“BOW” WILLIAMS Automobile and General Insurance Budget Payment Plan Strong Stock Companies GReenwood 2-0545 624 LAMAR, AUSTIN Let’s Abolish the Poll Tax! AUSTIN By the 1820’s, when socalled Anglo-Saxons began to colonize Texas under Stephen F. Austin as empresario, all the nations of the world that made any pretentions to enlightenment, including the United States and Mexico, had forbidden the horrible traffic in slaves from Africa. In the United States, of course, slavery continued to flourish as a domestic institution. But the president of Mexico, Vicente Guerrero, in 1829, following the lead of the civilized nations of Europe, decreed the abolition of slavery in the Republic. This seems to have been a sincerely humanitarian measure. And yet we are told in a History of Texas for high school students, published in 1939, that “the purpose of this decree was to handicap the Texans, and to make less attractive immigration to a land where labor was scarce.” Where was that boundless energy and enterprise of the vigorous Anglo-Saxon, who, we have been told again and again, succeeded in taming the wilderness where the Spaniard had failed? We read that “without slave labor it would be impossible to clear the forests, harvest and market the crops, and do all the work necessary in a new country. What was to ‘be done?” The answer comes in the next pa r a g r a p h, headed “AUSTIN STEPS IN.” In a letter to the colonists, assuring them that he would do all in his power to prevent the carrying out of the decree, Austin is quoted as saying: “I am the owner of one slave only, an old, decrepit woman, not worth much, but in this matter I should feel that my constitutional rights as a Mexican were just as much infringed as they would be if I had a thousand; it is the principle and not the amount.” Austin succeeded in persuading Guerrero to amend the decree, so that it finally did not apply to Texas. The Father of Texas, strangely enough, did not cry out against the smuggling of African slaves into his colonies, even though it was a flagrant violation of Mexican law, and in itself hideous; perhaps it did not offend his prinbiples. His kindest recommendations, during the winter of the revolution, in 1836, were in behalf of James W. Fannin, later martyred at Goliad, who was not only a political intriguer and one of the most inept commanders known to military history, but had been, since his arrival in Texas, a professional smuggler of slaves. THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 6 May 27, 1960 SOME HIGHLIGHTS ON SLAVE TRADE ANOTHER, even more notorious PI smuggler, Monroe Edwards, managed to stay out of Texas while the fighting was going on, but celebrated the signing of the Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836, by landing a herd of 185 Africans on the coast. “Monroe Edwards of Chenango plantation, down in Brazoria,” a slave trader and brought in shiploads of these poor creatures whom he bought from other slave traders in Cuba who had bought them from African chiefs along the African coast. These chiefs made it a business to go inland and capture these wretches and sell them to slavers who would bring them to Cuba. . . .” In the 1890’s Wharton talked with some of the Negroes that Edwards had brought in; many had taken his name. “One of them . . . told me he remembered being caught by the slave-hunters in Africa while he was swimming with other children in a creek. In 1835 I saw some of his grandchildren . . . still bearing the name of Edwards.” A favorite landing-place for human cargo on Galveston Bay was known as Edwards Point. A planter from the Brazos River bottoms bought some Negroes from Edwards there in February, 1834, and on his way home with them, driving them like cattle, got lost on the prairie. His arrival at the farm of Dilue Harris’s father is described in the reminiscences that Dilue wrote when she was old. It is a vivid picture. I give it here as it appears, slightly abridged, in a History of Texas for schoolchildren, published about 1907. “NEGROES DIRECT FROM AFRICA. ‘One cold day we could see in the direction of Galveston Bay a large crowd of people. They were coming to our house. Mother said they were Indians, and we were badly frightened. Brother ran to the field for father and Uncle James. By the time they got to the house, the travelers were * Officials of Sam Houston State College, Huntsville, took an utterly humorless approach to “panty raids” by 200 male students. Though the high-spirited students never entered the dorms, they tore off a number of screen doors, broke some windows, and used water bombs and torpedo firecrackers on the girls’ dorms. In return, the campus police fired a shotgun and pistols in the air several times and threw four male students in jail overnight. The