OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
© 1997-1998, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved
New Spain: Kingdom of Spain-Index
Bautista de las Casas
CONFRONTATION OF THE 1st AND 6th WITNESSES
1st witness Ensign Jose Ramirez, and the 6th witness, Sergeant Miguel Reyna. In the town of San Fernando De Bexar, the 23rd day of May 1811, the Fiscal in view of a discrepancy in the declarations of the 1st witness Ensign Jose Ramirez, and the 6th witness, Sergeant Miguel Reyna, proceeded to the prison where the latter is confined, and there in presence of the aforesaid secretary, asked said Ensign Ramirez, previously summoned, and Sergeant Miguel Reyna, if they were willing to swear to answer the truth to the questions directed to them, to which both answered affirmatively. The Fiscal having directed the Secretary to read over to them the allegation of Ensign Ramirez against Sergeant Reyna, extended in page 6 of these proceedings, and the declaration of page 20 of said instrument. After an exchange of interpellations between both witnesses, Sergeant Miguel Reyna denied having said to Ensign Ramirez that himself, Sergeants Blas Perales and Trinidad Perez had agreed to offer the command of the troops to Juan Bautista Casas, and Ensign Ramirez persisted in his allegations that said Sergeant De Reyna did tell him that himself, Sergeants Blas Perales and Trinidad Perez had agreed to offer the command of the troops to Captain Juan Bautista Casas. Both witnesses persisting in their former declarations, signed hereunto together with the aforesaid Fiscal and secretary. Jose Ramirez - Jose Miguel De Reyna - Jose Nicolas Benites - Juan Ant. Padilla
EXAMINATION OF THE 9th WITNESS
Corporal Tomas Penedo. In the town of San Fernando De Bexar, the 24th day of May, 1811, in view of certain parts of the declarations of Sergeant Miguel De Reyna, extended page 19 of these proceedings, caused to be introduced before him Corporal Tomas Penedo who, having been directed to raise his right hand was asked:
Question: Do you swear to God, and promise to the king to answer the truth to the questions directed to you? Answer: I swear it.
Question: What is your name and profession? Answer: Tomas Penedo, Corporal in Captain Felix Perez' Company of New Santander Militia.
Question: Do you remember that, before reveille, on the morning of the 22nd of January, while being close to the fire of the main guard, Sergeant Miguel De Reyna asked you to go with him to buy some brandy in a grogshop? Answer: I did, in fact, accompany said Sergeant to a grogshop at his request.
Question: Where did you and Sergeant Reyna go when you left the grogshop? Answer: I went back to the guard fire were I remained a short time, and went back to my quarters before reveille; Sergeant Reyna had remained in the grogshop with a soldier unknown to me, and I do not know where he went afterwards.
Question: Did you not early in the same evening go to Captain Casas' house? Answer: I did.
Question: At what time did you go there and for what purpose? Answer: Before going to warm myself to the guard fire, I went to Captain Casas' house, for the purpose of speaking to him but having rapped at the door, and received no answer, I withdrew.
Question: What business could you have with Captain Casas at an hour when a soldier ought to be in his quarters? Answer: Having heard it said amongst the men, that the light company of the Alamo was about to set fire to the Barracks, I went to inform of it Captain Casas, and ask him what was to be done.
Question: Why did you report that fact to Captain Casas, who had retired from the service? Had he any orders to give in the garrison? Was there not a guard of the Barracks commanded by a Captain? Were there no other officers to whom to make your report? Answer: Although Captain Casas had retired from service, and had no command whatever, I went to him because it was said amongst the men, that he was to assume command of the garrison for the purpose of arresting the Governors, and I trusted neither the captain of the guard, nor any other officers holding lawful command, since it was also rumored that the Governors themselves had ordered to the Company of the Alamo to set fire to the barracks.
Question: If, as you say, it was rumored amongst the men, that Captain Casas was to assume command of the troops, for the purpose of arresting the Governors, and also, that the Company of the Alamo had received orders of the Governors to set fire to the barracks, you are probably able to state the name of, at least, one person who said so? Answer: The report was current throughout the quarters, but I am unable to point out any man as having contributed in spreading it.
Question: How can you say that, having gone to Casas' house for the purpose of talking to him, you withdrew after having rapped at the door, and received no answer, when there is somebody who affirmed that Casas went out to receive you and talked with you in a low voice, for some length of time? Answer: I repeat that I went to Captain Casas' house, and withdrew after having rapped at the door and received no answer.
Question: Did you, after retreat, see Captain Casas talking with several men outside of the back door of the barracks? Answer: I have not noticed Captain Casas near the back door, but I saw indistinctly a man wrapped in a cloak, standing at the back door; I did not come close enough to him to make out whom he was.
