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was henceforth to be deprived of its administrative privileges, and to become a Department of a consolidated government, like the Departments of France. The decree was opposed by constitutional protests and armed resistance, by the Federalists of Guadalaxara, Oaxaca, and other Mexican States, but Santa Anna and the soldiery succeeded in putting down these insulated popular movements. The last division of the Republic to be coerced was Texas, which, destitute of numerical strength, regular troops and pecuniary resources, resolved to battle for its guaranteed rights against the government of a nation possessing a population of nine millions.
“Like our fathers of the Revolution,” said the Colonists, "we have sworn to live free or die-like our fathers of 1776, we have pledged to each other our lives, fortunes, and sacred honors and have vowed to drive every Mexican soldier beyond the Rio Grande, or whiten the plains with our bones."*
Address of the General Council to the People of Texas. -San Felipe de Austin, October 23, 1835.
Texan preparations for Defence- Advice of Zavala- Appointment
of a General Council - Offensive operations of the Colonists— Capture of Goliad
Milam — Advance of the main Army under Stephen Austin to Bexar-Battle of the ConceptionAmerican rencounter with Texan Indians—The Bowie KnifeMeeting of the General Consultation of Texas–Election of a Provisional Government—The Grass Fight-Affair at Lepantitlan Stephen Austin's retirement from the Army, and Report to the Provisional Government-Call of a new Convention.
Once embarked in the contest with the military innovators of Mexico, the Texans were indefatigable in preparations for defence. In the Department of Nacogdoches resolutions were passed for raising an armed levy, and Samuel Houston, who was appointed general of the Department, announced that liberal bounties of land would be given to all volunteers who should join his standard“ with a good rifle and one hundred rounds of ammunition.” The volunteers of the Department were requested forth with to organise under the direction of the Committee of Vigilance and Safety, in companies of fifty men each, who were to elect their officers and report to head-quarters, unless ordered on special service. Meetings favourable to the cause of the Texans were held at Natchitoches and New Orleans; and, at the latter place, a committee was appointed to communicate with the Provisional Government of Texas, and procure supplies of men and money. Through its endeavours, the sum of 7,000 dollars was soon subscribed, and two volunteer companies, amounting to 115 men, raised and equipped. Deficient in all the resources requisite for war, except moral energy and courage, the Colonists themselves contributed, from their private means, whatever was calculated to be of use to the troops. Leaden water-pipes and clock-weights were melted down for ammunition, and even the women cheerfully assisted in moulding bullets and making cartridges. To secure the frontier settlers from the attacks of hostile Indians, persons were empowered to contract with and employ three companies of rangers, at the daily rate of one dollar and a quarter each, to scour the country between the Colorado and the Brazos, the Brazos and the Trinity, and the exposed district east of the Trinity.
While exertions were made to create a military force, the organization of an efficient and satisfactory form of civil government was not neglected. On the 8th of October, Stephen Austin left San Felipe, to assume the command of the little army at Gonzalez, and his place, as Chairman of the Central Committee of Safety, was filled by Lorenzo de Zavala, who had declared in August that “the fundamental compact having been dissolved, and the guarantees of the civil and political rights of citizens having been destroyed, it was incontestable that all the States of the Mexican Confederation were left at liberty to act for themselves, and to provide for their security and preservation, as circumstances might require. Coahuila and Texas formed a State of the Republic, and as one part of it was occupied by an invading force, the free part of it should proceed to organise a power which would restore harmony and establish order and unanimity in all the branches of the public administration, which would be a rallying point for the citizens, whose hearts were trembling for liberty. But, as this power could only be organised by means of a convention which should represent the free-will of the citizens of Texas, he recommended this step, and suggested the 15th of October, as affording sufficient time to allow all the Departments to send their representatives.” In pursuance of Zavala's advice, the municipalities proceeded to choose representatives to attend a General Consultation of all Texas. On the 16th of October a number of delegates (not sufficient to form a quorum) assembled at San Felipe; but, in consequence of the absence of members who had withdrawn to join the army for repelling Mexican invasion, it was resolved, in accordance with the expressed wish of Austin and the officers at Gonzalez, that the meeting of the Consultation should be postponed until the 1st of November. To meet the emergency of affairs—“Texas being without a head”—a council was formed on the 11th, under the name of the General Council of Texas, to which the delegates to the Consultation who were not prepared to join the army, were attached, each municipality being requested to send a representative. Among other proceedings, the Council adopted a resolution to recommend the Consultation to annul the “ extensive land grants made by the Legislature of Coahuila and Texas since 1833, which had been purchased by certain individuals under the most suspicious circumstances." Three commissioners were appointed to treat with the Cherokees and other Northern Indians, and persons were authorised to contract and receive loans, at a rate not exceeding ten per cent. per annum, and to obtain possession and provide for the collection of all public money previously received on behalf of the Mexican government, or the State of Coahuila and Texas. Instructions were issued for suspending the operations of the land offices until the meeting of the Consultation, and a system of weekly mails was organised, and John Rice Jones appointed provisional Postmaster-General of Texas.
The Colonists in the west, notwithstanding their paucity of numbers and limited resources, acted boldly on the offensive. On the 8th a detachment of fifty men, under Captain Collinsworth, attacked and captured the post of Goliad, containing stores to the amount of 10,000 dollars, with two brass cannon and 300 stand of arms. The garrison, which was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Sandoval, surrendered after a slight resistance. One Mexican soldier was killed and three wounded, and one Texan slightly wounded. A most valuable addition was made to the military councils of the Colonists, at Goliad, in the person of Colonel Milam, who unexpectedly appeared at this critical period.
Benjamin R. Milam, whose name will long be held in grateful and honoured remembrance by the people of Texas, was born of humble parents in the State of Kentucky, and received but a very imperfect education. “ Endowed by nature with a strength of mind and spirit of enterprise almost