In the Mexican elections of 1828, the Conservative won. Santa Anna and other liberals revolted and made Vincente Guerrero, the second President of Mexico. Guerrero was in turn overthrown by Conservative General Anastasio Bustamante in 1829. The reform legislation of 1829 and 1830 reflected the influence of the Conservatives in Mexican politics. The Conservatives of 1829 called themselves Centralists, as they stood for central authority. Santa Anna again declared a revolt on behalf of Republicans, who in 1829 were known as Federalists as they favored a federal republic made up of several independent states.
......................................................................................Santa Anna >
Santa Anna declared his revolt stood for the restoration of the Constitution of 1824 and the federalism for which it stood. This was a a system of soveriegn states tied to an autonomous congress elected by the states, and a very limited executive. Most Texans supported Santa Anna, especially those who entered the system legally and recieved land grants. The newer arrivals, when they learned of the new laws of 1830, said they were illegal since it gave them no hope for a land claim. They were understandably not as willing to try to work things out peacefully. But, these people too were somewhat placated when word reached Texas of liberal Republican (Federalists) plans to repeal the 1830 laws.
THE BEGINNING, ANAHUAC I
The second Irishman among the Austin colonists to bring the the policies of Mexico closer to them was someone read about earlier. He was born of Irish parents in Kentucky. He was everything Father Muldoon was not. His name was James C. Bradburn. Bradburn is pictured to the left. He was in the slave trade, a soldier in the United States Army, a member of the Mina Expedition who escaped capture and lived in Mexico. He had been an aide to Iturbide and was sent by him as a commisioner to the United States at Washington D.C. in 1822. He was now known as Colonel Juan Bradburn in the Mexican service.
Teran appointed him as Commander at Anahuac and told him to enforce the statutes relating to the customs duties called for in the Act of 1830. To back up Bradburn, Teran assigned 162 soldiers to be stationed at Anahuac. They were supported with two four-pound field pieces and two eight-pound swivel cannon mounted in the fort that was built to house and protect the soldiers, Bradburn and their equipment.
Bradburn was a strident man who pushed his authority, and more, on those around him. As he was appointed by a Federal officer, he felt he was above Provincial and State law. He quickly made enemies, not only among the colonists, but among Coahuila Y Texas officials as well. He arrested Don Jose Francisco Madero, a land commissioner appointed by the Governor of Coahuila y Texas to settle some land questions in Texas. Bradburn arrested Madero because Bradburn did not like the settlers to whom Madero was granting land. Bradburn dismissed the Ayuntamiento (City Council) at Liberty and at Anahuac for disagreeing with him. He tried to arrest Doctor George M. Patrick and a Regidor (Judge) of the former Ayuntiemento of Anahuac, James Lindsey. Both fled to Austin's Colony. Bradburn declared all of East Texas under Martial Law. He announced all ships coming or going to Texas locations were to clear customs through his location at Anahuac. Anahuac was a port but it was 35 miles up Galveston Bay on the Trinity River.
Besides the port not being immediately accessible from the Gulf of Mexico, there was a sand bar at the mouth of the Trinity River that kept ships out of the river during low tides. Irishman George McKinstry was one of the leaders of the port at Matagorda who were able to convince Bradburn that he had exceeded his authority in making Anahuac the only official port in Texas.
Among Bradburn's more irksome practices was the use of other people's labor to do work at the fort at Anahuac. He would take slaves and would not ask nor pay for their use, he simply put them to work at the fort. He took it even further when he encouraged all slaves in the area to leave their owners and come to the fort to work.
Among those protesting this action was a young lawyer (whose great grandmother was a McNamara), red-haired William Barrett Travis and another lawyer and Celt, Patrick Jack. Travis, Jack and "Three Legged Willie" were all lawyers in Anahuac. They were also friends, they worked and drank together. Another member of this group, also a Celt, was Travis' partner, Franklin Jefferson Starr. It was Starr who preserved for history the diary of Travis. From Travis' diary we can see his clientele, or the colonists in general, were decidedly Celtic. Among those he represented in different legal matters were: John McMinn Shipman, Irish born Martin Allen who operated a ferry across Buffalo Bayou, Ephriam Roddy also born in Ireland, George McKinstry, Jim McGee, John Kelly, Cynthia Roark, John Byrne, William Patton, John Mc Croskey, James McCoy, John Murphy and many, many more. See the appendix for a longer list of the clients of William Barrett Travis.
