SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
BLACKALLER TO WILLIAMS 19 MAY 1835. Monclova, 19 May 1835. "The bearer, Martin Villatrego, was employed in making the coffin for the late Col. DeWitt and has to receive $6.00 for his services." John Blackaller to Samuel May Williams in Williams Papers, Rosenberg Library, Galveston, # 23-1422.
KERR TO BORDEN 3 Jun 1835. Lavaca 3rd June 1835 Mr Gail Borden Jur Dear Sir. I have seen a prospectus for a paper "Telegraph"---dear sr you will please put my name to it as a subscriber to be sent by mail and on Receipt of first copy---I will send you $5.00. I have requested Major Southerland to give you $5.00---as you requested fore repair of compass---etc. I and my family are in common hea[lth], Mary is and has been at School for some time---and has no little praise from hir teacher and Schoolmates---I believe She Learns---prety well---She---sends hir Respects to you and Mrs. Bordin---Mr. B. Durbin goes to sanfelepe to pay the fees---on a quarter League No.3---above Smithes on Navidad---I--- have directed him to you for informatition, and to pay the whole amount of the State fees---to you if you will recieve them---.from the deed I make out that the first payment will not be due till 6th December Next---but I want Mr. Durbin to pay all the state fees---now. please write me all the news---say what you know about Williams, etc. etc. And what is going on in the Interior. We have news here that Colo Austin is at Liberty, and will be in Monclova on the 20th this Mo.---That Genl. Santana has taken Zacatecas. 700---Killd. and he took 2700 prisoners---then turned on his heel and went toward to the South---to put down Genl. Albares and Libertey in that Section. We understand that Genl. Cos---has sent a copy of a proclamation & the Ayuntementos in texas---in which he says "there is certain designing foreigners in Monclova exciting and creating rebellion aud Insulting the Sovreign Nation" etc. etc. The Sale of 650.---Leagues of Land by this State has caused much excitement in these Settlements---so far as I have heard the people are not willing to stand the pull If there was any way to to help it---. What do you believe Santana's Intentions are? I have just received a new Land Law, dated 2nd may---(past)-it provides for all who are Now in texas and who have not got any to receive land acording to the Law of 24---march 1825---, by way of a commissioner Genl. one for Each department of Texas Shall be appointed, and those who come to the country Since---May 1832---shall pay to the State 60-$ on a sitio of pasture, and five Dollars on each Labore of Arable Land. I Leave home to day on a surveying tour in deleon's Colony, and shall be gone 4---or 5 week---There has been a great many more applications for Land in that Colony than the contract calld for---his time was out 29th of April---but he has time granted to have the Surveys, an titles made---There has been more than 50---applicants since the contract was filld who of course could not be recieved Colo Dewitt Died some time ago in Monclova. James Kerr
PONTON TO MILLER 10 Jun 1835. June 10th 1835 Hon. J. B. Miller Political Chief of the Brazos-Sir I beg the privilege of asking your honor for information relative to transactions occuring in my official capacity In the first place I would ask whether or not we have been correct in considering the Colonization law relative to collecting the monnies and the [illegible] for lands without awaiting further Secondly to what extent it may be my duty to make statistical reports of the enemy &c &c---your opinion on the subject of collecting the tax of $100 on Town lots And all of other instructions you may feel disposed give will be thankfully received by your Obt Servant Andrew Ponton, Alcalde Gonzales June 10th 1835
MILLER TO CHAMBERS 4 Jul 1835. Gonzales 4th. July 1835. T. J. Chambers Esq. Sir: I reed. yours pr. Mexican together with Mr. Smith's favor of same date---3d inst.---I have enclosed to you the letter in question (copy) & another another which may not come amiss---the Anahuac concern has left that seat of sedition and broil--San Felipe---& will go far towards provoking & challenging for the whole of Texas a mischevious war. A general disgust exists towards those who have excited to it by their unholy intrigues in things sacred. & a Convention (not at San Felipe) is about being assembled to protest agt. this officious interference in their affairs by those who have caused it. They are in difficulties, ---& to procure the people of Texas, so to commit themselves as not to be enabled to act as they otherwise would do, seems in the opinion of many to be their plans. The Convention (if holden) will only seek to know what is demanded of Texas, & if no more is wished, than to take those obnixious persons & to establish their aduanas it will not require troops to do it. But really, I fear the event, if troops come on before the object be known. What do you think of the plan? The people are anxious to adhere to the Govt. on the plan of the Constitution, & the general opinion is that 16,000 men have no business here---yet war is ruinous to every country, more especially if unnecessary Yours etc. James H. C. Miller P. S. J. W. Bunton Esq. of Mina - James Kerr Esq & Genl. Stapp from La Baca & some others of note are now here---I speak not for myself alone---& your Letter will be copies to various parts of the Dept.
MILLER TO SMITH [James H. C. Miller, Gonzales, to John W. Smith in Bexar, July 4, 1835, protesting against the actions of those who are attempting to bring on a war]
FISHER TO COMMITTEE 4 Jul 1835. Gonzales, July 4, 1835. Gentlemen: Your communication per Mr. Bunton has been received and we are glad to inform you that we have at lenght received from the interior information that may be depended on; Mr. Gritton, whom we are informed is a confidential friend of the President, is now in this town direct from the city of Mexico who informs us that all the reports of the unfriendly disposition of the general government towards the colonies are false, and that if troops are ordered on to Texas, it is for the purpose of counteracting any insurrectionary movements that might be consequent ou the arrest of the land speculators & corrupt officers of tho state government. Mr. G. has also with him the latest Mexican papers, all of which express a decidedly friendly disposition towards the people of Texas; from these your secretary, Mr. Bunton, has made copious extracts, which precludes the neccessity of our entering into a detail of their contents, he has also copies of letters received lately from Judge Chambers, and Mr. Smith of Bexar, which will give you all the information that this committee are possessed of.
