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by Bartee Haile

Arriving in Mexico City on Oct. 15, 1834, attorneys Peter W. Grayson and Spencer H. Jack went right to work to finally end Stephen F. Austin’s nine-month nightmare.

The cause of the confinement was a letter Austin wrote in the heat of the moment the previous October. Exasperated by the refusal of the central government to grant Texas statehood, the empressario encouraged the San Antonio ayuntamiento or city council to lay the groundwork for the forbidden regime in open defiance of the short-sighted policy. Austin had forgotten all about the impulsive communication by the time a copy landed on the desk of the acting president of Mexico. Gomez Farias was infuriated by the seemingly seditious statement and issued orders for the arrest of the American colonizer. Apprehended at Saltillo on Jan. 3, 1834, Austin was taken to Monterrey, where he spent the next two weeks before being transferred to the capital. More concerned with the reaction of fellow Texans than his own fate, he stated for the record his fervent hope that “there will be no excitement about my arrest.”

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