The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 42, July 1938 - April, 1939

28 Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ANALYSIS OF THE WORK OF THIE GENERAL COUNCIL,
PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT OF TEXAS, 1835-1836
IV
(Continued from the April, 1938, Number.)
THE NAVY
Many Texans believed that it was as necessary to strike the enemy
by sea as by land. By implication the organic law provided for
creating a navy and issuing letters of marque and reprisal. In
his first message to the Council Governor Smith urged that letters
of marque and reprisal be issued at once, in order that privateers
might embarrass the shipping of the enemy, and protect Texas
from invasion by sea. The committee on naval affairs reported
in favor of such procedure, November 18, and at the same time
proposed the creation of a navy for Texas. The Council passed
an ordinance in keeping with this report, but it met with the
disapproval of the governor, and was returned with his veto. The
governor objected to the large powers given privateers, to the fact
that the state was to receive none of the spoils, and to the creation
of a navy in the ordinance granting letters of marque and reprisal.,
The measure was so revised as to meet with the approval of the
executive.
Letters of marque and reprisal were to be issued by the gov-
ernor, with the advice and consent of the Council, to men of
known character and skill. No such license was to be granted a
vessel of less than eighty tons burthen. The privateers were to
cruise within the Gulf of Mexico, and make war on all vessels
sailing under the authority and flag of the Central Government
of Mexico. Prizes were to be brought into port, and if condemned
were to be sold; the government receiving twenty per cent of the
proceeds. The letters were not to be granted for less than three
months, nor more than six months, and in all cases were to come
to an end with the war.2
The ordinance was not pleasing to all concerned, and December
29, a supplementary measure was passed. The new decree reduced
IGammel, Laws of Texas, I, 567, 572, 581, 586.
2Ibid., I, 588, 927.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 42, July 1938 - April, 1939. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101107/. Accessed August 29, 2014.