Carl Nikolaus Riotte -> Carl Nikolaus Riotte in Texas -> 03.04.1861 … the notorious Riotte …


San Antonio, April 3rd 1861


Editor Ledger of Texan.

         Sir. The condition of our city is such that it would be difficult in the limits of an ordinary article to convey to you even a faint and imperfect idea of the manner in whcih abolitionism and trenson rule this community. I propose, however, to give as concisely as possible, a sketch of the rise and growth of Abolitionism in this place, and ist present position.

         Some years ago, about 1846, a socialist community of members, emigrated from Germany to Colony lands on the Llano River. They were for the most part young men. Imbued with the most extravagant ideas of the mischievous faction known in their native country as social Red Republicans; avowing as their cardinal doctrins, the reign of Reason and Materialism, as append_ to all revealed religion - the reign of the passions as a part of the scheme of moral government - the immorality of marriage, as a stale of legalized prostitution - the i__uity of all laws protecting individual property as being the spoliation of the poor by the rich - with many others of the most obnoxious tenots in religion or rather irreligion; immorality, political economy, and social science held by the socialists and Republicans of Germany and France.

         Negro slavery they denounced as a crime against the dignity of man and an utter abomination.

         As might have been predicted, a society formed on such a basic did not long hold together; the passions, which they fondly hoped were to bind them into one harmonious whole, asserted their away, and the members of the vaunted Forty, went each his way, not without grave charges of population against some of their number. They mostly settled in Western Texas; but the lessons of experience had not e_adicated their original delusions, and in May 1854, the Free-thinks as they styled themselves, met in Convention at this place, to the number of 300, from Sisterdale, New Braunfels, Castroville, Fredericksburg, Austin, Lagrange, and other places.

         An evidence of the consciousness on the part of these men of their bar__ in view objects which their __ck from arowing, is to be found in the fact this this meeting was called for the ___sible purpose of holding a singing Festival.

         A committee was appointed to draft a platform known since then as the Sisterdale Platform, from the place of residence of some of the principal leaders in this grand movement of „Political, Social, Religious, and Humanitarian Reform.“

         A prime mover in this committee was a certain Dr. Douay, who was subsequently expelled from Texas for his abolition doctrines, promulgated int he colums of the San Antonio Zeitung, a German paper published in this city, of which he was editor, and which had been established with aid from the Abolition societies of Boston, to which place of refuge he wended his way after his compulsory exodus from Texas.

         But to return to the Platform.

         Among other modest requests, some of them highly laudable and desirable in themselves, but open to the slight objection of being impracticalbe such for instance as „That the laws shall be simple and couched in such plain language, as to enable liligants to dispense with the aid of Counsel“ this never to be forgotten scheme of Reform demans

„The repeal of all Extradiction theatics.“ (?)

„Declares slavery to be an evil, the ultimate extinction of which is absolutely required as it is antagonistic to the fundamental doctrices on which Democratic Institutions are based, and demands therefore

         „That the Federal Government shall sustain with all the forces at ist disposal, any legislation to that end.“


         „That no religious instructions be given, or religious books be used, in Schools.“

         „That no Minister of the Gospel be eligible as an Instructor of youth.“

         „The abrogation of all laws enjoining the observance of the Sabbath and of Thanksgiving day.“

         And finally. „That Congressional and Legislative sessions shall never be opened with prayer.“

         In furtherance of those views and for the promulgation and inculcation (?) of these principles, the newspaper mentioned above had been started and continued for years to mislead and ___ the German population of the West. First under the editorial direction of the notorius Douay and afterwards under the inspiration of divers members of the abolitional committee, until it finally gave up the ghost.Literally scared to death by the denounciation of the few intelligent citizen of German origin who respect and revere (?) the institutions which protect and foster them.

         As early as 1849, the abolitionits of Boston in execution of their favorite project of abolitionizing Western Texas, by indoctrinating the German population; and thus bringing about a division of her territory, so as to erect the Western portion of it into a Free State through their agents solicized. _____ ___ the ___vowed oject, and sent the Olmsteads ato Texas as Pioneers. One of the two brothers Dr. Olmstead, practiced medicine in San Antonio for some time; the other brother, Frank, solicited a gentleman now practising law in this City, to contribute towards establishing in Western Texas, abolition Presses for the Germans.

