The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 Volume 1

28

Laws, Orders and Contracts

sity and importance of giving to the empire a general law of colonisation,
have thought proper to decree as follows:
ART. 1. The government of the Mexican nation will protect the
liberty, property and civil rights, of all foreigners, who profess the Roman
Catholic apostolic religion, the established religion of the empire.
ART. 2. To facilitate their establishment, the executive will distribute
lands to them, under the conditions and terms herein expressed.
ART. 3. The empresarios, by whom is understood those who introduced
at least two hundred families, shall previously contract with the
executive, and inform it what branch of industry they propose to follow,
the property or resources they intend to introduce for that purpose, and
any other particulars they may deem necessary, in order that with this
necessary information, the executive may designate the province to
which they must direct themselves, the lands which they can occupy
with right of property, and the other circumstances which may be considered
necessary.
ART. 4. Families who emigrate, not included in a contract, shall immediately
present themselves to the ayuntamiento of the place where
they wish to settle, in order that this body, in conformity with the instructions
of the executive, may designate the lands corresponding to
them, agreeably to the industry which they may establish.
ART. 5. The measurement of land shall be the following; establishing
the vara, at three geometrical feet; a straight line of five thousand varas
shall be a league; a square, each of whose sides shall be one league, shall
be called a sitio; and this shall be the unity of counting one, two, or
more sitios; five sitios shall compose one hacienda.
ART. 6. In the distribution made by government, of lands to the
colonists, for the formation of villages, towns, cities, and provinces, a
distinction shall be made between grazing lands, destined for the raising
of stock, and lands suitable for farming or planting, on account of
the facility of irrigation.
ART. 7. One labor shall be composed of one million square varas,
that is to say, one thousand varas on each side, which measurement
shall be the unity for counting one, two, or more labors. These labors
can be divided into halves and quarters, but not less.
ART. 8. To the colonists, whose occupation is farming, there cannot
be given less than one labor, and those whose occupation is stock
raising there can not be given less than one sitio.
ART. 9. The government of itself, or by means of the authorities
authorised for that purpose, can augment said portions of land as may
be deemed proper, agreeably to the conditions and circumstances of the
colonists.
ART. 10. Establishments made under the former government which
are now pending, shall be regulated by this law in all matters that may
occur, but those that are finished shall remain in that state.
ART. 11. As one of the principal objects of laws in free governments,
ought to be to approximate, so far as possible, to an equal distribution
of property, the government, taking into consideration the provisions of
this law, will adopt measures for dividing out the lands, which may have
accumulated in large portions, in the hands of individuals or corporations,
and which are not cultivated, indemnifying the proprietors for
the just price of such lands, to be fixed by appraisers.
(2s)

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 July 27, 2015.