< A drawing of William Barrettt Travis
Travis boarded at the tavern of Angelina Peyton who was now widowed. In the case in point, regarding the use of other peoples slaves by Bradburn, Travis represented William Logan of Louisiana. The particular slave in question had run away from Logan's plantation in Louisiana. Bradburn was harboring him so he could work him. In response to the lawyer's (Travis and Jack) requests for a hearing on the dentention and use of Logan's slave by Bradburn, Bradburn demanded certain documents from Logan. Logan said he would need to go back to Louisiana to get the documents that Bradburn was asking for, and that if he had to go that far he would be bringing back more than just documents with him to get back his property. Bradburn reacted to the threat and wondered if Logan would bring armed men with him when he returned.
Travis was not above creating some mischief. He once gave Bradburn a "hotfoot", a prank that calls for a match or matches to be covertly inserted, head out, into a boot where the sole meets the leather. At the appropraite time the match is surreptitiously lit and everyone watches the victim howl.
After Logan had been gone for some time, Travis passed a note to one of Bradburn's men. The note said that Logan was back in the area with a band of men and was coming to get the slave. Bradburn turned out the whole garrison to await the arrival of Logan. When it was clear that Logan was nowhere in sight, let alone with a band of men, he sent soldiers to Travis' quarters and to Jack's to have them arrested. He had both men placed in the fort's dungeon, actually the kilns made to make the bricks for the construction of the fort. While he was at it, Bradburn had others arrested who questioned his authority these included, James Lindsay and Monroe Edwards. They joined Travis and Jack in the kilns. Bradburn announced that Travis and Jack would have to stand a military trial.
The word spread quickly among the colonists about Bradburn's actions. There were other factors that added to the building tension. Many of the military sent to man the Anahuac post were Mexican criminals convicted of crimes and were sent to Anahuac to serve out their sentences. These military men were abusive to the townspeople. In one incident, the locals placed one of Bradburn's men in the town jail for public disorder only to have Bradburn interfere by coming into town and releasing his man.
Most of the colonists still avoided paying custom duties and resented being told to trade with only Mexico. An example was John McNeel, who with two sons and twenty five slaves, operated a cotton gin in East Texas that Noah Smithwick helped build. McNeel shipped his cotton bales to New Orleans in clear defiance of Bradburn's operation at Anahuac. All the ill feeling came to a head when Bradburn captured the popular Celts and put them in the kilns.
A small force of Texians (that was what they called themselves back then, hereafter we will use the term "Texans") made up of 130 volunteers from different settlements led by Colonel Francis W. Johnson, of Scottish ancestry, marched into Anahuac and demanded the release of their fellow colonists. Among those accompanying Johnson was Sergeant Brennan, R.M. Williamson, William Jack (Patrick Jack's brother), Wiley Martin, and John Austin. In their first action they captured a squad of Bradburn's cavalry. In some skirmishes with the fort they killed some of the Mexican soldiers and had one Texan wounded. The Texans repeated their demands after a break in the action.
Bradburn's response was, he would release his prisoners if the Texans would release theirs and withdraw a few miles from the fort. As soon as the Texans pulled back to Turtle Bayou, Bradburn sent men into town to take supplies for the fort in the event of a siege. Then he sent word to the Mexican commanders at the forts at Nacogdoches and Velasco for assistance. Next, he fired the fort's cannon at some of the settler's homes. The Anahuac colonists fled their homes and busineses. Bradburn dispatched troops and the field pieces to fire at the colonists as they ran toward Turtle Bayou and the protection of the Texans camped there. Many of the men in the camp began to provide covering fire for the colonists entering the camp. One Texan and five Mexicans were killed in this action.
The Texans were at Turtle Bayou to honor Bradburn's request for the withdrawal and it was there they were awaiting the release of Bradburn's prisoners. When the firing began they learned Bradburn's treachery and sent for more men to join them. John Austin was sent to Brazoria to obtain a cannon or two. While waiting for the others to arrive, William Jack drew up a document expressing their actions were in support of the 1824 Constitution. This document became known as the Trutle Bayou Resolutions and is found in Appendix VII Texas History Documents. Follow this link to see it (use BACK to return). This document is important, because in reading it you can see the colonists seemed to be aware of what they needed to state to satisfy international law.
