A Guide to the Lorenzo De Zavala Papers, 1818-1936
Lorenzo de Zavala (1788-1836), statesman, soldier, Texas land empresario, writer, editor and physician, was born in Yucatan of an established Creole family. In Merida he received a liberal primary and secondary education, but pursuit of a higher degree was made impossible by his financial situation and he joined in local commercial activity. He married Josefa Correa y Correa by whom he had three children. His early interest in public education and politics led to a post with the municipal government in 1812. In 1813 he began his long association with the press by publishing his first newspaper. Arrested during the purge of liberals following the restoration of Ferdinand VII, he used his three year imprisonment to learn English and study medicine, to the practice of which he devoted himself after his release in 1817. By 1820 he was again involved in politics and was elected a deputy to the Spanish Cortes. While in Spain he received news of Mexico's break with the mother country and returned in time to take part in the Constituent Congress of 1822. Zavala remained in the national legislature until 1827 when he was elected governor of the state of Mexico. The election of his political ally, Vicente Guerrero in 1829, brought Zavala the opportunity to serve in the executive. He held the post of minister of finance from April until October, 1829, when he was forced to retire due to political pressures. The Centralist revolution which gripped the country at the end of the year resulted in Zavala's self-imposed exile to the United States and Europe between 1830 and 1832. During this sojourn he wrote his two-volume Ensayo historico de las revoluciones de Mexico and married his second wife, Emilia West. With the political and military tide turned once again in favor of the liberals, Zavala returned to Mexico in late 1832, and again took up the post of governor of the state of Mexico. Yucatan elected him deputy to the new Congress in 1833, but after only two months in Congress he received an appointment as ambassador to France. Santa Anna's declaration against Federalism and in support of the clerical-military alliance resulted in Zavala's resignation and decision to withdraw from national politics in favor of settling on his land grant in Texas. On his arrival in Texas, he became involved first in its revolt against the Mexican government, and later in its independence movement. He served for a brief time as vice-president of the new Republic of Texas before poor health brought on his retirement. He died shortly thereafter.
Lorenzo de Zavala was one of Mexico's leading liberals. His concerns ran from reform of public finances and government administration to the establishment of a public education system and library for the state of Mexico. He began a land reform program in that state which included improvements such as irrigation and redistribution of large estates. He was an exponent of colonization by people of merit, regardless of origin, and an opponent of arbitrary government actions such as the expulsion of Spaniards from Mexico. Perhaps his most cherished belief was one in a federalist system in which local government could counterbalance the pull of Mexico City. It was his aversion to centralized government that finally determined his break with the nation he helped establish and his espousal of the cause of Texas.
The Lorenzo de Zavala holdings are divided into two distinct groups, one containing materials contemporary to Lorenzo de Zavala, the other produced after his death and concerning not only Zavala but other members of the family as well. The correspondence in this collection (2 folders) consists of a smaller number of letters by Zavala to many of the most important and famous men of the independence movement in Mexico, and a larger number of letters to him. Letters by Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and José Antonio Mexía, a Cuban native who became prominent in early Mexican public life, represent the bulk of those present in the collection. The most conspicuous feature of the collection is the fragmentary nature of the correspondence and its limited time span, 1827 to 1836. The correspondence is detailed in a calendar listing which follows the inventory.
Other materials contained in the first group consist of birth and marriage certificates, correspondence concerning Zavala's attempt to acquire an empresario grant in Texas and other documents concerning deeds of land in Bexar and Nacogdoches. Among noteworthy items are an offering to settle 200 Polish families on the Zavala grant in northeast Texas and an invitation to a meeting of the Trinoophes, a French secret order. The latter document is corroborative evidence of Zavala's involvement in international masonry. Lastly, there is an example of Zavala's talents as a writer: two handwritten copies of an article on Mayan ruins in Yucatan are present, one in English, the other in French.
The second group of papers consists of biographical material relating to the Zavala family. The bulk of this group is composed of biographical sketches and notes on Lorenzo de Zavala, some possibly produced by Adina De Zavala. Lorenzo de Zavala, Jr. is also represented but to a much lesser degree. Letters with references to the two Lorenzos, newspaper clippings and excerpts and a decree of the Yucatan legislature honoring Lorenzo de Zavala, along with various notes on De Zavala artifacts and the family cemetery fill out the remainder of the collection.
Lorenzo de Zavala Papers, 1818-1936, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Miguel Ramos Arispe to Lorenzo de Zavala: On avoiding the display of political differences and forwarding the response of the Guardian of a Franciscan convent to the Provincial. Mexico, May 26, 1827.
Lorenzo de Zavala to Miguel Ramos de Arispe: On how the state government should respond to the orders given to the Guardian of the Franciscan convent. Texcoco, May 29, 1827.
Lorenzo de Zavala to Vicente Guerrero: Defends himself against rumors that he has betrayed the party. S(an) Ag(usti)n, September 1, 1827.
Lorenzo de Zavala to Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna: On political tensions surrounding the recent revolt by Guerrero and the position taken by the author. (Tlalpan), March 11, 1828.
Lorenzo de Zavala to Guadalupe Victoria: On the occupation by federal troops of the state capital on the eve of elections. Tlalpan, August 31, 1828.
Lorenzo de Zavala to Juan de Dios Canedo: On the withdrawal of troops, and perils of placing same at the command of the state legislature. (Tlalpam), August 31, 1828.
Juan de Dios Canedo to Lorenzo de Zavala: Defending the actions of the federal government in withdrawing troops to Coyoacan and placing them at the orders of the legislature with the consent of the governor. Mexico, August 31, 1828.
Lorenzo de Zavala to Valentin Gomez Farias: On the political ideology of General Gomez Pedraza. Tlalpam, September 1, 1828.
Lorenzo de Zavala to Juan de Dios Canedo: On the breakdown of constitutional procedure in the federal government. (Tlalpam), September 1, 1828.
Lorenzo de Zavala to Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna: In support of Santa Anna against the actions of the deputies of Congress. Tlalpam, September 13, 1828.
Lorenzo de Zavala to Ygnacio Martinez: On the presidential elections and Zavala's support for Guerrero's candidacy. Tlalpam, September 26, 1828.
Lorenzo de Zavala to Guadalupe Victoria: Defending himself against the rumors started by his enemies. Tlalpam, September 26, 1828.
Zavala to Victoria: State of affairs in Cuernavaca after the slaughter of Spaniards by troops. Offers his services to the government. Cuernavaca, December 12, 1828.
Lorenzo de Zavala to Jose Maria Lobato: Discusses plot by the federal government against Guerrero, Lobato and himself. Tlalpam, December 20, 1828.
Lorenzo de Zavala to Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna: Discussed treachery of Guadalupe Victoria and the federal government. Asks Santa Anna to join rebellion against the government. Tlalpam, December 24, 1828.
(Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna) to Lorenzo de Zavala: Discussing his political opinions and the state of the division under his command. Oaja (ca), December 30, 1828.
Lorenzo de Zavala to A(ntonio) L(opez) de Santa Anna: Discusses attempts by enemies to divide the party by saying Guerrero has separated himself from Santa Anna and himself. (Tlalpam), February 4, 1829.
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna to Lorenzo de Zavala: Hopes the interruption in correspondence is not due to anything he has written or done. Wishes his friendship with Zavala to become closer. Jalapa, February 26, 1829.
Santa Anna to Zavala: Indicating continued concern over the interruption in correspondence with Zavala. On his readiness to take action if necessary, but protesting the lethargy of others. Jalapa, March 1, 1829.
Lorenzo de Zavala to Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna: Asking Santa Anna to take the ministry of war in Guerrero's Cabinet. On the hardships Guerrero will encounter on assuming the presidency. (Tlalpam), March 4, 1829
Zavala to Santa Anna: Will not undermine Guerrero's presidency. Fears divisions in Congress will lead to disaster. Tlalpam, March 7, 1829.
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna to Bernardo Gonzalez de Angulo: That Jose Julian Gutierrez should be considered for one of the openings being created at the customs house at Veracruz. Veracruz, March 11, 1829.
