Willam H. Wharton



Extracted from a work entitled "A Geographical, Statistical and
Historical Account of Texas," now nearly ready for the press.
Some of these numbers have appeared in the New Orleans Bee

    and Bulletin 



      It will be seen that the title of this little pamphlet implies more than
it contains. As war is now the order of the day, only a small portion of
the political part of the work on "Texas" is here presented. It is hoped
and believed that enough is unfolded to convince the most incredulous that
the colonists of Texas have been _forced_ into this contest with the
mother country, by persecutions and oppressions, as unremitting as they
have been unconstitutional. That it is not a war waged by them for cupidity
or conquest, but for the establishment of the blessings of liberty and good
government, without which life itself is a curse and man degraded to the
level of the brute. If the time-hallowed principle of the Declaration of
Independence, namely, "that governments are instituted for the protection
and happiness of mankind, and that whenever they become destructive of
these ends it is the right, nay it is the duty of the people to alter or
abolish them." If this sacred principle is recognised and acted upon, all
must admit that the colonists of Texas have a clear right to burst their
fetters, and have also a just claim for recognition as an independent
nation, upon every government not wholly inimical to the march of light and
liberty, and to the establishment of the unalienable rights of man.


No. I

The unconstitutional oppression long and unremittingly practised upon the
colonists of Texas, having at length become insupportable, and having
impelled them to take up arms in defence of their rights and liberties, it
is due to the world that their motives, conduct and causes of complaint
should be fully made known. In order to do this it will be necessary to
explain the origin, progress and present state of the colonial settlements.
Without parade or useless preliminaries, I shall proceed to the subject,
as substance and not sound--matter and not manner are the objects of the
present discussion. It is known at least to the reading and inquiring
world, that on the dissolution of the connection between Mexico and Spain
in 1522, Don Augustin Iturbide, by corruption and violence, established
a short-lived, imperial government over Mexico, with himself at the head
under the title of Augustin I. On arriving at supreme power, Iturbide or
Augustin I. found that vast portion of the Mexican government, east of the
Rio Grande, known by the name of Texas, to be occupied by various tribes of
Indians, who committed incessant depredations on the Mexican citizens West
of the Rio Grande, and prevented the population of Texas. He ascertained
that the savages could not be subdued by the arms of Mexico, nor could
their friendship be purchased. He ascertained that the Mexicans, owing to
their natural dread of Indians, could not be induced to venture into the
wilderness of Texas. In addition to the dread of Indians, Texas held out no
inducements for Mexican emigrants. They were accustomed to a lazy pastoral
or mining life, in a healthy country. Texas was emphatically a land of
agriculture--the land of cotton and of sugar cane, with the culture of
which staples they were wholly unacquainted; and moreover, it abounded in
the usual concomitants of such southern regions--fevers, mosquitoes &c.,
which the Mexicans hated with a more than natural or reasonable hatred.
Iturbide finding from those causes that Texas could not be populated with
his own subjects, and that so long as it remained in the occupancy of
the Indians, the inhabited parts of his dominions continually suffered
from their ravages and murders, undertook to expel the savages by the
introduction of foreigners. Accordingly the national institute or council,
on the 3d day of January, 1823, by his recommendation and sanction, adopted
a law of colonization, in which they invited the immigration of foreigners
to Texas on the following terms:--

1st. They promise to protect their liberty, property and civil rights.

2d. They offer to each colonist one league of land, (4,444 acres) for
coming to Texas.

