The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899 Page: 212
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212 Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
He was one of the twenty Fredonians captured by Ahumada's
troops in January, 1827; and, on account of his smuggling muni-
tions of war to the enemy, Ahumada 'excepted him from his com-
pliance with Austin's request to release his prisoners. He was
tried by a military court, convicted of treason, and condemned to
be shot; but his execution was necessarily delayed till his sentence
could be sent to Saltillo, approved by the military department com-
mander, General Teran, and returned. While awaiting Teran's
reply, he was chained and confined in the cuartel. But the charge
against him had not been positively proven, and he entertained a
bright hope of being pardoned, which was realized.
It has often been said that no Free Mason can be lawfully pun-
ished 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 offenses,
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 Teran, who was
also a Mason of high rank, and Teran procured his pardon. But
his liberation was on parole not again to bear arms against the
Mexican government, nor to aid its enemies.
Aware of the efforts of his friends in New Orleans to procure his
pardon, and confident of their success, Mr. Sterne endured his im-
prisonment, not only patiently, but also cheerfully. An interest-
ing incident illustrates his confidence of final release. Being a
man of pleasant manners, he enjoyed the friendship of his guards;
and his cheerful deportment satisfied them that he would not
try to escape, but that he preferred patiently to await the ap-
proval or disapproval of his sentence. Hence they gave to him
as much liberty as they could, and became, in fact, careless. He
purposely wore loose boots, which he could easily draw off and on
his feet, and his chain was locked around one of them. One even-
ing his guards locked the doors of his room, and went to a fandango.
Left alone, he drew the boot off his chained leg, and the chain
with it. Then he raised a sash, went out through a window, pro-
ceeded to his store, dressed himself properly, and made his way
also to the fandango. There he found his guards, who were much
startled by his arrival; but he and they promised not to inform
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899, periodical, 1898/1899; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101011/m1/216/: accessed December 14, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.