The present evidence having been read to the witness, he declared that it was true, and had nothing to add nor retract therein. He declared further he was 32 years of age, and signed herewith jointly with the aforesaid Fiscal and Secretary. Tomas Penedo - Jose Nicolas Benites - Juan Ant. Padilla
CONFRONTATION OF THE 7th AND 9th WITNESSES
7th witness, Ensign Vincente Flores and 9th witness Corporal Tomas Penedo. After having received the above declaration, and in view of a discrepancy in the declarations of the 7th witness, Ensign Vincente Flores and 9th witness Corporal Tomas Penedo, the Fiscal proceeded to the guard house where said Ensign Flores is confined, and there, in presence of the aforesaid clerk, asked said Flores, and Corporal Penedo, previously summoned to appear, if they were willing to swear to answer the truth to the questions directed to them; to which both answered affirmatively. The Fiscal having directed the Secretary to read to them the allegations of Ensign Flores, extended page 21 of these proceedings, and those of Tomas Penedo, page 35 and following of said instrument, both witnesses exchanged some interpellations, the result of which was, that said Flores persisted in his declaration that the Corporal here present, was the same man who spoke in a low voice, with Casas on the morning of the 22nd of January: Corporal Penedo persisted in declaring that he went to Casas' house to speak to him, but did withdraw after having rapped at the door and received no answer. To which Ensign Flores observed that he would report himself to Casas' declaration on the subject. Both witnesses persisting in their former declarations, signed hereunto jointly with the aforesaid Fiscal and Secretary. Vincente Flores - Tomas Penedo - Jose Nicolas Benites - Juan Ant. Padilla
CONFRONTATION OF THE 7th AND 8th WITNESSES
7th witness, Ensign Vincente Flores, and the 8th witness, Don Francisco Travieso
In the above mentioned town, the above written day, month and year, there existing a discrepancy in the declarations of the 7th witness, Ensign Vincente Flores, and the 8th witness, Don Francisco Travieso, the Fiscal proceeded to the guard house where said Flores is confined, and there in the presence of the aforesaid secretary, and Francisco Travieso having previously been summoned to appear, asked said witnesses if they swore to answer the truth to the questions directed to them; to which they answered affirmatively. The Fiscal directed the secretary to read over to them the allegations of said Vincente Flores extended in the page 21st and following of these proceedings, and those of Don Francisco Travieso, page 30 and following of said instrument. After an exchange of interpellations between both witnesses, Ensign Vincente Flores acknowledged that he had not well present all the particulars of the transaction of the 22nd, his memory being rather bad, and declared that the allegations of Don Francisco Travieso were probably true. Francisco Travieso persisted in his former declarations, and both witnesses signed hereunto with the aforesaid Fiscal and Secretary. Vincente Flores - Francisco Travieso - Jose Nicolas Benites - Juan Antonio Padilla
REFUSAL OF THE PRISONER TO ANSWER THE CHARGES PREFERRED AGAINST HIM
UNDER PRETENCE OF SICKNESS
In the town of San Fernando De Bexar, the 27th day of May, 1811, Captain Jose Nicolas Benites, Fiscal in the cause, proceeded with the aforesaid secretary, to a room of the mission of Valero where Juan Bautista Casas is confined, to notify him of his trial before a Court Martial, receive his confession, and invite him to select an officer as Counsel. The list of the officers present in the garrison having been read to him by the secretary, he alleged to be unable from sickness, to make any declarations, and select a counsel. In testimony whereof, we, the aforesaid Fiscal and Secretary have hereunto set our hands. Jose Nicolas Benites - Juan Ant. Padilla
DELEGATION OF A SURGEON TO EXAMINE THE PRISONER, AND REPORT ON THE
CONDITION OF HIS HEALTH
In consequence of the alleged sickness of Casas, the Fiscal directed Jayme Gurra, acting surgeon of the Military Hospital of this garrison to examine, forthwith, said Casas and report on the alleged inability of that prisoner to answer the charges preferred against him. Said Surgeon, after having examined the prisoner, was introduced before the Fiscal who directed him to raise his right hand and said:
Question: Do you swear to God, and promise to the King to answer the truth to the questions directed to you? Answer: I swear it.
Question: What is your name and profession? Answer: Jayme Gurra, Surgeon of the Military Hospital of this Garrison.
Question: Have you examined Juan Bautista Casas, and, in your opinion, is he unable from sickness, to answer now the charges preferred against him? Answer: Although I found him in a weak condition, my opinion is that he is able to hear and answer.
The above declaration having been read over by the secretary to said Jayme Gurra, he declared it to be true and exact; he further said he was 45 years of age, and signed hereunto, together with the aforesaid Fiscal and Secretary. Jayme Gurra - Jose Nicolas Benites - Juan Antonio Padilla
REFUSAL OF CASAS TO SELECT COUNSEL, AND APPOINTMENT BY THE FISCAL
OF ENSIGN ANTONIO DE AGUILAR, TO ACT IN THAT CAPACITY
In view of the above declaration of the Surgeon, the Fiscal decided that the prisoner's confession should be received; however, said prisoner having refused to select a Counsel amongst the officers of the Garrison, the Fiscal using his discretionary powers, appointed Ensign Antonio De Aguilar to act in that capacity. In testimony whereof, both the aforesaid Fiscal and Secretary have hereunto set our hands. Benites - Juan Ant. Padilla
DECLARATION OF THE PRISONER, AND EXCEPTION EXTENDED BY HIM AGAINST
THE FISCAL AND SECRETARY
Immediately after the above appointment of Counsel, the Fiscal said to Juan Bautista Casas:
Question: Upon your word of honor, do you promise to answer the truth to the questions directed to you? Answer: I promise it.
