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General Cós’s Warning to Texans, July 1835

July 16, 2009

In his decree dated July 5, 1835, Mexican general Martín Perfecto de Cós warned Texans that disruptive activities against the government will result in war.

Martin Perfecto de Cos's declaration of July 5, 1835.

Martin Perfecto de Cos's declaration of July 5, 1835.

Cós issued his announcement shortly after a confrontation in Anuahuac over the collection of custom duties; if he was aware of these events, the document may have been a direct answer to the Texans’ actions there, specifically when he refers to “some bad citizens” who had “attempt[ed] to disturb the public order and peace.”

In a larger context, however, Cós’s words were a response to tensions that had been rising in Texas and elsewhere across Mexico for several years as a result of the country’s tumultuous political circumstances. Texans sought the repeal of the Law of April 6, 1830, and other measures enacted to regulate the importation of slaves, strengthen the presence of the Mexican military in Texas, and establish customs houses that would collect taxes and stop illegal trade with the United States. Texans also wanted their state to be detached from Coahuila; with the two states joined together as Coahuila y Tejas, the capital was located in Saltillo, 400 miles south of San Antonio.

Cos's broadside was printed in Spanish on one side and English on the other.

Cos's broadside was printed in Spanish on one side and English on the other.

More broadly, Mexicans across the country were angered when Antonio López de Santa Anna, elected president of Mexico as a liberal in 1833, later stated that Mexico was not ready for democracy and emerged as an autocratic Centralist. He discarded the Federalist Constitution of 1824 and was granted extra powers while a new centralist constitution was being written. The new document transformed states into departments whose governors were appointed from Mexico City and reduced the size of each state’s militia in order to curtail resistance to the redistribution of power. Rebellion against Santa Anna’s centralism broke out in the states of Zacatecas and Yucatan; Texans eventually revolted, as well, ultimately demanding full independence from Mexico.

Click here for a full citation of the documents and images included in this entry.

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