from this list after a few months, evi- 
dence having been given that the culprits had reformed. 

The ayuntamiento had occasion about this time to 
deal vigorously with certain horse thieves and mur- 
derers. In two instances rewards were offered for the 
capture of murderers. One of these had escaped after 
having been captured and, when located by an officer 
appointed to seek him, was shot down and killed. Two 
persons found guilty of assisting criminals to escape 



368 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

were ordered out of the colony and the recommendation 
made that they be deported from the state. One of 
these, incidentally, was Noah Smithwick, whose remi- 
niscences have been frequently quoted in this work. 

"Business as usual" was undoubtedly in order. The 
ayuntamiento sent a recommendation to the governor 
of the state that Ramon Musquiz, the political chief of 
the department, be reappointed to that office. It even 
found time to have a controversy with Austin over the 
land business of the colony, but upon Austin's request 
it addressed a letter to the political chief of the depart- 
ment, urging that a land commissioner be appointed 
to provide titles for those colonists who had not yet 
received them. This had become doubly important 
since the federal government had reversed the coloni- 
zation policy. "Inasmuch as it is well known," read 
this order of the ayuntamiento, "that there are a great 
number of families now within the municipality that 
have been admitted by the said empresario as colonists 
under his contract, and who have not yet, for the want 
of a commissioner, been put in legal possession of the 
lands they occupy and inasmuch as great anxiety is 
expressed by the settlers for the appointment of a com- 
missioner to permanently and legally establish them, the 
ayuntamiento orders that an official letter be addressed 
to the chief of the department, urging in strong terms 
the immediate appointment of a commissioner to put 
in legal possession of their lands those settlers under the 
contracts of the empresario Austin who are now here 
and have not received their titles of possession." 

Not the slightest evidence of resistance or insubordi- 
nation is to be found in the proceedings of the ayunta- 




ANDREW JACKSON. 



THE FIRST STEP BACKWARD 369 

miento. On the contrary, there are evidences of caution 
and patriotism. When it was discovered, for example, 
that George Fisher, who had been made temporary 
secretary of the ayuntamiento because of his acquaint- 
ance with the Spanish language, had been doctoring 
certain communications to the superior government in 
translating them from their English originals, and 
attributing to the ayuntamiento sentiments it had not 
expressed, this gentleman was dealt with summarily, 
immediately dismissed, and Teran was notified that he 
was suspected of being a spy of a party unfriendly to 
the government. 

Finally, at the session of August 2, 1830, the ayunta- 
miento gave unusual evidence of the patriotism of the 
colonists in two orders which it adopted and caused 
to be entered on the minutes. One of these ordered 
"that the citizens of this municipality be called on for 
a voluntary subscription in money or produce to create 
a fund now undertaken by the general government for 
the purpose of supporting, arming and clothing the 
national army in case of an invasion by Spanish troops, 
to be paid in money or country produce." One citizen 
in each election district in the jurisdiction was named 
to collect this money, and a committee was appointed 
to decide on a plan for putting on the "drive." 

The other order was for a proper celebration of 
Independence day, which was approaching. The min- 
utes of the ayuntamiento record it as follows: 

"Ordered, that the citizens of this municipality be 
invited to join this ayuntamiento in the celebration of 
the anniversary of the National independence on the 
1 6th of September next, and a committee was appointed 



370 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

to draft the plan of the mode in which said celebration 
shall take place, to which were named Col. Stephen 
F. Austin, Samuel M. Williams and George Fisher." 

So it was that the colonists in Texas conducted them- 
selves in the face of the drastic provisions of the law 
of April 6, 1830. Did it mean they were submitting 
supinely to the verdict of the government that they 
should be condemned to live in the midst of a growing 
population of Mexican criminals, with garrisons all 
around them, and with the frontiers closed against their 
friends and relatives in the United States? It meant 
nothing of the kind. The colonists simply were biding 
their time, and following the very wisest course in the 
face of the situation. 

Meantime in various parts of the republic there were 
smouldering fires of discontent over the action of Busta- 
mante in ousting Guerrero. Here and there disturb- 
ances occurred, only to be put down with an iron hand, 
however. Bustamante took the shortest way to deal 
with the dissenters; whoever started trouble was shot! 
In keeping with this policy, Guerrero himself was shot 
on February 14, 1831. This caused some genuine 
sorrow and indignation, and not a little resentment. 
Guerrero had long been a revolutionary hero. He was 
a romantic figure during the days of Spanish tyranny, 
the kind of a figure around which myths were woven. 
Guerrero dead — a martyr to the cause of the people — 
might be more dangerous to the established power than 
Guerrero living. But a living leader was needed. 
Where was he to be found? It was in this mood that 
men in different sections of Mexico began to turn their 
eyes toward Vera Cruz. Santa Anna had saved the 



THE FIRST STEP BACKWARD 371 

country from Spanish invasion, why could he not now 
save it from tyranny? But Santa Anna remained quietly 
in seclusion on his estate and bided his time. 

Behind the scenes destiny was at work. Already an 
event had occurred in a part of the world remote from 
Mexico and Texas which, while not related to either 
in the slightest degree, was the beginning of a sequence 
that would affect the course of the history of both. The 
colonization of Texas had been the inevitable result of 
Moses Austin's misfortunes. When the panic of 1818 
swept away all he possessed he had turned again, 
empty-handed, to the wilderness, and Spain. The open- 
ing months of the year 1829 brought misfortune to 
another man. Tongues were wagging with scandal in 
the state of Tennessee. The wife of the governor of 
the state — a bride of a few months— had left her hus- 
band and returned to the home of her father. The 
governor was a candidate for reelection. No explana- 
tion of the estrangement had been given the public, 
either by the governor or his wife. The governor's 
political enemies, however, supplied explanations to 
suit their purposes. Indignation over the governor's 
alleged conduct began to spread, and there were even 
threats of violence. His friends rallied to his support, 
but he would say nothing to defend himself. "My 
lips," he declared, "are sealed!" Finally, on April 
16, 1829, he sent his resignation to the secretary of 
state. Then, in the dead of night, he left the capital 
in disguise and disappeared. 

\ On the Arkansas river, in the northern section of the 
territory just across the Red river from Texas, the tribes 
of the Cherokee nation were established, having mi- 



372 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

grated there from Tennessee. They cast longing eyes 
into the land of the south beyond the Mexican border. 
Already many of their brother Cherokees had crossed 
over and settled in Texas, but they had made no head- 
way toward obtaining a legal grant of lands. For a 
little while the Cherokees in Texas had dared to harbor 
the thought of establishing their right to the land 
through the ordeal of battle. They had even made a 
compact with Hayden Edwards with that end in view. 
But that movement had collapsed, and the government 
had promised to hear their plea for land. Apparently 
the government had been too busily occupied with other 
things. The Cherokees in Texas, therefore, waited — 
sullen and unsatisfied. And, on the American side of 
the border, their brothers from Tennessee had estab- 
lished themselves. It was toward the villages of the 
Cherokees in Arkansas territory that the fugitive gov- 
ernor of Tennessee traveled. 

The Cherokees had been his friends in his youth. 
As a son of the frontier he had lived among them as 
one of their own. In his hour of sorrow and humilia- 
tion he was turning again to the wilderness and his 
boyhood friends. And his friends received him. . . . 

Shortly after the disappearance of the governor of 
Tennessee, Andrew Jackson, President of the United 
States, wrote a letter. There had been disquieting 
rumors with respect to the plans of the erstwhile gov- 
ernor, rumors which disturbed Jackson. The letter 
was addressed to the exile among the Cherokees, and 
this is what the president wrote: 

"It has been communicated to me that you had the 
illegal enterprise in view of conquering Texas; that 



THE FIRST STEP BACKWARD 373 

you had declared that you would, in less than two years, 
be emperor of that country by conquest. I must really 
have thought you deranged to have believed you had 
so wild a scheme in contemplation; and, particularly, 
when it was communicated that the physical force to 
be employed was the Cherokee Indians. Indeed, my 
dear sir, I can not believe you have any such chimerical, 
visionary scheme in view. Your pledge of honor to 
the contrary is a sufficient guarantee that you will never 
engage in any enterprise injurious to your country, or 
that would tarnish your fame." 

The president had been given a garbled version of 
the story. But that letter is historic, for it coupled 
for the first time on paper the names of Texas and 
Sam Houston. 



APPENDIX 

/. THE TREATY OF 1819. 

II. AUSTIN'S CIVIL AND CRIMINAL 
CODES. 

III. THE OLD THREE HUNDRED. 

IV. THE LAW OF APRIL 6, 1830. 



376 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

51. 

THE TREATY OF 1819. 

Treaty of Amity, Settlement, and Limits between the 
United States of America and His Catholic Majesty, 
Concluded at Washington Februray 22 , 1819 ; Ratifi- 
cation Advised by Senate February 24, 1819 ; Ratified 
by President; Ratified by the King of Spain October 
24, 1820; Ratification Again Advised by Senate Feb- 
ruary 19, 1821; Ratified by President February 22, 
1821 ; Ratification Exchanged at Washington February 
22, 1821; Proclaimed February 22, 1821. 

The United States of America and His Catholic 
Majesty, desiring to consolidate, on a permanent basis, 
the friendship and good correspondence which happily 
prevails between the two parties have determined to 
settle and terminate all their differences and preten- 
sions, by a treaty, which shall designate, with precision, 
the limits of their respective bordering territories in 
North America. 

With this intention the President of the United 
States has furnished with their full powers John Quincy 
Adams, Secretary of State of the said United States; and 
His Catholic Majesty has appointed the Most Excellent 
Lord Don Luis de Onis, Gonzales, Lopez y Vara, Lord 
of the town of Rayaces, Perpetual Regidor of the Cor- 
poration of the city Salamanca, Knight Grand Cross 
of the Royal American Order of Isabella the Catholic, 
decorated with the Lys of La Vendee, Knight Pensioner 
of the Royal and Distinguished Spanish Order of 
Charles the Third, Member of the Supreme Assembly 
of the said Royal Order j of the Council of His 



APPENDIX.— I 377 



Majesty ; His Secretary, with Exercise of Decrees, and 
His Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary 
near the United States of America; 

And the said Plenipotentiaries, after having ex- 
changed their powers, have agreed upon and concluded 
the following articles: 

article I. 

There shall be a firm and inviolable peace and sincere 
friendship between the United States and their citizens 
and His Catholic Majesty, his successors and subjects, 
without exception of persons or places. 

ARTICLE II. 

His Catholic Majesty cedes to the United States, in 
full property and sovereignty, all the territories which 
belong to him, situated to the eastward of the Missis- 
sippi, known by the name of East and West Florida. 
The adjacent islands dependent on said provinces, all 
public lots and squares, vacant lands, public edifices, 
fortifications, barracks, and other buildings, which are 
not private property, archives and documents, which 
relate directly to the property and sovereignty of said 
provinces, are included in this article. The said archives 
and documents shall be left in possession of the com- 
missaries or officers of the United States, duly authorized 
to receive them. 

ARTICLE III. 

