The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 207
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Jose Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara
one well acquainted with the Spanish American provinces and possessed
of "a tolerable kno [w]ledge of the language, manners and character of
their inhabitants." A former Yankee ship captain who had pioneered
trade to Latin America, he ardently desired to spread U.S. republican in-
stitutions throughout that region. Shaler's approach to Mexican affairs
combined missionary zeal with a touch of Anglo-American condescen-
sion. On August 18, 1812, he wrote Monroe from Louisiana that the
Spanish American colonies, with their vast population and abundant re-
sources, were "destined by nature to favor the greatest development of
human industry if they were freed from the shackles of barbarism and ig-
Shaler and Gutierrez formed a political marriage of convenience,
which proceeded quite smoothly during the spring of 1812. From their
base at Natchitoches, both men pursued the triumph of Mexican "re-
publicans" and the development of friendly commercial and political
ties between their respective countries. In a letter of June 12, 1812,
Shaler magnified the likely degree of U.S. military assistance to Mexican
rebels in the event of war between the United States and Britain. He al-
so declared his intention "of proceeding to the seat of the Mexican gov-
ernment as soon as practicable." Shaler soon backed away from any
promise of direct U.S. intervention, probably because he wished to avoid
guarantees that would not be supported by Washington. Still, he was un-
questionably a strong proponent of Gutierrez's mission. He helped his
ally-"Don Bernardo"-with the circulation of revolutionary proclama-
tions, offered advice on constitutional government, and collaborated
with him in drafting a letter to General Ray6n. Though not directly in-
volved in the recruitment of filibusters, Shaler stretched his official in-
structions to the utmost."
Shaler cooperated with Gutierrez, though he knew little of the latter's
political position within the Mexican insurgency. He could not compre-
hend why Gutierrez expressed "mortification" upon learning that Ray6n
had become the head of a national junta. Shaler assumed that Gutidrrez's
reaction was caused by mere jealousy-what the special agent described
as "the most ridiculous flights of vanity." One may speculate instead that
Guti6rrez had come to feel ambivalent about his relationship to Ray6n.
He doubtless regarded the latter as the caudillo with whom he had to
make common cause. At the same time, he may have been disappointed
"" Shaler to Madison, Mar 23, 1812 (1st quotation), Special Agents MSS; Shaler to Monroe,
Aug. 18, 1812 (2nd quotation), Ibid
" See Shaler's "Notes" to Gutierrez, in English translation, enclosed in his letter to Monroe,
June 12, 1812 (quotation), ibid. Shaler recalled his cautionary words to Gutierrez in his letter to
Monroe of June 23, 1812, ibid. Though Gutsdrrez's couriers spread his propaganda to Revilla, it
is unclear if his message reached Ray6n. See Garrett, Green Flag Over Texas, 130-131.
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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/m1/259/: accessed November 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.