Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown. Page: 851 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
food, being fat and very abundant. The Indians
annoyed and robbed them and the settlers dared not
punish their crimes nor their insolence.
It will be remembered that Moses Austin's grant
had been made by the Spanish Government in Mexico.
But on the 24th of February, 1821, the celebrated
"Plan of Iguala" was promulgated by
Iturbide. It declared the independence of Mexico
and was confirmed by the Mexican cortes; so that
the official acts of Martinez relative to the new
settlement, dated August, 1821, were from a Governor
of the independent Mexican nation, and not
from a Spanish official. Hence it came about that
when Stephen F. Austin arrived at Bexar in the
spring of 1822, to make his report to the Governor
of the condition of the colony, he was informed by
the latter that it was necessary for him to at once
proceed to the city of Mexico and procure from
the Congress, then in session, a confirmation of his
father's grant, together with special instructions as
to the distribution of land, issuing of titles, etc.
Here was an embarrassing dilemma. His absence
at this critical period was certain to cripple his colony-might
destroy it; but were he to remain, he
and his men would be without titles to their homes,
which, with so much toil and suffering, they had
won from the wilderness.
Austin's sense of duty quickly decided his
course. Placing Mr. Josiah Barbell in charge of
the colony, he started at once for Mexico, with one
companion. After a perilous land journey of 1,200
miles, a great portion of it made on foot and disguised
as a beggar, in ragged clothes and blankets,
on account of the numerous banditti, he arrived
safely in the capital on the 29th of April.
Owing to the revolutionary changes which rapidly
succeeded to each other, it was necessary for
Austin to remain for more than a year in Mexico
before the government became sufficiently stable to
resume its legislative functions. The time, however,
lost was not lost to him, as it enabled him to
form many valuable friendships and acquaintances;
to perfect himself in the Spanish language, which
he could not speak when he left Bexar; and to lay
the foundation of that great influence which he ever
exerted over the Mexican officials. Finally, on the
14th of April, 1823, the supreme executive power
issued a decree confirming in full the previous grant
to Austin, and on the 28th of the same month he
set out for Texas.
Reaching Monterey, the capital of the eastern
internal province, he presented a copy of his decree
to the Commandant, Don Felipe de la Garza, and
requested special instructions for the local government
of the colony committed to his charge.
The provisional deputation of Nueva Leon, Coahuila
and Texas, was then in session; and the matter
being referred to it, it was decreed that
Austin's authority, under the decree of the central
government, was full and ample as to the administration
of justice and of the civil local
government of the colony and the command
of militia; that his grade as a militia officer
should be Lieutenaut-Colonel; that he could
make war on the Indian tribes which were hostile,
that he could introduce, by the harbor of Galveston,
provisions, munitions, etc., needed for the
infant settlement; in short, that he should preserve
good order and govern the colony in all civil, judicial
and military matters, according to the best of
his abilities and as justice might require, until the
government was otherwise organized. Never,
before or since, in the history of this country, were
such extensive powers conferred upon an Ameriican,
and never has despotic power been less abused
or used for less selfish purposes. Austin's civil
administration of his colony is the brightest chaplet
in his wreath of fame. It was not until July that
the weary traveler reached his little colony on the
Brazos, where he was welcomed with every demonstration
The colony had suffered sadly in his absence.
Discontent bred disorders which scattered the colonists.
Some had left for the States, others moved
into Eastern Texas, and many immigrants on the
way to join the colony, frightened by the reports
which reached them of Austin's failure to secure
lands for his colonists, settled on the Sabine. His
return and the happy issue of his mission restored
at once life and confidence to the settlement.
Don Luciano Garcia was now Governor of Texas,
and on the 16th of July he appointed Moses Austin's
old friend, the Baron de Bastrop, to act as
commissioner on the part of the government to
take the necessary steps, in conjunction with
Stephen F. Austin, to put the settlers in possession
of their lands. On the 26th of the same month,
the Governor, by an official act, gave the name of
San Felipe de Austin to the town which was to be
laid off as the capital of the new colony, saying
that he wished to show his respect for Col. Austin
by uniting his name with the name of his own
patron saint, San Felipe. Time has given the saint
a decided advantage, for to-day that town bears
the name of San Felipe only. Austin used jocularly
to complain that he was near losing his rightful
name of Stephen in consequence of Don
Luciano's compliment, for many persons supposed
that the town had been called after the Colonel
and, therefore, concluded that his name was Philip
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown., book, ; Austin, Tex.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/851/: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .