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and their tranquillity more or less affected by the excitements of that revolutionary people. Of all the times for Texas to declare herself independent, the present they believed to be the most seasonable. The causes would fully justify the act, and win the approval of an enlightened world. In her present temporary and partial organization, she performed many acts of sovereignty: why not, then, execute them under an appropriate name? They were occupied in raising a regular force, but they never would have an efficient one until they had an established government performing all its functions.*

The party favourable to the continuance of the contest on Federal principles reminded the Colonists of their solemn obligations to maintain the Constitution of 1824, and adverted to the stand yet made against Centralism by the Mexican Liberals in the South, and to the probable hostility of the whole Mexican nation, in case they declared their independence. They had been told that by a Declaration of Independence they could become attached to the government of the United States. But had they any assurance to that effect? Interference with the territory of foreign nations, and all entangling alliances, it had ever been the policy of the United States to avoid. When Mr. Jefferson purchased Louisiana, it produced a tremendous excitement, and amounted almost to a severance of the Union. The constitutional power of the government to acquire foreign territory had ever been denied by the Republican party, and it was not probable that any

* Address of the Committee of Safety and Vigilance at San Augustine, December 22nd, 1835.

great change had taken place on that subject. The manufacturing interest, it was well known, was opposed to the acquisition of territory to the South; and these things, taken in consideration with the good faith that should be observed between governments, would, no doubt, induce the government of the United States to decline admitting Texas into the Union. What then would be their situation ? An independent people, composed of about 60,000 inhabitants, deeply in debt, and not a dollar in the treasury. *

Communications were received, in the beginning of January, 1836, from Stephen Austin, who was then at New Orleans, where he had concluded a loan for 200,000 dollars, and expected to procure another for 40,000 or 50,000. In two of his letters published in the Texan newspapers at the time, he explained his views respecting a declaration of independence. He had always, he stated, been very cautious in involving the pioneers and actual settlers of Texas by any act of his, until he was fully and clearly convinced of its necessity, and of their capacity to sustain it. He had considered it his duty to be prudent, and even to control his own impulses and feelings, which had long been impatient under the state of things that had existed in Texas, and in favour of a speedy and radical change. When he left the country, he was of opinion that it was premature to stir the question of independence, although he wished to see the Colonists free from the trammels of religious intolerance and other

* Address to the People by James Kerr, Member of the Legislative Council of Texas. San Felipe de Austin, January 4th, 1836.

anti-republican restrictions. But, since his arrival in New Orleans, he had received information that induced him to think the time had come for Texas to assert her natural rights. He had not heard of any movement by the Mexican Federal party in favour of Texas and the Constitution of 1824. On the contrary, according to the latest news from Vera Cruz and Tampico, that party had united with Santa Anna to put down the Texans. Santa Anna was, by the last accounts, at San Luis Potosi, marching with a large force against Texas. One course, therefore, alone was left them-an absolute Declaration of Independence. Had it not been for the firm belief of the lenders that such a Declaration would be made by the Convention, when it should meet in March, they could not have obtained their loan. Whatever difference of opinion there might have been as to the time for this move, he hoped there would be none now.

And “ should a Declaration of Independence be made, there ought to be no limits prescribed, on the South, West, or NorthWest: the field should be left open for extending beyond the Rio Grande, and to Chihuahua and New Mexico."

CHAPTER XII.

Texan prospects at the opening of the year 1836- Removal of the

Provisional Governor-Message of his Successor-Projected attack on Matamoros-Mexican Expedition against Texas-Military Outrages-March of Santa Anna to Bexar - Attack on the Alamo-Capture of the Fort and Slaughter of the Garrison --Colonel Crockett-Convention at Washington-Declaration of Independence – President Burnet's Address --Fate of King and his Party-Battle of the Coleto-Surrender of Fannin Massacre of Texan Prisoners-Advance of Santa Anna-Battle of San Jacinto-Evacuation of Texas by the Invading Army.

year

THE 1836 opened with inauspicious prospects for Texas. At a time when unanimity seemed essential to the existence of the Colonists, dissension broke out in the government. In a message transmitted to the General Council at San Felipe on the 10th of January, Governor Smith assumed the right to exercise certain powers with regard to the Council, which that body considered a dangerous invasion of its privileges. On the same day, the Council, by resolutions unanimously adopted, declared the office of Governor vacant, and called upon the Lieutenant-Governor, James W. Robinson, to discharge the duties of the same, according to the provisions of the second article of the Organic Law, creating a Provisional Government.

In his message to the Council on the 14th of January, the acting Governor, after expressing his conviction that the General Council ought to remain in Session until the meeting of the Convention on the 1st of March, invited attention to matters of immediate public interest. The regular army, he observed, had not yet been recruited and filled up, and the enemy was preparing a more formidable force than they had yet encountered for an invasion early in the spring. The organization of an efficient army, and means for its support, would continue to form the object of their care, and considerations of economy demanded the reduction of a superfluous number of officers in the regiment of artillery. The closing of the land offices by the General Consultation had been attended with embarrassments to the bona fide settler; he therefore suggested the expediency of providing by law for the disposition of public lands to actual settlers then in Texas, or who might emigrate thither and settle on their locations, in accordance with the provisions of the Organic Law and laws of colonization; and that those citizens whose titles were not fully perfected should be authorised to receive them, under proper rules and regulations. It was also desirable that measures should be adopted for accelerating the organization of the judiciary, providing for the defence of the coast, and for rendering maritime intercourse more secure by surveys of the several ports. The rate of import duty being, in his opinion, too high, as the country was then situated, he recommended that ten and fifteen per cent. be levied and collected, instead of the existing charges of fifteen and twenty-five per cent.-it being their interest to attract capital and emigrants by affording to both all the facilities in their

As two vessels had been purchased for the public service, and two more

power.

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