Page images
PDF
EPUB

remainder of the Mexican provinces. After the cession of Texas to Spain, it was well understood by statesmen and intelligent men of every party, that the western boundary of that country continued to be the Rio Grande ;* at all events, for a consider

ART. 4. The Mexican nation adopts for the form of its Government a popular, representative, and federal republic.

Art. 5. The constituent parts of the federation are the following States and Territories, viz. : The States of Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Texas, Durango, Guanajuato, Angeles, Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, Sonora and Sinaloa, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Vera Cruz, Jalisco, Yucatan, and Zacatecas; the Territories of Upper California, Lower California, Colima, and Santa Fé, de Nuevo Mexico. A constitutional law will fix the character of Tlascula.

Dated 4th of October, 1824, fourth year of independence, third of liberty, and second of confederation.

LORENZO DE ZAVALA, President.

Laws and Decrees of the State of Coahuila and Texas.

DECREE NO. I.

The Territory of the State shall be that recognized as both provinces, until the present tiine. August 15, 1824.

429. DECREE NO. 13. ART. 1. In that part of this State known as the Province of Texas, a political authority shall be provisionally established, styled “ Chief of Department of Texas.” February 1, 1825.

Mr. Madison says, January 31, 1804, to Mr. Livingston, “ With respect to the western extent of Louisiana, Mr. Laussat held a language more satisfactory. He considered the Rio Bravo, or Del Norte, as far as the thirtieth degree of north latitude, as its true boundary on that side.”— Foreign Relations, page 574.

* " Texas is bounded southeast by the Gulf of Mexico; west and southwest by the Rio del Norte.”—Morse's Geographical Dictionary, edition 1821.

Texas, province of Mexico, bounded southwest by the Rio Grande del Norte."--Brooks's Universal Gazetteer, edition 1823.

" Texas claimed by Spain as a part of the internal provinces, and bounded west by the Del Norte,” &c.— Worcester Gazetteer, 1823.

“ Texas, province of Mexico, in the former provincios internos,

able distance up that stream.* It cannot be denied then, that the Texas which became a party to the compact of 1824, was the Texas which was acquired from France in 1803, and which was ceded to Spain in 1819. The Rio Grande was regarded as the western boundary of Texas, not only by well-informed persons in this country, but was not disputed by the Mexican authorities.

No claim had been made by the Government of Mexico, or by any of her military chieftains to the Nueces as the eastern boundary of the Mexican Republic previous to the battle of Palo Alto. In their pronunciamentos they have demanded the Sabine as the boundary of their possessions. They have claimed “the whole or none." And whenever they have given any evidence of being wearied of the attempt to re-conquer Texas, they have indicated the Rio Del Norte as the extent of their sacrifice.f In 1821 a large party of American citibounded southwest by the Rio Grande del Norte.--Darby's Gazetteet, edition 1827.

“ Texas, province of Mexico in the former internal provinces, is bounded southwest by the Rio Grande.”Davenport's Gazetteer, edition 1832.

In his letter to Aaron V. Brown, General Jackson says: “ Remember also, that if Texas be annexed to the United States, our western boundary would be the Rio Grande, which is itself a fortification, on account of its extensive barren and uncultivated plains.”

“ The real Texas which we acquired by the treaty of 1803, and Aung away by the treaty of 1819, never approached the Rio Grande, except near its mouth,” &c.

* Again : “ I draw a broad line of distinction between the Province of Texas and the Republic of Texas. The province laid between the Sabine and the lower Rio del Norte, and between the Gulf of Mexico and the Red River. The republic of Texas stretches to the whole extent of the left bank of the Rio del Norte. Of the two Texases, I go for the recovery of the old one.”

