The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974 Page: 284
Southwestern Historical Quarterly
other. They were inflexible, their pens were busy and their vocabularies
rich in invective. Fortunately for the record (but not for their contempora-
ries), San Felipe had a printer and they kept him busy night and day strik-
ing off broadsides charging each other with treason, tyranny, breaches of
the constitution, great and small crimes, while the Mexican army moved
nearer. They issued conflicting orders to distracted Texans who only wanted
to know how to avoid threatened slaughter.
Few of their constituents were constitutional lawyers or had read or even
seen the defunct Mexican Constitution or the Organic Law of 1835 they
helped design which gave governor and council joint powers but did not
anticipate the schism between them.
Henry Smith contended that his title as governor carried with it the func-
tions of chief executive and commander in chief of armed forces, the veto
power, and a right to deny commissions to persons chosen by the council.
His opponents claimed that his powers were limited to those listed in the
Organic Law and the late Mexican Constitution. When Smith dismissed the
council it deposed him, named its own presiding officer, James W. Robinson
as acting governor, and continued its work, with or without a quorum. The
constitutional questions still remain. The Convention of 1836 filed but did
not consider the conflicting charges. Judge Daniel expressed no opinion, and
no competent authority has evaluated them.
The contemporaries of Smith and the council either ignored or never
heard their charges against each other. And Providence seems to have pro-
tected Texans from the folly of their "chosen representatives," as it has done
Neither Smith nor Robinson suffered politically after Independence.
Smith received a few hundred votes for president in 1836, served as Hous-
ton's secretary of the treasury, declined nomination for the vice presidency
by a committee of o i in 1841, then quit politics for more gainful pursuits.
In 1849 he joined the Gold Rush. He died in a mining camp near Los
Angeles in 1851.
Robinson was even luckier. He was a private in the Battle of San Jacinto;
the first Congress elected him a judge; he helped repel a Comanche
raid; and he was captured by General Adrian Woll in San Antonio in
1841. Santa Anna released him from Perote to bring his absurd invita-
tion to Texas to rejoin Mexico. He joined Smith in the Gold Rush, settled
in San Diego to serve as a public official and busy lawyer until he died in
1857, leaving a large estate.
But the temptation is not to be resisted to thank Judge Daniel for his
persistence in bringing this project to an auspicious beginning and, more
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974, periodical, 1973/1974; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117148/m1/318/: accessed February 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.