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"....I am an unhappy man, and unhappy people should not live on earth......¿En qué parará Texas?.....¿En qué parará Texas? En lo que Dios quiera."--In last letter to Lucás Alamán prior to his death the next day
Manuel de Mier y Terán 1789-1832
General Manuel Mier y Teran Revolutionary, Congressman, Minister War & Navy

Commandante Provincias Internas

Liberal Intellectual Scientist

Independent Mexican Republican

Presidential Possibility 1832

Tragic Friend & Last Hope for Mexican Texas

Last Hope for a Constitutional Mexican Republic

(The following is synthesized from diverse sources with Terán and Texas by Ohland Morton, 1948, serving as as a guide and base.  Portrait above from Morton's Terán and Texas from Julio Zarate's La Guerra de Independencia, vol. III of Vicente Riva Palacio's Mexíco á Través de Siglos)

Early life and the Revolution. José Manuel Rafael Simeón de Mier y Terán was born 18 Feb 1789 in Mexico City, the oldest son of Manuel de Mier y Terán and María Ignacia de Teruel y Llanos. Manuel Mier y Terán Sr. was the son of Antonio de Mier y Terán and Ana María de Casuro y Peña. His mother's parents were Felipe Teruel and Anna María Llanos y Leon. He and younger brothers Juan and Joaquin served in the Mexican Revolutionary movement under Morelos. In 1824 Manuel Mier y Terán married María Joséfa Velasco de Teruel and they established a home in Mexico City. They had a son born in 1825 who died two days before Terán departed Mexico City for his inspection trip to Texas on 10 Nov 1827.

Terán was adept in mathematics and engineering, attended the Mexico City College of Mines and graduated in 1811. Like many idealistic students, he was attracted to the revolutionary ideas of the Hidalgo and Morelos movements. His theoretical knowledge of explosives and ballistics were of practical potential and he was inducted into the ranks by Ignacio Rayon on 22 Mar 1811. Prior to that time, Terán apparently had cautiously investigated the insurgent movement disguised as a mule driver in one instance where he observed battlefields, one in particularly at the Calderon Bridge. He witnessed executions of rebels as well. After joining Rayon, he quickly gained his confidence as an organizer and assistant. He then became head of an artillery division under his childhood friend, Maríano Matamoros, top assistant of José María Morelos y Pavon. Terán continued to exercise his talents in manufacture of munitions as well as training and command. Terán was instrumental as captain of artillery (forty pieces) in one of the greatest victories of Morelos against the royalists at Oaxaca on 25 Nov 1812. In the assault on Oaxaca, while Terán was attempting to protect a drawbridge for crossing a moat, he observed the young insurgent Manuel Felíx Fernandez, later known as Guadalupe Victoria, become mired in mud while attempting to cross on foot through the moat. His reaction of laughter to the comical sight of Fernandez and others mired in the moat is said to have been remembered by Victoria and a source of ill feeling between the two for life.

Although primaily occupied with munitions manufacture, Terán’s military efforts under Rayon were plagued with setbacks of the movement in general and also disagreement on tactics. In summer 1814, he joined Juan N. Rosains in the Tehuacan region in the province of Puebla. At Silacayoapan near Oaxaca and Puebla, Terán was promoted to colonel because of meritorious action with artillery in a losing siege by royalist Generals Alvarez and Sanmiego. In 1815, the Terán brothers became victims of the treachery and vindictiveness of their chosen chief, Rosain, who initiated military conflict with the insurgent forces of chieftain Guadalupe Victoria. Initially they were loyal to Rosains and led an action against Gen. Felix Luna under Victoria, but on 16 Aug he allied with Luna and arrested Rosains and delivered him up to Guadalupe Victoria’s headquarters. The traitorous Rosains escaped and eventually was pardoned by the royal Viceroy after delivery of insurgent intelligence to the royalists.

After Death of Morelos. In the fall of 1813, the revolutionary movement with Morelos at its head had been able to establish a Congress, a declaration of rights and a Constitution of sorts which included abolition of slavery, imprisonment for debt and collection of tithes for more church properties, and an Executive Council (Poder Ejecutivo) of Liceaga, Cos and Morelos. Morelos moved the government to his home town of Valladolid where attack from royal forces became severe as well as internal strife and assassination. In an attempt to move his troops and the Congress to join Mier y Terán at Tehuacan, he was captured at Texmalaca on 15 Nov while attempting to divert the Viceroy's forces from the Congress and his main army. Despite the setbacks of the insurgent movement including the capture and execution of Morelos in Mexico City, the Terán brothers’ collective positive activities in the Tehuacan and Mizteca districts with Manuel at the head established him clearly among the insurgent leaders for Mexican independence as Vicente Guerrero, Nicolás Bravo, Guadalupe Victoria, Francisco Osorno and Antonio Torres. Squabbling among the chieftains prevented any one from emerging a current leader, however, Terán’s military skills and initiatives backed by his brothers made him the next logical candidate to lead the revolution. Terán was disgusted with the group that comprised the Congress of the revolutionary government who proceeded to vote themselves high salaries and gain control of the treasury. He chided them for calling each other "Your Most Honorable" while conducting little state business. Terán dissolved the Congress and placed the members under arrest, then liberated them and sent them on their way with money in hand.

Without a unified governing body, Terán failed to unite the diverse military chieftains of Mexico which proceeded to be cut down by royal forces one by one. Matamoros, Francisco Rayon (brother of Ignacio Rayon) and Galeana were captured and beheaded. With the appointment of Juan Ruiz Apodaca as Viceroy by Ferdinand VII in 1816, troops were concentrated against the Terán brothers’ forces at Tehuacan and Cerro Colorado, however, Apodaca exercised a policy of no reprisals and offer of amnesty which further dampened the revolution in absence of unity. Manuel and Juan Mier y Terán surrendered with guarantee of amnesty to General Bracho in Feb 1817 and retired to private life in Puebla until 1821. A few chieftains continued local, but largely inconsequential insurgent activities, which included Guadalupe Victoria, Juan Alverez and Vicente Guerrero. Ignacio Rayon and Verduzco were captured and imprisoned and Liceaga was assassinated by one of his men.

In summer of 1821, hearing of the renewed insurgent activities stimulated by the changes in Spain forcing Ferdinand VII to restore some constitutional principles, Terán joined Nicolás Bravo, who had been called up by the coalition of Agustino Iturbide and Guerrero along with followers of Osorno, Victoria and others. The threat comprised of renewed joint revolutionary forces through the country and to the ecclesiastics by the reforms in Spain resulted in the Plan of Iguala (Plan of the Three Guarantees), a coalition of church, monarchy and revolutionaires whose common goal was independence. Most regional chieftains backed the plan, both royalist and revolutionary, with Iturbide as the leader. These included Anastacio Bustamante, Juan Alverez, Carlos María Bustamante, Jose Joaquin Herrera and Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.

Under Iturbide--Commander at Chiapas, Congressman and Minister of War and Navy. In fall 1821, Iturbide assigned Mier y Terán to be military commander of Chiapas, a part of Guatemala, but with practical associations with Mexico. He guided the annexation, along with Gen. Vicente Filisola, of independent Guatemala and Nicaragua into the new Republic of Mexico and soon after returned to Mexico City where he was elected to Congress in 1822. He plotted an independent path through the intense struggles between constitutional monarchists and republicans for power. During the period Terán was a member of the colonization committee and a supporter of the policy. It is thought at that time he became acquainted with Stephen F. Austin who was in Mexico and his lifetime interest in Texas began. As a Congressman, he was pragmatic and proposed compromise and moderation, adherence to existent, largely Spanish law, while the constitution and civil government of the new Republic could be implemented. Terán’s term as a Congressman temporarily ended when Iturbide as Augustin I, Emperor of Imperial Mexico, dissolved it by decree on 31 Oct 1822. He again became an active Congressman when it was reassembled in Mar 1823 after the emergence of Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna with his Plan of Veracruz, the coalition with Guadalupe Victoria resulting in the Plan of Casa Mata, and the abdication of Iturbide and establishment of a provisional government. The plans called for abolition of the imperial government, organization of a republican government, assembly of the Congress and a new constitution. Terán’s service as a Congressman in the period revealed his intellect and broad knowledge, his statesman-like qualities rather than militaristic qualities exhibited by many of the new government.

