The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002 Page: 83
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2001 "They Contributed Very Much to the Success of Our Colony 83
printed about Indian depredations in west and central Texas.' As reports of
Indian attacks appeared and the settlers clamored in panic to form armed
companies to defend the settlements, Theodore Specht reminded German
readers that earlier things had been different. In addition to detailing the
early history of German-Indian relations in the Fredericksburg area, Specht
blamed current Indian policy for souring relations and outlined his vision
of how the Indian question should be resolved.
The Specht letter clearly demonstrates that in the early months of
Fredericksburg's existence the German settlers established friendly rela-
tions with the Indians, actively traded with them, and even relied heavily
on the food that the Indians brought to the town. Specht also suggests
that the Indians did as much as, if not more than, the Adelsverein to
make the colony viable in its first months. His credibility is enhanced by
the fact that other Fredericksburg pioneer reminiscences confirm much
of what Specht says about trade and reliance on Indian foodstuffs.8
Specht's views on Indian policy can also be compared to the views of
his American contemporaries who were considering similar issues in
1854 and 1855. Former Texas president David G. Burnet felt that due to
the spread of the white population: "The entire subjugation of the
Comanches in particular, and probably of other tribes, or their early
removal, will be inevitable." Burnet considered removal to federal territo-
ry in the Rocky Mountains to be the "only practical substitute for the
actual extermination of the Indians."0 E. M. Pease felt that the Indians
"must be collected within certain defined limits, placed under the con-
trol of agents who are supported by a military force, sufficient to compel
them to remain there, and must be furnished by the Government, with
the means of living until they are taught to support themselves by agricul-
ture."'0 In contrast, Specht argued against forced removal and proposed
an economic solution that he felt would be beneficial to both the Indians
and frontier settlements. In his opinion, giving the Indians subsidies and
allowing them to trade freely in the frontier settlements would gradually
"civilize" them and force them to abandon their nomadic ways.
7 In preparing this text for publication I consulted both the microfilm copies of the Zestung
housed at the Sophlenburg Archive in New Braunfels, Texas, and the bound originals of the
newspaper in the Texas State Archive in Austin. For the text of the letter, see Neu-Braunfelser
Zetung,June 15, 1855.
8 See R. Penniger, Fest-Ausgabe zum 5o-Jdhngen Jubtldum der Griindung der Stadt Fnednchsburg,
(Fredericksburg: [n.p.], 1898), 74.
' David G. Burnet "The Comanches and Other Tribes of Texas; And the Policy to be Pursued
Respecting Them," in Ethnology of the Texas Indians, ed. Thomas R Hester (New York. Garland
Publishing, 1991), 268, 241.
10 G. M. Pease to Jefferson Davis, secretary of war, Sept. 23, 1854, Dorman H. Winfrey and
James M. Day (eds.), The Indian Papers of Texas and the Southwest 1825-1z96 (5 vols.; Austin:
Pemberton Press, 1966), V, 185-186.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101222/m1/91/: accessed November 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.