(The following is synthesized from diverse sources with Ter�n and Texas by Ohland Morton, 1948, serving as as a guide and base. Portrait above from Morton's Ter�n and Texas from Julio Zarate's La Guerra de Independencia, vol. III of Vicente Riva Palacio's Mex�co � Trav�s de Siglos)
Early life and the Revolution. Jos� Manuel Rafael Sime�n de Mier y Ter�n was born 18 Feb 1789 in Mexico City, the oldest son of Manuel de Mier y Ter�n and Mar�a Ignacia de Teruel y Llanos. Manuel Mier y Ter�n Sr. was the son of Antonio de Mier y Ter�n and Ana Mar�a de Casuro y Pe�a. His mother's parents were Felipe Teruel and Anna Mar�a Llanos y Leon. He and younger brothers Juan and Joaquin served in the Mexican Revolutionary movement under Morelos. In 1824 Manuel Mier y Ter�n married Mar�a Jos�fa Velasco de Teruel and they established a home in Mexico City. They had a son born in 1825 who died two days before Ter�n departed Mexico City for his inspection trip to Texas on 10 Nov 1827.
Ter�n was adept in mathematics and engineering, attended the Mexico City College of Mines and graduated in 1811. Like many idealistic students, he was attracted to the revolutionary ideas of the Hidalgo and Morelos movements. His theoretical knowledge of explosives and ballistics were of practical potential and he was inducted into the ranks by Ignacio Rayon on 22 Mar 1811. Prior to that time, Ter�n apparently had cautiously investigated the insurgent movement disguised as a mule driver in one instance where he observed battlefields, one in particularly at the Calderon Bridge. He witnessed executions of rebels as well. After joining Rayon, he quickly gained his confidence as an organizer and assistant. He then became head of an artillery division under his childhood friend, Mar�ano Matamoros, top assistant of Jos� Mar�a Morelos y Pavon. Ter�n continued to exercise his talents in manufacture of munitions as well as training and command. Ter�n was instrumental as captain of artillery (forty pieces) in one of the greatest victories of Morelos against the royalists at Oaxaca on 25 Nov 1812. In the assault on Oaxaca, while Ter�n was attempting to protect a drawbridge for crossing a moat, he observed the young insurgent Manuel Fel�x Fernandez, later known as Guadalupe Victoria, become mired in mud while attempting to cross on foot through the moat. His reaction of laughter to the comical sight of Fernandez and others mired in the moat is said to have been remembered by Victoria and a source of ill feeling between the two for life.
Although primaily occupied with munitions manufacture, Ter�ns military efforts under Rayon were plagued with setbacks of the movement in general and also disagreement on tactics. In summer 1814, he joined Juan N. Rosains in the Tehuacan region in the province of Puebla. At Silacayoapan near Oaxaca and Puebla, Ter�n was promoted to colonel because of meritorious action with artillery in a losing siege by royalist Generals Alvarez and Sanmiego. In 1815, the Ter�n brothers became victims of the treachery and vindictiveness of their chosen chief, Rosain, who initiated military conflict with the insurgent forces of chieftain Guadalupe Victoria. Initially they were loyal to Rosains and led an action against Gen. Felix Luna under Victoria, but on 16 Aug he allied with Luna and arrested Rosains and delivered him up to Guadalupe Victorias headquarters. The traitorous Rosains escaped and eventually was pardoned by the royal Viceroy after delivery of insurgent intelligence to the royalists.
After Death of Morelos. In the fall of 1813, the revolutionary movement with Morelos at its head had been able to establish a Congress, a declaration of rights and a Constitution of sorts which included abolition of slavery, imprisonment for debt and collection of tithes for more church properties, and an Executive Council (Poder Ejecutivo) of Liceaga, Cos and Morelos. Morelos moved the government to his home town of Valladolid where attack from royal forces became severe as well as internal strife and assassination. In an attempt to move his troops and the Congress to join Mier y Ter�n at Tehuacan, he was captured at Texmalaca on 15 Nov while attempting to divert the Viceroy's forces from the Congress and his main army. Despite the setbacks of the insurgent movement including the capture and execution of Morelos in Mexico City, the Ter�n brothers collective positive activities in the Tehuacan and Mizteca districts with Manuel at the head established him clearly among the insurgent leaders for Mexican independence as Vicente Guerrero, Nicol�s Bravo, Guadalupe Victoria, Francisco Osorno and Antonio Torres. Squabbling among the chieftains prevented any one from emerging a current leader, however, Ter�ns military skills and initiatives backed by his brothers made him the next logical candidate to lead the revolution. Ter�n was disgusted with the group that comprised the Congress of the revolutionary government who proceeded to vote themselves high salaries and gain control of the treasury. He chided them for calling each other "Your Most Honorable" while conducting little state business. Ter�n dissolved the Congress and placed the members under arrest, then liberated them and sent them on their way with money in hand.
Without a unified governing body, Ter�n failed to unite the diverse military chieftains of Mexico which proceeded to be cut down by royal forces one by one. Matamoros, Francisco Rayon (brother of Ignacio Rayon) and Galeana were captured and beheaded. With the appointment of Juan Ruiz Apodaca as Viceroy by Ferdinand VII in 1816, troops were concentrated against the Ter�n brothers forces at Tehuacan and Cerro Colorado, however, Apodaca exercised a policy of no reprisals and offer of amnesty which further dampened the revolution in absence of unity. Manuel and Juan Mier y Ter�n surrendered with guarantee of amnesty to General Bracho in Feb 1817 and retired to private life in Puebla until 1821. A few chieftains continued local, but largely inconsequential insurgent activities, which included Guadalupe Victoria, Juan Alverez and Vicente Guerrero. Ignacio Rayon and Verduzco were captured and imprisoned and Liceaga was assassinated by one of his men.