The boundary line between the two countries, west 
of the Mississippi, shall begin on the Gulph of Mexico, 
at the mouth of the river Sabine, in the sea, continuing 



378 A HISTORY OP TEXAS 

north, along the western bank of that river, to the 3 2d 
degree of latitude ; thence, by a line due north, to the 
degree of latitude where it strikes the Rio Roxo at 
Natchitoches, or Red River ; then following the course 
of the Rio Roxo westward, to the degree of longitude 
100 west from London and 23 from Washington; then, 
crossing the said Red River, and running thence by a 
line due north, to the river Arkansas; thence, following 
the course of the southern bank of the Arkansas, to 
its source, in latitude 42 north; and thence, by that 
parallel of latitude, to the South Sea. The whole being 
as laid down in Melish's map of the United States, 
published at Philadelphia, improved to the first of 
January, 1818. But if the source of the Arkansas 
River shall be found to fall north or south of latitude 
42, then the line shall run from the said source due 
south or north, as the case may be, till it meets the 
said parallel of latitude 42, and thence, along the said 
parallel, to the South Sea: All the islands in the Sabine, 
and the said Red and Arkansas Rivers, throughout the 
course thus described, to belong to the United States; 
but the use of the waters, and the navigation of the 
Sabine to the sea, and of the said rivers Roxo and 
Arkansas, throughout the extent of the said boundary, 
on their respective banks, shall be common to the re- 
spective inhabitants of both nations. 

The two high contracting parties agree to cede and 
renounce all their rights, claims, and pretensions, to 
the territories described by the said line, that is to say: 
The United States hereby cedes to His Catholic Majesty, 
and renounce forever, all their rights, claims, and pre- 
tensions, to the territories lying west and south of the 



APPENDIX.— I 379 



above-described line; and, in like manner, His Catholic 
Majesty cedes to the said United States all his rights, 
claims, and pretensions to any territories east and north 
of the said line, and for himself, his heirs, and success- 
ors, renounces all claim to the said territories forever. 

ARTICLE IV. 

To fix this line with more precision, and to place 
the landmarks which shall designate exactly the limits 
of both nations, each of the contracting parties shall 
appoint a Commissioner and a surveyor, who shall meet 
before the termination of one year from the date of 
the ratification of this treaty at Natchitoches, on the 
Red River, and proceed to run and mark the said line, 
from the mouth of the Sabine to the Red River, and 
from the Red River to the river Arkansas, and to 
ascertain the latitude of the source of the said river 
Arkansas, in conformity to what is above agreed upon 
and stipulated, and the line of latitude 42, to the South 
Sea: they shall make out plans, and keep journals of 
their proceedings, and the result agreed upon by them 
shall be considered as part of this treaty, and shall have 
the same force as if it were inserted therein. The two 
Governments will amicable agree respecting the neces- 
sary articles to be furnished to those persons, and also 
as to their respective escorts, should such be deemed 
necessary. 

article v. 

The inhabitants of the ceded territories shall He 
secured in the free exercise of their religion, without 
any restriction ; and all those who may desire to remove 



380 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

to the Spanish dominions shall be permitted to sell or 
export their effects, at any time whatever, without being 
subject, in either case, to duties. 

ARTICLE VI. 

The inhabitants of the territories which His Catholic 
Majesty cedes to the United States, by this treaty, shall 
be incorporated in the Union of the United States, as 
soon as may be consistent with the principles of the 
Federal Constitution, and admitted to the enjoyment 
of all the privileges, rights, and immunities of the citi- 
zens of the United States. 

ARTICLE VII. 

The officers and troops of His Catholic Majesty, in 
the territories hereby ceded by him to the United States, 
shall be withdrawn, and possession of the places occu- 
pied by them shall be given within six months after 
the exchange of the ratifications of this treaty, or sooner 
if possible, by the officers of His Catholic Majesty to 
the commissioners or officers of the United States duly 
appointed to receive them; and the United States shall 
furnish the transports and escorts necessary to convey 
the Spanish officers and troops and their baggage to 
the Havana. 

ARTICLE VIII. 

All the grants of land made before the 24th of Janu- 
ary, 1818, by His Catholic Majesty, or by his lawful 
authorities, in the said territories ceded by His Majesty 
to the United States, shall be ratified and confirmed 
to the persons in possession of the lands, to the same 



APPENDIX.— I 381 



extent that the same grants would be valid if the terri- 
tories had remained under the dominion of His Catholic 
Majesty. But the owners in possession of such lands, 
who, by reason of the recent circumstances of the 
Spanish nation, and the revolutions in Europe, have 
been prevented from fulfilling all the conditions of 
their grants, shall complete them within the terms lim- 
ited in the same, respectively, from the date of this 
treaty ; in default of which the said grants shall be 
null and void. All grants made since the said 24th 
of January, 1818, when the first proposal, on the part 
of His Catholic Majesty, for the cession of the Floridas 
was made, are hereby declared and agreed to be null 
and void. 

ARTICLE IX. 

The two high contracting parties, animated with the 
most earnest desire of conciliation, and with the object 
of putting an end to all the differences which have 
existed between them, and of confirming the good 
understanding which they wish to be forever main- 
tained between them, reciprocally renounce all claims 
for damages or injuries which they, themselves, as well 
as their respective citizens and subjects, may have suf- 
fered until the time of signing this treaty. 

The renunciation of the United States will extend 
to all the injuries mentioned in the convention of the 
11th of August, 1820. 

(2) To all claims on account of prizes made by 
French privateers, and condemned by French Consuls, 
within the territory and jurisdiction of Spain. 

(3) To all claims of indemnities on account of the 



382 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

suspension of the right of deposit at New Orleans 
in 1802. 

(4) To all claims of citizens of the United States 
upon the Government of Spain, arising from the un- 
lawful seizures at sea, and in the ports and territories 
of Spain, or the Spanish colonies. 

(5) To all claims of citizens of the United States 
upon the Spanish Government, statements of which, 
soliciting the interposition of the Government of the 
United States, have been presented to the Department 
of State, or to the Minister of the United States in 
Spain, since the date of the convention of 1802, and 
until the signature of this treaty. 

The renunciation of His Catholic Majesty extends — - 

(1) To all injuries mentioned in the convention of 
the 11th of August, 1802. 

(2) To the sums which His Catholic Majesty ad- 
vanced for the return of Captain Pike from the Provin- 
cias Internas. 

(3) To all injuries caused by the expedition Mi- 
randa, that was fitted out and equipped at New York. 

(4) To all claims of Spanish subjects upon the Gov- 
ernment of the United States arizing from unlawful 
seizures at sea, or within the ports and territorial juris- 
diction of the United States. 

Finally to all the claims of subjects of His Catholic 
Majesty upon the Government of the United States 
in which the interposition of his Catholic Majesty's 
Government has been solicited, before the date of this 
treaty, and since the date of the convention of 1802, 
or which may have been made to the department of 



APPENDIX.— I 383 



foreign affairs of His Majesty, or to His Minister in 
the United States. 

And the high contracting parties, respectively, re- 
nounce all claim to indemnities for any of the recent 
events or transactions of their respective commanders 
and officers in the Floridas. 

The United States will cause satisfaction to be made 
for the injuries, if any, which, by process of law, shall 
be established to have been suffered by the Spanish 
officers, and individual Spanish inhabitants, by the late 
operations of the American Army in Florida. 

article x. 

The convention entered into between the two Gov- 
ernments, on the 1 1th of August, 1802, the ratifications 
of which were exchanged the 21st December, 1818, 
is annulled, 

ARTICLE XI. 

The United States, exonerating Spain from all de- 
mands in future, on account of the claims of their 
citizens to which the renunciations herein contained 
extend, and considering them entirely cancelled, under- 
take to make satisfaction for the same, to an amount 
not exceeding five millions of dollars. To ascertain 
the full amount and validity of those claims, a commis- 
sion, to consist of three Commissioners, citizens of the 
United States, shall be appointed by the President, by 
and with the advice and consent of the Senate, which 
commission shall meet at the city of Washington, and, 
within the space of three years from the time of their 
first meeting, shall receive, examine, and decide upon 



384 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

the amount and validity of all the claims included 
within the descriptions above mentioned. The said Com- 
missioners shall take an oath or affirmation, to be entered 
on the record of their proceedings, for the faithful and 
diligent discharge of their duties - y and, in case of the 
death, sickness, or necessary absence of any such com- 
missioner, his place may be supplied by the appointment, 
as aforesaid, or by the President of the United States, 
during the recess of the senate, of another Commissioner 
in his stead. The said Commissioners shall be author- 
ized to hear and examine, on oath, every question relative 
to the said claims, and to receive all suitable authentic 
testimony concerning the same. And the Spanish gov- 
ernment shall furnish all such documents and elucida- 
tions as may be in their possession, for the adjustment 
of the said claims, according to the principles of jus- 
tice, the laws of nations, and the stipulations of the 
treaty between the two parties of 27th October, 1795; 
the said documents to be specified, when demanded, at 
the instance of the said Commissioners. 

The payment of such claims as may be admitted and 
adjusted by the said Commissioners, or the major part 
of them, to an amount not exceeding five millions of 
dollars, shall be made by the United States, either imme- 
diately at their treasury, or by the creation of stock, 
bearing an interest of six per cent per annum, payable 
from the proceeds of sales of public lands within the 
territories hereby ceded to the United States, or in such 
other manner as the congress of the United States may 
prescribe by law. 

The records of the proceedings of the said Commis- 
sioners, together with the vouchers and documents pro- 



APPENDIX.— I 385 



duced before them, relative to the claims to be adjusted 
and decided upon by them, shall, after the close of their 
transactions, be deposited in the department of state of 
the United States - y and copies of them, or any part of 
them, shall be furnished to the Spanish Government, if 
required, at the demand of the Spanish Minister in the 
United States. 

ARTICLE XII. 

The treaty of limits and navigation, of 1795, remains 
confirmed in all and each one of its articles excepting 
the 2, 3, 4, 21, and the second clause of the 22d article, 
which having been altered by this treaty, or having re- 
ceived their entire execution, are no longer valid. 

With respect to the 15th article of the same treaty of 
friendship, limits, and navigation of 1795, in which it 
is stipulated that the flag shall cover the property, the 
two high contracting parties agree that this shall be so 
understood with respect to those Powers who recognize 
this principle j but if either of the two contracting par- 
ties shall be at war with a third party, and the other neu- 
tral, the flag of the neutral shall cover the property of 
enemies whose Government acknowledges this principle, 
and not of others. 

ARTICLE XIII. 

Both contracting parties, wishing to favour their mu- 
tual commerce, by affording in their ports every neces- 
sary assistance to their respective merchant-vessels, have 
agreed that the sailors who shall desert from their ves- 
sels in the ports of the other, shall be arrested and de- 
livered up, at the instance of the Consul, who shall prove, 



386 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

nevertheless, that the deserters belonged to the vessels 
that claimed them, exhibiting the document that is cus- 
tomary in their nation ; that is to say, the American Con- 
sul in a Spanish port shall exhibit the document known 
by the name of articles, and the Spanish Consul in 
American ports the roll of the vessel; and if the name 
of the deserter or deserters who are claimed shall 
appear in the one or the other, they shall be arrested, 
held in custody, and delivered to the vessel to which 
they shall belong. 

ARTICLE XIV. 

The United States hereby certify that they have not 
received any compensation from France for the injuries 
they suffered from her privateers, Consuls, and tribunals 
on the coasts and in the ports of Spain, for the satisfac- 
tion of which provision is made by this treaty; and they 
will present an authentic statement of the prizes made, 
and of their true value, that Spain may avail herself of 
the same in such manner as she may deem just and 
proper. 

ARTICLE xv. 

The United States, to give to His Catholic Majesty a 
proof of their desire to cement the relations of amity 
subsisting between the two nations, and to favour the 
commerce of the subjects of His Catholic Majesty, agree 
that Spanish vessels, coming laden only with productions 
of Spanish growth or manufactures, directly from the 
ports of Spain, or of her colonies, shall be admitted, for 
the term of twelve years, to the ports of Pensacola and 
St. Augustine, in the Floridas, without paying other or 



APPENDIX.— I 387 



higher duties on their cargoes, or of tonnage, than will 
be paid by the vessels of the United States. During the 
said term no other nation shall enjoy the same privileges 
within the ceded territories. The twelve years shall 
commence three months after the exchange of the rati- 
fications of this treaty. 

