The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 14, July 1910 - April, 1911 Page: 32
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32 Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
together, without guard or police to protect them; and permit
me to say sir, notwithstanding I well know the opinion that
prevails abroad respecting the inhabitants of Texas, that but
few thefts or depredations of any kind, were committed here, in
the time to which I allude-and during my administration as
Comissario in the lower precinct, but one or two only were com-
plained of, though opportunities and temptations were continually
to be met with, as the universal honesty which seemed to pervade,
had set at rest even suspicion. A few idle and dissolute vagabonds,
who pursued nothing but idleness and dissipation for a livelihood,
had become congregated and in order to have full scope at their
favorite employment concluded at night to remove a barrel of
whiskey from the street to a neighboring thicket to which access
could be had at pleasure. The barrel after some days was missed
by the Merchant, but search was made in vain. It was not long
however, until an unfortunate artizan received a stab from one of
the party and instantly died. The citizens allready tired of their
dissolute and idle habits became now greatly incensed, and called
on me to have the offending parties arrested which was promptly
performed before escape could be effected. The principal and one
as accessory was apprehended, and brought to trial. Our laws re-
specting criminal proceedings were very defective and like most
of the Mexican laws every thing was sacrificed to forms. I was a
constitutional officer and compelled to obey and execute the laws.
I had a right to arrest and if found necessary hold the prisoner in
custody, but could not try and inflict punishment. By the law it
was my province to take the testimony in the case and transmit it
800 miles to the seat of Government to be investigated and tried
by the Supreme Court. All this was required to be done in Span-
ish and in legal form, which but few if any in the country were
capable of performing. The slightest omission in form, even the
lack of a scroll below the signature of a name, was considered a
sufficient defect to vitiate the whole record, and it would be sent
back for correction. This was not only the case in criminal, but
civil suits when taken up by appeal. To return however to the
criminal-we had no jails or calabooses as in the interior, and it
was difficult to know what disposition to make of him. It was
evident he deserved punishment, and was then under my controll
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 14, July 1910 - April, 1911, periodical, 1911; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101054/m1/40/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.