Texas Sentinel. (Austin, Tex.), Vol. 1, No. 30, Ed. 1, Saturday, July 11, 1840 Page: 1 of 4
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BY.CRUGER & BONNELL Public Prixtjeks.
" Vr-ntas Vincit."
TERMS $5 PER ANN. IN ADVANCE
AUSTIN SATURDAY MORNING JJlJLY U . 1840.
X JSJ 1l sjL 3
. Indians of texasf
J scries of letters originally addressed tooLJoua
J a M ispx deceased ' ae Indian -agent bl Natchi-
jiOcheSBY DAVID G. BURNET. '
? LETTER IV. ? .4
"" Nacogdoches Pro. Texas)
V August 1818.; : 5
The Comanchees conduct- all their military' opera-
tions on horseback. JSo exclusively aro they habitu-
ated to the cavalry mode of warfare that to place them
on foot would be in'effect to put them fwrs if r. combat
to render them totally in efficient. They are general-
ly well mounted when on a hostile excursion andare
scarcely exceed in the urtcoTliorsemenshipf to which
they are trianed from early infancy. Both in war and
hunting' they rely much on the speed of their horse.c
and are careful to select for their own usetlie best and
fleetest smong their furtive herds.
The day previous to starting for warttheparty mllf- '
tant parade through the village mounted and 'accoutred
and bedrtubed wiih paints m their mosttgallant and
frightful style. They march or rather gallon in a line
of single file and have very few evolutions but they
contrive to give diversity ana eueciiomeir manoevres
by ifrequeni hideous yells and antic gesticulation
which co nb'ined with their wild savage cosfiimesgive
to the exhibition if not a dreadful at least a superlative-
ly ludicrous appearance. Their habiliments: on these
occasions seem to be a motly assemblage of eyeryrude
and awkward device that can render theirxternal
grotesque and terrific or rather to an iufojjtheft spec-
tatorf.intastical and ridiculous. A stranger -might well
imagine that he had gotten upon the parade ground
of the Prince of P.mdemnnlum: but an acquaintance
with the real character of the seemingly hideous spec-
ires winch shock and astound his vision jvbufd con-
vert the appalling spectacle into a scene of 'pantomim-
ical foolery. These doughty warriors are.much more
terrible in appearance than in reality; and'such is gen-
erally the character of the southern Indians.
They always set out on their predatory adventures
to the provinces with two creatures; a mnle&r inferior
horse to perform thedrudgerv of the journey aud iheir
favorite war-horse who is carefully ledept fresh
miirl vitrhrniic.nntiLSrriviny in tiih fe7iritiK. jfi&imp.n-
ded object of attack. The most wary circumspection
is adopted in all their movements. A private encamp-
ment is formed deep embosomed in the forest where
the fatigued horses with the saddles and other baggage
"are deposited in charge of a few men and prehaps
women who often accompany their husbands on their
military excursion and answer all the purposes of
grooms and menials. The more daring warriors sally
outaunder the cover of moon-light from this secret ral-
lying point to reconnoitre the neighboring settlements
in quest of prey. Tuey so regulate their departure
from home as to arrive at the intended place of assault
abmt the full ol the moon and always make their at-
tack at midnight. If they succeed in capturing a
drove of mules and horses they drive them with the
utmost speed night and day until they cross the
Rio Grande beyond which they are seldom puisued.
They frequently drive offa thousand head of these ani-
mals at one time: but many of them are destroyed on
the way by crossing water-courses or worn out by fa-
tigue and abandoned to perish; or should they revive
to herd with the wild horses numerous gangs of which
roam through the country where aperennial veidute
alTrds them an abundant suhsistance.
The number of mules and horses that thes Indians
capture annually from the Spaniards is immense prob
ably not Isss than 10001) and perhaps the one half of
these are destroyed or left deielict in the hurry and
tumult of the homeward mirch.
T.ie waruors when they venture from their hiding-
place which they seldom do except under favor of the
Queen ofjNight either to reconnoitre or make an atiac'c
always ride without saddles and without any other
I encumbrance than the waist-cloth to their persons.
This lightness of apparel gives them a manifest advan-
tage over their Spanish adversaries whose horses are
heavily cornparisoned and whose persons are embar-
rassed by a cumbrous load of accoutrements which par-
take more of the pomp than the uses of war. Light
shot gnus javelins or lances about S feet long and
bow arrows compose their weapons. For defence they
wear pn'lhe left wrist-a shield made of Buffalo's hide
consoiiditeuwhen greenby a process in which fire is the
principal agent. They are made in an oval or circular
form about two feet in diameter and presenting a sur-
face slightly convexed. They are1 exceedingly tough
quite impenatrable to an arrow and often so to the ball
of a scopete and they arc light and easily disengaged
from the arm in case of emergency. The bss of a
shield des not attach iuexpiabie" disgrace to the char-
acter of a Comanchee warrior. - They are compara-
tively novices in the use of fire-arms and have an in-
superable aversion to the weight of.u Rife: but employ
the boWj.and lance with great jiextemyanci to a disper-
quaintance.viththe invaded country which enables
them.generally 10 surpiisc the indolent and iffert Span-
iards concurring with the miserable condition of the
provinces for defence inspire them with art artificial
fearlessness which invests them in the viej of their
ignorant aiidspiritlessenemies with thehidcious honors
of the basilisk. Jhit in truth these horrors are imaginary:
oppose them with decision and energy and they will
crouch like the Spaniel or fly like the "stricken fawn."
