Day 10 of the Convention of 1836
On the 10th Day of the Convention of 1836, “the business of the Convention moves slowly” according to William F. Gray. A debate about what to do with Mexican Army prisoners taken during the preceding and upcoming chapters of the War was had and it was decided that commissioned officers and Chaplains would be confined and expected to support themselves while non-commissioned officers and privates would be supported in exchange for bodily labor. It was stipulated that those compelled to do labor would be treated as “Mexican hired servants”.
Bailey Hardeman’s (Matagorda) resolution from the previous day that only constitutional business be conducted until the constitution was completed was brought back up. It was decided that if two-thirds of the delegates voted to conduct a specific non-constitutional business issue, that was acceptable, and the rule was instituted.
Citizenship and land questions were discussed, and it was decided that all persons living in Texas at the time the Declaration of Independence was signed were to be considered citizens of Texas, with the exception of enslaved persons and Native Americans. As citizens, every family man would be granted 1 league and 1 labor of land (~4,600 acres) and single men would be given 1/3 of a league (~1,476 acres). Land disputes arising from claims made prior to the founding of the Republic would be settled by the congress created under the forthcoming constitution. It was also determined that volunteers who “have so faithfully served Texas in the field, or who may hereafter serve against the enemy” would be granted “the most valuable portions of land” in payment for services rendered.
John W. Bunton (Mina) delivered a report to the Convention regarding the current state and situation of the Army, the Navy, their strength, location, composition of forces, quartermaster stores, commissary provisions, armaments, and ammunition. The committee having completed its task was then discharged. James Gaines (Sabine) brought the appointments of Captains Black and Burnett as officers of volunteers to raise a company to investigate rumors of Indians near the San Antonio Road back to consideration, which was decided in the affirmative. A report listing officers by name, rank, and Army branch was delivered, accepted, and forwarded to the committee tasked with organizing the physical force of the country. After the lunch recess, a Surgeon General’s department was created to provide the Army with Surgeons. Later that evening, the Convention received notice that the ships Brutus and Invincible had arrived at the mouth of the Brazos with an offer to serves the Republic of Texas. A committee on naval affairs was appointed to investigate the situation which was composed of Robert Potter (Nacogdoches), Stephen H. Everitt (Jasper) and Samuel Fisher (Matagorda).
The convention met in the evening at 7:30 to form a committee of the whole to discuss the Constitution before adjourning for the evening. Gray had this to say regarding the constitution: “The Constitution is on the tapis every day. It is a good one, on the whole, but clumsily put together, indifferent in arrangement, and worse in grammar.”
Pictured here are the Texas schooners Brutus and Invincible.