The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

EPIDEMIC CHOLERA IN TEXAS, 1833-1834
J. VILLASANA HAGGARD
Students of Texas history have noted the lull in Anglo-American
activity during the years 1833 and 1834. In spite of the agitation
for Texas statehood, for the repeal of the law of April 6, 1830,
for tariff exemption, and for improvement of the mail service,
nothing seems to have been done after the Convention of April,
1833. Austin was sent to Mexico in that month to petition for
the reforms that Texans most urgently desired. He spent the
summer in sickly inactivity in the Mexican capital. For more
than four months after he departed from Texas, Austin received
no communication from his colonies. Toward the end of September
Austin received a letter from John P. Coles from which he under-
stood that the situation in Texas was quite tense.-
Nevertheless, the Anglo-Americans took no active steps during
the year 1833. Perhaps their apparent inertia was due to the
unusual epidemics and floods of that year. Malaria, yellow fever,
and cholera so harassed the colonists that even Brazoria, the hot-
bed of discontent, remained quiet. The following year Austin was
arrested at Saltillo. Still the Texans remained inactive. Perhaps
the time was not ripe for action; and, perhaps there were still
other causes within the Anglo-American colonies which prevented
any form of concerted action. At any rate, the epidemic of cholera
during the two inactive years of 1833 and 1834 is here presented
because it is a fact that
Civilizations have retreated from the plasmodium of malaria,
and armies have crumbled into rabbles under the onslaught of
cholera spirilla, or of dysentery and typhoid bacilli. Huge areas
have been devastated by the trypanosome that travels on the
wings of the tsetse fly, and generations have been harassed by
the syphilis of a courtier. War and conquest and that herd
existence which is an accompaniment of what we call civilization
have merely set the stage for these more powerful agents of
human tragedy.2
'Barker, E. C., Mexico and Texas, 1821-1885, P. L. Turner Company,
Dallas, Texas. 1928.
'Zinsser, HIans, Rats, Lice and History. Printed and Published for The
Atlantia Monthly Press by Little, Brown, and Company. Boston, Mass.
1935.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101099/. Accessed May 28, 2015.