In summer of 1821, hearing of the renewed insurgent activities stimulated by the changes in Spain forcing Ferdinand VII to restore some constitutional principles, Ter�n joined Nicol�s Bravo, who had been called up by the coalition of Agustino Iturbide and Guerrero along with followers of Osorno, Victoria and others. The threat comprised of renewed joint revolutionary forces through the country and to the ecclesiastics by the reforms in Spain resulted in the Plan of Iguala (Plan of the Three Guarantees), a coalition of church, monarchy and revolutionaires whose common goal was independence. Most regional chieftains backed the plan, both royalist and revolutionary, with Iturbide as the leader. These included Anastacio Bustamante, Juan Alverez, Carlos Mar�a Bustamante, Jose Joaquin Herrera and Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
Under Iturbide--Commander at Chiapas, Congressman and Minister of War and Navy. In fall 1821, Iturbide assigned Mier y Ter�n to be military commander of Chiapas, a part of Guatemala, but with practical associations with Mexico. He guided the annexation, along with Gen. Vicente Filisola, of independent Guatemala and Nicaragua into the new Republic of Mexico and soon after returned to Mexico City where he was elected to Congress in 1822. He plotted an independent path through the intense struggles between constitutional monarchists and republicans for power. During the period Ter�n was a member of the colonization committee and a supporter of the policy. It is thought at that time he became acquainted with Stephen F. Austin who was in Mexico and his lifetime interest in Texas began. As a Congressman, he was pragmatic and proposed compromise and moderation, adherence to existent, largely Spanish law, while the constitution and civil government of the new Republic could be implemented. Ter�ns term as a Congressman temporarily ended when Iturbide as Augustin I, Emperor of Imperial Mexico, dissolved it by decree on 31 Oct 1822. He again became an active Congressman when it was reassembled in Mar 1823 after the emergence of Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna with his Plan of Veracruz, the coalition with Guadalupe Victoria resulting in the Plan of Casa Mata, and the abdication of Iturbide and establishment of a provisional government. The plans called for abolition of the imperial government, organization of a republican government, assembly of the Congress and a new constitution. Ter�ns service as a Congressman in the period revealed his intellect and broad knowledge, his statesman-like qualities rather than militaristic qualities exhibited by many of the new government.
Historians disagree in their assessment of Ter�ns political stance in this period which probably reflects the fact that he allied with no one faction, but plotted an independent course. In contrast to Valentine G�mez Farias from Coahuila y Tejas, he is classified by author Howard Noll from Empire to Republic as a Centralist similar to Carlos Mar�a Bustamante. He cites his opposition to the wording in the preamble to the Constitution of 1824 which said "The nation adopts the Republican, Federal, Popular, Representative form of Government," contrasting the historic situation of Mexico and the United States at the time for a Constitution as radically different. Ohland Martin in Ter�n and Texas concludes that he was in essence a liberal and a republican, an avid supporter of individual expression and freedom of the press. Yet he used as his base unwaveringly, after the separation from Spain, the established Mexican authority, as he disagreed with its parts and worked for its reformation plotting a course of consistency in his actions. From Mar to Oct 1824, he served as Minister of War and Navy along with Minister of Relations L�cas Alam�n. During this period the two became close friends which continued until Ter�ns death. As during the insurgency, Ter�n worked hard to improve the technical aspects of the military of the new Republic including the navy. He was for reformation of the old Spanish military penal codes, apparently unsuccessfully, as evidenced by their retention and exercise during the rebellion in Texas.
Assignment to the Provincias Internas. After Guadalupe Victoria received a majority of votes in the first presidential election with Nicol�s Bravo second under the new Constitution of 4 Oct 1824 establishing the Federal Republic of the United States of Mexico, dislike between the two emerged which many think was precipitated by the earlier incident at Oaxaca in 1812. His service under Victoria consisted of a series of assignments that many think were designed to keep him away from Mexico City. Ter�n expressed privately that more than one of his missions were trivial and useless with unnecessary cost to the government. Among one of the missions was a boundary survey between the USA and Mexico and an inspection of the province. An attempt to appoint him ambassador to England failed revealing that Ter�n had enough enemies in the Congress to block the nomination. Among the most outspoken was centralist from Tabasco Jos� Mar�a Alpuche. From 1825 to fall 1827, Ter�n returned to largely scholarly activities. His old traitorous enemy Rosains re-surfaced to write an attack on his actions at Cerro Colorado in 1817, but Ter�ns eloquence and personal defense of his position apparently was the winner in eyes of the public.
On 10 Nov 1827, a caravan left Mexico City for Texas under command of Gen. Mier y Ter�n which would be of great import in the future of Texas as a province within the Republic of Mexico.
The mission was primarily scientific aimed at collecting geographical data and assessing the agricultural and commercial potential of the natural resources. Given the evolving political relations between the USA and the new Mexican Republic, particularly definition of the precise boundary between the two countries and treaties of commerce, no doubt the party was to assess needs for occupation and defense, the possibility of balancing the rapid settlement by immigrants from the United States of the North with European immigrants, and the status of the native Indian populations.
