The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919 Page: 4
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4 The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
I had an ignorant, whimsical, selfish and suspicious set of rulers
over me to keep good natured, a. perplexed, confused colonization
law to execute, and an unruly set of North American frontier re-
publicans to controul who felt that they were sovereigns, for they
knew that they were beyond the arm of the Govt. or of law, unless
it pleased them to be controuled.1
Fortunately, though it seemed to him ruinously unfortunate at
the time, the revolution and the political upheaval incident to the
establishment of Mexican independence carried Austin to Mexico
in the spring of 1822, after many of his colonists had already ar-
rived, and kept him there for a year securing confirmation of his
grant, which had been made by the Spanish regime. There during
the brief space of eleven months he saw the executive government
go through the stages of a regency, an empire, and a military
triumvirate. Iturbide elevating himself to the imperial throne
by Napoleonic methods and being himself overthrown by
Santa Anna posing as a liberal-while the legislature trav-
eled through a provisional junta gubernativa, a sovereign
elected congress, a rump (the junta nacional instituyente), and
back again, after the fall of Iturbide, to the congress. With little
money, and reduced at last to the extremity of selling his watch,
Austin possessed his soul in such patience as he could and gently
nagged a national colonization law through Iturbide's rump parlia-
ment, only to have it annulled by the return of the legitimate con-
gress and its sweeping decree repealing all acts of the empire. He
had won his case, however, and congress instructed the, executive
to confirm his contract in the terms of the imperial law. Inci-
dentally he had learned the language, gained the confidence and
esteem of such men as Anastacio Bustamante, Lorenzo de Zavala,
Ramos Arispe, and Lucas Alaman, and obtained an insight into
Mexican personal and official character that was the key to his
future success. For a foreigner he had exercised a -remarkable
influence upon the shifting committees of the various legislative
bodies. He was largely responsible for the passage of the coloni-
zation law," tried his hand at drafting an imperial constitution
8Austin's explanation to the colonists concerning charges for land, June
5, 1824, Austin Papers, miscellaneous: "I can without boasting say that
my constant Exertions and importunity with the Members both directly
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919, periodical, 1919; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117156/m1/12/: accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.