THE SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
VOL. LVIII JANUARY, 1955 No. 3
Haroi de Aastrop
CHARLES A. BACARISSE
NE OF the most captivating and long-standing stories
of Texas history is that of the Baron de Bastrop and the
assistance he gave Moses Austin in December, 182o.
Austin, who had just been refused a hearing by Antonio Maria
Martinez, the Spanish governor of Texas, was walking across the
plaza in San Antonio when he encountered the Baron de Bastrop,
whom he had met several years earlier. Austin had been ordered
to leave Texas immediately, and there seemed to be no hope for
putting into effect his plan for colonizing Texas with Anglo-
Americans. According to the popular story, Bastrop took the
dejected Austin to his home, listened to the plan, and agreed to
use his influence to obtain a second audience with the governor.
Stephen F. Austin, who is the sole authoritative source for the
story of the plaza meeting, wrote two versions of the incident.
One is in the preface of his booklet to the colonists published in
1829,E and the other written earlier is in a memorandum for his
brother.2 In both versions the essential facts are the same, but
Austin's more detailed comments in the memorandum indicate
that he felt there would have been no Anglo-American coloniza-
tion in Texas had the chance meeting of his father and the influ-
ential Bastrop not taken place. Later historians took up this line
of reasoning, enlarged it, embroidered it, and by overemphasis,
created a Bastrop who is more myth than reality.3
1H. P. N. Gammel (comp.), The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 (io vols.; Austin,
1898), I, 4.
2Dudley G. Wooten (ed.), A Comprehensive History of Texas, x685 to x897
(2 vols.; Dallas, 1898), I, 442-443-
3H. Yoakum, History of Texas from its First Settlement in 1685 to its Annexation
to the United States in 1846 (2 vols.; New York, 1855), I, 21o, refrains from telling
the story of Bastrop and Moses Austin in the text, but in a footnote he cites
William Kennedy, Texas, Its Rise, Progress and Prospects (2 vols.; London, 1841),
I, 316, and then repeats the entire story. Homer S. Thrall, A Pictorial History of
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 58, July 1954 - April, 1955. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101158/. Accessed March 11, 2014.