SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
KERR TO THE PUBLIC San
Felipe de Austin, January 4, 1836.
But, fellow-citizens, there are many among you who would persuade you to violate these oaths and solemn declarations; who would persuade you to forget your duty as adopted citizens of Mexico, and to tear in fragments the tri-coloured flag which you swore to defend, and under which you fought and conquered; and to plant in its stead the flag of independence, presenting a sickly star and single stripe. The announcement of these fatal and dangerous doctrines should lead every mind to inquire, have we the right thus to act, considered in reference to our constitutional, national, or natural rights? The republican federative government of Mexico was a compact between independent sovereignties, and Texas was one of these sovereigns as was admitted by the constituent Congress that formed the Constitution of 1824, and by their decree of the 7th of May of the same year. For the better administering of the sovereignty of the states, the federal government of Mexico was created, and to that government was delegated all the power necessary to carry on its operations; but all its acts, and all its powers were to be based on a republican federative system. The powers of the government were wholly derivative, were trust powers, granted for certain expressed or well understood purposes; and that government, like an individual, so soon as it transcended those powers, its acts were null and void, and of no effect.
The government of Mexico has transcended the powers delegated, by attempting a change of the government from a republican federative into a central one. Its acts in this respect are constitutionally null and void. But the government has resorted to revolution to sustain itself, and the civil war, now raging, is the consequence of this unholy attempt. Throughout the republic, the two parties are arrayed: the military and clergy, and aristocrats, on the one side, and liberalists on the other. Look at the liberal line, extended from Acapulco in the south, to Texas in the cast; and you find states, and generals, and men reiterating the same principles with yourselves, to sustain the Constitution of 1824, or perish in its overthrow. In the south, the liberals have gained two important victories over their enemies, and from every portion of the republic you are receiving assurances that the liberal party are rallying to the rescue. In Texas, you have gained an important victory; but, at the very moment of success, you are persuaded to desert your allies; to break the liberal bands. To give to the enemies of the Constitution and of freedom, victory, when defeat would be their portion, did you your duty? Among savages, such desertion would be called "treason" among christians and freemen, it would be looked on with horror; and you would be treated as a people not to be trusted, as having no respect for oaths, or compacts, or honor. Citizens of Texas! be not deceived: suffer not yourselves to be led away by the specious reasoning of individuals, who, from motives of personal aggrandizement, would persuade you that you had the right to declare yourselves a free and independent people: who would persuade you, that your fellow-citizens of the United States would sustain you in that course. The liberal and enlightened statesmen of that country will do no such thing. Meetings are held in every city of that republic, and money and men are raising for your assistance, but it is all based on the supposition that you are contending for the same principles as did your fathers of the revolution, and that you are now fighting to sustain liberty in this republic.
Those meetings act on principle and they expect you to do the same. Your trite political situation is not now well understood by them, but they will now say to you that your future course should be in accordance, first, with your constitutional obligations. Have you, then, the constitutional right to separate from the Republic of Mexico, and declare yourselves free and independent? The answer to that question will be found in the oath you took when you became citizens of Texas. That oath was, "I swear to support the Constitution of the republican federative Government of Mexico, and the laws of the same." So long as that constitution exists, so long you must sustain it, unless it is so administered as to compel you, in defence of your rights, to do otherwise; and nothing short of that high moral and political necessity which constrains opposition to usurpations of your rights and liberties, should induce you to do it. Such is not your present situation. The supporters of the Constitution among the Mexicans are your friends; they all tell you that your rights shall be respected: that every thing in reason shall be granted you; they implore you to abide by your oaths, to sustain the federal Constitution, and to put down its enemies: you can do nothing else, and any other course would be a violation of the most sacred and solemn obligation into which man can enter. Should, however, our fond expectations not be realized; should centralism, in the balance of the Republic, finally triumph, and fix its chains and its blighting effects on the other states, Texas, faithful to the principles in which her citizens have been educated, will resist its encroachments on her, and without revolution, and without a declaration, will rest on her original sovereignty, and, agreeably to the constitution, her natural and national rights, will remain a free and independent people, and will be so considered by all liberal nations, and will thus secure her independence without giving to either Mexicans or other nation, the least ground of complaint.
