Texas 175: A Dozen Documents That Made a Difference

Unjustly suspected of inciting insurrection against the Mexican government, Stephen F. Austin was arrested by the government of Antonio López de Santa Anna and imprisoned in Mexico for over two years. When he arrived back in Texas in August 1835, he learned that revolutionary Texans were planning to call a convention, called the Consultation, to meet in October to decide on a future course of action regarding Mexico.

Since 1821, Austin had believed it was possible for a Texan to be a loyal citizen of Mexico. Now, he no longer held that belief. Austin joined in the preparations for war with Mexico, becoming in effect the civil head of Anglo-American Texas.

In the days before mass communication, a "circular" was a letter intended to be forwarded and read by as many people as possible. This circular, written by Austin and issued by the Committee of Safety at San Felipe, advises on the preparations for war in view of the plan of Mexican General Martín Perfecto de Cos, sent by Santa Anna to attack Texas. Committees of safety were formed all across Texas to organize militia against the Mexicans.

 

Circular of the Committee of Safety at San Felipe, September 19, 1835

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Circular from the Committee of Safety of San Felipe, 1835

Circular from the Committee of Safety of the
Jurisdiction of Austin

Information of the most important & decis-
ive character has just been received from Texas, from
unquestionable authority, which in the opinion of
the Committee, calls for the prompt attention of
the people.

The substance of the information is that
Genl Cos was expected at Bexar on the 16th of this
month with more troops, that he intended to make
an immediate attack on the Colonies, that this
was a plan to try and foment division & discord
among the people, so as to use the part against
the other, and prevent preparation, and that the real
object is to destroy and break up the foreign sett-
lements in Texas.

This Committee have no doubt of the correctness
of this information and therefore recommend — That
the people should maintain the position taken by them
at the Primary Meeting to insist on their rights,
under the Federal Constitution of 1824 and law of
7th May of that year, and union with the Mexican
confederation.

That every district should send members to
the Genl Consultation, with full powers to do what-
ever may be necessary for the good of the country.

That every district ought to organize its Mil-
itia , where it is not already done, & have frequent
musters, and that the Capt of each Company
make a return without delay to the Political
Chief of this department of the force of his Company,
of the arms and amunition [sic], in order that he may
lay the same before the General Consultation
of Texas.

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Circular of the Committee of Safety at San Felipe, Sept 19, 1835. Mirabeau B. Lamar Papers #229. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: August 26, 2011