Even as Ter�n was on his way to Texas in Nov 1827, the conflict between republican and centralist philosophies in Mexico began to move at an increasing pace to threaten the first presidential term of the constitutional Republic. Rivalries between the Scottish Rite (Ecoseses of European continental origin) and York Rite (Yorkinos of American origin) lodges of the Masonic order split along the two political lines, the former centralist and conservative and the latter liberal and republican. Out of the dispute, the Plan of Monta�o of 1827 arose aimed at the liberal faction, backed by Vice-President Bravo and Manuel de Santa Anna, brother of the future dictator Lopez de Santa Anna. The latter was against the plan. Backers of the plan were put down by Victoria's forces under Vicente Guerrero and exiled. President Guadalupe Victoria advised Gen. Anastasio Bustamante, Commander of the Eastern Interior Provinces, of the events and apparently for Bustamante to watch Ter�n for signs of sympathy of the Plan of Monta�o and his old friend Bravo as he proceeded toward the Texas expedition. It is in Laredo where Ter�n was routed that Ter�n is believed to have earned the respect and long term friendship of Anastacio Bustamante whom he visited for over 20 days. The party continued from Laredo to Bexar arriving 3 Jan 1828. Details, mostly scientific, of the journey were recorded by diarist Sanchez. On his first contact with Anglo-immigrants, Sanchez noted:
On 3 Jun, the parties reached Nacogdoches and were met by Lt. Col. Jos� de las Piedras. Their reports described the village with about 700 with less than 100 women. Sanchez entered in his journal:
It was here that the party met Col. Peter Ellis Bean who arranged numerous conferences and visits with the local Indian tribes. Most were interested in obtaining land titles, although Ter�n was most interested in observation and assessment of military and commercial relations. During this period in 1828, Ter�n and Stephen F. Austin had numerous communications concerning issues in development of Texas. Clearly these communications caused Ter�n to reflect on the detailed problems related in Austins letters (trade with Mexican ports, registration of Texas vessels, protection from US law suits, separation from Coahuila and government organization), although his responses were often largely dominated by his occupation in physical observations and often concern with his personal health and comfort. After return to Bexar on 4 April, Ter�n filed the first of his reports to President Guadalupe Victoria and Minister of Relations, Jos� Mar�a Bocanegra. He advised that the boundary defined in the Treaty of 1819, a moot point at this stage since it had already been agreed. More importantly, these reports were the first in a series describing essentially an alarming view, at least in the eyes of some governmental officials, of Anglo-American infiltration, and other problems in the area. He advised establishing a political chief in Nacogdoches and that the national government provide support of the Indian tribes rather than the state government of Coahuila y Texas. He deplored the neglect of the garrison at Nacogdoches and called for more support.
Political upheavals and Spanish invasion. Meanwhile internal power struggles within the Mexican government continued to mount in Ter�ns absence. After the Yorkist branch of the Masons and its allied political factions gained dominance and President Victorias term was reaching an end, violent power struggles began between the Yorkists themselves who prepared for the next presidential election. The High Liberals or Radicals supported old revolutionary Vicente Guerrero while the conservatives and moderates along with the Centralists supported Victorias Minister of War and friend of Iturbide, Manuel Gom�z Pedraza. Pedraza with Anastacio Bustamante (Commander of Eastern Interior Provinces) second was elected by the legislature in an 11 of 20 vote over Vicente Guerro. The election was disputed, reversed by the house of deputies, but upheld by the Senate. Guerros followers led by Santa Anna staged a revolt in Vera Cruz, which spread to Mexico City where government troops were defeated and a state of anarchy broke out. Pedraza fled the scene, resigned and took exile in England. Guerro was proclaimed the new President with Bustamante as vice-president. These events demanded the attention of most military officials, which included Mier y Ter�n in Texas, and he was called to Mexico City. It can be concluded that despite his fragile health and the harsh conditions of the frontier in Texas, Manuel Mier y Ter�n was reluctant to leave, had developed an affection for the region and its people and enjoyed being absent from the upheavals of politics in internal Mexico. On 16 Jan 1828, Ter�n departed Cols. Bean and Piedras in Nacogdoches whom he apparently had grown to admire and work well with. The party returned to Matamoros via the Old Bahia Road crossing the Lavaca and Navidad Rivers in the DeWitt Colony on 8 Jan. On the 16th they reached La Bahia returning to Matamoros on 7 Mar. Thus ended the most extensive on-sight presence (one full year Feb to Feb 1828-1829) of the man whose opinions and reports would set the nature of the interaction of Texas with the central Mexican government until his death in 1832.
In addition to the struggles for the Presidency of Mexico which caused Gen. Ter�ns return from Texas, on 28 Jul 1829 a Spanish force from Havana under Gen. Isidoro Barradas landed at Cabo Rojo near Tampico aimed at returning Mexico to the Spanish fold. The Guerrero government was totally unprepared, but the landing was met by independent regional forces, one of which was assembled by governor of Vera Cruz, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who the government subsequently named Chief of Army Operations. Another was under Gen. Mier y Ter�n and Eastern Interior Provinces commander Felipe de la Garza. Ter�n confronted the Spanish force on the road to Tampico, but was forced to retreat to Altamira. Gen. Ter�n is credited with keeping the Spanish forces hemmed in Tampico while Santa Anna was approaching from across the bay at Tuxpam and while the Guerrero government finally acted with investment of essentially near dictatorial powers to Guerrero. Santa Anna was promoted to general of the division and he appointed Ter�n as second in command, over the head of la Garza who was officially Ter�ns superior. This appointment resulted subsequently in Ter�ns position as Commandante of the Eastern Interior Provinces involving him intimately in affairs of Texas until his death in 1832. At Tampico, Ter�n disagreed openly with the tactics of his superior Santa Anna. With Santa Annas agreement to Ter�ns plan which was primarily a well-planned and sustained siege and artillery attack rather than a single night time storm, Spanish Gen. Barradas surrendered on 11 Sep 1829.
