From the Annals of the Abolitionists – In 1829, Mexican President Vicente R. Guerrero issued the Guerrero Decree which abolished slavery throughout the Republic of Mexico except the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. This was a major spark for the Texas Revolution as many Anglo settlers had brought slaves with them and were opposed to abolition. The role of the preservation of slavery as a cause of the revolution has been understated in Texas history for as long as Red can remember. It was far from the only cause, but there were approximately 5000 enslaved persons out of a total of about 38,000 people (not including Native Americans) living in Texas at the time of the revolution. After winning independence, the Constitution of the Republic of Texas of 1836 provided:
All persons of color who were slaves for life previous to their emigration to Texas, and who are now held in bondage, shall remain in the like state of servitude… Congress shall pass no laws to prohibit emigrants from bringing their slaves into the republic with them, and holding them by the same tenure by which such slaves were held in the United States; nor shall congress have the power to emancipate slaves; nor shall any slave holder be allowed to emancipate his or her slave without the consent of congress, unless he or she shall send his or her slave or slaves without the limits of the republic.
Red had not seen a real counterfeit bill in many long years. Red once worked in a bank and bogus bucks would turn up not infrequently. But with the advances in technology and hated colorization of the greenbacks, counterfeiters have had an increasingly difficult time of it.
Some of the illegal printing operations may have moved south of the border. While in Mexico, someone passed Red an ersatz 200 Peso note. A cab driver discovered it and handed it back to Red – “Is no good.” Fortunately, 200 pesos is only about $12 USD, so the hit was not bad – just annoying.
Mexico employs similar technology as the U.S. Treasury to imbed strips and other counters in its bills and most establishments will waive a pen over 200 and 500 peso notes to check for fakes. After getting the trashy 200, Red started paying more attention to what the shopkeepers were doing and their diligence indicated that counterfeiting may be something of a problem south of the border. Even Red started holding up every bill to the light to see if someone was attempting to pawn off phony pesos on an unsuspecting gringo. It did not happen again.
Image of 200 Peso note featuring Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, or Juana de Asbaje. Sor Juana(1648-1695) was a writer, poet and nun.
Just in case you were wondering, Red has been visiting our former imperial masters to the South now know as Los Estados Unidos Mexicanos or Mexico. He was down south for a week with Mrs. Red enjoying some mescal, sopa de tortilla and chiles in nogado. And although the trip was bigly fun, when Red gets back to Texas the first thing he wants is an ice-cold glass of good ol’ American water. After drinking cool to luke warm agua mineral (con gas) for a week, there’s nothing like the refreshing taste of your local water – unless you live in Odessa. In that case, go get an Ozarka or a cold Lone Star if you are so inclined (and you better be half inclined to guzzle down some Lone Star).
All the Mexico ignoramuses were amazed that Red came back with all body parts intact and that they didn’t receive any ransom demands last week. The average American’s view of Mexico is remarkably uninformed. Years ago when talking with one of Red’s friends about driving down to Zacatecas, Red’s buddy seemed amazed that you could actually drive in Mexico. “Do they have cars?”, he asked. “Only about 35,000,000 of ’em”, Red replied. And at one point on this trip, Red was convinced that every last one of them was out on the streets of Mexico City, DF.
Red will be blogging about the trip over the next few days, so stay tuned. Until then, Adios Amigos.
From the Annals of Coahuila y Tejas – In 1825, the Mexican Congreso General passed the State Colonization Law of March 24, 1825. The act was intended to foster migration (particularly from the United States) to the largely uninhabited parts of the state of Coahuila y Tejas. The act had provisions that attracted land-hungry Anglo settlers. They could obtain a square league (approx. 4430 acres) of range land and a labor (177 acres) of farmland for a small price. The act also provided tax relief for a period of time. Immigrants had to swear allegiance to the federal and state constitutions, adopt the Catholic faith and display sound moral principles and good conduct. Person who accepted the terms would be naturalized as Mexican citizens. It was under this act that Empresarios Stephen F. Austin, Green DeWitt and others began Anglo colonization of Texas.