ARTICLE XVI. 

The present treaty shall be ratified in due form, by the 
contracting parties, and the ratifications shall be ex- 
changed in six months from this time, or sooner, if pos- 
sible. 

In witness whereof we, the underwritten Plenipoten- 
tiaries of the United States of America and of His Cath- 
olic Majesty, have signed, by virtue of our powers, the 
present treaty of amity, settlement, and limits, and have 
thereunto affixed our seals, respectively. 

Done at Washington this twenty-second day of Feb- 
ruary, eighteen hundred and nineteen. 

John Quincy Adams (L. S.) 
Luis de Onis (L. S.) 



388 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

§2. 

AUSTIN'S CIVIL AND CRIMINAL CODES. 

When Stephen F. Austin began the organization of 
his colony y after his return from Mexico in 1823 , he 
was faced with the necessity of providing the colonists 
with laws for their government. There were no prece- 
dents to follow and he was without anything to guide 
him. He had no choice but to write the laws himself 
and have them approved by the Mexican authorities. 
He drew up two sets of regulations^ civil and criminal^ 
and upon their formal approval by the political chief of 
Texas , these two codes became the laws of the colony. 
The colony was governed by these laws until February 
10 y 1828 \ when co?istitutional government was estab- 
lished in the jurisdiction of Austin. The full text of 
these two codes is given here: 

CIVIL REGULATIONS. 

Charged by the superior authorities of the Mexican 
nation with the administration of justice in this colony 
until its organization is completed, and observing that 
much difficulty and confusion arise from the want of 
copies of the laws and forms which regulate judicial 
proceedings before the alcaldes — it having been im- 
practicable as yet to obtain them with translations — I 
have thought proper, in order to remedy these embar- 
rassments and to establish an uniform mode of process 
before the alcaldes throughout the colony, to form pro- 
visionally, and until the supreme government directs 
otherwise, the following regulations: 

Article 1. There shall be appointed by the judge of 



APPENDIX.— II 389 



the colony an alguazil (sheriff) to serve the process and 
execute the decrees of the said judge, and also a con- 
stable for each district to serve the process of the 
alcaldes, who shall, before they enter upon the duties 
of their office, take an oath to support the constitution 
of the Mexican nation and faithfully to discharge the 
duties of their office. The alguazil shall give bond, with 
at least two securities, in the sum of one thousand dol- 
lars, and the constable shall give bond and security in 
the sum of five hundred dollars, each conditioned faith- 
fully to account for and pay over all money collected 
by them according to law; the securities of the alguazil 
and constable shall be approved of by the alcaldes, sub- 
ject to the revision of the judge, which bond shall be in 
form following: "We, or either of us, promise to pay 
to the judge of Austin's colony the sum of one thousand 
dollars, or five hundred dollars (as the case may be), for 
the payment of which we bind ourselves, our heirs, and 
assigns. The condition of the above obligation is such 
that whereas L. M., one of the parties to this bond, has 
been appointed alguazil (or constable, as the case may 
be) of the district of in said colony 3 now, there- 
fore, should the said L. M. well and truly execute and 
discharge the duties of said office of alguazil (or consta- 
ble, as the case may be) and pay over all moneys collect- 
ed by him in his official capacity according to law, then 
this bond shall be null and void 3 otherwise to be in full 
force. "Witness: A. B., Alcalde." 

Art. 2. The alcalde of each district shall keep a 
docket or register of all his official acts, which shall be 
headed, "Docket of the District of during the ad- 
ministration of , alcalde of said district for the 



390 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

year ," which shall be certified at the end in the 

form following: "I certify that the foregoing docket, 

composed of — pages, contains a true record of all 

my official proceedings as alcalde of the district of , 

in the year . A. B., Alcalde." Which docket, thus 

certified, shall be delivered by the alcalde to his succes- 
sor in office, together with all the official papers and a 
transcript of all the suits and other unfinished business 
then pending, all which shall be finished by the alcalde 
in its regular order ; and should a vacancy occur in the 
office of alcalde before the regular term of service ex- 
pires, the new alcalde appointed to fill said vacancy shall 
immediately take possession of said docket and of all 
the official papers. 

Art. 3. Any person having cause of complaint against 
another within the jurisdiction of an alcalde must pre- 
sent a written petition to the alcalde of the proper dis- 
trict, stating in a short but clear manner the cause and 
nature of his complaint, to which the alcalde will attach 
a summons in the form following: "Austin Colony, 
District of . The constable of said district is com- 
manded to summons the above-named C. D., if to be 
found in the above district, to appear before me, A. B., 
Alcalde of said district, at my office (or wherever the 
suit is to be tried), between the hours of nine o'clock 

a. m. and three o'clock p. m., on the day of , 

to answer the above complaint of E. F., and on or before 
that day this summons and the proceedings thereon, 

must be returned to my office. Given this day of 

. A. B., Alcalde." 

Art. 4. The alcalde will fix the return day of the 
summons at his discretion, according to the situation of 



APPENDIX.— II 391 



the parties or peculiar circumstances of the case, allow- 
ing a reasonable time for the service of the summons and 
the attendance of the parties. The summons must be 
served by the constable at least five days before the re- 
turn-day, allowing, in addition, one day for every fifteen 
miles' travel to the place where the summons is made 
returnable. 

Art. 5. The constable, in serving the summons, shall 
read to defendant the complaint and the summons, in 
order that he may know what he has to answer to. 

Art. 6. Should defendant be absent from the district, 
it shall be a lawful summons to leave a copy of the com- 
plaint and summons, certified by the constable, at de- 
fendant's house, or last place of residence, with some 
one of his white family. 

Art. 7. Should defendant not appear, either in person 
or by agent, on the day appointed for the return of the 
summons, judgment by default may be entered against 
him by the alcalde, at his discretion, according to the 
circumstances of the case, and a notice shall then be 
issued by the alcalde, and served on him by the constable 

in form following: "District of , judgment by 

default was entered in my office, on the day of 

, against C. D. in favor of E. F., for the sum of 

$ and costs of suit; the constable of said district is 

therefore commanded to notify said C. D. that unless 

he appears before me, at my office, on the day of 

— — , between the hours of nine o'clock a. m. and three 
p. m., and shows cause why said judgment should not 
be final, execution will issue thereon, at which time and 
place this notice and the proceedings thereon must be 
returned. Given under my hand this — — day of . 



392 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

A. B., Alcalde/ 5 which notice shall be served in the 
same manner as in a case of a summons. The cost of said 
notice and of the service thereof shall in all cases be paid 
by defendant. 

Art. 8. Should the plaintiff not appear either in per- 
son or by agent on the day appointed, the suit shall be 
dismissed at his cost. 

Art. 9. On the appearance of the parties either in 
person or by agent, it shall be the duty of the alcalde to 
try, in the first place, to effect an amicable compromise 
between them; should this be ineffectual, and the sum 
in dispute is over ten dollars, he shall demand whether 
either of the parties wish for an arbitration, and if 
neither of them wish it, the alcalde shall then proceed 
to determine the case according to evidence, and give 
judgment. 

Art. 10. If the sum in dispute exceeds ten dollars, 
and either party demands an arbitrator, the alcalde shall 
direct each of them to choose one arbitrator. He shall 
then at his discretion appoint a day for trial, so as to 
allow a reasonable time for the arbitrators and witnesses 
to attend, and issue a summons for the arbitrators, to be 
served by the constable in the form following: "District 
of , E. F. versus C. D. The constable of said dis- 
trict is commanded to summon G. H. and J. K. to ap- 
pear before me, at my office (or wherever the case is to 

be tried), on the day of , between the hours 

of nine o'clock a. m., and three o'clock p. m., to serve 
as arbitrators in the above suit, at which time and place 
this summons and the proceedings thereon must be re- 
turned to me. Given, etc. A. B., Alcalde." 

Art. 11. No person can be an arbitrator who is re- 



APPENDIX.— II 393 



lated to either party nearer than the fourth degree, or 
who is in any manner interested in the event of the suit, 
directly or indirectly, or who is notoriously a man of bad 
character. 

Art. 12. Any person summoned as an arbitrator shall 
serve, unless excused by the alcalde, under the fine of 
ten dollars. 

Art. 13. The arbitrators shall receive fifty cents, 
and five cents mileage going and returning, to be taxed 
with the other costs. 

Art. 14. On the appearance of the arbitrators at the 
time and place appointed, the alcalde shall first swear 
the arbitrators to answer truly to such questions as he 
may ask, and the alcalde shall then put the following 
interrogations to each of them: "Are you related to 
either of the parties in this case nearer than the fourth 
degree? " "Are you in any manner interested in the event 
of this suit, directly or indirectly?" And should it ap- 
pear to the satisfaction of the alcalde that neither of 
them were related to either party, nor interested in the 
event of the suit, nor were of infamous character, he 
shall swear them impartially to try and determine the 
suit or controversy then pending between E. F. and 
C. D., and to give a true verdict according to evidence. 
The alcalde shall then swear the witnesses, and in con- 
junction with the arbitrators proceed to hear the evi- 
dence and decide the case ; any two of them concurring 
shall be sufficient to give a verdict, on which judgment 
shall be entered by the alcalde. Should the arbitrators 
not attend, or be rejected for cause, others shall be named 
and summoned, and a new day of trial appointed. 

Art. 15. The alcalde may, at his discretion, postpone 



394 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

a case and appoint a new day of trial for want of evi- 
dence, on either party's showing on oath, to the satisfac- 
tion of the alcalde, that due diligence has been used to 
procure his evidence; provided that said postponement 
shall be at the cost of the party applying for it. 

Art. 16. The jurisdiction of the alcaldes shall ex- 
tend to all sums under two hundred dollars; sums over 
that amount will be decided by the judge of the colony. 

Art. 17. The decision of the alcalde alone shall be 
final in all sums under ten dollars, and in all sums over 
ten and under twenty-five, the decision of the alcalde 
alone (if no arbitrator was demanded), or of the arbi- 
trators if they were called on, shall also be final. 

Art. 18. The judgment shall in all cases conform, 
as nearly as practicable, to the contract of the parties; 
that is, if the contract is for money, the judgment be 
for money, and if property, or a specific kind of prop- 
erty, the judgment must be entered accordingly, always 
taking into consideration the value of the property at 
the time the debt was due, and the loss sustained by 
not receiving it according to contract ; and the execution 
must issue for so much in cash, or so much in property, 
according to the judgment and the circumstances of 
the case. 

Art. 19. Stay of execution may be allowed by the 
alcaldes, at their discretion, according to the situation 
of the parties or the peculiar circumstances of the case 
on giving good security as follows: On all sums under 
twenty-five dollars, twenty-five days; on all sums over 
twenty-five dollars and under fifty dollars, forty days; 
on sums over fifty dollars and under seventy-five dollars, 
sixty days; on sums over seventy-five dollars and under 



APPENDIX.— II 395 



one hundred dollars, eighty days; on sums over one 
hundred dollars and under one hundred and fifty dollars, 
one hundred days; and on sums over one hundred and 
fifty dollars, one hundred and twenty days. The al- 
caldes may at their discretion allow ten days for the 
party to procure the securities for stay of execution. 

