SO3S OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
1997-2011, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved
Independence Resolutions & Consultations-Index

 

Goliad Declaration of Independence, December 1835
The "Mecklenburg" of Texas
Dimmitt's Goliad Flag of IndependenceBrown Flag of IndependenceScott's Flag
Why should we longer contend for charters [Constitution and laws of 1824]...Why contend for the shadow, when the substance courts our acceptance? The price of each is the same. War...and we have either to fight or flee...

Resolved that the former province and department of Texas is a free, sovereign, and independent State...[with] all the powers, faculties, attributes, and immunities of other independent nations.


After the Siege and Battle of San Antonio and the retreat of Gen. Cos troops to the Rio Grande, the ratio of Texans for total and absolute independence of Texas relative to those for independence as a State in the Mexican Republic and restoration of the Constitution of 1824 continued to increase. The first and most formal regional declaration was the Goliad Declaration of Independence, sometimes referred to as the "Mecklenburg of Texas." [The Mecklenburg Declaration of May 1775 produced at a regional convention of North Carolinians in Mecklenburg contained wording similar to that of the American Declaration of Independence of 1776]. A meeting of 92 men, both members of Capt. Phillip Dimmit's troops and local citizens, produced the following document on 20 Dec 1835 in Goliad:

Solemnly impressed with a sense of the danger of the crisis to which recent and remote events have conducted the public affairs of their country, the undersigned prefer this method of laying before their fellow-citizens, a brief retrospect of the light in which they regard both the present and the past, and of frankly declaring for themselves, the policy and the uncompromising course which they have resolved to pursue for the future.

They have seen the enthusiasm and the heroic toils of an army bartered for a capitulation, humiliating in itself, and repugnant in the extreme to the pride and honor of the most lenient, and no sooner framed than evaded or insultingly violated. They have seen their camp thronged, but too frequently, with those who were more anxious to be served by, than to serve their country--with men more desirous of being honored with command that capable of commanding.

They have seen the energies, the prowess, and the achievements of a band worthy to have stood by Washington and receive command, and worthy to participate of the inheritance of the sons of such a Father, frittered, dissipated, and evaporated away for the want of that energy, union, and decision in council, which, though it must emanate from the many, can only be exercised efficiently when concentrated in a single arm.

They have seen the busy aspirants for office running from the field to the council ball, and from this back to the camp, seeking emolument and not service, and swarming like hungry flies around the body politic. They have seen the deliberations of the council and the volition of the camp distracted and paralyzed, by the interference of an influence anti-patriotic in itself, and toc6 intimately interwoven with the paralyzing policy of the past, to admit the hope of relief from its incorporation with that which can alone avert the evils of the present crisis, and place the affairs of the country beyond the reach of an immediate reaction.

They have witnessed these evils with bitter regrets, with swollen hearts, and indignant bosoms. A revulsion is at hand. An army, recently powerless and literally imprisoned, is now emancipated. From a comparatively harmless, passive, and inactive attitude, they have been transferred to one pre-eminently commanding, active, and imposing. The North and East of Mexico will now become the stronghold of centralism. Thence it can sally in whatever direction its arch deviser may prefer to employ its weapons. The counter-revolution in the interior once smothered, the whole fury of the contest will be poured on Texas. She is principally populated with North-Americans. To expel these from its territory, and parcel it out among the instruments of its wrath, will combine the motive and the means for consummating the scheme of the President Dictator. Already, we are denounced, proscribed, outlawed, and exiled from the country. Our lands, peaceably and lawfully acquired, are solemnly pronounced the proper subject of indiscriminate forfeiture, and our estates of confiscation. The laws and guarantees under which we entered the country as colonists, tempted the unbroken silence, sought the dangers of the wilderness, braved the prowling Indian, erected our numerous improvements, and opened and subdued the earth to cultivation, are either abrogated or repealed, and now trampled under the hoofs of the usurper's cavalry.

