Dispatch on Texas Colonists

by Miguel Barragan (October 31, 1835)

In an 1819 treaty with Spain, the United States had given up any claim to Texas. But this did not stop politicians in Washington from trying to bribe Mexican officials to sell Texas, and then seeking to colonize the state and annex it. Mexico tried to stop the flow of U.S. immigration into Texas, but colonists continued to come to the state, setting the stage for a conflict over the state's status and for the eventual war against Mexico. Here is a dispatch1 describing the treatment of Mexicans by the Texas colonists, sent by President Miguel Barragan of Mexico to all Mexican military commanders and governors via his secretary Jose Maria Tornel.

From Voices of A People's History, edited by Zinn and Arnove

For a long time the ungrateful Texas colonists have made fun of the national laws of Mexico; disregarding the fact that Mexico gave them a generous welcome and kept them close to our bosom; dispensing to them the same—and even more— benefits than to our own sons.

Every time we have had internal agitation they have thought the Republic weak and impotent to control their excesses. These have multiplied intensely, producing insults again and again against the whole of our National Arms.

When order was finally established in the interior, they hypocritically pretended a bond they did not feel to the institutions of their Stepmother.

Given the slightest opportunity, they returned to their aggressions, throwing insults at our customs employees and even fighting the small detachments which protected them.

To the Texas colonists, the word MEXICAN is, and has been, an execrable word. There has been no insult or violation that our countrymen have not suffered, including being jailed as "foreigners" in their own country.

The Texas colonies have been considered, for a long time, as general quarters for the enemies of the Nation; where all the bums and adventurers from the whole world have been gathered to revolt against the generous nation which has tolerated their insolence.

All this has reached the point where the flag of rebellion has been raised; the Texans aspiring shamelessly to take over one of the most precious parts of our land. Accomplices to this wickedness are adventurers from the State of Louisiana who foment disturbances and give necessary support to the rebels. The civilized world will not delay in pronouncing the judgment they deserve for this infamous and detestable conduct. The Supreme Government knows its duties and knows how to execute them.

But our brave soldiers, so many times victorious over outside and inside enemies, are already marching to maintain in Texas our flag and honor, to punish the traitors and to reward those who remain faithful to their oaths, duties and obligations. In this national war, so unjustly provoked, justice and power are on our side; on the rebels side crime, usurpation and the torch of discord they intend to use against our Republic in order to humble and vilify it.

Their ideas will be frustrated; our Nation is and will be what it ought to be— a great and glorious country when our laws, property and rights are being violently attacked. Your Excellencies, make a call to the troops under your command that they will produce brilliant testaments of their invincibility in this foreign war as they were in Tepeaca, Cordoba, Azcapozalco, in the Huerta, in Veracruz and Tampico de Tamaulipas.

The Government believes that not one Mexican worthy of his country will favor the treason of foreign rebels, but that if such a misfortunate exists, the power and duty of punishing him lies in your hands.

God and Liberty!


2 Miguel Barragan, Dispatch on Texas Colonists (October 31, 1835). From a letter signed by Jose Maria Tornel, Miguel Barragan's secretary of war. Quoted in General Miguel A. Santhez Lamego, The Siege and Taking of the Alamo, trans. Consuelo Velasco (Santa Fe: The Press of The Territorian, 1968), pp. 14-15- From the Historical Archives of the Secretary of National Defense, File XI/481.3/1145.

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