Stephen F Austin to Ramon Musquiz, 07-28-1832

Summary: Explaining why his colonists declared for Santa Anna—primarily because he represents the liberal, republican, and constitutional party. Previous troubles due to Bradburn and Fisher. No one desires separation from Mexico; convinced, on the other hand, that that would ruin Texas. All wish to form a separate state of the Mexican federation. For this population is needed, and therefore the eleventh article of the law of April 6, 1830, must be repealed. Hopes that Bexar will declare for Santa Anna and petition for reforms.

San Felipe de Austin July 28th 1832

Most esteemed chief and friend

I suppose that you have received the few lines that I wrote to you hurriedly from Brazoria. In that letter I manifested the opinion that under the actual circumstances it was very important for us all to join the plan of Santa Anna: I will in this letter explain that idea, and expose the reasons on which I ground it. In the first place, in regard to this Colony. On my arrival at Brazoria, I met the whole people unanimous and enthusiastic in favor of the plan of Santa Anna. They welcomed General Mejia with such rejoicing and enthusiasm as I had never witnessed in this country. On the day before in a large meeting they had resolved to persevere in their adhesion to the plan of Veracruz, and that previous to having heard of the arrival of Mejia. Under such circumstances, and observing that the personal feelings against the inhabitants who had not given their adhesion, and more particularly against the Ayuntamiento were rather violent, and even gave rise to strong excitement against some individuals; considering also the situation in which the colony would be in regard to the division command by Col. Mejia if they did not pronounce themselves; and finally taking into consideration that the party of Santa Anna is truly the liberal republican, and constitutional party, and that it is proper that a strong manifesta- tion of opinion should be made throughout the Republic in favor of the plan of Veracruz, as the only means to bring civil war to an end, and to secure peace and the constitutional liberty of the Nation. I expressed my opinion to the Ayuntamiento, advising them to pronounce themselves in order to avoid evils and local misunderstandings which prove always fatal. A meeting of the Ayuntamiento took place the day before yesterday, and another yesterday, of the people, which was well attended, and in which the plan of Veracruz was unanimously adhered to, the most perfect unison and harmony prevailing in that expression of the public will. The resolutions and their preamble contain a true manifestation of the causes and origin of the difficulties at Anahuac, and of the objects of those who went to attack Bradburn, in short they offer a concise history of the whole transaction. It was said by the partizans of the Cabinet at Matamoras, that the colonists had risen against the integrity of the territory, and a thousand other false and imaginary versions.

You may in your visit here have formed a correct idea of the whole affair, and I am convinced that there was no other object in view, but to show to the despot John Davis Bradburn, that there is such a thing as the constitution and State of Coahuila and Texas. That man was the cause of the whole evil, loss of life, and misfortune. I assure you most solemnly, that I have not heard, even from the mouth of the most exasperated, one word against any Mexican holding an important command, or in office in these colonies: The complaints are against Davis and Fisher, and most particularly against the despotic procedings of the first, always supported by General Teran. Fisher told me at Matamoras, that the untimely, impolitic, and impracticable order issued by him on the 24th of November last, in relation to the Navigation of the Brazos River was dictated by General Teran himself, and cannot be charged to him, as he did but obey: In such case he has been very unfortunate, because the whole odium fell on his head. I assure you also, with the same solemnity, that I have not heard one single word, that might countenance insinuations, often made by friends of the Cabinet and enemies of Texas, that the colonists wished to secede and to declare their independence from the Mexican Federation. On the contrary, the most intelligent among them, told me that the late difficulties have convinced them more than ever, that to think of such a thing would be the ruin of all. My own and the general wish is, to see Texas forming by itself a State of the Federation, and as long as it is not so, we can expect no peace, progress nor government, and in fact nothing.