In the present attitude of affairs when the community is agitated by a thousand contradictory reports, & Demagogues are busily engaged in circulating reports calculated to mislead the people, and hurry them into rash and precipiate measures, it appears to this committee to be a matter of vital importance that a CONVENTION be immediately called, so that the feeling of the people may be known on the subjects that now engross and agitate the minds of all men and that by a formal investigation of circumstances, the hur then may be laid on the shoulders of those who have been the ORIGINATORS of the disturbances. The committee are of opinion that it is most expedient that the call for a Convention should be made by the municipality of Mina; and it is the opinion of this committee that by despatching runners to the different municipalities a convention might be called together in 15 or 20 days;---should you think it expedient to go into this measure, and the committee doubt not that its importance will strike you at once, you may depend upon the hearty co-operation of this municipality. It is also the opinion of this committee that the place appointed or the meeting of the CONVENTION should be without the bounds of the San Felipe Junto. In relation to the expedition to the Indian village, we can only say that you may depend on our hearty concurrence. Respectfully, Wm. J. Fisher, Pres. Com. Safety. To the com. of safety for Mina. The, above a true copy. J.W.B.
KERR TO CHAMBERS. 5 Jul 1835. Williams, Johnson, Carbajal, Bowie, and others cry, "wolf, wolf, condemnation, destruction, war, to arms!" Williams says, "I have bought a few leagues of land from the government; but if they don't bring the governor to Bexar, I shall not be able to get my titles." What a pity; and with his terrible tales I am astonished to see that they have had the cleverness to excite some persons of that colony to a high degree. In regard to those delinquents against the laws of the country and against honor and morality who were concerned in the illicit buying and selling of the 650 sitios of land in Monclova, there is not in my opinion, in all the country one single person, with the exception of the interested ones, who would wittingly seek his own ruin in order to save thousands like Williams and the others. But they have been able perhaps to deceive many persons and make them believe that an army is coming to destroy their properties and annihilate their rights in Texas. Carbajal has taken flight to San Felipe. When he passed through my neighborhood he spoke with words full of alarm; but the inhabitants of La Vaca and Navidad are inclined to attend to their ranches and estates, and they say that if the government wishes to seize those criminals and collect the legal duties in its custom houses, it may do so. It is my opinion that if an armed force were sent to Texas, it would be very prejudicial and ruinous to the nation. Imagine for a moment the number of officers---to say nothing of the soldiers---who would fall under the fire of the muskets. Nevertheless, a war would inevitably be disastrous for Texas, and what would the nation not lose by it! Imagine it yourself, some 20,000 or 30,000 men. What, all that for some ten rascals who have fraudulently taken from the government and from the towns 650 sitios of land? God forbid such a thing!
POSITION STATEMENT CITIZENS OF GONZALES 7 Jul 1835. 7th July 1835 At a meeting of the Citizens of the Jurisdiction of Gonzales field on the 7th July 1835 pursuant to a call of the alcalde, for the better consideration of the State of both our 'interior' and domestic residences, B D McClure Esqr in the chair and James H. Miller, Secretary were passed the following resolutions provides to which Mr. Edward Gritten explained to the meeting in a defense and clear manner the condition of things with the General Government in relation to Texas, what measures were on hand in the General Congress for the benefit of this Country when the state Congress of the State brought us into collision with the Federal Constitution and laws, what Course was adopted by them in consequence and its progress---what were the probable views of the General Government at this time on the Subject of Texas, and undid which earnestly reccomending to the City in question obedience & Submission to the authority of the Nation. Very diliberate discussion was had of the resolutions we have and Should presurve with the Mescican Republic, and many energetic remarks were made in respect to the late corruptions at Monclova and the efforts to cover the hedlong retreat of the speculating party in a Provisional Government, (The Central Committee To the country not withstanding),---in which remarks arid discussions Served. Gentlemen---not of the Jurisdiction contributed much to the information and benefit of the meeting---after the conclusion of which the following resolutions were passed by an unanimous voice.
1st---in motion of Mr. Mitchell it was notified that we Present assist
the late Sale of 400 Leagues of our Land as an act of corruption in all partys concerned
and we will not Support Such men nor measures, but on the contrary aid the Government in
maintaining the integrity of the constitution arid laws of the Mescican Nation
MILLER TO SMITH 25 Jul 1835. [To J. W. Smith, Bexar] [July 25, 1835] .......All here is in a train for peace, the war and speculating parties are entirely put down, and are preparing to leave the country. They should now be demanded of their respective chiefs---a few at a time---at first, Johnson, Williamson, Travis, and Williams, ---and perhaps that is enough. Capt. Martin once revolutionary, is now, thank God, where he should be, in favor of peace and his duty, and by his influence in a good degree has peace been restored. But now they should be demanded---the moment is auspicious. The people are up. Say so, and oblige one who will never forget his true allegiance to the supreme authorities of the Nation and who knows that until they are dealt with, Texas will never be at quiet. Travis is in a peck of trouble. Dr. James B. Miller disclaims his act in taking Anahuac and he feels the breach. Don Lorenzo de Zavala is now in Columbia ti-vine, to arouse [the people] etc have him called for and he also will be delivered up. Williamson., Johnson, and Baker are now on a visit to him, and no doubt conspiring aginst the Government. Fail not to move in this matter, and that quickly, as now is the time......James H. C. Miller]
San Felipe July 25th 1835 John W Smith I reed yours advising me in relation to the Horse. I have no use for him now, advise therefore that he be not sent at present All here is in a train for peace, the war and space eating parties are entirely put down, & are preparing to leave the country. They should now be demanded of their respective chiefs---a few at a time---first Johnson, Williamson, Travis, & Williams---and perhaps that is enough. Capt Martin once revolutionary, is now, thank God, where he should be, in favor of peace and his duty. And by his influences in a good degree has peace been restored. But soon they should be demanded---the moment is auspicious.---The people are up. Say so and oblidge one who will never forget his time allegiance to the Supreme authorities of the Nation and who knows that till they are dealth with. Texas will never be at quiet, Travis is in a peck of troubles. Dr J. B. Miller disclaims his act in taking [illegible] and he feels the breach Dr. Loranzo de Zavala is now in Columbia attempting to arouse &c. have him called for and he also will be delivered up Williams, Johnson & Baker are now on a visit to him, and no doubt conspiring against the Government. Fall not to move in this matter; and there quickly, as now is the time Resp. Y Dear Sir James H C Miller.
