The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 202
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ing safe in Louisiana, Gutierrez initiated correspondence with Washing-
ton. In a rambling letter to William Eustis, written sometime during the
fall of 1811, he proposed an alliance of friendship and commerce be-
tween "both Americas," i.e., between Mexico and the United States.
Gutierrez recognized Texas and the Gulf Coast to be of particular interest
to Washington. He offered assurances about the opening of a port on
Matagorda Bay, and acquiesced in the recent U.S. occupation of a strate-
gic portion of Spanish West Florida. His message signaled an attack upon
a restrictive colonial order that had created barriers, not openings, be-
tween American nations.'6
Gutidrrez's letter mingled diplomatic niceties with a passionate and
propagandistic account of the ongoing war in Mexico. Without delving
into the details of this report, three points are worth noting. First, Gutier-
rez voiced a profound sense of grievance against the Spanish treatment of
creoles. European governance was not simply despotic in his view, but hu-
miliating, since it placed talented Americans in a position of inferiority to
a foreign elite. "For almost three hundred years," he declared, Spanish
"guests" had been "owners of our soil, owners of our daughters, owners of
our immense treasures, and what is more, of our liberty...." Second,
Gutierrez made no mention of the deceased Hidalgo or his radical ambi-
tions with respect to the liberation of Indians and castas (lower-class per-
sons of mixed ancestry). He repeatedly assured Eustis that Gen. Ignacio
L6pez Ray6n, the successor to Allende, was a strong and moderate leader
who was fully worthy of U.S. trust. Third, Gutierrez reported that Col.Jos6
Menchaca, a former resident of Bxar who had guided him from Nuevo
Santander to Louisiana, was prepared to incite a military rebellion against
the Spanish government in Texas. If the colonel were furnished with arms
and munitions in the United States, he could achieve military success
while opening a commercial route for the importation of Mexican silver
and other goods to North America."
Gutierrez presented himself as both a lieutenant colonel of the "King-
dom of Mexico" (el Reyno de Mexico), and an emissary of "Our republic"
(Nuestra repzblica). He was empowered by Ray6n, the former council of war
" Garrett, Green Flag Over Texas, 86-87. Gutierrez's letter elaborated upon his previous re-
port to John Sibley. See Gutsirrez to Eustis, , U.S. Department of State, Correspondence
Relating to the Filibustering Expedition Against the Spanish Government of Mexico,
1811-1816 (cited hereafter as Filibustering Expedition MSS), R.G. 59, Microfilm T-286 (Na-
7 Guterrez to Eustis, , Filibustering Expedition MSS (quotation). This accusation was
quite typical of insurgent ideology. See Villoro, Proceso zdeoldgzco de la revoluczon de mndependencza,
152-153. Julia Kathryn Garrett identified Gutidrrez's co-conspirator as Miguel Menchaca. See
Green Flag Over Texas, 84. Jack Jackson has offered a more convincmg case for Capt. Jose Mencha-
ca, who was evidently promoted to the rank of colonel by Gutierrez. Menchaca defected to the roy-
alhsts of Texas in mid-October, 1811. See Jackson, Los Mesterios: Spanzsh Ranchng zn Texas,
1721-1821 (College Station. Texas A&M University Press, 1986), 533-535.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/254/: accessed October 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.