9. The Landowner President, 1837–1841

Despite Santa Anna's spectacular fall from grace, the Mexican government remained fearful of his influence. On receiving news that Santa Anna was making his way back to Veracruz, Antonio de Castro, commander general of the Veracruz garrison, had set in motion a series of precautionary measures. His response to those who had asked him how they were meant to welcome Santa Anna had been to tell them that the caudillo was coming as nothing more than a general. The commander general intended to place the garrison on alert and ask the caudillo to make his way to the capital so that he could be questioned about his conduct during the Texan campaign. Castro was determined not to let him stop either in Veracruz or at his hacienda, for fear that he would start a new revolution the moment he was given the chance. As Santa Anna made his way back home, exhausted and demoralized, yearning to be reunited with his family, the last thing on his mind was starting another revolution.1

Tornel was one of the few santanistas left in the government who was delighted to hear of Santa Anna's freedom in January 1837. On 11 January 1837 he ordered with "inexplicable pleasure" that the different authorities should arrange for the celebrations such news merited and that the decree of 20 March 1836, whereby a black bow had been attached to all Mexican flags, was lifted; bows could now be taken off. A month later Tornel circulated copies of the issue of the Diario del Gobierno containing all the relevant documents demonstrating that Santa Anna had returned safely and that he had not "entered into any commitments of any description that would prejudice the rights of the Nation." Worthy of note is that

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