But you are told that it is your interest to become a free and independent people; and you are told that a rise in the value of your lands is of more importance to you than your oaths and obligations ; than your honor at home, and character abroad. Fellow-citizens, we will suffer the answer to this suggestion to be strictly given by yourselves: we hurry over it in silence: we leave it to your own hearts to give the rejection to such a bribe. Again, you are told, that by a declaration of independence, you can become attached to the government of the United States. Have you any assurance that you could be so attached? Have the officers of the United States' government given you so to understand, or has any fact transpired to lead to such a conclusion? None. Then to act on a belief of that sort would be dangerous in the extreme; for if the United States did not take its under its protection, all admit that our situation would be critical. But let us refer for one moment to the previous history of that government, and judge for ourselves as to the probable result. Interference with the territory of' foreign nations, and all entangling alliances it has ever been the policy of the United States to avoid. When Mr. Jefferson purchased Louisiana, it produced the most tremendous excitement, and amounted almost to a severance of the Union. The constitutional power of the government to acquire foreign territory, has ever been denied by the republican party, and it is not probable that any great change has taken place on that subject. The manufacturing interest, it is well known, is opposed to the acquisition of territory to the South; and these things, taken in consideration with the good faith that should be observed between governments, would, no doubt, induce the government of the United States to decline admitting us into the Union. What, then, would be our situation? An independent people composed of about 60,000 inhabitants, deeply in debt, and not a dollar in the treasury: engaged in a war with Mexico to last probably our lifetime: for, by a declaration of independence, we array against us the whole force of the Mexican nation. And should we be so fortunate as to sustain ourselves as a free and independent nation, what would be our condition? We would have the waste lands of Texas, which we would have to give away, to induce emigration, and as bounty to volunteers, and would be saddled with a debt of millions of dollars. And what revenue would we have to pay it with? Nothing but the inconsiderable duties to be collected at our ports, and heavy direct taxes. Already it is estimated that the expense of the war is five hundred thousand dollars. In one year from this time, under a declaration of independence, it will amount to millions; and Texas, contemptible abroad for her poverty and weakness, will at once become the prey of internal faction and misrule. A standing army must be constantly kept up, foreign relations attended to, and ten million of dollars, annually, would be required to defray the expense: and from what source, in the name of heaven! could we derive the means? The idea is madness, and the argument in favor of such a course, must be opposed to the sober conviction of every mind.
By the organization of a state government, based on the constitution of 1824, we unite to us the liberal party; we inspire them with confidence, and for the future, exercise an important influence: we have their ports open to our cotton and produce of every kind, free of duty; we restore the constitution; we have the national government to pay the expenses of the present war; we have peace at home, and rid ourselves of the enormous expense of a standing army, and, in all probability, escape "A Caesar and his people." Under such a state of things we will go on to increase in population and wealth, and will at once be in the enjoyment of that prosperity which our abundant natural resources give us the means of possessing.
An independent government would, we admit, be better suited to the genius and interest of those who might be in power it holds out as inducements, honors, and titles, and offices, and salaries; but to those in the ordinary ranks of life, it brings poverty, and toil, and war, and taxes. Even now, backed as we are by the liberals, it has been thought necessary to establish a regular army, with upwards of one hundred officers; the expense of which will be about fifty thousand dollars per month, or six hundred thousand dollars annually; and taking all other expenses in consideration, with probable loss, will double the amount. To pay this amount, if we estimate the families in Texas at seven thousand, would be a tax on each family of about one hundred and seventy dollars per man; and considering the other necessary expenses, would make the direct tax at least two hundred dollars to each family, under the present arrangement. Under a declaration of independence, the tax would be one thousand dollars to each family; but under a state government properly organized, the expenses might be estimated at about forty thousand dollars annually; or about six dollars to each family.
Thus, fellow-citizens, I have endeavored plainly and candidly to lay my
views before you, and I would conjure every friend of Texas to rouse from his slumbers, to
put forth his strength, or he may awake and behold a system fixed on the country, leading
to ruin and to chains. Should Texas sustain the doctrine of independence, we cannot but
consider her recreant to those principles so often put forth in her primary meetings, and
public addresses; recreant to those principles under which the volunteer army of Texas
marched to the field of battle and of glory.
