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Commentary on the Bexar Remonstrance 

by General Vicente Filisola, second in command to Santa Anna [1]

     It is important to remember that this commentary was written in 1848, 16 years after the drafting of the Bexar Remonstrance, and 3 years after the annexation of Texas into the United States.  It is therefore written with the advantage of having seen the developments in Texas over the previous 16 years.  It would be interesting to see what he would have written about the document in 1833, and to see how different it would have been, but much of his sentiments are those of the people in power in Mexico in 1832.

  

Filisola's Commentary

The foregoing events have indeed proven, and in a very bitter manner, how ill thought out and absurd were the reasons that were alleged in the above petition by the Bexar council, how unfounded and tactless were the provisions that were requested, and how malicious and evil were the objectives that they disguised. An attempt was also made to lead the congress in this direction because of a fatal error into which the councilmen had been led by cunning men who had treacherously taken advantage of their good faith and lack of experience.

They had no other purpose than to implicate them in their cause through the infamous trick of finding themselves delinquent, or at least suspicious in the eyes of the higher authorities of the State and even of the nation, and dragging the others down through the same necessity of escaping punishment. This leads them later little by little into the pain of rebellion as happened afterwards, with the notable circumstances that they were some of the first victims, as must generally happen, and the lesson of which should never be forgotten in similar cases. But since those of Texas had never had occasion to learn it, and day by day the maneuvers of the plotters were more calculated and more venturesome, opinion generalized in their favor among many of the natives of the country and among the honorable and industrious colonies that were among the rest, and particularly in the districts of Nacogdoches, Liberty, Gonzalez, Goliad and Bexar. If indeed they did desire that the territory be organized as an independent State, they wished to bring it about by the rules laid down by the Constitution, and in no way by means of a revolution, just as there did not enter into their innocent aspirations that of separating from the nation, whose protection and support they wanted because it was beneficial, more advantageous and absolutely necessary. his same declaration, or another in its place, was also sent to the general congress, asking that the territory of Texas be organized into a State in the federation since it had the eighty thousand inhabitants required by the constitution, since its interests were in absolute opposition to those of the State of Coahuila, and were ill provided for because of the large number of Coahuilans of which it was made up; because Texas itself needed to provide for its necessary and urgent defense against the savages who were constantly attacking them, and they demanded for their better well being to have their own energetic government. But the general congress, seeing through the true aims of this petition, and finding it devoid of foundation and false in the data that were cited in it, disallowed it to the despair of their authors and of Don Stephen Austin, who for the purpose of supporting it had been back in the capital from the end of 1832 to the beginning of 1833.

Thus it was that from that time on those settlements remained in a state of absolute independence, although those in charge pretended a respect and loyalty that they never felt toward the central government. This ridiculous fiction must have been all the more insulting and criminal in that they did not again permit the stationing there, much less the existence, of any public office. Rather they destroyed and burned those that there were and the forts and quarters, stealing at the same time all the materials that belonged to the nation and to its troops. They carried their insolent boldness to such an extent that they beat and tarred and feathered officers of the army, treasury employees, and some private citizens, as well as any Mexicans that had the misfortune to remain among them, either because of their interests, illness or other similar reasons. In addition to harming them in every way possible, they treated them with grossly insulting scorn as if they were dealing with their slaves. They did not govern themselves otherwise than by the laws of the United States of North America or those of their own fancy. To perpetuate these and to exercise them to the fullest, they tried to attract there all the adventurers that came their way and to provide themselves with arms and ammunition in order to be prepared to commit all kinds of aggression against the country and to continue their smuggling in the most open and insolent manner. With their own people they infiltrated all the departments of the frontier and of the interior of the Republic, even to the extreme of the barbarians' taking part in the traffic of Negro slaves, in spite of the fact that this was prohibited by the general congress and disapproved of by the generous and compassionate nature of the whole Mexican nation. Such for the Texans was the period that came to an end with year 1832.

 

 

 

[1]Filisola, Vicente. Memoirs for the History of the War in Texas. Trans. Wallace Woolsey,  p.122-123