I herewith enclose you an answer from the [illegible] to the Resolutions, which you entered into at Gonzales I believe the 8th of this present month. Col Ugartichea tells me the Genl was much pleased with them. Mr. Hodge arrived to day & will leave tomorrow for Gonzales. The bearer of this takes an order to the [Illegible] to Gonzales, or to you direct (and I am not certain which) but if the Ayuntamciento it goes to you direct, for the apprehension and delivery of Williams, Williamson, Johnson, Travis, Zavala & Baker, a like order directed to the other Alcalides, which if complied with will prevent the troops from going to the Colonies and if not complied with, they certainly will go, the Col assured me to day, that if these aggressors could be had, he would not go to the Colony, but in ease they were not taken, and given up he would march to the Colony, for no other purpose but to get them. No more at present be remaining Yours truly &c.John W Smith I have compared this copy with the original in my possession & certify that it is a true copy Gonzales August 3d. 1835. Andrew Ponton
SMITH TO PONTON Jul 1835. From John W. Smith Bexar to Andrew Ponton Gonzales I herewith enclose You an answer from the Genl. to the Resolutions which you entered into at Gonzalles I believe the 8th. of this present Month Col. Ugartachea tells me the Genl was much pleased with them Mr Hodge arrived to day and will leave tomorrow for Gonzales The bearer of this takes an order to the Ayuntamiento of Gonzales or to you direct (and I dont know which for certain) but if to Ayuntamiento it goes to you direct for the apprehension and delivery of Williams Williamson Johnson Travis Zavalla & Baker a like order is directed to the other Alcaldas which if complied with will prevent the troops from going to the colonies if not complied with this certainly will go The Col assured me to day that if these aggressors could be had he would not go to the Colony but in case they were not taken and given up he would march to the Colony for no other pourpose but to get them No more at present but remain Your truly &c. John W Smith [July, 1835]
KERR TO LEWIS 3 Aug 1835. San felipe 3rd---August 1835 Major Ira B. Lewis Esq. My Dear Sir, I came on Saturday the first inst---but did not know in what capacity---I thought probably to a convention of all Texas or, at least to a council of all the department of Brassos---but it turned out to be in consequence of the order of His Honor James B. Miller etc.---4 Municipalities was represented, and 3 was not---It turned out as---friend Fisher predicted---nothing---and so much the better for us---but we felt ourselves unauthorised to do anything (even recommendatory) because there was not a full representation---The Hon Acting Chief Informed us that Doct Miller had not informed him of any reasons he had for calling the council etc, that Commissioners (Messrs Gritton and Barrett) had been sent to see Gen Cos---In order to explain through him to the president the. whole affairs of Texas---The Chief dissolved the council, without a day---but it is understood that he will recommend to those municipalities not represented in this council to hold elections for delegates, and that in case of Immergencles, after hearing from our commissioners, lie will call them together again. A question is pending in Columbia on the subject of Convention or no Convention, and to be tried on Saturday week---I believe it is the Desire of a Majority of all to keep pease as long as (hands off) and when our rights and priveleges are invaded to kick like mules all feet at once---Chambers will wright you---and I must refer you to Mr. Robbinson etc---for the ballance of the news---My Respects to Mrs. L. and ones and believe me Dear Cir Yours Truly. James Kerr P.S.--I will send you the amt of my note in favor of Mr. Chievs---by the first oppertunity after getting home---Let me hear from you often---Mrs. K. has a Jim Crow 16 days old ha, and I start home in a fewe minnits) [Addressed] Major Ira R. Lewis Esq. Mattagorda
Minister of Interior Relations to Municipality of Gonzales 5 Aug 1835 (Extract). ....When the general Congress takes into consideration the reforms of the Constitution which have been requested unanimously by almost all the towns of the Republic, that august assembly will bear in mind the wants of the inhabitants of Texas, for the purpose of providing a remedy; and the government will very cheerfully co-operate in that object, by making the propositions which may most conduce to so laudable an end, reckoning always on the good sense and docility of the colonists, who, on adopting this for their country, subjected themselves to the alterations that, respecting the institutions, the majority of the nation may think fit to agree upon; which disposition the government is decided on supporting in fulfilment of its duty, as it is, also, of protecting all the inhabitants of the Republic, lovers of order, and of punishing those who foment sedition. [Signed] BONILLA. Dated Mexico, August 5, 1835.
MILLER TO PUBLIC Sep 1835. To The People of Texas. Having been informed that great excitement has been produced to my disadvantage, by a letter written by me to John W. Smith of Bexar, during the latter part of the month of July, ---and believing that a candid examination of the same, and the facts and circumstances connected with it, will tend to procure me justice, I take the liberty of addressing you on the subject. It will be recollected that when the misunderstanding occurred last spring at Monclova between the Federal and State Authorities, certain of our fellow citizens was charged by the Central Government, with being implicated in the affair, and orders issued for their arrest: several of' them were arrested, but ultimately succeeded in getting back to Texas, some by one and others by other means. But that all [illegible] released from farther responsibility, their hasty retreat, convey at least some intimation. It will also be recollected, that while at Monclova. these Gentlemen wrote to Texas many letters, in aid of the Governor with the object of procuring troops to sustain the acts of the State Congress against the President or his Commandant-General for these States) who it must be remembered by his 3nd attribute is expressly charged in the Federal Consiltution, with causing that Constitution and the general Laws to be observed, and whether those letters or any of them are opened or intercepted, or by what steps I have no means of knowing, ---but Col. Ugartechea writes that troops were forthwith put in motion for the purpose of' suppressing the revolution which the Government had reason to believe would be attempted by those individuals on their return to Texas. It will be recollected that the great sale of Land to those gentlemen, was in violation of the 12th Art. of the National Colonization Law, of the l8th of August 1824, in virtue of which the States dispose of the lands within their respective limits, and that of consequence, nothing but force of arms could enable them to realize their purchase.
