Opinion of Lorenzo de Zavala to the Citizens of Lynchburg

"Lorenzo de Zavala"

Zavala Declaration

English Translation

Having been invited to attend the meeting of citizens to be held on the 8th inst. to take into consideration the important subjects which produce the present excitement, I regret that I am prevented from attending in person by an attack of the intermittent fever.

But as I consider that a simple manifestation of my opinions on the subject might be of much service in establishing those of the citizens, a majority of whom must declare the fate of the country, I submit to the examination of the meeting the following reflections.

In the first place, I must say of myself that in this I have no individual view or motion--that I have occupied in the Mexican nation the most honorable stations; that I have written a history of the revolutions of the country with such impartiality that even my enemies have acknowleged it the only monument of the kind worthy of attention.

In the second place, that, having received from General Santa Anna the appointment of minister pleni-potentiary to the court of his majesty the king of France, I resigned this charge as soon as I learned that he had dissolved the congress and taken all authority into his own hands. Third, that having resigned this station, I have come to Texas to establish myself among free citizens, to cultive the lands which I had previously purchased.

Having made these preliminary remarks, I proceed to express my opinions respecting the nominal Mexican Republic.

First. The regulating power in Mexico is the military. Certain generals, at the head of whom Santa Anna happens now to be placed, and who have under their control from fifteen to twenty thousand hireling soldiers, have destroyed the federal constitution, of which General Santa Anna, in order to be promoted to the presidency of the republic, pretended to be the defender when with a show of patriotism, he alleged that it was attacked by General Bustamante.

Second. The present situation of the Mexican nation is that of the greatest confusion and disorder, because, all the constitutional authorities having ceased, their places have been supplied by military chiefs, who know no other law than that of the sword and of violence, by which they have put down the civil authorities. The consternation which this had produced among the Mexican citizens has reduced them to a momentary silence, and this silence the military chiefs of Mexico call tranquility, peace and order in the republic.

Third. To pass over the acts of usurpation committed by General Santa Anna, such as the dissolution of the congress and council--the unconstitutional and violent disposition of the vice-president, Farias--the extension of the powers given to the electors to reform the constitution--the destruction of the civic militia--and others of equal magnitude which in the United States of the North would be sufficient to convict the president of treason--the final blow aimed at the institutions in the capital on the 12th day of June, the day on which was declared the destructions of all state legislatures, an act committed under the auspices and protection of the president, Santa Anna, and of the vice-president Barragan, would be sufficient to destroy all claims to obedience which exist, and which can only continue in virtue of the federal compacts.

Fourth. While in the capital they were thus destroying the institutions and issuing orders to the military commanders of the states that others should be established, the latter published official notes, swearing in their usual manner that they would sustain the constitution and laws, and that their own object was to punish certain functionaries who had transgressed them, thus availing themselves of the power of destroying the constitution under the pretext of punishing delinquents. This may be seen from the official notes of General Cos and Colonel Ugartechea, in which they seize upon the inexplicable sale of lands as a pretext to justify the imprisonment of the governor of this state, Viesca, proceeding immediately to put down the legislature and other authorities of the state, which the exception of those only established in San Felipe and Nacogdoches, which were out of the reach of their power. To make up for this, General Cos thought proper to make these authorities dependent on himself, and thus making those of popular origin subservient to the military.

Such is the actual relation in which Texas stands to the Mexican republic, I might make conjectures as to the development of this political labyrinth; but I propose to myself to speak only of facts.

The fundamental compact having been dissolved, and all the guarantees of the civil and political rights of citizens having been destroyed, it is inevitable that all the states of the confederation are left at liberty to act for themselves, and require Coahuila and Texas to provide for their security and preservation as circumstances may require. Coahuila and Texas formed a state of the republic, and as one part of this is occupied by an invading force, the free part of it should proceed to organize a power which would restore harmony, and establish order and uniformity in all branches of the public administration, which would be a rallying point for the citizens, whose hearts now tremble for liberty! But as this power can be organized only by means of a convention, which would represent the free will of the citizens of Texas, it is my opinion that this step should be taken, and I suggest the 15th day of October as a time sufficient to allow all the departments to send their representatives.

[To the colonists at Lynch's] [Lorenzo de Zavala]

[P.S.] As among the grounds on which the Mexican officers require the obedience of the inhabitants of Texas, there is one which might influence some by the gratitude occasioned by the recollection of the act, I cannot pass over it in silence. It is said that the inhabitants of Texas are indebted to the supreme government of Mexico and to those of the state for the laws given them the land which they cultivate. This is true: but it must be remembered that those governments were formed of the same men who are now persecuted, among whom I have the honor to count myself one. A party composed of the military, eccesiastics, and Spaniards, would never have thrown open their country to foreigners.

 

 

Page last modified: August 31, 2011