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The Southern States of America
Chapter I - Texas as a part of Mexico


PICTURESQUE as this period is, it lacks unity. Since the American element, however, once introduced, was of steady growth and ultimately became dominant, attention must be centred upon what led to its introduction and upon the causes of its final success in directing the fortunes of the province.

Boundaries Variable.

Texas as a part of Mexico had variable boundaries. In Humboldt's time the province of New Mexico was wholly independent of Texas, El Paso being its southernmost garrison. In the first decade of the Nineteenth century, when Humboldt wrote his account of New Spain, the province of Texas belonged to the intendency of San Luis Potosi. The nearest presidio or military post was that at Nacogdoches, some sixty-eight leagues, says Humboldt, from Fort Claiborne, the farthest settlement in Louisiana westward. Against the claim of Louisiana to the land east of the Lavaca stood that of Spain to the land eastward as far as the Rio Mermentas, which flows into the Gulf beyond the Sabine.

On the west the Mexican authorities gave Texas the Nueces and the Medina as her boundaries. The Marqués de Aguayo in the account of his Wtrada in 1721 names the Medina as the boundary dividing her from Coahuila. The Nueces divided her from Tamaulipas. It was not until the Fredonian "War that any Texan claimed the Rio Grande as the western boundary. After San Jacinto the Republic reiterated this claim.

Spain was engaged from the time of her great period of colonization in European struggles, which kept her from making full use of her splendid opportunities in America. Hence two centuries elapsed after the first great voyage of Columbus before Texas even received a name. Legends such as those of the Seven Cities of Cibola, wanderings such as those narrated by the shipwrecked Cabeza de Vaca, authorized explorations such as that of the friar Niza, armed expeditions such as that of Coronado, entradas or official visits such as that of Captains Martin and del Castillo show the gradual growth from story-filled ignorance to actual occupation.

These marches led, naturally, to a claim on the part of Spain to territory northward and eastward of Mexico. The land east of the Rio Grande, however, was not really occupied until the claims of France, based on the last voyage of La Salle, threatened the validity of those of Spain.

Early French Explorations.

Spain had failed to push the advantage given her by the wonderful westward raid of De Soto; and France, moving up the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes, had floated in the person of La Salle down the Mississippi and repeated the discovery of De Soto. Winning thus the favor of his great king, La Salle sailed once more at the head of a royal expedition to plant a fortified post near the mouth of the mighty river. Sailing beyond it, he reached what is now Matagorda Bay. Taking this for one of the mouths of the Mississippi, he landed and encamped. Further misfortunes and losses, along with recognition of the fact that he was not on the Mississippi, led him to build a fort and then try to make his way to his proposed destination. The fort, called St. Louis, was erected on a river named by La Salle La Vache, later the La Vaca of the Spaniards. The banner of the lilies now floated over the soil of Texas.

The summer of 1685 swept most of the garrison away. La Salle made two trips eastward to no avail, and in a third attempt to reach the desired region he was assassinated by one of his own men. The settlement on the Lavaca did not long survive him. When the Spaniards reached it in 1689 they found it deserted.

Settlement by the Spaniards.

Once aware of its existence the authorities in Mexico had sought for it by sea and land in vain, until at last Capt. Alonso de Leon, accompanied by Manzanet, a Franciscan friar, marched from Monclova and reached the deserted fort. The viceroy of New Spain now resolved to forestall any future occupation by the French, and planned a permanent Spanish settlement. Four survivors of the French garrison had been found among the Tejas near the fort, and through them Padre Manzanet held communications with the Indians, which encouraged him to hope for their conversion. Consultation between the ecclesiastical and military authorities ended in the decision to go back with a larger force, Leon to destroy the fortifications and Manzanet and three other Franciscans to Christianize the natives. After destroying Fort St. Louis they set out for the country of the Tejas and there established the mission of San Francisco de los Tejas. The flag of the lions and the castles now fluttered in the breeze far to the eastward of the spot on which that of the lilies had waved.

Leaving there three padres and three soldiers, the others returned. Drought, overflow, famine, pestilence and mutiny soon brought an end to this first mission. It was formally abandoned in 1693. Revived in 1716 under another name, it was finally transferred to the San Antonio and again renamed. The buildings of the original mission being of wood, there remain no traces. It is only known that it was near the present town of Nacogdoches.

In 1691 an entrada made by Capt. Domingo Terán reached the country of the Cadodachos on Red River after great suffering from cold and famine. Their return route was largely by sea.