All these circumstances, together with the fact that it was, at first, almost entirely those men, who were for war, made it appear very probable that their zeal and patriotism had to excite them something of a private nature, and accordingly it was found (after the first burst of enthusiasm had passed away) almost impossible for a time to arouse the people to arms. The proceedings of the first meeting, even at San Felipe itself, were pronounced mischievous &c. &c. by a large subsequent meeting of the people, who now declare for peace & conciliation with the Federal Government, in no equivocal terms. The Municipality of Gonzales, in which I live, from the very beginning, of the excitement had been for peace, declaring in their resolutions of the 7th July, and which were approved on the 19th of the same month, that they "would neither support such men nor measures," and indeed the whole country from one end to the other with the exception of a very limited munber of individuals, seemed resolved on peace on any honorable terms, and expressed full confidence in the good faith of the Government in its relations with us. This state of things continued till some time after the 1st of August last, when the aspect of affairs began to undergo a change; and perhaps there was no time when the people were more easily provoked by the mere mention of any thing tending to precipitate Texas in to a war with the nation, than when the letter was written, viz: on the 25th of July, with the people, I though[t] it was attempting to wheedle us with fancied dangers, ---I put confidence with the protestations of the Government, solemnly and repeatedly made to us in all forms and through different channels. When I say, with the people, I say what I mean, for I heard hundreds of persons and in all parts of the country, say, that if they took their rifles into hand, at all, it would be to go and take the agitators of the public peace (some confined themselves to the speculators) and deliver them to the Government, ---and I may safely appeal to the generous-minded people of all Texas, whether at that time nine-tenths of them did not at least feel if they did not speak this. This will more especially apply to the upper Jurisdictions. The facts are well known. And I repeat, I felt at that time as all (by which I mean a great majority) felt, and as I felt, I spoke, wrote, and acted. It is told to me that certain individuals who were advising and approving of the measure of seizing the popular feeling at the time, and of procuring an order for and the arrest of the agitators, are among the foremost in decrying me for having written, ---to such men I can say, that at present, I shall call no names nor associate any other individual with me in the act, ---it will be left with themselves to allow the fact ---yet I assuredly will have justice. But I will say at this time, that there were several persons, public, & private who approved of the step, and who knew that the order was to [illegible] and also were arrangements made beforehand for carrying it into effect when it should arrive. But for the present let that matter rest.
I am told that the public believe I wish to keep up a state of Military surveillance in the country, and accordingly advised that few were to be called for at a time which they are made to conceive implies that there were many, altogether, to be removed. Fellow citizens, this construction does me manifest injustice, as it is immediately opposed to the true one, which was simply that instead of many, I wished that but few should be called for, I had good reason for believing that the Government was marking for arrest all those persons who were actively engaged in exciting to disaffection, and these comprise a considerable number, and wishing to see brought about a pacification on the easiest terms and with the loss of as few as possible of our leading men, I had recourse to that mode of expression, and after enumerating three whom the Government had already called for, and naming three more whom Col. Ugartechea had been heard to say when the San Felipe war-resolutions, as they are called reached him, that he would have at whatever cost, I closed by saying "and perhaps that will be enough." Is this an unmeaning expression? or rather does it not qualify the whole paragraph? by simply advising that no more should be called for. Fellow-citizens, I can assure you that this was the intended meaning, and if it can be forced to bear any other construction, it has been caused by a carelessness of expression. I intended to have advised thus in effect, "perhaps those six will be enough, and let them be called for a few at a time."
Another charge against me is, I understand, that I had private revenge in view, and not the good of the country. This I disclaim and deny, altogether & in all its parts. True it is, I have cause for unpleasant feelings towards some of those men, Yet those who know me would not make it necessary for me to deny that any such feelings could influence my public conduct. Besides, with Messrs. Johnson and Baker, I have never exchanged an angry word, and they are two of the three who were not called for till after my letter was written. If these gentlemen are aware of having done me any wrong previously to my having written, they will be able to conceive that I have cause of better feelings towards them, but one thing is certain, they cannot specify up to this very moment any act of mine to show I entertain them. I should have sacrificed any friend if he were jeopardizing the safety, happiness and lives of my countrymen, and would not desist, even when he knew the majority were against him. Thus far of the act as committed under the state of feeling then existing. But times have changed, and with the times many circumstances have transpired which go to show that many, of the dangers, once supposed to be fanciful, are too real, that the government are contemplating and actually fitting up a formidable invasion of the rights and properties of Texas, that the ruin of her commerce, the emancipation of her slaves, the abolition of the system of colonization, the prostration of her local Militia and other oppressive measures are within her scheme, all ruinous to the interests of the country. Texas is now up; she has shaken off her apathy. She sees but with one eye. A union has been effected, all which now seems to be required of her, is to determine what shall be done; but ungenerous in the extreme to heap courses on one of your fellow-citizens, for no other cause but having thought as you once thought, and for taking steps to bring about what you seemed so much to have desired. If peace was not the result of the measure; at least it was anticipated. The motive was a pure one under which I acted, based on the prosperity of Texas, and if events have shown I was subject to an error in the views I took of the expedient course, ---have only been subject to that, to which a thousand have been subject, before me. Man is made to err. If my motives were bad, if the public believe me a traitor to my fellow countrymen, then is the ebloquy and odium thrown upon me, just---but if [illegible] nor involved in speculation, if I have been devoted more to the public than my private interests and remain still no wise improved in my pecuniary condition; if no act can be shown in which I have evinced a wish to sacrifice the public welfare for any consideration during my residence in the country, why doubt what I solemnly assure my fellow-citizens, that whatever sophistry may make of the case, the prosperity of Texas was the motive under which I acted, and if I erred in my politics, it is out of my power to do more, than to acknowledge the fault.
Events have shown what ordinary prudence and forsight could not have anticipated, and if all considerations but the force of propriety alone were put aside, not no American would be by myself voluntarily given up to the new government. To say the least, our relations with it are equivocal at present, and if under the Federal system, crimes and punishment bore but little proportion to each other, what must not be expected from a system of despotism. (Texas is now at issue with the Mexican Government whatever it is, and till a convention shall determine what is to be done, the policy of every man is open and his opinion is his only law on the subject.) But it is to be hoped that these relations will soon be established more definately; if not, and at every evolution of opinion, those who have chanced to have placed their ideas on paper, or in any manner have acted on them are to be declared infamous by those who having entertained the same notions themselves have yet not thus committed themselves, but float with the current, then where is the man who will dare do his duty.
It has been told me that the named individuals are highly incensed---I regret that they, as part of the community, should be dissatisfied with my conduct, to satisfy the public mind I am willing to make exertions. To them as individuals, I would say, Gentlemen you claim the right of forming your respective opinions, of expressing them fearlessly, and of acting on them; exercise magnanimity enough to grant me also that right. Originally that you were wantonly involving the country in a ruinous war, and that holding you amenable to the laws and constitution which you were charged with violating, would produce pacification, I advised that you be ordered. In this opinion I was fixed. I sincerely believed in the good faith of the government; but. not when I find myself in error, can you wish that I should do more than to assure you I respect that very sagacity which enabled you to foretell the dangers by which we were surrounded sooner than myself. In the sincere hope that this explanation may be sufficient to satisfy the public mind of the correctness of my motives, I regard to the whole affair, I remain the public's most obedient James H. C. Miller. [September, 1835?]
GONZALES COMMITTEE OF SAFETY TO MINA. San Felipe. I am directed by the Committee of Safety of Gonzales to address you for the purpose of procuring immediate assistance to repel an expected attack of the enemy. The circumstances which influence us to this measures are these: A demand at the insistence of Ugartechea, has been made for a piece of cannon, which has been in this town upwards of four years. This cannon is not needed in Bexar, for they have eighteen pieces there, all unmounted, besides those which they have mounted; this piece was given to us unconditionally, as we are informed, for the defense of the colony. From every circumstance and from information, we are justified in believing that this demand is only made to get a pretext to make a sudden inroad attack upon this colony for marauding and other purposes. The Alcalde, with the approbation of the people, has refused to deliver up the cannon; and we are satisfied that as soon as Colonel Ugartechea is informed of the fact, he will immediately send a force against this colony at least , thinking us to weak to resist him. We therefore earnestly request you to send what force you can collect immediately to our assistance. You need make no delay about provision, for we have plenty at your service. The time we think is most pressing, and the occasion most urgent. By order of the committee G.W. Davis, Secretary
AUSTIN TO COMMITTEE OF SAFETY 29 Sep. San Felipe de Austin, September 29th,1835. The Committee of the Jurisdiction of Austin has received the communication directed to the Committee of Safety of Mina by you, in the name of the people of Gonzales, under date of the 25th inst. stating that Colonel Ugartechea had made a demand for the piece of cannon at that place, and that the people are justified in believing that this demand is only made to get a pretext to make a sudden inroad and attack upon that colony for marauding and other purposes;" in consequence of which those people request assistance to aid in repelling an attack should one be made. The present movement of the people of Texas are of a popular and voluntary character in defense of their constitutional rights which are threatened by military invasion of an unconstitutional character. The people are acting on the defensive, and therefore, there cannot be a doubt, that it was correct in the people of Gonzales, under this principle, to detain the piece of cannon which was given to them by the authorities of a constitutional government to defend themselves and the country if necessary. On this principle the people of this, and of every other section of the country, as for as this committee is informed, are ready to fly at a moment's warning to the defense of those people should they be attacked. Companies of volunteers have already marched, and more are in readiness, should they be needed, to repel an attack. This committee beg leave to suggest that inasmuch as the position taken by the country up to the present, is purely defensive, it is very important to keep this principle constantly in view, and to avoid making attacks unless they should be necessary as a measure of defense. Yours respectfully, S. F. Austin Chairman of Committee.
KERR TO AUSTIN 30 Sep 1835. Lavacca 30th Septr. 1835 Stephen F Austin Esq Dear Sir, I wrote you on the 27th Inst by Mr. Parker, desiring you to open a Letter which I had some days previous addressed to F W. Johnson---I had heard that gentleman had gone to the Ayish Bayou. On the night of the 28th I recd. an answer to an Express which I sent to Linn of Guadaloupe, who says that on the morning of the 25th he recd. a letter from Edward Linn dated at Saltillo he said that he intended to stay out the Far, sales dim---and that there is from 3 to 600 Troops about to march from that place to Tejas---that there is some Trouble about to be in the State of Tamaulipas, in consequence of the intended shutting of the port of Matamoras. Genl. Cos is looked for hourly from Matamoras at Bexar with some 300 Troops. We have got a nur Comadante Militar in Goliad, Don Francisco Sandoval Lt. Col. of the Morales Bat. and Western said a first rate clever fellow of his Kind, so we go. On the 28th Linn writes that Jenkins recd. a Pilot Boat from N. Orleans of 6 Tons which handed Two ps of Cannon, 32 Boxes of Muskets, 10 in each box, making 320 in all; & 2 Cart loads of amunition---Linn says this information Padilla gave him, who is now on a visit from Bejar---all there left Goliad for Bexar this morning. He obvious should this expedition meet at your house tell them to cut for Mr. Taylor's crossing on the Guadaloupe, and from there head the Carts on the Bejar road---they have only an Escort of 25 or 30 men. A gentleman of high standing informed Mr Linn that Genl. Cos said he would start from Matamoras for Bejar so soon as he recd. 60,000 Dollars with his staff---This Cash he wants to pay the debts of the Troops. Many Officers have resigned their Commissions rather than come to Tejas. Santa Ana has consented that the Port of Matamoras shall remain open, & it is said that Cos is coming to arrange matters with us without fighting. Mr Linn insists that in case of a rupture I must use my influence that the Officers shall be retained as "Hostages"; until our people who are in the interior return. He observes that should Cos fall into our hands with his 60,000$ he would be worth all the rest. I rather think that the period has elapsed at which we could have intercepted those munitions of war. J. W. Fannin Jr. has communicated the order for the movement of our Troops against Copano. Mr Fannin says that he has no doubt but the Steam Boat laura Schr. Caledonia can take thc Veracruzana, & insists on the movement. He gives it as his opinion that it will be undertaken. The citizens here sincerely are anxions that Bejar should be taken. In this district of country we are united, and as one man. Probably I shall have the pleasure of seeing you at the Consultation, to which I am now in nomination. With the dearest interests of our common country at heart, I am your Sincere friend and devoted Servt. James Kerr [Addressed:] Stephen F. Austin Esq. San Felipe de Austin Tejas Politeness of Major Perkins
SANTA ANNA DICTATORIAL PROCLAMATION 3 Oct 1835. President of Mexico, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Mexico, 3 Oct 1835, abolishing all state legislatures and making all state officials subservient to national officials.