Historians disagree in their assessment of Terán’s political stance in this period which probably reflects the fact that he allied with no one faction, but plotted an independent course. In contrast to Valentine Gómez Farias from Coahuila y Tejas, he is classified by author Howard Noll from Empire to Republic as a Centralist similar to Carlos María Bustamante. He cites his opposition to the wording in the preamble to the Constitution of 1824 which said "The nation adopts the Republican, Federal, Popular, Representative form of Government," contrasting the historic situation of Mexico and the United States at the time for a Constitution as radically different. Ohland Martin in Terán and Texas concludes that he was in essence a liberal and a republican, an avid supporter of individual expression and freedom of the press. Yet he used as his base unwaveringly, after the separation from Spain, the established Mexican authority, as he disagreed with its parts and worked for its reformation plotting a course of consistency in his actions. From Mar to Oct 1824, he served as Minister of War and Navy along with Minister of Relations Lúcas Alamán. During this period the two became close friends which continued until Terán’s death. As during the insurgency, Terán worked hard to improve the technical aspects of the military of the new Republic including the navy. He was for reformation of the old Spanish military penal codes, apparently unsuccessfully, as evidenced by their retention and exercise during the rebellion in Texas.

Assignment to the Provincias Internas. After Guadalupe Victoria received a majority of votes in the first presidential election with Nicolás Bravo second under the new Constitution of 4 Oct 1824 establishing the Federal Republic of the United States of Mexico, dislike between the two emerged which many think was precipitated by the earlier incident at Oaxaca in 1812. His service under Victoria consisted of a series of assignments that many think were designed to keep him away from Mexico City. Terán expressed privately that more than one of his missions were trivial and useless with unnecessary cost to the government. Among one of the missions was a boundary survey between the USA and Mexico and an inspection of the province. An attempt to appoint him ambassador to England failed revealing that Terán had enough enemies in the Congress  to block the nomination. Among the most outspoken was centralist from Tabasco José María Alpuche. From 1825 to fall 1827, Terán returned to largely scholarly activities. His old traitorous enemy Rosains re-surfaced to write an attack on his actions at Cerro Colorado in 1817, but Terán’s eloquence and personal defense of his position apparently was the winner in eyes of the public.

On 10 Nov 1827, a caravan left Mexico City for Texas under command of Gen. Mier y Terán which would be of great import in the future of Texas as a province within the Republic of Mexico.

Martin in "Terán and Texas" points out "it was headed by one of the outstanding intellects of Mexico; few men in that country in 1827 possessed the vast knowledge necessary for conducting a scientific expedition of the character contemplated…made him the best fitted man in the republic for the task before him."

The mission was primarily scientific aimed at collecting geographical data and assessing the agricultural and commercial potential of the natural resources. Given the evolving political relations between the USA and the new Mexican Republic, particularly definition of the precise boundary between the two countries and treaties of commerce, no doubt the party was to assess needs for occupation and defense, the possibility of balancing the rapid settlement by immigrants from the United States of the North with European immigrants, and the status of the native Indian populations.

Even as Terán was on his way to Texas in Nov 1827, the conflict between republican and centralist philosophies in Mexico began to move at an increasing pace to threaten the first presidential term of the constitutional Republic. Rivalries between the Scottish Rite (Ecoseses of European continental origin) and York Rite (Yorkinos of American origin) lodges of the Masonic order split along the two political lines, the former centralist and conservative and the latter liberal and republican. Out of the dispute, the Plan of Montaño of 1827 arose aimed at the liberal faction, backed by Vice-President Bravo and Manuel de Santa Anna, brother of the future dictator Lopez de Santa Anna. The latter was against the plan. Backers of the plan were put down by Victoria's forces under Vicente Guerrero and exiled. President Guadalupe Victoria advised Gen. Anastasio Bustamante, Commander of the Eastern Interior Provinces, of the events and apparently for Bustamante to watch Terán for signs of sympathy of the Plan of Montaño and his old friend Bravo as he proceeded toward the Texas expedition. It is in Laredo where Terán was routed that Terán is believed to have earned the respect and long term friendship of Anastacio Bustamante whom he visited for over 20 days. The party continued from Laredo to Bexar arriving 3 Jan 1828. Details, mostly scientific, of the journey were recorded by diarist Sanchez. On his first contact with Anglo-immigrants, Sanchez noted:

The Americans from the north have taken possession of practically all of the eastern part of Texas, in most cases without the permission of the authorities." The party continued toward Nacogdoches in April. On 27 Apr they arrived in San Felipe de Austin and were hosted by Samuel Williams. Sanchez noted that "…population is nearly 200 persons of whom only ten are Mexicans, for the balance all are Americans from the North with an occasional European…..Beyond…..are scattered the families brought by Stephen F. Austin, which today number more than two thousand persons…..the spark that will start the conflagration that will deprive us of Texas, will start from this colony.

On 3 Jun, the parties reached Nacogdoches and were met by Lt. Col. José de las Piedras. Their reports described the village with about 700 with less than 100 women. Sanchez entered in his journal:

The civil administration is entrusted to an alcalde and in his absence, to the first and second regidores, but up until now, they have been, unfortunately, extremely ignorant men, more worthy of pity than of reproof. From this fact, the North American inhabitants (who are in the majority) have formed an ill opinion of the Mexicans, judging them in their pride, incapable of understanding laws, arts, etc. They continually try to entangle the authorities in order to carry out the policy most suitable to their perverse designs. Different tribes of Indians such as the Tejas, Nadoes, Yguanes, Savanas, Cherokees, Kickapoos, Delawares, Cutchates, Alabamas, Quichas, and Cados, continually enter Nacogdoches, but they are peaceful and carry on their trade in the city with skins, corn, pumpkins, and beans. The Mexicans that live here are very humble people, and perhaps their intentions are good, but because of their education and environment they are ignorant not only of the customs of our great cities, but even of the occurrences of our Revolution, excepting a few persons who have heard about them. Accustomed to the continued trade with the North Americans, they have adopted their customs and habits, and one may truly say that they are not Mexicans except by birth, for they even speak Spanish with marked incorrectness.

It was here that the party met Col. Peter Ellis Bean who arranged numerous conferences and visits with the local Indian tribes. Most were interested in obtaining land titles, although Terán was most interested in observation and assessment of military and commercial relations. During this period in 1828, Terán and Stephen F. Austin had numerous communications concerning issues in development of Texas. Clearly these communications caused Terán to reflect on the detailed problems related in Austin’s letters (trade with Mexican ports, registration of Texas vessels, protection from US law suits, separation from Coahuila and government organization), although his responses were often largely dominated by his occupation in physical observations and often concern with his personal health and comfort. After return to Bexar on 4 April, Terán filed the first of his reports to President Guadalupe Victoria and Minister of Relations, José María Bocanegra. He advised that the boundary defined in the Treaty of 1819, a moot point at this stage since it had already been agreed. More importantly, these reports were the first in a series describing essentially an alarming view, at least in the eyes of some governmental officials, of Anglo-American infiltration, and other problems in the area. He advised establishing a political chief in Nacogdoches and that the national government provide support of the Indian tribes rather than the state government of Coahuila y Texas. He deplored the neglect of the garrison at Nacogdoches and called for more support.