ROBINSON TO CALDWELL. 20 Jan 1836. Complete text unavailable. Acting governor James W. Robinson, San Felipe, authorized Matthew Caldwell to draw money from Andrew Ponton to purchase supplies for the army.
BARRETT & CLEMENTS
TO ROBINSON. Council Hall, Jany 20th 1836 To the Acting Govr.
The advisory committee are of opinion that three hundred dollars should be placed in the
hands of Andrew Ponton, of Gonzales, subject to the orders of
the Govt contractor at that place, for purchase of supplies for the garrison at Bexar, to
be accompanied with the proper instructions from the executive---We therefore advise that
the sum of three hundred dollars, be drawn for, in the legal form, for the above objects
BURLESON RECEIPT. Council Hall San Felipe de Austin 20---jan. 1836. Received this day of Wyatt Hanks, Chairman of the Finance Committee, Three hundred dollars ($300.-) to be taken to Andrew Ponton Esqr. at Gonzales, for the purpose of purchasing supplies for the troops garrisoned at Bexar---The same being an appropriation made in accordance with the special advice and instructions of the Advisory Committee & acting Governor for said troops. Edward Burleson
ROBINSON TO PONTON. To Andrew Ponton Esq. Executive Department January 21st. 1836. Sir, The sum of three hundred dollars have been placed in the hands of Genl Edward Burleson who is directed to pay the same over to you to be appropriated for procuring supplies for the army. You will receive the same of Genl. Burleson. Matthew Caldwell has notice that you will recieve this amount and is instructed to draw on you for it, as he has heretofore drawn for State funds in your hands. James W. Robinson acting Governor
NEILL TO EGGLESTON. Gonzales March 6th 1836. Received of Horace Eggleston a Set of medicines of the amount of Ninety Dollars which sd medicines I have this day purchased from him for the use of the Post of Bexar J.C. Neill. Col. Comdt. of the Post of Bexar
BORDEN TO HARDEMAN.
Columbia 31st July 1836. To the Hon. Bailey Hardiman Sec. of
the Treasury. herewith transmit to you my return as collector of public dues
in the department of Brazos. Document No. I is my account of dues received on land under
my appointment by the provisional government. Last year the Ayuntamiento of the
jurisdiction of Austin appointed a committee in pursuance of the colonization law of the
State of Coahuila & Texas to collect dues on land. As one of that committee I
collected from sundry individuals$668.291/2 And Joseph Baker another of said committee
collected 96.70 Total collected by the committee $764.991/2 or the disbursement of the
above sum see my report made to the General Council of Texas held at San Felipe. Doc. No.
2I transmit to you the return of Andrew Ponton Esqr. collector
of public dues on land for the Jurisdiction of Gonzales, made to me in pursuance to an
ordinance passed 27th December 1835. Total sum collected by sd Ponton $703.30 2/3 He
stands credited as follows, To wit: By Matthew Caldwell receipts
(Nos I & 2) for money furnished by order of Council $381.1/4 Brought over Amt of debit
$703.30 2/3 Caldwell's receipts $381.1/4 By T. Gays receipts for money advanced in like
manner as the above 200.00 By his commission on $703.30 2/3 @2 1/2 pr. ct. 17.58 Balance
$104.551/2 The above balance Mr. Ponton loaned to the members to the consultation from the
Jurisdiction of Gonzales, and not having accompanied his report with any vouchers for this
sum $104.55, 1 have written to Mr. Ponton to forward them. No other collector of public
dues has made returns, which is to be attributed to the unsettled state of our country and
its inhabitants since the passage of the ordinance, there being, a constant alarm and an
order to arms; and which has also been the cause of my not making a return to you on the
first day of April last; as well as the reason that so small an amount has been received.
Many persons, in order to avail themselves of the advantages of the ordinance, authorizing
payments on land in Treasury orders, procured them; but for the reasons above mentioned,
have not presented them for payment. Several, however, have sent, or deposited treasury
orders with me which have not been received and endorsed, because the persons have not
been present to sign the triplicate receipt or endorsement made requisite by the said
ordinance. I have the Honor to be Your obt Humble Servant
SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS