The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 Volume 1

for Austin's Colony.

17

to receive them in the number of the three hundred families, which he
was authorised to introduce, and settle in Texas; a privilege which, at
that time, was not, and never before had been granted, to any foreigners,
except individual cases, under peculiar circumstances, and obtained
by the most powerful patronage; and one which was not, and could not
be legally granted to any others, except to said three hundred families,
until after the passing of the national colonisation law of 18th August,
1824, and the state law of 25th Miarch, 1825; up to that time, there was
no colonisation law, and no authority whatever in any other person to
admit emigrants; for the same act of congress of the 11th April, 1823,
which confirmed this privilege to Austin, closed the door as to all others,
by suspending the law of 4th January, 1823. True it is, that emigrants
did come in previous to the. passing of the law of 18th August, 1824,
or that of the state law of 1825, who stopped on the Ayesh Bayou, round
Nacogdoches, and on Trinity; but they have not vet obtained titles, and
were liable to be driven off by the government. Those who will take the
trouble to enquire, may see that Austin, at an early day, informed the
government, that many of those settlers came into the country in consecquence
of his publications in the United States, relative to the three
hundred families, and had stopped where they were, owing to his long
detention in Mexico, and the consequent discouraging reports about his
settlement; and that, therefore, they were innocent of any intention to
intrude, illegally into the country. He agreed to procure for said three
hundred families, titles for a certain quantity of land. and deliver them
to settlers at his own cost, he being at all the expense and labor of petitioning,
translating, surveying, managing their affairs with government,
and all other expenses of a necessary and public nature. for the advancement
of the colony; for all which, they, on their parts, stipulated in
the manner before stated, to pay him twelve and a half cents per acre,
to be paid in instalments, in produce of the country, after receipt of
title. His great object and ambition were, and always have been, to succeed
with the enterprise, which he believed he could not do, without the,
aid of funds. He also believed that the above contracts opened the onlysafe
means of raising them; and they also presented to him a distant
prospect of refunding to him the money he had spent in the outset, before
he could call on the settlers for any payments; for he had no right
to make such call until after the titles were delivered; and consequently,
all the risk of money, labor, and character, was run by him alone, until
he completed the business. Because, had he failed in the enterprise, he
would have lost all-the character of a visionary or wild speculator
would have been given to him by many, and some would have considered
that a failure was a crime, or evidence of a want of industry or capacity;
which to a certain degree, must have injured his prospects in any other
business; and to this heavy account, was to be superadded, the time,
expenses, and sufferings of his father. Under the faith of those contracts,
therefore, he abandoned all prospects in the United States, some
of which were flattering; undertook the enterprise, and devoted himself
to a life of toil and privations in a wilderness. He also made engagements
in 1821, which, added to other pecuniary embarrasments, growing
out of this colonisation business, has kept him too poor even to afford
the means of living with that decency which would be expected from
the head of such an enterprise as this; and which, in fact, the respect2-VOL.
I. (17)

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 August 27, 2014.