From the Annals of the Republic – In 1836, the convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos which was comprised of delegates from the seventeen Mexican municipalities in Texas and the settlement of Pecan Point voted for Texas independence from Mexico. On March 1, George C. Childress presented a resolution calling for independence, and the chairman of the convention appointed Childress to head a committee to draft a declaration of independence. In the early morning hours of March 2, the convention voted unanimously to accept the resolution. After fifty-eight members signed the document, Texas became the Republic of Texas. Actual independence required some fighting.
From the Annals of Thievery – In 1848, the United States and Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ending the Mexican-American War and redrawing the international boundary. Under the terms of the treaty, Mexico lost approximately a third of its national territory including New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, California and parts of Colorado and Wyoming. Mexico also gave up any claim to the former Republic of Texas. In return, the U.S. paid Mexico a paltry $15,000,000 and assumed responsibility of all claims against Mexico by American citizens. The MAW was clearly a war of territorial aggression waged against a weaker opponent and justified by questionable claims. Still many of the major battles were relatively close affairs, but luck was not on the side of the Mexicans. Mexico should have built a wall.
From the Annals of the Empresarios – In 1821, New Spain awarded Moses Austin of Missouri a grant to settle 300 families in Texas. Although Anglos had previously travelled to and settled in Texas, this agreement began the process of Anglo-American colonization of Texas. Moses Austin never acted on the grant as he passed away after his initial success in obtaining permission. The task fell to his son Stephen F. Austin who was recognized as his successor. The success of the Mexican War for Independence put the grant at risk. But a special decree issued in April 1823 allowed the younger Austin to begin the colonization that resulted in 300 families settling in Austin’s Colony near San Felipe.
Photo of Moses Austin statue from tshaonline.org
In the first of what likely will be a long line of broken promises from the Trump administration, comes news that Mexico will not be paying for the “beautiful wall” after all. Instead, Trump and his feckless Republican allies will rely on a previous authorization from the W. Bush era which provided for construction of a fence – not a wall. The GOP will seek to add funding for the fence to an omnibus budget bill to lessen the chance of opposition.
Now as you know, Red fully supports the Trump/GOP agenda under the theory that America voted for these clowns and deserves to get the just desserts of its choice. Which means that Red fully supports a beautiful wall (not a fence) paid for by our good amigos in Mexico. After all, what were the two most prominent items that DJ Trump kept promising over and over at his massive rallies? It’s seems so long ago, but Red vaguely remembers that Hillary was going to prison and that Mexico was paying for the wall. Remember “Lock her up!” and “Who’s going to pay for it?” Guess what saps? Hillary is going nowhere and you are paying for the wall.
From the Annals of Revolution – In 1835, an expedition led by George Fisher and José Antonio Mexía unsuccessfully assaulted the Mexican garrison at Tampico. The Tampico Expedition was launched in response to Antonio López de Santa Anna’s repudiation of the Constitution of 1824. The expedition sailed from New Orleans on the schooner Mary Jane on November 6. The Mary Jane ran aground off Tampico on November 14. Mexía attacked the city on November 15 and was soundly defeated. The remaining rebels retreated aboard the American schooner Halcyon , which arrived back in Texas on December 3. Thirty-one prisoners were left at Tampico. All either died from wounds or were executed.
Photo of George Fisher from Texas A&M.
From the Annals of the Revolution – In 1835, Texians and a Mexican Army contingent met at the battle of Lipantitlán on the east bank of the Nueces River three miles above San Patricio in San Patricio County, directly across from Fort Lipantitlán. A Texas force of around seventy men under Adjutant Ira J. Westover engaged a Mexican force of about ninety men under Capt. Nicolás Rodríguez. Reports were that the battle lasted thirty-two minutes, leaving twenty-eight Mexicans dead, including Lt. Marcellino García, second in command. The Texans suffered only one casualty, when a rifle ball cut off three of the fingers on William Bracken’s right hand. Red always questions these lop-sided reports of results, but then again the victors write history.