A Glimpse of Texas During the Early 19th Century
Digital History ID 3653
Migual Ramos de Arizpe
In 1812, Miguel Ramos de Arizpe, who lived in Coahuila, sent the following report on conditions in Coahuila and Texas to the Spanish parliament.
The salubrious air, the agreeable climate, the exceedingly rich soil—all nature invites man to reap the benefit of the easiest and most solid prosperity by means of agriculture, the source of the true wealth of nations. This is, Sir, the most common occupation of the inhabitants of these vast and rich provinces. Agriculture has in general formed their character; and as they have been employed day and night in the honest and systematic cultivation of the soil, from which alone they derive their sustenance, they are truly inflexible to intrigue, virtuously steadfast, haters of tyranny and disorder, justly devoted to true liberty, and naturally the most inclined toward all the moral and political virtues. They are very much devoted also to the liberal and mechanical arts…. These provinces, being by their location the natural bulwark of all the kingdom of Mexico, are in consequence on a frontier exposed to the barbarous Indian nations. Their inhabitants, therefore, are obliged to serve not only as militiamen but even as common soldiers. They are all soldiers; and in Coahuila and Texas, each month they are required to present their arms for inspection. This necessity, otherwise deplorable, has formed in them an extremely commendable character of integrity, honor, and subordination. They are extraordinarily long-suffering under the severest labor and much accustomed to the greatest privations. At times they even live upon the leather of their saddles and knapsacks without deserting nor as much as murmuring. With this combination of such excellent qualities, which result from the celestial climate and are cultivated by such honest occupations, each citizen becomes a worker, each worker a soldier, and each soldier a hero that is worth a hundred ordinary soldiers.
Source: Report that Dr. Miguel Ramos de Arizpe . . . Presents to the August Congress on the Natural, Political and Civil Condition of the Provinces of Coahuila, Nuevo León, Nuevo Santander, and Texas . . . , trans. and ed. Nettie Lee Benson (Austin: 1950), pp. 16-17
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