e 1850 Affair of the browsviSe
FRANK H. DUGAN
T eight o'clock in the evening on Saturday, February 2, 1850,
/ the Brownsville schoolhouse of R. N. Stansbury was
I crowded with ranchers, merchants, steamboatmen, law-
yers, and cross mark patriots who sat on the hardwood benches,
amid flickering oil lamps, listening to arguments for the organiza-
tion of a Rio Grande territory. Among the crowd Colonel Stephen
Powers, Elisha Basse, R. H. Hord, Sam A. Beldon, F. J. Parker,
and Joseph R. Palmer circulated, whispering advice to the cross
mark patriots. From outside came the sound of horses, stomping
by the hitching rail, and the murmur of voices.
Inside the schoolhouse, leaders fingered copies of a handbill
which had come from the press of Joseph R. Palmer, editor of the
Brownsville paper, the American Flag. The handbill read:
MASS MEETING OF THE CITIZENS OF CAMERON COUNTY
Fellow-Citizens: - The undersigned invite you to join them in a
public meeting, to be held in the town of Brownsville, at the school-
house of Mr. R. N. Stansbury, on Saturday, the 2nd of February,
1850, at 7 o'clock, P.M., to take such steps as are necessary for the
organization of the Rio Grande Territory!
The time has at length arrived, when the people of this Valley
must act with promptitude and decision. We have too long confided
in the justice of the people of Texas - too long tamely submitted
to her unauthorized political jurisdiction. Our confidence in Texas
has been misplaced, and it behooves us to appeal to the Federal
Government for a territorial organization. We are entitled to it.
Let us knock at the door of Congress for that protection which
Texas denies us. The authorities of Texas seek to annul the titles
in real estate between the Nueces and the Rio Grande - it is a
fatal blow to our future prosperity, and will involve the country
in litigation, ruinous and endless. This scheme of flagrant injustice
proves that we have nothing in future to expect from the State
of Texas but vindictive and illiberal legislation.
iCross mark patriots, usually of Mexican descent, were illiterate and hence often
blind followers of American political chiefs.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101164/. Accessed May 27, 2016.