Tory Sentiment in Anglo-Texan
Public Opinion, 1832- 1836
MARGARET SWETT HENSON*
PUBLIC SUPPORT IN TEXAS FOR THE ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST THE
centralist administration of Mexico was not unanimous, but this
fact has received little attention from historians. Texas public opinion
during this period in general has drawn few scholars. William C.
Binkley mentioned public opinion as one factor that led the Anglo-
Texans toward revolution, but he did not develop it as a separate topic.
Eugene C. Barker, in his biography of Stephen F. Austin, referred to
public attitudes and the empresario's efforts to shape them. Barker also
focused on public opinion during the spring and summer of 1835 in a
1911 essay that sought to explain the commencement of separationist
sentiment, but the article was limited to that brief period.' Most histo-
ries have concentrated instead on the more exciting military and politi-
cal events. The present essay, while mentioning those events, will ex-
plore tory sentiment that arose in 1832 and 1835-1836 in Anglo-Texan
Nineteenth-century writers, often closely associated with participants
of the Texas Revolution, mentioned the similarities between the Texas
and American revolutions and usually lauded the successful patriots.
They noted that both movements had committees of correspondence,
preliminary battles, and subsequent declarations of independence, but
* Margaret Swett Henson is retired from the Department of History at the University of
Houston Clear Lake. She is the author of a number of works on early Texas and regional his-
tory, including Samuel May Williams, Early Texas Entrepreneur (1976), Juan Davis Bradburn: A
Reappraisal of the Mexican Commander of Anahuac (1982), Anglo American Women in Texas,
1820-185o (1982), Baytown: A History (1986), and "Chambers County: A Pictorial History"
(forthcoming in 1986).
'William C. Binkley, The Texas Revolution (Baton Rouge, 1952), 47, 57, 12o; Eugene C. Bar-
ker, The Life of Stephen F. Austin, Founder of Texas, 1793 -183 6: A Chapter in the Westward Movement
of the Anglo-American People (2nd ed.; Austin, 1949), 337-339, 345, 353, 358, 376, 411-413,
425-426; Eugene C. Barker, "Public Opinion in Texas Preceding the Revolution," American
Historical Association, Annual Report, 1911 (Washington, D.C., 1913), 219-228.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117152/. Accessed April 17, 2014.