By 1825, American settlers were arriving in Texas in impressive numbers. The offer of cheap, abundant land lured many to seek new opportunities in Mexican Texas. Though not always successful, Stephen F. Austin toiled in good faith to ensure Mexican laws were obeyed before issuing land grants in his colony. Not so in neighboring Nacogdoches. By 1826, confusion and frustration over land titles led to the Fredonian Rebellion, a hasty, ill-advised attempt by a few influential American settlers to create a republic independent of Mexico. Although the rebellion was quickly suppressed (with the support of Stephen Austin and other colonists) the incident nonetheless signaled growing tensions between American settlers and a distressed and distant Mexican government. This letter and subject of this post, was written a few years later, and helps shed some light on those anxious times.
“The Hate They Bear Us”
By the end of 1829, Colonel José de las Piedras had seen plenty to justify his fears. Thousands of American colonists were firmly settled in Mexican territory and twelve hundred miles from the government in Mexico City.
In December, Piedras wrote to his commanding officer, General Manuel Mier y Terán, giving his assessment of the situation in and around Nacogdoches. Now posted at the port of Matamoros, Teran had seen the problems himself two years earlier during an inspection tour of east Texas, and had forwarded the government in Mexico City a list of recommendations to address them. Might Piedras’ letter provide the motivation to act more quickly? You decide!
Within months, the government of Mexico did act. They passed a law that would forever change the course of its relations with American colonists, the Law of April 6, 1830, (the subject of next month’s post.) The law’s effect would also impact the futures of Piedras and Terán over the next few years. Check out the links below to find out what happened.
“The Gateway” .statue, Nacogdoches, Texas, depicting an American family traveling on the El Camino Real, toward a new life in Texas, dedicated, February, 2013.