         In 1853 Messrs. Bourke and Howard, Proprietors of the San Antonio Ledger, were offered a new Press and Type, with $3000 in cash, to start an abolition paper. Very shortly after their refusal the San Antonio Zeitung appeared with the aid of the Bostonians. Ist career has already been sketched.

         The well known leaders of the German Abolitionists of San Antonio imagined and carried into execution another and still more dangerous mode of propagating their opinions. This was through the German English school, under the management until very lately of the notorious Riotte. This corrupted the very elements of future society in the opinions and habits of thought of the rising generation.

         The alliance between German Infidels and socialists on one hand, and Massachussetts Abolition and Free love Advocates on the other, was too natural a conjunction oto be long of being con____al _________ report of the proceeding of the Du____ ___ May (185)4 in the San Antonio Zeitung. Dr. Douay, the editor congratually his infidel countrymen on the arm_athy __ __ spite of much prejudice, has been established between them and numerous Americans holding the same opinions, and on the hopeful prospects of the party, as also on the grand results for the cause of progress to be expected from the cooperation of the two national parties, champions and apostles of their doctrines.

         He further predicted that within a few years, this party would sway the elections and give the tone to public opinions.

         Dr. Douay did not forsee that he would himself be driven from Texas, but he proved a true prophet as regards San Antonio, the see he cast by the way side has sprung up and floorished, and this city is now ruled by German abolition influcence, wielded by a clique of Americans of the same stripe who pull the wires which set in motion their puppets, though they seldem or never appear on the stage themselves.

         So true is this that now ont he 31st day of March, a majority of the City Council will not allow the Mayor to surrender the arms and ammunition furnished them at their request by Gen. Twiggs on pretext (?) of defending themselves against marrauding band from Gonzales and the neighborhood. These arms were demanded by the State Commissions on the 25th February. The city refused to give them up. The Convention passed an Ordinance formed expressly for this very case; the arms were again demanded, and the Council will not even listen to the report of the committee appointed by them for that purpose. These arms, be it remarked, are in the hands of Companies composed almost exclusively of Germans.

         A month has elapsed, and the city of San Antonio still holds the arms belonging to the State of Texas in defiance to her authority. Threats were daily, _ay hourly made on the streets to march to Austin, and with these very arms, WIPE OUT the Convention, or as the opposition here style the members of that body, „the traitorous thieves and robbers who stole the Government properly“ and to reinstate his Excellency Ex-Governor Houston.

         When calm and unmoved they dilate on the good time coming when the U.S. army shall invade Texas and threat all their secession friends to halters; but the Dutch, when fell of wrath and lager, and the Yankees, splitting with spleen and spite, swear and vow they will fefile the flag of the Confederate States amd by their unaided prowers blot out the rebels from the face of the earth.

         There are now residing in this city some fifteen of the members of the Convention of 1854, amongst whom are to be found seven of the Forty apostles of social and Religious Reform. Fourteen others are known to be residents in Western Texas. Of those residing in San Antonio, some have waxed fat and wealthy, and doubtless their opinions on the subject of property have undergone some modification. Many have taken unto themselves wives, and these feel probably more indulgent towards the institution of marriage. Some perhaps practice law whilst others hold office, and they have conscientous scrupes as to making law so plain that no lawyers would be required. Some even own slaves, but with these and some others exceptions, all are abolitionists at heart, and are bitter and malignant in their opposition to the secession movement. There are some ardent, intelligent and staunch secessionists to be found amongst the Germans of this place, but their number is small, and they are unresentingly persecuted in every possible manner by their countrymen, who seek to ven_ow them ____, __ ___ they

are prudent in manifesting towards Americans, who hold Southern opinions.

