The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940 Page: 26
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the inflamed ego of a despot could have believed. The better
Mexican officers loathed, or disapproved, the deed.
But terror is the body servant of the dictator; and ruthlessness
the invariable element in every despot's creed. Santa Anna's was
the creed of the dictator, and he took the despot's way.
The grim effect of his cruelty on American opinion was not
due to the mere execution of prisoners; its depth lay in the odium
of killing prisoners such as these. These men had been guilty of
no outrage; they were not filibusters or soldiers of fortune; they
were incapable of an act of pillage, looting, or rapine. They were
among the brightest and ablest of America's young men, who had
foregathered from the best of American families; they were high-
minded gentlemen, whose coming to Texas had been without
thought of profit or advantage to themselves. Young, imaginative,
daring, their hearts were charged with thoughts of high emprise;
in consecrating themselves to the service of Texas, their only wish
had been to help a struggling people to liberty and freedom, in
the right to which each of them devotedly believed.
Despotism can kill such men, but if it does, despotism must pay.
Nations which tolerate despots must pay, regrettably, as well.
Santa Anna's payment has been made in the universal obloquy
that envelops his name. Mexico, however innocent, has also paid,
in territory, and in pride, and in an unearned reputation for
barbarity and want of public faith.
Portilla's volleys, echoing from the banks of the San Antonio,
above the bloody forms of Fannin's men, re-echoed in after years,
from the fertile banks of the Rio Grande; from the high passes
of the Sierra Madre; from California's forests, shores, and ranchos;
from Chapultepec and Churubusco; from the historic shadows of
That American opinion sanctioned war in 1846 only by reason
of Goliad, we are not left to conjecture, to surmise, or to doubt.
Even with the infamy in which, in American public opinion,
Goliad had enveloped the Mexican name, America tolerated a war
of conquest against the sister republic, only by reason of the
personal management and insistence of President Polk; and James
K. Polk became president only through the inspired leadership
and grim determination of the brother and father of a Goliad
victim, Samuel Smith Sanders, who lies here with the others, in
this, their common grave. And no President of the United States,
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940, periodical, 1940; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101111/m1/34/: accessed April 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.