From a Reader: Letter to Gov. Perry

A reader e-mailed me his letter to Governor Perry regarding his letter to President Obama and the similar situation a former Texas Governor faced in 1849.

History buffs will find this interesting.  His letter to Governor Perry reads:

Governor Perry,

I read with great interest your recent letter to President Obama and have seen reports of what appears a rather weak response, if it can even be called a response.  Just to put a historical spin on how a predecessor to the office you now hold responded to a different, but equally difficult situation, I would like to call your attention to a letter that George T. Wood (the second elected Governor of Texas) wrote to the Texas Senate on November 30, 1849.

The letter explains his decision to send Texas Rangers to protect Corpus Christi against Indian attacks.  I won’t compare Indian depredations to illegal immigration and border security, as there are clearly differences.

However the similarities are also rather striking, beginning in the very first paragraph of the excerpt I’ve included. I know your office must receive hundreds, if not thousands of comments every day, however, I sincerely hope this one makes it to your desk, if for no other reason than I hope you could appreciate its historical significance and it might give you a fresh (160 year old) perspective of how another Texas Governor reasoned, acted, and justified his actions.

I find this to be truly fascinating in light of current events, and as an armchair student of Texas history.

Respectfully Yours, Don Mullins


Gov. George T. Wood to the Texas Senate, November 30, 1849, explaining his decision to send Texas Rangers to protect Corpus Christi against Indian attacks:

“The Government of the United States was addressed directly upon this subject as well as its military officers in immediate command here. They were slow however to recognize the necessity of action on their part, and the State was left no other recourse against outrage and violence but an appeal to the patriotism of her own citizens to protect her territory against savage cruelty.”

“In this condition of things when the cries of his fellow citizens for help were reaching every day, when every new messenger from that quarter was but the herald of some new outrage of more startling atrocity, the Executive never thought of appealing to the Statute Book to ascertain the nature or the extent of his official duty. This was indicated to him with sufficient force and clearness by the common instincts of nature and humanity. We do not seek in written codes authority or sanction for defending our persons and our property against aggression and wrong. It is an impulse of our nature older than the law, superior to all the guarantees of a constitution.”

“The same paramount right and duty attaches to him who is entrusted with the government of a state to employ its means to repel violence and protect it from injury.”

“If however it should be held that the Constitution does not sustain him in the course he adopted, the Executive does not wait but will not shrink from condemnation, preferring for to be condemned for employing irregular means to do a praiseworthy act than to be commended for folding his arms according to law and looking with unconcern upon the suffering of his fellow citizens.”

— Governor George T. Wood

  • Don Mullins

    This is great! A case of two people reading the same article and drawing some fairly wild conclusions, all of which are incorrect. If you had actually read my note, I made no disparaging remarks to either illegal immigrants or native Americans. I was simply trying to draw a very real parallel that exists in history, whether you like it or not, between that of G.T. Wood and Rick Perrry, that being the action (or inaction) of the state executive in the face of a perceived threat to the state and a weak response from the federal government.

    If you would like to applique your own preconceived notions on top of my note, then that's fine, just don't blame me for what you dream up. Don Mullins

    • LibertyBrittany

      It looks almost as if it were the same person, with fairly unimaginative alias… Guest and Guest 2. ; ) Great response. Thank you!

  • guest 2

    clearly, this comparison aligns those establishing homes in texas with today's mexican undocumented immigrants, and equates the native americans with current US citizens.

    though i disagree with your disparagement of undocumented immigrants, thank you very much for showing compassion for the displaced native americans of many years ago!

  • guest

    So in this analogy, the illegal immigrants are the US citizens in Tejas, and the Native Americans are the people who's lifestyle has been ravaged by immigration left unchecked?

    Perhaps the armchair student of history could give perspective on the events.