These earlier marches and settlements giving prominence to the tribal name of Tejas or Texas— a mere variety in spelling, not in the Spanish pronunciation—gave the land its most abiding name. Nuevas Filipinas long remained the official designation, but failed to take firm root among the people.

The Indians were thinly scattered. On the authority of one of the missionaries, Tejas was the name of a confederacy of nearly thirty tribes in the south and east. The Apaches, Comanches and Kiowas were rovers who wandered through the north and northwest. On the coast and along the Colorado and Brazos were the fisher tribes, the Lipans and the Carancahuas. The Hasinai or Cenis, who occupied the lands about Buffalo Bayou, the San Jacinto and the Trinity, were dwellers in beehive-shaped cabins. They raised corn and traded through the Comanches with the Spaniards for articles of luxury. The Nassonis lived between the Trinity and the Sabine. In the interior roamed the Toncahuas, the Huecos and the Tehuacanos.

The War of the Palatinate and that of the Spanish Succession kept France so busy that, except planting the outpost mission of San Juan Bautista in 1700, the Spanish authorities grew sluggish again and did little to strengthen their hold on the Bio Grande and the country east of it. "With Louis XIV. too much engaged in Europe to dream of pushing the claim based on La Salle's settlement at Fort St. Louis, and then again with a grandson of Louis XIV. accepted by the Spanish people as their king, there could be no fear of French occupation, no jealousy of French intrigue.

French, in Texas; Saint Denis.

Yet at this very time France was making good her claim on the Mississippi region. In 1699, the year before the death of the last Spanish Hapsburg, the Sieur d'Iberville founded that colony at Biloxi which was the precursor of New Orleans. Trade with the Indians was the life of this new colony, and in 1712, six years before its transfer from the shore of Mississippi Sound to the bank of the great river, Antoine Crozat received from the king the grant of a monopoly of the Louisiana trade for fifteen years. Crozat and the governor, Lamotte Cadillac, were eager for commerce with the Spanish colonies. The way was at last opened by the religious zeal of Fray Francisco Hidalgo. This missionary, longing to re-occupy the country of the Tejas and appealing in vain to the home authorities, made up his mind to take advantage of the commercial cupidity of the French. Cadillac responded with alacrity to his proposition. The Church was to be aided by the establishment of a mission among the Hasinai or Asenais, and the French were to get commercial access to the Rio Grande.

The leader chosen for the expedition was the brilliant chevalier Louis Juchereau de Saint-Denis. Already a seasoned explorer and a companion of Bienville, with Canadian hunters and trappers attached to his person and fortunes, he had twice ascended Red River. He agreed to carry goods of Crozat's to the value of 10,000 livres and sell them in Mexico. Ostensibly his business was to buy horses for the Louisiana colony. From Mobile to Biloxi, from Biloxi up the Mississippi and the Red rivers to the land of the Natchitoches, in five canoes he led his party. Here the overland travel began. With thirty Natchitoches as guides he marched westward to the Asenais and traded with them for six months of the year 1714, himself going back to the Natchez to report to Cadillac and bring more goods. The Asenais urging him to bring them Hidalgo and other missionaries, he took guides with him and set out for the Rio Grande. A march of six weeks brought him to the presidio attached to the mission of San Juan Bautista, two leagues across the river, a few miles below the site of the present Eagle Pass.

The commandant, Don Pedro de Villescas, received him hospitably, but reported the situation to the viceroy. The interval between report and official action Saint-Denis employed in courting Donna Maria Ramon, the granddaughter of Villescas. She soon loved him devotedly and they were married before his return to Louisiana, but not until he had suffered much at the hands of his rival, the governor of Coahuila.

Saint-Denis had been removed under guard to the city of Mexico, and the viceroy, already informed by the Spaniards at Pensacola of his march through Texas, required him to make a written statement of his aims. This document drew from the fiscal the recommendation that the French be kept out and that the decayed missions be reestablished.

New Spanish Settlements.

An expedition led by Donna Maria's uncle, Capt. Domingo Ramon, set out to establish missions among the Tejas. Saint-Denis went with Ramon, and as there were only twenty-two soldiers, it is manifest that no real dread of armed French encroachment was entertained. Besides the friars and lay brothers there were married men with their families, a better augury for permanence than the earlier missions possessed.

Following the route already traced by Saint-Denis, famous in later days as the Old San Antonio Road, the expedition after a march of some two months reached Tejas. The old mission was reestablished about four leagues farther inland and renamed. Five others were founded in the region dominated later by Nacogdoches.