At Tampico, the contrasting personalities and character of Gen. Manuel Mier y Ter�n and the future "Napoleon of the West" better described as the "Chameleon of the West" and future dictator Santa Anna was revealed and has been the subject of numerous historiacal comments. In contrast to Santa Anna, Gen. Ter�n apparently preferred to be in the heat of battle with his troops, much as he had enjoyed the fieldwork in Texas despite his delicate constitution, and was known for his coolness under fire. North American newspapers picked up the following description which historian Carlos Bustamante said showed him:
Ter�n engineered the details of Gen. Barradas surrender and subsequent handling and treatment of the captured Spanish force. Barradas, well dressed for the meeting for surrender to Gen. Ter�n, was surprised that he was received by Ter�n who was mud-covered and indistinguishable from the privates. Barradas and subsequent observers noted the humane spirit of Gen. Ter�n in the affair in which officers and men retained their dignity and swords, lives and rights were respected, appropriate shelter given and the wounded attended. That Ter�n had his critics, one of which may have been Santa Anna, in his treatment of the prisoners is suggested by documents in which he appeared to justify his humane actions to his chief Santa Anna. An example is the following report to Santa Anna in which he explains his position:
Santa Anna praised Gen. Mier y Ter�ns service in the entire action at Tampico noting his qualities of leadership and lofty ideal, but returned promptly to Vera Cruz leaving execution of the details to Gen. Ter�n. Meanwhile, treachery and dissension among the chieftains of Mexico continued to stress the relatively idealistic and reconciliatory, and weak, republican government of President Guerrero. In a fast paced series of conspiracies and changing loyalties on every hand, Santa Anna, once an opponent of Bustamante, proposed the Plan of Jalapa in Vera Cruz which called for a complete change in officials in the Guerrero government and reserve troops under Bustamante in Jalapa were placed in rebellion against the government of Guerrero. While moving to crush the rebellion, Guerrero left Minister Jos� Mar�a Bocanegra in charge of the government in Mexico City and who ursurped the powers of the presidency for five days, then ousted by Gen. Luis Quintanar on 29 Dec 1829. Bustamante took over the government as president in Jan 1830 while the old revolutionary Guerrero retired to the mountains. According to Lorezo de Zavala's critical description, Mier y Ter�n also accepted the plan of the conspirators and betrayed Jos� Mar�a Alpuche and other members of the Congress who hoped for a prevention of Bustamante's coup by a coalition of Santa Anna and Mier y Ter�n. However, Ter�n declined the offer of appointment of Bustamante's Minister of War and Navy which was given to his old colleague from the College of Mines Jos� Antonio Facio. Bustamante's regime continued to plot the death of Guerrero even though he was far away in the mountains. By the letter of the law he was still the president and Bustamante was only an ad interim. As long as the old revolutionary hero was alive he posed a threat to emerging centralism. Pardons were given to murderers who would make him a target for assassin. He continued sporadic attempts at resistance, was captured in Acapulco and for a bribe from Bustamante's representatives was delivered to him and courtmartialed and executed in Oaxaca in Feb 1831.
Declines position in the Bustamante cabinet. After declining the position of Minister of War offered by Bustamante, Mier y Ter�n could again turn his attention toward Texas from his position as Commandante of the Eastern Provincias Internas with three sympathetic individuals who knew him well with respect, Bustamante, L�cas Alam�n (Minister of Interior & Foreign Relations) and Facio, in the government. Unfortunately, the chaotic political events in Mexico City continued to distract his attention and eventually tragically overwhelmed him. Soon after the execution of Guerrero, political forces in Mexico divided into three political factions: the ministeriales who were mostly reactionary members of the military and clergy; the hombres de progreso who were largely an opposition party of congressional and local representatives; and the largely unorganized revolutionaries who were dispersed throughout the country under local military chiefs. Each anticipated the next constitutional election scheduled for September 1832. To many the choices were incumbent Bustamante backed by clergy and military, Nicolas Bravo backed by the Scottish Rite sympathizers and the Yorkist branch Santa Anna. Mier y Ter�n was not clearly aligned with any one of them, but true to his history loyal to the established Mexican authority of the moment. In the opinion of many he was the candidate of choice to represent a coalition of diverse regions and those generally opposed to the government and status quo. He was the choice of Stephen F. Austin and those Texians, thought to be a majority, who were of similar belief, hinted in this letter to Thomas F. Leaming of July 1831:
From Saltillo in 1831, Austin wrote to secretary Samuel Williams in Texas:
Author Eugene Barker in the Life of Stephen F. Austin remarked "Nothing would have pleased Austin better than to have seen Ter�n elected to the presidency. He had confidence in Ter�n's honesty; and believed that, so far as the ignorance and prejudices of his people permitted, Ter�n would govern liberally."