Art. 20. Either party shall have the right of appeal- 
ing from the decision of the alcalde where the sum 
exceeds twenty-five dollars, by giving at least two good 
and sufficient securities, to be approved by the alcalde, 
subject to the revision of the judge of the colony, for 
double the amount of the judgment and costs. The 
party wishing to appeal shall notify the alcalde thereof 
when the judgment is declared, and ten days may then 
be allowed him at the discretion of the alcalde to pro- 
cure his securities. The alcalde shall enter on his docket 
that the party had given notice of his intention to 
appeal, and shall write an appeal-bond in form follow- 
ing: "We, or either of us, promise to pay the sum of 

$ to E. F., for the payment of which we bind 

ourselves, our heirs, and assigns. The condition of the 
above obligation is such that whereas the said E. F. 
obtained a judgment against C. D., one of the parties 
to this bond, before A. B., Alcalde for the District of 

, in Austin's Colony, on the — day of , for 

the sum of $ debt and damages and dollars 

costs of suit, from which judgment said C. D. appeals; 
now, therefore, should the said C. D. prosecute said ap- 
peal and fully execute and comply with the judgment 
which the judge of this colony may give on said appeal, 
and pay to the said E. F. the amount of money or prop- 
erty awarded to him by the judgment of said judge, 



396 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 



together with the costs of suit, then this obligation to 
be null and void, otherwise to be in full force. Given un- 
der our hands this — day of . Witness, A. B., 

Alcalde. " And should the plaintiff appeal, the bond 
shall be taken for double the amount of the costs already 
accrued, and conditioned to abide by the final judgment 
of the judge of the colony. The Alcalde shall then enter 
upon his docket the date and amount of the bond and 
the names of the securities, and shall make out a tran- 
script of all the proceedings in the case and send them 
up within twenty days, together with the appeal-bond 
and all the depositions and papers of the case, in a 
sealed packet, to the judge of the colony. Should the 
judge of the colony decide that the appeal was entered 
for frivolous causes for the object of delay, he shall 
condemn the appellant to pay the appellee twenty per 
cent damages on the amount of the judgment. 

Art. 21. Should no stay of execution nor appeal be 
entered, an execution shall issue returnable at the dis- 
cretion of the alcalde within sixty days, which execution 
shall be in the form following: "Austin's Colony, Dis- 
trict of , E. F. versus C. D. The constable of said 

district is hereby commanded to seize and expose to 
public sale, according to law, the property of C. D., the 
defendant in the above suit, or so much thereof as may 
be necessary to pay E. F., the plaintiff in the above suit, 

the sum of $ and costs of suit, being the amount 

of a judgment entered in my office on the day 

of against C. D. in favor of E. F.; and should the 

said C. D. have no property, the constable is commanded 
to take the body of said C. D. and bring him to me at my 



APPENDIX.— II 397 



office. This execution and proceedings thereon must be 

returned to my office within days. Given this 

day of ." 

Art. 22. The constable shall, as soon as may be after 
the receipt of said execution, levy upon and seize as 
much property of the person against whom it is issued 
as will be sufficient to satisfy the debt and costs, and 
shall then advertise the same for sale, giving at least 
thirty days' notice in case of real property, negroes, or 
imperishable property, and at least ten days' notice in 
the case the property is of a perishable nature or is in 
danger of being destroyed or lost by longer delay; which 
notice shall be posted up in at least four of the most 
public and conspicuous places in the district. 

Art. 23. In case no property belonging to defendant 
can be found by the constable and his body should be 
seized, the alcalde shall examine into his circumstances, 
and should it appear to the satisfaction of the alcalde 
that defendant has not fraudulently conveyed his prop- 
erty out of his hands, or concealed it to elude the pay- 
ment of his just debts, he shall discharge him; but 
should it appear to the satisfaction of the alcalde that 
defendant has fraudulently conveyed away or concealed 
his property, then in such case the alcalde may at his 
discretion hire out the defendant to the highest bidder 
until his wages paid the debt. 

Art. 24. Should any one make oath to the satisfaction 
of the alcalde that any person was justly indebted to him 
in a specific sum then due or due at some future period, 
and that said person was about to abscond or remove 
from the colony, or was about to remove his property, 
so that the debt was in danger of being lost, the alcalde 



398 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

may at his discretion issue an attachment returnable 
forthwith to seize the property of the person thus about 
to remove or abscond, or to seize his person and detain 
said property or the person until a judgment and execu- 
tion should issue in the case; provided that said attach- 
ment may be raised and the property and person released 
on giving good and sufficient appearance bail, to be ap- 
proved by the alcalde, and provided that the person 
suing out said attachment gives sufficient security to in- 
demnify the defendant, should it appear that the attach- 
ment was sued out without just cause. 

Art. 25. Should it appear to the alcalde that any per- 
son who was security for the stay of execution, or 
security on an appeal-bond, or in a special bail-bond, or 
security for a constable, was about to abscond, or remove 
from the colony, or was about to remove his property so 
that it could not be come at in the event of its becoming 
liable, he may at his discretion detain such person or 
said property until other and satisfactory security was 
entered. 

Art. 26. Should any person make oath to the satis- 
faction of the alcalde that any one was about to remove 
out of this colony and property to which such person 
had the legal possession for the time being, but not a 
legal title, and that such property was in danger of being 
lost to its legal owner by such removal, the alcalde may 
at his discretion cause such person to appear forthwith 
before him with the said property, and compel him to 
give up said property to its legal owner, or give security 
that it should not be removed out of this colony. 

Art. 27. In all cases where the cause of action accrued 
out of this nation, neither party being a citizen or in- 



APPENDIX.— II 399 



habitant of this nation at the time when the debt was 
contracted, application must be made to the judge of 
the colony. 

Art. 28. In case the right of property should be dis- 
puted, the alcalde shall summon the parties to appear 
before him and decide the case. 

Art. 29. The alcalde may at his discretion appoint 
one regular court day per month, and make all sum- 
monses returnable accordingly. 

Art. 30. The following is established as the fee-bill 
of the several officers mentioned. 



alcalde's fees. 




Issuing a criminal warrant 


4 bits 


For a forthwith summons 


3 " 


Subpoena 


2 " 


Summons 


2 " 


Subpoena for arbitration 


2 " 


Judgment 


3 " 


Entering stay of execution 


2 " 



Entering appeal and writing appeal-bond 8 " 

Issuing execution 2 " 

Entering special bail and taking bond in 

case of attachment 3 " 

Do. recording, for every 100 words Y2 a 



ALGUAZIL AND CONSTABLE FEES. 

Serving a criminal warrant 8 bits 

Serving a forthwith warrant 4 a 

Summons 2 " 

Subpoena 2 " 

Summoning arbitrators or jury 3 u 

Mileage going and returning 5 cents a mile 



400 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

Levying an execution 2 bits 

Selling property and collecting money, 

4 per cent on sums under $200 — and 

1 per cent on every $100 after. 

Given at the town of San Felipe de Austin, in the 
province of Texas, this 22d day of January, 1824, 
fourth year of independence and third year of the liberty 
of the Mexican nation. 

Stephen F. Austin. 

ADDITIONAL ARTICLES DICTATED BY THE POLITICAL 
CHIEF OF THE PROVINCE OF TEXAS. 

Article 31. Should any person take up a stray animal 
that appears to have been owned by some one, he shall 
within eight days give notice thereof to the alcalde of 
the district, in writing, together with a full description 
of the stray, its marks and brands, which written de- 
scription must be certified to be correct by at least two 
disinterested witnesses. The alcalde shall enter said 
notice in his record-book and immediately advertise the 
same 5 and should no owner appear within six months 
to claim said stray, the alcalde shall sell it at a public 
sale and deliver the proceeds to the political chief of the 
colony, to be deposited in the funds of the colony, to be 
paid over to the legal owner if called for within one 
year, and if not called for in that time, to be applied to 
public uses. There shall be allowed to the person who 
takes up a stray one dollar if it is a horse or mare, one 
dollar and a half if it is a mule, and half a dollar if it is 
a yearling, and a reasonable compensation for taking up 
the stray, to be decided by the alcalde. 

Art. 32. Each person will choose his own mark or 



APPENDIX.— II 401 



brand, and enter it on record in the office of the alcalde 
of the district, who may receive twenty-five cents there- 
for; and a person who has thus recorded his mark or 
brand shall have the preference thereto over any other; 
and should another settle near him with a similar mark 
or brand, the alcalde may compel him to alter it. 

Stephen F. Austin. 

San Felipe de Austin, May 23, 1824 — -4th and 3d. 

In the town of San Felipe de Austin, 24th May, 1 824. 
Jose Antonio Saucedo, first member of the most excellent 
deputation, and political chief of the province of Texas, 
having seen the thirty-two articles which are contained 
in the foregoing regulations, and informed of their con- 
tents by means of the translation which I have received 
of them in the Spanish language, and considering how 
important the observance of all and each one of them is 
for the preservation of good order in this new colonial 
establishment, I have approved them, as by this decree I 
do approve them, in order that they may provisionally 
and temporarily govern; and in all cases that may occur, 
all the territorial authorities shall be regulated by them 
in this district until sanction and circulation are given 
to the Constitution and general laws of the government, 
and particularly those of the state; ordering that after 
having published them in customary form copies shall 
be made, authorized by the principal judge, Stephen F. 
Austin, and delivered to the respective alcaldes for theii: 
observance and compliance. 

By this act I order it, and have signed it in presence 



402 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

of two witnesses, for the want of a secretary, as is re- 
quired in such cases, and to this I give full faith. 

Jose Antonio Saucedo. 
Witnesses : 

David McCormick. 

John Austin. 

criminal regulations. 

TO ALL PERSONS:— Charged by the superior au- 
thorities of the Mexican nation with the government of 
this colony until its organization is completed, and ob- 
serving that the public peace and safety of the settlers 
is jeopardized by the pilfering depredations of strolling 
parties of Indians and robbers, and also that the good 
order of the colony is endangered by the introduction and 
transit of men of bad character and its good morals 
scandalized by their irregular conduct, I have thought 
proper, in order more effectually to insure good govern- 
ment, security, and tranquillity, to decree as follows: 

Art. 1. On the appearance of any Indian or Indians 
in the neighborhood of any of the settlements of this 
colony, whose conduct justifies a belief that their inten- 
tions are to steal, or commit hostilities, or who threaten 
any settler, or are rude to women or children, it shall be 
the duty of all and every person to take such Indian or 
Indians into custody, if in his or their power to do so, 
and convey them forthwith to the nearest alcalde, or 
captain of militia, avoiding the use of arms in all cases, 
unless compelled to resort to them. 

Art. 2. In case the Indian or Indians mentioned in 
the last article should be so numerous as to require a 
strong party to take them, and the men in the immediate 



APPENDIX.— II 403 



neighborhood are insufficient, it shall be the duty of the 
persons who first discovered them, or who are the most 
interested in their removal, to give notice thereof to the 
nearest captain of the militia; and should it appear prob- 
able to said captain that said Indians are of suspicious 
character, or that they have behaved improperly, he 
shall forthwith call out as many men as may be neces- 
sary to pursue and take said Indians prisoners, always 
avoiding the use of arms, if possible. 

Art. 3. The alcalde or captain before whom said In- 
dians are brought shall examine them, hearing testimony 
as to their conduct ; and should it appear that said In- 
dians are of a suspicious character, or that they live at 
a distance and are rambling through the province with- 
out license from the proper authority, and under suspi- 
cious circumstances, it shall be the duty of the said 
alcalde or captain to order said Indians to depart imme- 
diately from the neighborhood of all the settlements of 
this colony under the penalty of receiving severe chas- 
tisement if taken under similar circumstances a second 
time, and they shall be sent under guard beyond the 
settlement or delivered to the chiefs of their nation, who 
shall be informed of the circumstances of the case and 
admonished to keep their men at home. 