Question: What is your name, religion, profession, age, and native country? Answer: My name is Juan Bautista Casas; 36 years of age; born in the town of San Fernando, Province of New Santander; am a Catholic, Apostolic and Roman; Captain of Militia of the town of Croix, and retired from the service of the frontier.
Question: Do you know the cause of your confinement? Answer: I cannot make any declarations before Captain Nicolas Benites, Fiscal in this cause, nor Ensign Juan Antonio Padilla, Secretary in the same cause, whom I do both challenge for reasons of their friendly feelings toward Lieutenant Colonel Simon De Herrera. As the name of that officer shall often be alluded to in the proceedings, the Fiscal and Secretary ought to be exempt of any feelings of friendship or hatred, and entirely impartial, that justice may have its proper course. I will only observe that, in the first days of my confinement, I have repeatedly applied to the Government Junta of the Province to be acquainted with the serious charges made out against me, my intention being, using the right of law, to appeal to the Vice-Roy; however my requests and entreaties were met with an obstinate denial.
In view of the above challenge and refusal by the Prisoner to give any further answers, the Fiscal directed that the proceedings should be suspended. In testimony whereof, we, the Fiscal and Secretary have hereunto set our hand, jointly with the Prisoner Juan Bautista Casas. Jose Nicolas Benites - Juan Bautista Casas - Juan Ant. Padilla
SUSPENSION OF THE PROCEEDINGS
The Fiscal, in view of the exception entered against him and the Clerk in the cause by the prisoner Juan Bautista Casas, having decided that the proceedings should be suspended, directed the memorial hereunto annexed to the Government Junta. In testimony whereof, we, the Fiscal and Secretary, have both hereunto set our hands. Jose Nicolas Benites - Juan Antonio Padilla
Captain Benites: To the President and Members of the Government Junta of Texas. San Fernando De Bexar, May 27th, 1811. I, Jose Nicolas Benites, Captain of New Leon Militia, and Fiscal in the cause formed by the orders of Your Honorable Body, against Juan Bautista Casas, charged with the crime of High Treason for having on the 22nd of January last, assumed command of the troops and Province, arrested the lawful authorities and raised the flag of insurrection, proceeded, this morning, the confession of said prisoner who refused to answer any questions, for the alleged motive that I and the secretary in the cause, were bound by friendship to Colonel Simon De Herrera, Commanding the Auxiliary Militia, and entered an exception against me and the said secretary. Therefore, I have resolved that the proceedings should be suspended until further decision of your Honorable body. May God ... Jose Nicolas Benites
ORDER FOR THE TRANSFER OF THE PRISONER TO MONCLOVA
To the Government Junta of Texas Chihuahua, June 11th, 1811. By orders of the 18th of April last I have directed that, process should be formed against Juan Bautista Casas, and that Your Honorable Body would forward to me the proceedings of the cause as soon as they should be completed, for my further resolution. It being, however, important that the trial of that individual should suffer no further delay, I have decided that Your Honorable Body will have the prisoner transferred to Monclova, at the disposal of the Governors of the Province of Coahuila, in order that, by virtue of orders I send to him this day, said prisoner be tried by the Court Martial sitting at Monclova for the trial of offenses of the same nature, and such sentence as may intervene be immediately executed. May God ... The General Commanding, Nemesio Salcedo
ORDER OF CONTINUATION OF THE TRIAL OF CASAS BY A COURT MARTIAL
SITTING AT MONCLOVA
The Governor of the Province of Coahuila, To Captain Rafael Del Valle. Monclova, July 28th, 1811 The General Commanding the Eastern Province, wrote to me, in date of the 8th instant, as follows: "The Government Junta of Texas have transmitted to me the proceedings, herein enclosed, found against Juan Bautista Casas, charged with the crime of having revolutionized that Province, and assumed the Government thereof. Agreeably to my previous orders, dated June 11th last, to the effect that said individual be tried by the Court Martial sitting at Monclova, I direct you to said proceedings with two files of evidential documents. I have already directed the Government Junta to have the prisoner conducted to Monclova, to be put at your disposal." You will find herewith a copy of the above mentioned order of the 11th day of June last, the proceedings formed against Casas at San Fernando De Bexar, the two files of documents referred to in the Commanding General's communication, and an inventory of the papers found in the possession of Casas when he was arrested; the whole of which to be used as you deem proper. You will continue the proceedings without any delay, until the cause is brought in a state of passing sentence by the Court Martial sitting in this City. May God ... Antonio Cordero
APPOINTMENT AND INSTALLATION OF A SECRETARY IN THE CAUSE
I, Rafael Del Valle, Captain of the Monclova Company of Lancers, and Provost Marshall "ad interim" of the garrison of Monclova, by virtue of the Royal Ordinances of His Majesty, do, hereby appoint Juan Jose Saens, Corporal in the Rio Grande Company to act as secretary in the cause against Juan Bautista Casas, Captain of New Santander Militia, charged with the crime of having violently assumed Government of the Province of Texas. Said Corporal Juan Jose Saens having accepted the appointment conferred on him, swore and promised to keep the secret; and discharge faithfully his duties in the aforesaid Cause. In testimony whereof, said Corporal Juan Jose Saens set hereunto his hand jointly with me; In the City of Monclova, the 29th day of July 1811. Rafael Del Valle - Juan Jose Saens
EXAMINATION OF THE PRISONER JUAN BAUTISTA CASAS
City of Monclova, the 29th day of July 1811, Captain Rafael Del Valle, Fiscal in the Cause, ordered to be brought before him Juan Bautista Casas, late Captain of the New Santander Militia, who in presence of the Secretary, was directed to put his right hand on the hilt of his sword and asked:
Question: Do you promise, upon your word of honor, to answer the questions directed to you? Answer: I promise it.
