The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 203
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Josi Bernardo Gutidrrez de Lara
at Saltillo, "and even by the common voice of the Nation, which I am cer-
tain, craves friendship and commerce with this America [i.e., the United
States] rather than any from Europe." Guti6rrez's letter, in which there was
but one passing reference to Ferdinand VII, implied that the insurgents fa-
vored popular governance and complete independence from Spain.8
Guti6rrez's overtures to Washington were a mix of savvy and bluster. His
credibility rested on North Americans' limited knowledge or understand-
ing of Mexico. During the summer of 1811, General Ray6n was by no
means the "Great soldier" (Gran Militar) hailed by Guti6rrez. While his
small army built a defensive position in the city of Ziticuaro, other rebel
soldiers underJos6 Maria Morelos secured control of far more territory in
southern provinces. Ray6n meanwhile attempted to bring disparate in-
surgent forces under his command through the SupremaJunta Nacional
Americana, established by himself and his closest associates on August 21,
1811. His constitutional position was that of "Minister of the Nation"-a
caudillo wielding broad powers during the crisis of war. Desirous of at-
tracting the creole elite to its standard, the Junta upheld the nominal sov-
ereignty of Ferdinand VII, while acting as if it were an independent na-
Though Guti6rrez considered Ray6n as the head of the insurgency, he
made no mention of the Suprema Junta Nacional in his correspondence
or diary during the fall of 1811. This omission suggests that he knew little
of recent political developments in Mexico when he entered Washington
on December 11, after a lengthy journey from Natchitoches. While
Gutierrez labored somewhat in the dark, he had high good reason to be
optimistic about his diplomatic mission. He was received warmly by
William Eustis on the same day of his arrival in the capital.20
Guti6rrez met several times with Eustis and James Monroe, and also
briefly with President Madison, during his first eight days in Washington.
Through these negotiations, he gained a more sophisticated and critical
' Gutierrez to Eustis, [1811 ], Filibusterming Expedition MSS (quotations). Guti6rrez's approach
was consistent with objectives set forth by Ray6n, who recognized that a diplomatic stance of in-
dependence was necessary to attract support m the North American repubhc See Hamill, Hzdalgo
Revolt, 186, 2 11. Gutierrez used the term "Kingdom of Mexico" in a nationahstic manner that was
quite widespread in creole political thought. See Villoro, Proceso zdeol6gico de la revolucz6n de znde-
' Guti6rrez to Wilham Eustis, , Fihbustering Expedition MSS; Virginia Guedea, "Los pro-
cesos electorales insurgentes," Estudzos de Hzstona Novohzspana, 11 (1991), especially pp. 203-2 1
For an overview of military campaigns m 1811, see Wilbert H. Timmons, Morelos: Priest, Soldzer,
Statesman ofMexzco (El Paso- Texas Western College Press, 1963), 44-51, 60-63.
20 Guti6rrez to Willham Eustis [1811 ], Filibusterinng Expedition MSS. Guti6rrez's response to the
United States is reflected in his diary, kept from Nov. 2, 1811, to May 25, 1812. A copy of the orig-
inal document (cited hereafter as Diario JGB) is found in the Gutierrez de Lara Papers (Texas
State Archives, Austin). See also Elizabeth H. West (trans.), "Diary ofJos6 Bernardo Gutilrrez de
Lara, 1811-1812," American Hstoncal Revzew, 34 (Oct., 1928), 55-77, and 34 (Jan., 1929),
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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/m1/255/: accessed January 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.