In answer to the question, what are the causes of the convulsions in Texas, and why did they declare themselves in favor of the plan of Veracruz, You may say; that in Texas, there is a military government, more or less despotic according to the character and disposition of the commanding officers: that there is a civil government more or less strong, according to the disposition and intelligence of the Alcaldes, and Ayuntamientos, and their distance from a military post, and thus there is no government at all in several points, excepting that which originates in a mutual agreement on the part of the people to submit to the decisions of some persons elected by them: But at the same time, all acknowledge the authority and laws of the Nation and State: There is not throughout Texas, one single "Juez de Letras," nor one "Licenciado." The supreme tribunal of Justice is at Saltillo, a distance of 300 leagues. The legislature understands neither the situation nor the wants of Texas, nor can it understand them. The military powers under the anti-republican anti-liberal administration of Guerrero's assassins who have extended their iron sceptre over the nation, since the black cloud of Jalapa appeared, have treated the government and constitution of the State of Coahuila and Texas with a complete contempt. If the authorities of the State have borne such insults, there is no reason why the people should do so. In short, you may say that Texas needs a government, and that the best she can have, is to be created a State in the Mexican Federation. For which we want more population, and to obtain it, the Article 11th of the law of April 6th 1830 must be abrogated.

The inhabitants of Texas have always had their eyes and hopes fixed on the authority and Ayuntamiento of the Capital of Bexar, they with that City, would take the lead in advocating and defending the interests and rights of Texas. It is the oldest settlement: the fathers and forefathers of its inhabitants, have conquered the wilderness and struggled against the Indians. In the years 1820-1821-1822 and 1823, they were reduced to almost the last stage of decline and suffering, and the whole of Texas was in danger of returning to its primitive state, to be untrodden by civilized people. The immigrants did not, and do not believe that Bexar would shut its eyes to the evils that affect the Country, or would remain contented and silent, without even representing against the measures that prevent emigration, and paralyze the progress of the land of their ancestors. It is now time for it to meet the expectation of the people. Bexar must speak in a respectful, but firm and decided tone and voice, fearless of commanding generals, bayonets, ministers, or any body. Let it adhere to the pronounciamento of Veracruz, urge the whole of Texas to do the same, and thus unite us under the flag of the Constitution. Let it represent against the laws preventing imigration from other countries, request that the above be flung open to all nations at peace with the Republic. Let it complain of the maratime tariff, a barbarous contrivance ruinous to agriculture; let it expose clearly the abuses of the military power, and above all, let it be the first to urge a separation from Coahuila and the formation of a seperate State. The character of the people of Texas is interprizing and decided, they scorn dangers and laugh at obstacles; therefore if Bexar wishes to be at the head of these people, it must be decided in its course, it must be Mexico-Texan.

If Bexar will pronounce itself, Nacogdoches will follow, but otherwise the people of that district will do what they have done here; they will attack Colonel Piedras, and the whole population will be up again, and Mexico overflowed with rumors and lies about the rebellion of the colonists of Texas: All this may be avoided if Bexar follows the example given by this town and LaBahia Things have now come to such a pass, that lukewarm measures are ruinous, it is necessary to adopt a party, and to declare it publicly, otherwise I apprehend that it would be difficult to avoid difficulties, divisions, and local ill feeling throughout Texas.

Señor Mejia left the mouth of the Brazos for Anahuac, and may thence proceed to Nacogdoches, in which case, the people will join him in mass. All this may be avoided if Bexar and Nacogdoches pronounce themselves, and the whole of Texas unites in mass under the same banner—that of Santa Anna. I have expressed my opinion to the government of the Nation and that of the State, as well as to General Santa Anna from Matamoras, with a particular notice of the slanderous, unjust and Machiavellian lie, of that imaginary ghost raised by the aristocratic and designing enemies of the immigration of republican settlers—that the inhabitants of Texas wish to secede from Mexico. I have also declared that it is impossible to rule Texas, militarily, and that its peace would be endangered in proportion to the increase of regular troops, above the sufficient number for the protection of the frontier from the Indians. Some friends of the liberal party, asked me at Monterey: What are the Ayuntamiento and People of Bexar about that they do not manifest to the nation, the true state of affairs in Texas? Why do they not represent against article 11th of the law of April 6, 1830, which opposes so many obstacles to emigration? I write to you with my accustomed candor, and with the most sincere wishes for the prosperity and peace of my country, and in these terms I avail myself of this occasion to give you the assurance of the respect and cordial friendship of your fellow citizen and friend &c.

Stephen F. Austin