Question: What is your name and profession? Answer: Juan Bautista Casas, Captain in the Provincial Militia of the Colony of New Santander.
Question: Did you hear of the late insurrection in the Kingdom, and of the leaders thereof? Answer: I have heard of the insurrection through public rumors, and understood it was headed by the Curate Hidalgo and other persons whose names I have not present.
Question: Do you know the reason for your confinement? Answer: Since the moment I was arrested, and making use of my right, I have repeatedly applied to the Government Junta of Texas to be acquainted with the charges weighing against me: my requests to that effect tendered to said Junta by Sergeants Patricio Rodriquez, Manuel Perez, and Besamendi who were alternatively detailed to watch over me, were met with positive denials. I must necessarily infer of this dereliction of the established forms of justice, that no charge could be substantiated against me. I shall observe further, that in violation of every rule of equity, I have been removed, to be tried in this City, from the place where the alleged offense was committed and where only I could gather the body of evidence necessary to ground my plea of defense. These observations are not dictated by any disrespectful intention against the justice of the Country, they tend only to show that I am unable to answer the last question directed to me.
Question: What was your motives in raising the flag of insurrection, revolutionizing the Province of Texas, and assuming violently Military and Civil Command thereof, on the 22nd of January last? Answer: My intention has never been such; I declare that, to act in the manner insinuated by this question, would have been highly repugnant to the principles of honor from which I have never deviated. However, if I am asked, upon my oath, what were my motives in taking command of the Province, I shall be able to answer unequivocally.
Question: How can you decline answering the last question directed to you, and try to insinuate by the terms of the question you wish to substitute thereto that you did, not feloniously, but lawfully assume command of the Province? If so, tell me whom you acknowledge as a Superior after having taken the command? Answer: Surrounded as we were, by the insurrection, Monclova, Monterey, Guadalaxara and, in fact, the whole country being in commotion, I had neither time, nor the possibility to direct myself to any lawful authority. I had no information on the whereabouts of Lieutenant General Calleja; by the insurrection in the Province of Coahuila, the communications with Chihuahua were cut off, and moreover, a letter received from the last mentioned City, by Colonel Manchoca or Don Francisco Arocha, I do not remember which, stated as a positive fact, that the Commanding General had been removed from his Command. However, until I could enter into communication with some recipients of lawful authority, something was to be done to check or calm a calamitous sedition which, I knew was brewing; I therefore, took the course which, in my opinion, was the only one conducive of the welfare and security of the Country. Certain papers and documents written by me, or found in my possession, might, perhaps, be brought forth against me and construed into seditious tendencies, but I have the inward satisfaction of the loyalty of my intentions. I thought these preliminary explanations necessary, for a just appreciation of my conduct, and will, now, pass to a plain and true statement of facts. On the 22nd of January, I assumed command of the Province of Texas; my reasons in doing so were as follows: In the day previous, Sergeant Blas Peralez informed me that, in consequence of the capture by the Coahuila insurgents of a train conveying public funds to Texas, the Governors Manuel De Salcedo and Simon De Herrera, instead of taking proper steps to recover the funds, and, rescuing the escort thereof, protecting the Province and chastising the perpetrators of that act of aggression, were preparing to depart from the Capitol, and go to camp, with the troops of the garrison, on some point on the Colorado. Thus leaving an open field to an enemy to invade the country and take hold of the town. In the presence of that dereliction of the rules to which we military men, as well as civilians are bound, by very men whose duty it was to support and uphold them; seeing that instead of giving the example of loyalty and abnegation, the established authorities were conniving to go to shelter their persons behind the Colorado, in spite of the clamors of the troops whose principles of honor could not be reconciled with such a shameful retreat. I declared to Peralez, that I would use my exertions to guard the honor of our arms, ready to sacrifice my life to my devotion to the King and Law. During the night of the 21st, Sergeant Reyna and four or five other men came to meet me in my house, and declared to me that the troops were ready to follow my orders. The next morning was selected for the execution of our plans; at the appointed hour, Reyna came to take me, and we proceeded together to the barracks, where without any seductions nor provocations on my part, the troops offered freely and spontaneously to execute my orders. The proclamation published by me to the troops and, residents of the Province, to acquaint them with the occurrences of the day, stands as material evidence of the loyalty of my intentions.