Why, then, should we longer contend for charters, which, we are again and again told in the annals of the past, were never intended for our benefit? Even a willingness on our part to defend them, has provoked the calamities of exterminating warfare. Why contend for the shadow, when the substance courts our acceptance? The price of each is the same. War--exterminating war--is waged; and we have either to fight or flee.

We have indulged sympathy, too, for the condition of many whom, we vainly flattered ourselves, were opposed, in common with their adopted brethren, to the extension of military domination over the domain of Texas. But the siege of Bexar has dissolved the illusion. Nearly all their physical force was in the line of the enemy and armed with rifles. Seventy days occupation of the fortress of Goliad has also abundantly demonstrated the general diffusion among the Creole population of a like attachment to the institutions of their ancient tyrants. Intellectually enthralled, and strangers to the blessings of regulated liberty, the only philanthropic service which we can ever force on their acceptance, is that of example. In doing this, we need not expect or even hope for their co-operation. When made the reluctant, but greatly benefited recipients of a new, invigorating, and cherishing policy---a policy tendering equal, impartial, and indiscriminate protection to all; to the low and the high, the humble and the well-born, the poor and the rich, the ignorant and the educated, the simple and the shrewd---then, and not before, will they become even useful auxiliaries in the work of political or moral renovation.

It belongs to the North-Americans of Texas to set this bright, this cheering, this all-subduing example. Let them call together their wise men. Let them be jealous of the experienced, of the speculator, of every one anxious to serve as a delegate, of every one hungry for power, or soliciting office; and of all too who have thus far manifested a willingness to entertain or encourage those who have already tired the patience of the existing Council with their solicitations and attendance. Those who seek are seldom ever the best qualified to fill an office. Let them discard, too, the use of names calculated only to deceive and bewilder, and return like men to the use of words whose signification is settled and universally acknowledged. Let them call their assembly, thus made up, a Convention; and let this convention, instead of declaring for "the principles" of a constitution, for "the principles" of Independence, or for those of Freedom and Sovereignty, boldly, and with one voice, proclaim the Independence of Texas. Let the convention frame a constitution for the future government of this favored land. Let them guard the instrument securely, by the introduction of a full, clear, and comprehensive bill of rights. Let all this be done as speedily as possible. Much useful labor has already been performed; but much is yet required to complete the work.

The foregoing, we are fully aware, is a blunt, and in some respects, a humiliating, but a faithful picture. However much we may wish, or however much we may be interested, or feel disposed to deceive our enemy, let us carefully guard against deceiving ourselves. We are in more danger from this---from his insinuating, secret, silent, and unseen influence in our councils, both in the field and in the cabinet, and from the use of his silver and gold, than from his numbers, his organization, or the concentration of his power in a single arm. The gold of Philip purchased what his arms could not subdue---the liberties of Greece. Our enemy, too, holds this weapon. Look well to this, people of Texas, in the exercise of suffrage. Look to it, Counselors, your appointments to office. Integrity is a precious jewel.

Men of Texas! nothing short of independence can place us on solid ground. This step will. This step, too, will entitle us to confidence, and will procure us credit abroad. Without it, every aid we receive must emanate from the enthusiasm of the moment, and with the moment, will be liable to pass away or die forever. Unless we take this step, no foreign power can either respect or even know us. None will hazard a rupture with Mexico, impotent as she is, or incur censure from other powers for interference with the internal affairs of a friendly State, to aid us in any way whatever. Our letters of marque and reprisal must float at the mercy of every nation on the ocean. And whatever courtesy or kindred feeling may do, or forbear to do, in aid of our struggle, prosecuted on the present basis, it would be idle and worse than child-like to flatter ourselves with the hope of any permanent benefit from this branch of the service, without frankly declaring to the world, as a people, our independence of military Mexico. Let us then take the tyrant and his hirelings at their word. They will not know us but as enemies. Let us, then, know them hereafter, as other independent States know each other---as "enemies in war, in peace, friends." Therefore, Be it Resolved,

1. That the former province and department of Texas is, and of right ought to be, a free, sovereign, and independent State.

2. That as such, it has, and of right ought to have, all the powers, faculties, attributes, and immunities of other independent nations.

