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O. P. Q. LETTERS

Eugene C. Barker

O. P. Q. LETTERS. The O. P. Q. Letters were two letters, dated January 28 and February 8, 1834, intended to incite the colonists in Texas to insurrection in protest against the arrest and imprisonment of Stephen F. Austin in Mexico. They were written anonymously by Anthony Butler, who, as minister of the United States, was trying to buy Texas and believed that insurrection might induce Mexico to sell. The first was addressed to "Don B. T. A."-Branch T. Archer. The second may, or may not, have been directed to the same address. Both were signed "O. P. Q." Copies of the originals were given to Col. Juan N. Almonte, who visited Texas on an inspection trip in the summer of 1834, and by Almonte forwarded to the government in translation. The originals and the English copies have disappeared. The letters characterized Austin's arrest as a cowardly act of "an ignorant, fanatical and arrogant race" and described Almonte's mission as a cynical attempt to placate the Anglo settlers in Texas. Despite their shrill tone and the worsening political climate, however, the letters apparently caused little excitement in Texas, largely because leading colonists distrusted Butler and because Austin had written letters urging the colonists to remain tranquil. Although initially skeptical, Almonte became convinced that Butler was the author of the letters and suspected that he might be acting on secret instructions from the United States government. In July Almonte wrote to the secretary of foreign relations in Mexico City recommending that his government request Butler's recall. Mexican authorities, however, failed to take action, and Butler was not recalled until the following year, and then only because of President Andrew Jackson's displeasure with his handling of affairs.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 
Eugene C. Barker, The Life of Stephen F. Austin (Nashville: Cokesbury Press, 1925; rpt., Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1949; New York: AMS Press, 1970). Helen Willits Harris, "Almonte's Inspection of Texas in 1834," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 41 (January 1938).

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Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Eugene C. Barker, "O. P. Q. LETTERS," accessed August 13, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/emo01.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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