BARRAGAN DECREE 3 Oct 1835. Office of the First Secretary of State, Interior Department. His Excellency the President pro tem of the Mexican United States to the Inhabitants of the Republic. Know ye, that the General Congress has decreed the following:
Art. 1. The present government of the states shall continue,
notwithstanding the time fixed by the constitution may have expired; but shall be
dependent for their continuance in the exercise of their attributes upon the Supreme
Government of the nation.
GRITTEN TO GONZALES ALCALDE 5 Oct 1835. To the Alcalde, Ayuntamiento and People of Gonzales. Fellow Citizens, Mr. Anderson, (accompanied by Col Ugartechea's confidential Secretary, Lieut, Rada, as Commissioner), proceeds to your place, as bearer of a communication from the Colonel, and also of the correspondence of, and with, Col Austin, of which I annex translations for your information and government. Mr Anderson will give you necessary and important intelligence, and to him I refer. I have to observe that I have become security to Col. Ugartechea for the safety and treatment of his secretary. Col. Ugartechea has requested me to say to you, that this place is free and open as ever for the Americans to come in and go out unmolested, the same as before, and for the purposes of trade. He also desires to assure you that he will receive, with satisfaction and safe treatment, any person you may choose to send to him: and to have no distrust of his intentions, or word or honor. Wishing you cordially well; and with the sincere and prompt tender of my services when necessary, I remain Fellow Citizens your mo. obt. Servt. and friend Edward Gritten Bexar, 4 Octr. 1835 P. S. Col. Ugartechea and Lieut. Rada assured me that there are three regiments at Saltillo, whose further progress has been suspended by General Cos, in the expectation that an amicable adjustment of the present difficulties with the Colonies will be effected. 5 Oct Edward Gritten
JAMES KERR TO COUNCIL 10 Oct 1835. Guadaloupe Victoria Oct 10 1835, 11 O'Clk P. M. To the Council of War at Gonzales This moment Col Milam with an escort of a few men bringing with them three officers passing from Goliad bound for San Felipe, a copy of the following letter will elucidate the matter. "Goliad 8 oclock A. M. Oct 10, 1835 To Captain Ben Smith, Dear Sir, I have arrived here last night at 11 oclock and marched into the fort by forcing the church doors, and after a small fight they surrendered with 3 officers & 21 soldiers, together with 3 wounded and one killed. I had one of my men wounded in the shoulder. They have dispatched couriers for troops to several points, and expect I shall need your aid, there are plenty of public horses near here but I have not sufficient force to send after them and protect myself. Come on as speedily as possible. Geo. M. Collinsworth.
You will please communicate with Col. J. H. Moore on this subject of my letter, and since the above was written I have been informed that 50 troops were expected today or tomorrow. Come on as speedily as possible for I never will "give up the ship" G. M. C.
On the withdrawal of Captain Smith and Alley yesterday at Burns' we were informed that Captain Collinsworth had passed this place at 11 o'clk yesterday, for supplying the detachment, they encamped for the night. This morning they crossed the Guadaloupe and passed for La Bahia and no doubt will be there by ten or 11 o'clk to morrow. John J. Linn and myself came by this place to hurry on supplies of sugar and coffee, and will take on 50 lbs. of gun powder to Goliad. The Battalion when formed in Gollad will be in want of lead. I have been informed that the Martins of Gonzales have 300 lbs at Dewitts or Santanna, but the information is too uncertain to be relied on to send for it. I shall send several copies of this to the committee of correspondence at San Fellipe. I presume to say to you that the three compies will form a Battalion to produce concert of action. My opinion is that no time is to be lost, as you will see by Capt. Collinsworth's letter that large reinforcements have been called for. When the Battalion is orgainized we will be 300 strong. I presume to say the battalion Will immediately march towards Bexar. The names of the prisoners are Lieut. Col. Zandoval, Captain Savanego, and ensign Garcia With respect &c. James Kerr 11 Oct. 7 O'clk A. M. Express just received from Captain Collinsworth dated last night 1 o'clock. He is somewhat alarmed, he has 10,000$ in public store, 300 stand of arms and there is a number of Public horses near him. I have returned his correo with information that Smith's and Alley's companys are near him, also I send right off an express to the detachments to pass for La Bahia. Col Milam will go with the Prisoners to Gonzales, their names &c. James Kerr.
KERR TO AUSTIN. Full text unavailable. James Kerr, Lavaca, to Stephen F. Austin, San Felipe, October 20, 1835, discusses the prospective Consultation: "I informed them that the object of this Consultation was to make a formal declaration in favor of the Constitution of 1824. This morning I sent Express (Confidentially) to Mr. J. J. Linn, Guadalupe---& expect to hear some news by tomorrow night.... I had not heard before your circular came that Genl Cos had landed at Copano, tho we had been looking for him since the first of the mo."
KERR TO COMMITTEE OF SAFETY
& CORRESPONDENCE 28 Oct 1835. Guadalupe De Victoria 28th. Oct.