While this work was going on Eam6n visited the French post among the Natchitoches, and Saint-Denis went back to Mobile. Again imprisoned on his return and deported to Guatemala, he escaped to Louisiana and reentered the French service. Whatever may be said of his motives, he secured Texas to Spain by his faithful fulfilment of the compact of Cadillac with Hidalgo at a time when the mother country was very feeble in Europe.

In 1721 another French expedition sent by Bienville with La Harpe in command, and a shipwrecked officer, Monsieur de Belleisle, whom Saint-Denis found among the Indians and rescued, as his coadjutor, met with complete failure. It was meant to reestablish Fort St. Louis.

In 1727 Texas was formed into a separate province with the Medina for its western boundary.

Method of Spanish Colonization.

Spanish colonization, though partly agricultural and commercial, was also predominantly ecclesiastical and military. Unfortunately for its permanence in Texas, the pueblo was wholly subordinate to the mission and the presidio.

The object of the mission was to Christianize the natives. A group of Franciscan friars, coming generally from Querétaro and Zacatecas, instructed in . the creed and ritual of the Church and in the arts such Indians as they could induce to submit to their rule. The buildings were arranged around a square, the chief of them being the church. Strong walls protected the mission against the Indios Bravos. Huts for the Indios Reducidos made up the pueblo outside of the mission walls. Sometimes the pueblo also was surrounded by a wall. Unmarried Indians, male and female, occupied separate huts, locked at night by the friars. The missions of importance had attached to each of them a presidio, containing soldiers with a commandant at their head. The stone houses, the planted fields, the irrigation ditch with its stone dam, the hundreds of mares, hogs, cattle, goats and sheep, the granary with its stores of corn and beans: these give an idea of industry and plenty such as Andalusia knew in the days when the Moors gave Spain her civilization.

But taxes, tithes and priests' fees burdened the "reduced Indians" greatly. The converts were practically peons, and they often ran away, and the soldiers did not like the task of capturing them and bringing them back to be flogged. The missions were really a failure, the numbers under the sway of the friars dwindling continually. Yet in their stately churches they have left picturesque monuments of the energy and the architectural skill of the Franciscans. Artists were imported for the finer work. The beautifully carved images adorning the San Jose Mission on the right bank of the San Antonio were the work of Juan Huicar, a sculptor sent from Spain for that purpose.

The civil settlement was not always the pueblo attached to a mission. It was sometimes a settlement of immigrants, became self-governing and attained the dignity of a ciudad or city. It was governed by a council called the cabildo or ayuntamiento. This was composed of alcaldes, regidores and other officials. Nominally they were elected, but virtually their appointment came from the Council of the Indies in Spain. There was really no such thing as local self-government. Even when justice was done, it was tardy and niggardly.

In the villa of San Fernando, settled by Canary Islanders, there was an effort made on May 1, 1789— significant date—to establish and foster a school system, an effort which lasted fitfully but hopefully to the time of the revolution of 1835. Neither soldiers nor priests, these old Spaniards valued education.

But the strength of Spanish effort was expended on the ecclesiastical and military features of colonial occupation, hence the failure to plant vital and growing colonies. There were no fewer than twenty-five missions and presidios founded, and yet at the time of colonization from the United States there were but three centres of population in all that vast territory. These were San Antonio de Béjar, La Bahia—later called Goliad—and Nacogdoches. Even at these points official reports show that years before the Texan revolution the missions were in a ruinous condition. One of these reports attributes the decay to the increasing hostility of the savage tribes and the recklessness and violence of the Spanish troops. The historian Brown estimates the population of Texas in 1820 as not exceeding 5,000 souls.

Beginnings of San Antonio.

Of the three surviving Spanish settlements the most important was San Antonio, in this period usually styled Béjar. Even before presidio and mission were planted there Saint-Denis, crossing the San Antonio at an Indian village on his way to the Presidio del Rio Grande, was struck with its fitness for an outpost. Later, when Ramon was marching eastward and encamped at the San Pedro Springs, he observed that it was a fine site for a city. The presidio and the mission came together in 1718, but the villa did not come until 1731. The villa, the presidio and the mission, occupying sites closely adjacent, hardly made up a city, but rather an aggregation of settlements, civil, military and ecclesiastic.

