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whole people were behind him, and in four months' time Mexico was in their hands and Apodaca in prison. Hardly had these events happened when Lieutenant-General Don Juan O'Donojú, sent out by the reformed government of Spain, landed at Vera Cruz, approved what Iturbide had done, requested an interview, met him, and, on August twenty-fourth, signed and published the treaty of Cordova. Till Spain could act, a regency of six persons, with Iturbide president, was to administer government; and until a congress could assemble a junta of five persons was to act as a legislature. As Spain refused to ratify the treaty of Cordova, Mexico became free and independent.
The first Congress under the new order of things assembled on February twenty-fourth, 1822, and was already well on in a quarrel with Iturbide when Austin arrived at San Antonio and was told by the Governor that he must obtain a confirmation of his grant by the Congress. The prospect of success was poor; but he proceeded to Mexico, where he found Hayden Edwards, Robert Lefwitch, Green Dewitt, three Cherokee chiefs—Bolles, Fuldo, and Nicollet—and General James Wilkinson, each seeking a contract or a grant of land in Texas. So many applicants gave the matter much importance, and it was referred by the Congress to a committee who brought in a general colonization law, which was about to pass when, one morning in October, Iturbide perpetrated a political crime worthy of Charles and Cromwell.
Iturbide had long been quarrelling with the Congress and with the regency, and one night in May, when all was in readiness, the soldiers and the rabble, excited by his agents and headed by corporals and sergeants, filled the streets of Mexico and proclaimed him Emperor. It was a night of violence, of uproar, and of terror. The seven hundred bells of the city pealed from every convent, church, and monastery. Musketry and cannon were fired from the barracks, while the shouts of the mob announced to the startled people that the fate of Mexico was settled. When morning came the man thus proclaimed in darkness and in tumult by a rabble was duly decreed Emperor of Mexico by the Congress sitting in its hall surrounded by bayonets. Iturbide, who thenceforth
called himself Augustine the First, having no further use for the Congress, determined to dismiss it, and accordingly, just after the members had assembled on the morning of October the thirtieth, General Cortazar entered the hall, read the imperial order dissolving Congress, and announced that if the members did not leave within ten minutes he would be compelled, in obedience to orders, to drive them from the building. The president directed the order to be spread on the journal, called on Cortazar to sign it, and, when the general had done so, the members retired.* The Emperor Augustine at once organized a Junta of thirty-five members named by himself, and by this body was enacted, in January, 1823, the first law for the colonization of Texas. It began with a repeal of the royal order of Philip Second for the extermination of foreigners; guaranteed them liberty, security of property and civil rights, provided they professed the Roman Catholic religion; promised each farmer not less than one labor, t and each stock-raiser not less than one league 5 of land; and freed them for six years from the payment of all taxes, duties, and tithes. Settlers could come individually or as members of an empresario, or contractor's company.
Under this law the contract of Austin was formally approved in February, 1823, and he was about to return to his colony when another revolution swept the Emperor from his throne and restored the republic.
During all these many revolts, uprisings, and revolutions the castle of San Juan d'Ulloa had remained in the hands of Spain. Iturbide had attempted to secure the surrender of the castle by treaty, and had gone to Jalapa for this purpose, when a quarrel rose between Santa Anna, who commanded the city of Vera Cruz, and General Echavani, who commanded both the city and the southern division of the empire in which it lay. Santa Anna repaired to Jalapa to exculpate himself, but was rudely received and removed from command. Hurrying to Vera Cruz before the news of his dismissal was known, he paraded the troops, renounced allegiance to the Emperor,
* Poinsett's Notes on Mexico, p. 68.
A labor equalled 177 acres.
I A league was equal to 4,428 acres.
raised the standard of revolt, gathered an army about him under Guadalupe Victoria, Guerrero, and Bravo, and prepared for war. Iturbide in terror fled to Mexico, called together such members of the old Congress as were near, and tendered his resignation.* But, as a quorum was not present, they refused to act. A few days later,t when a quorum had assembled, his letter of abdication was again sent in. To accept it would be to legalize the acts by which he had established the empire. The Congress therefore would not consider his request, but allowed him to leave Mexico, promised him an annual pension of twenty-five thousand dollars, and he was soon on his way to Lisbon with his family.
The moment Iturbide was gone the old Congress appointed an executive of three men, summoned a new Congress, which promptly declared every act of the late Emperor void, and among them the colonization law of 1823 and the confirmation of Austin's contract. A new confirmation, however, was obtained from the executive, and in the early summer of 1823 Austin returned to Texas, laid off the town of Colorado, and marked out the foundation of San Felipe de Austin.
The new Congress—the Constituent Congress, as it was called-after a labor of five months framed and adopted the Constitution of the United States of Mexico, which created eighteen States and three Territories, and assigned to each the duty of establishing a government of its own. Until this time the province of Texas had never been connected with that of Coahuila, which adjoined it; but by an act of the Cortes both were now joined and made the State of Coahuila and Texas.
The first Congress of this new State began its sitting in August, and in the following March passed a decree intended “ to increase the population of its territory, promote the cultivation of its fertile lands, the raising and multiplication of stock, and the progress of the arts and commerce.'
* March 8, 1823.
7 March 19, 1823. | The Constitution was adopted by the Congress on January 31, 1824, and proclaimed October 4, 1824.
* Leyes y Decretos del Estados de Coahuila y Texas Decreto No. 16, 24 de Marzo de 1836.