Stephen F. Austin, Plan for the Organization of Congress for the Empire of Mexico, April 8, 1823

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At the time that Stephen F. Austin was beginning to bring colonists to Texas, Mexico was in the final throes of its war of independence from Spain. To Austin's disappointment, the Mexican government refused to approve the Spanish land grant originally given to Moses Austin. Austin went to Mexico City and succeeded in getting the attention of the leader of the provisional government, Agustín de Iturbide. He persuaded the provisional congress, the junta institutuyente, to approve a law that created the empresario system for colonization. This allowed immigration agents such as Austin to bring in families and provided land incentives for their success.

The "Plan" referred to in the document is the Plan de Iguala, which in addition to the measures of interest to Austin, called for an independent Mexico under a constitutional monarchy. The plan was accepted under the Treaty of Córdoba in August 1821, in which Spain recognized Mexican independence, and Texas became part of an independent Mexico.

This copy of the document was made by Mirabeau B. Lamar, another founder of Texas and the second president of the Republic of Texas. The opening commentary is by Lamar.

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Stephen F. Austin 1823 plan

[opening commentary by Lamar]


             Genl Austin when in Mexico in 1822
was not so wholly engrossed [?] with his own
affairs as to forget the great principles of
freed govt. which he defended at all times &
in all places[.] When freedom was endangered
his own affairs became a secondary con-

             When Iturbide came into power
he [Austin] could not look on silently at his striding
at Absolute Monarchy, instead making one
effort in defense of Republican & free govt[.]
He accordingly sat [set] about enlightening the public
mind with regard to Govt. He wrote several
valuable tracts, which recd attention &
produced much good effect — amongst
these was a "plan for the organization of
Congress for the Empire of Mexico." In
relation to this he makes these notes —

[beginning of Austin's words]

             When I was in the City of Mexico in 1822
& 23 — during the short reign of the Emperor Iturbide [damaged original]
the time when he was attempting to lay the foundation
of an absolute Monarchy, I had serious fears that
it would succeed at his _____ [?] which
caused him to form the _____ "Plan," copies
of which was circulated in Spanish
manuscript put under petition [?] signature.
I believe that the operation of such
a system as I proposed would ultimately
tend to republicanism in the people in full
and it was hoped that the supposed
influence which the [Em]peror would
have in the Senate [damaged original] nature of to
appointment [damaged original]


Stephen F. Austin, Plan for the Organization of Congress for the Empire of Mexico, April 8, 1823, copy by Lamar. Mirabeau B. Lamar Papers #47. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: April 11, 2016