3. That we, who hereto set our names, pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor, to sustain this declaration---relying with entire confidence upon the co-operation of our fellow-citizens, and the approving smiles of the God of the living, to aid and conduct us victoriously through the struggle, to the enjoyment of peace, union, and good government; and invoking His malediction if we should either equivocate, or, in any manner whatever, prove ourselves unworthy of the high destiny at which we aim.

Done in the town of Goliad, on Sunday, the 20th day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-five.

 

For Biographies, Search Handbook of Texas Online

Signers of the Goliad Declaration

Miguel Aldrete, Sayle Antoine, James W. Baylor, J.T. Bell, John Bowen, John J. Bowman, Joseph Bowman, William S. Brown, E. Brush, Morgan Bryan, Joseph Cadle, Manuel Carbajal, George W. Cash, Gustavas Cholwell, J. B. Dale, H. F. Davis, Jeremiah Day, T. Mason Dennis, Charles M. Despallier, Andrew Devereau, Philip Dimmitt, Spirse Dooley, James Duncan, John Dunn, James Elder, E. B. W. Fitzgerald, David George, H. George, William Gould, William Haddon, T. Hanson, Timothy Hart, William G. Hill, Nathaniel Holbrook, William E. Howth, J. C. Hutchins, Peter Hynes, Ira Ingram, John James, D. M. Jones, Francis Jones, John Johnson, Michael Kelly, J. D. Kilpatrick, Walter Lambert, W. H. Living, Victor Loupy, Alexander Lynch, Charles Malone, Robert McClure, Edward McDonough, Dougald McFarlane, Hugh McMinn, Charles Messer, Henry J. Morris, William Newland, Benjamin Noble, C. J. O'Connor, James O'Connor, Thomas O'Connor, Michael O'Donnell, Patrick O'Leary, G. W. Pain, C. A. Parker, D. H. Peeks, B. H. Perkins, John Pollan, Lewis Powell, Albert Pratt, William Quint, Edmund Quirk, R. L. Redding, W. Redfield, Isaac Robinson, William Robertson, James W. Scott, Charles Shingle, John Shelly, Albert Silsbee, Francis P. Smith, Edward St. John, James St. John, Horace Stamans, Thomas Todd, Jefferson Ware, George W. Welsh, Allen White, Benjamin J. White, Benjamin J. White Jr., David Wilson, Alvin Woodward

I hereby certify the foregoing to be a true copy of the original in my possession. IRA INGRAM, Secretary. Town of GOLIAD, December 22,1835.

The declaration was transmitted to the Provisional Government of Texas at San Felipe, printed and distributed in handbills. Because it was the most strongest direct document calling for independence of Texas as a separate Republic, it stimulated much discussion and controversy. According to author John Henry Brown in History of Texas, a majority of the Provisional Government at this date was still in favor of "continuing the contest to the end as an integral part of the Mexico, under the abrogated constitution of 1824" and there were attempts to limit distribution of the handbill among the general population.


Restored Presidio at La BahiaOrigin of the Brown and Dimmitt bloody-arm symbol of Texian Independence. The origin of the defiant symbol used on both Capt. William Brown's and Capt. Phillip Dimmitt's banners are an interesting subject discussed extensively by Hobart Huson in his work, Captain Phillip Dimmitt's Commandancy of Goliad. It appears that Brown's flag appeared earlier than that of Dimmitt and the former may have influenced the latter. Both Capt. William Brown and his brother Jeremiah were seaman and later became naval officers in the Republic of Texas. Huson contends that their naval orientation may have been behind knowledge of the possibly Irish and European symbol and the precise design of the Brown flag. Conceivably, the symbol was suggested by Irish colonists or those with close contact with the Irish colonists from the Powers & Hewetson or McMullen & McGloin ventures in the region. Huson points out that the symbol cannot be found in the French Revolution or American Independence movements.

