GOLIAD DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE by maclaren1

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									GOLIAD DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. The Goliad Declaration of
Independence, drafted by Ira Ingram, was read to the citizens of Goliad assembled at Nuestra
Señora de Loreto Presidio on December 20, 1835. The document was enthusiastically ratified
and received ninety-one signatures, the signers including José Miguel Aldrete and José María
Jesús Carbajal, Texans of Mexican descent. Philip Dimmitt was also a strong supporter and
major participant in the process, and many in his company of volunteers signed the declaration.
The enacting clause resolved that the former department of Texas ought to be a "free, sovereign,
and independent State," and the signers pledged their lives, fortunes, and honor to sustain the
declaration. The meeting struck off several copies of the document to be sent to various parts of
Texas, and the copy that reached Brazoria was printed and widely distributed. A committee
including John Dunn, William S. Brown, William G. Hill, and Benjamin J. White, carried the
original copy to San Felipe and delivered it to the General Council on December 30, 1835. The
council referred the declaration to the Committee on State and Judiciary; but the arrival of the
document caused some embarrassment because negotiations with José Antonio Mexía and
Julian Pedro Miracle were then pending in San Felipe to ascertain whether the true intentions of
the Texans were independence or cooperation with the Federalists in northern Mexico.
Members of the council warned the Goliad messengers not to circulate the declaration further,
and the committee report on the declaration said that it had been inconsiderately adopted. The
document was to remain in the files of the secretary without further action. The declaration
anticipated by two days Stephen F. Austin's pronouncement favoring independence made at
Velasco on December 22 and preceded the Texas Declaration of Independence by seventy-three
days. The chief importance of the Goliad Declaration was its alienation from Texas the support
of the Federalists of northern Mexico.

CONVENTION OF 1836. The Convention of 1836 wrote the Texas Declaration of
Independence and the Constitution of the Republic of Texas, organized the ad interim
government, and named Sam Houston commander in chief of the military forces of the republic.
The call for the convention to meet at Washington-on-the-Brazos was issued by the General
Council of the provisional government over the veto of Governor Henry Smith in December
1835, and the delegates were elected on February 1, 1836. The convention met on March 1,
1836, in near-freezing weather in an unfinished building belonging to Noah T. Byars and Peter
M. Mercer, his business partner. The building was rented for use of the convention by a group
of Washington business men who, incidentally, never got around to paying the rent. Forty-four
delegates were assembled on the first day of the convention. Fifty-nine delegates finally
attended its sessions. Andrew Briscoe did not arrive until March 11. Twelve of the members
were natives of Virginia, ten of North Carolina, nine of Tennessee, six of Kentucky, four of
Georgia, three of South Carolina, three of Pennsylvania, three of Mexico (including two born in
Texas), two of New York, and one each of Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, England,
Ireland, Scotland, and Canada. Only ten of the delegates were in Texas as early as January
1830; two of them arrived in 1836. Sam Houston, Robert Potter, Richard Ellis, Samuel P.
Carson, Martin Parmer, and Lorenzo de Zavala had all had political experience in Mexico or the
United States in state or national government, several in both. James Collinsworth presided as
temporary chairman, and Willis A. Faris was secretary pro tem. After the examination of
credentials of the members, the permanent officers were elected; Richard Ellis was president
and Herbert Simms Kimble was secretary. The Declaration of Independence was adopted on
March 2, and members began signing it on March 3. The convention then proceeded to the
writing of the constitution and election of ad interim government officials. With the report of
the approach of the Mexican army, the convention adjourned in haste in the early morning hours
of March 17.

TEXAS DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. The Texas Declaration of Independence
was framed and issued by the Convention of 1836qv at Washington-on-the-Brazos. As soon as
the convention was organized a resolution was introduced for appointment of a committee to
draw up a declaration of independence. Richard Ellis, president of the convention, appointed
George C. Childress, James Gaines, Edward Conrad, Collin McKinney, and Bailey Hardeman
to the committee. Childress was named chairman, and it is generally conceded that he wrote the
instrument with little help from the other members. In fact there is some evidence that he
brought to the convention a proposed declaration that was adopted with little change by the
committee and the convention, a view which is substantiated by the fact that the committee was
appointed on March 1 and the declaration was presented to the convention on March 2. The
Texas edict, like the United States Declaration of Independence, contains a statement on the
nature of government, a list of grievances, and a final declaration of independence. The
separation from Mexico was justified by a brief philosophical argument and by a list of
grievances submitted to an impartial world. The declaration charged that the government of
Mexico had ceased to protect the lives, liberty, and property of the people; that it had been
changed from a restricted federal republic to a consolidated, central, military despotism; that the
people of Texas had remonstrated against the misdeeds of the government only to have their
agents thrown into dungeons and armies sent forth to enforce the decrees of the new
government at the point of the bayonet; that the welfare of Texas had been sacrificed to that of
Coahuila; that the government had failed to provide a system of public education, trial by jury,
freedom of religion, and other essentials of good government; and that the Indians had been
incited to massacre the settlers. According to the declaration, the Mexican government had
invaded Texas to lay waste territory and had a large mercenary army advancing to carry on a
war of extermination. The final grievance listed in justification of revolution charged that the
Mexican government had been "the contemptible sport and victim of successive military
revolutions and hath continually exhibited every characteristic of a weak, corrupt, and
tyrannical government." After the signing of the original declaration by fifty-nine delegates, five
copies of the document were dispatched to the designated Texas towns of Bexar, Goliad,
Nacogdoches, Brazoria, and San Felipe. The printer at San Felipe was also instructed to make
1,000 copies in handbill form. The original was deposited with the United States Department of
State in Washington, D.C., and was not returned to Texas until some time after June 1896. In
1929 the original document was transferred from the office of the secretary of state to the Board
of Control to be displayed in a niche at the Capitol, where it was unveiled on March 2, 1930.

