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mined to rule the Anglo-Americans (of all people the most jealous of military interference in their internal affairs) by the power of the sword.
Military posts were established in the various settled districts and trading points,-at Nacogdoches, Bexar, Goliad, Anahuac, Galveston, Velasco, Fort Teran, Victoria, and Tenoxtitlan. About 1300 Mexican soldiers were distributed at the different stations. These troops were of the very worst description-composed of convicts and inferior castes, whose domineering habits, acquired under the military oligarchy which preyed upon the interior, rendered them utterly unfit to mingle with lawrespecting men. The civil authorities of Texas, subordinate to the Governor and Legislature of the State of Coahuila and Texas, were the Political Chiefs, and the Ayuntamientos of the three jurisdictions—Bexar, the Brazos, and Nacogdoches. Each Political Chief presided over the Cabildo, or municipal council, held in the capital of his district, and was officially bound to enforce the general laws of the State within the limits of his command. Bexar, being especially a Mexican department and the most extensive of the three, had the honour of giving a Political Chief to all Texas.
The first collision between the colonists and the military occurred at Anahuac, a post under the superintendence of Colonel Bradburn, in the autumn of 1830. The commandant, an American who had served in the Mexican revolutionary war, countenanced and encouraged by the general government, committed many violent and arbitrary acts. By order of the Commandant-general, Teran, he arrested, in 1831, Don Francisco Madero, while engaged in executing his commission from the Governor of Coahuila and Texas, authorising him to put the settlers on the Trinity river in possession of their lands. The Commissioner and his surveyor, Jose Maria Carbajal, were taken by Bradburn's soldiers, and imprisoned at Anahuac. The arrest was made under the plea that the Commissioner was acting in contravention of the Eleventh Article of the Law of the 6th of April, 1830; but its gross illegality was manifest, and was emphatically condemned by the Governor of the State.*
The next attack upon the rights of the Texans was the subversion of the Ayuntamiento, legally organised for the settlement of Liberty on the Trinity river. Not content with formally abolishing this municipality by a laconic military order, and preventing the elections by force, Colonel Bradburn chose to establish another at Anahuac, without either the sanction or the knowledge of the State government. This garrison corporation claimed an extraordinary share of civil prerogative; and the commandant, its head, assuming the appropriation of extensive sections of land in the character of empresario, distributed grants by virtue of the law of the strong arm, in contempt of the law of the State. Yet the principal officers of
In the message of the Governor to the legislature of the State of Coahuila and Texas, at the opening of the session in 1832, after noticing the illegal conduct of Bradburn, in arresting the Commissioner Madero, His Excellency observed—“ This matter is in such a situation that remove the obstacles, it would be necessary to adopt measures that might compromise the State in the highest degree."
this very Ayuntamiento were threatened with military arrest, and obliged to fly to Austin's colony.
Emboldened by the impunity which attended his violent and unconstitutional proceedings, Bradburn ventured to infringe the personal liberties of the settlers. Some of the soldiers who were employed in cutting timber, having assaulted a respectable citizen, several of his neighbours waited on the commandant to demand punishment of the offenders. Their appeal being disregarded, they resolved to intercept the aggressors and inflict summary chastisement themselves. Intimation of their intention was conveyed to Bradburn, who had them suddenly arrested and imprisoned in the fort. About the same time, William Barrett Travis, whose name was afterwards distinguished in Texan history, was also confined at Anahuac, on suspicion of being the author of a threatening letter to the commandant. Alarm and indignation at these lawless proceedings spread among the colonists, who assembling at Anahuac to the amount of about 150 men, headed by John Austin, * respectfully applied for the release of the prisoners. Receiving a refusal, they
John Austin was native of Connecticut in New England, but unconnected with the family of Stephen Austin. Being of an adventurous spirit, he wandered, while yet a boy, from a quiet and religious home, and went “ before the mast.” One of his voyages brought him to a Mexican port, from which his curiosity led him to the capital, where he became acquainted with Stephen Austin, then engaged in the final negotiations respecting his first colony, and accompanied him to Texas. Mrs. Holley, “ Great strength of character, was foremost in every important crisis, and ready at every post of danger."
“ He had,” says
threatened to reduce the garrison; whereupon the commandant, ordering the prisoners to be pinioned to the ground, declared that the first shot fired by the colonists should be the signal of their fate. Travis, hearing this, called on his friends to fire away, and not regard his life, as he would rather die a thousand deaths than permit the oppressor to remain unpunished. In reply to Bradburn's menace, the colonists vowed that if he dared to execute it, the crime and its retribution should be written on the walls of the fort in his best blood. A few shots were fired, but, before a regular attack was commenced, terms of adjustment were proposed and accepted, by which the commandant agreed to the immediate release of the prisoners, on condition that the colonists should previously retire six miles from the fort. No sooner had the latter withdrawn than, availing himself of the opportunity of procuring some military stores deposited in another part of the village, Bradburn retracted his agreement, and bade defiance to the colonists, who forthwith seriously resolved to attempt the reduction of the garrison. Leaving his force under the command of W. C. Hall, John Austin proceeded in quest of artillery to Velasco. Ugartechea, the officer in command at that place, having opposed the shipment of the cannon, Austin determined on taking it by land. Fearing, however, that, in his absence, Ugartechea might harass the colonists on the Brazos, he asked an explanation of his intentions, and was informed that, as a subordinate to Colonel Bradburn, he would obey his orders, should they direct him to attack the settlement at Brazoria. Under these circumstances, Austin decided on dislodging Ugartechea before he joined his friends before Anahuac.
On the morning of the 26th of June, 1832, while it was yet dark, 112 Texans, commanded by John Austin, began the attack on the Mexican garrison of Velasco, directed in their fire by the flash of the guns from the fort. Until day dawned, they fought at great disadvantage, and suffered considerably, not only from small arms, but from a gun mounted on a swivel upon a bastion: their opponents sustained comparatively little injury. With the return of light, the skill of the Texan marksmen operated with deadly effect. Every Mexican who showed his head above the walls of the fort was shot; the cannon was repeatedly cleared ; and the hands that successively held the lighted match were shattered by the rifle, with the precision of expert pistol practice, until, at last, Ugartechea, unable to man the bastion with his terrified mercenaries, ascended it himself, and directed the gun. Respecting him as a man, and admiring his gallant bearing as a soldier, the Texans, although they might have despatched a bullet through either eye of the commandant, abstained from firing, and the fort was surrendered; terms of capitulation being duly subscribed, and the Mexicans received and treated with kindness. In this affair eleven Texans were killed, and fifty-two wounded, twelve of them mortally. Of the 125 Mexicans who formed the garrison, about one-half were killed, and seventeen lost their hands by the fearful drilling of the rifle.
After the fall of Velasco, Austin conveyed the