| Proclamation of General Adrian Woll, June 20th, 1844. Dispatch

zens formed the determination of settling upon a large tract of land, granted by Mexico to Moses Austin. They were not a lawless band of outlaws, determined to plunder Mexico of her territory, but were invited to go thither. The Mexicans, finding it exceedingly inconvenient to contend against the wild and desperate bands of Indians who were continually making incursions and carrying fire and slaughter among their defenceless hamlets, sought the protection of the western rifle against their terrible foes, and when they had formed a barrier between the Indians and Mexicans, the latter sought to disarm and render defenceless those who had generously proved their protectors. To submit to this cowardly aggression was impossible. The remorseless bands of savages, who hung like a dark and threatening cloud around their settlements, were only kept aloof by the dreaded rifle; and if the Texans had been disarmed, the tomahawk and scalping-knife would have carried death and dismay into every dwelling in Texas. Resistance or indiscriminate massacre was the only alternative. That Santa Anna had resolved upon their destruction they had no reason to doubt. The members of the Legislature of Coahuila were seized and imprisoned for merely protesting against the acts of the Central Government. In this state of excitement, surrounded by dangers upon all sides, the Texans elected delegates to meet in convention at

of General Filisola, May 31st, 1836. Articles of agreement signed May 14th, 1836, by Santa Anna, Gen. Filisola, Don Jose Urea, Don Antonio Ganoa, and Don Joachin Ramyres.

San Felipe in October, 1835. About this time General Cos, with a considerable body of troops, crossed the Rio Grande, and leaving a portion of his forces at Lipantitlan, on the west side of the Nueces, and at Goliad, marched with his main force to San Antonio. And while the delegates were quietly assembling, General Cos sent a body of two hundred cavalry to Gonzales, a small town in the neighborhood of that place, and demanded of the citizens the surrender of a small cannon which they used as a defence against the Indians. Their reply was grape and canister, and thus the Texas revolution commenced. The news of this collision at once aroused the people of Texas to the defence of their homes. They shouldered their rifles and hurried to the scene of contest. They rallied from both sides of the Nueces, and from the banks of the Rio Grande. In a few days Goliad and Lipantitlan had fallen into their possession. The convention which had assembled at San Felipe issued a declaration against the Central Government, and declared in favor of the Constitution of 1824. Determined that not a Mexican soldier should degrade the soil of Texas, they concentrated their forces around San Antonio and forced General Cos to surrender. Among the number who left their firesides to drive from the province the Mexican invaders, as I have already stated, were persons who resided between the Nueces and the Rio Grande. In the moment of peril they gallantly shared the dangers which threatened all! In the hour of triumph gratitude was not forgotten; they were not

the men basely to disregard the interests of that portion of the people of Texas. Many of them fell during the struggle. The rights of the widow and orphan have been asserted, and to the honor of the Texas nation be it said, that they would have hazarded their national existence in the defence of her citizens residing in every portion of her dominions. By the terms of the capitulation of General Cos, the rights of those citizens were guaranteed.

Thus ended the first conflict between the Mexicans and the people of Texas. Not only did they manifest a determination to resist all attempts to subjugate them, but the result proved their ability to do so.

The terms of the capitulation of Gen. Cos, establishes the first link in the revolutionary chain of title of Texas to the Rio Grande, as her western boundary.*

General Cos, with his soldiers and convicts, recrossed the Rio Grande. To this date, then, although assailed without any justification whatever, by those who should have been actuated by feelings of gratitude, the Texans exhibited a determination

* "Capitulation entered into by General Martin Prefecto De Cos, of the perma

nent troops, and General Eduard Burleson, of the Colonial Troops of Texas. Being desirous of prerenting the further effusion of blood, and the rarages of ciril war, we have agreed on the following stipulations :

“.1st. That General Cos and his officers retire with their arms and private property into the interior of the republic, under parole of honor that they will not in any way oppose the establishment of the Federal Constitution of 1824."

“ 3d. That the General take the convicts lately brought in by Colonel Ugartachea, beyond the river Rio Grande.”

“ 14th. General Burleson will furnish General Cos with such provisions as can be obtained, necessary for his troops to the Rio Grande, at the ordinary price of the country.”

« PreviousContinue »