Fighting anarchy and rising dictatorship. Fall of 1832 was too far away to wait for legal elections for opportunistic jackals to whom elections had no meaning and were even a threat. Such was Vera Cruz chieftain Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna analyzed by historian Justin H. Smith in The War with Mexico:
In Jan 1832, military officers in Vera Cruz plotted to break up the Bustamante regime and invited Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna from the area to lead the movement which he did despite the fact that he was previously a formal supporter. Santa Anna's demand to Bustamante for resignation of the cabinet was effective, but the government would not accept their resignation. At Jalapa, Minister of War Facio with Gen. Jos� M. Calder�n defeated Santa Anna's insurgents which he had raised with funds from the Vera Cruz customs house, but could not dislodge him from Vera Cruz by siege. Local revolutionary support begin to arise across multiple states of Mexico in response to Santa Anna and the Plan of Vera Cruz espousing support of the Constitution and a Federal system. Guanajuato, Jalisco, Nuevo Le�n, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Tampico and Zacatecas and even at home in Matamoros where Mier y Ter�n was stationed as Commandante Provincias Internas showed signs of revolt against the Bustamante government and sympathy with Santa Anna. Several state legislatures formally passed anti-government resolutions. Guerrero's old Minister of War, Gen. Moctezuma, marched on the port city of Tampico representing the Bustamante regime, but declared in favor of Santa Anna on 20 Mar. With the port of Tampico in the hands of anti-government forces, Gen. Ter�n turned to diplomacy and appealed to Moctezuma for loyalty to the government without success after which he marched to Tampico from Matamoros. An article in a New Orleans newspaper described the situation as the General departed Matamoros:
Upon arrival at Pueblo Viejo on 4 May, Ter�n continued to appeal to Moctezuma using every argument possible for maintaining order under the law until elections could be held. Moctezuma remained obstinate and on 13 May attacked Fort Landero held by the rebels without success. From his headquarters at Viller�as, Ter�n resorted to propaganda and on 15 May labeled the rebels under Santa Anna as puppets of foreigners, largely backed by Spanish adventurers precipitated comment by Stephen F. Austin in a letter to Samuel Williams of 15 June:
On May 20, the Bustamante cabinet resigned, a move which Ter�n had suggested to L�cas Alam�n in early April, and which was the purported object of the rebel forces continuing to unite under the banner of Santa Anna. This accomplished, Ter�n continued his appeal through diplomacy for loyalty from the rebel chieftains, primarily Moctezuma, without success. Unsatisfied with the original goal, the rebels led by Santa Anna continued with more demands. Even though Santa Anna had undermined the election of Gom�z Pedraza in 1828 he now claimed that he was the legally elected president and that Bustamante should step down. Meanwhile Ter�n's troops defeated those of both Moctezuma and Francisco Vital Fern�ndez, ex-governor of Tamaulipas, hollow victories for Manuel Mier y Ter�n as upheavals across Mexico and disturbances in Texas continued with Santa Anna the seemingly emergent chief. In ill health and suffering from increasing personal melancholy, Ter�n moved his headquarters to Hacienda de Buena Vista del Cojo. Austin wrote after a meeting with Ter�n on 30 May after the close of the legislative session in Saltillo:
Presidential potential and political philosophy. Supporters of Ter�n urged him to continue to lead the resistance to the rebellion, to move to Mexico City and organize the state government heads and militia to protect the election process scheduled for September. In late spring of 1832, it is believed that Ter�n could obtain a majority of votes from at least twelve state legislatures through the country. Ter�n explained in a letter to his backer and intellectual political mentor, Dr. J.M. Mora:
Ter�n pointed out to his brother, Juan about the same time:
Amid the chaos and pretense of the Santa Anna led revolution under the guise of Constitutional government and liberal democratic federalism, Manuel Mier y Ter�n was a viable possibility for president in the next scheduled constitutional election for September 1832. Contemporary historians who attempted to evaluate and describe Mier y Ter�n's political philosophy and affiliations and sympathies differ, sometimes widely, which reflects his independence and aloofness from any one group or philosophy. Most agree on his loyalty to the established order, law and order, his general honesty and unselfishness and vision for development of Mexico into a nation state and economic power. Historian Jos� C. Valades in Santa Anna y la Guerra de Texas wrote:
Dr. J.M. Mora, ex-cleric and political scientist of the time became the proponent of Gen. Ter�n and attempted most to understand him in order to present him to diverse factions. According to Mora, Ter�n once declared to him
In an attempt to more clearly delineate Gen. Ter�n's position to Zacatecas governor Garc�a y Farias, a predicted swing state in the fall election, Dr. Mora pressed Gen. Ter�n through interview for his position. As summarized by Mora he would abolish special judicial privileges of the military and clergy, elicit more supervision of the clergy, gradually confiscate Church property, abolish the commandancies general and further upgrage the quality of troops and leadership on the frontier. Ter�n explained to Mora in May as he continued movements against the rebel forces:
Ter�n is believed to have been a Mason although he appears not to have taken sides with Masonic factions to the extent that it influenced his actions. Dr. Mora wrote in 1837:
A description of an event in Texas by W.P. Zuber alludes to his Masonic membership:
Lorenzo de Zavala described Ter�n as follows:
Historian C. M. Bustamante suggests that Ter�n had little interest in politics and was only happy when involved in science and engineering:
Ex-minister under Guerrero, Jos� M. Bocanegra in his Memorias described Ter�n as follows:
Melancholy and despair--the tragic final days. On 25 Jun 1832 while on his way to Croix from Hacienda de Buena Vista del Cojo, Gen. Ter�n received word about the events at Anahuac in Texas. His apparent last order was for Ugartechea to relieve Bradburn of his command. Ter�n then moved to San Antonio de Padilla with headquarters Presidio Aguaverde residing in the same rooms where Emperor Iturbide spent his last hours before execution in 1824. According to eyewitnesses, the general's behavior became erratic, he toured the village in deep thought making numerous trips to the river and the tomb of Iturbide. Watched and sometimes accompanied by his secretary Col. Jos� Mar�a D�az Noriega, he remarked:
Faithful Noriega replied "But you, General, will probably receive the majority of votes for the presidency, and then you can remedy the evils that you fear."