Political upheavals and Spanish invasion. Meanwhile internal power struggles within the Mexican government continued to mount in Terán’s absence. After the Yorkist branch of the Masons and its allied political factions gained dominance and President Victoria’s term was reaching an end, violent power struggles began between the Yorkists themselves who prepared for the next presidential election. The High Liberals or Radicals supported old revolutionary Vicente Guerrero while the conservatives and moderates along with the Centralists supported Victoria’s Minister of War and friend of Iturbide, Manuel Goméz Pedraza. Pedraza with Anastacio Bustamante (Commander of Eastern Interior Provinces) second was elected by the legislature in an 11 of 20 vote over Vicente Guerro. The election was disputed, reversed by the house of deputies, but upheld by the Senate. Guerro’s followers led by Santa Anna staged a revolt in Vera Cruz, which spread to Mexico City where government troops were defeated and a state of anarchy broke out. Pedraza fled the scene, resigned and took exile in England. Guerro was proclaimed the new President with Bustamante as vice-president. These events demanded the attention of most military officials, which included Mier y Terán in Texas, and he was called to Mexico City. It can be concluded that despite his fragile health and the harsh conditions of the frontier in Texas, Manuel Mier y Terán was reluctant to leave, had developed an affection for the region and its people and enjoyed being absent from the upheavals of politics in internal Mexico. On 16 Jan 1828, Terán departed Cols. Bean and Piedras in Nacogdoches whom he apparently had grown to admire and work well with. The party returned to Matamoros via the Old Bahia Road crossing the Lavaca and Navidad Rivers in the DeWitt Colony on 8 Jan. On the 16th they reached La Bahia returning to Matamoros on 7 Mar. Thus ended the most extensive on-sight presence (one full year Feb to Feb 1828-1829) of the man whose opinions and reports would set the nature of the interaction of Texas with the central Mexican government until his death in 1832.

In addition to the struggles for the Presidency of Mexico which caused Gen. Terán’s return from Texas, on 28 Jul 1829 a Spanish force from Havana under Gen. Isidoro Barradas landed at Cabo Rojo near Tampico aimed at returning Mexico to the Spanish fold. The Guerrero government was totally unprepared, but the landing was met by independent regional forces, one of which was assembled by governor of Vera Cruz, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who the government subsequently named Chief of Army Operations. Another was under Gen. Mier y Terán and Eastern Interior Provinces commander Felipe de la Garza. Terán confronted the Spanish force on the road to Tampico, but was forced to retreat to Altamira. Gen. Terán is credited with keeping the Spanish forces hemmed in Tampico while Santa Anna was approaching from across the bay at Tuxpam and while the Guerrero government finally acted with investment of essentially near dictatorial powers to Guerrero. Santa Anna was promoted to general of the division and he appointed Terán as second in command, over the head of la Garza who was officially Terán’s superior. This appointment resulted subsequently in Terán’s position as Commandante of the Eastern Interior Provinces involving him intimately in affairs of Texas until his death in 1832. At Tampico, Terán disagreed openly with the tactics of his superior Santa Anna. With Santa Anna’s agreement to Terán’s plan which was primarily a well-planned and sustained siege and artillery attack rather than a single night time storm, Spanish Gen. Barradas surrendered on 11 Sep 1829.

At Tampico, the contrasting personalities and character of Gen. Manuel Mier y Terán and the future "Napoleon of the West" better described as the "Chameleon of the West" and future dictator Santa Anna was revealed and has been the subject of numerous historiacal comments. In contrast to Santa Anna, Gen. Terán apparently preferred to be in the heat of battle with his troops, much as he had enjoyed the fieldwork in Texas despite his delicate constitution, and was known for his coolness under fire. North American newspapers picked up the following description which historian Carlos Bustamante said showed him:

General Terán like a good insurgent does nothing but form skirmishing parties against the Spaniards and when he loses one soldier he has killed 15 or 20 of the enemy. This General and the Commandant General Garza appear to despise the balls, and are certainly the thermometer of the cavalry and infantry. Of Terán, they say that he was directing the firing of the artillery, seated on a gun carriage, in one hand his cup of chocolate and a piece of bread which he was very quietly taking, while the other contained his sword with which he directed their movements.

Terán engineered the details of Gen. Barradas’ surrender and subsequent handling and treatment of the captured Spanish force. Barradas, well dressed for the meeting for surrender to Gen. Terán, was surprised that he was received by Terán who was mud-covered and indistinguishable from the privates. Barradas’ and subsequent observers noted the humane spirit of Gen. Terán in the affair in which officers and men retained their dignity and swords, lives and rights were respected, appropriate shelter given and the wounded attended. That Terán had his critics, one of which may have been Santa Anna, in his treatment of the prisoners is suggested by documents in which he appeared to justify his humane actions to his chief Santa Anna. An example is the following report to Santa Anna in which he explains his position:

The termination of wars between civilized countries is a transaction in which reparations in proportion to the offense are demanded; but on this occasion it was not considered as a conclusion of a war between Mexico and Spain, but rather, a single act of hostility toward us in which Spain pitted her soldiers against those of Vera Cruz and Tamaulipas, that is to say, before using half the forces which came from the interior, the enemy was completely checked. It was impossible to use more men in the field. In such terms your Excellency has conceded a capitulation which is the end of the campaign, in which the interests of the republic are not in the least prejudiced. These might have been gravely affected if the invading expedition had been taken prisoners of war as doubtless they could have been in two or three more days of blockade. Why imprison those of a government so justly discredited as that of Spain, which was capable of leaving its troops in perpetual imprisonment---even of sacrificing them? It is a matter of incalculable gravity, and it seems to me that your Excellency has stipulated the best possible settlement of the case, that of dismissing the enemy and forcing it to return to the presence of the tyrant who sent it. The result has been a short, but painful campaign which exposed momentarily the valor of the Mexican army.... There has not been a single desertion out of the two thousand men under my command. sdct

Santa Anna praised Gen. Mier y Terán’s service in the entire action at Tampico noting his qualities of leadership and lofty ideal, but returned promptly to Vera Cruz leaving execution of the details to Gen. Terán. Meanwhile, treachery and dissension among the chieftains of Mexico continued to stress the relatively idealistic and reconciliatory, and weak, republican government of President Guerrero. In a fast paced series of conspiracies and changing loyalties on every hand, Santa Anna, once an opponent of Bustamante, proposed the Plan of Jalapa in Vera Cruz which called for a complete change in officials in the Guerrero government and reserve troops under Bustamante in Jalapa were placed in rebellion against the government of Guerrero. While moving to crush the rebellion, Guerrero left Minister José María Bocanegra in charge of the government in Mexico City and who ursurped the powers of the presidency for five days, then ousted by Gen. Luis Quintanar on 29 Dec 1829. Bustamante took over the government as president in Jan 1830 while the old revolutionary Guerrero retired to the mountains. According to Lorezo de Zavala's critical description, Mier y Terán also accepted the plan of the conspirators and betrayed José María Alpuche and other members of the Congress who hoped for a prevention of Bustamante's coup by a coalition of Santa Anna and Mier y Terán. However, Terán declined the offer of appointment of Bustamante's Minister of War and Navy which was given to his old colleague from the College of Mines José Antonio Facio. Bustamante's regime continued to plot the death of Guerrero even though he was far away in the mountains. By the letter of the law he was still the president and Bustamante was only an ad interim. As long as the old revolutionary hero was alive he posed a threat to emerging centralism. Pardons were given to murderers who would make him a target for assassin. He continued sporadic attempts at resistance, was captured in Acapulco and for a bribe from Bustamante's representatives was delivered to him and courtmartialed and executed in Oaxaca in Feb 1831.