From Huson, Captain Phillip Dimmitt's Commandancy of Goliad:

Miss Kathleen Blow, reference librarian at the University of Texas, cites Arnold Whitteck's Symbols, Signs, and Their Meanings, published in London, 1963, and sent xerox of page which mentions the Coronation Medal of Charles I, of England, "showing a design rather belligerent in character, showing an arm with a sword on the reverse symbolizing the intention to prosecute war with vigor until peace is restored." The design shows the weapon to be a sabre, or curved blade sword. From the Reference Librarian of the Library of Congress came the classical and well known account of the Bloody Hand of O'Neal, which is an episode in Irish traditional history. The 'bloody hand' appears as an armorial device on the coats of arms of numerous Irish and Scotch families besides the O'Neals and the McNeills. Insofar as Dimmitt's design is concerned, the bloody hand, properly a left hand, is not apropos, for the reasons that it is a hand and not an arm, and is a left hand rather than a right, and is inconsistent with the arm with which the self-amputation was done. A few of the bloody-hands are depicted as holding an upright dagger or short sword, but never a sabre. So Dimmitt's bloody right-arm grasping a bloody sabre, ought to have its own legend - an intriguing one - no doubt, if the design was not an original concept of the border captain.

British crests or coats of arms, in which the bloody hand, the bloody arm or arm grasping a bloody sword, scimiter, dagger, etc., do not necessarily relate to a war for national independence as such, but to some individual exploit of an ancestor. Perhaps no land is more replete with chronicles of pre-historic invasions than is Ireland. Among its traditional lore are its Books of the Invasions. These undertake to identify the pre-history of Ierne, with the Hindus, Persians, Jewish, Greek and the Spanish predominant. In one of the later of these - the Milesian, as I now recollect, occurs the incident of an invading flotilla emanating from Iberia, in which the several chieftains involved compacted that the first who touched Irish soil should have choice of territory for his projected kingdom. Upon approaching the shore, the craft of the chieftain O'Neal, or O'Neill, lagged space. Whereupon that doughty chief drew his sword, hacked off his left hand, and with his right hurled it upon the shore. It fell ashore before his rivals could land. His priority was recognized.

A version of this legend appears in William S. Walsh, Handy-Book of Literary Curosities, page 1070, Ulster, Red Hand of. At the request of my friend, Colonel Sir Thomas Roberts, SBE, of County Kent, England, Mr. A. Colin Cole, Windsor Herald of Arms, of the College of Arms, London, graciously supplied the following information. Without assaying to be authoritative, he suggests the emblem might have been inspired by the notable Irish family named Wall, which was seated in the area between Limmerich and Waterford (which is the general area from which the Refugio Irish Colonists came in 1834). Distinguished members of the Wall family immigrated to France and to Spain, and in each of those lands became distinguished in the military and governmental services. He refers to Edward Mac Lysaght's Irish Families, (which I have in my library, as also Paul Murtaugh's Your Irish Coats-of-Arms. (Alas, I do not have Fairbain's Crests. Plate XXVII of Mac Lysaght, shows the Wall coat of arms with as crest a naked arm grasping a bloody scimiter. In Murtagh plate 35 no. 398, depicts the Wall coat of arms as being similar in design (but not corresponding in color to that in Mac L.,) but with an entirely different crest.

Sir Thomas also favored me with some points on the interpretation of heraldic devices, which I quote, as follows:

"I see you have the story of the Bloody Hand of Ulster O.K. Yest, is a left hand, remembering that everything on the shield (escutcheon) is as regarded by the holder of the shield, not the Be-holder. The Bloody Hand is the usual sign of a Baronet, our lowest hereditary title, so is not mentioned in the "blazon" (heraldic description). It is also the mark of Ulster, see our Ulster Regional postage stamps, as the Dragon is of Wales, etc. I doubt if the College of Heralds would allow the (baronets?) bloody hand as any part of any coat of arms, except for its designated purpose. It can be carried in dexter (right) cheif, or central chief, ie, top middle, but less usual. The crest, carried on the correct helm, according to rank, was also for identification, but is slightly less rigidly defined & regarded by the Heralds. The motto - under the shield - is not rigidly regarded at all & many families have the same & sometimes changed them."


SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
1997-2013, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved
Independence Resolutions & Consultations-Index