The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925 Page: 10
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
Southwestern Historical Quarterly
pleasurable glow of warm and generous sentiment. They loved
liberty. They linked it with God to make a national motto-
"God and Liberty." That it was merely a word, without sig-
nificance in their relations with the Indian peons and mixed-
blood dependents around them, they, of course, did not see--nor,
perhaps, wish to see. In the abstract, and by its proper name,
they abhorred slavery.
Austin had not been unmindful of the consideration of slavery
by congress and a committee of which he was chairman, repre-
senting a general assembly of the colony, prepared a memorial
on the subject. It was the first of a numerous brood that Aus-
tin loosed in the next few years. Briefly, he argued that the
slaves of the first three hundred families were brought in under
the explicit guarantee of the imperial colonization law and con-
firmed by the predecessor of the present congress. They were
not Africans, but family servants, raised by the settlers from in-
fancy; they were not for sale or trade, but were to clear the land
and open farms. To lose them now, on the heels of the heavy
expense of moving to Texas, would ruin the colonists. They
begged exemption from the law, therefore, or at least, time to
remove their slaves to the United States.20 Whether the docu-
ment ever reached its destination we do not know.
After the passage of the state colonization law Austin con-
sulted a friend, the secretary of state, at Saltillo, about the effect
of this federal statute and received the opinion that it could be
reasonably interpreted only as prohibiting the slave trade. Mex-
ican lawyers, the secretary said, were fond of quoting the maxim
that "what is not forbidden is permitted," and he believed, there-
fore, that settlers introduced under the new contracts with the
state could bring in slaves for their own use and that any eman-
cipation law of the future must provide compensation to the
This and Seguin's suggestion of a favorable construction by
the legislature caused Austin to prepare an elaborate memorial
proposing that until 1840 colonists, but no others, should be al-
lowed to take slaves to Texas for their own use and property;
that, in accordance with the federal law, trading should be strictly
20Petition concerning slavery June 10, 1824, Austin Papers, I, 827.
21Juan Antonio Padilla to Austin, June 18, 1825, Austin Papers, I, 1135.
Here’s what’s next.
This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925, periodical, 1925; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101087/m1/14/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.