The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987 Page: 2
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
they did not usually mention tory dissidents.2 A few contemporaries la-
beled the 1832 dissenters tories, a word associated with both English
history and the American Revolution, but the negative connotation
caused most historians to avoid it. The two sides of the issue in 1835
were characterized at the time by the terms peace party, on the one
hand, and war party, or occasionally tories, on the other. Tory was an
especially popular term for those dissenters living east of the San Ja-
cinto River, who clung to their loyalist position until after the battle of
San Jacinto in April, 1836.
Dictionaries agree that a tory is a conservative in any party: in En-
glish history tories were those who supported the Crown against the
progressive Whig party, and during the American Revolution tories
were loyalists who sustained the claims of the king. The term, there-
fore, can apply to those Texans who opposed the attacks against
Anahuac and Velasco in 1832 and the efforts of the peace party in
1835-1836. The word tory in this essay is interchangeable with conser-
vative, loyalist, and peace party.
Dissent appeared inevitable in Texas, given the contentious nature of
Anglo-Americans. As sons and grandsons of the American Revolution,
with inherited notions of their rights as free men, Anglo-Texans pro-
tested when acts of the Mexican government violated their perceptions
of liberty and justice. But these new Mexican citizens could not agree
on proposed remedies or on who was to lead them. Individualism and
independent action, more than a united planned remonstrance, char-
acterized the reactions of the Anglo-Texans.
Erroneously assuming that republics were alike, most immigrants
from the United States failed to understand that the Mexican Consti-
tution of 1824 lacked a bill of rights providing such traditional Ameri-
can guarantees as trial by jury, the right to assemble, and freedom of
speech. For their part, the Mexicans wanted immigrant frontiersmen to
develop agriculture on their northeastern border and to defend the
area from hostile Indians because the new republic was without the
2See Henry Stuart Foote, Texas and the Texans... (2 vols.; Philadelphia, 1841), II, 93-96, for
comparisons of the revolutions. David B. Edward, The History of Texas ... (Cincinnati, 1836),
249, mentions both "Whigs" and "Tories" in his description of the events of 1832, but he was a
Scot and sympathetic toward Mexico. Ibid., ix, xi-xii.
Modern historians who have referred to the tories include Frank X. Tolbert, The Day of San
Jacinto (New York, 1959), 65, 100, 199, 246; Andrew Forest Muir, "Tories in Texas, 1836," Texas
Military History, IV (Summer, 1984), 81-94, who concludes that there were none on the San
Jacinto River; Clyde Allen True, "John A. Williams: Champions of Mexico in the Early Days of
the Texas Revolution," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XLVII (Oct., 1943), 107-1 19 (the Quar-
terly is cited hereafter as SHQ); and Kent Gardien, "Kokernot and His Tory," Texana, VIII, No.
3 (1970), 269-294, who says there was at least one tory in 1836.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987, periodical, 1986/1987; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117152/m1/28/: accessed July 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.