Question: By virtue of whose orders did you assume the command, remove from their offices the Governors Manuel De Salcedo and Simon De Herrera, and several other officers, seizing upon their persons, and tearing violently from their hands the power lawfully conferred onto them? Answer unequivocally these questions, and mind well their importance. Answer: I think I have already answered these questions; I will, however, repeat that my only motive was to secure the honor of our arms, jeopardized by the conduct of the Governors who, seeing that the insurgents of Coahuila were threatening the Province of Texas, took the resolution to withdraw with the troops beyond the Colorado, leaving the enemy in the rear which are tactics unknown to military men, and should be much more so, to the officers entrusted with the command of a Province. The troops feeling deeply the incongruity of the Governors conduct, requested me to come to their assistance, I listened to their entreaties, and the first consequence of that movement was the arrest of the Governors and other officers. My intention on entering into communication with the leaders of the insurrection, were as follows: 1st, to suspend the march of their troops ready to enter the Province of Texas, to revolutionize her; the introduction of such men in the Province would have had for its result numberless calamities; 2nd, to share in the funds they disposed of, and thus, to bring a remedy to the mismanagement of the Governors who, having exhausted the Treasury, had made no provisions for supplying the pay of their troops, and rendered unavoidable a sedition amongst the soldiers. Had their conduct been wiser, they would not have been made to suffer the consequences, and I, brought to account for acts which, I repeat it, were made by my devotion and service to the rights of our King.
Question: Where were the Governors and other officers when they were arrested by you? Answer: They were all arrested in their lodgings.
Question: You have stated in your previous answers, that the Governors had abandoned the Province; how can you reconcile that statement with the fact that they have been arrested in the Capital, in their lodgings? Moreover, if it was their intention to proceed to the Colorado, there to camp with the troops, it was certainly because, as Chiefs of the Province, they considered it more convenient; to the superior authority alone, they had to answer for their conduct; no individual whatsoever, had any right to criticize their orders which everyone was bound to obey blindly. Answer: There is no inconsistency in my previous answers. If the Governors did not execute their project, their orders given to that effect, their preparations made, and effects packed up. It could no more be doubted that they were about to desert the post of honor, entrusted to them, which they should have defended to their last breath. We had, in fact, no more authorities upon whose protection to depend for the security of the Capitol, such were the feelings of the troops who, looking anxiously for a Chief, offered me the command; I accepted it and made such provisions as were directed by my conscience.
Question: How many Europeans were arrested by your orders? Was their property sequestered, and if so, how did you dispose of the same? Answer: I have not present the number of the Europeans arrested, their property was committed to the care of trusty and honest persons, to be sold and disposed of in the most advantageous manner.
Question: Whom did you commission to arrest the Europeans in various parts of the Province? And of what offenses were they guilty, to be dealt with in that manner? Answer: I sent Lieutenant Saens to Nacogdoches, with instructions to prevent the egress of Europeans to the United States, and orders to arrest the Adjutant Inspector Cristobal Dominguez whom I had sufficient grounds to believe Governor Manuel Salcedo had found an opportunity to inform of the movement at San Antonio, requesting him to march to his rescue with his command. Captain Luciano Garcia was commissioned by me, with like instructions to proceed to La Bahia, and was, afterwards, and for particular reasons, superseded in that mission, by Lieutenant Agabo De Ayala. This one took certain measures which must be considered rather violent, and were kept concealed from me at the time; such were the persons whom I have commissioned in the object, I repeat it, of preventing the emigration of the Europeans to the United States.
Question: Why did you set at liberty several prisoners confined by the lawful authorities? Answer: I was requested by Ensign Falcon and Sergeant Perez, who both, in that circumstance, represented themselves as the interpreters of the garrison's sentiments, to set at liberty Ensigns Saens and Escamilla confined in charge of the guard. At first, I declined to grant that request, but upon their repeated entreaties, I concluded in asking Don Manuel De Salcedo to acquaint me with the charges against those officers; to which, Don Manuel declared, that he was unaware of the nature of the charges, but that Lieutenant Colonel De Herrera and Captain De Areos could give me information on the subject. I communicated that answer to Falcon and Perez, hoping that I could gain time, but they declared peremptorily that nothing but the release of those officers could satisfy them. In that emergency, considering that some men said to have been confined under the same charges as the two Ensigns, had previously been released by the order of Governor De Salcedo, I deemed it appropriate to yield. After Saens was set at liberty, he came to suggest to me, that all the prisoners ought to be released, to which pretension, I opposed a positive denial; but on his renewing his demand, and knowing the violence of his temper which might have prompted him to raise a sedition amongst the Soldiers, I directed that, the charges against every prisoner should be inquired into, and those only, confined for slight offenses released.
Question: What further destination did you give to the Governors and other persons arrested? How were they secured during their march? Were they not sent to be disposed of by some one amongst the leaders of the insurrection, and also, what were your intentions? Answer: General Aranda who had assumed command of the Province of Coahuila desired me to direct to him the prisoners, and send to his aid the troops stationed in Texas. I made use of various pretenses to avoid sending him the troops, but considering that he was at the head of a powerful army, and in case of a rupture with him, he might keep for himself the funds which had been intercepted by the insurgents, and of which I was greatly in need, to supply the pay of my command, I deemed it imprudent to refuse to deliver to him the prisoners, therefore, I consulted Lieutenant Escamilla and Padre Cabasos on the safest means of conducting the prisoners. Lieutenant Escamilla told me that with a certain description of light chain handcuffs, they could walk without difficulty, although well secured. Upon which, I directed Escamilla to have a sufficiency of such chains made. He however, observed that Governor Salcedo and Captain De Areos ought to have chains of a stronger description, but I notified him of my positive will to have all the prisoners treated alike, and ordered him to go at once to provide for the chains. At the very moment of the prisoners departure, Escamilla came to report to me, that two sets of chains were wanting, giving for cause some trifling reason, my belief being, however, that the fault was his and willful. Not to have any further delay or difficulty, I directed Escamilla to supply that deficiency as he thought best. The prisoners were directed to Presidio De Rio Grande, to be delivered to General Aranda.