Ter�n replied revealing his innermost views:
From Ter�n and Texas by Ohland Martin as summarized from diverse reports of the final moments of Gen. Manuel y Ter�n:
Suicide or assassination? Most historians agree that Gen. Ter�n's death was a suicide related to chronic ill health and what today would be assessed as chronic sub-clinical depression, which runs through almost continuously the journals and eyewitness reports of those close to him. However, within the context of intrigue, assasination and political switching that is characteristic of the period among the Mexican chieftains and political leaders, assassination theories are inevitable and a real consideration. Santa Anna is thought to have know well that Ter�n was a viable threat for election in September. The language used in some of Ter�n's last correspondence implies that he may have felt himself a target for assassination and blame for errors of the Bustamante government. General Vicente Filisola in his memoirs declared firmly that Ter�n was assassinated at Santa Anna's will. Historian C. M. Bustamante also favored the assassination theory declaring:
Last letter to Luc�s Alam�n. Perhaps most revealing is Manuel Mier y Ter�n's last letter written to his personal friend and colleague, Luc�s Alam�n, on the afternoon of July 2, 1832, the day before his death:
Gen. Manuel Mier y Ter�n was a responsive confidant of Empresario Stephen F. Austin, their relations from 1828 to his Ter�n's death in 1832 have been described as cordial and intimate. Ter�n also respected and worked with other loyal Anglo-Mexican immigrant leaders and Tejanos for peace and development of the province. Among the issues he supported in Texas was trial by jury in the colonies with review of verdicts by trained judges who periodically visited the settlements. He was for exemption of Texas from the strict letter of the slavery emancipation decree of President Guerrerro. He expressed frankly his opinion that the admission of slaves was essential to the development of Texas and use in the coastal states of the Republic of Mexico was inevitable. He predicted that slavery would make Texas an economically powerful state equal to Louisiana, but expressed reservations whether slavery was too high a price for the success. Ter�n expressed support to Austin for freedom of religion in Texas which was preferable to no religion at all on the frontier which appeared to the case. It is thought that this attitude probably reflected that of President Guerrerro whose administration was too short-lived to implement it as a constitutional amendment. Most importantly, Ter�n concurred with the views and appeals of Austin that his colonies and those of Green DeWitt were excluded from the limits on Anglo immigration in the decree of 1830 instructing commandants at San Antonio and Nacogdoches that all orders received by him from higher authorities "aimed to guarantee the colonies already established on the terms in which their contracts were granted; so that they have the right to conclude all matters pending in the part that has not yet been fulfilled."
Ter�n was strongly critical of the increasing minority of native Mexicans were who he described as of "the lowest class--the very poor and ignorant." He concluded that, because of this, foreigners in Texas would not assimilate with them because the natives had nothing to teach or impart to them. He agreed that the Anglo colonists complaint of "political disorganization on the frontier" was justified and needed remedy by attention of the government of Mexico. He was for balancing the perceived problems caused by an Anglo majority of immigrants with native born Hispanic immigrants from the interior while his successor, Tadeo Ortiz de Ayala, promoted the idea that Texas could be attractive to European immigrants that could more easily be assimilated into the Mexican way of life. Stephen F. Austin had written Ter�n after passage of the Bustamante Decree of 1830 "My hopes are fixed on you to save Texas." A week before his death he had written Austin "The affairs of Texas are understood by none but you and me, and we alone are the only ones who can regulate them." His successor, Ortiz de Ayala, died in the cholera epidemic of 1833. One month after the death of Ortiz on 15 Nov 1833, the Mexican Senate rescinded the anti-immigration law of 1830. In Jan 1834, Gom�z Farias sent Juan Nepomuceno Almonte to investigate the situation in Texas and it is believed he expected to become the successor of Ter�n and Ortiz as "director of colonization" of Texas with similar aims. Almonte returned in 1836 as a major figure in the military force sent to subdue the Texas independence movements. sdct teran
General Manuel Mier y Ter�n and Texas 1828-1832
12 Jan 1828 Saltillo. J. Antonio Padilla to Austin. Ter�n is now in Monterrey and soon will go from there to the presidios as far as Bexar. He was here for a few days. He is a man of much knowledge, understanding, and astuteness, not easy to become friendly with, holds strictly to convention, is formidable with his logic and persuasion, and is of an analytical turn of mind
21 Feb Bexar Ramon Musquiz to Austin. Dentro de pocos dias tendremos en esta al General Ter�n con su comitiba. El Comandte del 11 que devia escoltar a este efe se Declaro pr el Plan de Montano, comprometio el regimeinto, y al ultimo se cambio, contal occurencia no se si esta tropa continuara para su destino.
