Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    This August 20, 1835 letter led to the calling of the Consultation establishing the Texas provisional government

    Branch T. Archer Manuscript Letter Signed A historically important LS "B.T. Archer chr" as Chairman and "Wm T. Austin" as Secretary of the Committee of Safety and Correspondence, one page, 6" x 7.75". Velasco, August 20, 1835. Committees of Safety and Correspondence, similar to those in the American Revolution, were organized in Texas as early as 1832 basically to secure the organization of the militia for defense against Indians. They kept people in touch with developments and eventually made possible an organized, effective resistance in the Texas Revolution. To Col. James W. Fannin. In full, "You are appointed as a confidential agent by the committee of safety and correspondence of the Jurisdiction of Columbia to proceed to San Felipe and use your utmost exertions to persuade Wyly Martin and all other persons with whom you may have influence to co-operate with us in the call of a consultation of all Texas through her representatives." Five days earlier, on August 15, 1835, at a meeting in Columbia, the citizens of the town passed resolutions "that a Consultation of all Texas through her representatives is indispensable...that a committee composed of fifteen persons, to be called a Committee of Safety and Correspondence for the Jurisdiction of Columbia be elected...that they be instructed to prepare an address to all the Jurisdictions of Texas requesting them to co-operate with us in the call of a consultation of all Texas...that the Committee communicate with all Texas in the most prompt manner by sending confidential agents to each Jurisdiction...that said committee keep the people correctly advised of all political intelligence of general interest...and that they continue to act until displaced by the people or the consultation." Pursuant to the resolutions adopted by that meeting, the Committee of Safety and Correspondence met in the town of Velasco on August 18th with Archer as Chairman and Austin as Secretary, and, by this letter, appointed Col. James W. Fannin, Jr. as a confidential agent. William T. Austin later served as aide-de-camp to Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston. At the August 18, 1835 meeting, a committee was appointed to address the "Citizens of all Texas" for the purpose of bringing about a Consultation as resolved at the Columbia meeting three days earlier. Chairman Archer was authorized to appoint delegates to the different Jurisdictions of Texas.
    A public meeting at San Felipe on September 12, 1835 recommended the Consultation and Wyly Martin, Randall Jones, William Pettus, Gail Borden, Jr., and Stephen F. Austin were appointed members of a committee to "order and superintend the election of delegates of this jurisdiction, and to correspond with committees of other jurisdictions." Col. Fannin was evidently successful in persuading Wyly Martin and others to cooperate with the committee and support the calling of the Consultation. EXTENSIVE RESEARCH HAS NOT UNCOVERED THE WRITING OF ANY OTHER LETTER BY ARCHER AND AUSTIN AT ANY TIME TO ANYONE ELSE WITH SIMILAR CONTENT, SO IT WAS AS A RESULT OF THIS LETTER AND FANNIN'S ENSUING EFFORT THAT THE CONSULTATION WAS HELD. Wyly Martin was acting "jefe politico" (literally, "political chief") of the Department of the Brazos and had been a delegate from San Felipe de Austin to previous conventions held in 1832 and 1833. The term "consultation" was first used at the August 15th meeting in Columbia, perhaps to avoid the revolutionary connotations that the word "convention" implied in Mexican politics. Though originally set for October 15th, the Consultation was delayed until November 1, 1835 at the insistence of delegates-elect and army officers because of possible Mexican military action after the Battle of Gonzales on October 2nd, generally considered to be the first battle of the Texas Revolution. At the Consultation which convened on November 1st, at San Felipe, Branch T. Archer, representative of Brazoria, was elected chairman. The Consultation endorsed the establishment of a provisional government, selected Archer, Stephen F. Austin, and William H. Wharton as commissioners to the United States to lobby for financial assistance, collect supplies, and recruit men for the Texas cause, and established a regular army with two-year enlistments and U.S. Army regulations. Sam Houston won unanimous election as commander with the rank of Major General. The Consultation also agreed that another popular assembly was needed to chart a course of action. On December 10, 1835, the General Council of the newly established provisional government issued a call for an election on February 1, 1836 to choose delegates to assemble at a Convention to be held on March 1, 1836. Meeting at Washington-on-the-Brazos, on March 2nd, the delegates unanimously adopted a Declaration of Independence. Ultimately fifty-eight members signed the document. Thus was born the Republic of Texas. And it all began with this letter!
    Continuing as an agent of the provisional government of Texas, the recipient of this letter, Col. James W. Fannin, had begun recruiting volunteers for the Matamoros expedition in January 1836. Fannin was elected colonel of the Provisional Regiment of Volunteers at Goliad on February 7th and from February 12th to March 12th, acted as commander in chief of the army. When he learned that the Mexicans had occupied Matamoros, Fannin went no further with plans for the expedition and fell back to strengthen defenses at Goliad. On March 12th, Fannin dispatched most of his force to aid Texans near Refugio. On March 14th, he received Gen. Sam Houston's order to retreat to Victoria, which rescinded a previous order to relieve the Alamo which had fallen on March 6th. Waiting for his forces under Capt. Amon B. King and Col. William Ward to return from Refugio, Fannin delayed retreating until he heard of their capture. On March 19th, Fannin began his retreat, but he and his men were surrounded and forced to surrender at the Battle of Coleto. The Texans were imprisoned by the Mexicans at Goliad. Col. Fannin and his men were murdered by order of Antonio López de Santa Anna on March 27, 1836. The fall of the Alamo and the Goliad Massacre of 342 Texans aroused the fury of the people of Texas, the United States, and even Great Britain and France, thus considerably promoting the success of the Texas Revolution. Light rippling with small tear in upper left blank area. Lightly waterstained at mid-vertical fold which has been expertly strengthened on verso. From the collection of Darrel Brown.

    Reference: Papers of the Texas Revolution, Vol. 1, No. 531, p. 358


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2007
    1st-3rd Saturday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,083

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 February 22 - 23 Americana & Political Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Thanks a million for getting approval to sell my Civil War Hospital Death Ledger! You made them AND ME , a nice profit. You are the best!
    Ed W.,
    Mount Vernon, OH
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 September 21 - 22 The David and Janice Frent Collection Presidential &  Political Americana, Part VI Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 September 21 - 22 The David and Janice Frent Collection Presidential & Political Americana, Part VI Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $648,838