Declines position in the Bustamante cabinet. After declining the position of Minister of War offered by Bustamante, Mier y Terán could again turn his attention toward Texas from his position as Commandante of the Eastern Provincias Internas with three sympathetic individuals who knew him well with respect, Bustamante, Lúcas Alamán (Minister of Interior & Foreign Relations) and Facio, in the government. Unfortunately, the chaotic political events in Mexico City continued to distract his attention and eventually tragically overwhelmed him. Soon after the execution of Guerrero, political forces in Mexico divided into three political factions: the ministeriales who were mostly reactionary members of the military and clergy; the hombres de progreso who were largely an opposition party of congressional and local representatives; and the largely unorganized revolutionaries who were dispersed throughout the country under local military chiefs. Each anticipated the next constitutional election scheduled for September 1832. To many the choices were incumbent Bustamante backed by clergy and military, Nicolas Bravo backed by the Scottish Rite sympathizers and the Yorkist branch Santa Anna. Mier y Terán was not clearly aligned with any one of them, but true to his history loyal to the established Mexican authority of the moment. In the opinion of many he was the candidate of choice to represent a coalition of diverse regions and those generally opposed to the government and status quo. He was the choice of Stephen F. Austin and those Texians, thought to be a majority, who were of similar belief, hinted in this letter to Thomas F. Leaming of July 1831:

Things in this country are very quiet, the Mexican Govt. appears to be settling down upon a more solid basis than heretofore---at least there is peace all over the nation . . . the administration of Bustamante has acquired the public confidence to a great degree, and the probability is that there will be no more convulsions until the next presidential election, which takes place in September 1832. How we shall get through that God knows, but we hope for the best---The candidates are not fairly before the public I expect however that Alaman, present Minister of state, Generals Terán, Bravo and Santana, will probably be of the number. The first never was a military man and is believed to be the most able statesman of the nation, the second the most scientific man that belongs to the army, the third is not much celebrated for common sence, and the last is a sort of Mad Cap difficult to class---The two first and the present vice president Genl. Bustamante have befriended me and protected my colony in many instances---They belong to that class of Mexican politicians who wish to improve, populate and civilize the nation so far as they dare attempt it particularly Alaman and Terán---It is quite doubtful whether Bustamante will be a candidate for reelection, some doubt his eligibility on the ground that the president cannot be reelected to a second term untill after an interval of 4 years---others say that he is only vice president and the disability therefore does not apply to him---There is no doubt of his being a very amiable man in his private character---The same may be said with truth of Alaman, and Terán.

From Saltillo in 1831, Austin wrote to secretary Samuel Williams in Texas:

"......have nothing to do with the matter at all [referring to the mounting disputes between Bradburn and Madero at Anahuac]---refer them to the Govt. but if Genl Terán issues any orders obey them. He is our main stay. You may rely upon it and he is worthy of our confidence and support.........I have more confidence in the present administration than I had---my faith in Terán is unimpaired and all will be right in the end."

Author Eugene Barker in the Life of Stephen F. Austin remarked "Nothing would have pleased Austin better than to have seen Terán elected to the presidency. He had confidence in Terán's honesty; and believed that, so far as the ignorance and prejudices of his people permitted, Terán would govern liberally."

Fighting anarchy and rising dictatorship. Fall of 1832 was too far away to wait for legal elections for opportunistic jackals to whom elections had no meaning and were even a threat. Such was Vera Cruz chieftain Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna analyzed by historian Justin H. Smith in The War with Mexico:

Santa Anna, incensed because Guerrero would not appoint him minister of war, had at first coquetted with Bustamante's movement; but soon overshadowed at Jalapa by the Vice-President and by Bravo, whom Guerrero had pardoned, he retired to his estate. On the outbreak of the revolution he took up arms for Guerrero; but when his chief gave up, he followed that example, and patiently awaited, crouching, the time to spring. Now he saw the tide of passion rising, and saw also the best citizens agreeing that Mier y Terán, an able and honorable man, should be the next chief magistrate. Accordingly, to prevent an election if nothing more, he "pronounced" in the name of Federalism at the beginning of 1832, and called for a change of cabinet, though four years earlier he had battled for the principle that nobody should interfere with a President's choice of ministers; ... supported by the Vera Cruz customhouse and defended by the pestilence of the coast, he occupied a most advantageous position; and consistency did not signify.

In Jan 1832, military officers in Vera Cruz plotted to break up the Bustamante regime and invited Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna from the area to lead the movement which he did despite the fact that he was previously a formal supporter. Santa Anna's demand to Bustamante for resignation of the cabinet was effective, but the government would not accept their resignation. At Jalapa, Minister of War Facio with Gen. José M. Calderón defeated Santa Anna's insurgents which he had raised with funds from the Vera Cruz customs house, but could not dislodge him from Vera Cruz by siege. Local revolutionary support begin to arise across multiple states of Mexico in response to Santa Anna and the Plan of Vera Cruz espousing support of the Constitution and a Federal system. Guanajuato, Jalisco, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Tampico and Zacatecas and even at home in Matamoros where Mier y Terán was stationed as Commandante Provincias Internas showed signs of revolt against the Bustamante government and sympathy with Santa Anna. Several state legislatures formally passed anti-government resolutions. Guerrero's old Minister of War, Gen. Moctezuma, marched on the port city of Tampico representing the Bustamante regime, but declared in favor of Santa Anna on 20 Mar. With the port of Tampico in the hands of anti-government forces, Gen. Terán turned to diplomacy and appealed to Moctezuma for loyalty to the government without success after which he marched to Tampico from Matamoros. An article in a New Orleans newspaper described the situation as the General departed Matamoros:

.....The people continue quiet and obedient to the laws; the ill grounded fears entertained of a disturbance, have been dissipated and succeeded by a return of confidence, that must necessarily revive our trade, and give a new impulse and activity to commerce. General Terán left this place this morning with a number of troops for Tampico. His avowed object is to bring the partizans of Gen. Santa Anna into subjection. He is a meritorious officer, and justly.enjoys the entire confidence of his Government. In the present strife his conduct has been marked by a love of liberty and an enthusiastic regard for the civil institutions and constitutional laws of the country. The prompt and judicious measures adopted by him to maintain order and counteract the spirit of insubordination inculcated by the advocates of anarchy and misrule, should merit the approbation and gratitude of every friend of peace and tranquility.

Upon arrival at Pueblo Viejo on 4 May, Terán continued to appeal to Moctezuma using every argument possible for maintaining order under the law until elections could be held. Moctezuma remained obstinate and on 13 May attacked Fort Landero held by the rebels without success. From his headquarters at Villerías, Terán resorted to propaganda and on 15 May labeled the rebels under Santa Anna as puppets of foreigners, largely backed by Spanish adventurers precipitated comment by Stephen F. Austin in a letter to Samuel Williams of 15 June:

Genl Terán has gained, much credit with moderate men for avoiding bloodshed---but he has also lost with the same men, and with everyone except fanatic fools and old Spaniards, for the manner in which he has spoken of foreigners in his letter to Moctezuma written from here, and his Altamira proclamation both of which you have seen published, the latter begins "Ya lo habeis visto." I sincerely believe that neither of these papers contains his real sentiments as to foreigners but most people are in the habit of judging a man by what he says, and not by what he thinks, and for this reason I think those two papers will do the Genl great harm both at home and abroad. They will also irritate the other party excessively, for they contain a direct charge that the Santana party are the mere tools of foreigners, which is certainly an incorrect charge.

On May 20, the Bustamante cabinet resigned, a move which Terán had suggested to Lúcas Alamán in early April, and which was the purported object of the rebel forces continuing to unite under the banner of Santa Anna. This accomplished, Terán continued his appeal through diplomacy for loyalty from the rebel chieftains, primarily Moctezuma, without success. Unsatisfied with the original goal, the rebels led by Santa Anna continued with more demands. Even though Santa Anna had undermined the election of Goméz Pedraza in 1828 he now claimed that he was the legally elected president and that Bustamante should step down. Meanwhile Terán's troops defeated those of both Moctezuma and Francisco Vital Fernández, ex-governor of Tamaulipas, hollow victories for Manuel Mier y Terán as upheavals across Mexico and disturbances in Texas continued with Santa Anna the seemingly emergent chief. In ill health and suffering from increasing personal melancholy, Terán moved his headquarters to Hacienda de Buena Vista del Cojo. Austin wrote after a meeting with Terán on 30 May after the close of the legislative session in Saltillo:

The Genl was greatly perplexed, and overwhelmed with affairs when I saw him at the cojo. He had just retreated from Tampico---had just heard of the removal of the ministers---was not in very good health, and in a camp in the midst of his army, of course not in a situation to talk much about Texas matters---however, we had considerable conversation on the subject. He expresses great interest for the prosperity of the settlers---is in favor of repealing the 11 Article of the law of 6 April and of extending the commercial privileges.

Presidential potential and political philosophy. Supporters of Terán urged him to continue to lead the resistance to the rebellion, to move to Mexico City and organize the state government heads and militia to protect the election process scheduled for September. In late spring of 1832, it is believed that Terán could obtain a majority of votes from at least twelve state legislatures through the country. Terán explained in a letter to his backer and intellectual political mentor, Dr. J.M. Mora:

I would accept if I were there, but to go there would take me away from this country [Texas and the northern provinces], and consequently it would be lost: the advantages I might obtain there would not compensate for that loss......So, I remain here with the ignominy of having fled from the terrible difficulties which surround me.

