Stephen F. Austin to Edward Lovelace, 11-22-1822

Summary: Summary of political movements in Mexico. Difficulty over the status of slavery. Mexicans not prepared for a republican government.

City of Mexico November 22nd 1822

Dr Sir

When I arrived here Congress were sitting but progressing very slowly, the discord and jealousy manifested from the first day of the session of Congress against the Generalissimo Iturbide (now Emperor) was increasing daily and everything was at a stand - There were three distinct parties in Congress, one for a Bourbon King, one for an Emperor from this country, and the other for a Republic, in this state of things the government was approximating towards Anarchy, when on the night of the 18 of May the army stationed in this city proclaimed Iturbide Emperor, the next day Congress elected him in due form and on the 21 he took the oath, these things put a stop to all business for some time - Agreeably to the Emperors Oath he could do nothing without the consent of Congress and this body moved most astonishingly slow and were more occupied in watching the Emperor than in attending to the interest of the country - On the 21 July the Emperor was crowned, and very soon after serious collisions began to arise between him and Congress, the latter wished to keep all power in their hands and things were getting worse every day all was at a dead stand, for Congress would do nothing for fear of granting a little power to the executive, and the Emperor could do nothing so long as Congress existed without its sanction - In this state of things it was in vain for an individual to urge his business, however important and mine with all other individual applications was laid on one side— Matters progressed in this manner from bad to worse and were again verging towards Anarchy; one dangerous conspiracy was discovered and quelled by the imprisonment of about 70, amongst whom were 20 members of Congress and at length finding that nothing but an extraordinary and desicive step could save the nation from the confusion and the established government from ruin, the Emperor desolved congress by a decree of his own on the 31 of October last and created a national Junta of his own choosing from amongst the members of Congress - since then things have gone on better and with more harmony - My business relative to the settlement is now acting on and in less than 10 days I shall be dispatched with everything freely arranged. The principal difficulty is slavery, this they will not admit - as the law is all slaves are to be free in ten years, but I am trying to have it amended so as to make them slaves for life and their children free at 21 years - but do not think I shall succeed in this point, and that the law will pass as it now is, that is, that the slaves introduced by the settlers shall be free after 10 years - As regards all other matters there will be no difficulty, I will write you again from here after I get through and let you know the particulars. I am doubtful nothing can be done about getting land at or near Galveston, the government seems opposed to any settlement being formed so near the borders of the United States, when I return to Texas I will write you very fully - you must not be frightened at the name of an Imperial government, you like myself have lived under a Monarchy, when Louisiana belonged to Spain and I think we lived as happy then as under the government of the United States - The Emperor has his enemies and in the United States the Democrats will abuse him no doubt, but he is doing the best for his country. These people will not do for a Republic nothing but a Monarchy can save them from Anarchy -

Stephen F. Austin

This is a true copy of the letter, recd from S. F. Austin. Received from Mrs. Bell and I presume was addressed to her

husband Josiah H Bell.

Guy M Bryan