They usually make what they term their gfnnd cam
paign once a year either in the spring or fty.1
0iS&fc5. & frorratreatingeporay withdestnictive effect. The
Ivj-jjjpj odeif minute ac-
when the three bands unhe and co-ope;a(ejt paiiidcr-
ingafTd' devastating the defeceless proviencts that are
contiguous to the Rio Grande. Besides thescf periodical
invasions the preparations for which bear some resem-
blance to the pomp and circumstance of war! (and the
issues are frequently most disastrous to lUe exposed
Provincials;) there is a continual egress nndlrcgrcss of
small parties from 5 to 50 in number whoseJiole object
is inglorious predation and who cautiously avoid all
rencontres with the enemy except with the menial
herdsmen who attend the" droves of the wealtliy planteis.
Although habitually savige nnd rstrangcH from the
humanizing influences ofcivilizationtheComanphe war-
riors are not so wantonly baibarous and sanguinary as
many of the primitive nations of our continent. It is
true they seldom give quarter to the Spanish soldiers
and it is equally true that they seldom ihceive any
from them. It has been alledged too that tiity massa-
cre women and children. The charge is not true as
to general practice but there may be some isolated
'exceptions growing out of present emergency or some
extraordinary excitement. When reproved on this
awful subject these undisciplined warriors jhstify their
deeds of horror as more enlightened nations have
attempted to justify theirs by the law of retalliation:
and 1 suspect that a strict investigation wojild evince
but little disparity in the inhuman'ities that are recipro-
cally practised by these savage and semi-savage belig-
erents. The Comanchees arc always at war withlhe Osngps
&Pavnees. A formal declaration has perhaps jie ver t ran-
spircdjbiK whenever they meet hostilities ensue. Fre-
quei.t and sometimes sanguinary rencontre Jiapnen
.i.......v. u. ii..-.il-- -;. ! j?. .; t'1
UL'lWfl'II lllt'lll nit. v6HJit-suuu.L;uwiit:ci ugjj
the aggressors. In the fall of the year these
don their villages and lead a wandering life ostensibly
for the purpose of hunting. They often roam as far as
the v omanchee region profcsedlyin questof Buffalo
but m reality to "spoil the spoiler of his prey;'' in which
they frequently succeed so far as to return well moun-
ted although they always leave home on foot. The
Comanchees sometimes rptalliate upon them by carry-
ing the war into their country; but having little to gain
by these excursions they are unfrequent. Simplp
bootless war has few attractions for a peoplewho have
neither poets nor historians to perpetuafe the fame
of their achievements.
Strong attachment to kindled is a prominent feature
"in the Indian character. The Comanchees manifest
their seusibi'ilics by mourning vehemently for the dead.
They continue their lamentations statedly morning
and evening for a Ienght of time proportioned to ihe
affinity and the consequence of the deceased. The
women shave their heads and scarify themselves with
knives or sharp flints until they are literally covered
with blood. nether they have derived this practice
from tie discomfited prophets of Baal (l.Kings 1?2.)
Is for learned antiquaiians to determine. The men set
too much va'ueon the velvet softness of their tawny
skins to have them scarred and serrated by so un pro-
fitable a custom; but they will sometimes shave their
heads which is also considered a grievous retrench-
ment of masculine beauty. At each periodical lament
the bereaved relations assemble unitedly to bewail their
departed friend. Tears are shed in copious profusion
accompanied by loud and plaintive strains of hideous
dissonancenot unlike the howlings of raveling wolves.
The goods and chatties of the deceased. including his
tent and all its apparatus are sometimes burnt; and
such of his horses and mules as the avarice of the liv-
ing will relinquish are killed in order to be transfer-
red to the hnnting grounds of Elysium for the future
benefit of the dead. It was estimated by eye-witneses
that dining the prevalence of the small-pox among
themin 1816 when they were swept off as with ihe be-
som of destruction there were not lessthan iiOOOofthese
valuable animals immolated in this "manner. The
mode of conducting their funeral obsequies I have
never witnessed and believe they seduously avoid the
observation of strangers on these occasions. B.
" (Letter to be continued)
FOURTH CONGRESS .?...riRST session:
DEBATE ON THE BILL FOR-THE TEMPO-
RARY LOCATION OF THKJ SEAT OF
REPORTED FOR THE TEXAS SENTINEL.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
December 3d. 1SHU.'
