The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919 Page: 5
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Stephen F. Austin
which combined some of the features of the Constitution of the
United States with the Spanish constitution of 1812,' and, on his
departure, left with Ramos Arispe a document"' which probably in
considerable degree shaped the acla constitutiva, the provisional
constitution which bridged the transition from empire to federal
Austin returned to Texas with extraordinary powers. The gov-
ernor had already invested him with general authority to govern
the colony until the regular state administration could be extended
to it," and now, by decree of the national government, this power
was more specifically defined and enlarged. He was supreme judge,
save that in capital cases lie must submit his decision to the com-
mandant general of the Eastern Interior Provinces before execu-
tion; he could issue regulations for the government of the settle-
ments when the national laws did not apply; he was commander of
the militia, which it was his duty to keep in efficient state of or-
ganization, with the title of lieutenant colonel, and with authority
to wage offensive and defensive war on the Indians;" he had sole
and indirectly through my friends produced this law." See also Austin to
Governor Trespalacios, January 8, 1823, Austin Papers.
'Draft in English with partial translation into Spanish, March 20-30,
1823, Austin Papers, miscellaneous. There are also in this collection
"Plan for organizAtion of Congress for the Empire of Mexico." August,
1822, and "Reflections Addresed to the Junta Instituyente," January 10,
""Plan de las bases organicas y fundamentales pars el establccimiento
do una Republica federada en el Anahuac." This is endorsed by Austin:
"Copy of a Plan by S. F. Austin in May 1823 in Monterrey translated by
Mereado, and delivered to Ramos Arispe and the (Comdt, General Felipo
do In Garza-both of whom were at that time in Monterrey." The docu-
ment shows interlineations and suggestions in Arispe's hand, and he added,
"I think it very important that this plan be immediately printed." Aus-
tin himself believed that the plan "had much influence in giving unity of
intention and direction to the Federal party." As lihe says, "Arispe was
the chairman of the committee who drew up the Acta Constitutiva, and
a comparison of that act with this plan will show a very striking simi-
larity" (A Comprehensive History of Texacs. . 400). The document in
in Austin Papers, miscellaneous. In an article in Ti SouTrlWEST sB
HISTonRIcAL QUARTERLY, XX, 19.27, Marion John Atwood emphasizes the
Spanish sources of the Acta Constitutiva. I have not as yet had the
opportunity to study the influence of Austin's draft.
"For these powers: Martinez to Austin, August 24, 1821, in A Conm-
prehensivc History of Tces, I, 472.
"Documents in A Comprehenaive History of Texarr. I. 473.476; Austin
to Garza, May 27. 1823, and Garza to Austin. June 10. 1823, Spanish
Records, Vol. 54, p. 84, and Translations of Records, Vol. 1, p. 14, Gen-
eril Land Office, Austin, Texas.
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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/m1/13/: accessed October 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.