Art. 4. Should it appear on examination as afore- 
said that said Indians had been rude to or ill-treated any 
settlers without cause of provocation, it shall be the duty 
of said alcalde or captain to punish said Indian or In- 
dians according to the nature of the offence, with any 
number of lashes not exceeding twenty-five, and, if 
deemed necessary, send them under guard beyond the 



404 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

limits of the settlements or deliver them to the chiefs 
of their nation, giving an account of their conduct and 
the punishment they had received. 

Art. 5. No person within this colony shall ill-treat 
or in any manner abuse any Indian or Indians without 
just cause, under the penalty of one hundred dollars* 
fine for the first offence, and two hundred dollars for 
the second, but shall treat them at all times and in all 
places in a friendly, humane, and civil manner so long 
as they deserve it. 

Art. 6. Should any murder, theft, robbery, or other 
depredations be committed, it shall be the duty of any 
person to apprehend the criminal or criminals concerned 
in it, if in his or their power to do so, and convey him or 
them to the nearest alcalde, for which purpose they are 
authorized to use arms. If the criminal or criminals 
have fled or are in force, information shall be given on 
oath to the nearest militia officer or alcalde, who shall 
forthwith raise men and follow the criminal or crimi- 
nals, and should he or they be overtaken and refuse to 
surrender or attempt to escape by flight, the officer in 
command may order his men to fire on and kill said 
criminal or criminals, he being always responsible for 
the death or ill-treatment of an innocent person. The 
prisoners shall be brought in and delivered to the alcalde 
of the district for trial, and the stolen property recov- 
ered shall also be delivered to the said alcalde to be 
returned to the legal owners; and should any property 
be taken belonging to the criminal or criminals, it shall 
also be delivered to the alcalde, who shall immediately 
send an inventory thereof, together with an exact ac- 



APPENDIX.— II 405 



count of all the proceedings in the case, to the superior 
judge of the colony. 

Art. 7. No gambling of any description, under any 
pretext or name, shall be permitted in this colony, and 
the person or persons who violate this article shall be 
fined, on conviction thereof, in a sum not less than 
twenty nor more than two hundred dollars; and, more- 
over, shall forfeit the wheel, table, cards, or other instru- 
ment, thing, or machine used for gambling; and the per- 
son who permits any gambling in his house or on his 
premises shall be fined in a sum of not less than twenty 
nor more than two hundred dollars. 

Horse-racing being calculated to improve the breed 
of horses is not included in the above prohibition, but no 
debt contracted thereby shall be recoverable in law. 

Art. 8. Profane swearing and drunkenness are misde- 
meanors against the good morals and good order of the 
colony, and any person convicted thereof shall be fined 
in a sum not less than one dollar and more than ten. Any 
person convicted of habitual drunkenness shall, more- 
over, be liable to be imprisoned in the common jail, any 
number of hours not exceeding forty-eight. The al- 
calde shall execute and carry into full effect this article 
without first sending the proceedings to the superior 
judge, as is provided in the nineteenth article. 

Art. 9. Living publicly with a woman as man and 
wife without first being lawfully united by the bands of 
matrimony is a gross violation of the laws of this nation, 
and a high misdemeanor, and the man or woman who 
is convicted thereof shall be fined in a sum not less than 
one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred, and be 
liable to be condemned to hard labor on public works 



406 A HISTORY OF T EXAS 

until the superior government of the province decides 
the case. This article is not to take effect as regards the 
cases that now exist until sixty days after the arrival of 
the curate of this colony. 

Art. 10. No person within this colony shall harbor or 
protect any runaway slave belonging to any person 
within this colony, or out of it, but shall immediately 
give information or deliver said slave to his owner, or 
to an alcalde, if the slave belongs within this colony, and 
to the superior judge, if such slave is from a foreign 
country, or any part of the nation. Any person who vio- 
lates this article shall, on conviction thereof, pay all the 
damages which the owner of such slave may sustain in 
consequence of the loss of his labor, and shall, moreover, 
be finable in any sum not exceeding five hundred dol- 
lars, and be condemned to hard labor on public works 
until the superior government decides on the case. 

Art. 1 1 . Any person who shall be convicted of steal- 
ing any slave or slaves, or enticing, or inducing them 
to run away, shall be fined in a sum not exceeding one 
thousand dollars, and be condemned to hard labor on 
the public works until the superior government decides 
on the case. 

Art. 12. Any slave who shall steal any money or 
property shall, oh conviction thereof, be punished with 
any number of lashes not less than ten nor more than 
one hundred, and the property shall be returned; the 
owner or his agent shall be notified to attend at the trial. 
Should the owner or his agent not wish to have the slave 
whipped, he shall have the privilege of preventing it 
by paying three times the amount of the property stolen, 
one-third of which shall go to the owner of the prop- 



APPENDIX.— II 407 



erty and the other two-thirds to public uses; the master 
to pay the costs. 

Art. 1 3. And it shall be the duty of every person who 
shall find any slave from his master's premises without a 
pass from his master or overseer to tie him up and give 
him ten lashes; and should the appearance of such slave 
justify the belief that he had run away it shall be the 
duty of the person who takes him up to deliver him to 
his owner or overseer or to the nearest alcalde, who shall 
immediately notify the master thereof, and the said 
owner or his agent shall in such cases pay to the person 
apprehending said negro, and to the alcalde, should said 
slave be delivered to him, all reasonable costs and ex- 
penses. 

Art. 14. No person shall trade or traffic with any 
slave without permission from the owner or his agent, 
under the penalty of paying a fine of not less than 
twenty-five nor more than one hundred dollars, and also 
of paying treble the amount of the property purchased 
from such slave, should it appear that it had been stolen. 

Art. 15. Any person who shall be convicted of steal- 
ing any money, horse, or other property shall pay treble 
the amount of the property stolen, and be condemned to 
hard labor on public works until the superior govern- 
ment decides on the case. 

Art. 16. Any person who shall wilfully or malicious- 
ly assault another, or who shall maim, beat, abuse, or 
ill-treat him or her, shall, on conviction thereof, be fined 
in any sum not exceeding one hundred dollars, and be 
liable to imprisonment not exceeding three months, and 
shall, moreover, give security for his good behavior, and 
also be liable in a suit for damages to the person injured. 



408 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

Art. 17. Any person who shall falsely and mali- 
ciously slander another shall, on conviction thereof, be 
fined in a sum not less than ten nor more than one hun- 
dred dollars, and shall, moreover, be liable in a civil suit 
to the party injured. 

Art. 18. Any person who shall introduce into this 
colony any counterfeit paper or metal money, whether 
of this nation or any foreign nation, or who shall pass or 
attempt ot pass any such money, knowing or believing 
it to be counterfeit, shall, on conviction thereof, pay a 
fine of double the amount of the money introduced or 
passed, or attempted to be passed, and shall, moreover, 
be condemned to hard labor on public works until the 
superior government decides on the case. 

Art. 19. Should it come to the knowledge of any al- 
calde that any person has been guilty of crime, gross 
immorality, breach of the peace, or other violation of 
the laws or of this decree, he shall forthwith cause such 
person to appear before him, and make a complete rec- 
ord of the testimony and proceedings in the case, com- 
pelling the attendance of witnesses on both sides, or is- 
suing a commission to take depositions, where the wit- 
nesses live without the district, and taking the declara- 
tion of the accused in writing, which record, together 
with the opinion of the alcalde and the verdict of a jury 
of six disinterested and honest men who shall be sum- 
moned and sworn by said alcalde to decide on the facts 
of the case shall be sent up to the superior judge as soon 
as possible for final judgment. The prisoner shall have 
the right of sending, to said superior judge his defence 
in writing or should he be unable to write or have no 
friend to do it for him the alcalde shall cause what he 



APPENDIX.— II 409 



may dictate to be written. Should it appear that the 
crime is capital, or of a nature to deserve corporal pun- 
ishment, such alcalde shall detain the accused as a pris- 
oner and cause him to be guarded, and if necessary put 
him in irons or in stocks until judgment is finally pro- 
nounced, for which purpose, and until a jail is provided, 
the alcalde is hereby authorized to summon men as a 
guard, who shall serve and be responsible for the pris- 
oner, under the penalty of a fine imposed by the seventh 
article of the instructions, given by order of the governor 
of this province to the alcaldes on the 26th day of No- 
vember, 1822. And should the offence not merit cor- 
poral punishment, the said alcalde may at his discretion 
release the prisoner on bail, subject to appear and abide 
by the final judgment in the case. 

Art. 20. Should it come to the knowledge of any 
alcalde that a person of bad character, a vagabond, or 
a fugitive from justice is within the limits of his dis- 
trict, either as a traveler or resident inhabitant, it shall 
be the duty of such alcalde to cause such person to appear 
forthwith before him to answer to such accusation, and 
to such interrogatories as the alcalde may deem proper 
to put; and after recording the evidence on both sides, 
and the interrogatories and answers, the said record, to- 
gether with the opinion of the alcalde and the defence 
of the person, shall be sent up to the superior judge for 
final judgment, and the alcalde may detain such person 
as a prisoner until a final decision, should it appear that 
the public security and common good require it. 

Art. 21. Any person who shall oppose the adminis- 
tration of justice or prevent the execution of any legal 
process, order, or decree, or shall insult or abuse any 



410 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 



alcalde, or other officer, while in the exercise of his offi- 
cial duties, shall, on conviction thereof before the 
alcalde, be fined by him in any sum not exceeding fifty 
dollax-s, and be imprisoned not exceeding one month 5 
and should the case be a flagrant one, he shall, move- 
over, be liable to a criminal prosecution, and, on con- 
viction, be condemned to hard labor on public works 
until the superior government decides on the case. 

Art. 22. In all cases where a person fined is unable to 
pay said fine, or to give security therefor, he shall be 
condemned to labor on public works until his wages at 
the usual rate allowed in the country will amount to 
said fine. 

Art. 23. In all criminal cases, the party convicted 
shall pay all the costs, for which purpose his property 
may be seized and sold under an execution from the 
alcalde of the district. 

Art. 24. All writs, warrants, and executions in crimi- 
nal cases shall be issued in the name of the Mexican 
nation. 

Art. 25. Should any piratical or other vessels of a 
doubtful or suspicious character appear on the coast, or 
enter any river or inlet within this colony, it should be 
the duty of the person or persons who discovers them 
to give immediate information to the nearest alcalde, or 
to the political chief of the colony. 

Art. 26. All fines shall be applied by the alcalde, un- 
der the direction and superintendence of the superior 
judge, to the use of schools and other public purposes; 
and that this decree may arrive at the notice of all, I 
have caused it to be published and posted in the most 
public places, hereby ordering and commanding all civil 



APPENDIX.— II 411 



and militia officers and inhabitants of this colony to en- 
force and obey it under the pains and penalties prescribed 
by the laws in such cases. 

Given at the town of San Felipe de Austin, in the 
province of Texas, this 22d day of January, 1824, 
fourth year of the independence and third of the liberty 
of the Mexican nation. 

Stephen F. Austin. 

(Approved by the political chief of Texas in the 
same manner as in the civil regulations, and at the same 
time.) 



412 



A HISTORY OF TEXAS 



§ 3. 

THE OLD THREE HUNDRED. 

The colonists settled under the terms of Austin's first 
contract came to be known as "The Old Three Hun- 
dred " because the contract was for the introduction of 
300 families. The actual number of families intro- 
duced under it y however, was 297 . Nine families re- 
ceived two titles each. The table given below is an 
adaptation of one compiled from the records of the 
General hand Office at Austin, Texas, by Lester G. 
Bugbee, and published in the Texas Historical Quarterly 
for October, 1897 (Volume I). It gives the names 
of the colonists, the amount of land received by each, 
the present county in which the land is located, and the 
date the title was issued, A labor of land was about 
177 acres, and a sitio, or league, about 4,428 acres. 





AMOUNT 


LOCATION 

Present County 




NAME 


Sitios 


Labors 


Date of Title 




1 
M 


1 


Fort Bend 


July 10,1824 
July 10, 1824 


Allcorn, Elijah 


Washington 

Waller 




July 10,1824 






Allen, Martin 


1 


1 


Wharton 


July 19, 1824 
July 19, 1824 




Austin 






Alley, Tohn 


1 




Jackson and Lavaca 


May 14, 1827 




Alley, John 


1 




Fayette 


May 16, 1827 






Alley, Rawson 


VA 




Colorado 


Aug. 3, 1824 








Alley, Thomas 


1 




Brazoria 


July 29, 1824 


Alley, William . 










Alsbury, Charles G 


m 




Brazoria 




Alsbury, Harvey. . 


Aug. 3, 1824 









APPENDIX.— Ill 



413 



NAME 


AMOUNT 


LOCATION 

(Present County) 


Date of Title 




Sitios 


Labors 




Alsbury , Thomas 


2 


IK 


Fort Bend and 
Brazoria 


July 8, 1824 
July 8, 1824 




Waller 






Anderson, S. A 


1 




Fayette 


Aug. 10, 1824 






Andrews, John 


1 


l 


Fayette and 
Colorado 


July 7, 1824 
July 7, 1824 




Waller 






Andrews, William 


1 


1 


Fort Bend 


Tuly 15, 1824 
July 15,1824 




Fort Bend 






Angier, Samuel T 


1 




Brazoria 


Aug. 16, 1824 








Angier, Samuel T 




i 


Brazoria 


Aug. 24, 1824 








Austin, John 


2 




Harris 


July 21, 1824 






Austin, John 




l 


Brazoria 


Aug. 24, 1824 










3 


l 


Brazoria. 


Aug. 19, 1824 
Aug. 19, 1824 


Brazoria 








Austin, Santiago B 




l 


Waller 


Aug. 24, 1824 










5 

1V2 

H 
H 
H 

IX 

2% 
3H 


3 


Brazoria 


Sept. 1, 1824 
Sept. 1, 1824 
Sept. 1, 1824 
vSept. 1, 1824 
Sept. 1, 1824 




Brazoria.. ......... 




Brazoria 




Brazoria 


Austin, Estevan F 


Brazoria 




Brazoria 


Sept. 1, 1824 
Sept. 1, 1824 
Sept. 1, 1824 
Sept. 1, 1824 
vSept. 1, 1824 




Brazoria 




Wharton 




Wharton 




Brazoria 






Baily, James B 




Brazoria. 


July 7, 1824 






Balis, Daniel E 






Matagorda 


April 14, 1828 




Baratt, William 






Fort Bend . . . 


June 4, 1827 






Barnet, Thomas 






Fort Bend 


July 10, 1824 






Battle, M. M 






Matagorda. . . 


Aug. 10, 1824 








Battle, Mills M 






Fort Bend 


May 31, 1827 






Beard, James 






Fort Bend 


Aug. 10, 1824 








Beason, Benejani 






Colorado 


Aug. 7, 1824 








Belknap, Charles 






Fort Bend 


May 22, 1827 






Bell, Josiah H 


VA 






Aug. 7, 1824 



414 



A HISTORY OF TEXAS 



NAME] 


AMOUNT 


LOCATION 
(Present County) 


Date of Title 




Sitios 


Labors 


Bell, Thomas B 






Brazoria 


Aug, 16, 1824 






Berry, M 




(Part 


ner of M. M. Battle) 








Best, Isaac 






Waller 


Aug. 19, 1824 








Betts, Jacob 






Matagorda 


Aug. 19, 1824 










1 


Wharton 


July 10, 1824 
July 10, 1824 
July 10, 1824 


Biggam, Fras 






Waller 






Bloodgood, Wm 






Chambers and 
Harris 






Aug. 10, 1824 








Boatwright, Thomas 






Austin 


July 27, 1824 






Borden, Thos 






Brazoria 


July 29, 1824 






Bostwick, Caleb R 








July 24, 1824 




Bowman, John T 








Aug. 21, 1824 










Brazoria 


Aug. 10, 1824 




Bradley, John 






Brazoria, 


July 8, 1824 






Bradley, Thomas.. . . ! 




(Part 


ner of S. T. Angier) 








Breen, Charles 






Brazoria 


May 24, 1824 






Brias, Patrick 






Harris 


May 1, 1827 






Bridges, Wm. B 






Jackson 


July 21, 1824 






Bright, David 




1 


Fort Bend 


Tuly 15, 1824 
July 15, 1824 




Austin 






Brinson, Enoch 






Harris 


Aug. 7, 1824 








Brooks, Bluford 






(Forfeited) 


Aug. 10, 1824 










(Part 


ner of Caleb R. Bost 


wick) 


Brown, George 




(Part 


ner of Charles Belkn 


ao) 






Brown, John 




1 


Harris 


Aug. 19, 1824 




Waller 


Aug. 19, 1824 
















July 29, 1824 


Buckner, Aylett C 








July 24, 1824 






Buckner, Aylett C 




2 




Aug. 24, 1824 








1 






July 24, 1824 



APPENDIX.— Ill 



415 



NAME 


AMOUNT 


LOCATION 

(Present County) 


Date of Title 




Sitios 


Labors 






1 


1 


Fayette 


Aug. 16, 1824 




Colorado 


Aug. 16, 1824 








Byrd, Micajah 


1 




Washington 


July 16,1824 




Calliham, Mosis A 


1 




Harris 


Aug. 3, 1824 










1 


1 
1 


Brazoria. 


Aug. 3, 1824 


Calvit, Alexr 


Waller 


Aug. 3, 1824 




Brazoria 


Aug. 3, 1824 








Carpenter, David 


1 




Harris 


Aug. 16, 1824 








Carson, Win. C 


1 




Brazoria 


May 15, 1827 






Carter, Saml 


1 




Brazoria. . .. 


July 8, 1824 








1 


1 


Fort Bend 


Mar. 31, 1828 


Lavaca 


Mar. 31, 1828 










1 


1 


Austin 


Aug. 10, 1824 
Aug. 10, 1824 










2 


2 


Wharton 


July 7, 1824 
July 7, 1824 
July 7, 1824 




Fayette 


Austin 






Chance, Samuel 


1 




Brazoria 


July 27,1824 






Charles, Isaac N 


1 




Brazoria 


May 21,1827 






Chriesman, Horatio 


1 


2 


Fort Bend 


July 8, 1824 
July 8, 1824 




Austin 






Clarke, Antony R 




1 


Brazoria 


Aug. 24, 1824 








Clark, John C 


1 




Wharton 


July 16, 1824 






Coats, Merit M 


1 




Waller 


July 19, 1824 






Coles, Jno. P 


7H 

V2 




Burleson and 
Brazoria 


Aug. 19, 1824 
Aug. 19, 1824 




Aug. 19, 1824 








Cooke, Jno 


1 


(Part 
1 


ner of Isaac Hughes) 
Harris 






Aug. 10, 1824 








Cook, James 


1 




Colorado 


Aug. 3, 1824 








Cooper, William 


1 




Matagorda 


July 24, 1824 




Cooper, William 


IH 


2 


Waller 


Aug. 10, 1824 
Aug. 10, 1824 




Austin 








Crier, John 


l 




Matagorda 


June 6, 1827 



416 



A HISTORY OF TEXAS 



NAME 


AMOUNT 


LOCATION 

(Present County) 


Date of Title 




Sitios 


Labors 


Crownover, John 




1 


Wharton and 
Austin 


Aug. 3, 1824 




Aug. 3, 1824 








Cummings, James 






Brazoria 


Aug. 16, 1824 




(Forfeited) 


Aug. 16, 1824 


Cummings, John 






Brazoria 


July 21,1824 






Cummings, Rebecca 




2 


Brazoria 


July 21,1824 
July 21,1824 




Waller 






Cummings, William 






Brazoria 


July 21,1824 










1 


Colorado 


July 7, 1824 
July 7, 1824 
July 7, 1824 


Cummins, James 


Austin 




Colorado 






Curtis, James, Sr 






Burleson 


Aug. 3, 1824 








Curtis, James, Jr 






Brazos 


Aug. 19, 1824 








Curtis, Hinton 








Aug. 10, 1824 






Davidson, Samuel 






Brazos 


July 21,1824 






Davis, Thomas 






Austin 


July 29, 1824 






Deckrow, D 






Matagorda 


July 24, 1824 






Demos, Charles 






Matagorda 


Aug. 3, 1824 






Demos, Peter 














Dewees, Wm. B 




(Part 


ner of James Cook) 








Dickinson, John 






Galveston and 
Harris 






Aug. 19, 1824 








Dillard, Nicholas 






Brazoria 


Aug. 16, 1824 








Duke, Thomas M 








July 24, 1824 




Dutv. George 






Fayette 


July 19,1824 






Duty, Joseph 






Colorado 


July 19, 1824 








Dyer, Clement C. 






Colorado 


Aug. 10, 1824 








Dyer, Clement C. 




IK 


Waller 


Aug. 24, 1824 








Earle, Thos 




l 


Harris 


July 7, 1824 




Harris 


July 7, 1824 








Edwards, G. E 






Wharton 


Aug. 19, 1824 



APPENDIX.—III 



417 



NAME 


AMOUNT 


LOCATION 

(Present County) 


Date of Title 




Sitios 


Labors 




Elam, John 






(Forfeited) 


Aug. 7, 1824 






Elder, Robert 




1 


Waller 


Aug. 24, 1824 








Falenash, Charles 






Burleson 


Aug. 19, 1824 








Fenton, David 






Matagorda 


July 29, 1824 




Fields, JohnF 




1 


Brazoria.. . 


Aug. 24, 1824 








Fisher, James 






Burleson 


July 19,1824 






Fitzgerald, David 






Fort Bend 


July 10, 1824 






Flanakin, Isaiah 




2 


Austin 


July 19, 1824 






Flowers, Elisha 




1 


Colorado 


July 19, 1824 
July 19, 1824 








Foster, Isaac 






Matagorda 


Aug. 10, 1824 






Foster, John 


2V 2 


3 


Fort Bend 


July 15,1824 
July 15, 1824 


Fort Bend 






Foster, Randolph 






Waller and 
Fort Bend 






July 16, 1824 


Frazier, James 






Austin and 

Fort Bend 






July 24, 1824 


Fulshear, Charles 






Fort Bend 


July 16, 1824 






Garret, Charles 




1 


Brazoria 


July 15,1824 
July 15, 1824 




Waller 






Gates, Samuel 


y 2 




Washington 

Washington 


July 8, 1824 
July 8, 1824 




Gates, William 






Washington 

Washington 


July 16, 1824 
July 16, 1824 




George, Freeman 




1 


Waller 


July 7, 1824 
July 7, 1824 








Gilbert, Preston 








June 4, 1827 




Gilbert, Sarah 






Wharton and 
Fort Bend 






May 11, 1827 






1 


Austin 


Aug. 3, 1824 








Gorbet, Chester S 


i 




Brazoria. . . 


July 19, 1824 










1 




Aug. 24, 1824 



418 



A HISTORY OF TEXAS 



NAME 


AMOUNT 


LOCATION 

(Present County) 


Date of Title 




Sitios 


Labors 




Gray, Thos 


1 


1 


Brazoria 


Aug. 16, 1824 
Aug. 16, 1824 




Colorado 










5 
2 
3 




Brazoria 


July 29, 1824 
July 29,1824 
July 29,1824 


Groce, Jared E 


Waller. . . 