They wanted to justify and legitimize their action on a basis that would allow them to ask for assistance from countries and banks. This legalistic approach was evident in the conventions, consultations and meetings that were held later as well as any statements, resolutions or appeals that came from the meetings. All were conducted within the framework of democratic principles with resolutions and elections voted uopon and the results publicly promulgated.
Three ships owned by the Texans saw to it that no supplies or reinforcements reached Bradburn and his men from the Gulf of Mexico or Galveston Bay. They frequently harasssed the fort and several time drew ineffective fire from it. One of these ships was commanded by Captain William Scott. Scott captured a couple of Mexican vessels carrying supplies to the garrison at Anahuac.
Hearing of the call for men and arms while he was on a trip in the community of Bazoria, Father Michael Muldoon sent a note to Captain John Austin. Captain Austin was preapring the the town's two cannon for the trip to Anahuac and mustering men from Brazoria to join the planned assault.
Muldoon was openly critical of Bradburn's actions in the colony and of the new restrictions in general. In the note, Father Muldoon offered himself as a hostage. He wanted to aid in obtaining the release of the American captives, hoping to avoid bloodshed. Father Muldoon's note is lost to history, but Colonel Austin's reply is not and it give us an appreciation that Colonel Austin had for Father Muldoon's offer and an even greater appreciation of Muldoon himself.
...it is not in my power at this time to prevent the march of citizens, they have declared in favor of the Constitution and General Santa Anna and I consider all opposed to said declaration as eneimies to their cause, but I assure you so long as I have influence there shall be no injury to any private individual, either to their person or property and beg to leave to assure you that where ever you may be you will always have a warm friend and protector as far as his abilities may extend.
When Austin's men started moving down the Brzaos River to Velasco (now Freeport), Father Muldoon went with them. They planned to sail from Velasco to Anahuac. When they reached the fort at Velasco, the local commander refused passage. In an attempt to keep the peace, Father Muldoon went into the fort and talked to the commander, Domingo de Ugartachea. Father Muldoon's efforts were wasted because he returned with a haughty message from the commander declaring " 10,000 riflemen could not dislodge him from his position."
.........................................The Mexican Fort at Velasco>
On June 26, the Texans attacked the well fortified Mexicans. The attack was two pronged. Captain William I. Russell led a force of forty Texans aboard a schooner. They blasted at the fort from the river with a piece of light artillery they brought with them aboard the schooner while John Austin's men attacked from the land side. The fighting lasted overnight with the Mexicans showing a white flag in the morning. The Mexicans lost thirty five men killed and fifteen men wounded. Texan losses were seven dead and twenty seven wounded. Those who fought at Velasco are listed in Appendix V., F., 4. Use this link to go there and the Browser BACK to return to this page.
Meanwhile events at Anahuac ended more peaceably. The commander at the garrison at Nacogdoches, Colonel Jose Piedras, sent Peter Bean to allay the Indians and began a march to assist Anahuac. Some of Johnson's men met him and explained the colonist's reaction to Bradburns actions and their support of the Consitution of 1824 and of Santa Anna. Colonel Piedras, though a Centralist, agreed with the colonists regarding Bradburns overly brusque manner. When Colonel Piedras got to Anahuac he had the prisoners released. Bradburn resigned and went back to Mexico.
After the events at Anahuac, Doctor GeorgeM. Patrick and one or two others endeavored to take control of the Mexican Government's custom house at Galveston. They left Anahuac and took possession of the building when they arrived in Galveston. They found nothing of any value in the building and abandoned it.
Mexican authorities were not pleased with events in Texas. Colonel Piedras knew well how the situation was and wrote it into an official report:
The present political situation is in a very precarious situation and surrounded by many difficulties owing to internal convulsions, our national treasury is drained and our troops are actually engagd in checking Santa Anna's revolutionary movements s there is no hope for us to recieve assistance. The situation of all military posts in the Departmentare much exposed, and being short of men and money, and being scattered over such a vast extent of territory, that it is impossible for them, not withstanding the greatest exhertions, to lend assistance to one another.