Question: While you were at the head of the Government, did you not publish proclamations and orders emanating from the leaders of the insurrection, in order to seduce the troops and inhabitants into the cause of the revolution? Answer: While I was at the head of the Government, I did, under the impulse of the moment, and for the imperious motives already expressed, publish some proclamations in favor of the insurrection, although my inward and firm intention was to preserve intact the rights of our King and sacred Religion. I was then, under the presence of several revolutionary men, who had they detected my secret tendencies, would unavoidably have baffled my endeavors; it was therefore necessary to satisfy them with some expression adopted to their views. Amongst these men was Saens, who, from the very starting of the movement, caused me much trouble, and declared openly that he would soon wrench the power from my hands, to give it a more decided revolutionary impulse; the threats of Saens caused me, in order to get rid of him, to send him to Nacogdoches, where it appears, he did not behave honestly: if we believe the report of Don Francisco Travieso, he did embezzle the money found in the possession of the Europeans. On his return from his mission, he declared to me, in the presence of Sergeant Diego Ramon, his intentions to make his report on his operations, directly to the insurgent Lieutenant General Ximenes. Afterwards, said Saens joined the party of Padre Zambrano who wished to appropriate for himself the honor of several measures I had already taken for the promotion of the good cause. Had any tendencies been for the revolution, I could have checked without any difficulty the first attempt of Padre Zambrano and Lieutenant Saens for the purpose of interfering with Government affairs; I considered the first as an Auxiliary, but the use he made of his power, was to undo me.
Question: Do you know whom the insurgents considered as enemies? Answer: It is generally said that their movements were directed against the Europeans, but, in my first proclamation, I declared that religion was opposed to any excesses against persons; which was an open and direct blame thrown on the conduct of the insurgents against the Europeans, and a proof that my tendencies were not in favor of the revolution.
Question: How can you reconcile your alleged good intentions with the inhumanity of delivering your prisoners to the hands of the rebels, of whom they could expect but ill treatment, exposing thus, the lives of innocent victims whose only crime was loyalty? Your correspondence with the insurgents stands a material evidence of your rebellious intentions, and the frivolity of your unfounded allegation in answer to various questions directed to you? Answer: I have already said, and I do repeat, that although some papers tend to show to a certain extent, a revolutionary spirit in some of my dispositions, my inward and secret intentions were good; my only means of procuring funds, was to obtain them from the insurgents, I had to offer them some guarantees, I trusted that, the population of the Province of Coahuila, conspicuous for their Christian feelings, would not permit innocent blood to be spilt. Had I found in the Treasury, the necessary amounts to supply the pay of the troops, my conduct would have been quite different. I was by necessity compelled to take the course I have followed, and am, now, brought to account for the fault and neglect of the Governors who having squandered the public revenues, have not taken proper measures to replenish the exhausted Treasury.
Question: What commission did you hold in the revolutionary army? Answer: I was commissioned a Brigadier General but never valued a commission which they had no authority to confer; I accepted it for the sole purpose of obtaining the end already exposed.
Question: Look over the various documents annexed to the proceedings: do you acknowledge their signatures? Answer: I acknowledge all the signatures on these various documents as mine. I would, respectfully request the Fiscal before sentence is passed, to allow my counsel time to proceed to the locality where he may find the necessary witnesses and evidences to substantiate my defence; and also, I wish to be permitted to direct myself to his Excellency the Vice-Roy, expecting to obtain of him, some documents which may be important in my behalf. I have nothing more to say.