Grimes 








1 




Jackson 


July 19, 1824 






Haddan, John 


1 




Colorado 


July 29, 1824 






Hady , Samuel C 


1 




Waller 


Aug. 19, 1824 








Hall, Geo. B 




(Part 


ner of Samuel T. Ang 


ier.) 




Hall, John W 


2 


2 


Brazoria 


July 10, 1824 
July 10, 1824 




Waller 






Hall, W.J 


1 




Fort Bend 


July 10, 1824 






Hamilton, David 


1 




Wharton 


May 9, 1827 






Harris, Abner 




(Part 


ner of William Barat 


t) 




Harris, David 


1 




Harris 


Aug. 19, 1824 








Harris, John R 


1 




Harris 


Aug. 16, 1824 








Harris, William 




(Part 


ner of David Carpen 


ter) 






Harris, William 


1 




Brazoria 


July 10, 1824 






Harris, William J 




1 


Harris 


July 21,1824 






Harrison, George 


1 




Brazoria 


Aug. 16, 1824 








Harvey, William 


1 




Austin 


July 20, 1824 










1 




Brazos 


Aug. 16, 1824 






Hensley, James 


1 


1 




Aug. 3, 1824 




Austin 


Aug. 3, 1824 








Hodge, Alexander 


1 




Fort Bend 


April 12, 1828 








Holland, Francis 


1 




Grimes 


Aug. 10, 1824 








Holland, William 


1 




Grimes 


Aug. 10, 1824 








Holliman, Kinchen 


1 




(Forfeited) 


Aug. 10, 1824 








1 


2 


Brazos 


July 10,1824 
July 10, 1824 


Hope, James 


Brazos 






July 10, 1824 


Hudson, C. S 


i 






July 29, 1824 



APPENDIX.— Ill 



419 



NAME 


AMOUNT 


LOCATION 

(Present County) 


Date of Title 




Sitios 


Labors 














Huff, John 


1 




Wharton 


July 10, 1824 








Huff, George 


IK 




Wharton and 
Fort Bend 






Aug. 19, 1824 


Hughes, Isaac 




(Part 


ner John Cooke) 


(Forfeited) 






Hunter, Eli 


1 




Wharton 


July 24, 1824 








Hunter, Johnson 


1 




Harris 


Aug. 10, 1824 








Iiams, John 


1 




Chambers 


Aug. 7, 1824 








Ingram, Ira. 




1 


Waller 


Aug. 24, 1824 










2 


1 


Wharton 


July 29,1824 
July 29,1824 




Austin 






Irons, John 


1 




Waller 


July 16,1824 






Isaacks, Samuel 


1 




Fort Bend 


July 15,1824 






Jackson, Alexander 


2 




Wharton 


July 16,1824 






Tackson, Humphrey 


1 


1 


Harris 


Aug. 16, 1824 




Harris 


Aug. 16, 1824 








Jackson, Isaac 


1 




Grimes 


Aug. 7, 1824 








Jamison, Thomas 


1 




Matagorda and 
* Brazoria 






July 24, 1824 








Johnson, Henry W 




(Part 


ner of Thos. H. Bord 


en) 




Jones, Henry 


1 




Fort Bend 


July 8, 1824 








1 


1 


Wharton. . 


Aug. 10, 1824 
Aug. 10,1824 




Fort Bend 










1 




Brazoria.. . 


Aug. 10, 1824 




Austin 


Aug. 10, 1824 








Jones, R 


H 




Wharton.. . 


July 15,1824 






Jones, R. (Cont'd.) 


Vb 


1 


Fort Bend 


July 15,1824 
July 15, 1824 




Fort Bend 








Keep, Imla 


1 




Brazoria 


July 24,1824 






Keller, John C 


1 




Matagorda 


June 4, 1827 




Kelly, John 




2 


Brazos 


July 19, 1824 








Kennedy, Sam'l 


1 


1 


Fort Bend . . 


July 7, 1824 
July 7, 1824 







420 



A HISTORY OF TEXAS 



NAME 


AMOUNT 


LOCATION 

(Present County) 


Date of Title 




Sitios 


Labors 




Kennon, Alfred 






Burleson 


July 19, 1824 






Kerr, James 






Jackson 


May 6, 1827 






Kerr, Peter \ 






Washington 


Aug. 10, 1824 


Kerr, William/ 








Kincheloe, William 






Wharton 


July 8, 1824 
July 8, 1824 




Wharton 








Kingston, William 






Matagorda 


May 8, 1827 






Knight, James 




1 


Fort Bend 


July 15, 1824 
July 15, 182-4 




Fort Bend 










y 2 


2 


Fort Bend 


July 7, 1824 


Kuykendall, Abner 


Austin 


July 7, 1824 




July 7, 1824 








Kuykendall, Brazilla 




1 


Austin 


Aug. 7, 1824 








Kuykendall, Robert 






Wharton 






Wharton 










Kuykendall, Joseph 






Fort Bend 


July 8, 1824 








League, Hosea H 








May 25, 1827 




Leakey, Joel 






Washington and 
Austin 






May 28, 1827 








Linsey, Benjamin 






(Forfeited) 


Aug. 19, 1824 










1 


Austin 


May 21, 1828 
May 21, 1828 




Fort Bend 






Little, William 




1 


Fort Bend 


July 10, 1824 




Fort Bend 


July 10, 1824 






Long, Jane H 




1 


Fort Bend 


April 30, 1827 




Waller 


May 1, 1827 






Lynch, Tames 






Washington 


July 16, 1824 






Lynch, Nathanael 






Harris 


Aug. 19, 1824 








McCroskey, John 




1 


Brazoria 


Aug. 16, 1824 




Austin 


Aug. 16, 1824 








McCormick, Arthur 






Harris 


Aug. 10, 1824 








McCormick, David 






Brazoria 


July 21, 1824 








McCormick, John 




(Part 


ner of James Frazier) 








McCoy, Thomas . . v 




(Part 


ner of Daniel Deckro 


w) 





APPENDIX.— Ill 


421 


NAME 


AMOUNT 


LOCATION 

(Present County) 


Date of Title 




Sitios 


Labors 








m 


Brazoria 


July 10, 1824 
July 10, 1824 




Waller 






McFarlan, John 


m 


1 


Waller 


Aug. 10, 1824 




Waller 


Aug. 10, 1824 








McKenney, Thos. F 






Brazos 


Aug. 16, 1824 








McKinsey, Hugh 






Matagorda 






Aug. 3,1824 


McClain, A. W.) 






Colorado 


July 24, 1824 


McNair, James J 




McNeel, Daniel 






Brazoria 


Aug. 3, 1824 








McNeel, George W.\ 

McNeel, John G. J 


a 




Brazoria 


Aug. 10, 1824 






McNeel, John 






Brazoria 


Aug. 3, 1824 








McNeel, Pleasant D 






Brazoria. 


Aug. 7, 1824 








McNeel, Sterling 






Brazoria 


Aug. 19, 1824 








McNutt, Elizabeth 








July 21,1824 




McWilliams, William 






Burleson 


July 19,1824 






Marsh, Shubael 






Brazoria 


July 8, 1824 






Martin, Wily 






Brazoria 


July 29, 1824 






Mathis, William 






Brazos 


July 19, 1824 






Milburn, David H 




(Part 


ner of Thomas Davis 


) 






Miller, Samuel 






Washington 


Aug. 19, 1824 






Miller, Samuel R 






Washington 


Aug. 19, 1824 






Miller, Simon 






Fort Bend 


Aug. 7, 1824 








Millican, James D 






Brazos 


July 16, 1824 






Millican, Robert 


2V 2 




Brazos 


July 16, 1824 






Millican, William 






Brazos 


July 16, 1824 








Minus, Joseph 






Brazoria 


Aug. 19, 1824 








Mitchell, Asa 


1 




Brazoria 


Aug. 7, 1824 




Brazoria 


Aug. 7, 1824 








Mitchell, Asa 




1 




Aug. 24, 1824 



422 



A HISTORY OF TEXAS 



NAME 


AMOUNT 


LOCATION 
(Present County) 


Date of Title 




Sitios 


Labors 




Monks, John L 






(Forfeited) 








Moore, John H 




(Part 


ner of Thomas Gray) 








Moore, Luke 






Harris 


Aug. 3, 1824 








Morrison, Moses 




(Part 


ner of William Coope 


r) 






Morton, William 


IK 


1 


Fort Bend 


July 15, 1824 
July 15,1824 




Fort Bend 






Mouser, David 






Waller 


Aug. 19, 1824 








Nelson, James 






Colorado 


Aug. 7, 1824 








Newman, Joseph 




1 


Wharton 


Aug. 10, 1824 




Austin 


Aug. 10, 1824 








Nuckols, M. B 




1 


Matagorda and 
Brazoria 


Aug. 3, 1824 




Brazoria 


Aug. 3, 1824 








Orrick, James 




1 




Aug. 10, 1824 






Osborn, Nathan 






Colorado 


July 24, 1824 








Parks, Wm. \ 






Wharton 


July 24,1824 


Parker, Joshua/ 




Parker, William 




1 


Brazoria 


July 8, 1824 
July 8, 1824 




Waller 






Pennington, Isaac 






Fort Bend 


Aug. 3, 1824 
















Aug. 19, 1824 






1 


Colorado and 
Fayette 


Aug. 3, 1824 


Pettus, Freeman 


Matagorda and 






Aug. 3, 1824 




Colorado 


Aug. 3, 1824 












1 


Wharton 


July 10, 1824 


Pettus, William 


Fort Bend 


July 10, 1824 




Waller 


July 10, 1824 








Petty, John 






Fayette 


Aug. 10, 1824 








Peyton, J. C 








Aug. 25, 1827 


Phelps, James A. E 




2 


Brazoria 


Aug. 16, 1824 




Brazoria 


Aug. 16,1824 








Philips, I.B 






Wharton 


May 9, 1827 








Phillips, Zeno 








July 19, 1824 



APPENDIX.— Ill 



423 



NAME 


AMOUNT 


LOCATION 

(Present County) 


Date of Title 




Sitios 


Labors 




Picket, Pamelia 




1 


Austin 


July 21,1824 
July 21, 1824 










Polley, Joseph H 




(Part 


ner of Samuel Chanc 


e) 




Polley , Joseph H 






Fort Bend . 


Aug. 16, 1824 








Powell, Peter 




(Part 


ner of William King 


ston) 




Prater, William 




1 


Brazoria. . 


July 19,1824 
July 19,1824 




Austin 








Pruitt, Pleasant 








July 24,1824 




Pryor , William 




1 


Waller... 


Aug. 24, 1824 








Rabb, Andrew 


m 




Wharton 


Aug. 10, 1824 








Rabb, John 




2 


Fort Bend . . 


July 8, 1824 
July 8, 1824 




Austin 






Rabb, Thomas J 






Wharton. . 


July 24,1824 






Rabb, William 






Fayette 


July 19,1824 
July 19,1824 




Matagorda 


Rabb, William 




2 


Fayette 


Aug. 24, 1824 














Burleson 


Aug. 16, 1824 








Ramey , L 






Matagorda 


May 23, 1827 




Randon, David 




(Part 


ner of Isaac Penningt 


on) 






Randon, John 






Fort Bend 


Aug. 19, 1824 












1 


Harris 


July 7, 1824 




Harris 


July 7, 1824 








Rawls, Amos 








July 24,1824 




Rawls, Benjamin. 