3d. They guarantee to each colonist the privilege of leaving the empire
at any time, with all his property, and also the privilege of selling the
land which he may have acquired from the Mexican government, (see the
colonization law of 1823, more especially articles 1st, 8th and 20th.)
These were the inducements and invitations held out to foreigners under the
imperial government of Iturbide or Augustin I. In a short time, however,
the nation deposed Iturbide, and deposited the supreme executive power in
a body of three individuals. This supreme executive power on the 10th of
August, 1824, adopted a national colonization law, in which they recognized
and confirmed the imperial colonization law with all its guarantees of
person and property. It also conceded to the different States the privilege
of colonizing the vacant lands within their respective limits. (See
national colonization law, articles 1st and 4th.) In accordance with this
law, the States of Coahuila and Texas on the 24th March, 1825, adopted
a colonization law for the purpose, as expressed in the preamble, of
protecting the frontiers, expelling the savages, augmenting the population
of its vacant territory, multiplying the raising of stock, promoting the
cultivation of its fertile lands, and of the arts and of commerce. In this
state-colonization law--the promises to protect the persons and property
of the colonists, which had been made in the two preceding national
colonization laws, were renewed and confirmed. We have now before us the
invitations and guarantees under which the colonists immigrated to Texas.
Let us examine into the manner in which these conditions have been complied
with, and these flattering promises fulfilled. The donation of 4,444 acres
sounds largely at a distance. Considering, however, all the circumstances,
the difficulties of taking possession, &c. it will not be deemed an
entire gratuity or magnificent bounty. If these lands had been previously
pioneered by the enterprise of the Mexican government, and freed from the
insecurities which beset a wilderness, trod only by savages--if they had
have been situated in the heart of an inhabited region, and accessible
to the comforts and necessaries of life--if the government had have been
deriving any actual revenue, and if it could have realised a capital
from the sale of them--then we admit that the donation would have been
unexampled in the history of individual or national liberality. But how
lamentably different from all thus was the real state of the case.

The lands granted were in the occupancy of savages and situated in a wilderness, of which the government had never taken possession, and of which it could not with its own citizens ever have taken possession. They were not sufficiently explored to obtain that knowledge of their character and situation necessary to a sale of them. They were shut out from all commercial intercourse with the rest of the world, and inaccessible to the commonest comforts of life; nor were they brought into possession and cultivation by the colonists without much toil and privation, and patience and enterprise, and suffering and blood, and loss of lives from Indian hostilities, and other causes. Under the smiles of a benignant heaven, however, the untiring perseverance of the colonists triumphed over all natural obstacles, expelled the savages by whom the country was infested, reduced the forest into cultivation, and made the desert smile. From this it must appear that the lands of Texas, although nominally given, were in fact really and clearly bought. It may here be premised that a gift of lands by a nation to foreigners on condition of their immigrating and becoming citizens, is immensely different from a gift by one individual to another. In the case of individuals, the donor loses all further claim or ownership over the thing bestowed. But in our case, the government only gave wild lands, that they might be redeemed from a state of nature; that the obstacles to a first settlement might be overcome; that they might be rid of those savages who continually depredated upon the inhabited parts of the nation, and that they might be placed in a situation to augment the physical strength and power and revenue of the republic. Is it not evident that Mexico now holds over the colonized lands of Texas, the same jurisdiction and right of property which all nations hold over the inhabited parts of their territory? But to do away more effectually the idea that the colonists of Texas are under great obligations to the Mexican government for their donations of land, let us examine at what price the government estimated the lands given. Twelve or thirteen years ago, they gave to a colonist one league of laud for coming, he paying the government $30, and this year (1835) they have sold hundreds of leagues of land for $50 each. So that it appears that the government really gave us what in their estimation was worth $20. A true statement of facts then is all that is necessary to pay at once that immense debt of endless gratitude which, in the estimation of the ignorant and interested is due from the colonists to the government. I pass over the toil and suffering and danger which attended the redemption and cultivation of their lands by the colonists, and turn to their civil condition and to the conduct and history of the government. It is a maxim no less venerable for its antiquity than its truth--a maxim admitted and illustrated by all writers on political economy--and one that has been corroborated by experience in every corner of the earth, that miserable is the servitude and horrible the condition of that people whose laws are either uncertain or unknown. I ask, with a defiance of contradiction, if ours is not and has not always been, in Texas, the unhappy condition and miserable bondage spoken of in this maxim? Who of us knows or can by possibility arrive at a knowledge of the laws that govern our property and lives? Who of us is able to read and understand and be entirely confident of the validity of his title to the land he lives on, and which he has redeemed from a state of nature by the most indefatigable industry and perseverance? Who knows whether he has paid on his land all that government exacts, or whether he has not paid ten times as much? Look at the mere mockery of all law and justice which has always prevailed in place of an able and learned judiciary. Alcaldes, most of them unlearned in any system of jurisprudence, and unconversant with legal proceedings of any description, have been elected to administer a code, scattered through hundreds of volumes and written in languages of which they did not understand one word. Who among us is able to confer with his rulers; to represent his wants and grievances; to ask advice, or recommend salutary changes? Have we had more than one or two organs of communication with the government, and must not they have been omniscient to have always understood the wishes of the people, and incorruptible to have always correctly represented them? Who of us feels or ever has felt any reliance or can place any confidence in governmental matters, or can predict with any sort of certainty what in this respect a day may bring forth? There are thousands of other evils growing out of our present situation, too hourly, universally and bitterly felt to require to be mentioned. Who will say that these things do not exist? Who will say that we have not suffered the harassing uncertainty and miserable bondage here represented? When the people of the United States commenced their war for independence against Great Britain, the friends of Britain charged them with ingratitude. They said that Britain had founded the colonies at great expense--had increased a load of debt by wars on their account--had protected their commerce, &c. This cannot be said of Mexico. Not one dollar has she spent for Texas--not one Mexican soldier has ever fought by our side in expelling the savages. She has given us no protection whatever; and as allegiance and protection are reciprocal, we have a right on this principle to cast off her yoke. However, in my next I pledge myself to demonstrate that the Mexicans are wholly incapable of self-government, and that on that principle we are bound by the first law of nature--self-preservation--to dissolve all connexion, and take care ofourselves.

