Letter from James Cramp, December 1835 [Digital Version]

Bibliographic Information

Cramp, James, Letter from James Cramp, December 1835 (December, 1835)

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Title: Letter from James Cramp, December 1835 [Digital Version]
Funding from: Funding for the creation of this digitized text is provided by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Author: Cramp, James
Statements of responsibility:
  • Creation of digital images: Center for Digital Scholarship, Rice University
  • Creation of transcription: Camille M. George, Student Researcher, Humanities Research Center
  • Conversion to TEI-conformant markup: Camille M. George, Student Researcher, Humanities Research Center
  • Parsing and proofing: Humanities Research Center and Fondren Library, Rice University
  • Subject analysis and assignment of taxonomy terms: Melissa Torres
Publisher: Rice University, Houston, Texas
Publication date: 2010-06-07
Identifier: aa00012
Availability: This digital text is publicly available via the Americas Digital Archive through the following Creative Commons attribution license: “You are free: to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work; to make derivative works; to make commercial use of the work. Under the following conditions: By Attribution. You must give the original author credit. For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. Any of these conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder. Your fair use and other rights are in no way affected by the above.”
Digitization: Page images of the original document are included. Images exist as archived TIFF files, JPEG versions for general use, and thumbnail GIFs.
Provenance: The Humanities Research Center at Rice University, under the direction of Dr. Caroline Levander, purchased this material from a manuscripts dealer in 2005. The Gilder Foundation funded the development of the physical archive. Original materials are housed at the Woodson Research Center, Rice University.
Description: Handwritten document, 2pp, (incomplete). Letter, manuscript fair copy, in Cramp's hand, of the Declaration and Petition of the American prisoners who were subsequently executed at Tampico.
Source(s): Cramp, James, Letter from James Cramp, December 1835 (December, 1835)
Source Identifier: Americas collection, 1811-1920, MS 518, Box 4 folder 15, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University. Contact info: woodson@rice.edu
Description of the project: This digitized text is part of the Our Americas Archive Partnership (OAAP) project.
Editorial practices
This text has been encoded based on recommendations from Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Any comments on editorial decisions for this document are included in footnotes within the document with the author of the note indicated. All digitized texts have been verified against the original document. Quotation marks have been retained. For printed documents: Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved. No corrections or normalizations have been made, except that hyphenated, non-compound words that appear at the end of lines have been closed up to facilitate searching and retrieval. For manuscript documents: Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved. We have recorded normalizations using the reg element to facilitate searchability, but these normalizations may not be visible in the reading version of this electronic text
Languages used in the text: English
Text classification
Keywords: Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus
  • Correspondence
Keywords: Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • Mexico--Politics and government--19th century
Keywords: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
  • Mexico (nation)
  • Texas (state)
Revision/change: Camille M. George, Student Researcher, Humanities Research Center 2009
  • This TEI document has been converted from P4 to P5 version
  • This document has been edited for transcription refinements


The following declaration was signed by the unfortunate
victims who were recently shot at Tampico, as their fare-
address to their friends in the United States.

We the undersigned prisoners of war, condemned to
be shot on Monday next 14th inst. at 7 A.M. by a military
court martial, conformable to the established custom of
the country, & composed of officers of the Mexican army, the
sentence being read & interpreted to us on Saturday at
4 P.M. by captain Mexand [Illegible: Fanlac] of said army, as our last dying
words, do declare ourselves innocent of the charge of either
participating or colleaguing with any persons or party,
having for its object the revolutionizing or disturbing in
any manner the tranquility of the country government
of Mexico, & that the testimony given before the honorable
court of enquiry will corroborate this declaration, the facts
& circumstances being briefly as follows:-

That about 130 men, composed of Americans, French
& Germans two thirds of which being of the first named
class (including three who are natives of foreign nations
but naturalized) embarked on the 6th November last on board
the American schooner Mary Jane, captain Thall, said
to have been chartered or employed by a committee of
which Mr. William Christy, of New Orleans, was the agent,
to convey emigrants to the Texas, then understood to be at
variance with the Mexican government. This opportu
afforded many in low pecuniary circumstances
a passage free, which was readily embraced & accepted of.
The terms agreed upon were that it was optional whe
the party took up arms in defense of Texas or not,
that they were at full liberty to act as they pleased when
landed on the Texian shore. – That taking advantage
of this favourableRegularized:favorable opportunity they accordingly embarked &
the vessel proceeded on the voyage, & nothing transpired
to indicate a belief but that all was right as it should be,
until 6th day we were out from Balize although it had
been previously understood that a general, with his
officers or staff, was on board the vessel, whose design
was to act in concert with the Texians, & induce us to join
him. Of this however we received no certain assent, but the


truth is – Tampico was our destination & an attack on the
city, the design, which was now evident, & not before -
the land being in sight & the vessel standing in, it
was announced that it was Tampico; that the steam
boat then also in sight, would have us in tow, and
Tampico would be in our possession. Elated with this
harrangue proceeding from the authority (through the
instrumentality of captain Hawkins, one of the aids)
of general Mehia, some were induced to join his standard,
but of these the number could not have exceeded 50, 5
thirty five of whom were French & Creoles, of New Orleans
who doubtless had a previous understanding, they being
exclusively privileged, having the quarter deck to them
& seemingly armed & equipped prematurely.
The boat had us in tow soon, & all that could be crammed
below were driven there until she struck the bar, & the
steam boat soon afterwards. In this awful predicament
night closing on us, the sea breaking over us, efforts were
used to reach the shore, which at imminent danger
was effected safely, & we were all landed during the
latter part of the night & early part of the morning of the
following day. A formidable fort surrendered without
an attack, & we built fires to dry our clothing. The party
were now tendered arms & ammunition, & never having
been soldiers before, some probably took them from curi-
, others from necessity & others from compulsion;
& it is asserted & believed that no one person was or had
been acquainted with two others of the number of us,
so added to the hurry & bustle of the officers, that before we
could have an understanding we were commingled
& bundled together more like a hoard or drove of swine
than a company of soldiers competent to act as such,
particularly against regular trained soldiery. At about
5 P.M. on Sunday we were formed & made ready for the
attack having added to our number about from 35 to
50 citizens, soldiers or adherents, & which were all pick
to see Mexicans, a number being fellow prisoners with


us, but without trial to this moment. Having no other re-
we were necessarily compelled from obvious reasons
reluctantly to join the party, with a full determination
not to act in concert with it, but submit ourselves as
prisoners of war, having no design or intention to fight,
the undersigned, from motives of conscience & oppres
added to the shameful abduction or deception
practised on us, choosing to throw ourselves on the
clemency & mercy of the authorities. And this being
the substance of our testimoneyRegularized:testimony before the court, yet
notwithstanding, mark the result which had termi
, not in an ignominious, but christianRegularized:Christian like death.

Trusting in God & bearing in mind his promise and
with our trust in his mercies, we die both as christiansRegularized:Christians
& men.

We have now but nine hours allotted us, and
conclude hastily requesting all who may hear of our
fate to entertain no erroneous impression.

Signed, &c


December 14th 1835

Rice University
Date: 2010-06-07
Available through the Creative Commons Attribution license