Lorenzo de Zavala to Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna: On the expulsion of the Spaniards and the inauguration of Guerrero. T(lalpam), March 14, 1829.
Lorenzo de Zavala to Carlos Maria Bustamante: Defending himself against charges made by Bustamante, including that he embezzled six hundred-thousand pesos. T(lalpam), March 24, 1829.
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna to Lorenzo de Zavala: Expressed hope that the friendship indicated by Zavala in his last letter will continue. Discusses the political situation of the country and Mexia's departure from the army. Jalapa, April 12, 1829.
Santa Anna to Zavala: Expressing joy at news of Guerrero's nomination of Zavala for the ministry of finance. On the need for a properly qualified person at the customs posts in Veracruz and again nominating Jose Julian Gutierrez. Veracruz, April 18, 1829.
Santa Anna to Zavala: Asking for immediate financial aid for the state of Veracruz from the federal government. Veracruz, May 6, 1829.
Santa Anna to Zavala: Expressing confidence that Zavala can save the country from bankruptcy. Once again brings up the matter of Gutierrez's appointment. On the need for reinforcing Veracruz and Yucatan against possible Spanish invasion. Veracruz, May 6, 1829.
Santa Anna to Zavala: On his friendship with Zavala and the state of defenses in Veracruz and Yucatan. Veracruz, May 8, 1829.
Santa Anna to Zavala: Thanking Zavala for approval of circulars sent to towns to quiet rumors and for the favor shown to Gutierrez. Veracruz, May 23, 1829.
Santa Anna to Zavala: Expressing support for the plans being drawn up by Zavala and others but declaring his inability to participate because of the condition of his army. Manga de Clavo, June 1, 1829.
Santa Anna to Zavala: On the state of affairs and his own position. Jalapa, June 10, 1829.
Santa Anna to Zavala: Nominating Francisco Xavier Savinon to the post of Commisary General of Guadalajara. Jalapa, June 11, 1829.
Santa Anna to Zavala: Asking that Bernardo Sayago be granted a permit to transport 300 loads of tobacco to Jalisco. Jalapa, June 17, 1829.
Santa Anna to Zavala: Resisting pressure to come to Mexico City and enjoining Zavala not to attempt to change his course of action. Jalapa, June 18, 1829.
Lorenzo de Zavala to Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna: On his unhappiness with his role in the government and his fears that Guerrero is being lied to about Santa Anna and himself. Wishes Santa Anna would enter the Cabinet. His response to a group that approached him seeking support for revolution. Mexico, June 20, 1829.
Lorenzo de Zavala to Man(uel) Mier y Teran: Expressing the confidence Guerrero has in Mier y Teran in maintaining the frontiers from being encroached upon. Mexico, June 24, 1829.
(Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna) to Lorenzo de Zavala: Again stating that he cannot come to the capital, he is needed more on the coast. States his support for the federal system and the property of Zavala's answer to the conspirators. Jalapa, June 25, 1829.
Santa Anna to Zavala: On feeling that invasion by Spaniards is imminent. Jalapa, June 28, 1829.
Santa Anna to Zavala: On the matter of the permit for Bernardo Zayago's 300 loads of tobacco. Jalapa, July 5, 1829.
Santa Anna to Zavala: Complaining of the state of the customs house at Veracruz and asking that the administrator be removed. Veracruz, July 15, 182(9).
Santa Anna to Zavala: On the Spanish fleet off the coast of Yucatan and the need for funds from the federal government for defenses. Veracruz, July 18, 1829.
Santa Anna to Zavala: Need for funds in order to start remedying the military situation at Veracruz. Dismisses rumors he has said favorable things about centralism. Counsels Zavala to disregard things said about him. On news that Zavala is to resign and his thoughts on the subject. Veracruz, July 22, 1829.
Santa Anna to Zavala: On political activity in the capital, and rejecting the idea of a military solution. Expresses continued concern for defenses. On Zavala's resignation from the Cabinet. Veracruz, July 24, 1829.
Santa Anna to Zavala: On the situation at the customs house at Veracruz. On Zavala's resignation from the Cabinet and his better usefulness as governor of Mexico State. Veracruz, July 29, 1829.
Santa Anna to Zavala: That Gaspar Antonio Rodriquez be paid the sum he used in performing a service for the government in Yucatan. Veracruz, July 29, 1829.
Santa Anna to Zavala: Announcing the arrival of the Spanish invasion and his plans to meet it. Veracruz, August 4, 1829.
Santa Anna to Zavala: On acceptance of recommendation of Angel Cabrera and on the defeat of the Spanish forces. Pueblo Viejo, August 24, 1829.
Lorenzo de Zavala to Alejandro Baring: On Mexico's foreign debt. September 19, 1829.
(Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna) to Lorenzo de Zavala: Expressing shock at Zavala's attack on him in Zavala's newspaper El correo, of September 24, 1829. Reasons why he believes Zavala is wrong. Veracruz, October 7, 1829.
Lorenzo de Zavala to Jose Maria Gallegos: Giving advice asked for. Believes revolution due to the shortcomings of Guerrero and his ministers and suggests Gallegos help to reestablish order. (no place) January 3, 1830.
Lorenzo de Zavala to Laisne de Vildeveque: Introducing himself to the father of a friend. Discusses the political condition of the country and the possibility of his leaving in the near future. Mexico, January 30, 1830
Antonio V. Casanueva to Lorenzo de Zavala: On the state of Zavala's affairs in Mexico. The financial problems of El correo. Mexico, September 11, 1830. [enclosure: copy of a vice presidential order that the loan made by Miguel de la Pena be returned, July 5, 1930]
Casanueva to Zavala: Repetition of letter of September 11, 1830. Update of Zavala's affairs in Mexico. Mexico, November 10, 1830. [enclosures: same as in previous letter and a receipt from Chavez of a loan made to the state government, April 19, 1829]
Casanueva to Zavala: On the physical condition of Manuela de Zavala. On the demands made by the state government on Zavala's property. Mexico, November 27, 1830.
Casanueva to Zavala: On the state of Zavala's affairs in Mexico and asking for a letter that can be given to a deputy of the new Congress asking for permission to return to Mexico. Mexico, December 18, 1830.
Jose Antonio Mexia to Lorenzo de Zavala: Torn letter which discusses rumors about Zavala in Mexico City. The state of affairs in Texas and political matters in the capital. Mexico, June 15, 1831.
Isidro Rafael Gondra to Lorenzo de Zavala: Personal letter relating to the state of his fortunes in Campeche and Merida. Sizal, December 7, 1831.
Lorenzo de Zavala to Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna: Explaining why Santa Anna should not think the worse of him, and that he respects Santa Anna. Veracruz, August 12, 1832.
Jose Antonio Mexia to Lorenzo de Zavala: On the proposal made, the operation to be undertaken and asking Zavala to write. Tacubaya, November 2, 1832.
Mexia to Zavala: Asks Zavala to organize a local force because of the need for strong reserves. Tacubaya, November 3, 1832.
Mexia to Zavala: On the goals of the revolution and the state of military operations. Tacubaya, November 3, 1832.
Mexia to Zavala: Has expedited the passport Zavala requested for Eligio Hurtado. Tacubaya, November 5, 1832.
Mexia to Zavala: Requesting that Zavala support the official being sent to him. Asking for a horse. Tacubaya, November 5, 1832.
Mexia to Zavala: On the state of military operations and the need for reinforcements and uniforms. Tacubaya, November 5, 1832.
Mexia to Zavala: On the state of military operations and optimism for early end to the war. On the need for a horse. Huelmetoca, November 10, (1832).
Mexia to Zavala: On the state of military affairs and his need for a horse. Huelmetoca, November 11, 1832.
Mexia to Zavala: On the same subjects. Huelmetoca, November 14, 1832.
Mexia to Zavala: The military operations of Bustamante are discussed. Zumpango, November 18, 1832.