Lecture of this declaration having been given to the Prisoner, he declared it to be true and exact, and to have nothing to add, nor retract therefrom, and signed hereunto, together with the aforesaid Fiscal and Secretary. Rafael Del Valle - Juan Bautista Casas - Juan Jose Saens
TERMINATION OF THE SUMMARY PROCEEDINGS
The 31st day of July, 1811, the Fiscal decided that, the foregoing summary proceedings being concluded, shall be transmitted to Colonel Antonio Cordero, Governor of this, the Province of Coahuila, by whose orders the prisoners declarations were taken, annexing thereto all the documents produced in the cause, for such ends as my be convenient, In testimony whereof, we, the aforesaid Fiscal and Secretary have hereunto signed. Rafael Del Valle - Juan Jose Saens
TRIAL BY A COURT MARTIAL
City of Monclova, the 1st day of August, 1811; a Court Martial composed of Colonel Antonio Cordero, President, Lieutenant Colonel Ignacio Elizondo, Captain Facundo Melgases, Francisco Del Prado, and Lieutenant Matias Ximenes, having assembled, lecture was made of the summary proceedings formed against Juan Bautista Casas, being present to said lecture, confirmed his previous declarations. Previous to entering into deliberations, the Court decided that, although several persons were pointed out in the Summary proceedings, as accessory of the crime of Casas, no prosecution should, for the present, be entered against them, leaving to the decision of the Commanding General, such further prosecution as he may deem convenient. Signed by the President, and members of the Court. Antonio Cordero - Ignacio Elizondo - Facundo Melgases Francisco Del Prado Y Arzes - Matias Ximenes
OPINIONS OF THE MEMBERS OF THE COURT
Opinion of the 4th Member. The prisoner Casas being by his own declarations, convicted of the Crime of High Treason: In the name of the King, my opinion is that he shall be sentenced to suffer death, being shot in the back, after having been degraded, and that, his head shall be severed from his body, to be forwarded to Texas, to be disposed of at the pleasure of the Governors of said Province. Matias Ximenes
Opinion of the 3rd Member. I fully concur in the opinion above expressed. Francisco Del Prado Y Arzes
Opinion of the 2nd Member. Fully satisfied of the guilt of the prisoner Casas, whose frivolous plea does not extenuate, in any manner, the crime of having feloniously assumed Command of the Province of Texas, arrested the Governor of said Province, the Commanding Officer of the Auxiliary Militias, and several Europeans, and also, some native Americans who were exposed to the most shameful treatment for having refused to abet him in his treasonable attempt: Therefore and in the name of the King, my opinion is that, after having been degraded, he shall suffer the death of a traitor, and as a salutary warning to any persons who, in the future, may attempt to rebel against the lawful authorities holding their power from the King, his head be severed from his body, and forwarded to Texas, to be disposed of at the pleasure of the Governor of said Province. Facundo Melgases
Opinion of the 1st Member. I fully concur in the above opinion. Ignacio Elizondo
Opinion of the President. The prisoner, Juan Bautista Casas, a retired Captain, being convicted of the crime of High Treason, committed at Bexar: In the name of the King, my opinion is, that he shall be sentenced to be degraded, to suffer the pain awarded to the traitor by virtue of the provisions of Chapter 8, Title 10, Article 26, of the Royal Ordinance for the Punishment of Crimes, and that, his head shall be severed from his body and forwarded to the Governor of Texas to be disposed of at his pleasure. Antonio Cordero
SENTENCE OF THE COURT
The Court Martial composed of Colonel Antonio Cordero, Lieutenant Colonel Ignacio Elizondo, Captains Facundo Melgases, Francisco De Prado and Lieutenants Matias Ximenes, after mature deliberation, find Captain Juan Bautista Casas, convicted and guilty of the Crime of High Treason, and sentence him to be degraded in due form, to suffer death in the manner prescribed by Chapter 8, Title 10, Art. 26 of the Royal Ordinances on the Punishment of Crimes, and his head be severed from his body to be forwarded to Bexar, as an object of public awe; to forfeit his property which shall be sold publicly for the benefit of the Royal Treasury. Thus we, the President and Members of the Court have pronounced, and signed in the City of Monclova, the 1st day of August, 1811. Antonio Cordero - Ignacio Elizondo - Facundo Melgases - Francisco Prado Y Arzes - Matias Ximenes
CONFIRMATION OF THE SENTENCE BY THE GOVERNOR
The foregoing Sentence of the Court Martial sitting in this City against Juan Bautista Casas, is approved, and shall receive its full execution. City of Monclova, the 1st day of August, 1811. Antonio Cordero
NOTIFICATION OF THE SENTENCE TO THE PRISONER
City of Monclova, the above written day, month and year, Don Rafael Del Valle, Provost Marshall of the garrison, by virtue of the sentence passed by the Court Martial, by Governor Colonel Antonio Cordero, proceeded with the undersigned Secretary, to the prison in which is confined Juan Bautista Casas, convicted of the Crime of High Treason, to notify him of said sentence. Accordingly, and after having directed the prisoner to kneel down, the Fiscal gave him lecture of the sentence which condemns him to be shot in the back. After which, the prisoner requested that he may receive a Confessor, to prepare himself to a Christian Death. In testimony whereof, we the aforesaid Fiscal and Secretary have hereunto set our hands. Rafael Del Valle - Juan Jose Saens
LAST WILL OF THE PRISONER
City of Monclova, the above mentioned day, month and year, the Fiscal in the cause having received a written communication from Ensign Caetan Ramos, Commanding in the Guard, in which communication was expressed a wish of Casas to be permitted to make an appropriation of a portion of his property for the purpose of satisfying some debts, and other liabilities, proceeded, with the authorization of the Governor, and accompanied by the undersigned Clerk, to one of the rooms of the Hospital, appropriated as a chapel and where Casas is awaiting his last moment, and there having inquired of said culprit on the object of his request, was answered in the following terms:
I have subscribed to Martin Angel Miechards, a merchant of the City of Mexico, a promissory note, the amount of which I do not recollect, but, having granted to Antonio Bergas of the town of Croix, a power of attorney for the purpose of mortgaging a part of my property in New Santander, the proceeds thereof to be appropriated for the settlement of that debt; I request that said power of attorney may continue in force; in such case, said attorney would also pay over to Tomas Pasadello a small amount I owe him. This, my request granted, the whole of my property at Bexar, which is not unimportant, would remain to satisfy the interests of the King. I request that one thousand dollars may be appropriated as follows, for the rest of my soul, to wit: 200 Dollars to the Curate Juan Jose Soldivar, for as many masses to the Holy Sacrament: To the Curate Juan Jose Moneo, 100 Dollars for fifty masses to Saint Joseph, and fifty to Our Lady of the Virgin of Zapopa: 50 Dollars to the Curate of this City Jose Maria Gutierez for as many Masses to Our Lady the Virgin of Guadaloupe: 50 Dollars to the Chaplain of the troops of New Biscaye, for as many Masses to the Holy Trinity; and 600 Dollars to be delivered to my sister, Dolores Casas, for the purpose that will be notified to her by my confessor. I request also, that my attorney Ant. Bergas may receive a fair compensation for his services to me. I declare that, the above dispositions are the expression of my last will, made for the rest of my conscience, and to which, I hope the Commanding General will be pleased to give full effect.