Mr JACK had not intended tn Ii.ivp m.-iripmr ml fe-Jl.v
- -. 4I "V ijifw 1 "
A young lady telling an old gentleman that she was
in love with his estate""take it madam says he '-and
ihen you'll possess two-thirds of mo l'dr'iny mind you
have already and my whole being Consists of but
mind person aud estate - " Oh; rejoined the juvenile
fair it would bo very unreasonable sff.bftob you of
att tnree. pray Keep yonr person yourpMi.
lnarks-npon this question': the people whom lie had the
honor to represent felt but iit.le interest upon thesub-
ject and it he had any wish about it it wastoee it
settled as spedily as possible.
bomeremciks had fallen from the gentlemen ft om
ilarnsburgh and San Augustine which he felt bound
to answer : ho should not attempt to follow them
through all their windings but he would take some no-
tice of a portion of their remarks which he conceived
to be most injuri' usto the country. They had also al-
luded to a time when he" had the honor oi being a pub-
lic servant in Mich terms that he felt bound to answer.
He had never heard any blame attached to the- icmo-
Val oithe tempoiary cabinet from Vela-co till he had
heard it upon this floor. He had heaid men sensur-
ed here for that measure who were blameless: if
there was any blame whatever in removing it to Co-
lumb:;. he took it upon himselfupon his own devo-
ted head let it fall" and he would endeavor to bejr the
Cut the gentleman from Harrisburgh had tbk d
"why was it removed to Columbia?" Had the gentle-
man (tYlr Lawrence) been as well acquainted with tlw
history of the times as he was. or as the gentleman wio
he'd the presidency of the government adinterim he
would not have asked the question. At that time the
citizens of Velasto were starving and there was 110 ac-
comodations for any body neither for the officers of
government nor for strangers who visited the place.
The army was at that time stationed n"ar Columbia
many of the soldiers were being discharged and they
had to come to the scat of government to have their
accounts settled. It would have been putting them to
-. ' - r -
lumbia and the country would have gained nothing
Another and a very forcible reason for taking it to'
Columbia was that the only printing press iii the
republic was located at that place. The operations of
the government had been very much retarded for the
want of a press; and other things being equalthat aloi e
would have been enough to have induced him to decide
.iu its favor. .And I again repeat if there is any fau.t
in this removal lot it fall upon my head alone. ' he
president of the government ad interem caied nothing
about the matter the secretary of the treasury was in
favor of Matagorda and the secretary of war was m '
favor of Columbia. I gave my casting vole in its fa-
vor and it was carried there accordingly.
But the gentleman from San Augustine (Mr Hous-
ton) had said there had been frequent removals of the
seat of government one of them he thought rather t.o
percipitate he alluded to the removal of the Conven-
tion. from Washington to Harrisburgh. He (Vr. J)
could remind the gentleman of other perriptatf r mo-
valt: he would point to the desolate plains from t.on-
zales to San Jacinto to the mined farms and deserted
houses to suffering families and all the horrors of a
nation's retreat. He wou'd also point to a retiring ar-
my who load the van and were foremost of the retiring
thousands. The army did not stay behin'd to listen to
the "voice of woman or the prattling of chifdreu'" hut
left them behind to the tender mercy oa barlhT'ius
enemy an enemy whose hands were then reekim: wtl?
the blood of our murdered countrymen-?! Yes s-'r.
they hurried on under the direction of their gal'ant
commander until the murmurs of the ciunp ga-e
dent symptoms of an entiredesertinn of the army ( "
brave tioo'ps burned to meet theirbarberftus cneim .
did not wish o make a pilgrimage to tiel"Great E.i-i"'
to avoid the danger. 'I hey ai last came to the den 1-
minatiou to retreat no further and their commander
was foiced to turn aside to meet the eneTny" the I attic
of San Jacinto followed a decisive victory coverrd the
gallant band' with imperishable glory and the fugtiive
"chief" beqame a hero in spighi of himself.!. D d the.
gentleman from San Augustine expect the. cabinet
would form a rear guard to the retiring army or
would he have them form a cordon of pewsts for its pro-
tection 1 Sir said Mr J. t"hc removal from Vl usi nz-
ton to Harrisburg wasexpedieut and ntcessary is
cal'ed for by the troubles oi the times and wiis r ncef- &&
ed imperious by the retreat ofthenrmyHaditheHUVi
acted differently had they put a stop'to the nMrh of Hfc j
the enemy on the Colorado the removaijJiight not huve K
been quite so "percipitate." '
But the gontlermn had madeallusto&tojhefrequerit
locations and frequent' retnbvala of thAw&Iof goyem-
itteat H htdwrvcrbarxIcrt0li4iraJrTma-
'g JW -sCf t
9S5 S '
'- T:-i ? .sV-MilM'
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Bonnell, George W. Texas Sentinel. (Austin, Tex.), Vol. 1, No. 30, Ed. 1, Saturday, July 11, 1840, newspaper, July 11, 1840; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth80046/m1/1/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.