Terán pointed out to his brother, Juan about the same time:

I have come to be, as you will see, the target of the revolution; but I sustain myself with firmness: my health fails and then returns, and Providence will determine how long this will last for the good of all which is as I desire!

Amid the chaos and pretense of the Santa Anna led revolution under the guise of Constitutional government and liberal democratic federalism, Manuel Mier y Terán was a viable possibility for president in the next scheduled constitutional election for September 1832. Contemporary historians who attempted to evaluate and describe Mier y Terán's political philosophy and affiliations and sympathies differ, sometimes widely, which reflects his independence and aloofness from any one group or philosophy. Most agree on his loyalty to the established order, law and order, his general honesty and unselfishness and vision for development of Mexico into a nation state and economic power. Historian José C. Valades in Santa Anna y la Guerra de Texas wrote:

When Alamán, Zavala, and Mora wrote their gospels, they each sought a military hero. Alaman discovered his in Anastasio Bustamante, Zavala found his in Vicente Guerrero and Mora in Manuel de Mier y Terán. Three programs emerged. Zavala's was founded in the development of land by agricultural exploitation, Alamán on the development of industry, and Mora in the authority of the state to control both agriculture and industry. Zavala looked to the United States for inspiration, Alamán to Europe, and Mora thought of internal control of wealth that already existed; the mines of Mexico and the accumulated wealth of the Church. Of the three heroes, Guerrero was the least cultured, but the most honest; Bustamante was the more militant, the more cruel, and the most disciplined and compliant; and Mier y Terán was the most cultured, the most refined, the most political---he was the true picture of the pure creole.

Dr. J.M. Mora, ex-cleric and political scientist of the time became the proponent of Gen. Terán and attempted most to understand him in order to present him to diverse factions. According to Mora, Terán once declared to him

"I am not a politician and I care naught for a political career which brings nothing but cares and enmities. My profession is that of a soldier, and my pleasures are in the sciences which provide a peaceful, instructive, and agreeable life."

In an attempt to more clearly delineate Gen. Terán's position to Zacatecas governor García y Farias, a predicted swing state in the fall election, Dr. Mora pressed Gen. Terán through interview for his position. As summarized by Mora he would abolish special judicial privileges of the military and clergy, elicit more supervision of the clergy, gradually confiscate Church property, abolish the commandancies general and further upgrage the quality of troops and leadership on the frontier. Terán explained to Mora in May as he continued movements against the rebel forces:

From the beginning of the revolution, I favored the removal of the ministers, and I intimated as much to the vice-president in a private letter, in which I told him that eventually it would be necessary to take this step. I have announced that I am not engaged in this fight on behalf of the ministers, but on behalf of constitutional government. Neither did I enter it to be able to name government officials when it is over, but rather to put down rebellion in the territory under my command. I have worked and I will work to that end. In my creed, that which is private in the way of views and principles must be sacrificed for the interests of that government which I serve publicly. I send you a map of Texas made from my observations, and if I die in this uprising, I want you to keep it.

Terán is believed to have been a Mason although he appears not to have taken sides with Masonic factions to the extent that it influenced his actions. Dr. Mora wrote in 1837:

In his political faith he was a progressive, and although until 1827 he had belonged to the Scottish rite and had committed grave errors, his brilliant talent and upright conduct made him realize quite early that he owed service only to his country; and he retired from the scene to become head of the boundary commission, retaining his friendships, renouncing the hatreds and bickerings of parties, and determined to be just to everyone.... Neither the rebellion of Acordada, nor that of Jalapa, nor of any which followed, gained his approval; to all he refused his services, remaining at all times loyal to the recognized government, firm in the conviction that civil wars, only by exception, are a means of progress.

A description of an event in Texas by W.P. Zuber alludes to his Masonic membership:

It has often been said that no Free Mason can be lawfully punished for crime if the power of conviction or pardon rests in one or more members of the fraternity. All intelligent Free Masons know this to be false; but in cases of purely political offense, Masonry has frequently been the means of saving life. Mr. Sterne being a Mason of high degree, his Masonic friends in New Orleans interceded for him through the agency of General Terán, who was also a Mason of high rank, and Terán procured his pardon. But his liberation was on parole not again to bear arms against the Mexican government, nor to aid its enemies. [Adolphus Sterne, a Mason of Jewish descent, was a Nacogdoches resident who participated in the Fredonian Rebellion who, in contrast to most, was not released after the affair because of supplying arms to the rebels]

Lorenzo de Zavala described Terán as follows:

Mier y Terán is one of the personages who has most distinguished himself by his knowledge, his patriotic services, and his constant application to study. Of all the former patriots and Mexican independents, he is perhaps the least frank and most difficult to become acquainted with. Whether by a distrust which he feels for others or whether he wishes to appear incomprehensible, there is noted in his conversation a certain reserve, an obscurity, which does not proceed from any lack of capacity to express himself. The manner in which he dissolved the congress at Tehuacán explains his character. Just the same, he is not a man of strong will, although he would thus appear at times. This reserve, this ambiguity, does not invite the confidences of friendship, nor of parties; and perhaps explains why Terán has neither friends nor party.

Historian C. M. Bustamante suggests that Terán had little interest in politics and was only happy when involved in science and engineering:

I saw him and heard him making observations on the mysteries of life, principally on the lights of astronomical science, a knowledge of which he possessed to a marvelous degree; on the revolution of the stars, on their attraction and their enormous distances which he could measure most exactly; I saw him out of his senses with joy in examining a plant, an insect, and in studying and searching for the author in the great book of nature.

Ex-minister under Guerrero, José M. Bocanegra in his Memorias described Terán as follows:

Always animated by patriotism, this distinguished Mexican tried to give the nation order and respectability. He knew very well that without legality and justice, it was impossible to attain such goals, and for this reason, he strove to establish the republic anew on a constitutional footing. He worked hard to carry out this aim: He addressed himself to influential persons calling their attention to the advantages of his ideas and principles, but he was not heard in the midst of the cry of parties.  sdct

Melancholy and despair--the tragic final days. On 25 Jun 1832 while on his way to Croix from Hacienda de Buena Vista del Cojo, Gen. Terán received word about the events at Anahuac in Texas. His apparent last order was for Ugartechea to relieve Bradburn of his command. Terán then moved to San Antonio de Padilla with headquarters Presidio Aguaverde residing in the same rooms where Emperor Iturbide spent his last hours before execution in 1824. According to eyewitnesses, the general's behavior became erratic, he toured the village in deep thought making numerous trips to the river and the tomb of Iturbide. Watched and sometimes accompanied by his secretary Col. José María Díaz Noriega, he remarked:

"Things are in a bad way, the political horizon is ever more cloudy, and the net result will be the loss of Texas. I would give my whole life if Mexico could appreciate the beauty and fertility of that land, but no one will think of it. The men there [in Mexico] have enough to think about in their own intrigues and ambitions."

Faithful Noriega replied "But you, General, will probably receive the majority of votes for the presidency, and then you can remedy the evils that you fear."

Terán replied revealing his innermost views:

That is an insane idea. Do you believe that in that palace they ever think of the liberty we have gained for them in the desert? Do you believe that that multitude of men who surround the government would allow a ray of truth to get through to the salon of the president? Do you believe that honor and good intentions are enough to calm this torrent of ambition and aspiration? Do you think that moderation and leniency would be enough to destroy the hatred of the factions, and, from those bands that irritate and destroy one another, form a nation of affectionate brothers and sincere republicans? I have seen many changes in my military and political life, and I have formed one certain and infallible opinion, and that is, that a man who governs a nation cannot leave his post without incurring the hatred and disapproval of his fellow-citizens. If he complies exactly with the law, they call him a tyrant; if he adopts a policy of leniency, they revile him with the name of imbecile. Each faction wants its own exclusive triumph; each man wants his conveniences and interests served; and it is impossible for the government to satisfy so many ambitions. As to the poor people, whom the modern publicists have christened the masses, they suffer patiently whatever extortions are inflicted upon them by the first magistrate down to the grotesque revenue officer; but these masses utter maledictions against the one in command, and these maledictions, like a poison, corrode the heart and fill all moments of life with gall. That is a president; that would be my fate, and I should see us, without being able to prevent it, lose Texas. Texas-which has cost me so much sleep and so much effort.