         The arguments adhered to prevent the minds of the labouring class of Germany, who honest and law abiding, have been so conducive to the development of the resourches of Western Texas, are preposterous in the extreme, and would but excite a smile of pity and derision, did not the serious fact stare us in the face, that they are on the eve of exciting insurrection in our midst. Propositions have been made to officers of the U.S. army to retake the property seized by the State authorities, and companies have been raised in New Braunfels and Fredericksburg to assist in overthrowing a revolutionary Government which these deluded men have been taught to believe will impose taxes at the rate of 3 per cent on all property; and in illustration of this mode and rate of taxation, they are gravely told that they will have to pay 30 dollars per head on horses, and ten dollars on cows.

         But, leaving these puerilities of deluded dreariness and their blind daer, let us point out a real and crying evil. The most dangerous, the most pernicous, as it is the most insidious doctrine of the too famous Helper book, is the proposition that the existence of slavery in a state is antagonistic to the interests and welfare of the non slave-holder. The application has been made to the people of Western Texas; in open publications, and in private conversations, this argument, as plausible as it is baseless, has been adduced to array the stockraisers, of the West against the Planters of middle and Eastern Texas. It is daily proclaimed on the streets, whispered in the social circle, propagated in every possible manner, and the favorite form under which it is presented to the minds of those less conversant with political questions and the provisions of the constitution (?) of the U.S:, in the representation of the slave population in the ratio of three fifths as a new feature in the Constitution, introduced by the cottonocracy, as they love to call the great slave interest, for their own especial benefit, and to the detriment of the stockraisers and farmers who own few or no slaves.

         The champions of the defunct Union who bring forward these chimeras as substantial arguments, and who confidently predict that Texas will _ere long be gathered into the Federal fold, under the pastoral care of Lincoln and Seward and Thurlow Weed, and like „Gentle shepherds“, these champions of Federal omnipotence I say, are in many instances, good Southern men, men born and educated in the South, whose every sympathy and interest binds them to the South, man who have heretofore battled fearlessly and ably for the South, men whom the people of Western Texas have delighted to honor, and whose names have been the battle-cry in past struggles for Constitutional rights. It is not for any one to pry into the motives which impel such men to refuse Oath to the C.S. and to place themselves in the situation of aliens in their own land. Suffice it to recognize the conscientious honesty of purpose and the fearless firmness of some amongst them. But remember, gen(tlemen?) ___d your present course will if  per____d ___, cause you to ___ confounded, with ___ hostile bord (hord) of _____bed advocat___ __ __riper__rn. Count not on your word upon (?) popularity; it is a shadow that p____way, and History does not fur__sh an instance in which it served as a shield from the wrath of the people.

         Beware, gentlemen! The people will make no submission and will tolerate no submissionists, they will have no reconstruction of the Union to n___fy themselves and give the lie to their solomn note (?). The great revolution just consummated, not the less real and momentous that he (?) has so far been bloodless shall not pass away as a tale that is told. Resist not then the will of God, whose instrument it is. Ally not yourselves with the enemies of the country, even by implication, for your fate and mine hangs in the balance, dependent on the contingency of a shot from Fort Picken or from the frowning batteries that surmound it. Should one shot be fired on either side, the North and the South would be arrayed against such in such bitter warfare as the word has barely seen, and pray, what would then be your position? That of _uidern and aboti___ of the enemiens of the country. Again, I entreat of your, pause and reflecct, ero it be too late, whither your present course in now tending. Recollect that when a day of reckoning at the tribunal of public opinion shall come, as come it inevitably will, of acts which you would scorn to sanction, but which will be proven to be the logical consequences of your teachings.

         To sum up in a few words the situation of our community. We have a class of Abolitionists of different nationalities - a host of Black Republicans - a small class of honest and devoted admires of the late Federal Union - patriots, rund mad, made the tools of their enemies and of the enemies of the country - an armed force existing in defiance of the laws of the country - the Mayor paralyzed in his endeavors to comply with the law by the factious opposition of a majority of the Board of Aldermen - the worst feature of Abolitionism openly avowed and defended in a slave-holding community - and in a word, a majority of honest but decived and deluded foreign born citizens of San Antonio attempting to dictate to Texas what shall be her course an policy.

         What but evil can result from such an imbroglio?               TYRO


Weekly Ledger and Texan. (San Antonio, Tex.), Vol. 10, No. 40, Ed. 1 Saturday, April 6, 1861

(pretty bad xerox with lots of black spots)


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