The war for independence waged in 1835-1836 by Texas freedom fighters was in my opinion primarily necessitated by Mexican decrees abolishing slavery within its frontier states. Mexican hegemony in the area included an anti-slavery strategy in its new order of 1835 that erroneously depended upon actual slave insurrections as a military tool for creating an offensive against Texas militia. What was the extent of slavery in Texas by the fall of 1835? Were Mexican political and military leaders depending upon actual slave insurrections to create a “second front”? Accepting the preservation of slavery as the key factor leading to the Texas movement for independence in 1835-1836, does the evidence suggest that Mexican political leaders, adamant about maintaining their anti-slavery strategy, justifiably counted upon actual slave insurrections as a tactic of their military commanders?
Before outlining the evolution of the anti-slavery strategy of the Mexican Congress from the 1820s to the early 1830s, we need to review other factors leading to the revolt that have been espoused by leading historians such as Eugene C. Barker, William C. Binkley, Randolph B. Campbell, Paul D. Lack, Benjamin Lundy, and Dudley C. Wooten.1 These historians weighed other factors vis-à-vis the slave issue as cause for successful Texas independence from Mexico, but the consensus which I concur with was that the anti-slavery issue was central as to Mexico’s policy toward Texas.
In January 1834, almost seven years after the report of Mier y Teran, the Mexican government sent Colonel Juan N. Almonte to Texas. His mission was to make an inspection, promising reforms within the province if Texans were on the brink of secession. Almonte argued in his statistical report that they were not preparing a revolt, and he recommended most of the reforms for which they asked.2 Despite the conscientious efforts of leader Stephen F. Austin to further mutual cooperation and good feeling, the Anglo-Americans and Mexicans could not long live together in harmony because of fundamentally different racial and political backgrounds.3 “Mexicans looked with apprehension at their northern neighbor as it advanced ever more rapidly toward the territory of Mexico,” writes Gene Brack.4 Almonte’s and Teran’s reports emphasized the immense wealth that might be anticipated from the region, and their belief that the loss would be at the hands of the United States.5 Early treaty negotiations between the United States and Mexico included attempts by the United States to adjust boundary lines. Offers to purchase Texas had been extended in the early 1820s.6 Mexico answered to those claims for the purchase-sale of the territory with legislative rules for the colonization of it.7 Clement Eaton, a chronicler of Southern history, opines, “The Occupation of Texas by Southerners seemed to be manifest destiny.” 8 One writer saw the Texas Revolution as “an attempt to build a massive southern empire that would eclipse the northern Yankee Cousin so completely that slavery and states’ rights would be forever safe.”9 An expert on the history of slavery in the United States, Kenneth M. Stampp declared, “Before the annexation of Texas in 1845, Americans had firmly planted slavery in its soil.”10
According to Binkley, “It [Texas Revolution] has been described variously as a part of a deliberate design of the South to extend the slave territory of the United States, as a plot of speculators to enhance the value of their investments, and as a spontaneous uprising of outraged freemen against the threat of tyrannical oppression.”11 Louis Filler concludes, “The year 1829 teemed with incidents, including the official ending of slavery in Mexico, which caused the Yankee settlers of Texas to be concerned for their slave property.”12 “War is our only resource,” Stephen F. Austin wrote to Texans in a circular letter of September 19, 1833.13 Austin was writing as chairman of the Central Committee on Safety of San Felipe. The Committee called for a consultation at Washington on the Brazos for October 15, 1835 in response to the aggressive enforcement of custom duties at the Galveston Bay post near Anahuac by General Martin Perfecto de Cos. The consultation was preempted when fighting erupted at Gonzales on October 2, 1835.14 This defiance over custom duties, not slavery, forced the issue.15 An eminent Texas historian, Eugene C. Barker, doubted the prevalence of proslavery crusading zeal among Texas revolutionaries. “He asserted that the number of slaves and the frequency of Texan-Mexican disagreements over the status of slavery declined after 1830.”16 However, the preponderance of circumstantial evidence tilts the scales to slavery as the major cause of the revolution.17 “Slavery conflicts between the Texas settlers and the Mexican government in the 1820s had attracted the attention of abolitionists in the United States.”18
“Benjamin Lundy, the noted abolitionist who traveled extensively in Texas between 1830 and 1835, believed it was the settled design of slaveholders (with land speculators and slave traders) to wrest the large and valuable territory of Texas from the Mexican Republic, in order to re-establish the system of slavery, to open a vast and profitable slave-market therein, and ultimately, to annex it to the United States.”19 Lundy is supported by Don Lorenzo de Zavala in his Trip to the United States, where he writes, “The land speculators of Texas have tried to convert it into a mart of human flesh where the slaves of the South might be sold and others from Africa might be introduced, since it is not possible to do it directly through the United States.”20 The public pronouncements in Texas stressed liberty and human rights.21 The Liberty Committee of Public Safety defined the contest as one for “liberty or slavery, for life or death.”22 Once Texas was independent, slavery was guaranteed in the new republic. The introduction of slaves from the United States was guaranteed.23 “Political, social, and economic considerations have combined to render Texas a slaveholding country.”24
The Texas colonists were unwilling to make concessions to the customs of their adopted land. They clashed with regard to the administration of justice. There were the underlying differences between Roman law of Mexico and the English common law adopted by Americans. Confusingly to Texans, sometimes Mexican executive and judicial functions were united.25 The Texans were chagrined by the chronic, unstable nature of Mexican governance.26 They were unable to maintain their northern territories, separated as they were by great distances.27 Robinson pointed out how race and religion played pivotal roles.28 Barker wrote, “The racial feeling, indeed, underlay and colored Texan-Mexican relations from the establishment of the first Anglo-American colony in 1821.”29 Cultural differences existed. For example, “The American colonist and the native Mexican soon discovered that the same words could have vastly different meanings, depending on the traditions and conditioned attitudes of those who spoke them.”30 Campbell explains, “Anglo-Americans were simply too different from Hispanic-Americans to accept Mexican government indefinitely. One of those differences was slavery.”31 “Protecting slavery was not the primary cause of the Texas Revolution, but it certainly was a major result.”32
