“Come and Take It”
Yesterday, October 2, marked the 173rd anniversary of the Battle of Gonzales. Andrew Ponton, the Alcalde (chief executive) of Gonzales, wrote the following letter on September 26, 1835 in response to the Mexican government’s request that the town return the cannon that had been given to its citizens to protect themselves against Indians. Since Ponton refused to surrender the cannon, on September 27 Domingo de Ugartechea, the military commander in Texas, sent Francisco de Castaneda and his troops to retrieve it. The Battle of Gonzales followed. This event, while really only a skirmish, marked the definitive split between the Mexican government and the colonists. For more information about the Battle of Gonzales from the Handbook of Texas Online, click here.
This letter, a photocopy, is from the library’s DRT 9 Collection, which contains single documents and some small collections received by the library before 1981.
The transcribed text of the letter can be found below the two pages of the document. Original spelling and punctuation have been maintained.
Gonzales Sept 26th 1835
I received an order purporting to have come from you for a certain piece of Ordinance which is in this place = It happened that I was absent an so was the remainder part of the Ayuntanto when your dispatch arrived – in consequence the men who bore sd [said] dispatch were necessarily detained untill to day for an answer =. This is a matter of delicasy to me nor do I know without further information how to act – this cannon was as I have always been informed given in perpetuity to this Town for its defence against the Indians. The dangers which existed at the time we received this cannon still exist and for the same purposes it is still needed here = our common enemy is still to be dreaded or prepared against.
How or in what manner such arms are appropriated throughout the country I am as yet ignorant but am led to believe that disspositions of this nature should be permanent at least as long as the procuring cause exists = I must therefore beg leave to I hope be excused from delivering up the sd cannon untill I have obtained more information on the subject matter At least untill I have an opportunity of consulting the Chief of this department on the subject = as well to act without precipitation = as to perform strictly and clearly my duty. and I assure you, that if, after a mature deliberation on the subject, I find it to be my duty & in justice to your self = I obligate my self to comply with your demands = and will without delay sent the cannon to you
God & Liberty –
Andrew Ponton Alcalde