*    *    *    *    *

No. II

I now proceed to demonstrate that the Mexicans are wholly incapable of
self-government, and that our liberties, our fortunes and our lives are
insecure so long as we are connected with them. At the onset I cannot but
advert to the spirit of prophecy and truth with which that unequalled
expounder and defender of the rights of man, Mr. Jefferson, spoke more than
18 years ago in regard to this very matter. In a letter to the Marquis de
Lafayette, dated Monticello, 14th May, 1817, he says, "I wish I could
give you better hopes of our Mexican brethren. The achievement of their
independence of old Spain is no longer a question. But it is a very serious
one what will then become of them. Ignorance and bigotry, like other
insanities, are incapable of self-government. They will fall under military
despotism, and become the murderous tools of their respective Bonapartes.
No one I hope can doubt my wish to see them and all mankind exercising
self-government. But the question is not what we wish--but what is
practicable. As their sincere friend, then, I do believe the best thing
for them would be to come to an accord with Spain, under the guarantee of
France, Russia, Holland, and the United States, allowing to Spain a nominal
supremacy, with authority only to keep the peace among them, leaving them
otherwise all the powers of self-government, until their experience, their
education, and their emancipation from their Priests should prepare them
for complete independence." Jefferson's works, vol. 4, page 303. Mr.
Jefferson well knew that from the discovery of America to the date of his
letter, the Mexicans had unfortunately been the persecuted, pillaged, and
priest-ridden slaves of the kings of Spain--a line of kings, with but
few exceptions, more inimical to the rights of man, more opposed to the
advancement of truth, and light, and liberty, more practised in tyranny,
more hardened in crime, more infatuated with superstition, and more
benighted with ignorance, than any other monsters that ever disgraced
a throne in christendom, since the revival of letters. Yes, humanity
shudders, and freedom burns with indignation at a recital of the
barbarities and oppressions practised upon the ill-fated Mexicans from the
bloody days of Cortes up to the termination of their connexion with Spain.
The produce of their cultivated fields was rifled--the natural products of
their forests pillaged--the bowels of their earth ransacked, and their
suffering families impoverished to glut the grandeur and enrich the coffers
of their trans-Atlantic oppressors. To make their miserable servitude less
perceptible, they were denied the benefits of the commonest education,
and were kept the blind devotees of the darkest and most demoralizing
superstition that ever clouded the intellects, or degraded the morals
of mankind. From this it is evident, that up to the period of their
independence, having been so long destitute of education, so long
unaccustomed to think or legislate for themselves, and so long under the
complete dominion of their liberty-hating Priests, they must have been
totally unacquainted with the plainest principles of self-government. Let
us examine what their subsequent opportunities of improvement have been.

At the close of the revolution, Iturbide, by fraud and force, caused
himself to be proclaimed Emperor, who after much commotion, was dethroned,
banished and shot. After this Victoria was elected President, during all
of whose administration the country was distracted with civil wars and
conspiracies, as is evidenced by the rebellion and banishment of Montano,
Bravo, and many others. Victoria's term having expired, Pedraza was
constitutionally elected, but was dispossessed by violence, and Guerero
put in his stead. Guerero was scarcely seated before Bustamente with open
war deposed him, put him to death and placed himself at the head of the
government. Bustamente was hardly in the chair before Santa Anna, warring,
as he pretended, for the constitution and for making it still more liberal,
dispossessed him by deluging the country in a civil war, the horrors of
which have not at this moment ended. Since his accession we have been
woful witnesses that nothing but turmoil, anarchy and revolution have
overshadowed the land, and that at last he has at one fell stroke, with
an armed soldiery, turned congress out of doors, dissolved that body
and proclaimed that the constitution is no more. Here, then, we have a
lamentable verification of the fears and predictions of that great apostle
of human liberty, Mr. Jefferson. His prophecy in relation to the result of
their governmental experiment, implies in him an almost superhuman forecast
and knowledge of the elements essential to self-government. He knew that
they were too ignorant and too much under the dominion of their priests at
the period of their declaration, and he but too truly foresaw that owing to
the unhallowed ambition of their military aspirants, the country would be
too continually distracted with revolutions to admit of their advancement
in education or any useful knowledge whatever. Time has developed it. There
has been no attention on the part of government to schools or other useful
institutions. The present generation are as ignorant and bigoted as the
past one, and so will continue each succeeding one to the end of time,
unless some philanthropic and enlightened citizen shall arrive at power
with a purity of patriotism and reach of intellect unexampled among his
countrymen, and with energies of character sufficiently commanding to
emancipate the nation from the thraldom of her priests--to curb or kill her
countless military aspirants, thereby preventing incessant revolutions, and
thereby enabling a new generation to experience the benefits of education
and to qualify themselves in other respects for complete self-government.
I have now gone through with the administration, or rather
mal-administration, of the General Government. It is equally demonstrable
that so far as Texas is concerned, there have been equal confusion,
insecurity and injustice in the administration of the State governments.
Texas, as is known, forms an integral part of the State known by the name
of Coahuila and Texas. During the past year there were three persons
claiming and fighting for the office of Governor of this State. There was
no session of the legislature at the regular period, on account of this
civil war, and fifteen officers of the federal troops elected a governor
of their own over the head of the one elected by the people. At an
extraordinary time the legislature was convoked, and fraudulently sold for
a thousandth part of their value, millions of acres of our public domain.
This legislature was finally dispersed by the threats of the General
Government, and our Governor and one of the members were, on their retreat,
arrested and imprisoned by the troops of the permanent army--leaving us
involved in chaotic anarchy. Do not these facts conclusively demonstrate an
incapability of self-government on the part of the Mexicans? Do they not
cry aloud for an immediate dissolution of all connexion with them as the
only rock of our salvation? Yes, the vital importance of a declaration of
Independence is as clearly indicated by them as if it were "written in
sunbeams on the face of heaven."

*    *    *    *    *

No. III.


It has been wisely remarked by that great illustrator of the machinery
of governments, (Montesquieu) that there can be no liberty where the
legislative, executive, and judicial powers, or any two of them, are united
in the same person or body of persons. See Spirit of Laws, in reference to
the English Constitution. If any corroboration of this high authority is
needed, I will refer to Mr. Jefferson, and the writers of that invaluable
text book, the Federalist. Mr. Jefferson, in his Notes on Virginia, page
195, says the concentration of legislative, executive and judicial powers
in the same hands, is precisely the definition of despotism. And in the
Federalist, page 261, it is said, "the accumulation of these powers in
the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary,
self-appointed, or elective, is the very definition of tyranny." In the
same great work it is clearly demonstrated, that if each department is
not so fortified in its powers as to prevent infringement by the others,
the constitution which creates them all will be worth no more than the
parchment upon which it is written. So important was it deemed by all the
states of the Union to keep these departments distinct, and in different
hands, that it has been specially provided for in all their constitutions.
See the constitutions of the different States. And yet in the face of all
this wisdom and experience, and contrary to every thing that is republican
in its nature, the framers of the Mexican constitution have reserved to
Congress the sole power of construing the constitutionality of its acts.
This, it will be readily seen, is an entire nullification of the judiciary
in all constitutional matters, and leaves the rights of the people and the
constitution itself without any other security than what is to be found
in the virtue, patriotism and intelligence of Congress. What slender
reliances, where the liberties and happiness of a nation are concerned! If
in the United States Congress should transcend its powers in the passage
of a law, the courts would declare it null and void, and bring back
Congress to a constitutional discharge of its duties. But if the same
thing were attempted in Mexico, Congress would re-enact the law, declare
it constitutional, and imprison the judge for his presumption. It appears
then, that the Mexican constitution of 1824 contains within itself the
seeds of its own destruction,--for the accumulation of legislative and
judicial powers in Congress, and the enabling of that body to violate the
constitution at will, renders it of no more avail than "a sounding brass
or tinkling cymbal." It will be no alleviation, says Mr. Jefferson, in his
work above quoted, page 195, that in the case of Congress unlimited powers
are vested in a plurality of hands. One hundred or two hundred despots are
surely as oppressive as one. Let those who doubt it turn their eyes on the
republic of Venice. In the next place I will show, that independent of this
objection, the Mexican constitution contains principles and provisions 500
years behind the liberalized views of the present age, and at war with
every thing that is akin to civil or religious liberty. In that instrument
the powers of government, instead of being divided as they are in the
United States, and other civilized countries, into legislative, executive
and judicial, are divided into military, ecclesiastical and civil,
and these two first are fortified with exclusive privileges, and made
predominant. It is specially declared that the Roman Catholic religion
is, and forever shall be, the established religion of the land. No other
is tolerated, and no one can be a citizen without professing it. Can
any people be capable of self-government--can they know any thing about
republicanism, who will, in this enlightened age endeavor to erect the
military over the civil--to bind the conscience in chains, and to enforce
an absolute subscription to the dogmas of any religious sect--but more
especially of that sect, which has waged an unceasing warfare against
liberty, whenever the ignorance and superstition of mankind have given it
a foothold?

Can republicans live under a constitution containing such unhallowed
principles? All will say they cannot. And if the Texan colonists are
willing to do so a moment longer than they are able to shake off the yoke,
they are unworthy the sympathies or assistance of any free people--they are
unworthy descendants of those canonized heroes of the American revolution,
who fought, and bled, and conquered for religious as well as civil liberty,
and who established the sacred principle, that "all men have a right to
worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences." Yet
bad as this constitution is, it has been swept away by, if possible, a
worse form of government, the central. This system, now attempted to be
rivetted upon the people of Texas, has preserved most of the bad features
of the old constitution, viz: the preponderance of the military and clergy,
and has destroyed all of the good features, to wit: the representation of
the people through the medium of Congress, and the division of the republic
into States. The whole of the States are now consolidated into one, and
governed by a dictator and council of about a dozen, who are the creatures
of his will, and the flatterers of his lawless despotism. All of Mexico,
but Texas, has submitted to this, and she is waging a war against it with
all the energies of an infant and much oppressed people. If it be asked,
why have the people of Texas submitted so long to such a constitution,
I answer, that for the first few years their numbers or wealth did
not attract the notice or cupidity of government. 2dly, the incessant
revolutions of Mexico kept their attention from Texas for many years more.
3dly, they submitted from physical inability to resist. And 4thly, they
were determined to prove themselves a law and oath abiding people, and in
case of rupture with Mexico, to show to the world that they were not the
aggressors. This rupture has been brought about, and it is folly to think
of ever healing the breach. The constitution has been destroyed, and it is
idle to think of restoring it. If restored, I have shown that no republican
can live under it. We have no right to conclude, that if re-established,
it will be amended so as to be made more republican and more congenial
with our wishes--for in all their changes and commotions, each party
contends for the established religion--it is the last thing they will part
with--believing it to be the anchor of their hope and salvation here and
hereafter. But granting that the federal party should triumph--that the
monster centralism should be crushed, and that the constitution should be
amended so as to make it appear, on parchment, the most unexceptionable
charter of human rights known to the world, have we any reason to believe
or to hope, from their demonstrated incapacity of self-government, and from
their incessant past revolutions, that it will be or can be administered
for a day? But, as I before said, it is idle to talk of the constitution
now. _Texas must be Independent_. The tie between her and Mexico is
severed, and that by the injustice and violence of Mexico. It can never be
re-united--for between the colonists and Mexicans there is an almost total
dissimilarity of soil, climate, productions, pursuits, interests, habits,
manners, education, language and religion.

*    *    *    *    *

No. IV

In my last I contended that none of those ties which are necessary to bind
a people together and make them one, existed between the colonists and
Mexicans. That there was an almost total dissimilarity in the soil, climate
and productions of the regions of territory they respectively inhabited;
and that superadded to this, there was no identity of pursuits, habits,
manners, education, language or religion. I now proceed to show, that these
circumstances have engendered towards the colonists in the, mass of the
Mexican nation, feelings of unconquerable jealousy and hostility. Yes!
our superiority in enterprise, in learning, in the arts and in all that
can dignify life, or embellish human nature, instead of exciting in
them a laudable ambition to emulate, to equal, or excel us--excites the
most hateful of all the passions--envy--and has caused them to endeavor
for years past, by an unremitting series of vexatious, oppressive and
unconstitutional acts, to retard our growth and prosperity, and if
possible, to get rid altogether of a people whose presence so hourly
reminds them of their own ignorance and inferiority. Some of these acts I
now proceed to enumerate.

1st. With a sickly philanthropy worthy of the abolitionists of these United
States, they have, contrary to justice, and to law, intermeddled with our
slave population, and have even impotently threatened in the war now
pending, to emancipate them, and induce them to turn their arms against
their masters. If they would cast their eyes around them, they would find
that at home the more wealthy and intelligent of the Mexicans have unjustly
imposed upon at least one quarter of their fellow citizens, the most
galling and illegal system of servitude that ever stained the annals of
human oppression.

2d. [Footnote: Have been repealed.] Although the colonization law conceded
to emigrants to Texas all the rights and privileges of citizens, in 1829 a
law was passed confining the retail of merchandize to native born Mexicans.
It is useless to comment upon the illegality and injustice of this law. It
speaks for itself, and clearly indicates the diabolical spirit in which it
was engendered.

