The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 214
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The formation of a provincial junta in Texas is difficult to reconstruct
from extant documents. Gutierrez's own account of this process is de-
tailed in a report to the Mexican Congress of August 1, 1815, which sim-
ply can not be taken at face value. Gutierrez wrote this document in re-
sponse to his critics' condemnation of his allegedly dictatorial rule in
Texas. He therefore presented himself as a pure republican, assuming the
role of governor and commander-in-chief only through election by a pub-
lic assembly. He also maintained that he had selected the junta from nom-
inees chosen by the assembly itself.52
The historic reality was more complex. During his first month in pow-
er, Gutierrez relied not simply upon a provincial junta, but also upon a
committee composed mainly of Northern Mexican military officers. Most
of these men seem to have been veteran soldiers who had served under
the royal standard in Texas before defecting to the rebels. They collec-
tively issued proclamations heralding Gutidrrez's personal leadership
and presenting a rosy picture of cooperation between Mexican and An-
glo-American soldiers. This concerted propaganda campaign, probably
directed by Gutierrez himself, aimed to bolster his prestige and to win
new recruits in Northern Mexico. One proclamation guaranteed that all
creoles who fought bravely under the flag of the Mexican Republic
would reap material rewards and gain protection of their civil rights and
The military council's most important public act was to affirm on May
4, 1813, the first Texas declaration of independence-a document that
had been drafted anonymously on April 6. The declaration reveals Anglo-
American as well as Mexican influences. Its early sections beam with Jef-
fersonian rhetoric of 1776. This portion-with its passionate defense of
natural rights-was transmitted to the United States in English transla-
tion, probably to encourage additional volunteers to flock to Texas. The
William Shaler to James Monroe, May 14, 1813, Special Agents MSS. An official notice by Gutier-
rez and his junta, issued on June 14, 1813, entitled the heirs of Joseph W. Carr, a deceased U.S.
volunteer, to claim a league of land in Texas. This document acknowledged a previous agreement,
confirmed on April 16, 1813, reached between Anglo-American officers and the junta over the
distribution of land. See Guterrez de Lara Papers (CAH).
2 Gutierrez to the Mexican Congress, Lamar Papers, I, 14-15. For Toldeo's political campaign
against Gutierrez m Mexico, see Palacio L6pez, Plzegos de la diplomacza znsurgente, 369-372, 440
" Jose Maria Guadiana, former royalist commandant at Nacogdoches, served as head of the
committee, whose membership varied over time. The committee issued six proclamations in
Bexar. Two of these are dated April 22, 1813, and May 4, 1813. The remainder are undated, but
most likely were written about the same period. All are in Histona, Operaciones de Guerra,
Arredondo, Jose Joaquin 1811 a 1820 (cited hereafter as Operaciones, Arredondo), IV, 3-26,
Transcripts (CAH). See "Proclama," Operaciones, Arredondo, IV, 6-8. One proclamation was
signed by twenty-four officers, at least ten of whom had served in a company of Nuevo Le6n. See
ibid., 10-12. I have confirmed the identity of some signatories by examining the lists of troops for-
warded Capt. Bernardino Montero to Manuel Salcedo, Aug. 23, 1812, Bexar Archives, Transcripts
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/266/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.