Southwestern Historical Quarterly
LETTERS OF ANTONIO MARTINEZ, THE LAST
SPANISII GOVERNOR OF TEXAS, 1817-18221
TRANSLATED AND EDITED BY MATTIE AUSTIN IIATCHER2
Antonio Maria Martinez, Lieutenant Colonel in the Infantry
Regiment of Zamora, the last governor of Texas under the Span-
ish regime, arrived at his new post toward the end of May, 1817,
and, at once, assumed the responsibility of the defense of the
exposed frontier. He, with his family, had come from Europe,
where he had distinguished himself in battle and had won "la
Cruz de la Norte de Europa" or "la Cruz de Alemania." He had
stopped at Mexico City, en route, where he had discussed with
the viceroy plans for the defense and development of Texas
against Indian depredations, foreign invasions, and a recurrence
of the revolutionary movements that had been temporarily crushed
by the battle fought on the Medina River in Texas in the sum-
mer of 1813. Continuing his journey, he had conferred with
Joaquin Arredondo, the hero of that sanguinary battle which had
so raised the hopes of the royalists and had so retarded the favor-
able prospects of the country. In these conferences Martinez
gleaned much regarding the deplorable situation in Texas; but
he had hopes that, by untiring work, the situation could soon be
improved. He, therefore, at once began a long series of piteous
appeals for help-all to no avail-for neither the vicerory nor
the commandant general could render any effective aid. These
letters show not only the exhausted condition of the Spanish treas-
ury and the dangers facing the royalists at every turn, due to
the spread of the revolutionary disturbance, but, likewise, they
reveal Martinez' ability, courage, determination, and sympathetic,
if not indomitable, spirit.
He came to Texas full of enthusiasm; he left it a bitterly.
disappointed man, because he was defending a losing cause. lie
1From the letter presses of [Antonio Martinez], Governor of Texas, in
the Nacogdoches Archives, State Library, Austin, Texas.
21 wish to acknowledge my especial indebtedness to Mr. J. Haggard
Villasana, Translator in the Archives Department, for help in interpret-
ing particularly difficult passages.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 39, July 1935 - April, 1936. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101095/. Accessed May 3, 2015.