The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925 Page: 21
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Influence of Slavery in the Colonization of Texas
ruined, as would happen to many of them whose fortune consists
entirely of slaves."50
In the meantime Mfisquiz had written Austin of the decree,
enjoining him to the strictest secrecy until the result of his peti-
tion for exemption should be known. In some unexplained way,
however, a copy of the document reached the alcalde of Nacog-
doches and caused consternation there, though he, too, withheld
it from official publication. Colonel Piedras, the military com-
mandant at Nacogdoches, wrote his superior at San Antonio that
the people, crushed down by destitution, were hoping for assist-
ance from the federal government, and then came the decree abol-
ishing slavery. All the inhabitants of the frontier owned slaves,
which they had lost the right to take back to the United States,
and they could not be expected to submit. The news had spread
with lightning speed and all day foreigners and some Mexicans
had been coming to ask him the truth. John Durst, a promi-
nent citizen of Nacogdoches, wrote frantically to Austin: "In the
name of God what shall be do ? for God sake advise me on the
subject by the return of mail we are ruined forever should this
measure be adopted."
Though somewhat reassured by the political chief's evident
concern,52 Austin seems to have been determined to resist, if the
decree were not withdrawn. To Durst's frenzied appeal he wrote:
What the people of Texas have to do is to represent to the
Government through the Ayuntamientos or some other channel,
in a very respectful manner that agreeably to the constitution,
and the colonization laws all their property is guaranteed to them
without exceptions in the most solemn and sacred manner. That
they brought their slave property into the country and have re-
tained it here, under the faith of that guarantee, and in conse-
quence of a special invitation publically given to emigrants by
the govermnent in the colonization law to do so. That they have
taken an oath to defend the constitution, and are bound to do
"Governor Viesca to the president, November 14, 1829-a translation
of this was published in the Texas Gazette, January 30, 1830.
"5Jos6 de las Piedras to Colonel Elosua, November 9, 1829, Nacog-
doches Archives, Texas State Library; Durst to Austin, November 10,
1829, Austin Papers, MS.; Jos6 Ignacio Ibarbo (Alcalde of Nacogdoches)
to Mfisquiz, November 10, 1829, General Land Office of Texas, Vol. 57,
p. 124, MS.
'"Mfsquiz to Austin, November 12, 1829 (Austin Papers, MS.), speaks
of a letter of November 2 from Austin arguing against the constitution-
ality of the decree.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925, periodical, 1925; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101087/m1/25/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.