1835. To the Committee of Safty & correspondence Sn. felipe. Gent, I write
to inform you of our affairs here---The alarm which we was under a few days since and
which Mr. Ingram informed you of has passed by without any attack on Gollad as was then
believed would be made,---I came here as convoy of public stoars, for persons who is was
believed would arrive here, as recruits to our post, and also for the poor famalies of the
Mission Refugio who was ordered here for Safty and who has nearly all arrived Yesterday so
that we now have every man of that place doing duty in the fort.---A young man arrived
last night from Goliad who says that an Express from Austin to Goliad of 22 &
23---Inst---by Mr Brackin yesterday which informes that there had been some schirmishing
parties, 300---of the Enemy attacked 100---of our picket guard at the distance of about
300---Yeards; that some 20 or 30---of our men took the Bush and got prity near the Enemy,
fired and killed---some 8 or 10---of them, the wrest ran off in disorder. One of them took
his course for Goliad wher he got on the Eving of the 26---& said the soldiers was
starving in Bejar; that the officers was prepairing to run away when the Genl attack was
made by Genl Austin. Mr. Bracken says that one of our men whiped 10 of their picket guard
and took one prisoner without fireing his gunn Col Bowie has poscession of the Mission San
Jose, and all the corn of the place---. The deserter says that Austin has poscession of
the Alamo and the Magazine; that the Enemy Occupies the Town only on the west side ofthe
river, &c. Genl.. Austin writes on 22. That in 6 or 7 days he will have the place he
has sent to us at LaBahia to send all the flour we can, and a detachment with several cart
Loads Will leave Goliad to morrow for Bejar. We have just got correct information from
Lepantilan (Neuces)They are watching for the fall of Bejar, When the troops will take
flight for Mattamoras. Myself and some others, will endeavor to Make a decent on that
place with 15---or 20 men (all that can be spared) and try to cut off their retreat, but I
doubt whether we can effect this and leave enough men in the fort to do the necessary Camp
duty---I have been appointed Commissioner to treat with the Caronkawas Indians. I have
seen the principle Chiefs, who Express a wish to enter into a firm and Lasting peace with
us, and tomorrow is the day appointed to meet the whole nation on the San Antonio river
18---mils below Goliad. They see us the rulers of the Country, and hense I have no doubt
but they will be glad of peace from interest and fear if not from feeling---The plan of
this treaty gotten up about 12 days ago has enabled us to have from 30---to 40---men more
in the camp---who---before had to guard families against these barbarians. Now no fears
are entertained from them. This campaign will of Course end in a few days when I shall
endeaver to have all these Municipalities send Members to the Grand Consultation This
(Guadalupe) and that of Powers had previously Elected their delegates to meet on the
15th.---Goliad and Neuses had not done any thing, but I presume they will send Members at
the next call. I advise your committee to write, to J. J. Linn of this place, John
McMullin of San Patricio---James Powers of Mission Refugio---and the Constitutional
Alcalde of Goliad on the subject, and inform them of the number of delegates to be
Elected, and of the time and place of meeting. With Sentiments of Esteem and reguard I am
FISHER TO AUSTIN 3 Nov 3 1835. Gonzales Nov 3d 1835 Sir As secretary of the Committee of safety for this municipality I have to address you upon a matter revolting to the feelings of every American not destitute of every moral principle. Yesterday the troops from Ayish Bayou arrived in this place in consequence of the Boat being turned over to be put in a situation for service, the Troops were compelled to remain until this morning. Last night a scene such as in all probability never was exhibited in any civilized country presented itself to us- Upon the Armys leaving this place not more than 12 Men and 3 or 4 guns were left most of the men were invalids, the balance of the population composed of women (whose Husbands are in the Army) and children, those men (The Ayish Bayou) entered private Houses, compelled women to leave their House with their Children and seek protection from their neighbours, Broke open doors. Robbed of Money clothing and every thing they could lay their hands on and dragged Dr Smithers from his bed and would have murdered him, but for the interferance of some one of the company who possessed some little more of the milk of human kindness than the balance- I am directed by the Committee to ask for a detachment of 20 men from the Main Army to protect this place and to assist in sustaining the forces as they come on Capt Johnson, English and Sublet can in all probabily gain information as to the ringleaders in this Matter Jno Fisher Sec Com Safty Gonzales N B The families of this place unless protected, are determined to risk the Indians, rather than such men as represented above, some of whom seem determined to remove at once, rather than risk the passing of the reinforcement coming on Jno F[isher] [Addressed: ] Genl Stephen F Austin C ommander in Chief of the Texas forces Mission St Juan.
SMITHER TO AUSTIN 4 Nov
1835. Gonzelas Nov 4 1835 Col S. F Austin. Dear Sir you have
placed me at this place to attind to such matters as directed with all sober and honest
men in this place knows that I have attended to them day and night the companes that is
coming on when in this place has broken open allmost Evry, house in this place and stole
100 dollars or thir about of Miller and Treated the wimon of this place worse than all the
comanshe nation could have done and draged me out of the house and near beat me to death
becos I was in the house of Mr Dickerson ho thiy I have no doubt the would have kild if I
had not bean there there is no authority nor people to punish such people and if the, army
dos not protect the people at this plac it must bee Intirely abanded by the Inhabtants Mr
bell can give you a detale of ther conduct I never have been treated so by any beeing on
Earth If Such people is to be allowd such conduct this section of the country had betir be
given up to the savave the savages have never been guilty of such conduct thire is a young
man in the compey by the name of thompson ho was the man and his mob that has nerly kild
me for nothing on Earth
SMITHER TO AUSTIN 4 Nov 1835. Gonzelas
Nov 4 1835 To The Commander and Cheaf Stephen F. Allston Dear Sir I Regret to bee
compeld to address you on such a savage and hostile Conduct as was commitd by some of the
troops that past this place on yesterday or rather come into the place on yesterday after
beeing guilty of all the bad conduct and Language that Sivelize beeing could put up with,
after Night there ware a mass Rased among them with a young Mr thompson at the head of
them ho can bee degnated by nombers of the men and broke open all most Every house in town
and Robed all that they could Lay ther hands on and such Insults wire never offerd to
american women before thire is no tribe of savages of Mexicans that would be guilty of
such conduct after working on the boat until 9 or 10 oclock and finding the mob in town
Mrs Dickerson who had been drivin from her house cald on me to go and stay in her house to
protect her person and property after goind to Bead thiy Enterd tire house twice by
bursting Evry door and window and coming in crowds and dragd me into the Streats and beat
my head to a poltice and would have kild me in tire most torturing manner for no caws on
earth but that I was in the house I used Evry means to pasefy them but the wild savage
would have adherd with more humility I Refur you to Evry sober and honable man in this
place what my conduct has bean as Regards using Every means day and night to ade and
assist Evry man that has past this place and If the authority of this army dos not take
some steps to stop such conduct the wild savages would be preferable to the Insults of
such Canebols it appears to have the case more or less as for as I call here back I was
placed here by your orders and have adhered to them strictly day and night and if ther is
not sum stop put to it this place will bee Intirely abandoned.