3d. I pass over many minor grievances growing out of their illegal
legislative enactments, and plainly denoting their settled hostility, and
come to the law of the 6th [Footnote: Have been repealed.] of April, 1830.
By this law, North Americans, and they alone, were forbidden ad mission
into Texas. This was enough to blast all of our hopes, and dishearten
all of our enterprise. It showed to us that we were to remain scattered,
isolated, and unhappy tenants of the wilderness--compelled to gaze upon
the resources of a lovely and fertile region, undeveloped for want of
population. That we were to be cut off forever from the society of fathers
and friends in the United States of the North--to prepare comforts suited
to whose age and infirmities, many of us had emigrated and patiently
submitted to every species of privation, and whose presence to gladden our
firesides we were hourly anticipating. That feature of this law granting
admission to all other nations except our brethren of the United States
of the North, was sufficient to goad us on to madness. Yes! the door of
emigration to Texas was closed upon the only sister republic worthy of the
name which Mexico could boast of in this new world. It was closed upon a
people among whom the knowledge and the foundations of rational liberty are
more deeply laid than among any other on the habitable globe. It was closed
upon a people who would have carried with them to Texas those principles
of freedom, and those ideas of self-government in which, from their birth,
they had been educated and practised. In short, and more than all, inasmuch
as it stamps the Mexican government with the foul blot of ingratitude,
it was closed upon a people who generously and heroically aided them in
their revolutionary struggle, and who were first and foremost to recognize
and rejoice at the consummation of their independence. Nothing but envy,
jealousy, and a predetermination to destroy the colonial settlements, could
have prompted the passage of this most iniquitous law. Simultaneous with
it, all parts of Texas were deluged with garrisons in a time of profound
peace. These garrisons extorted and consumed the substance of the land,
and paid for their supplies in drafts on a faithless and almost bankrupt
government. In their presence and vicinity the civil arm was paralyzed
and powerless. They imprisoned our citizens without cause, and detained
them without trial, and in every respect trampled upon our rights and
privileges. They could not have been sent to Texas for our protection,
for when they came we had expelled the savages, and were able to protect
ourselves; and at the commencement of the colonial settlements, when we
were few and weak, and scattered, and defenceless, not a garrison--no! not
a soldier came to our assistance.

As another evidence of the hostility of the Mexicans to the Colonists, I
will instance the following:

On the 7th of May, 1824, when the Republic was divided into States by the
constituent Congress, the territory called Texas, not being sufficiently
populous for a State, was united to Coahuila, but it was specially decreed
by Congress that whenever Texas was sufficiently populous to figure as a
State, she should make it known and be admitted. In 1833, the people of
Texas, knowing that their numbers exceeded those of several of the old
States, in solemn convention formed a constitution, and sent on a delegate
to the city of Mexico, praying that Texas be admitted as a State. Instead
of granting this just and legal request, they imprisoned our delegate in
the dungeons of the Inquisition, and detained him without a trial for more
than a year, deprived of the common air and common use of his own limbs!
Under all of those multiplied oppressions, the colonists, from a spirit of
forbearance, or rather from physical inability to resist, long groaned and
languished. Not a voice, not an arm was uplifted. The wheels of government
were not retarded in their operation by us. We consoled ourselves with
the pleasing but delusive hope that a returning sense of liberality and
justice would give to these obnoxious laws a brief duration. While laying
this flattering unction to their souls, while indulging dreams of fancied
felicity never to be realized, the dictator, Santa Anna, developed his
tyrannical course. He surrounded Congress with an armed force, dissolved
the body, and declared the constitution at an end. He dispersed our State
Legislature by violence, imprisoned our Governor, demanded the arrest of
some of the unoffending colonists, to be tried by military tribunals for
(if any) civil offences, disarmed the militia, leaving only one gun to 500
citizens, and sent an army of mercenaries into Texas to rivet upon us the
chains of centralism. When these glaring oppressions were attempted to be
practised, the people of Texas felt that the cup of their bitterness was
full to overflowing--that the rod of persecution had smitten sufficiently
severe, and that they could no longer submit without relinquishing forever
the glorious appellation of freemen. They struck, and struck with the
potent arm of _liberty_. They conquered and drove the enemy from their
soil. They wish not to wage a war of cupidity and conquest. They only ask
to be permitted to govern the territory they occupy after the republican
mode of their fathers. If this, their reasonable demand, is not conceded,
they will carry the war into the enemy's country, and force the tyrant (as
they have the power to do,) to acknowledge the independence of Texas within
the very walls of his capital. After so many descriptions it is useless to
discuss the capability of Texas to figure as an independent government.
Suffice it to say, that it is larger than France, England, Scotland and
Ireland united--of more general fertility, and susceptible of a greater and
denser population.