next night Dean W. T. Creager, dean of students, appeared and began taking down names, whereupon the boys broke it up; but twelve of them were later expelled, and more were in danger. * The 1960 official Texas travel map is available free on re quest from the Highway Depart ment, Austin 14. All the state and U.S. highways, two-thirds of the farm-to-market roads, 64 major lakes and reservoirs, 816 roadside parks, and the state parks are shown. The squib about Texas says Texans “lay claim to many near. Mother wanted to leave the house and go in the woods, but father said no. He said that probably they had been shipwrecked, as it was only thirty miles to the bay. When they got near the house, there were three white men and a large gang of Negroes. One man came in and introduced himself as Ben Fort Smith. He said he lived near Major Bingham’s, and that he was lost and nearly starved. He asked father to let him have two beeves and some bread. Father told him that he did not own the cattle, but as it was a case of necessity, he would kill two beeves and send for Mr. Dyer, the agent. Father Charles Ramsdell killed the beeves and helped to skin them. One man made a fire near some trees, away from the house. As soon as the beeves were skinned the Negroes acted like dogs, they were so hungry. With the help of father and uncle, the white men kept them off till the meat was broiled, and then did not let them have as much as they could eat. Father did not have bread for them. Mother prepared dinner for the white men. “‘After dinner, Mr. Smith explained to father how he came to be lost on the prairie. He said he had a plantation on the Brazos. . . . The Negroes were ‘so enfeebled from close confinement that they could not travel. He rested one day, and would have reached home the next night if he had not got lost. He had been absent some time and did not know the Brazos had overflowed. . . .” \(Here the school text omits this passage: “The Negroes . . . were so destitute of clothing, mother would not permit us children to ” ‘Next morning, Mr. Smith asked father’s permission to stay till he could send to his plantation for assistance. After three or four days, Mr. Smith’s body .servant, Mack, brought a wagon and team first, bests, moste, and biggests; however, their greatest virtue lies in their genuine friendliness. This trait has become somewhat symbolic of the state and is known the world over.” *Along this line, Ian C. Alex ander, information officer for the British Consul in Houston, told a reporter during a visit to Lufkin, “Ah, yes, this Texas is a wonderful land, an enormous place. This is my first visit to East Texas and I find it reminds me very much of England … I have discovered a very active feeling in Texas. The people are enormously hospitable and helpful in every way.” *The Eugene McDermotts have given a trust fund of more than $225,000 to the Dallas Art Assoo1ation for its acquisition program. *Officials’at Southern Method ist University have announced that next semester boys as well as girls will have to live oncampus. The Campus, the student newspaper, ,polled undergradute males and reported a 42-6 no vote on this policy. After reciting various other reasons for it, a university spokesman added, “Also there is the sin factor of offcampus drinking and parties.” Among objections from the students: “Gestapo tactics,” “Christian tyranny,” and “another attempt to legislate morals.” *Dr. Walter Prescott Webb, now M. D. Anderson professor of history at the University of Houston, recently advised the National Council of State Garden and clothing for the Negroes. Mack made them go to the creek arid bathe. . . . After they were dressed, he marched them to the house for mother and us little girls to see. He tried to teach them to make a bow. They laughed and chattered like monkeys. They did not understand a word of English. All the men and boys in the neighborhood came to see the wild Africans.’ ” There was no hint anywhere in this textbook for children that the slaves were smuggled, or that the slave trade was not a perfectly ethical, if rather quaint, business that our forefathers engaged in. Monroe Edwards himself was a villain straight out of melodrama. Surprisingly enough, he met a villain’s fate. Born in Kentucky, he came to Texas in 1827, when he was nineteen. He bought the Chenango plantation with $50,000 that he made from his first sale of smuggled Negroes. Under the Republic of Texas he was indicted for having forged his partner’s name to a bill of sale; he skipped his bond and went to New York. In 1839 he sailed for England with a portfolio full of forged letters of recommendationfrom “Daniel Webster” and “Martin Van Buren,” among others. In London he posed as an abolitionist, one who was especially anxious to