The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925 Page: 6
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
I am certain that if I had not remained at the capital to agi-
tate this subject and to importune continually the members of
the Junta, and particularly the members of the colonization com-
mittee, the law would never have been passed. . . . With
the greatest effort I succeeded in obtaining an article concerning
slaves, and although it is very different from what I wished, it is
better than nothing. . . . This article passed with much dif-
ficulty. Never would an article have been passed by the con-
gress permitting slavery in the empire for a moment in any form
whatever. After the dissolution of congress I talked to each
individual member of the Junta of the necessity that existed in
Texas, Santander, and all the other unpopulated provinces, for
the new colonists to bring their slaves; and in this way I pro-
cured the article.11
Iturbide signed the law on January 4, 1820, but, in the words
of Austin, "a General Santana" had already proclaimed a republic.
On April 8 the restored congress declared Iturbide's election illegal
and suspended the laws enacted during his reign. This annulled
the colonization law, but by a special decree Austin's contract was
confirmed under it. On August 18, 1824, the republican congress
passed a national colonization law, turning over to the states, with
certain restrictions, the administration of the public lands and the
enactment of state colonization laws. In this law slavery was not
mentioned, probably because Congress had already, on July 13,
1824, passed a law that was apparently intended to cover the
subject. It was somewhat ambiguous and will be discussed
later.12 On March 24, 1825, the colonization law of Coahuila
and Texas was passed. It offered immigrants liberal land grants
and immunities, but was noncommittal about slavery, declaring
that settlers must subject themselves to the laws then in effect
or to be passed in future. The issue did not become critical
until the adoption of the state constitution, and consideration
of that, too, must be deferred for the present.
In the meantime, Austin's first colony of three hundred fam-
ilies was filled. Note that it was settled under contract with
the federal government and that slavery was permitted. Pre-
cise information is not available to show where these first three
hundred families emigrated from. Undoubtedly most of them
11"Austin to (Edward Lovelace?), November 22, 1822, and to Jos6 Felix
Trespalacios, January 8, 1823, Austin Papers, I, 554, 567. Trespalacios
was, when Austin wrote, governor of Texas.
"See below, page 8.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925, periodical, 1925; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101087/m1/10/: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.