INDEPENDENCE DAY. The Texas Declaration of Independence was signed on March 2,
1836. Texas Independence Day, March 2, was formerly observed as a holiday throughout the
state.

PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT. The provisional government set up by the Consultation
was the only governing body in Texas from November 15, 1835, until March 1, 1836, but
during much of the period it was inactive. Henry Smith, a leader of the independence or war
party and an opponent of the Declaration of November 7, 1835, was made governor; James W.
Robinson, also of the independence party, was lieutenant governor. Most of the members of the
legislative body, the General Council, were from the peace party, which was opposed to an
immediate declaration of independence and inclined to quarrel with Smith and oppose his plans.
Personalities entered into the dispute, and after about a month the governor and the council
quarreled bitterly. There was no agreement as to the powers of the governor. The council
wished to cooperate with Mexican liberals; Smith wished to ignore the Declaration of
November 7 and proceed as though Texas were an independent state. The most important single
cause of trouble was the proposed Matamoros expedition. As a result of the various
controversies, the governor made an attempt to dissolve the council, which retaliated by
impeaching Smith and recognizing Robinson as head of state. For all practical purposes the
provisional government then ceased to exist, and Texas was without leadership during the
critical month of February 1836.

AD INTERIM GOVERNMENT. The ad interim government of Texas operated from March
16 to October 22, 1836. The Convention of 1836qv declared independence and framed the
Constitution of the Republic of Texas, but the advance of the Mexican army made immediate
ratification and establishment of constitutional government impossible. The last act of the
convention was the selection of an ad interim government with David G. Burnet, president;
Lorenzo de Zavala, vice president; Samuel P. Carson, secretary of state; Bailey Hardeman,
secretary of treasury; Thomas J. Rusk, secretary of war; Robert Potter, secretary of the navy;
and David Thomas, attorney general. This temporary government, without any legislative or
judicial departments, fled with the people in the Runaway Scrape and was located successively
at Washington-on-the-Brazos, Harrisburg, Galveston Island, Velasco, and Columbia;
nevertheless, it continued to function until regular elections could be held and the constitution
ratified. One of its major concerns was controlling the revolutionary army and dealing with low
supplies and morale. It was also in place when the two treaties of Velasco were signed. The ad
interim government ended with the inauguration of Sam Houston as president on October 22,
1836.

COMMITTEES OF SAFETY AND CORRESPONDENCE. Committees of Safety and
Correspondence similar to those in the American Revolution were organized in Texas as early
as 1832. At first these bodies were not hostile to the Mexican government. Their purpose was to
secure the organization of the militia for defense against Indians. Later, they kept people in
touch with developments and made possible organized, effective resistance in the Texas
Revolution. On May 8, 1835, Mina (Bastrop) appointed its committee of safety and
correspondence for the general diffusion of information. A few days later organizations at
Gonzales and Viesca were formed. A committee for the jurisdiction of Columbia met on August
15, 1835. Other communities established similar committees, and before the end of that summer
apparently all precincts had such organizations.

TREATIES OF VELASCO. Two treaties were signed by ad interim president David G.
Burnet and Gen. Antonio López de Santa Annaqv at Velasco on May 14, 1836, after defeat of the
Mexican forces at the battle of San Jacinto. The public treaty was to be published immediately,
and the secret agreement was to be carried into execution when the public treaty had been
fulfilled. The public treaty, with ten articles, provided that hostilities would cease, that Santa
Anna would not again take up arms against Texas, that the Mexican forces would withdraw
beyond the Rio Grande, that restoration would be made of property confiscated by Mexicans,
that prisoners would be exchanged on an equal basis, that Santa Anna would be sent to Mexico
as soon as possible, and that the Texas army would not approach closer than five leagues to the
retreating Mexicans. In the secret agreement, in six articles, the Texas government promised the
immediate liberation of Santa Anna on condition that he use his influence to secure from
Mexico acknowledgment of Texas independence; Santa Anna promised not to take up arms
against Texas, to give orders for withdrawal from Texas of Mexican troops, to have the
Mexican cabinet receive a Texas mission favorably, and to work for a treaty of commerce and
limits specifying that the Texas boundary not lie south of the Rio Grande. Gen. Vicente Filisola,
in pursuance of the public treaty, began withdrawing the Mexican troops on May 26; the Texas
army, however, refused to let Santa Anna be sent to Mexico and prevented the Texas
government's carrying out the secret treaty. On May 20 the government in Mexico City declared
void all of Santa Anna's acts done as a captive. With the treaties violated by both governments
and not legally recognized by either, Texas independence was not recognized by Mexico and
her boundary not determined until the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848.

								
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