Historical Articles

9. Juan Seguin's Diplomacy between Texas and Mexico

By Bill Neeley

In 1859, hostilities between Mexico and their former state, Texas, had long since ceased between the two armies, but violence did continue on both sides of the border. Back in Texas after fighting for Mexico in the war against the United States, Juan Seguin continued to be a political and diplomatic leader with a special understanding of both countries. After returning to San Antonio after the war, Seguin served two terms as Justice of the Peace followed by a brief stint as Judge of nearby Wilson County. He ranched in that county and worked with Samuel Maverick to establish the Democratic Party in San Antonio, where Seguin also had a home.

In 1859 the Indian wars were winding down, but lawlessness from Anglo and Hispanic robbers terrorized both sides of the border. To that end, Juan Seguin acted as a Puente, or bridge, between the border states of the two countries. On January 8th, Seguin penned a letter to Texas Governor H.R. Runnels on behalf of Governor Don Santiago Vidaurri of the state of Nuevo Leon and Coahuila seeking a treaty to combat the ongoing criminal element on both sides of the border. After salutations to "His Excellency," Seguin informs Runnels that he is authorized to speak on behalf of Vidaurri "to make with the state of Texas a treaty for the extradition of fugitive slaves, peons, robbers, murderers, and incendiaries, upon the terms set forth in the Credentials of the undersigned." The letter went on to say that Seguin hopes the governor of Texas is "willing to make a treaty, of so much importance to both States, as the one above mentioned." Seguin closes with "the undersigned avails himself of this opportunity to offer Governor Runnels the assurances of his great regard."

In spite of having fought in the armies of both countries, Juan Seguin was respected on both sides of the border. And since most of his ten children lived in Mexico, in 1867 the hero of San Jacinto would sell all of his property in Texas and move to Nuevo Laredo, Coahuila, where his son Santiago was active in local politics and another son was a captain in the Mexican army. For the former Lt. Colonel in the Texas Army, diplomacy had become his primary concern.

The above is excerpted from A Tejano Knight: The Quest of Don Juan Seguin by Bill Neeley. Copyright © 2017 Bill Neeley. All rights reserved.

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