The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 48, July 1944 - April, 1945 Page: 52
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
colonization policy was General Jos6 Maria Tornel, who had
considerable influence over President Guerrero. He felt that
the abolition of slavery would probably check the Anglo-
American movement into Texas; consequently, he persuaded
Guerrero to use his extraordinary powers to that end, and on
September 15, 1829, he obtained the presidential signature to
a decree abolishing slavery in the republic of Mexico.' A copy
of the decree was sent to Ram6n Misquiz, departmental chief
at Bexar, who withheld its publication until he could write to
Governor Viesca and request that the department of Texas be
exempt from its provisions. Misquiz emphasized in his letter
that the colonization laws had guaranteed the property rights
of the colonists, and that the slaves had been considered prop-
erty before they were brought to Texas.5
Although on October 29 Musquiz informed Austin of the
decree, and urged that he not discuss the matter, somehow the
news leaked out at Nacogdoches. Colonel de las Piedras wrote
M6squiz that many people there had heard about the decree
and wanted to know if the rumor were authentic. John Durst,
a prominent citizen of Nacogdoches, in a letter to Austin con-
cluded with a statement which just about summarizes the feel-
ings of the colonists toward the matter, so important was
slavery to the early Texans: ". . .-we are ruined for ever
Should this Measure be adopted."0
Meanwhile, Governor Viesca asked the general government
to exempt Texas from the decree, expressing fear that the pub-
lication of the law would result in disturbances which the state
of Coahuila and Texas could not well withstand. Guerrero's
minister of relations, succeeding Bocanegra, was Agustin Viesca,
a brother of the governor of Coahuila and Texas. On December
4For detailed, documented study of the events summarized in this and
the paragraphs following on the question of slavery in Texas, see E. C.
Barker, The Life of Stephen F. Austin, 243-250; E. C. Barker, "The Influ-
ence of Slavery in the Colonization of Texas," in The Southwestern His-
torical Quarterly, XXVIII, 1-33. An earlier study is that of Lester G.
Bugbee, "Slavery in Early Texas," in Political Science Quarterly, XIII,
6Ram6n Misquiz to Jos6 Maria Viesca, Bexar, October 24, 1829, in The
Texas Gazette, January 23, 1830.
'Durst to Austin, Nacogdoches, November 10, 1829, in The Austin Papers,
II, 285; E. C. Barker, The Life of Stephen F. Austin, 246.
7J. M. Viesca to Minister of Relations, Leona Vicario, November 14, 1829,
in The Texas Gazette, January 30, 1830.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 48, July 1944 - April, 1945, periodical, 1945; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146055/m1/56/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.