liberate the slaves that had remained in the custody of his former Texas partner. After returning to New York, he got caught in an attempted swindle and was sentenced, in 1842, to Sing Sing, where he spent his few remaining years; he was once severely whipped for trying to escape. IN LATER YEARS most of the slaves sold in Texas came from Virginia. The tobacco lands of the noble old Dominion were worn out, and produced only Negroes. While the state’s universities turned out professional men dedicated to the philosophy that justified slavery as a divinely ordained institution, long coffles of shackled slaves torn from their Clubs in Houston that each person should love the land, cherish it as the English and other European’s do, cultivate and restore it. “Do this as individuals and as units,” he said. “The city man and the country man should join together in the restoration of land. Each individual should feel the responsibility for protecting our resources rather than depend upon the government.” Webb cited the 17,000-acre Flat Top Ranch near Walnut Springs as a good example of conservation. The Way of Life *A Mexican customs official reported his agency’s discovery of an arms smuggling operation from San Antonio to Leon, Guanajuato, in a truck falsely marked Petroleos Mexicanos. Smuggled arms included 6,000,000 rounds of ammunition, it was reported. *The University of Texas is now receiving applications for the $1,000 Lyndon B. Johnson fellowship established in 1959 by Sen. Johnson in honor of a visit to Texas by Mexico’s President Adolfo Lopez Mateos. *The American Social Health Assn. reports the lid is on in San Antonio: cab drivers and bellhops told them the vice squad is “terribly rough.” *In Dallas, two groups of high school youths got in a bottleswinging fight at Kiest Park; six of them wound up in the hospital. families were pushed across the mountains to the Mississippi Valley and Texas. Here is an illustration from Clarence Wharton: “There was quite a free trade in Negroes on the Brazos, as the following incident related to me by the sole survivor in 1938 will show: “A Virginia slave-trader bought 72 Negroes in that state and brought them to the Brazos in the spring of 1859. Among them Joseph, nine. and John, seven. The trader gave $850 for Joseph and $700 for John and took them from their parents who were left in Virginia. “They were put on exhibition in a slave market at Manchester, as they called the railroad terminus just across the river from Richmond. The planters came from all over the country to look them over and after three months Samuel Miles Frost struck a bargain for Joseph, giving the trader his note for $1,350, and he was taken away, and the little fellow John was left in the ‘bull pen.’ “Frost returned a few days later bringing a likely looking Negro, twenty years old, and offered to trade him for John, saying he could not bear to see the little fellows separated. Unable to get the Virginia trader to make any allowance for the value of the twenty-three-year-old man, who was worth much more in the market than the boy, Frost finally traded even and took the little fellow home with him where he was raised with his brother.” Wharton got this story from an aged Negro who lived on a small farm he had bought shortly after freedom. “Sitting on the porch of his humble home in the soft December sun he told me these incidents. I commented on the kindness of Mr. Frost and the old man said softly, ‘Yes, suh, he was a good man; besides, the fellow he traded for my little brother was subject to bad spells of asthma in rainy weather.’ ” *A San Antonio record distrib utor says that a new record album called “Everything But the Beer,” sold with beer mugs for $9.95, has been disapproved by the Liquor Control Board as not the sort of thing that can be sold in Texas. *A Houston County grand jury has indicted . four Trinity County men for goat rustling. *The furore has died down over the Houston Press story asserting that of 50 high school students interviewed at random, 41, that is, 82 percent, admitted they cheated. Among methods these and 25 other students told the reporter about: cheatnotes concealed in a hollow watch, on adhesive tape up sleeves, above the knees or under socks, in and under shoes, and attached to petticoats. School board member W. W. Kemmerer, calling for an investigation, had said, “This is a definite criticism of the adults of our community. The teachers are to blame in part, but it is the parents who must teach character.” The Am Virgil Lowder, executive director of the Council of Churches of Greater Houston, had concluded, “This is evidence of a general moral breakdown in our society.” But Supt. John McFarland thought 50 students not a
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