Aug. 3, 1824 






Rawls, Daniel 


IK 






July 24, 1824 










Brazoria 


July 10, 1824 








Roark, Elijah 




1 


Fort Bend 


July 10,1824 




Waller 


July 10, 1824 








Robbins, Earle 




1 


Austin 


July 19,1824 








Robbins, William 




1 


Brazoria 


July 19,1824 




Austin 


July 19, 1824 
















May 10, 1827 



424 



A HISTORY OF TEXAS 



NAME 


AMOUNT 


LOCATION 

(Present County) 


Date of Title 




Sitios 


Labors 




Roberts, Noel P 


IK 




Port Bend 


July 15,1824 






Roberts, William 






Brazoria 


July 8, 1824 






Robertson, Edward 






Fort Bend 


Mar. 31, 1828 












1 


Brazoria 


July 8, 1824 
July 8, 1824 
July 8, 1824 




Waller 






Robinson, Geo 






Brazoria. . . 


July 8, 1824 






Ross, James 






Colorado 


July 19, 1824 






San Pierre, Toseph 




1 


Fort Bend 


Aug. 24, 1824 








Scobey, Robert 






Wharton 


Aug. 3, 1824 








Scott, James 






Fort Bend 


Aug. 7, 1824 












1 


Harris 


Aug. 19, 1824 


Scott, Wm 


Harris 


Aug. 19, 1824 




Harris 


Aug. 19, 1824 








Selkirk, William 






Matagorda 


Aug. 10, 1824 






Shelby, David 




(Part 


ner of John McCormi 


ck) 






Shipman, Daniel 




(Part 


ner of Isaac N. Char 


les) 






Shipman, Moses 




1 


Fort Bend 


July 19, 1824 
July 19, 1824 




Austin 






Sims, Bartlet 






Wharton.. 


Aug. 7, 1824 








Singleton, G. W 






Wharton 


May 14, 1827 






Singleton, Phillip 






Burleson and 
Washington 






Aug. 19, 1824 


Smith, Christian 






Harris and 
Chambers 






July 19, 1824 


Smith, Cornelius 






Brazoria 


Aug. 10, 1824 








Smith, John 




(Part 


ner of Hugh McKinse 


y) 




Smeathers, William 






Austin 


July 16, 1824 








Snider, Gabriel S 






Colorado 


Aug. 7, 1824 








Sojourner, Albert L 




(Part 


ner of Pumphrey Bur 


net) 


Spencer, Nancy 


1 




Fort Bend 


Aug. 19, 1824 








Stafford, Adam 




1 


Waller 


An?. 24, 1824 



APPENDIX.— Ill 



425 



NAME 


AMOUNT 


LOCATION 
(Present County) 


Date of Title 


Sitios 


Labors 


Stafford, William 


W 


1 


Port Bend 


Aug. 16, 1824 




Waller 








Stevens, Thomas. 






Waller 


Aug. 7, 1824 








Stout, Owen H 




(Part 


ner of Benjamin Raw 


Is) 




Strange, James 




1 


Harris 


Aug. 24, 1824 






Sutherland, Walter 






Brazos 


Aug. 10, 1824 






Tally, David 




4 

I 


Brazoria 


Aug. 16, 1824 




Austin 


Aug. 16, 1824 








Taylor, John I 






Harris 


Aug. 10, 1824 








Teel, George 






Fort Bend 


Aug. 3, 1824 








Thomas, Ezekiel 






Harris 


Aug. 19, 1824 








Thomas, Jacob 




1 


Waller. 


Aug. 24, 1824 








Thompson, Jesse 






Brazoria 


Aug. 7, 1824 








Tone, Thomas J 




(Part 


ner of Thomas Jamis 


on) 




Tong, James F 








Aug. 19, 1824 








Toy, Samuel. 






Austin 


May 7, 1827 






Trobough, John 


(Part 


ner of 


Patrick Brias) 












1 


Colorado 


Aug. 16, 1824 




Colorado 


Aug. 16, 1824 










l A 


1 


Colorado 


Aug. 19, 1824 


Tumlinson, James 


Wharton 


Aug. 19, 1824 




Colorado 


Aug. 19, 1824 








Vandorn, Isaac 




(Part 


ner of Daniel E. Bay 


lis) 




Varner, Martin 




1 


Brazoria 


July 8, 1824 
July 8, 1824 




Waller 






Vince, Allen 




(Part 


ner of M. A. Calliha 


m) 




Vince, Richardl 
Vince, Robt. / 






Harris 


Aug. 21, 1824 




Vince, Wm 






Harris 


July 21, 1824 












Washington 


July 21, 1824 


Walker, Thomas 




(Part 


ner of Thomas H. Bo 


rden) 






Wallice, Caleb! 


l 






May 14, 1828 



426 



A HISTORY OF TEXAS 





AMOUNT 


LOCATION 
(Present County) 




NAME 


Sitios Labors 


Date of Title 


Wells, Francis F 




1 




July 21, 1824 
July 21,1824 




Brazorsi 










2 


Wharton 


July 19, 1824 
July 19, 1824 
July 19, 1824 


Westall, Thomas 


Fort Bend 




Austin 






White, Amy 






Harris 


Aug. 16, 1824 








White, Joseph 






Brazoria 


Aug. 16, 1824 






White, Reuben 






Harris 


Aug. 19, 1824 








White, Walter C 




(Part 


ner of James Knight) 








White, William C 






Austin , 


Aug. 19, 1824 








Whitesides, Bolandl 
Whitesides, Henry J 






Brazos and Grimes. 


Aug. 10, 1824 


Whitesides, James 




1 


Grimes and Brazos. 
Waller 


July 16, 1824 
July 16, 1824 








Whitesides, William 






Waller 


July 19, 1824 






Whiting, Nathl 




(Part 


ner of Nathan Osbor 


n) 






Whitlock, William 


j * 




Harris 


Aug. 16, 1824 








Wightman, Elias D 








May 25, 1827 










Fort Bend 


May 26, 1827 




Williams, George I 








Aug. 19, 1824 






Williams, Henry 




(Part 


ner of John J. Bowma 


n) 






Williams, John 




(Part 


ner of Mills M. Battl 


e) 




Williams, John 




1 


Waller 


Aug. 24, 1824 








Williams, John R 


1 


1 


(Forfeited) 


July 29, 1824 
July 29, 1824 




(Forfeited) 






Williams, Robt. H 


1 






Aug. 19, 1824 






1 
1 


1 
1 
1 


Brazoria 


Aug. 10, 1824 




Brazoria 


Aug. 10, 1824 




Waller 


Aug. 10, 1824 




Austin 


Aug. 10, 1824 




Brazoria 


Aug. 10, 1824 








Williams, Solomon 


1 


1 


Waller 


Aug. 7, 1824 




Aug. 7, 1824 








Williams, Thomas 


1 






Aug. 16, 1824 






Woods, Zadock 


1 






May 15,1827 





APPENDIX.—IV 427 



§4. ' ' 

THE LAW OF APRIL 6, 1830. 

Art. 1. Cotton goods excluded in the law of May 
22, 1829, may be introduced through the ports of the 
Republic until January 1, 1831, and through the ports 
of the South Sea until June 30, 1831. 

Art. 2. The duties received on the above-mentioned 
goods shall be used to maintain the integrity of Mexican 
territory, to form a reserve fund against the event of 
Spanish invasion, and to promote the development of 
national industries in the branch of cotton manufactures. 

Art. 3. The government is authorized to name one 
or more commissioners who shall visit the colonies of 
the frontier states and contract with the legislatures 
of said states for the purchase, in behalf of the federal 
government, of lands deemed suitable for the estab- 
lishment of colonies of Mexicans and other nationali- 
ties 5 and the said commissioners shall make with the 
existing colonies whatever arrangement seems expedi- 
ent for the security of the Republic. The said 
commissioners shall supervise the introduction of new 
colonists and the fulfilling of their contracts for settle- 
ment, and shall ascertain to what extent the existing 
contracts have been completed. 

Art. 4. The chief executive is authorized to take 
such lands as are deemed suitable for fortifications or 
arsenals, and for the new colonies, indemnifying the 
states for the same, in proportion to their assessments 
due the federal government. 

Art. 5. The government is authorized to transport 
the convict-soldiers destined for Vera Cruz and other 



428 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

parts of the colonies, there to establish them as is 
deemed fit 5 the government will furnish free trans- 
portation to the families of the soldiers, should they 
desire to go. 

Art. 6. The convict-soldiers shall be employed in 
constructing the fortifications, public works and roads 
which the commissioners may deem necessary, and 
when the time of their imprisonment is terminated, if 
they should desire to remain as colonists, they shall 
be given lands and agricultural implements and their 
provision shall be continued through the first year of 
their colonization. 

Art. 7. Mexican families who voluntarily express 
the desire to become colonists will be furnished trans- 
portation, maintained for one year, and assigned the best 
of agricultural lands. 

Art. 8. All the individuals above mentioned shall be 
subject to both the federal and state colonization laws. 

Art. 9. The introduction of foreigners across the 
northern frontier is prohibited under any pretext what- 
ever, unless the said foreigners are provided with a 
passport issued by the agents of this Republic at the 
point whence the said foreigners set out. 

Art. 10c No change shall be made with respect to 
the slaves now in the states, but the federal govern- 
ment and the government of each state shall most 
strictly enforce the colonization laws and prevent the 
further introduction of slaves. 

Art. 11. In accordance with the right reserved by 
the general congress in the seventh article of the Law 
of August 18, 1824, it is prohibited that emigrants 
from nations bordering on this Republic shall settle in 



APPENDIX.— IV 429 



the states or territories adjacent to their own nation. 
Consequently, all contracts not already completed and 
not in harmony with this law are suspended. 

Art. 12. Coastwise trade shall be free to all foreign- 
ers for the term of four years, with the object of turning 
colonial trade to the ports of Matamoros, Tampico and 
Vera Cruz. 

Art. 1 3. Frame houses and all classes of foreign food 
products may be introduced through the ports of Gal- 
veston and Matagorda, free of duty, for a period of 
two years. 

Art. 14. The government is authorized to expend 
five hundred thousand dollars (pesos) in the construc- 
tion of fortifications and settlements on the frontier, 
in the transportation of the convict-soldiers and Mexi- 
can families of same, and their maintenance for one 
year, on agricultural implements, on expenses of the 
commissioners, on the transportation of troops, on pre- 
miums to such farmers among the colonists as may 
distinguish themselves in agriculture, and on all the 
other expediments conducive to progress and security 
as set forth in the foregoing articles. 

Art. 15. To obtain at once one-half of the above 
sum the government is authorized to negotiate a loan 
on the customs proceeds which will be derived from 
the ordinary classes of cotton goods, said loan to pay 
a premium of three per cent monthly, payable at the 
expiration of the periods fixed in the tariff's schedule. 

Art. 16. One-twentieth of the said customs receipts 
shall be used in the promotion of cotton manufactures, 
such as in the purchase of machines and looms, small 
sums being set aside for the installing of the machinery, 



430 A HISTORY OF TEXAS 

and any other purpose that the government shall deem 
necessary 5 the government shall apportion these funds 
to the states having this form of industry. The said 
funds shall be under the control of the Minister of 
Relations for the purpose of promoting industries of 
such importance. 

Art. 17. Also three hundred thousand dollars (pesos) 
of the above mentioned customs receipts shall be set 
aside as a reserve fund on deposit in the treasury, under 
the strict responsibility of the government, which 
shall have power to use the same only in case of a 
Spanish invasion. 

Art. 18. — The government shall regulate the estab- 
lishment of the new colonies, and shall present to 
Congress within a year a record of the emigrants and 
immigrants established under the law, with an estimate 
of the increase of population on the frontier. 



R01Z43 eitaa 



ROIE 1 ^ ETbflfl