The treachery in Texas, the secession of Texas, and the arrest of the United States officers and soldiers serving in Texas. Read before the New-York Historical Society, June 25, 1861. By Major J. T. Sprague, U. S. A. Page: 22 of 36
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REBELLION RECORD, 1860-61.
reference to that portion of your communication
relating to the words "public property not including
money, etc.," we have to say that if the
word money was not used in our last communication
to Gen. Twiggs, it was simply owing to
the fact that our communication of a previous
date, as well as our original demand on General
Twiggs, contained that word and its equivalents;
that communication in which we agreed to the
terms of the note of the eighteenth inst., in which
Gen. Twiggs claimed the retention of two batteries
of light artillery, refers to our previous
communications, in which we claimed all public
property; and the reason is apparent, we claim
no interest in, or desire to meddle with, private
property, but we do now, as we have heretofore
done, claim as public property, all money belonging
to or held for the benefit of the Federal Government.
Again, if it were necessary to show
that nothing was withdrawn by the undersigned
from their original and repeated demands, or
understood to have been withdrawn on our part
by Gen. Twiggs, it will be found in the demands
made by that officer and several others, for transportation,
etc., and freely furnished by the undersigned,
although no reference is made in express
terms to this obligation in any of the notes between
General Twiggs and the undersigned, and
the reference is only found in our communication
of the fourteenth inst., to the Military Commission.
We might still further add, that the Military
Commission, as well as Gen. Twiggs, repeatedly
disclaimed any right on the part of the officer
in command, to control disbursing officers in
their disposition of the public funds. If, then,
Gen. Twiggs has acted upon portions of our answer
of the fourteenth inst., although such portions
were not set out in our reply of the eighteenth,
it shows that he understood the referring
to that communication was a substantial embodiment
of its terms, in the communication in which
we referred to it. A consideration of these facts
will show the necessity for a complete understanding
of all matters connected with or operat
ing in any manner upon the question of our right
to obtain possession of, or control the funds of
the Federal Government in Texas, such funds
being subject, however, to the payment of legiti
mate claims due either to soldiers or citizens.
For this purpose the undersigned submit the fol
lowing questions, to be answered by the various
disbursing officers, or heads of departments, anc
certified to respectively by them on honor. Ques
1st. Please state what amount of funds in spe
cie, coin, drafts, or otherwise, were in your cus
tody or under your control for purposes connect
ed with your department, or the performance oi
your official duties, on the eighth day of Feb
ruary, 1861 ?
Question 2d. Please state what portion of tha
amount has been disbursed or changed from it
original condition between that day and the tim
of answering this question, and how or where wa
this disbursement or change made?
Question 3d. Please state what amount of ir
debtedness exists against your department, at the
time of answering this question, and the persons
claiming the same, as nearly as it is in your power
to do ?
Question 4th. Please state what amount in specie
or coin has come into your possession since
the eighth of February, 1861, and what amount
has been placed to your credit, or at your disposal
for the purposes conected with your department,
in other cities of the Union, since the eighth
of February, 1861 ?
Question 5th. Please state the amount of funds
connected with your department on hand, in specie,
coin, drafts, or other evidences of money or
credit; and please state the amounts of the respective
credits in this city, and with whom, as
likewise in other cities of the Union ? It is hoped
that the preceding five questions will be submitted
to the various disbursing officers residing in
this city, and an answer is required within the
next eighteen hours.
The Commissioners do not desire, on the contrary,
it is their determination that nothing shall
be done, by or through their agency, that is likely
to cause unpleasant consequences. Our instructions
and sense of duty, however, alike demand
that all measures proper and necessary for the securing
the public funds for the benefit of the
State of Texas, shall be attempted, and, if possible,
carried to a successful termination.
We remain, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
THOMAS J. DEVINE,
S. A. MAVERICK,
P. N. LUCKETT,
Commissioners on behalf of Committee
of Public Safety.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF TEXAS, (
SAN ANTONIO, February 25, 1861.
To bessrs. Thomas J. Devine, P. N. Luckett, S.
A. Maverick, Commissioners, etc., etc., San
GENTLEMEN: I have already acknowledged the
receipt of your letter of the twenty-second inst.,
t and the pressure of my public duties must be my
if apology for not answering it at an earlier date.
s In regard to the five questions proposed in your
communication, and your request that the "various
disbursing officers, or heads of departments,
be required to furnish you with answers 'certis
fied' by them 'on honor,"' I have to state that
I I have no power to compel a compliance with
your wishes. An order of that kind would be
illegal, and they would not be bound to obey it.
As regards myself, if I were to issue an order
that would endanger the public funds, or cause
a disposition of them not sanctioned by law, I
Cf should place my commission in jeopardy, and ren-
der myself liable for the amounts involved. In
relation to the payment of the claims against the
,t United States, I would remark that the disbursts
ing officers by whom the debts were contracted,
e are the proper persons to pay them, as they alone
,s can know the amounts actually due.
I will here repeat what I have more fully stat1ed
in a former communication-that I cannot re
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Sprague, John Titcomb. The treachery in Texas, the secession of Texas, and the arrest of the United States officers and soldiers serving in Texas. Read before the New-York Historical Society, June 25, 1861. By Major J. T. Sprague, U. S. A., book, 1862; New York. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6102/m1/22/: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .