The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 Volume 1

for Austin's Colony.

9

and the man ,who was thus proclaimed by a rabble, amidst darkness and
tumult, was declared by a decree of the majority of that body, to be
emperor of MIexico.
In such a state of political affairs, all that a person could do, who
had business to transact with government, was to form acquaintances,
try to secure friends, and wait for a favorable opportunity. Austin
adopted this course, and devoted the principal part of his time to studying
the Spanish language; for when he arrived at MIexico, he labored
under the disadvantages of being a foreigner, a total stranger, and ignorant
of the language of the country, except what little he had acquired
in his first trip to Bexar, and on his journey to the capital.
On the examination into the state of this colonisation business, he
found that the regency had decided, that the governor of Texas, Martinez,
was not sufficiently authorised to stipulate what quantity of land
the new settlers were to get, as he did, by his letter to Austin, of 19th
August, 1821, and that this point must be settled by a law of congress:
for which purpose all the documents relative to said new settlement, were
transmitted by the regency to congress. This at once explained the
reason. why governor Martinez urged Austin to go to Aexico, for he
was doubtless well aware, that in the then existing state of political
affairs, nothing would be done in the business unless some one was present
to attend to it.
Austin endeavored to procure the despatch of his business by means
of a special law, but found it to be impracticable, owing to several petitions
having been presented for colonies, which gave rise to an idea
among the members, that a general colonisation law ought to be passed,
and that all should be placed on the same footing; nothing, therefore,
could be done, until such a general law was enacted. A standing committee
on colonisation had been appointed, previous to his arrival in the
city, to which his business was referred. This committee made some
progress towards settling
the basis of a law; but the coronation on the
21st July, the dissensions between the emperor and congress, the general
alarm amongst the liberal members, at the strides of the former towards
absolute power; the events which grew out of the violent proceedings of
the 26th August, when fourteen of the principal members of congress
were seized in their beds and imprisoned; added to the necessary attention
to the revenue, and financial departments, and to national affairs
generally, precluded any advancement in a matter which was considered
to be so comparatively unimportant, as a new settlement amongst barbarous
savages, 1200 miles distant, in the wilderness of Texas. Notwithstanding
the many embarrassments, however, which retarded the
business, the committee on colonisation reported a general colonisation
law; the discussion of which had proceeded, in detail, to within three
articles of the end, when, on the 31st of October. the congress was turned
out of doors by an armed force, acting under a decree of the emperor,
which declared that congress was dissolved, and vesting the legislative
power of the nation in a Junta Instituyen.te, whose members were all
nominated by himself. This event, of course, threw back the colonisation
law to its first stage; all had to be begun de ioto; a new colonisation
committee was appointed, a new law was reported, though not differing
much from the former, which finally passed, and was approved by the
emperor, and promulgated on the 4th of January, 1823.
(9)

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 November 28, 2014.