The prisoner upon being asked if he had anything else to say, declared that he had nothing left to say besides reiterating his request, and appeal to the well known piety and justice of the Commanding General, to the effect that his last dispositions may be fulfilled. In testimony whereof, the prisoner, Fiscal and secretary have signed jointly. Rafael Del Valle - Juan Bautista Casas - Juan Jose Saens
CODICIL TO CASAS' LAST WILL
One hour, or about, after the Fiscal had withdrawn from the room in which the Prisoner Juan Bautista Casas is "in chapel", a soldier sent to him by Ensign Caetano Ramos, Commanding officer of the Guard, informed him that the prisoner wished to have another interview with him, having omitted to make some important dispositions. Accordingly, the Fiscal proceeded to the Hospital, and asked Casas what he had to add to his previous dispositions; to which the prisoner answered: he wished to be permitted to write a few words; which request having been granted, and the prisoner having written down his dispositions, tendered to the Fiscal a paper which goes hereunto annexed. In testimony whereof, we, the aforesaid Fiscal and secretary have signed. Rafael Del Valle - Juan Jose Saens
I, Juan Bautista Casas, having omitted some important dispositions in my former declaration made this morning, before Don Rafael Del Valle do express the same in this, a Codicil to my last will. Amongst the funds in my possession at the time of my arrest, were 240 Dollars deposited in my hands by Sergeant Manuel De Abila of San Fernando; I request that the same may be delivered to the owner. There were also 100 Dollars belonging to Lieutenant Mariano Guzman entrusted to me for safekeeping. I had also received of Private Tomas Garcia 33 Dollars to be forwarded to the Quarter-Master of the New Santander Militia, I hope that all the above amounts will be returned to their owners. I request, further, that 70 Dollars may be delivered to the Curate of this City, to receive a certain secret destination. Captain De Areos owes me about 70 Dollars which may be collected to cover this last appropriation. Having nothing further to add, I have hereunto signed, in the City of Monclova, the 2nd day of August 1811. "In Chapel" preparing to die. Juan Bautista Casas.
I, the undersigned Secretary, Certify that the above paper has been written and signed of Juan Bautista Casas' own hand, presence of the Fiscal. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto signed. Juan Jose Saens.
City of Monclova, the above written day, month and year, the Fiscal, Captain Rafael Del Valle directed that two copies of the above declarations of Juan Bautista Casas should be transcribed from the original documents annexed to these proceedings, to be forwarded through Colonel Antonio Cordero, Governor of this, the Province Coahuila, the one, to the Governor of Texas, Casas last residence, and the other to the Governor of New Santander, his native Province. In testimony whereof, we the aforesaid Fiscal and secretary have hereunto signed. Rafael Del Valle - Juan Jose Saens
RELATION OF CASAS EXECUTION
City of Monclova, the 3rd day of August 1811, I the undersigned Secretary, Certify that, by virtue of a sentence condemning Juan Bautista Casas, a Captain of New Santander Auxiliary Militia to be degraded, shot in the back, and his head severed from his body, which sentence was duly approved by Colonel Antonio Cordero, Governor of this Province, said Juan Bautista Casas was conducted under strong guard to the foot "of Zapopa Hill", where Captain Rafael Del Valle, Provost Marshall and Fiscal in the cause, in presence of the troops, under arms, read the sentence as prescribed by the Royal Ordinance, the prisoner kneeling down in front of the troops. The prisoner, after having been degraded, was shot in the back, and his head, severed from his body; said execution taking place at 7 o'clock A.M. and after its conclusion, the troops defiling in column, in front of the body which was immediately after, removed by a detail of soldiers, and buried in the Church of the village of San Francisco De Xlaxcala. In testimony whereof, we, the aforesaid Fiscal and Secretary have hereunto signed. Rafael Del Valle - Juan Jose Saens
I, the undersigned Secretary, Certify that immediately after the death of Juan Bautista Casas, his head was severed from his body by the hands of Ignacio Ingloria, acting as executioner, and afterwards, put in a chest and forwarded to the Province of Texas, Under Charge of two soldiers. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto signed. Juan Jose Saens.
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