Austin, Stephen F. (1793-1836) to John McCalla
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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01161 Author/Creator: Austin, Stephen F. (1793-1836) Place Written: Nashville, Tennesee Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 16 February 1836 Pagination: 2 p. : address : docket ; 25 x 20 cm.
Argues that the Mexican government's usurpations and violations of the constitutional rights of Texans led to this "war of independence." Mentions Santanna's pending invasion. With Nashville postal stamp on address leaf.
On November 3, 1835, American colonists in Texas adopted a constitution and organized a temporary government but voted overwhelmingly against declaring independence. A majority of colonists hoped to attract the support of Mexican liberals in a joint effort to depose Santa Anna and restore power to the state governments, hopefully including a separate state of Texas.
While holding out the possibility of compromise, the Texans prepared for war. In the middle of 1835, scattered local outbursts erupted against Mexican rule. The provisional government elected Sam Houston (1793-1863), a former Tennessee governor and close friend of Andrew Jackson, to lead whatever military forces he could muster.
In this letter, Austin seeks to justify the Texas Revolution and discusses the Texans' efforts to recruit soldiers in the American South.
Nashville Feb 16 1836
Genl. John M. McCalla,
The revolutions & usurpations and violations of the constitutional rights of the people of Texas by the Mexican Govt. have compeled us to arm in self defense--ours is a war of independence--our object is a total & everlasting separation from Mexico, and to form a new and independent republic, or to become a part of these U.S.--we shall be satisfied with either
We have so far beaten the enemy in every [context] and driven him beyond the limits of Texas and beyond the River del Norte - we have an organized provisional Govt. in operation, an army on the frontier and four armed Schooners to protect our coasts.
Genl. Santana is however preparing to invade us in the spring with all the forces he can collect - [The] main contest will probably take place in April & we shall then need all the aid we can procure in men & money -- Col. T.D. Owings late of the U.S. Army has engaged to raise two regiments in Kentucky to be called the Kentucky legion & I must use the privilege of old friendship so far as to solicit your aid in our cause - a more just & holy one never existed in any country, and it is one which particularly interests the people of the U.S. & especially of the Western country -- Texas ought to be Americanized The tranquility of Louisiana requires it - The cause of liberty, of freedom of conscience, & of civilization, most earnestly demands it-- This state, & Alabama & Mississippi, have furnished many companies who have marched & are preparing to march -- I hope that Kentucky will not be behind them - perhaps you might enlist some of the newspapers of Lexington in favor of Texas. I shall leave tomorrow for Louisville I & hope to be in Lexington <text lost> till their farewell
S. F. Austin
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