The constant call of the padres for more settlers, after the refounding and. extension of the eastern group of missions in 1716, at last induced the governor of Coahuila and Texas, Martin de Alarcon, to move in the matter. Under the escort of fifty soldiers he brought in carpenters, blacksmiths and masons, who were to have annual salaries. He founded the presidio of San Antonio de Béjar, and under its shelter established the mission of San Antonio de Valero, transferring padres and converts from the mission of San Francisco Solano on the Rio Grande. In 1720 and 1722 were added the missions of San Jose de Aguayo and San Xavier de Náxera. The abandonment of the presidio defending the three eastern missions was followed in 1731 by their transfer to the less exposed region of Béjar. With changed names they took their new places as the missions of San Francisco de la Espada—so styled from its sword-shaped tower—La Purisima Concepcion de Acuna, and San Juan Capistrano. The famous Alamo is stated to have been the chapel of the mission of San Antonio de Valero.

By royal decree settlers were to be brought by way of Havana to Texas from the Canaries. In 1730 fifteen or sixteen families were brought over by way of Vera Cruz, entailing upon them a wearisome march overland. The government paid the cost of the trip and maintained the settlers for the first year after arrival. They were to be furnished with stock and assigned lots, and they and their descendants were all to be hidalgos. This may have had something to do with their desire for education. These colonists built homes of yellow adobe, soon to be covered with vines, around the square now called Constitution, naming it in their homesick longing Plaza de las Islas. Thus was founded the villa of San Fernando.

But they were not the only inhabitants. Before they came there were a few settlers around the presidio, besides some families of Tlascalan Indians. Between these and the hidalgos there was perpetual wrangling, which, when added to the discord kept up by the authorities of villa, presidio and mission, made progress at least difficult.

Decline of the Missions.

The ecclesiastical element in the bowl of bitterness at last disappeared, and something like harmony became possible. In 1793 the Franciscans of San Antonio de Valero surrendered the charge of their pueblo to the parish of San Fernando. The four neighboring missions survived a little longer, but they had never had much share in the corporate life of the city proper.

The planting and growth of the other communities was somewhat similar. The mission of La Bahia (the Bay) was established on the San Antonio under the protection of the garrison stationed at a presidio on the bay of San Bernardo. At a later date the garrison itself was removed to La Bahia. Nacogdoches also began as mission and presidio, but had Anglo-American settlers before the time of the empresarios.

After the death of Louis XIV. the attitude of France to Spain became hostile, and the colonies felt the result. In 1719 the Spanish soldiers and missionaries on the eastern frontier of Texas fled to Béjar. The Marqué's de San Miguel de Aguayo, appointed governor of Nueva Estremadura and Nuevas Filipinas, raised and equipped a force of 500 dragoons and two companies of cavalry and set out in May, 1721, to recover the lost territory. The French were willing enough to have the missions reestablished. Saint-Denis met Aguayo on the Neches, and all was well between them. Aguayo restored the presidio of Texas and against the protest of Bienville built another near Adaes over against the French fort at Natchitoches, and beside it the mission of Nuestra Senora del Pilar. He also planted a presidio on the bay of San Bernard. In 1734 began the long controversy between Sandoval and Franquis. Sandoval, on account of the increasing danger from the Apaches, made Béjar his headquarters. The French fort was moved a trifle westward. This was Franquis' opportunity. He became governor in the place of Sandoval and for years persecuted him with virulence.

This affair checked for a time, but for a time only, the illicit commerce on the border in which even the padres engaged, for Franquis had perforce to lay great stress on non-intercourse with the French.

Experience had stamped with failure the system of colonization by missions and presidios. But the friars were still persistent, and at last in 1757 a presidio was founded among the Apaches on the San Saba, to guard the mission established a league and a half away. The Comanches fell upon the mission and massacred most of the inmates. A force of Spaniards and Apaches, marching into the Comanche country to avenge this outrage, met with complete defeat.

This was the deathblow to missionary activity. In 1772 the remaining eastern missions were suppressed and that at San Saba was removed to Coa-huila. Matters went from bad to worse with the missions, until in 1794 came the order for their secularization.

United States a Factor.

When the Peace of Paris in 1763 gave Spain possession of Louisiana, all danger of French encroachment upon Texas seemed unthinkable. But in 1800 came the secret treaty by which Louisiana was to be returned to France. This retrocession was not even formally carried out in full when the expansion of the United States westward and the needs of Napoleon led to Jefferson's purchase of Louisiana in 1803. Again the claims of Spain to Texas were disputed, and the old French claims revived in favor of the purchaser. But the treaty of 1819, by which Spain ceded Florida to the United States, quieted this contention and left Texas definitely a Spanish possession. Two years later, however, under Riego and Quiroga Mexico won her independence, and the mixed population of Texas remained willingly under the rule of the Mexican authorities.

Yet these were troublous years for Texas. The struggle against Spanish rule, beginning with the rising of Hidalgo in 1810 during the French occupation of Spain, produced in Texas a series of filibustering expeditions. These were just ending when the true colonies from the United States began. Their effect upon both Mexican and American sentiment makes them important.

The Neutral Ground played no small part in these affairs. This was the strip thirty-three miles wide lying between the Arroyo Hondo and the Sabine, a part of that region so long debatable between Spain and Louisiana. It was expressly left in that unsatisfactory condition by a treaty between Wilkinson and Herrera at the time when Aaron Burr was regarded with suspicion by both governments and Spanish troops were on the frontier to meet the dreaded invasion. It became a nest of buccaneers, until in 1819 it was formally made a part of Louisiana. Meantime it furnished both a place for organizing private invasions and desperadoes as recruits for such enterprises.

The Filibusters.

Even before this deliberate sanction by authority of a portion of the lawless region, the first American filibuster invaded Texas. This was Philip Nolan, an American of Irish extraction, protege and tool of the wily Wilkinson, and ostensibly a horse trader. In 1797 he went to Texas with a passport from Carondelet to buy horses for a Louisiana regiment. Getting permission from Nava, commandant at Chihuahua, he purchased over 1,200 and took them to Louisiana. Subsequently a new governor of Louisiana, Lemos, warned Nava strongly against Nolan. Later still, repeated warnings came from a Spanish official in Louisiana that Nolan, under pretext of hunting wild horses, was, in fact, organizing an invasion. But nothing definite was done by either Spanish or United States authorities, and Nolan, setting out with twenty-one men from Natchez in October, 1800, pushed on to the Brazos, camped, and gathered 300 wild horses. Here he was attacked March 21, 1801, by a force of 100 men sent against him from Nacogdoches. Nolan was killed after a fight of three hours and the survivors of his band were captured. One of these prisoners, Ellis Bean, subsequently took a place of some note in the affairs of Texas.

The Gutierrez-Magee invasion came next. Bernardo Gutierrez was a Mexican refugee; August Magee was an ex-lieutenant of the United States army. Gathering a band of 158 adventurers in the Neutral Ground, Gutierrez, in July, 1812, moved into Texas and drove the Spanish troops out of Nacogdoches. The Spaniards fled to Spanish Bluff, a fort at the crossing of the Trinity. Gutierrez pursued and the Spaniards again fell back. Magee had been recruiting and sending on reenforcements to such purpose that at Spanish Bluff the command numbered 800. They now organized with Gutierrez as leader, Magee second in command, Kemper major, and other Americans captains. It was fall when they reached La Bahia. Salcedo had here a garrison of 1,500. He sallied forth to meet the enemy on the Guadalupe, but they crossed the river elsewhere, seized the deserted town and strengthened the fortifications. After a fruitless siege of four months Salcedo retired, and the filibusters marched on towards Bejar. Magee had died in La Bahia, his rank devolving on Kemper. Recruits had arrived from Nacogdoches and from certain Indian tribes. Next year the battle of Bosillo, not far from Béjar, was fought, and the Spaniards were beaten. Béjar now fell into the hands of the invaders. Success was stained, however, by a deed of treacherous cruelty —the butchery of Salcedo and his staff by the guard sent with them to Matagorda Bay. The complicity of Gutierrez in this atrocity induced the Anglo-American officers to depose him. Many Americans went home in disgust. The filibusters and their republican allies, commanded by the Spaniard Toledo, the Mexican Manchaca, and the American Perry, were now disastrously defeated on Aug. 17, 1813, in the battle of the Medina by Arredondo, the general in command of the royalists. The fighting was done by the Anglo-Americans and the Cooshat-tee Indians, Toledo having ordered a retreat on perceiving that they had fallen into an ambuscade, and the Mexican republicans having speedily run away. This defeat was ruinous for the republican cause in Texas. Many families fled from Béjar and Nacogdoches and took refuge in Louisiana. The town of Trinidad at Spanish Bluff was wholly destroyed.

