The Consultation of 1835 – Texas History

A meeting of representatives of various districts of Texas was planned for the fall of 1835 at Columbia to discuss escalating friction with Mexico, and consider options for the more autonomous rule for Texas. Referred to as the Consultation of 1835, it was first set to convene on October 16. Although a few of the delegates met at the scheduled time, the meeting was almost immediately adjourned as the result of military hostilities that had erupted earlier in the month.

The Consultation reconvened on November 4th in San Felipe and chose Branch T. Archer to preside. From the beginning, there was considerable discord among the members as to the best course to follow in its dealings with the Mexican government. As a result, three factions developed. Although Stephen Austin was away with the Texas forces at the time, a pro-Austin group led by Don Carlos Barrett favored a conciliatory approach to try to gain the support of Mexican liberals. John A. Wharton and Henry Smith directed an opposing faction that favored a more militant anti-Mexican stance. The third faction sought to work toward a compromise in the positions of the other two.

While the Consultation deliberated about a compromise, its actions leaned clearly in the direction of a more autonomous role for Texas. While it stopped short of declaring independence from Mexico, the group asserted its right to do so, and voted 33 to 14 for the establishment of a Provisional Government. It drafted an Organic Law with provisions for a governor and a general council. Henry Smith was chosen as governor.

No clear division of power was established, however, which resulted in a relatively weak and indecisive governing body. Thus, the Consultation of 1835 adjourned unfocused and without clear leadership, purpose, or military authority.

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