3 Apr Bexar Ramon Musquiz to Austin. Introduction of Gen. Ter�n and request for census of the colony.
9 Apr Bexar Erasmo Seguin to Austin. Asks Austin to be especially cordial to his old friend, Gen. Ter�n.
15 May Bexar Ramon Musquiz to Austin. Update on Ter�ns plans including topographical mapping of Texas. Mentions government recognition of labor contracts, permission for Austin to colonize the coast, requests reservation of land for him and Victor Blanco.
17 May La Casa de Holland. Ter�n to Austin. On observations concerning latitude and longitude measurements in Texas.
24 May Austin to Ter�n. Describes overflow of rivers, reason for rains, describes measures necessary for Texas: 1. Suspension of prohibition against import of slaves for 6-8 years; 2. Permission to settle the coast; 3. Extension of tariff exemptions to 1835.
29 May Trinidad. Ter�n to Austin. Reply to above saying substantial reply coming later. Complains of climate.
24 Jun Nacogdoches. Ter�n to Austin. (Two Letters) Commentary on climate. Agrees with Austin on the needs of Texas, but explains difficulty in modifying the slavery law. Discusses use of a peach-tree switch used by natives to locate water, skeptic, but appears convincing.
30 Jun San Felipe. Austin to Ter�n. (Three letters) Reply to water witching query, also skeptical for years, but suspended judgement. Long description of the history of his colony, asks for opinion on US enforcement of debts of settlers before immigration, advises on handling of squatters in East Texas. Presents needs of Texians: 1. Suspension on restriction of introduction of slaves for 6-8 years; 2. Extension of tariff exemptions until 1835; 3. Permission to raise tobacco for export; 4. Regulation of coastal trade to permit to help Texian products reach Mexican ports; 5. Protection of colonists against suits from US for debts; 6. Separation of Texas from Coahila and a territorial government.
8 Jul Nacogdoches. Ter�n to Austin. Thanks for above letter. Will give attention next year to the debt question. Inquiry whether Austin will part with his encyclopedia.
5 Aug Nacogdoches. Ter�n to Austin. Inquiring whether Rees Encyclopedia gives systematic treatment to botany and zoology. Sends a thermometer and asks for observations in San Felipe.
Aug. Austin to unknown (probably Ter�n). Geographical, demographic, economic and social description of Texas.
20 Sep Austin to Ter�n. Importance of coastal trade from Texas to Mexican ports, opportunity to ship cotton (500 bales per year) to Europe instead of New Orleans, politics in the US, against protective tariff.
29 Sep Nacogdoches. Ter�n to Austin. Climate observations, asks for loan of botanical section of Austins encyclopedia, discussion of ports, coastal trade, tariffs. Believes tariffs not intended to apply to Texas.
12 Mar 1829 Matamoros. Ter�n to Austin. Gives Austin notes for maps from expedition, approval of coastal trade.
28 Sep Tampico. Ter�n to Austin. Acknowledges receipt of Austins map and describes surrender of the Spanish forces. Says "My duties that day were quite different form the ones you saw me discharging in connection with my peaceful trip to Texas."
20 Nov Pueblo Viejo Tampico. Ter�n to Austin. Notification that Guerreros decree on slavery does not apply to Texas.
8 Dec Nacogdoches. Piedras to Ter�n. Expresses concern over arrival of Cherokee and Chickasaw Indians from the United States.
29 Dec San Felipe. Austin to Ter�n. Thanks for Ter�n in influencing exemption of Texas from Guerreros emancipation decree, explains it would have ruined Texas, colonists were quiet and reserved with confidence in the government.
24 Apr to Jul. Correspondence between Ter�n and commanders and government officials in Texas at An�huac, Galveston, Tenoxtitl�n, Lavaca, Nacogdoches, Bexar, Guadalupe and Goliad. Predicts Tenoxtitl�n will some day be capital of Texas. Diverse papers in Texas General Land Office, Bexar Archives and Mexican archives.
24 Apr 1830 Matamoros. Ter�n to Austin. Requesting Austins opinion of the Bustamante Decree provision for excluding Americans from Texas, organization of territorial government in Texas.
18 May San Felipe. Austin to Ter�n. Explains Bustamante Decree is unjust, unconstitutional and will ruin Texas, violates faith of colonists in Mexico, sole hope is in Ter�n, article 10 opens possibility of exemption of established colonies, thinks inhabitants of Texas would oppose territorial government.
24 May Matamoros. Ter�n to Fisher. Suspends customhouse at Galveston, instructs George Fisher to keep him informed.
26 May Matamoros. Ter�n to Piedras. Orders to send Col. Peter Ellis Bean into territory between Neches and Sabine Rivers near Pecan Point to "protect rights of the Mexican Republic at that point." Ter�n disagreed with the abrogation of this order by War Minister Tornel after complaints from the US government:
This incident and cancellation of the order by Tornel may have contributed to Ter�n's recommendations for Texas that led to the Bustamante Decree of 1830
14 Jun Matamoros. Ter�n to Austin. Quotes letter to Col. Piedras at Nacogdoches informing Bustamante Decree does not apply to established colonies.
28 Jun Austin to Ter�n. Describes excitement and distress about the Bustamante Decree, Ter�ns interpretation is satisfactory.