The last of the filibusters was Dr. James Long, then a merchant at Natchez, like Magee an ex-officer in the United States army, and like Nolan connected with Wilkinson whose niece he had married. The force which had chosen him as leader left Natchez in June, 1819, seventy-five strong, but numbered 300 by the time it had reached Nacogdoches. Declaring Texas an independent republic, they organized a provisional government in which Gutierrez had a place. They proposed to dispose of the public lands for the double purpose of attracting immigrants and raising revenue. Five of the leaders were then sent to different points to influence opinion and raise recruits. Long sent Gaines to Galveston Island to confer with Lafitte. This island had previously been made the base of operations by sea against the Spaniards by Mina, Perry and Aury. After their gallant but unavailing efforts—Perry and Mina shot and Aury departed for a campaign with McGregor to seize Florida—Lafitte, who knew the island well, occupied it, on leaving Barataria, as a base for his privateering or piratical enterprises. He also professed to be in some sort the civil head of the republicans in those parts, though chiefly busy in planning at the Red House in his town of Campeachy the capture of Spanish ships, or else at Rollover putting smuggled bales and barrels on the shallow waters of Galveston Bay out of reach of the revenue cutters.

Gaines, however, and later Long himself, failed to induce Lafitte to join them. During the absence of Long and the other leaders the Spanish troops had captured or scattered their followers. Escaping to Louisiana, Long came back later and threw himself with the remnant of his force into a mud fort erected by them on Bolivar Point. With Col. Ben Milam, Don Felix Trespalacios, and other republican chiefs who had joined him from New Orleans, he sailed over to Campeachy and dined with Lafitte a few hours before the pirate sailed away from the island forever. Having planned a new invasion, Long and his fellows now sailed to La Bahia and captured it on Oct. 4, 1821. Milam and Trespalacios went on to Mexico to raise funds. Besieged in La Bahia by a strong royalist force, Long allowed himself to be betrayed into a surrender. The prisoners reached the city of Mexico just as the government of Iturbide was organized and were welcomed as friends. Here they met Trespalacios and Milam. Soon after Long was shot dead by a Mexican sentinel.

The Slave Trade in Texas.

It was at this time that the slave trade, never long discontinued on the coasts and among the islands of the Gulf, was carried on most vigorously in Texas. The captures made by Lafitte and his men often included slaveships, and the slaves landed on Galveston Island were taken over into Louisiana and transferred to merchants in New Orleans who acted as his factors. Louis de Aury, as governor, commodore and admiralty judge, had preceded him in this business. The three Bowie brothers were Lafitte's most successful salesmen. The price of negroes at Lafitte's headquarters being only a dollar a pound and the slave sold in the Mississippi Valley fetching an average price of $1,000, the trade was, of course, a highly lucrative one. When, in 1821, Lafitte was forced by the United States to evacuate Galveston Island, the business came for a time to a standstill. However, on the establishment of the Mexican republic, since the authorities, though they favored peonage, condemned slavery, the immigrants hit upon the ingenious device of converting their blacks into servants indentured for life.

The rich river bottoms, it was well known, could only be cultivated by negro labor, and even Austin, personally opposed to slavery, recognized its necessity in those malarial regions. Yet the colonists as a whole, divided as they were on the rightfulness of slavery, condemned the slave trade and publicly protested against its continuance. Still the practice of importing slaves was kept up even during the time of the republic.

Society Disorganized Under Spanish Rule.

This evil and others, betraying the breaking of all the ligaments that bind society together, made Texas, during the period of the decay of Spanish rule, resemble some border province of the Roman Empire in its last agony. Apaches and Comanches scourged the western frontier, riding into Béjar, dismounting in the plaza and forcing the soldiers of the garrison to guard their horses while they levied contributions from the authorities or the citizens. The desperadoes of the Neutral Ground and the invasions hatched in that region or at Natchez kept the whole of eastern Texas in disorder, even shaking at times the strength of the government at La Bahla and Béjar. Along the coast adventurers of every kind fixed themselves from time to time and held control of the waters. Lafitte held Galveston Island for some four years. In 1821 occurred the failure of generals Lallemand and Rigault to establish a French colony on the Trinity. Spanish troops drove them away from their Champ d'Asile.

Spanish authority, however, was in its death throes; the rising republic of Mexico was a staggering infant; the time was ripe for the energy that had sent the son of Kelt and Norseman across the Alleghanies and the Mississippi to push him on into the fair lands of the far West.

Anglo-American Colonization.

The Anglo-American colonization of Texas led directly to her separation from Mexico, this to annexation to the United States, this to the war between the United States and Mexico, and this to our acquisition of the vast territory between the Rio Grande and the Pacific once claimed and partly settled by Spain.

The futile attempts to settle Texas made by the Spanish authorities in Mexico, the ruin wrought by the filibustering expeditions, the preoccupation of Spanish energies in the war against Napoleon and then against the revolting colonies in America, left Texas, in 1820, almost denuded of population. It was at this time that Moses Austin petitioned to be allowed to settle 300 families from the United States upon vacant lands in Texas. He had the advantage of having already been a Spanish subject in the wide territory of Louisiana. Nevertheless Governor Martinez ordered him to leave the province at once. But through the intervention of the Baron de Bastrop, whom he had befriended and who had great influence with the Spanish authorities, he was enabled to secure the desired concession.

The success of the Mexican revolution in 1821 forced his son, Stephen F. Austin—the original grantee having died—to go to the City of Mexico and seek a confirmation of the grant. A general colonization law passed in 1823 seemed to give him all he wished. But the overthrow of the emperor Itur-bide put him back where he was before. His grant was, however, soon confirmed, and in 1824 a new colonization law opened the way to other empresarios. The imperial government of Iturbide having given place to a federal republic, the details were left for the different states to settle as they chose. In 1825 the congress of the state of Coahuila and Texas passed such a law. All lands in Texas were opened to foreign settlers, except those within twenty leagues of the United States and those within ten leagues of the coast.

Each immigrant was to prove his good character and to swear to uphold the federal and state constitutions and to observe the Roman Catholic religion. He was guaranteed security of person and property, and was to be exempt from taxation for ten years except in case of foreign invasion. Lands might be had by purchase, by special grant or through an empresario. The empresario, that is, contractor, received a large grant on condition that he would settle, at his own expense within six years, a specified number of families, apportioning to each the amount of land to which, under the law, it was entitled. The empresario, for every hundred families he settled, was to receive a premium of five sitios of grazing land and five labors of arable, half of them non-irrigable. The sitio is a square league, that is 25,000,000 square varas. The labor is the twenty-fifth of a sitio. The vara is 33 1/3 inches by our measure.

Each agricultural colonist was to have a labor and each pastoral colonist was to have a sitio, while one engaging in both agriculture and stock-raising was to have both a sitio and a labor. Additional acres accrued to a family in virtue of wife, child and slave.

Austin settled his colony along the lower courses of the Brazos and the Colorado. The colonists suffered much at first, and Austin was often forced to be absent on the business of the colony in the distant City of Mexico. With the official rank of lieutenant-colonel and with judicial power over his colony, he became also the general referee and umpire in all troubles that sprang up among the other settlers. His own colonists were scattered from the Lavaca to the San Jacinto and from the Old San Antonio Road to the coast. San Felipe de Austin on the lower Brazos became their capital. In spite of their being subjects of a government formed on the Spanish model, they kept in great measure their own institutions, including slavery, and were practically self-governing.

Other grants followed Austin's in rapid succession; Austin himself obtained three additional concessions. Empresarios became as numerous as real estate agents in a growing town. Few of them ever succeeded in carrying out their contracts. The successful colonies after Austin's were those of De Witt, Leon, Edwards, Robertson, and the Irish colony settled by McMullen and McGloin along the Nueces and the Frio. The De Witt settlement was in and around Gonzales. Leon's Mexican colony, which at one time encroached much on that of De Witt, had Victoria for its capital. Edwards settled the region around Nacogdoches. When his grant was annulled, Zavala and Vehlein received concessions that covered the same territory. Robertson's settlement lay to the northwest of Austin's.

The pioneer life of the early colonists and the rough experiences of the hunters and the Indian fighters, bivouacking on the open prairie or in the crosswoods—seldom in the river-swamps—must not be allowed to shut from our view the fact that in the older settlements there survived much of the culture and refinement appertaining to Spanish society centuries old in the usages of polite intercourse. Many of the incoming Americans, too, of both sexes were persons of good family and the best education. The hardships undergone by settlers remote from each other were such as can well be imagined. Wild fruit and nuts, as well as game— fish, flesh and fowl—were indeed abundant; but these were at first their only dependence, and the pursuit of game often brought settlers into collision with hostile Indians. Yet even these scattered settlers had their seasons of merrymaking, many coming from immense distances to barbecue or ball. All visiting was done on horseback. Mrs. Holly says that ladies rode sixty miles to a ball with their silk dresses in their saddlebags. Hospitality was the unwritten law of the land.

Nor was social life confined to such gatherings from afar. Besides the towns already mentioned, there were others rapidly springing up. Brazoria, Columbia, Anahuac, San Patricio, Bastrop, Bolivar, Matagorda, Washington, San Augustine, Harrisburg, Velasco; these and others were fast becoming centres of population and commerce, some of them old Mexican settlements rejuvenated by the advent of American enterprise.

