The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925 Page: 31
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Influence of Slavery in the Colonization of Texas
the question-upon which no direct evidence can be adduced-of
whether their professions of satisfaction were sincere or were
merely a screen behind which they intended to gather strength
for larger demands in future. In the writer's judgment they
were sincere. But for this study the significant thing is that,
with all the specific complaints of this period against federal and
state administration, the subject of slavery is not mentioned.80
The Texas revolution was precipitated in 1835 as a result,
largely, of Santa Anna's determination to centralize the govern-
ment of Mexico. The great majority of the settlers in Texas
were loath to believe that this held any menace for them and the
most strenuous efforts were necessary on the part of a small war
party to shake them out of their indifference and complacency.8'
In all the propaganda launched for that purpose that has come
down to us slavery is mentioned but twice. The first reference
occurs in a six-thousand-word Fourth of July oration designed
to stir the Texans to the heroic hardihood of their ancestors.
"Why," asks the speaker, "are troops coming to Texas ?" And
he answers with a list of reasons, among which is, "to compel
you to liberate your slaves."82 The second reference is in a
broadside issued by the war party some two months later. A
traveler from the interior had brought dire reports of Santa
Anna's preparations to invade Texas, and his story was rushed
to the press to warn the peaceable majority who clung so stub-
bornly to their assurance of security. According to this docu-
ment the slaves were to be freed and let loose upon the families
McKinney to James F. Perry, November 4, 1834; Perry to Austin, De-
cember 7, 1834--Austin Papers, MS. These writers were conservatives,
giving their views of the general situation.
8'A believer in the "conspiracy" theory would easily explain this by
saying that the colonists would naturally not expose the real cause of
their discontent; but such an explanation must presuppose either an
unnatural and impossible unanimity in the conspiracy or an unbeliev-
able efficient censorship of contemporary expression.
'1For a somewhat exhaustive statement of the reasons for this conclu-
sion, see the writer's "Public Opinion in Texas Preceding the Revolu-
tion," in Report of American Historical Association, 1911, Vol. I, pp.
"The speaker was R. M. Williamson. Broadside in the Austin Papers.
Other purposes for which the soldiers were coming, according to William-
son, were: "to compel you into obedience to the new form of govern-
ment"; "to compel you to give up your arms"; "to compel you to swear
to support the government of the dictator"; "to compel you to submit
to the imperial rule of the aristocracy"; "[to compel you] to pay tithes
and adoration to the clergy."
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925, periodical, 1925; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101087/m1/35/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.