a List of damages: thomas R. Millers store broken open about $100 and
all his clothing and a newe hat togather with all most all the clothes that I Had which
was new; M Williams 2 fin coats; 1 Blanket; 1 Long Bufelow skin S Smith [illegible]; 3
large Blankets; ....is a small part that is sade to be taken all most Evry house in the
place broken open and Robd
SMITHER TO GENERAL
COUNCIL 23 Nov 1835. Nov 23rd 1835 To the Honble the General
Council of Texas Your petitioner, L. Smither, would respectfully represent, to your
consideration, that in a few days after the troops of Ugartachea, marched to Gonzales, an
order came to Ugartachea saying that the alcalde of that place, refused to give up the
cannon,-Your petitioner believing at that moment, that he could be of more service to
Texas, than he ever could in any other capacity, immediately remonstrated against the
proceedings of Ugartachea, and stated to him that he was using military, under the
pretense of civil authority; in commanding the Ayuntimiento of Gonzales, to obey the order
of the Political Chief of Bexar, for he well knew that the Ayuntimiento of Gonzales,
belonged to the department of the Brazos, He, Ugartachea, immediately says to me; if you
will immediately go to Gonzales, and procure me an answer to my demand, from the Political
Chief of the Brazos, I will suspend the movement of my troops until that can be obtained,
if you will pledge yourself to do so; That I consented to do, and in a half hour, I
started for the camp of Castinada, at
I remained at Gonzales, until the army marched for Bexar, and the second day was ordered by Genl. Austin, to return, to Gonzales and employ a man to repair, the flat; at that place, and hire a man to attend to the flat, but could not get any one, to repair the flat, and was compelled to do it, with my own tabour, and attend to it day and night, until I was robbed of all my clothing, the second time by some of Capt Bradley, Subletts, and English company, when they passed that place, which compelled me to come to this place for clothing, which could not be obtained there - I suppose the work in the flat would amount to four days for a carpenter - and I attended to the boat, day and night for about Thirty Five days, which is well Known to this Honble Body, and I have not received one cent for service, or board Should this Council think proper, to take this into consideration it will meet the Thanks of your petitioner. if not I still Remain Your Obedient Servant Launcelot Smither
SMITH TO G.W. DAVIS. 1 Dec. To George W. Davis, Esq. In the name of the people free and Sovereign. You are hereby appointed a commission to administer the oath of office prescribed by the Original Law of the provisional Government of Texas to the citizens Andrew Ponton as first Judge and Charles Lockhart as second Judge of the municipality of Gonzales. To install them in office and to deliver to them their respective commissions which are herewith handed forwarded to you. San Felipe de Austin Dec.1,1835. Henry Smith Governor. Charley B. Stewert, Secretary to executive
PROVISIONAL COUNCIL TO THE MEXICAN PEOPLE 10 Dec 1835. December 10, 1835 The General Council of the Provisional Government of Texas to the Mexican people. The people of Texas have taken up arms in defence of their rights and liberties, menaced by the attacks of military despotism, and to sustain the republican principles of the constitution of 1824. The Mexican nation ought to be fully informed on this subject, in order to correct the falsehoods circulated by the Centralists, who have attempted to calumnate the Texians by giving to the revolution here, a character very different from the true one, and painting it in the blackest colors. Texas has solemnly declared her principles in the declaration of the 7th November last, made by its representatives, and has called God to witness the sincerity and purity of her intentions. The people of Texas could not have acted in any other manner, and every freeman would have done the same who appreciates his own dignity and was able to resist slavery.
Texas was left without any government, owing to the imprisonment and dispersion of the Executive and Legislative authorities of the state by the military Centralists, and every thing was rapidly failing into anarchy and ruin. It certainly was not the fault of the Texians that this state of things existed. They were living in peace when the revolutionary flame reached their homes, their situation may be compared to that of a peaceful village that is suddenly assailed by a furious hurricane, which mend-ces ruin and death, from which the inhabitants seek safety by any means in their power, without being in any manner censurable for the impending danger, nor for trying to shield themselves from its effects. The truth is, that a storm which originated elsewhere, threatened to involve them in its desolating ravages. They wish to save themselves as they have a right to do, by the law of nature.
Faithful to their oaths, they wished to defend the constitution, and for this their enemies have declared a war of extermination against them, and are trying to deceive the liberal Mexicans with false reports that their objects are different from those expressed in the before-mentioned declaration. God knows this to be a malicious calumny, circulated for the purpose of consolidating centralism, by trying to unite the Federalists in its ranks against their friends the Texians.
Very dearly indeed have the Texians acquired their homes in this country, which but a short time since was a wilderness infested by hostile indians. It is just and natural that they should wish to preserve them, in conformity with the guarantees of the Federal compact under which they were acquired. It is equally so, that they should obey the first law which God has stamped upon the heart of man civilized or savage which is self-preservation.
The Texians have therefore taken up arms in the defence of their constitutional rights, in fulfilment of their duties to the Mexican confederation and of the most sacred obligations to themselves. They have organized a Provisional local Government, to provide for their security as a part of the Mexican confederation should it again be re-established. Can it be possible that the whole nation will declare war against us because we wish to comply with our obligations in favor of the constitution, and because we wish to defend the rights which God has given to man, and which the Mexican nation has solemnly guaranteed to us? No, it cannot be believed. The free Mexicans are not unjust, and they will take part in our favor.
To arms then patriotic Mexicans. The Texians although a a young people,
invite and call you to the contest which is the duty of all to sustain against the
perjured centralists, separate as we have done from the Central Government, and declare
eternal war against it, let us sustain the federal compact, restore the federal system and
firmly establish the liberties and happiness of our country. In this great work you will
receive aid and assistance from the Texians, so far as their limited resources will
permit, as they have offered in the second article of their declaration.
FISHER TO GONZALES COMMITTEE OF SAFETY 31 Dec 1835 (Full text unavailable). Jno. Fisher, Gonzales, to the Committee of Safety of Gonzales, December 31, 1835, stating that the Texas troops in October had knocked down his fences in ten places and ruined his crops, and requesting "that justice may be done." Endorsements show that his damages were in the amount of $193.75, which was allowed by the Texas government.
SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS