The Fate of the Tejanos
Digital History ID 556
Comisión Pesquisadora de la Frontera del Norte
In 1873, a Mexican government commission reported on the mistreatment of Mexicans and Mexican Americans in Texas following annexation by the United States.
The Commission has already referred to the condition of the Mexicans in Texas subsequent to the treaty of Guadalupe [ending the Mexican War]. Their lands were especially coveted. Their title deeds presented the same confusion as did all the grants of land made by the Spanish government, and this became the fruitful source of litigation by which many families were ruined. The legislation, instead of being guided by a spirit of equity, on the contrary tended toward the same end; attempts were made to deprive the Mexicans of their lands, the slightest occurrence was made use of for this purpose, and the supposition is not a remote one, that the cause of such procedure may have been a well settled political principle, leading as far as possible to exclude from an ownership in the soil the Mexicans, whom they regarded as enemies and an inferior race.
At the commencement, and during the disorganization which was prolonged after the Treaty of Guadalupe, robberies and spoilations of lands were perpetrated by parties of armed Americans. It is not extraordinary to find some of them whose only titles consist of having taken possession of and settled upon lands belonging to Mexicans. After these spoilations there came the spoilations in legal forms, and all the resources of a complicated legislation....
The residents of Uvalde county, Texas, in September, 1857, passed several resolutions, prohibiting all Mexicans from traveling through the country except under a passport granted by some American authority. At Goliad several Mexicans were killed because it was supposed that they had driven their carts on the public road.
...In the vicinity of San Antonio, Bexar [County], Texas, parties of armed men had been organized for the exclusive purpose of pursuing the Mexicans upon the public roads, killing them and robbing their property, and that the number of victims was stated to have been seventy-five. That it was also informed that Mexican citizens by birth, residing peaceably at San Antonio, under the protection of the laws, had been expelled from the place, and finally that some of the families of the victims of these extraordinary persecutions had begun to arrive in Mexico on foot and without means, having been obliged to abandon all their property in order to save their lives....
...A train of carts had been attacked a short distance from Ellana, Carnes County, while peaceably traveling on the public highway, by a party of armed and masked men, who fired upon the cartmen, killing one and wounding three others.... Another attack...took place the latter part of July, upon a train in Goliad county. That the attack was made at night, and three of the cartmen were wounded.... Proof had also been received that a combination had been formed in several counties for the purpose of committing these same acts of violence against citizens of Mexican origin, so long as they continued to transport goods by those roads....
Source: Comisión Pesquisadora de la Frontera del Norte, Reports of the Committee of Investigation Sent in 1873 by the Mexican Government to the Frontier of Texas, trans. from the official edition made in Mexico (New York: 1875).
Copyright 2021 Digital History