Colonel Piedras went on to estimate Texan strength at over 100 men in the colony at San Felipe; another 300 at the Trinity, Bevil and Harrisburg settlements and 500 men at Ayish Bayou, Teneha and Sabine areas. He estimated 100 at De Leon's colony, and another 100 in the Matagorda area. He figured there were upwards of 500 men from the United States camped on the western side of the Red River in North Texas. That was a total of 2500 men, more than triple all the Mexican soldiers in Texas at the time.
Things were worse than the good Colonel thought. Most of the Mexican military in Texas declared for Santa Anna and left Texas to fight for him in Mexico. Colonel Piedras had not and would not declare for Santa Anna, though most of his men at Nacogdoches did sympathize with the man who styled himself as the "Napoleon of the West."
This caused some of the settlers from nearby San Augustine to organize and surround the Old Stone Fort in August of 1832. They called for Colonel Piedras to declare for Santa Anna or be attacked. Piedras refused and the Texans did attack. The fighting lasted into the night. The Mexicans were taking heavy casualties from the sharp shooting frontiersmen. Colonel Piedras, realizing his men were dying and wounded because of his political position and not that of most of the men, withdrew his force from the fort under cover of darkness.
They were pursued and captured. Jim Bowie escorted the Mexican soldiers who declared for Santa Anna south to Bexar where they could make arrangements to get to where they needed to be in Mexico. Colonel Piedras and a few others were taken back to Nacogdoches. The Mexicans lost 47 men killed in the battle and a like number wounded whereas the Texans had three dead and five wounded. Among those with Celtic names among the Texans in this third (Anahauc and Velasco having been first and second) battle were:
Major Samuel McMahan, Captain Bailey Anderson, Alexander Horton,
Sam S. Davis and William McFarland
A little known fact about the Battle of Nacogdoches I was the part Chief Bowles and the Indians did not play. When Chief Bowles heard Colonel Piedras was under attack, he led a band of 60 Cherokees and other Indians to assist the Colonel. Colonel Piedras had previously won Bowles' loyalty, because the Chief believed the Colonel would help the Cherokees recieve title to the lands they occupied, from Mexican authorities. Bowles and his band arrived too late, the Old Stone Fort was in Texan hands and the Battle of Nacogdoches I was over on August 5, 1832.
Mexican authorities were upset about the affairs at Anahuac, Velasco and Nagogdoches, this feeling of concern reached into those who supported Santa Anna. They wanted to retain Texas for Mexico and did not support any other option. When Colonel Jose Antonio Mexia took Matamoros for Santa Anna in July of 1832, he heard of the problems in Texas. He arranged a truce with the Colonel of the opposition forces in the area. Colonel Mexia convinced him, whatever their differences, Texas must not be lost. Together the two Colonels with most of their men marched north.
Stephen F. Austin hastily organized a great reception complete with a military salute, a ball and plenty of food. The ball, styled as a salute to Santa Anna, was held at the tavern of Thomas H. Brenan in Brazoria on July 21, 1832. Austin was able to persuade the two colonels the incidents at Ahahuac and Velasco were just that, incidents. Incidents done mostly against Bradburn and not against Mexcio. The incident at Nacogdoches, he pointed out, was a show of support for Santa Anna and the restoration of the Constitution of 1824. He went on to point out the Anahuac and related Velasco incidents were also in support of Santa Anna. Austin pledged that Texas and Texans were in support of Santa Anna and wished to work for Texas to become a soveriegn state under the confederation of Mexican states guided by the Constitution of 1824. To support his point, Austin showed the two Colonels The Turtle Bayou Resolutions. Believing Texas was willing to work within the framework of the 1824 constitution and with Santa Anna, The Mexican Colonels returned with their men to Mexico.
Santa Anna was elected President of Mexico in April of 1833, but he chose to let his Liberal Vice President, Valentin Gomez Farias, run the government while he, Santa Anna, from the comfort of his hacienda ain Vera Cruz, assessed the political situation. Farias restored the soveriegnty of the states and began other reforms.