From Terán and Texas by Ohland Martin as summarized from diverse reports of the final moments of Gen. Manuel y Terán:

That night, at nine o'clock, the general retired. In about half an hour, Colonel Noriega heard a groan. He inquired if the general were ill. On being informed that all was well, he forgot the incident until the next day, when he discovered that the general had driven half an inch of a rapier between his ribs. Doubtless Mier y Terán had rejected an impulse to take his own life, fearing in some way to throw blame on those who slept in the same house. The next morning, July 3, the commandant general arose early and dressed carefully. He donned the uniform which he reserved for special occasions, put on the various insignia of his military career, and knotted a beautifully colored silk handkerchief to the collar of his blouse. He buckled on his sword, which he rarely wore, and went outside at seven o'clock. He gave a short turn about the plaza, and meeting a corporal of the presidial company of Aguaverde at the door of the barracks, he said,

"If your general should die, what would you do?" "Someone would replace you," replied the corporal with rustic simplicity.

This answer seemed to decide him, and making numerous detours so as not to be seen, he went behind a ruined wall in front of the old roofless church of San Antonio de Padilla. There he braced the handle of his sword against a stone, and put the point against his heart. He made a quick forward movement, and fell lifeless, pierced through by the sword. A short time later, he was missed, and General Ignacio Mora, second in command, instituted a search. The body was found, face upward, about ten o'clock that same morning; the left hand of the dead man was clenched in the collar of his military blouse and his right hand rested upon the blade of his sword. General Mora ordered the body removed to the salon of the old Casa del Congreso, across the plaza from the church.

That night, when the single, lonely bell of Padilla tolled for vespers, a livid corpse, covered with white linen, was stretched out in the flickering light of four candles in the salon where the Tamaulipas Congress had decreed the death of Iturbide. The next morning, at eleven o'clock, General Mora conducted a military funeral. Then the body was placed in the same tomb with the mortal remains of the former Emperor, Iturbide. A few years later, the remains of Iturbide were removed from the tomb and taken to Mexico City. Those of Mier y Terán were left in Padilla, and today, a simple stone slab lies flat on the ground over the last resting place of this illustrious patriot. There is no inscription, but the ground around it is well kept, and the natives of Padilla are proud of the fact that so great a man is buried in their little community. A new church replaces the old one of San Antonio, and across the plaza from it, on the site of the old casa del congreso, stands a magnificent marble shaft, a monument to Iturbide. The present Padilla has been built a short distance to the west on the beautiful Rio Soto la Marina, and about all that remains of the ancient villa are the tomb, the monument, and a few ruined walls surrounding the plaza made famous in the history of Mexico by the deaths of Iturbide and Mier y Terán.

Suicide or assassination? Most historians agree that Gen. Terán's death was a suicide related to chronic ill health and what today would be assessed as chronic sub-clinical depression, which runs through almost continuously the journals and eyewitness reports of those close to him. However, within the context of intrigue, assasination and political switching that is characteristic of the period among the Mexican chieftains and political leaders, assassination theories are inevitable and a real consideration. Santa Anna is thought to have know well that Terán was a viable threat for election in September. The language used in some of Terán's last correspondence implies that he may have felt himself a target for assassination and blame for errors of the Bustamante government. General Vicente Filisola in his memoirs declared firmly that Terán was assassinated at Santa Anna's will. Historian C. M. Bustamante also favored the assassination theory declaring:

Who is the suicide? The coward, the libertine, not the moderate and virtuous man: Terán did not have these defects: he showed at various times that he did not fear death, as he dared it in the very trenches of the enemy. He was neither libertine nor non-believer. I heard him speak of religion always with the decorum and dignity to which it is entitled by reason of its sanctity. I saw him receive the sacred Eucharist, frightened and trembling. I accompanied him on his visit to the monuments of Tehuacan, and was moved by his profound reflections on the great mysteries which the church celebrated on that day. A man, then, of such proportion, one may be sure, is not the type of suicides; of those cowards who in the guise of bad soldiers, as Socrates said, are unable to keep the place they were given by providence. It is true that he was a profound and melancholy man, as true and reflective wise men usually are: that his heart was devoured by deep sorrows, that his health was destroyed by years of labors, strenuous services, and that which made him suffer most was the knowledge that the present revolution had been stirred up by Santa Anna because he believed that Terán was preferred over him for the presidency. But, if this man had conspired against his own life, weren't there pistols to deprive him of it, to save him the sharp pain of driving a sword through his breast, thus dying a prolonged and bloody death? I believe that he was not such a suicide, just as I believe that neither Cato nor Mithridates would have resorted to the dagger had they known the invention of gunpowder, to avert such horrible anguish. Suicide is not the favorite American passion, but it is of the English, on account of their climate. The Americans fear it because of their natural love of life, and because of their religious ideals and their knowledge of the terrible judgement of God ideas which are the basis of their belief. Therefore, let us leave to time the solution of this horrible incident.

Last letter to Lucás Alamán. Perhaps most revealing is Manuel Mier y Terán's last letter written to his personal friend and colleague, Lucás Alamán, on the afternoon of July 2, 1832, the day before his death:

¿En qué parará Texas? En lo que Dios quiera.
A great and respectable Mexican nation, a nation of which we have dreamed and for which we have labored so long, can never emerge from the many disasters which have overtaken it. We have allowed ourselves to be deceived by the ambitions of selfish groups; and now we are about to lose the northern provinces. How could we expect to hold Texas when we do not even agree among ourselves? It is a gloomy state of affairs. If we could work together, we would advance. As it is, we are lost. I believed, and with reason, that the withdrawal of the ministry would end the revolution. It only gave courage to those factions of discord who now hope to occupy all the country. There is commotion from Tampico to Mexico. The present state of affairs in Texas does not permit me to leave. The revolution absorbs the energies of men who should be working together.

From the twenty-fourth of last May I held a position in order to protect the states of San Luis and Tamaulipas from the military forces of the revolutionists, and to a certain extent overcome their influence in closing the principal means of communication; but it was impossible to stay their activities in Huasteca and other towns in Tamaulipas, from which places they were able completely to surround my camp. Particularly in Victoria did they make headway. The authorities and powers there were in a. most critical position, since the legal existence of their government depended upon my success in this fracas. As individuals, they were about equally divided in their allegiance-some favored the government and some supported the revolution. Was ever a general faced with a more insuperable obstacle? I could expect no direct aid from the state government in pursuing a rigorous plan of war. Even when I received orders from Victoria, I realized under the circumstances that they were not constitutional. The effect has been to leave me. isolated in Tamaulipas with my depleted forces. If I 1eave, the, state is lost. If I remain, all is lost. Martial law would be a precarious remedy, and one justified by the revolution; but our constitution makes no provision for such a law, and if it were changed so as to provide for such measures today, in Tamaulipas and everywhere in the federation it would produce such lamentable results, that it is best not to consider it. In the first place, it is an impossibility, and secondly, if it were not, I as commander would have to ask for my relief.

Moctezuma would not listen to reason. His forces now are larger than mine. His successes are due to numbers rather than to his generalship . . . .When I came through this country in 1829, on my way to Tampico, I noticed many places connected with the return of Iturbide to Mexico. I have seen the house where he spent his last night. The wall in front of which he was shot is still standing. This morning dawned diaphanous, radiant, beautiful. The sky was blue; the trees green, the birds were bursting with joy; the river crystalline, the flowers yellow, making drops of dew shine in their calyces. Everything pulsed with life, everything gave evident signs that the breath of God had reached nature. In contrast to these things the village of Padilla is alone and apathetic, with its houses in ruin and its thick ashen adobe walls;---and my soul is burdened with weariness. I am an unhappy man, and unhappy people should not live on earth. I have studied this situation for five years and today, I know nothing, nothing, for man is very despicable and small; and---let us put an end to these reflections, for they almost drive me mad. The revolution is about to break forth and Texas is lost.

