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Arrested! Letter Transmitting Order to Apprehend Stephen F. Austin

December 30, 2014

Hopefully your holiday season is going better than Stephen F. Austin’s did in 1833!

Stephen F. Austin spent much of the fall of 1833 in Mexico City trying to speak with Congressional leaders and the acting Mexican president, Valentin Gomez Farias, about a statehood petition for Texas. The petition was unsuccessful, but Austin left Mexico City with hopes that there was still a chance. Instead, upon arriving in Saltillo on January 2, 1834, he found himself arrested for the contents of a letter that he wrote to his Texas compatriots that was deemed seditious because it spoke of Texan separation from Coahuila.

Front page of a letter transmitting orders to apprehend Stephen F. Austin. DRT 9, DRT Library Collection.

Front page of a letter transmitting orders to apprehend Stephen F. Austin. DRT 9, DRT Library Collection.

The Gefe Politico of Monclova (where the government of Coahula y Tejas had been moved) received word that Austin had left Mexico City but was subsequently wanted to answer for the charges of sedition. The Mexican government had issued an order of arrest on December 11. At the end of December, the gefe of Monclova, J. Maria Cantu, sent out letters ahead of Austin instructing alcaldes (mayors) and commandants to apprehend Austin on sight and return him to Mexico. One of the men who received a copy of these orders was the Mayor of Santa Rosa. This letter is preserved in the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library Collection housed at the Alamo Research Center.

Center fold of a letter transmitting orders to arrest Stephen F. Austin and return him to Mexico City to answer to charges of sedition. DRT 9, DRT Library Collection.

Center fold of a letter transmitting orders to arrest Stephen F. Austin and return him to Mexico City to answer to charges of sedition. DRT 9, DRT Library Collection.

We wish all of you the best in the new year! We’d love to see you for a research session. Let us know how we can help!

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