Mexia to Zavala: Attempts to clarify any misconceptions Zavala might have about their friendship and his observations on political affairs. Believes the plan announced by Pedraza and Santa Anna deficient. Queretaro, December 12, 1832.
Mexia to Zavala: On why he is opposed to an armistice and on the convention to be held to work out new government. Queretaro, December 25, 1832.
Mexia to Zavala: On the need to work together in order to make plans work. Arroyo S(ar)co, January 1, 1833.
Mexia to Zavala: Expressing his belief that Zavala's place is in the Congress if he no longer wants to be governor. Mexico, January 4, 1833.
Mexia to Zavala: Political affairs discussed; nominations for various posts. Conveys news received from friends in New York. Mexico, January 16, 1833.
Mexia to Zavala: Discussions of political affairs: the convention is to be replaced by a congress, and elections have already begun in some states. Mexico, January 17, 1833.
Mexia to Zavala: On a conversation held with Aguilera on political matters. Mexico, January 22, 1833.
Mexia to Zavala: Had heard that Zavala had died during apoplectic fit. Wants Zavala's opinion on the elections. Belief by the president that there is a conspiracy against Zavala. Mexico, January 24, 1833.
Mexia to Zavala: Wishes to know if Zavala has plans for him. Believes Zavala should request a four year extension on his colonization grant in Texas. Mexico, January 26, 1833.
Mexia to Zavala: On meeting with Pedraza, Angulo, Farias and others on what is being accomplished. Hopes Zavala will join the new Congress. Mexico, February 13, 1833.
Mexia to Zavala: On reorganization of the opposition. On how Pedraza's quest to make everyone a friend will back-fire. Mexico, February 20, 1833.
Mexia to Zavala: Congratulates Zavala on his election as governor of Mexico. On his hopes for being elected to the Senate. Mexico, February 22, 1833.
Mexia to Zavala: On the attacks made on him by Mssr. Heredia and Macedo. Indicating that charge that he wishes to become lieutenant governor in order to subvert Zavala's position is false. Mexico, February 23, 1833.
Mexia to Zavala: On the problems of getting enough elected members of the new Congress to open its sessions. Mexico, March 15, 1833.
Mexia to Zavala: On the elections for president and vice president and the need for Zavala to come to Mexico City to help organize the party. On Santa Anna's unwillingness to come being the best thing, since Gomez Farias is better suited to the tasks at hand. Mexico, March 22, 1833.
Mexia to Zavala: On his need for credentials in order to take up his post, and again asking Zavala to come to the capital. Mexico, March 30, 1833.
Mexia to Zavala: On the continued lack of a quorum, but indicates new members arriving. Mexico, April 11, 1833.
Mexia to Zavala: On the activities of Congress: legislation on civic militias. On the new governor of the Federal District. Mexico, April 16, 1833.
Mexia to Zavala: On the debts owed by and to Fulano Parrilla, and hoping Zavala can get the money out of him. Mexico, April 17, 1833.
Mexia to Zavala: On the politics in Congress and the effects on them by the Truce of Zavaleta. On the lack of action by some members of Congress. Mexico, April 20, 1833.
Ministere de la Grande Cresorerie to Zavala: Sending Zavala a collection of works of the Ordre de Temple. Paris, March 12, 1834.
Lorenzo de Zavala to Valentin Gomez Farias: On the politics surrounding Andrew Jackson and the Bank of the United States. On General Paez's efforts to obtain Spanish recognition of Venezuelan independence and on rumors that Mexico will declare war on Spain if it does not recognize the former's independence. N(ew) York, October 11, 1834.
Lorenzo de Zavala to his son, reporting that, at personal sacrifice, he has agreed to escort Santa Anna to Veracruz, as a service to Texas. Also discussed land and money transactions with Colonel Lamar and other family matters and finances. Velasco, Texas, May 28, 1836.
Lorenzo de Zavala to David G. Burnet: Resigning the vice presidency of Texas due to poor health. Buffalo Bayou, September 11, 1836. (Photographic copies)
Fragment of letter to Lorenzo in French, undated.
Detailed Description of the Collection