The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 Volume 1

6

LaLws, Orders and Contracts

kindly received by governor MIartinez, who granted him a general permission
to explore the country on the Colorado river, sound its entrance,
harbor, he accordingly proposed one, which,
in his opinion, was sufficiently advantageous to the settlers, and at the
same time, adapted to the wilderness state of the country, which required
a compact location, to ensure safety from the Indians. The basis established
in the plan proposed, was, to give each head of a family and each
single man over age, six hundred and forty acres, three hundred and
twenty acres in addition for the wife, should there be one, one hundred
and sixty acres in addition for each child, and eighty acres in addition
for each slave. This plan was presented in writing, and Austin received
authority from the governor to promise that quantity to the settlers.
He was also commissioned by the governor to take charge of the local
government of the new settlement, until it could be otherwise organised.
He departed from Bexar the last of August, and from La Bahia, (now
Goliad,) the 10th of September. At the latter place he procured a guide
from the alcalde, in virtue of an order to that effect from the governor.
His company was now reduced to nine men, the others having returned
from La Bahia to the United states. He explored the river Guadalupe,
down to the bay, and attempted to follow round the bay shore to.the
mouth of the Colorado; but fnding that the guide knew nothing of the
route, after leaving the Guadalupe, and frequently involved the company
in difficulties among the numerous tide inlets; he dismissed him, and bore
up north until he struck the road of the crossing of La Baca. and explored
the Colorado and Brazos, as far as was practicable, and sufficient
to convince him of the fertility of t}e country on those two rivers; and its
elegibility for the new settlement. m On his return to Louisiana, he published'
in the newspapers a notice of the contemplated new settlement,
stating the quantity of land which he was authorised by the governor's
letter of the 19th of August, to promise; and also stating that each
settler must pay twelve and a half cents per acre-he, Austin, taking
upon himself all the cost of surveying, and all other costs and fees or
charges of whatever kind, as well as the translating, trouble and labor
of attending to the business, and procuring the titles. besides the fatigue, privations and sufferings
of such a journey, as that from Potosi, in Missouri, to Bexar and
back again; the most of it through a wilderness. It was evident that
a fund was necessary, or the settlement must fail. A moment's reflection
showed the utter impracticability of attempting to raise it by voluntary
contribution or subscription amongst the settlers, and the plan of a tax
on each settler would have been kindling a volcano under the cradle of
the enterprise. There was, in fact, no other safe mode but to make it
(6)

Gammel, Hans Peter Mareus Neilsen. The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 Volume 1. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5872/. Accessed December 29, 2014.