17 Jul Matamoros. Ter�n to Austin. Relays to Austin request of Minister of Relations Alaman for Texas cotton seed.
1 Aug. Austin to Ter�n. (Two letters) Inquiring on form of clearance for vessels trading with Tampico, receipt of copy of capitulation at Tampico, cooperation with commanders at Bexar for garrison on the Brazos, building a steam sawmill, suspension of customhouse at Galveston, public opinion quiet.
20 Aug. Austin to Ter�n. Sending cotton seed to Minister of Relations.
17 Sep Matamoros. Austin to Ter�n. Ter�n explained that the Bustamante decree was meant to apply to scattered inhabitants outside empresario grants, some could move within grants, others to be expelled. Advises case by case evaluation. Surprised at untrue description by George Fisher of slave trading and contraband. Expresses difficulties in pacifying a heterogenous group, weariness with his effort. Law of 1830 deters best class of immigrants. Fears Texas is faced with many years of no progress, against uniting with United States, prefers independence if separation from Mexico is inevitable.
22 Sep Matamoros. Ter�n to Austin. Expresses satisfaction with Austins election to legislature.
18 Oct 1830. Austin to Ter�n. Inquiring whether colony lands are subject to selection by State government to pay its debts.
7 Dec. Austin to Ter�n. (Two letters) Appointment of Menard in Nacogdoches to administer certificates for admission of immigrants, questions whether Piedras will recognize, for admission of immigrants with Negroes, Texas law makes them free servants, Texas in danger of overrun of Indians from the United States. Approving order to collect natural history specimens for a museum.
5 Jan 1831 Matamoros. Ter�n to Austin. Informing of his election to Congress, still has military duties, disclaims jurisdiction over George Fisher as secretary of ayuntamiento, should go to political chief. Not heard of Piedras detaining immigrants to colony, detainees were headed for Nashville (Robertson) Colony. Judicial reform and political chief recommendation by governor favored.
21 Mar Matamoros. Ter�n to Austin. Agrees concerning tonnage duties in Texas ports, will issue order. Surprised Austin has obtained a new colonization contract, cannot be filled with Americans and too expensive to get European colonists. Mentions rivalry of Matagorda and Galveston ports. Admits Mexican colonists could not be attracted to Texas.
Mar (sometime) Matamoros. Ter�n to Austin. Father Muldoon on the way to Texas, emigration to Texas continues and patience is needed. Slavery needed in Texas, but carries evils. Admission for Texas would require all coastal states also.
3 Apr Matamoros. Ter�n to Austin. Father Muldoon on the way, informed him tithes and other church revenues collected as other parts of the Republic will not work in Texas, he must depend on freewill offerings and land grants. Austin only empresario dedicated to colonization, others gone to speculation. Worried by Zavalas sale of grant to Galveston Bay & Texas Co, forwarded to government arguments on admission of slaves. Points out all coastal states must be treated alike in Mexico.
30 Jun Matamoros. Ter�n to Austin. Sorry to miss in Saltillo and talk over affairs in Texas. Knows nothing on new contract, gives permission to settle eight families in question.
6 Aug. Austin to Ter�n. Interceding for families introduced by Sterling Robertson.
20 Nov Anahuac. Ter�n to Austin. Regrets Austin illness and inability to meet. Appreciation for Austins effort in preserving order in Texas, there is no other capable. Deeds speak and should not worry about critics. Customhouse needed for prevention of contraband.
28 Nov Anahuac. Muldoon to Austin. Concerning issuing land titles and further immigration "The tasks of the General [Ter�n] are truly in direct opposition to his desires and feelings...he permitted some Americans to take possession after his arrival, and even encouraged [them]."
8 Jan 1832. Austin to Ter�n. Explains Fishers customhouse caused problems in Brazoria, now settled, hopes for help to obtain contract for 800 families.
27 Jan Matamoros. Ter�n to Austin. Points out his [Ter�ns] partiality for Texas has almost destroyed influence with the government in Mexico. Upset with Austin, Austin and colonists do not seem to appreciate the effort. For the future, 1. Tonnage duties should be paid by owners of the goods; 2. Vessels involved in troubles in December will be seized if they return unless those who wounded the soldier are surrendered for trial; 3. Customs officer of the Brazos shall reside at Brazoria.
5 Feb. Austin to Ter�n. Problems in December associated with Fisher ordering vessels at the Brazos to sail to Anahuac to pay tonnage, unnecessary and trouble could have been avoided by collection at the Brazos. Advises suspension of the order for tranquillity. Inhabitants with common sense are against separation from Mexico. Advises removal of Fisher from customshouse.
25 Jun In transit to Croix (De trancito en la villa de Croix). (Two letters) "....I have received notice of a disturbance at Anahuac against Bradburn....Ugartechea seems to be much better received, and I have instructed him to put himself in complete accord with you. The affairs of Texas are understood by none but you and me, and we alone are the only ones who can regulate them; but there is time now to no more than calm the agitations, something which can be readily accomplished because the objects for which they contend are definite and well defined..."
27 Jun Matamoros. Austin to Ter�n. Thanks for tariff exemption, but sorry to see certain articles not exempted while whiskey is free. Suggests removal of Fisher. Explains Texians will not submit to military rule, but can govern by law and constitution. Militia has not been organized, Bustamante Decree should be repealed. Bradburn at Anahuac tactless and trouble, Mexico needs to reduce army and adopt religious toleration. sdct teran
SONS OF DEWITT