Stephen F Austin to People of Texas, 10-03-1835
Summary: Showing that war in defense of constitutional rights is inevitable
From the Commitee of safety of the jurisdiction of Austin. All are aware of the present movements of volunteers towards the western frontiers. For the information of every one this Committee deem it proper to state as briefly as possible the leading facts whigh have given rise to this excitement.
When the circular of this Committee, under date of the
take him, at the risk of losing all the force he should employ. The mere
intimation of such an order would be an evident disrespect to, the citizens
of Texas, but the issuing of it, with the correspondent threats of colonel
Ugartechea of putting it into execution, is at once an open outrage upon
the civil authorities of Texas, and upon the Constitution. But what is of
most importance, such proceedings serve plainly to show us all, what kind
of government; the present reformers in Mexico are aiming to subject us
to—which is the government of the bayonet, and the regulation of all the
That such is the real and ultimate object of the military power now reigning in Mexico, and that the reasons assigned for the present hostile movements are nothing but mere pretexts to cover the main objects, and thus fill the country with troops, is clear and evident; but should there still remain doubts on the mind of any person, let him weigh and maturely consider the following facts, and draw his own conclusions.
The Constitutional Governor of the State, Viesca, and also another governor, Falcon, who had been constitutionally installed to succeed Viesca, have been deposed by the military at Monclova. The state authorities were imprisoned, and a governor appointed by the acting president of the general government of Mexico. This is evidently an act of military usurpation and despotism, and the state of Coahuila and Texas is at this time without any constitutional or legal government at all, and the people of every part of the state, and those of Texas in particular, are left at full liberty to provide for themselves as they may deem best.
But a more general, though succinct view of matters, is necessary for a full and proper understanding of this subject.
A disastrous and ruinous civil war was kindled in
supported general Santa Ana to defend the Constitution of thus acquired? Let the military despotism now
enthroned in Mexico upon the ruins of the federal system—let the friends of
this system, who are now groaning in prisons or wandering in exile—let
the Constitution of sugar-plums and honey, that in the new Constitution, or central
government that is organizing in Mexico, guarantees shall be given to the people
of Texas, their rights shall be protected and secured, and they are told that
the government expects from their "docility" a submission to all the
reforms and alterations that may be agreed to by the majority of the nation.
See the official letter of the Minister of Relations, a translation of which
is published at the end of this paper, numbered I. But who compose, and
what is this majority of the nation spoken of by the minister, and how are
these reforms to be effected? It is composed of the same military power
before spoken of, who have assumed the voice of the nation, and have
suppressed, by military influence, the expression of public opinion; and the
reforms are to be effected by unconstitutional means; a sufficient proof of
which is, that the present Congress in Mexico, who was elected with
constitutional powers alone, have, by their own act, declared themselves to be
invested with the powers of a national convention, to frame a new
constitution, or reform that of
What is here meant by
"reforming" the Constitution of
From this condensed view of the past let every impartial man judge for
himself what degree of faith or credit ought to be given to the professions
of the present government of Mexico, and ask himself whether a subtle
poison may not be concealed in the
sugar-plums, or a sting in the honey,
that is now offered to the "docile," people of Texas.
But, in addition to this general view of matters, information of the most
positive and unquestionable character is in the possession of this
Committee, that every possible effort is making by the government in Mexico
to raise troops, money, and resources to fit out an expedition—
an army of
invasion against Texas. Infantry, artillery, and cavalry have been ordered
from San Luis Potosi, Saltillo, and Tamaulipas; and all the disposable
infantry at Campeche has also been ordered on to Texas by water, as it
was supposed they would stand the climate better than other troops.
Magazines of arms and ammunition are forming at Matamoras, Goliad, and
Bexar, and the old barracks and fortifications at the latter place are
repairing to receive a large force, In short, the common talk all over Mexico
among the military is the invasion of Texas.
Now, if the present government of Mexico is sincere in its profession of
liberal guarantees for Texas, why all this preparation for a military
invasion? Why has general Cos marched with all the disposable force at
Matamoras (about four hundred men) to Bexar, where he now is,
according to last accoynts? Can it be that the government, in its fatherly care
for Texas, fears that there are servile slaves in this country, who will
liberal guarantees? Or is it that the promised guarantees, are only
a cover and a false show, to quiet Texas until the general Government is
prepared to give to it a military government.
It is well known to all that the reforms spoken of by the minister, and
now being made in Mexico, contemplate the abolition of the whole federal
system, the establishment of a central or consolidated government, which
is to absorb and swallow up all the powers and authorities of the nation:
military commandancies will supply the place of the state governments,
and the vested rights of Texas under the constitution and law of
Ought, or can, or will the people of Texas submit to all this? Let each man study the subject, and answer for himself. If he will submit, let him go to the military power and prostrate himself. If he will not submit, let him give his answer from the mouth of his rifle!
In regard to the present movements of the military, the letter from
Gonzales, and extracts from other letters of unquestionable faith,
[numbered 2.] will inform the public. By these letters the people of Texas are
informed that their fellow-citizens at Gonzales
have been attacked—the
war has commenced! They will also perceive that general Cos has arrived
with reinforcement of troops, and is preparing for a campaign of
extermination against the people of Texas.
The head quarters of the ARMY OF THE PEOPLE for the present is at Gonzales. It is already respectable in numbers, and invincible in spirit. This Committee exhorts every citizen who is yet at home, to march as soon as possible to the assistance of his countrymen now in the field. The campaign is opened. Texas must be freed from military despots before it is closed.
San Felipe de Austin.
"When the general Congress takes into consideration the reforms of the Constitution which have been requested unanimously by almost all the towns of the Republic, that august assembly will bear in mind the wants of the inhabitants of Texas, for the purpose of providing a remedy; and the government will very cheerfully co-operate in that object, by making the propositions which may most conduce to so laudable an end, reckoning always on the good sense and docility of the colonists, who, on adopting this for their country, subjected themselves to the alterations that, respecting the institutions, the majority of the nation may think fit to agree upon; which disposition the government is decided on supporting in fulfillment of its duty, as it is, also, of protecting all the inhabitants of the Republic, lovers of order, and of punishing those who foment sedition.
Fellow-Citizens of San Felipe and La Baca,—A detachment of the
Mexican forces from Bexar, amounting to about one hundred and fifty men,
are encamped opposite us: we expect an attack momentarily.
"The Alcalde of Goliad was struck or whipped in the street by an officer, for not being able to get the carts ready as soon as he wanted them, to transport the arms, etc. to Bexar. A Mexican from Victoria was also insulted, as being one of the valientes of Guadalupe; the soldiers saying that it would be only a short time until they visited us, and helped themselves to what cash and other things we had. The new officers who came with the arms, said that, as soon as general Cos should reach Bexar, it would be the signal of march for San Felipe de Austin."
"Cos is about to pass on to Bexar. He has a guard of thirty men with
him, and the Morelos battalion of lancers is close at his heels. Cos has
A letter from Bexar says, "the people must either submit, or prepare for defence; as the intention is to march into the colonies, and regulate the land affairs, and a great many things, by military force; also, to clear the country of what they choose to call vagrants, etc."
Information which is relied on, has been received from the interior, that
the states of Zacatecas and Guadalaxara have risen and taken up arms in
defence of the Constitution of