Steps to Independence.

In April, 1825, Hayden Edwards obtained a concession from the state of Coahuila and Texas for colonizing the parts about Nacogdoches, a land already sore with the mutual grievances of Mexican and Anglo-American, and containing malcontent Cherokees recently removed from the United States. Edwards soon made enemies. Mutual recriminations went to the political chief, and he annulled the grant. On Dec. 16, 1826, Benjamin Edwards, Hay-den's brother, rode into Nacogdoches and proclaimed an independent republic, calling it Fredonia. The first newspaper printed in Texas was started to herald the new state. The Fredonians made a treaty with the Indians, agreeing to share Texas with them, and invited the other colonists to join them. But Bean induced Bowles, the Cherokee chief, to abandon them, and Austin used all his influence against the insurrection and sent troops to aid the Mexican authorities in putting it down. There was very little actual fighting; the Fredonian republic was dissolved before the army sent to crush it reached Nacogdoches. Austin now recommended mercy, and his advice was followed. The second republic of Texas choked with its first cry. But what is significant is that that cry claimed for Texas all between the Bio Grande and the Sabine.

Even before the empresarios could fulfil the conditions required of them, a feeling of jealousy and distrust grew in the minds of the Mexicans to such a pitch that orders were issued and laws passed to prevent further immigration. In 1829 Guerrero issued a decree abolishing slavery. This was aimed at the American colonies in Texas, for elsewhere in Mexican lands peonage took the place of slavery. Austin procured the exemption of Texas from the operation of the decree. A stringent decree, however, against further colonization in the border states was issued by Bustamente in 1830. This presaged fatal hostility on the part of the Mexican government to its American citizens. After this troops were gradually introduced from Mexico to overawe the American colonies.

In the years approaching the successful revolution the government at Washington tried hard to get the federal republic of Mexico to cede Texas to the United States, its minister being authorized to "go as high as five millions," if the Rio Grande were allowed to be the boundary line. These efforts alarmed and exasperated the Mexicans.

In these same years the coming into East Texas of Indians removed by the United States government from the South alarmed the Anglo-American Texans and caused them to appeal to the Mexican government for protection.

During this later period, too, Mexico was convulsed by repeated revolutions which naturally brought confusion and anarchy into Texas.

Thus many causes were combining to form an ever-widening breach between the government at the City of Mexico and the distant province now chiefly American in population. The time was ripe for revolution.

Bibliography.—Bancroft, Hubert: North American States and Texas (Vol. I. 1889); Bonnell, George W.: Topographical Description of Texas (1840); Brown, John Henry: History of Texas (1892); Davis, M. E. M.: Under Six Flags (1897); Dewees, W. B.: Letters from an Early Settler (1853); Duval, J. C: Early Times in Texas (1892); Edward, David B.: History of Texas (1836); Foote, Stuart: Texas and the Texans (Vol. I., 1841); Garrison, George P.: Texas (in American Commonwealths, 1903); Gouge, William M.: Fiscal History of Texas (1852); Hitchcock, Ripley: The Louisiana Purchase (1904); Holly, Mary Austin: Texas (1836); Humboldt de, Alexander: Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain (trans. by John Black, 1811); Kennedy, William: Texas (1841); Morphis, J.M.: History of Texas (1874); Pennybacker, Mrs. Anna J. Hardwicke: New History of Texas for Schools (1888); Raines, C. W.: A Bibliography of Texas (1896); Roberts, O. M.: A Description of Texas (1881); Smith-wick, Noah: The Evolution of a State (1892); Stiff, Col. Edward: The Texan Emigrant (1840); Thrall, H. S.: History of Texas (1885); Yoakum, II.: History of Texas (1856); A History of Texas or the Emigrant's Guide to the New Republic, by a Resident Emigrant late from the United States; The Texas Almanac for 1857, 1858, 1859, 1860-64, 1867-68, 1869, 1871, 1873, 1881, 1883; The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association: including, Barker, Eugene C: The African Slave Trade in Texas (October, 1902); Bolton, Herbert Eugene: Some Materials for Southwestern History in the Archivo General de Mexico (October, 1902, and January, 1904), The Native Tribes About the East Texas Missions (April, 1908); Cox, I. J.: The Southwest Boundary of Texas (October, 1902); Rather, Ethel Zivley: De Witt's Colony (October, 1904); Reminiscences of Capt. Jesse Burnam (July, 1901).

Charles Woodward Hutson,
Member of American Historical Association.


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