The African Slave Trade in Texas. 145
THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE IN TEXAS.'
EUGENE C. BARKER.
In its fourfold character of Spanish territory, Mexican province,
independent republic, and State of the Union, Texas has a most
dramatic history, not the least interesting phase of which is the
trace of 'the African slave trade running dimly through each
period of its evolution-even the last, it seems probable. The be-
ginnings of the traffic here take one back to the days when Napo-
leon, just 'through juggling with the map of Europe, had begun
his weary imprisonment in St. Helena, and Ferdinand VII. was
vainly trying to re-establish the shattered authority of Spain over
his revolting American subjects.
In Mexico the Spanish cause was staunchly upheld by a strong
party of royalists, and as vigorously contested by enthusiastic re-
publicans. During a temporary ascendency of the latter in 1813,
a declaration of independence was issued, and two years later Man-
uel Herrera was appointed minister to the United States-where
he received, of course, no official attention. His government being
soon eclipsed by the royalists, he took up his residence in New Or- )/
leans, which warmly sympathized with the Mexican rebels, and ral-
lied around him all of his countrymen who had fled from Mexico,
as well as a considerable number of adventurous Americans. With
these he determined to wrest at least a foothold from the tottering
Bourbon empire, and chose that hold to be in Texas. In the fall
of 1816, therefore, with some twelve or fifteen small vessels, of the
self-styled republics of Mexico, Venezuela, La Plata, and New
Granada, he sailed to the island of Galveston and by the authority
of his office as plenipotentiary of the Mexican republic, set up a
'It may be as well to say at once that the African slave trade never
reached any considerable proportions in Texas. That it did not was due
in part, no doubt, to the law-abiding character of most of the population;
but chiefly, perhaps, to the fact that Texas did not begin her great devel-
opment until after the :activity of the United States and England had given
the traffic its death-blow. Such as it was, however, it was interesting, and
that is this paper's sole raison d'etre. The scanty documentary material
upon the subject I have gathered from time to time while collecting mat-
ter on the Texas revolution.
Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 6, July 1902 - April, 1903. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101028/. Accessed May 31, 2016.