Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

TE X AS:

THE

RISE, PROGRESS, AND PROSPECTS

OF THE

REPUBLIC OF TEXAS.

BOOK II.

THE HISTORY OF TEXAS, FROM THE PERIOD OF THE FIRST EUROPEAN SETTLEMENTS TO THE ESTABLISH

MENT OF THE REPUBLIC.

“What have we ever known like the colonial vassalage of these States !

When did we or our ancestors feel, like them, the weight of a political despotism that presses men to the earth, or of that religious intolerance which would shut up heaven to all but the bigoted 1 WE HAVE SPRUNG FROM ANOTHER STOCK-WE BELONG TO ANOTHER RACE. We have known nothing-we have felt nothing—of the political despotism of Spain, nor of the heat of her fires of intolerance."

WEBSTER's Speech on the Panama Mission, delivered in

the United States Congress, April 14, 1826.

VOL. II.

B

CHAPTER VI.

Spanish and Mexican estimate of the Value of Waste Lands-In

creasing Value of Texas from Anglo-American ColonizationMilitary rule in Texas - Violation of Constitutional Rights and Rising of the Colonists—Defeat of Ugartechea and Piedras, and flight of Colonel Bradburn-Plan of Vera Cruz-Expulsion of the Garrisons and defensive statements of the Colonists -Convention at San Felipe-Petition for separating Texas from Coahuila-Grievances of the Texans—Stephen Austin's Mission-Commotions in Mexico-Reception of Austin by the General Government-His Advice to the Colonists, and its Consequences.

The colonization laws of Mexico invited foreign settlers, and guaranteed the security of their persons and property; the avowed object of the government being to control the Indians and create a productive frontier population. Although the adoption of a regular system of land sales had been recommended to the Mexican Congress by the Executive in 1823, colonization was chiefly carried on by the plan of contract, and large tracts of land were granted gratuitously, independent Mexico attaching as littl substantial value as old Spain to its waste lands. Edmund Keene, the first Empresario for Texas, was appointed under the Spanish government, with a grant of 21,000 square leagues of the choicest territory.* Robert Owen has recorded the fact, that he visited Mexico in the well-founded hope of obtaining from the philosophic munificence of the republican authorities the cession of Texas, for the development of his new organization of society. In short, until Anglo-American enterprise and industry had imparted marketable value to the luxuriant wilderness, Texas was valueless and useless to its nominal possessors, who had ceased to incur even the expense of maintaining the old military posts. Indeed, to the great majority of the Mexicans, the country was known only by its evil reputation, as the haunt of irreclaimable savages.

* “ Argument and Observations on the Empresario Contracts of Texas, by John Woodward, New York, 1837.”

In less than ten years, flourishing settlements had been formed, from the Sabine to the Colorado. The inhabitants, far removed from the theatre of the civil commotions which had never ceased to disturb and depress Mexico from the year of its liberation, were occupied in raising agricultural produce, rearing cattle, and devising schemes of practical improvement. Emigration from the United States, although checked by the decree of the 6th of April, 1830, had increased the number of colonists to about 20,000; of whom a large proportion were in the prime of vigorous manhood. Mexican cupidity was awakened by their prosperous progress. Their disinclination to pay the factious soldiery of the interior, and their heretical leanings, had embittered against them the two predominant classes of the nation; their opposition to what they considered oppressive and insulting custom-house regulations, and their stubborn independence, had irritated and alarmed a vain and vacillating government. In violation of constitutional guarantees, it was deter

« ZurückWeiter »