Immortality! God! The Soul! What does all this mean? Well, then, I believe in it all, but why does man not have the right to put aside his misery and his pains? Why should he be eternally chained to an existence which is unpleasant to him? And this spirit which inspires, which fills my mind with ideas-where will it go? Let us see, now; the spirit is uncomfortable, it commands me to set it free, and it is necessary to obey. Here is the end of human glory and the termination of ambition.
¿En qué parará Texas? En lo que Dios quiera. ["What is to become of Texas? Whatever God wills"]


Gen. Manuel Mier y Terán was a responsive confidant of Empresario Stephen F. Austin, their relations from 1828 to his Terán's death in 1832 have been described as cordial and intimate. Terán also respected and worked with other loyal Anglo-Mexican immigrant leaders and Tejanos for peace and development of the province. Among the issues he supported in Texas was trial by jury in the colonies with review of verdicts by trained judges who periodically visited the settlements. He was for exemption of Texas from the strict letter of the slavery emancipation decree of President Guerrerro. He expressed frankly his opinion that the admission of slaves was essential to the development of Texas and use in the coastal states of the Republic of Mexico was inevitable. He predicted that slavery would make Texas an economically powerful state equal to Louisiana, but expressed reservations whether slavery was too high a price for the success. Terán expressed support to Austin for freedom of religion in Texas which was preferable to no religion at all on the frontier which appeared to the case. It is thought that this attitude probably reflected that of President Guerrerro whose administration was too short-lived to implement it as a constitutional amendment. Most importantly, Terán concurred with the views and appeals of Austin that his colonies and those of Green DeWitt were excluded from the limits on Anglo immigration in the decree of 1830 instructing commandants at San Antonio and Nacogdoches that all orders received by him from higher authorities "aimed to guarantee the colonies already established on the terms in which their contracts were granted; so that they have the right to conclude all matters pending in the part that has not yet been fulfilled."

Terán was strongly critical of the increasing minority of native Mexicans were who he described as of "the lowest class--the very poor and ignorant." He concluded that, because of this, foreigners in Texas would not assimilate with them because the natives had nothing to teach or impart to them. He agreed that the Anglo colonists complaint of "political disorganization on the frontier" was justified and needed remedy by attention of the government of Mexico. He was for balancing the perceived problems caused by an Anglo majority of immigrants with native born Hispanic immigrants from the interior while his successor, Tadeo Ortiz de Ayala, promoted the idea that Texas could be attractive to European immigrants that could more easily be assimilated into the Mexican way of life. Stephen F. Austin had written Terán after passage of the Bustamante Decree of 1830 "My hopes are fixed on you to save Texas." A week before his death he had written Austin "The affairs of Texas are understood by none but you and me, and we alone are the only ones who can regulate them." His successor, Ortiz de Ayala, died in the cholera epidemic of 1833. One month after the death of Ortiz on 15 Nov 1833, the Mexican Senate rescinded the anti-immigration law of 1830. In Jan 1834, Goméz Farias sent Juan Nepomuceno Almonte to investigate the situation in Texas and it is believed he expected to become the successor of Terán and Ortiz as "director of colonization" of Texas with similar aims. Almonte returned in 1836 as a major figure in the military force sent to subdue the Texas independence movements.  sdct teran


Correspondence Between General Manuel Mier y Terán and Texas 1828-1832
[The majority of the summarized archival correspondence below was in Spanish, the extent of Gen. Terán's ability to speak and write English is unclear]

1828

12 Jan 1828 Saltillo. J. Antonio Padilla to Austin. Terán is now in Monterrey and soon will go from there to the presidios as far as Bexar. He was here for a few days. He is a man of much knowledge, understanding, and astuteness, not easy to become friendly with, holds strictly to convention, is formidable with his logic and persuasion, and is of an analytical turn of mind…

21 Feb Bexar Ramon Musquiz to Austin. Dentro de pocos dias tendremos en esta al General Terán con su comitiba. El Comandte del 11 que devia escoltar a este efe se Declaro pr el Plan de Montano, comprometio el regimeinto, y al ultimo se cambio, contal occurencia no se si esta tropa continuara para su destino.

3 Apr Bexar Ramon Musquiz to Austin. Introduction of Gen. Terán and request for census of the colony.

9 Apr Bexar Erasmo Seguin to Austin. Asks Austin to be especially cordial to his old friend, Gen. Terán.

15 May Bexar Ramon Musquiz to Austin. Update on Terán’s plans including topographical mapping of Texas. Mentions government recognition of labor contracts, permission for Austin to colonize the coast, requests reservation of land for him and Victor Blanco.

17 May La Casa de Holland. Terán to Austin. On observations concerning latitude and longitude measurements in Texas.

24 May Austin to Terán. Describes overflow of rivers, reason for rains, describes measures necessary for Texas: 1. Suspension of prohibition against import of slaves for 6-8 years; 2. Permission to settle the coast; 3. Extension of tariff exemptions to 1835.

29 May Trinidad. Terán to Austin. Reply to above saying substantial reply coming later. Complains of climate.

24 Jun Nacogdoches. Terán to Austin. (Two Letters) Commentary on climate. Agrees with Austin on the needs of Texas, but explains difficulty in modifying the slavery law. Discusses use of a peach-tree switch used by natives to locate water, skeptic, but appears convincing.

30 Jun San Felipe. Austin to Terán. (Three letters) Reply to water witching query, also skeptical for years, but suspended judgement. Long description of the history of his colony, asks for opinion on US enforcement of debts of settlers before immigration, advises on handling of squatters in East Texas. Presents needs of Texians: 1. Suspension on restriction of introduction of slaves for 6-8 years; 2. Extension of tariff exemptions until 1835; 3. Permission to raise tobacco for export; 4. Regulation of coastal trade to permit to help Texian products reach Mexican ports; 5. Protection of colonists against suits from US for debts; 6. Separation of Texas from Coahila and a territorial government.

8 Jul Nacogdoches. Terán to Austin. Thanks for above letter. Will give attention next year to the debt question. Inquiry whether Austin will part with his encyclopedia.

5 Aug Nacogdoches. Terán to Austin. Inquiring whether Ree’s Encyclopedia gives systematic treatment to botany and zoology. Sends a thermometer and asks for observations in San Felipe.

Aug. Austin to unknown (probably Terán). Geographical, demographic, economic and social description of Texas.

20 Sep Austin to Terán. Importance of coastal trade from Texas to Mexican ports, opportunity to ship cotton (500 bales per year) to Europe instead of New Orleans, politics in the US, against protective tariff.

29 Sep Nacogdoches. Terán to Austin. Climate observations, asks for loan of botanical section of Austin’s encyclopedia, discussion of ports, coastal trade, tariffs. Believes tariffs not intended to apply to Texas.

1829

12 Mar 1829 Matamoros. Terán to Austin. Gives Austin notes for maps from expedition, approval of coastal trade.

28 Sep Tampico. Terán to Austin. Acknowledges receipt of Austin’s map and describes surrender of the Spanish forces. Says "My duties that day were quite different form the ones you saw me discharging in connection with my peaceful trip to Texas."

20 Nov Pueblo Viejo Tampico. Terán to Austin. Notification that Guerrero’s decree on slavery does not apply to Texas.

8 Dec Nacogdoches. Piedras to Terán. Expresses concern over arrival of Cherokee and Chickasaw Indians from the United States.

29 Dec San Felipe. Austin to Terán. Thanks for Terán in influencing exemption of Texas from Guerrero’s emancipation decree, explains it would have ruined Texas, colonists were quiet and reserved with confidence in the government.

1830

24 Apr to Jul. Correspondence between Terán and commanders and government officials in Texas at Anáhuac, Galveston, Tenoxtitlán, Lavaca, Nacogdoches, Bexar, Guadalupe and Goliad. Predicts Tenoxtitlán will some day be capital of Texas. Diverse papers in Texas General Land Office, Bexar Archives and Mexican archives.

24 Apr 1830 Matamoros. Terán to Austin. Requesting Austin’s opinion of the Bustamante Decree provision for excluding Americans from Texas, organization of territorial government in Texas.

18 May San Felipe. Austin to Terán. Explains Bustamante Decree is unjust, unconstitutional and will ruin Texas, violates faith of colonists in Mexico, sole hope is in Terán, article 10 opens possibility of exemption of established colonies, thinks inhabitants of Texas would oppose territorial government.

24 May Matamoros. Terán to Fisher. Suspends customhouse at Galveston, instructs George Fisher to keep him informed.

26 May Matamoros. Terán to Piedras. Orders to send Col. Peter Ellis Bean into territory between Neches and Sabine Rivers near Pecan Point to "protect rights of the Mexican Republic at that point."   Terán disagreed with the abrogation of this order by War Minister Tornel after complaints from the US government:

Colonel Bean, carrying out my orders, went to Pecan Point to make an examination necessary to the Mexican service, the reconnoitering of the situation of the savage tribes, and preventing the entrance of adventurers. In the execution of this commission, nothing occurred that should have called the attention of the Governor of Arkansas Territory, or that ought to give rise to a political question, unless the mere presence of a detachment of twelve men, at points incontestably on the Mexican frontier, be assumed as a sufficient motive. The Colonel reported on his return that the commissioner, Maylan, had been notified by Governor Pope of Arkansas to suspend the formation of his colonization establishment; I had already notified him to the same effect, but for different reasons.  Assuming the Treaty of Limits of 1819, which in fact now governs in fixing the points of the frontier, Pecan Point is indubitably within Mexican territory; and with this supposition all discussion, for the present may be suspended, provided that the territory remain in the same condition. But there is a settlement of North Americans forming in this territory, which will possess itself of the country unless the Mexican government intervenes. For this reason, it appears to me equitable that if the Governor of Arkansas oppose the Mexican settlement of Maylan, he should also oppose the establishment and introduction of North Americans, reserving the occupation and property of the country for that nation to which it may be declared to belong when the astronomic observations to determine the points mentioned in the treaty of limits shall have been made. I assure your Excellency with the greatest certainty, that it may govern your actions, that Pecan Point is within the territory of the Mexican republic, sixty leagues, at the least, from the point at which any doubt can be rational. In the suspending, as your Excellency has done, of all discussion, the Mexican nation is the one which lays aside its rights, as an act of prudence and for the good of harmony.

This incident and cancellation of the order by Tornel may have contributed to Terán's recommendations for Texas that led to the Bustamante Decree of 1830

14 Jun Matamoros. Terán to Austin. Quotes letter to Col. Piedras at Nacogdoches informing Bustamante Decree does not apply to established colonies.

28 Jun Austin to Terán. Describes excitement and distress about the Bustamante Decree, Terán’s interpretation is satisfactory.

17 Jul Matamoros. Terán to Austin. Relays to Austin request of Minister of Relations Alaman for Texas cotton seed.

1 Aug. Austin to Terán. (Two letters) Inquiring on form of clearance for vessels trading with Tampico, receipt of copy of capitulation at Tampico, cooperation with commanders at Bexar for garrison on the Brazos, building a steam sawmill, suspension of customhouse at Galveston, public opinion quiet.

20 Aug. Austin to Terán. Sending cotton seed to Minister of Relations.

17 Sep Matamoros. Austin to Terán. Terán explained that the Bustamante decree was meant to apply to scattered inhabitants outside empresario grants, some could move within grants, others to be expelled. Advises case by case evaluation. Surprised at untrue description by George Fisher of slave trading and contraband. Expresses difficulties in pacifying a heterogenous group, weariness with his effort. Law of 1830 deters best class of immigrants. Fears Texas is faced with many years of no progress, against uniting with United States, prefers independence if separation from Mexico is inevitable.

22 Sep Matamoros. Terán to Austin. Expresses satisfaction with Austin’s election to legislature.

18 Oct 1830. Austin to Terán. Inquiring whether colony lands are subject to selection by State government to pay its debts.

7 Dec. Austin to Terán. (Two letters) Appointment of Menard in Nacogdoches to administer certificates for admission of immigrants, questions whether Piedras will recognize, for admission of immigrants with Negroes, Texas law makes them free servants, Texas in danger of overrun of Indians from the United States. Approving order to collect natural history specimens for a museum.

1831

5 Jan 1831 Matamoros. Terán to Austin. Informing of his election to Congress, still has military duties, disclaims jurisdiction over George Fisher as secretary of ayuntamiento, should go to political chief. Not heard of Piedras detaining immigrants to colony, detainees were headed for Nashville (Robertson) Colony. Judicial reform and political chief recommendation by governor favored.

21 Mar Matamoros. Terán to Austin. Agrees concerning tonnage duties in Texas ports, will issue order. Surprised Austin has obtained a new colonization contract, cannot be filled with Americans and too expensive to get European colonists. Mentions rivalry of Matagorda and Galveston ports. Admits Mexican colonists could not be attracted to Texas.

Mar (sometime) Matamoros. Terán to Austin. Father Muldoon on the way to Texas, emigration to Texas continues and patience is needed. Slavery needed in Texas, but carries evils. Admission for Texas would require all coastal states also.

3 Apr Matamoros. Terán to Austin. Father Muldoon on the way, informed him tithes and other church revenues collected as other parts of the Republic will not work in Texas, he must depend on freewill offerings and land grants. Austin only empresario dedicated to colonization, others gone to speculation. Worried by Zavala’s sale of grant to Galveston Bay & Texas Co, forwarded to government arguments on admission of slaves. Points out all coastal states must be treated alike in Mexico.

30 Jun Matamoros. Terán to Austin. Sorry to miss in Saltillo and talk over affairs in Texas. Knows nothing on new contract, gives permission to settle eight families in question.

6 Aug. Austin to Terán. Interceding for families introduced by Sterling Robertson.

20 Nov Anahuac. Terán to Austin. Regrets Austin illness and inability to meet. Appreciation for Austin’s effort in preserving order in Texas, there is no other capable. Deeds speak and should not worry about critics. Customhouse needed for prevention of contraband.

28 Nov Anahuac. Muldoon to Austin. Concerning issuing land titles and further immigration "The tasks of the General [Terán] are truly in direct opposition to his desires and feelings...he permitted some Americans to take possession after his arrival, and even encouraged [them]."

1832

8 Jan 1832. Austin to Terán. Explains Fisher’s customhouse caused problems in Brazoria, now settled, hopes for help to obtain contract for 800 families.

27 Jan Matamoros. Terán to Austin. Points out his [Terán’s] partiality for Texas has almost destroyed influence with the government in Mexico. Upset with Austin, Austin and colonists do not seem to appreciate the effort. For the future, 1. Tonnage duties should be paid by owners of the goods; 2. Vessels involved in troubles in December will be seized if they return unless those who wounded the soldier are surrendered for trial; 3. Customs officer of the Brazos shall reside at Brazoria.

5 Feb. Austin to Terán. Problems in December associated with Fisher ordering vessels at the Brazos to sail to Anahuac to pay tonnage, unnecessary and trouble could have been avoided by collection at the Brazos. Advises suspension of the order for tranquillity. Inhabitants with common sense are against separation from Mexico. Advises removal of Fisher from customshouse.

25 Jun In transit to Croix (De trancito en la villa de Croix). (Two letters) "....I have received notice of a disturbance at Anahuac against Bradburn....Ugartechea seems to be much better received, and I have instructed him to put himself in complete accord with you.  The affairs of Texas are understood by none but you and me, and we alone are the only ones who can regulate them; but there is time now to no more than calm the agitations, something which can be readily accomplished because the objects for which they contend are definite and well defined..."

27 Jun Matamoros. Austin to Terán. Thanks for tariff exemption, but sorry to see certain articles not exempted while whiskey is free. Suggests removal of Fisher. Explains Texians will not submit to military rule, but can govern by law and constitution. Militia has not been organized, Bustamante Decree should be repealed. Bradburn at Anahuac tactless and trouble, Mexico needs to reduce army and adopt religious toleration.  sdct teran


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