The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 218
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
1813, came from Nathaniel Cogswell, a Pennsylvania resident who was
engaged with other U.S. citizens in the rebel cause. Though the charge of
treason was not proven, Gutidrrez had cause for alarm. Unknown to him,
Toledo had held discussions with Luis de Onis, the Spanish envoy, in
Philadelphia on October 5, 1812, about the possible surrender of insur-
gent forces to the royalists in Texas. Gutierrez realized that Toledo had
made his way to the Southwest, and that he intended to march into Texas
with a cohort of armed men. Gutidrrez's genuine fear of subversion may
have strengthened his own authoritarian instincts while forming a provin-
cial constitution and government. He could not afford to lose power with
so much at stake.6"
Several historians, including Julia Kathryn Garrett, have explained
William Shaler's defection from Gutidrrez to his disgust with the killings
at Salado Creek, and the subsequent promulgation of the Texas constitu-
tion. Though these two events deeply upset Shaler's sensibilities and be-
liefs, his initial decision to support Toledo over Gutidrrez was made prior
to his learning of either occurrence. On April 4, 1813, Shaler welcomed
Toledo to Natchitoches. He wrote Monroe that same day, noting that
Toledo was presented to him as a man "destined to command the Mexi-
can armies in Texas." The special agent had already formed a favorable
opinion of his guest. He had closely followed Toledo's recent activities in
Natchez and admired his capacity to ward off rival Anglo-American ad-
venturers who sought to discourage his mission to Texas. Still uninformed
of Salcedo's execution, Shaler confided to Monroe on April 13 that Tole-
do would be "invested with the command" of the army.1
Shaler's decision-making was greatly influenced by his reading of char-
acter. On October 5, 1812, he had written Monroe that Gutierrez was well-
meaning, but that "his ignorance of mankind, and total political incapac-
ity, together with his weakness, and preposterous vanity render him a just
object of dread if he should come into the possession of uncontrouled
power." Shaler was prescient about Gutidrrez's authoritarian tendencies,
though he was no democrat himself. During the siege of La Bahia, the spe-
cial agent counseled Augustus W. Magee to remember that "common men
are like children, easily amused, and as easily dispirited." When facing a
crisis, "a man of talents distinguishes himself from the common man:
he shines, and seems by his address to raise himself above humanity.""2
"0 Cogswell to Generals Gutzerrez and Magee, Dec. 29, 1812; Gen. Bernardo [Gutidrrez] to
Nathaniel Cogswell, Apr. 11, 1813, Special Agents MSS. Onis was unsure whether Toledo's offer
was genuine or simply a means to wheedle money from him. See Warren, "Toledo's Initiation as a
"' Shaler to Monroe, Apr. 4 (postscript to letter of Apr. 2), 13, 1813, Special Agents MSS.
x2 Ibid., Oct. 5, 1812 (1st quotation), Shaler to Augustus W Magee, Dec 2o, 1812 (2nd and 3rd
quotations), Special Agents MSS.
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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/m1/270/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.