J. H. Bell to Jose Felix Trespalacios, 05-04-1823

Summary: Describes administration of justice against horse thief; asks approval or instructions.

To his Excellency Dn Jose Felix Trespalacios Govr of the province of Texas


On the twenty first of March last there was a Frenchman who called his name Bt. Rashall a citizen of the United States of America pased through this Neighborhood, he had in company with him a man he said was an Indian. Rashall had a small cavallard sixteen in number of horses and mules of different brands, as they passed through the neighborhood of the Colorado they stole thirteen head of horses from Mr Buckner and Parker, came on to Martin Varner living on the road in the neighborhood of the Brazos and stole four head from him, and passed on across the Brazos entending to make their escape for the United States we raised a party of men and followed them near the Trinity river and overtook them, and they having no pasport we brought them back, and on examination found them Guilty of Theft I detained the cavallyard and started the men on to St Antonio under a guard for your instruction at the Colorado, the Alcalde and Comandant stopt them, and directed the guard to return, saying they had instructions from your excellency not to send any guilty of such crimes on but to decide on the case ourselves, their doing so put it out of my power to send them on after they returned as we have not horses for that purpose and men could not leave their crops having lost so much time already being convinced of the guilt of Rashall I took the property I found to be his, to pay the expence of appehending them and also to pay for the property they stole and did not return thir was one hundred and fifty dollars of the stolen property we could get nothing for, which was lost to the owners, that was the property of Mr Parker which he will lose as Rashall had not property sufficient to satisfy the demand, and the property they stole was lost and not returned— the hands that were with Rashall were Spaniards who claimed part of the property which we gave them and directed them to return home the property I let Parker have to pay part of his loss, I had it valued and bound him in a bond to return the property or the value thereof in case you disaproved of the proceedings and anyone came forward to claim it, the manner in which I acted appeared from every evidence I could get on the subject to be as near justice as was in my power to come at and I wish your Excellency so soon as convenient to say whether the part I acted was right or not, we are much at a loss for Instructions from that place, as we have never received one official line since the officers were elected be so good as to give us instructions when you can with convenience.

J. H. Bell. [Rubric]

May the 4th 1823