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when the Mexicans retreated with a loss of twentyeight in killed, wounded, and missing. One Texan wounded in the hand was the only injury sustained by the party.
On the 8th, another slight engagement, called in Texas the “ Grass Fight,” took place between detachments of the contending forces. A party of forty Colonists was ordered to intercept some Mexican soldiers, commissioned by Cos to burn the prairie grass for thirty or forty miles around San Antonio. The party had only proceeded three or four miles, when one of their number was killed by a fall from his horse. A detachment of twentyseven men, sent from the camp to bring in the body, was attacked by 160 of the Morelos Lancers. Retiring to a ravine, they opened a fire on the cavalry, which compelled them to retreat, with the loss of five killed and several wounded. One Texan was slightly wounded. Another skirmish occurred on the 26th, near Bexar, between nearly equal numbers of Colonists and Centralists-about 300 on each side. The latter, although advantageously posted under cover of some timber, were driven back to the fort with considerable loss. The Texans continued the pursuit until they were fired upon by the cannon of Bexar.
Stephen Austin, B. T. Archer, and W. H. Wharton having been appointed, by the Consultation at San Felipe, Commissioners to the United States, to act under the advice and instruction of the Provisional Government, intimation to that effect was conveyed to General Austin, then with the army, who arrived at San Felipe on the 29th of November,
to undertake the duties of the appointment. Edward Burleson, elected by the volunteers composing the army to the chief command, was left to conduct the siege at Bexar. The Consultation, with only one dissenting voice, had chosen Samuel Houston MajorGeneral and Commander-in-Chief of the Regular Army of Texas. After receiving his commission, General Houston had established his head-quarters at Washington, on the Brazos. On the 30th of November, Mr. Austin formally reported his arrival at San Felipe to the Provisional Government, and his readiness to serve the country in the new station to which he had been called by the representatives of the people. The Report supplies an interesting summary of events both in Mexico and Texas, and affords a temperate exposition of the feelings and circumstances of the Colonists, as affected by the decree of the 3rd of October which abolished the State Legislatures.
“I have the satisfaction to say, that the patriotism which drew together the gallant volunteers now in service before Bexar and fort Goliad is unabated. They left all the comforts and endearments of home to defend their Constitutional rights, and the republican principles of the Federal System and Constitution of 1824, and the vested rights of Texas under the law of the 7th of May of that year. Their basis is the Constitution and the Federal System. But should these be destroyed in Mexico, and the decree of the 3rd of October last, passed by the Central party, (a copy of which is herewith presented,) be carried into effect, and a Central and despotic government established, where all the authority is to be concentrated in one person, or in a few persons, in the city of Mexico, sustained by military and ecclesiastical power; the volunteer army will also, in that event, do their duty to their country, to the cause of liberty, and to
themselves—as honour, patriotism, and the first law of nature may require.
“ That every people have the right to change their government, is unquestionable ; but it is equally certain and true, that this change, to be morally or politically obligatory, must be effected by the free expression of the will of the community, and by legal and constitutional means; for otherwise the stability of governments and the rights of the people would be at the mercy of fortunate revolutionistsof violence or faction.
Admitting, therefore, that a Central and despotic, or strong government, is best adapted to the education and habits of a portion of the Mexican people, and that they wish it ; this does not, and cannot, give to them the right to dictate by unconstitutional means and force, to the other portion, who have equal rights, and differ in opinion.
“Had the change been effected by constitutional means, or had a National Convention been convened, and every member of the confederacy been fairly represented, and a majority agreed to the change, it would have placed the matter on different ground; but, even then, it would be monstrous to admit the principle, that the majority have the right to destroy the minority, for the reason that self-preservation is superior to all political obligations. That such a government as is contemplated by the before-mentioned decree of the 3rd of October, would destroy the people of Texas, must be evident to all, when they consider its geographical situation, so remote from the contemplated centre of legislation and power; populated as it is by a people who are so different in education, habits, customs, language, and local wants, from all the rest of the nation ; and, especially, when a portion of the Central party have manifested violent religious and other prejudices and jealousies against them. But no National Convention was convened, and the Constitution has been, and now is, violated and disregarded.
“ The Constitutional Authorities of the State of Coahuila and Texas solemnly protested against the change of government, for which act they were driven by military force from office and imprisoned. The people of Texas protested
against it, as they had a right to do, for which they have been declared rebels by the government in Mexico.
“However necessary, then, the basis established by the decree of the 3rd of October may be to prevent civil wars and anarchy in other parts of Mexico, it is attempted to be effected by force and unconstitutional means. However beneficial it may be to some parts of Mexico, it would be ruinous to Texas. This view presents the whole subject to the people. If they submit to a forcible and unconstitutional destruction of the social compact which they have sworn to support, they violate their oaths. If they submit to be tamely destroyed, they disregard their duty to themselves, and violate the first law which God has stamped upon the heart of man, civilised or savage-which is the law or the right of self-preservation.
“ The decree of the 3rd of October, therefore, if carried into effect, evidently leaves no remedy for Texas but resistance, secession from Mexico, and a direct resort to natural rights.
“ Such I believe to be the view which the volunteer army, late under my command, has taken of this subject; and such, in substance, the principles it is defending, and will defend. That they are sound and just, and merit the approbation of all nations, I sincerely and conscientiously believe.
“ It may be out of place to speak of myself in such a communication as this, but I deem it right to say that I have faithfully laboured for years to unite Texas permanently to the Mexican Confederation, by separating its local government and internal administration, so far as practicable, from every other part of Mexico, and placing it in the hands of the people of Texas, who are certainly best acquainted with their local wants, and could best harmonise in legislating for them. There was but one way to effect this union, with any hope of permanency or harmony, which was by erecting Texas into a State of the Mexican Confederation. Sound policy, and the true interest of the Mexican Republic, evidently required that this should be done.
“The people of Texas desired it; and if proofs were
wanting (but they are not) of their fidelity to their obligations as Mexican citizens, this effort to erect Texas into a State affords one which is conclusive to every man of judgment who knows anything about this country; for all such are convinced that Texas could not, and would not, remain united to Mexico without the right of self-government as a separate State.
“ The object of the Texans, therefore, in wishing a separation from Coahuila, and the erection of their country into a State, was to avoid a total separation from Mexico by a revolution. Neither Coahuila, nor any other portion of the Mexican nation, can legislate on the internal affairs of Texas : it is impossible. This country must either be a State of the Mexican Confederation, or must separate in toto, as an independent community, or seek protection from some power that recognises the principles of self-government. I can see no remedy between one of these three positions and total ruin.
“I must particularly call the attention of the Provisional Government to the Volunteer Army now in the field. That their services have been, and now are, in the highest degree useful and important to Texas, is very evident. Had this army never crossed the Guadalupe,-a movement which some have condemned,- the war would have been carried by the Centralists into the colonies, and the settlements on the Guadalupe and La Baca would probably have suffered, and perhaps have been broken up. The town of Gonzalez had already been attacked, and many of the settlers were about to remove.
“What effect such a state of things would have had upon the moral standing and prospects of the country, although a matter of opinion, is worthy of mature consideration ; more especially when it is considered that, at the time, the opinions of many were vacillating and unsettled, and much division prevailed. The Volunteer Army have also paralysed the force of General Cos, so that it is shut up within the fortifications of Bexar, incapable of any hostile movements whatever outside of the walls, and must shortly surrender or be annihilated. The enemy has been