< Santa Anna as he appeared in the early 1830s
Texans were encouraged; they had just come from the brink of rebellion. Had Santa Anna not won, retribution would most certainly have been brought to Texas. Instead, they saw a chance to work again within the framework. A convention was called by Texans to meet in San Felipe to resolve issues and to present Texas' concerns to the new Mexican government, both in Mexico City and Saltillo, the Capitol of Coahuila y Texas. Among the principals calling for the convention were: William H. Jack and Ira Ingram.
This convention met in October of 1833. Many of the delegates representing the different settlements of Texas were of Irish and other Celtic backgrounds. Among them were: William McFarland, Donald Mc Donald, Jacob Parker, George Butler, Samuel, Joseph and James Looney; John Connell, Francis White Johnson, Frederic Foy, James Kerr, Hugh McGuffin, and George McKinstry just to name a few. Of the sixteen districts of Texas represented, fifteen had at least one Celt among its delegates. Stephen F. Austin was elected presiding officer. The larger concerns expressed at the convention were: seeking to be a separate state from Coahuila, titles for lands in East Texas, and donation of state land for schools.
The Mexican government was not pleased the Texans met in convention. They felt the convention was illegal. The Mexican government preferred the Texans petition for change through the established hierarchy of city-district-department-state administrations. When it was learned the Mexican government was distressed about the convention, the resolutions it had made were never presented.
The legislature of Coahula y Texas responded more warmly. They passed special legislation for Texas. English was recognized as an official language, religious toleration was to be official policy, Texas was given an apellate system of courts and the right of trial by jury. Schools were approved. Texas was divided into three more departments to provide more Texans access to their government and increase their representation.. Obviously the State of Coahuila y Texas was not wanting to lose Texas. In a final gesture, they offered to move the state capitol closer to Texas, from Saltillo to Monclova. Active in all this was Dr. James Grant a man who had been writing Austin about joining his colony since about 1823.
Grant instead of joining Austin's colony became involved in business that took him to Northern Mexico where he did well. He had a hacienda at Parras and was elected, in 1832,to the State Legislature of Coahuila y Texasand was active in pressing for the reforms mentioned above. Though he was thought of as a friend of Texas by those in Texas aware of his efforts, he was actually a friend of England. His successfull business venture in Northern Mexico was financed by British interests and he was part of the British plan to keep Texas out of American hands. His reforms were more to keep the Texans happy and at bay and in the Mexican camp than to move them closer to the United States.. Grant's family was Scottish and had served in the British East India Company through two generations in management positions. He himself and served as a ship's doctor for the unofficial commercial arm of the British goverment. He was a follow on to Wavell's efforts.
In still another favor to Texas, the State of Coahuila y Texas chartered the first bank in Texas to two Texans, Samuel M. Williams and Thomas McKinney in 1834. Williams previously Stephen F. Austin's secretary and assistant in Austin's colony was now a successful businessman. His partner, Thomas MCKinney, built one of the first sawmills in East Texas. Together these Celts established the mercantile business of McKinney and Williams. The bank was one of the company's projects. The chartering of this bank would become very important to Texas.
In Mexico City, Father Michael Muldoon visited with Colonel Jose Antonio Mexia. He said he represented the colonists in asking the laws of 1830 be repealed. He then wrote an article for the official gazette of the State of Coahuila y Texas. In the article, Father Muldoon expressed his admiration of the colonists and called for the repeal of the laws of 1830.
A second convention was held in San Felipe: this one controlled by a more agressive element among the colonists. Nevertheless, their demands offered as resolutions were pretty much the same as the first convention's were. This convention had most of the men from the first convention and the others who were more active. These included two men of Celtic heritage and would be Presidents of Texas, Sam Houston and David G. Burnet. Sam Houston, whose parents were Irish with Scottish ancestry, and David G. Burnet of Irish and Scottish ancestry as well were no wall flowers.
Of Houston, much has already been written. He is a book unto himself, and there are more than a few already published, suffice to say he was a leader of men. At 16 years of age he left home to live with the Cherokee Indians. He stayed for three years and developed a lifelong affinity and appreciation of and for the Indian. He became a soldier and was thought highly of by General Andrew Jackson. At 25 years of age, Houston left the military to study law. Soon he was a District Attorney then Adjutant General of Tennessee. He became a member of the Tennessee Legislature and then a member of the United States Senate as a senator from Tennesse. In 1827 he was elected Governor of Tennessee.
< Sam Houston as he appeared when he was a Tennessee legislator
Personal problems led him to resign and go again to live among the Cherokee. His personal problems stemmed from his marriage to Eliza Allen who he married after his election to Governor. Most history books say the reason for Houston leaving his wife and Governership was a mystery, but a reason has surfaced.
Margaret Everitt, a daughter of Sam Houston's oldest daughter, Nancy, reported in an interview conducted by Jerry Urban in the Texas Magazine in 1989, that the family always knew the reason. Mrs Everitt said that Eliza told Sam Houston she really loved another but married him because of his position. Sam Houston left the room, went and wrote his resignation letter as Governor of Tennessee and then handed it to her saying "Here Madame, is your position." Houston then left her and government to go with the Cherokee. He lived with them for six years. He took a Cherokee wife, Tiara Rogers. He was in Texas, in 1833, in part, as an agent of the Cherokee Nation at Nacogdoches. One of the purposes of this website is to remind that though he lived with the Cherokee, was born in Virginia, fought in Florida, was elected in Tennessee and re-elected in Texas - he was Irish, a gift of the Gaels to Ireland from Scotland and to Texas from Tennessee.
Houston's task at the San Felipe convention was to write a constitution for Texas. The constitution he presented was a hybrid of the Constitution of Massachusetts and of the State of Coahuila y Texas. Besides Houston and Burnet, other Celtic names present at the second convention were: Ira Ingram, Joseph McCoy, James Clinton Neill, Ephriam Roddy and R. McAlpin Williamson.
Stephen F. Austin was sent to Mexico City along with two others to present the resolutions of the convention. Austin saw Acting President Farias and a cabinet minister, Lorenzo de Zavala, both of whom promised to take action. After two months, nothing happened and Austin sought to again see Faria. They did meet. Farias explained that there were more pressing matters taking his time than Texas just now. Austin is said to have replied that delay would work against a peaceful administrative solution and that Texas might organize a state governement independently. Farias became furious. He took Austin's candid statement as a threat. The interview ended with both men angry.
A week or two later, an exhausted, disappointed, frustrated and ill Austin rashly wrote the Ayuntamiento at Bexar advising the Texans to wait no longer upon a decision from a government unable or unwilling to give an answer, and to begin a peacable plan to form a government separate from Coahuila. A month later Santa Anna assumed his office of President and placed Farias in the background. He called for Austin to meet with him. This was done. In the meeting Santa Anna agreed to all the resolutions presented by Austin except that of separating itself from Coahuila. Santa Anna pointed out to Austin, that he, as well as Austin and other Texans, pledged themselves to the Constitution of 1824 which plainly states Texas must have a population of 80,000 before becoming a state.
Santa Anna then told Austin he feared there were some in Texas unwilling to bind themselves to the Constitution of 1824 and that he felt he needed to take steps to preserve Texas for Mexico. He informed Austin he planned to station 4, 000 soldiers in Texas!
Austin then witnessed the repeal of the laws of 1830 (which for some reason was to not take effect for six months) and left for some business in Saltillo enroute to Texas. In Saltillo, Austin was arrested and escorted back to Mexico City. Farias had learned of Austin's letter to the Bexar Ayuntamiento and considered that coupled with his last conversation with Austin showed Austin to be guilty of Treason. The order for Austin's arrest is dated January 3, 1834. Captain Manuel Barragan and an escort of presidio guards accompanied Austin to Mexico City. Farias had Austin incarcerated in the Acordada Prison and held incommunicado.
Austin was placed in solitary confinement in a cell thirteen feet by sixteen feet with no windows. He was there for days, then weeks, when he looked up and saw Father Muldoon. The good Father used his influence over the guards to see Austin.
All other efforts to free or even to see Austin, including those of two lawyers sent by R. M. Williamson from the colonies were fruitless - except for Christmas night. No court would hear his case, saying they had no jurisdiction. Father Muldoon brought bread and cheese and said he would bring back books, when he could get back. Farias must have heard of these visits because he kept Father Muldoon from visiting Austin for weeks following the last visit.
Santan Anna had tested the political waters by allowing his Vice President, in the role of Acting President, to push for reforms and pass liberal legislation. While Santa Anna stood on the sidelines and watched and listened he sensed the establishment in Mexico did not want the reforms nor the liberal federalism of the Constitution of 1824. He felt what they wanted was centralism. Santa Anna, always ready to modify himself to what was best for his career: exiled Farias, dismissed all but one of the cabinet ministers, dissolved the Congress, abolished all legislatures and Ayuntamientos in Mexico and declared the Constitution of 1824 null and void.
Next, he reduced the militia units to one man for every five hundred citizens. He sent troops to Texas to accompany custom officials. Custom offices were established in Velasco, Anahuac and Copano to assess custom fees on items entering or leaving Texas. He sent to the port of Copano to serve as Chief Customs Officer, Colonel Juan Davis Bradburn. Following that he sent spies in to Texas to assess the situation. He sent Juan N. Almonte to conduct an official survey of Texas. He was to issue a statistical report and a secret report. Almonte's secret report was much like Teran's earlier report. He stated that the province was stable but that Mexican influence was not the dominate one. The statistical report, among other items, listed the population in the province in 1834:
DEPARMENT OF BEXAR
La Bahia (Goliad)..........1400..................... 700
.DEPARTMENT OF BRAZOS
DEPARTMENT OF NACOGDOCHES
Compared to earlier reports, the Mexican centers of population, Bexar and La Bahaia decreased in population by half while the American settlements showed major growth. Another report, also done in 1834, should there were 4,000 Spanish speaking residents of Texas versus 20,000 who spoke English.
When Farias was exiled by Santa Anna, Father Muldoon was able to again visit Stephen F. Austin. He brought him books, mailed his letters and brought him letters from Texas. Austin was moved from solitary confinement and other improvements were made in his prsion life. Among his visitors was Dr. James Grant who lent Austin $200. In June 1834, Father Muldoon wrote Oliver Jones, a friend of Austin, that he thought Austin would be released soon. It was not to happen for another year. There is little doubt Father Muldoon saved Austin's life. What is difficult to understand are the motives of Santa Anna. Why did he keep Austin imprisoned for more than a year after he took office? Why was he allowing Muldoon to comfort him? Why did he release him later?
There is evidence to suggest that a Mexican investigation into a land fraud scheme by some unscrupulous Texans was part of the delay. Those operating the scheme claimed Austin was a part of their operation. They made this claim while Austin was safe in a Mexican jail and could do little about it. They used Austin's name to add legitimacy to their scam to interest potential investors that trusted Austin. By implicating Austin as one of their leaders in the subsequent investigation, Austin was kept longer in the Mexican jail. This provided the schemers plenty of time to make their money and skedaddle. Any quick look at the facts show Austin to be innocent. On the other hand the investigation of Austin's supposed part in the scheme may also have been used as a screen for what Santa Anna was really doing.
It is generally believed that Santa Anna was formulating his plans for Texas at this point and he did not know what part Austin would play in them. Perhaps he felt Austin, feeling the power of the Mexican government and humbled in his or by his imprisonment, would be a moderating influence on the Texans. Santa Anna was wrong if he thought that. Stephen F. Austin came away from his eighteen months of imprisonment convinced of two things. First, his initialjudgement of Father Muldoon was correct. The good padre was a true friend of his and of Texas. Throughout the remainder of his life, Austin would not tolerate criticism of Father Muldoon. Second, Texas could not develop and prosper as it should in a Mexican confederation. All efforts should be directed to separating Texas from Mexico and uniting it with the United States of America!.........but not quite yet, not openly. Austin knew the politics of the time. The President of Mexico was disposed to pounce on any sign of rebellion and the President of the United States of America was not disposed to enter the internal affairs of neighboring sovereign country.
Back in Texas, most of the settlers were still hoping to work things out with Mexico. They heard rumblings that Santa Ann had changed his stripes, but they had not been faced with anything in Texas. Austin's imprisonment disturbed the Texans and they did not understand it. They felt they needed more information before making a decision. A confusing element was Austin's alleged participation in the land specualtion deal. A minority of Texans were declaring that Texas declare its independence and seek U.S.assistance. Mention was made of Houston's special relationship with General, now President Andrew Jackson and they took note of the fact that increasing numbers of troops had been assigned General General Gaines at Natchitoches. The U. S. fort, Fort Jessup, was located west of the former site of Los Adaes but not on the Sabine River.