Slavery had existed in Mexico before its own revolution and independence from Spain in 1821. After Spain colonized New Spain (Mexico), indigenous people were enslaved when they failed to embrace Catholicism. Cortes after he invaded Mexico in 1519 rewarded his followers with vast tracts of land called encomiendas. All indigenous people living within the boundaries of these land grants were bound to the land as slaves. Black slaves were imported into Mexico in the early sixteenth century. Father Bartoleme de las Casas in 1542 spoke out against slavery in Mexico. It was not until 1824 that a Constitution was adopted that actually freed them. Even so, it was not until 1829 that the last slaves were freed. Slavery did survive in the part of Mexico that is now Texas.33
Paul D. Lack reports, “A sense of uncertainty had characterized the status of slavery from almost the beginning of North American colonization of Texas. Throughout the 1820s local authorities blunted repeated but indecisive antislavery measures enacted by the Mexican Congress.”34 In 1822 and again in 1824 the Congress passed legislation to abolish the slave trade and gradually erode the institution.35 Also, in 1823 a Mexican law forbade the sale or purchase of slaves and required that children of bondsmen be freed at the age of fourteen.36 The decree issued July 13, 1824, prohibited the slave trade in the most emphatic terms.37 The constitution of the State of Coahuila-Texas of March 1827 declared that no one was thereafter to be born a slave and outlawed (after six months) the introduction of any more slaves. In May 1828 a law recognized the legality of contracts made between masters and workers prior to the arrival in Texas so that, by the use of the lifetime contracts, slavery for all practical purposes was legalized.38 Texans skirted around the law by using the bogus “contract” system allowing imports of bound labor until September 15, 1829, when the general emancipation decree was promulgated by the Mexican president, Vicente Guerrero.39 An exemption for Texas was granted.40 On April 6, 1830, another decree ended all North American emigration to Texas, though it recognized the existence of slavery there.41 Just as undocumented persons cross the Rio Grande River each day entering the United States illegally, the law of April 1830 did little to stem the tide of North American settlers flowing into Texas. On April 24, 1832, the legislature of Coahuila y Texas set a ten-year limitation on the length of labor contracts.42 This showed abolitionist sentiment still prevailed among Mexican legislators. Anglo settlers in Texas held two conventions at San Felipe de Austin: one in October 1832, and a second in April 1833. These conventions urged the repeal of the Law of April 6, 1830, and asked that Texas be made a separate state in Mexico’s federal union.43 On March 18, 1834, Texas was divided into three districts, i.e. Bexar, Brazos, and Nacogdoches, with a political chief in each.44 According to Herbert Aptheker, “The anti-slavery policy of the Mexican Government was a prime cause of dissension between that state and American slave holders resident in Texas. The Negroes of Texas learned of the Mexican anti-slavery regulations, and grew restless so that their masters had to resort to barbarous methods of punishment in order to retain them.”45 “Mexico provided a haven for Negroes who risked their lives to run away.”46 The defense of the institution ultimately rested upon weak enforcement by local governments.47 “Despite the shroud of uncertainty that hung over it, slavery began to expand aggressively in the two or three years prior to 1835. Southerners moving into Texas acknowledged the “peculiar institution” for the humanitarian concerns and its attendant race problem, yet their economic requirements called for a cheap labor supply.48 Clearly the challenge to slavery contributed to the Texas decision to resist the new order in Mexico.”49
This new order prohibited slavery. It has been noted how this anti-slavery strategy of the Mexican Congress provoked the slaves and some risked their lives or maiming to run away, usually to Mexico. Campbell writes about the restlessness of slaves as follows: Ben Milam exclaimed in a letter, “Their intention is to gain the friendship of the different tribes of Indians; and if possible to get the slaves to revolt.”50 And Horatio Allsbery, who visited Monterrey …, wrote a public letter informing Texans that Mexico intended to “put their slaves free and then loose upon their families.”51 Finally, Thomas J. Pilgrim asked Stephen F. Austin: “Would there not be a great danger from the Negroes should a large Mexican force come so near?”52 Texans and Mexicans were opposed in war by October 1835. Different factors precipitated the rebellion. Certain questions emerge as fighting commenced.
According to the author in a recent book on Negro slavery in Texas, “Negro slavery existed rather tenuously in Spanish Texas and never developed into a basic institution of the society.”53 “An 1819 census recorded only seven slaves around San Antonio with a few more in the Nacogdoches and Goliad regions as Spanish rule neared its end.”54 Slavery expanded steadily after Stephen F. Austin began colonization in 1821.55 The colonists were nearly all from the southern portion of the United States, and many of them were the owners of at least a small number of slaves. “Thus it was that the institution was introduced into Texas.”56 The first decade of colonization brought at least 20,000 Anglo-Americans into Texas. “Despite Mexican discouragement, by the fall of 1825 almost one out of five persons in the colony was a Negro slave.”57 “The slave population of Texas grew from 443 owned by sixty-nine slaveholders in Austin’s colony by 1825 to approximately 5,000 in 1836.”58 They labored in groups primarily as field hands on plantations to produce cotton, corn, and a limited amount of sugar in coastal counties below Houston.59 “Half the slaves labored singly or in groups of less than twenty on smaller farms scattered from the Nueces River to the Red River and from the Louisiana border to the edge of settlement west of San Antonio, Austin, Waco, and Fort Worth.”60 “The institution was always there, never too far in the background, as what the noted Texas historian Eugene C. Barker called a ‘dull, organic ache.’”61 “When the Texas Revolution began in the fall of 1835, whites defeated and severely punished almost a hundred slaves who participated in an uprising along the Brazos, stimulated by rumors of approaching Mexican troops.”62 The disparity between Almonte’s slave headcounts and other records are enigmatic. Nevertheless, the ratio of white to black was roughly, five to one; and, the total number of slaves ranged between 2,000 and 5,000 on the eve of the Texas Revolution. As the colonization proceeded with previously reviewed factors causing stress and discontent between Texans and Mexicans, what did leaders on both sides of the Rio Grande River proclaim?
For Mexico, the colonization represented both a hope and a fear. The hope was the opportunity of populating the province with industrious people coming from the North, while the fear was that the individual ambition of those colonizers would have disastrous consequences for Mexico.63 Lundy feared that “Texas, now in the hands of aggressive and not too scrupulous white colonizers, might be committed to slavery.”64
David Walker, a free black born in North Carolina who later moved to Boston, became active in the Massachusetts Colonial Association and in 1829 published his famous incendiary abolitionist appeal, directed to “the colored citizens of the World.” Several radical abolitionists (including William Lloyd Garrison) later said that Walker’s shocking pamphlet helped goad them to greater militancy despite their misgivings about its hints toward violent insurrection.65
Austin was an effective lobbyist since he had taken the time to learn Mexican customs and language, and had sojourned in Mexico City. In his letter of January 8, 1823, to Governor Trespalacios, he emphasized that new colonists should be allowed to bring their slaves.66 Austin was pressing for a concession to the recently passed legislation that gave freedom to all slaves in ten years, for he asked that slaves be committed for life and their children free at the age of twenty-one.67 The Mexican authorities knew the immigrants were bringing slaves with them. They continued to encourage it even though it was technically a violation of the decree of July 13, 1824.68 The American colonists, however, still continued the practice of introducing their slaves, under the appellation of “servants.”69 The Mexican officials officially pronounced that they were eradicating slavery within one of their richest provinces while at the same time they were using subterfuges fostering the continuance of slaveholding immigrants. Austin wanted it made clear to future immigrants that the Mexican Congress was slow to act on the slavery issue, and could not be counted upon to permit the unrestricted admission of slaves, though those slaves already resident would most likely remain slaves for life.70 Austin was writing at the time of the Texas conventions in the autumn of 1832 and in April 1833 about the need for Texas to have a state government providing sanctity of persons and property. Clearly, the property included slaves. He argued, “Texas must be a slave country.”71
Jose Maria Tornel, Mexican minister to the United States, was among the Mexican leaders who feared the loss of Texas. He believed the abolition of slavery would check Anglo movement into the area. He was instrumental in convincing President Guerrero to sign the decree on September 15, 1829, abolishing slavery in the Republic of Mexico.72 Tornel berated Mexican officials for opening the doors and he declared, “left us powerless against the attacks and the invasions of this modern Rome.”73 Indeed, Article 3 of the decree of April 6, 1830, specified the appointment of commissioners (hence, Almonte’s inspection of 1834) and one of their duties was to watch over the exact compliance of contracts on the entrance of new colonists.74 General Cos hardly dispelled the anxiety when he warned that “the inevitable consequences of war will bear upon [the rebels] and their property.”75 In a letter written by Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna on February 16, 1832, he inquired, “Shall we permit those wretches to moan in chains any longer in a country whose kind laws protect the liberty of man without distinction of cast or color?”76 Santa Anna’s letter seemed to invoke the idea that Mexico did officially invite a slave rebellion.77
On December 2, 1835, the Beaumont Committee sent a letter to Major Henry Millard regarding free black persons, and it stated, in part, as follows: “We earnestly recommend that you bring before the Council a bill prohibiting all black persons or persons whatsoever from emigrating to Texas or residing within its boundaries under any pretext whatsoever.”78 This rather poorly worded request was aimed at northern abolitionists who promoted the acquisition of land for the settlement of the free black population. The slaveholders everywhere feared free Negroes.79 Slaveholders believed this would cause slaves to absence themselves from their owners.80 By 1834, Almonte was promising Lundy that he could colonize ex-slaves in Tamaulipas.81
Binkley explained how things actually operated day-to-day, “on the question of slavery, prohibiting measures which had been adopted by both the state and the national government were virtually nullified when Mexican officials collaborated with the colonists in working out a system of contract labor which permitted its continuation in fact if not in name.”82 Lack writes, “Even malleable local Mexican officials clearly regarded slavery as a temporary and shameful evil.”83
By the late summer of 1835, Austin proclaimed, “There is no other remedy but to defend our rights, ourselves, and our country by force of arms.”84 The Matagorda Committee of Safety and Correspondence wrote about the Mexican soldiers advancing upon Texas as follows: “to give liberty to our slaves, and to make slaves of ourselves; to let loose the blood hounds of savage war upon us, …”85 The two sets of people “functioned under basically different assumptions in essential areas of human behavior.”86 Austin went so far in an appeal to the United States in 1836 that Santa Anna meant to exterminate the American population of Texas and fill “that country with Indians and Negroes.”87 Texans could not have protected slavery had they lost the war with Mexico.88
American politicians were not silent on the subject of slavery in Texas. In his address to Congress in 1835, President Andrew Jackson called attention to the recent lecture tour of Boston abolitionist, George Thompson, labeling him a “foreign emissary.”89 Henry Clay spoke of Texas as an unpopulated land destined to become settled by Americans.90 John Quincy Adams kept antislavery demands steadily before Congress from 1836 to early 1842.91
When shots rang out at Goliad on October 2, 1835, what was the state of the “peculiar institution” in Texas? The Texas Gazette decried slavery as an injustice tolerated throughout Texas for economic reasons.92 The newspaper said international philanthropic opinion and Mexican law rightly condemned it. Lack argued, “Proponents of the peculiar institution had been placed in a defensive position in Mexican Texas.”93
Were the masters afraid of slave revolts? According to Raymond H. Bauer and Alice H. Bauer, the social tension at this time was highly charged, because the masters lived in constant fear on this subject.94 Mier y Teran noted in his letter to President Guadalupe Victoria in 1829 as follows: “Most of them have slaves, and these slaves are beginning to learn the favorable intent of the Mexican law to their unfortunate condition and are becoming restless under their yokes…”95 Texans, even if distracted by the war with Mexico, were alert and ready to suppress any new threats.
The war unsettled the normal routines. Masters went off to war. They might try to transfer their slaves in and out of war zones. Some owners had more fear of the loss of their slaves than the year’s farming.96 Some of these owners shifted their slaves eastward all the way to the United States border. They were vigilant, as briefly noted before, as to the settling of free blacks from the United States. This would threaten the peace and tranquility of slave property.97 The leaders at the Consultation at San Felipe in November 1835 even proposed an ordinance making it unlawful “for any free Negro or mulatto to come within the limits of Texas.”98
The masters by the time of the revolt were evading Mexico’s constitution and anti-slavery decrees by employing a system characteristic of the peonage common throughout Mexico.99 This system involved contracts signed before notary publics binding not only the parents by also their children into an involuntary servitude. It was slavery pure and simple.100 The Mexicans realized the colonists had brought prosperity that the area had not previously witnessed.101 Protecting the interests of the colonists protected the prosperity. Authorities in Coahuila also realized that land fees from Texas helped to support the state government.102 “Masters bought, hired, and sold workers with little regard for the law, but Mexican policy had the effect of slowing the pace of immigration, perpetuating labor shortages, and retarding growth,” concluded Lack.103 Lack summarized, “The Texas Revolution had thus completely reversed the fortunes of slavery, transforming it from an institution whose defenders sought merely to postpone the day of its demise to one supported by law and prevailing opinion and expanding by every measure.”104
Abigail Curlee describes the plantation at Peach Point, ten miles below Brazoria, using documents, not only rare for expounding upon plantation life in Texas during these times, but also due to the detailed nature of the daily entries.105 However, there is little in the records to indicate how the Negroes lived. No punishments were recorded in the records from Peach Point.106 James Franklin Perry, brother-in-law of Stephen F. Austin, received twelve leagues of land.107 Texans were slaveholders, but not on an extensive scale. One Negro family was more often the rule than fifty slaves.108 “On the whole the people seem to have lived on what they and their slaves produced.”109 The Negroes were allowed small patches of their own in which they raised cotton, corn, and vegetables.110 There was around the Peach Point plantation an air of culture and contentment. The Negroes remained long in the family and were apparently treated with consideration.111 Curlee noted, “Early in the year  Perry was advised to take his family to a place of safety because of possible uprising of Negroes and the danger of Indians.”112 He moved his family. The threat of slave insurrection was real in the minds of slaveholders. How extensive were the insurrections in 1835-1836? Were the insurrections used as a tactic of Mexican political and military strategy as a way to hasten the defeat of the upstart Texans?
Nat Turner’s insurrection of August 21, 1831, at Southampton, seventy miles from Richmond, raised fears of a general servile war. At this time the white population in this area was 8,000, the black 12,000.113 Turner, besides being a skilled carpenter, was a literate, mystical preacher. He had discovered particular relevance in the prophets of the Old Testament. As his conviction deepened, the solar eclipse early in 1831 appeared to him to be a sign that the day of vengeance was at hand.114 As a “leader” or lay preacher, Turner exercised a strong influence over his race. It seems that Turner had thought of his conspiracy for many years and, no doubt, believed that he was divinely inspired.115 He led his followers to the plantations of whites killing fifty-five before the community could act.116 “In a short while all of the conspirators had been killed, or captured, tried, and executed.117 The year 1831 was one of unusual uneasiness throughout the slaveholding States, focused upon the apprehended uprisings of the Negroes.118 Slave unrest continued up to the time of the Civil War.119
After the American Revolution and throughout the new world, numerous slave rebellions shook the foundations of bondage and led to overthrow. These rebellions occurred in Haiti, the British West Indies, and the South American republics. Radical ideologies existed in these slave societies. The old order was undermined in these slave societies when sudden shifts in political, economic, and military power emerged during times of crisis.120 Wars gave the slaves opportunities to seize their freedom. Revolutionary movements had left the institution of slavery isolated and threatened from outside and within.121
In an early letter to Stephen F. Austin dated February 25, 1811, Isaac Baker reported, “I have since been twice to New Orleans and happened there at the time a Negroe [sic] insurrection broke out. About 150 Negroes have been killed in various ways.”122 Austin in a letter to his sister wrote, “Texas must be a slave country. It is no longer a matter of doubt.”123 Slave owners were haunted by the “ubiquitous fear of rebellion.”124 A few had been accused of threats against whites, which aroused fears they might instigate a slave revolt.125 According to Lack, “The possibility of a slave insurrection placed an impossible burden on the embryonic Texas army, so initial responsibility for monitoring slave behavior rested with the multipurpose committees of safety organized by most communities.”126
The proximity to Mexico may have led to increased cruelty toward slaves in Texas. With the war pending, William H. Wharton compiled a list of evidence of Mexican hostility toward Texas.127 In Wharton’s first item he declared, in part, as follows: “they have, contrary to justice, and to law, intermedled [sic] with our slave population, and have even impotently threatened …to emancipate them, and induce them to turn their arms against their masters.”128 By the summer of 1835 many Anglo-Texans concluded that Mexico had acquired the will and power to implement an antislavery strategy.129 Mier y Teran in 1828 viewed the slaves as ripe for an uprising.130 According to Stampp, “For Texas slaves, Mexico was the land of freedom, and most of those who sought it headed for the Rio Grande. In Mexico, the fugitives generally were welcomed and protected, and in some cases sympathetic peons guided them in their flight.”131
The first slave insurrection of consequence in Texas occurred during the Texas Revolution. Benjamin Milam had warned that Santa Anna intended to get the slaves to revolt. Generals Santa Anna and Cos invited the slaves to unite with them for the destruction of their masters.132 According to Lundy, “As the weaker party, Mexico, when the contest shall have once begun, will look abroad, as well as among your Negroes and your Indians, for assistance.”133 Early in October 1835 a suspected force of two thousand Mexicans led by General Cos was approaching the Brazos River.134 The Negroes on the Brazos made an attempt to rise on October 17, stimulated by rumors of the advancing Mexicans. The rebellion was suppressed with about 100 slaves taken up and whipped nearly to death. After the defeat it was learned the Negroes had divided up the cotton farms. They intended to ship the cotton to New Orleans and make the white men serve them in turn.
After this revolt, considerable fear of insurrection seems to have spread among the Texas slave owners.135 Wish wrote, “The danger of inducing general panic by spreading news of an insurrection was a particularly potent factor in the maintenance of silence on the topic.”136 Those who lived near the coastal rivers continued in 1836 to suspect a Mexican strategy of sending troops by sea to incite the Negroes.137 In March 1836 the committee at Brazoria, alarmed by news of the fall of the Alamo, claimed to have been appraised [sic] that the “treacherous and bloody enemy” intended to recruit Negroes “as instruments of his unholy and savage work, …thus lighting the torch of war, in the bosoms of our domestic circles.”138 “Here as elsewhere in southwest Texas, most Anglos chose not to volunteer, organize, or fortify, but to flee.”139 About this same time, the Negroes high on the Trinity River in East Texas had manifested a disposition to become troublesome. Once again the white reprisals ended the threatened slave insurrections. Lack argued, “These incidents weakened the Texans’ military effort both by diverting attention from the enemy army and also by undermining recruitment. Even President Burnet acknowledged that some men had to be retained to protect their neighborhoods.”140 None of these instances of slave unrest resulted in the actual shedding of white blood.141 The insurrections were insufficient to constitute a second front.
Some slaves adhered to the Texas side. Slaves provided aid in a variety of ways. Some contributed provisions, while others engaged in forms of military service. Some free blacks saw military service in the Texas ranks.142 They drove wagons and constructed fortifications. The removal of slaves to army supervision would leave greater security at home.143 During the campaign that led to the Battle of San Jacinto, the slaves seemed to form an unofficial spying network that relayed the size, location, and disposition of the Mexican forces, including its vulnerability.144
Robinson ended his article by saying, “Given the added combustion of race antagonism, could the result have been other than the Texan Revolution?”145 The racial feelings colored Texan-Mexican relations. “Slaves who revolted were depicted as beasts that could not be freed because they would endanger society. Submissive slaves were pictured as children in need of paternal protection from the evils of a complex, modern world. They were never seen as men whose rights and liberties had been proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence.”146
After the decree of September 15, 1829, ending slavery in Mexico, Yankee settlers were justifiably concerned for slave property. This new order prohibited slavery. In fact, Herbert Aptheker had postulated that the anti-slavery policy of the Mexican government was the prime cause of dissension between that state and the slaveholders in Texas. This placed the proponents of slavery in a defensive position. They suffered no anti-slavery crusade from within. Abolitionism was puny within Texas.147
It was the South who wanted to extend the slave territory of the United States. Benjamin Lundy feared from his travels throughout Texas in the early 1830s, and rightfully so, that white colonizers might be committed to slavery. They certainly were. They had an economic requirement of a cheap labor supply. Some planters were willing to sacrifice a year’s farming in order to safeguard their slave chattels.148 Their leader, Stephen F. Austin, minced no words when he extolled, “Texas must be a slave country.” The minister to the United States, Jose Maria Tornel, understood the situation. He aptly commented to his president that the abolition of slavery would check Anglo movement into the area.
Nevertheless, the Mexicans knew immigrants were bringing in slaves after the decree of emancipation in 1829. The Mexican officials realized the colonists had brought prosperity. Therefore, the Mexican officials collaborated with the colonists in their system of contract labor. The Mexican policy had the effect of slowing the pace of immigration, perpetuating labor shortages, and retarding growth.
Two issues helped bring on the war. First, Mexicans provoked slaves to run away. Second, the Anglo-Texans feared the possibility of free Negroes colonizing with support from the Mexican government, thereby disturbing the peace and tranquility of slave property. By the summer of 1835, many Anglo-Texans concluded that Mexico had acquired the will and power to implement an anti-slavery strategy. Therefore, protecting slavery was a major result of the Texas Revolution. Texas could not have protected slavery had they lost the war with Mexico.
Once Texas was independent, the new republic guaranteed slavery. “The Texas Revolution had completely reversed the fortunes of slavery, transforming it from an institution whose defenders sought merely to postpone the day of its demise to one supported by law and prevailing opinion and expanding by every measure.”149 Lack stated, “The events of 1835 and 1836 had shaken slavery considerably, but in the end the Texas victory confirmed the institution.”150
The research is conflicting as to the slave population in Texas by 1835. The consensus is 5,000 slaves by 1836 as confirmed by Abigail Holbrook (nee Curlee). Texans were slaveholders but not on an extensive scale. Were Mexican political and military leaders justified in expecting slave insurrections to present a second front? Some slaves did fight on the side of Texans. About one-half of these slaves labored singly or in groups of less than twenty on smaller farms. It is true that Nat Turner’s led a small group of bondsmen in his insurrection in Virginia in August 1831, killing roughly fifty-five white persons. It is also true that the white populace put down the rebellion rather quickly and efficiently.
On account of the paltry abolitionist movement in Texas, the onus for instigating slave unrest and hopefully, pell-mell revolt, was left to the Mexican politicos. The Mexican Congress through its promulgation of several anti-slavery decrees certainly provoked the slaves to revolt. Slaves knew they could cross the Rio Grande River into Mexico, find a haven of rest, and be welcomed, even though they were runaways. William H. Wharton in drawing up his list of evidence emphasized how the Mexican government “threatened to emancipate them.” Although Generals Santa Anna and Cos invited slaves to unite and destroy their masters, how were these geographically dispersed slaves, hindered by poor leadership, going to rise up? They were few in number to begin with. There were already 20,000 Anglo-Texans by 1831, and over 25,000 by October 1835. Harvey Wish wrote that slavery expanded aggressively in the two to three years prior to 1835. However, eminent Texas historian, Eugene C. Barker, asserted the number of slaves and the frequency of Texan-Mexican disagreements over the status of slavery declined after 1830.
The Negroes in Texas did grow restless, especially from 1831 forward, and this was partly due to the news of Nat Turner’s rebellion. The social tension was highly charged. Texans lived in constant fear. The Matagorda Committee of Safety and Correspondence told of advancing Mexican soldiers and how this army intended to give liberty to the slaves so that the slaves could make “savage war upon us.” James Franklin Perry moved his family from the Peach Point plantation by Brazoria to the San Jacinto River, near to some of the Texas militia. This is the brother-in-law to Stephen F. Austin. The threat of slave insurrection was real in the minds of slaveholders. They were haunted by the “ubiquitous fear of rebellion.” Wish indicated the importance of silence on this issue since the fear level was so high. Any rumor could set off an avalanche of flight.
Two contradictory findings indicate that the slave insurrections did play a greater role. First, most Anglo-Texans chose to flee instead of fighting, in what was referred to as the “Runaway Scrape.” Second, the notable Lack stated that these incidents weakened the Texans’ military effort both by diverting attention from the enemy army and also by undermining recruitment. It was really the fear of slave insurrection rather than actual insurrections that played the greater role in Mexico’s anti-slavery strategy in Texas. This fear among Anglo-Texans is exemplified by the formation of multipurpose committees of safety in most communities. The result of this was to leave the Texas freedom fighters for opposing the invading Mexican armies. Texans were ready, alert to suppress any new threats of slave insurrection. But the members of the committees were generally not available for military service.
The slaves must have been aware of the duplicitous acts of Mexican leaders with respect to their anti-slavery pronouncements. The Mexican government recognized that the colonists had brought prosperity to this province. Thus, the officials looked the other way as slaveholders used their bogus contract system for maintaining their slave holdings. The government also granted exemptions to their anti-slavery decrees so that slavery could continue. Therefore, it was somewhat naïve for these same officials to believe the slaves could cohesively and in numbers rebel against a vigilant population of Anglo-Texans who were aggressively and industriously developing this fertile region.
They did attempt an insurrection on October 17, 1835 on the Brazos River. It was ruthlessly snuffed out and the one hundred some odd slaves were just about whipped to death. Another small rebellion was later attempted on the Trinity River in East Texas, but it was put down even more quickly than the prior one. This paucity of insurrection displays the minor role actual revolt played in Mexico’s new order for its province of Texas. As a matter of fact, during the Texas Revolution, there was no shedding of white blood from slave insurrections. Texas slaves marched to different drummers; some in fact adhered to the Texas side. And there were free black men in the ranks on both sides.
As Lundy predicted, the Mexicans were weak when confronted in 1834 with over 25,000 Anglo-Texans spread over a vast land. By the time of the revolt in October 1835, although fear was rampant, actual slave insurrections barely materialized. This frustrated General Santa Anna, by now operating as a dictator, who had not hidden his fervent desire for the slaves to unite, rise up, and create a second front opposing the Texas freedom fighters. Masters feared their destruction at the hands of their slaves with the invading Mexican armies on the main assault. The Mexican anti-slavery policy did substantially trigger the eruption at Goliad. Additionally, the policy was so poorly enforced by pliable, local Mexican officials that the slaves were disappointed, thereby failing to even pull off an insurrection Nat Turner would have been proud of witnessing.
1 See, among others, William C. Binkley, The Texas Revolution (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1952): 2; Randolph B. Campbell, An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas 1821-1865 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989): 35, 40-1, 48, and 49; Paul D. Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 89, no. 2 (1985): 181-83; Benjamin Lundy, The War In Texas: A Review of Facts and Circumstances, Showing …the System of Slavery and Slave Trade, 2nd ed. (Philadelphia: Merrihew and Gunn, 1837): 3; and Dudley C. Wooten, ed., A Comprehensive History of Texas 1685 to 1897, 2 vols. (Dallas: William G. Scarff, 1898): 131. Other article writers have weighed in on the subject as follows: Juan N. Almonte, “Statistical Report on Texas,” trans. C. E. Castaneda, The Southwestern Historical Quarterly 28, no. 3 (January, 1925): 177; Gene Brack, “Mexican Opinion and the Texas Revolution,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 72, no. 2 (1968): 170-76; Lester G. Bugbee, “Slavery in Early Texas,” Political Science Quarterly 13, no. 3 (1898): 396; Helen Willits Harris, “Almonte’s Inspection of Texas in 1834,” The Southwestern Historical Quarterly 61, no. 3 (1938): 195; Abigail Curlee Holbrook, “A Glimpse of Life on Antebellum Slave Plantations in Texas,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 76, no. 4 (1973): 361; Cecil Robinson, “Flag of Illusion,” The American West 5, no. 3 (1968): 10-16; and Rosalie Schwartz, “Across the Rio To Freedom: U. S. Negroes in Mexico,” Southwestern Studies of The University of Texas At El Paso, Monograph No. 44 (1975): 11, 20.
2 Almonte, 177. Previous to this inspection, in September 1827, General Manuel de Mier y Teran headed a commission authorized to survey the boundaries of Texas and report fully on the conditions there. See Brack, 172.
3 Harris, 195. Stephen F. Austin after his father, Moses Austin, died in 1821, prevailed upon the new republic of Mexico to honor its land grant to his father. Mexico did so and Austin became an empresario, or contractor, to colonize American settlers in Texas. See Clement Eaton, A History of the Old South: The Emergence of a Reluctant Nation, 3rd ed. (Prospect Heights: IL: Waveland Press, 1987): 347. Another empresario, Haden Edwards, did have his land grant revoked. He led a revolt of American settlers in 1826 and established the Fredonian Republic in the eastern part of Texas, near Nacogdoches. This revolt alarmed the Mexican government who thought the United States had incited the leaders. Ibid., 348.
4 Brack, 170. On page 175, the author referenced the report of a Mexican civil servant who in 1833 believed Texas might produce more cotton than the total amount harvested in the United States. This civil servant also believed the Americans were avidly pursuing their efforts to rob Mexico of the fertile region. According to Bugbee on page 396, when Stephen F. Austin returned to Texas from Mexico in 1823, immigration from the United States had waned in light of adverse slavery legislation and unfavorable reports as to the government of Mexico.
5 Ibid., 176.
6 Schwartz, 11.
8 Eaton, 347. The South was eager for the annexation of this region, because it offered a field for expansion of the cotton kingdom and slavery. Ibid., 351-2.
9 Clay Reynolds, Review of Duel of Eagles, by Jeff Long, Western American Literature 26, no. 1 (May, 1991): 60. Long argues that Texas was stolen from Mexico, not by established settlers angry over tyranny, but by land speculators and filibusters, by armed Tennesseans and Kentuckians who came west to enrich themselves and to further Andrew Jackson’s program for America. Ibid.
10 Kenneth M. Stampp, The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South (New York: Vintage, 1989): 26. Americans had been moving into Texas for fifteen years. There were over 30,000 of these settlers by 1836. See Glyndon G. Van Deusen, The Jacksonian Era 1828-1848 (Prospect Heights:IL: Waveland Press, 1992): 109.
11 Binkley, The Texas Revolution, 2.
12 Louis Filler, The Crusade Against Slavery (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1960): 52.
13 Binkley, The Texas Revolution, front flap.
14 Campbell, 40.
15 Ibid., 48.
16 Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” 183.
18 Schwartz, 20.
19 Lundy, 3 and quoted by Campbell, 35. Benjamin Lundy recorded his thoughts in 1836-1837. Randolph B. Campbell explains each side’s stance with respect to slave traders. He writes on page 39, “Clearly, then, while Anglo-Texans meant to continue slavery, the only aspect of the institution receiving specific attention in the conventions of 1832 and 1833 and their immediate aftermath was the African slave trade. And it was not an issue likely to cause trouble between Mexico and most Texans, since both opposed it.”
20 Carlos E. Castaneda, trans., The Mexican Side of the Texan Revolution : By the Chief Mexican Participants (Washington, D.C.: Documentary Publications, 1971): 328.
21 Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” 182. However appealing Texans found this picture of themselves as “menial slaves” of military despotism, in candid moments when pressed, they expressed that the conflict involved the issue of slavery in a manner far different than that portrayed by the propaganda. See, Lack, 181 and in Wooten on page 131, where the author described how the Mexican government gradually encroached on the rights of the colonists, eventually causing the subject of slavery to be one cause of the revolution.
22 Campbell, 41.
23 Ibid., 48. Campbell explained on page 47 how the Texas courts after the fluctuating and unsettled legislation on slavery during the Mexican years construed the Texas Constitution in the early years following the revolution in order to erase any doubt as to the exalted position of the master over the slave.
24 William Kennedy, Texas: The Rise, Progress, and Prospects of the Republic of Texas, 1841, Reprint (Fort Worth: Molyneaux Craftsmen, 1925): 757.
25 Robinson, 16.
26 Ibid., 10.
27 Ibid., 12.
28 Texans placed the denial of the free right to worship (Mexican officials insisted upon Catholicism) high on their list of grievances in their Declaration of Causes for taking up arms. The issue of race was there. It was acerbated by the lack of contact between the races. Ibid., 13.
29 Ibid., 14.
30 Ibid., 15.
31 Campbell, 48. Robinson said on page 16 in his article that the Mexicans have been accused of hypocrisy in condemning slavery in Texas while upholding a system of peonage that amounted to much the same thing. “The masters encourage the thoughtless beings to run in debt to them, after which they provide them with necessaries at a profit which effectually prevents them from getting out of debt, and puts them as much under their control as if they bought them, with this advantage over Negro slavery, that the master has no outlay of capital in their purchase, nor losses by their death.” See Kennedy, 764.
32 Campbell, 49.
33 “Slavery a la Mexicana,” <http://www.mexconnect.com/mex_/travel/slenchek/slslavery.html> (27 April 2003): 1-5.
34 Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” 184.
36 Alwyn Barr, Black Texans: A History of Negroes in Texas 1528-1974 (Austin: Jenkins Publishing, 1973): 14. The law of 1823 provided specifically at 7. “There was to be no sale or purchase of slaves, and the children of slaves born in the empire were to be free at 14 years of age.” See Wooten, 105.
37 Eugene C. Barker, “The African Slave Trade in Texas,” The Quarterly of the Texas Historical Association 6 (1902): 150.
38 Herbert Aptheker, American Negro Slave Revolts (New York: International Publishers, 1970): 31. The act of the constituent congress of Mexico established the state of Coahuila and Texas on May 7, 1824. Texas did not possess sufficient population to become a state by itself. See “Address of the Honorable S. F. Austin, Delivered at Louisville, Kentucky, March 7, 1836,” <http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/texind01.htm> (13 March 2003): 3.
39 Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” 184. The decree under 1. read “That Slavery be exterminated in the Republic.” Lundy, 28.
40 On December 2, 1829, the president exempted Texas from the prohibition against slavery. See Schwartz, 16.
41 Campbell on page 36 argues, “If any single action could be said to have set in motion the train of events leading to revolution, it was the Law of April 6, 1830, which prohibited further immigration from the United States and called for the collection of customs duties and garrisoning of troops in Texas.” Brack summarizes the law as one providing for military occupation of the province, counter-colonization by Mexicans and Europeans, and the development of stronger economic ties by means of coastal trade between Texas and the rest of Mexico. See page 174.
42 Article 36 of the Colonization Law of Coahuila and Texas – “The servants and laborers which, in future, foreign colonists shall introduce, shall not, by force of any contract whatever, remain bound to their service a longer space of time than ten years.” See Lundy, 24.
43 Campbell, 38.
44 Wooten, 811.
45 Aptheker, 81-2.
46 Ronnie C. Tyler, “Fugitive Slaves in Mexico,” The Journal of Negro History 57, no. 1 (1972): 1.
47 Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” 190.
48 Harvey Wish, “American Slave Insurrections Before 1861,” The Journal of Negro History 22, no. 3 (1937): 313.
49 Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” 190.
50 Campbell, 40.
51 Ibid., 41.
53 Barr, 13.
55 Ibid., 15. Austin estimated the total population of Texas at 46,500 in his statement of 1833, while Almonte placed it at 21,000 in 1834. See Binkley, The Texas Revolution, 14. Kennedy on page 758 estimated the whole slave population of Texas at most to be 10,000 when the war began. He noted that Almonte gave the figure of 2,000 as the number in 1834. He said these were dispersed by the invasion of 1836.
56 Bugbee, 391.
57 Schwartz, 11. Kenneth M. Stampp on page 30 writes the proportion of slaveholding and nonslaveholding-one-fourth.
58 Barr, 17. Abigail Curlee estimated Austin’s colony in 1834 within the department of Brazos to have a population of 8,000 of which 1,000 were slaves. See page 86. Curlee estimated the slave population to be 5,000 in 1836. Ibid., 88. Harris estimated the total population in 1834: 24,700 plus some 600 or 700 slaves in the department of Brazos. See page 211.
59 Barr, 17.
60 Ibid., 19.
61 Campbell, 48.
62 Barr, 32.
63 Amador, 1. In general, Mexican sources described the American colonists in Texas as being cold, industrious, and aggressive. See Robinson, 13. The treaty negotiations between the United States and Mexico in 1827-1828 bogged down on an article wherein the Americans wanted Mexico to agree to return runaway slaves because the United States must protect the property of its citizens. See Schwartz, 13.
64 Filler, 26. William Lloyd Garrison was the early leader of the northern abolitionist movement. In 1829 he was co-editor of a newspaper in Baltimore with Benjamin Lundy. By 1831 he was in Boston, having launched his newspaper, Liberator. He called for immediate emancipation. He regarded slaveholders as sinners and slavery as sin. Slaveholders including Texans believed Garrison’s writings incited the slaves toward rebellion and mischief. See Joseph Cephas Carroll, Slave Insurrections In The United States 1800-1865 (New York: Negro Universities Press, 1968): 127-8.
65 Sam Wilentz, ed., Major Problems in the Early Republic, 1787-1848: Documents and Essays (Lexington, MA: D. C. Heath, 1992): 472.
66 Bugbee, 395.
68 Ibid., 401.
69 Yoakum, 269. The object of the decree of May 5, 1828 was “to permit families to bring the necessary and indispensable house servants and laborers.” See Bugbee, 410.
70 Bugbee, 404.
71 Campbell, 38. Stampp observed, “In an effort to induce the return of fugitives escaping to Mexico, Texas promised a reward of one-third the value of a slave who fled beyond the limits of the slave territories of the United States.” See page 213.
72 Schwartz, 16. Robinson explained on page 14 how Tornel compared the American to Germanic tribes intent upon sweeping down and brushing aside “whatever stood in the way of its aggrandizement.” The colonists were not willing to make concessions to the customs of their adopted land. Ibid., 15.
73 Robinson, 17.
74 Harris, 195.
75 Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” 187.
76 Casaneda, 65.
77 Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” 193.
78 William C. Binkley, ed., Official Correspondence of the Texas Revolution 1835-1836, 2 vols. (New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1936): 160-1.
79 Addington, 431. The provisional government passed an emergency act shortly after the outbreak of the Texas Revolution forbidding the entry of free Negroes into the state. The act was obviously based on the fear of insurrection. Ibid.
80 Binkley, Official Correspondence, 160-1.
81 Tyler, 2.
82 Binkley, The Texas Revolution, 5.
83 Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” 187.
84 Campbell, 40.
85 Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” 188.
86 Robinson, 17.
87 Campbell, 42. Lack explained how Texans were especially frightened by the prospect of the United States enforcing the prohibition of the international slave trade, preventing the transportation of bondsmen across the Sabine River and leaving masters with no place to secure their property. See The Texas Revolutionary Experience, 240. Texas leaders were not in favor of an international slave trade. On April 13, 1833 “strong resolutions were offered and passed prohibiting this traffic.” See Henderson K. Yoakum, History of Texas from Its First Settlement in 1685 to Its Annexation to the United States in 1846, 1855, Reprint (Austin: Steck, 1935): 312.
88 Campbell, 42. Texas thus entered nationhood with a constitution that defined human rights in racial terms and also provided a long list of positive guarantees of slavery. See Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” 200.
89 Robert William Fogel, Without Consent or Contract: The Rise and Fall of American Slavery (New York: W. W. Norton, 1989): 235.
90 Robinson, 11.
91 Fogel, 335. Critics like John Quincy Adams exaggerated in asserting that the Texas Revolution reestablished slavery where it was abolished. See Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” 184.
92 Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” 186.
94 Raymond H. Bauer and Alice H. Bauer, “Day to Day Resistance to Slavery,” Journal of Negro History 27 (1942): 388.
95 Schwartz, 15.
96 Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” 199.
97 Campbell, 42.
98 Ibid., 45. This ordinance never materialized due to lack of support from Governor Henry Smith. Ibid.
99 Bugbee, 409. “Peonage was a system of involuntary servitude based on the indebtedness of the laborer (peon) to his creditor. To force natives to work, the plantations got them into debt by giving advances on wages and requiring the purchase of necessities from company-owned stores. As the natives fell into debt and lost their own land, they were reduced to peonage and forced to work for the same employer until his debts and the debts of his ancestors were paid, a virtual impossibility. He became virtually a serf, but without a serf’s customary rights.” See “peonage” <http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/society/A0838220.html > (27 April 2003): 1-2.
100 Ibid., 412.
101 Schwartz, 16.
103 Lack, The Texas Revolutionry Experience, 4.
104 Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” 202.
105 Abigail Curlee, “The History of a Texas Slave Plantation,” The Southwestern Historical Quarterly 26, no. 2 (October 1922): 83. This is the only known contemporary record of an ante-bellum Texas plantation. Ibid., 114. Writing as Abigail Curlee Holbrook, she wrote an article many years later that gives an excellent snapshot of life on slave plantations in Texas. For example, she discussed the following subjects in intricate detail: housing, description of extensive Jared E. Groce plantation, food, clothing, health of families and slaves, holiday periods, religious life among the Negroes, Bible training for the slaves, training or the lack thereof on different plantations, emotional relationships involving the Negroes, marriage and effects on the offspring of such marriages, cruelty and injustice in the master-slave relationship, and how the Negro left slavery for the few who were fortunate enough to gain their freedom. See Abigail Curlee Holbrook, “A Glimpse of Life on Antebellum Slave Plantations in Texas,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 61, no. 3 (1938): 361, 365, 367, 370, 375, and 378-83. A major problem was sickness among the slaves, with the planters constantly nursing their slaves back to health in an effort to maintain productivity, says Stampp on page 299.
106 Ibid., 106.
107 Ibid., 84.
108 Ibid., 88.
109 Ibid., 91.
110 Ibid., 109.
111 Ibid., 114. Whether or not Peach Point was characteristic of Texas plantations cannot be proven since the records are spotty. Ibid.
112 Ibid., 93. The Perry exodus was part of the movement across Texas called the “Runaway Scrape.” Ibid.
113 Carroll, 129.
115 Ibid., 131.
116 Wish, 313. Carroll told of the carnage on page 134, “Then they were to proceed from house to house spreading desolation and death, sparing neither age nor sex, no white skin was to be left alive.”
117 Carroll, 136. Nat Turner eluded arrest until October 30. After capture he confessed, and the court sentenced him to death. He was hanged on November 11, 1831. Ibid., 139.
118 Ibid., 171.
119 Stampp recorded, “In 1856 slave unrest did increase noticeably in certain areas, including Texas where there was at least one well-authenticated conspiracy.” See page 138.
120 Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” 181-2.
122 Eugene C. Barker, ed., “The Austin Papers,” In Vol. II, Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1919: Part I (Washington, D.C.:GPO, 1924): 184.
123 Addington, 410.
124 Ibid. There were many forms of resistance to the slave system, including individual flight, sabotage, slow-down, self-mutilation, suicide, and rarely, purchase of freedom. Here we are concerned with the most serious and fundamental act of resistance-insurrection. Ibid., 408.
125 Barr, 7.
126 Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” 190.
127 Ibid., 189.
131 Stampp, 120.
132 Kennedy, 763. The ranks of the first troops to arrive at Bexar even included some black infantrymen and servants. See Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” 194.
133 Lundy, 36.
134 Aptheker, 93. A few runaways served with Mexican forces. See Barr, 32. Campbell discloses on page 44 that slave owners met with differing results as to the return of their slaves after the Treaties of Velasco signed by Santa Anna. The Treaties called for the return of all Negro slaves or indentured persons who had been captured by or taken refuge with the Mexican army.
135 Addington, 411-2. See also, Campbell, 41. Lack gives a detailed account in his “Slavery and the Texas Revolution” on page 191.
136 Wish, 299.
137 Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” 192.
140 Ibid., 193.
142 Ibid., 198.
144 Ibid., 197. Lack explained that after General Houston assumed command of the Texas forces, he attempted to secure the slave property of those who fled but did not always succeed in preventing blacks from joining the enemy. See Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” 194.
145 Robinson, 17.
146 “Slave Insurrections,” 2.
147 Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” 201.
148 Abigail Curlee Holbrook spent her career detailing in her writings life on slave plantations in Texas. She recorded in her opening sentence as follows: “Slaves made an invaluable contribution toward the development of antebellum Texas.” See Holbrook, 361.
149 Lack, “Slavery and the Texas Revolution,” 202.
150 Ibid., 201.
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