The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925 Page: 12
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Southwestern historical Quarterly
the inhabitants of Texas and pledged himself to do his utmost
for its consideration at Saltillo.24
As reported by the committee on the constitution, the slavery
article read: "The state prohibits slavery absolutely and for-
ever in all its territory, and slaves now in the state shall be free
from the day the constitution is published in this capital. A
law shall regulate the mode of indemnifying those who owned
them at the time of publication."" Austin did not need Sau-
cedo's invitation to address the government, but it was encour-
aging to know that he had the support of the local authorities
and the native inhabitants. After telling Saucedo that he had
sent a petition to Bastrop, the representative of Texas in the leg-
islature, Austin said:
I have no words to express the great interest that I feel in this
matter. To my own fate I give not a single thought, but the
fate of many honest, innocent, and unfortunate families, that of
all the new colonies, and I may say that of Texas, is pending;
because, if the confidence which up to now all have felt in the
good faith of the government is once destroyed, many years and
infinite pains will be necessary to reestablish it, and the damage
will extend not merely to stopping immigration but will cause
doubts of the faith of the government in everything.28
His memorial was an expansion of this theme. The law author-
izing the settlement of the first three hundred families permitted
the introduction of slaves and guaranteed property without dis-
tinction. To free them now would be an act of bad faith, hardly
palliated by recognizing the obligation to indemnify the owners;
because where was this indemnity to come from? The value of
a slave was from six hundred to fifteen hundred dollars and some
could not be bought for three thousand. It would be unjust to
tax the Coahuilans to pay for the slaves of Texas, but equally
unjust to take the property of Texans and then levy a heavy tax
on them to pay for it. Some families, some widows and orphans,
had no other property, and to take their slaves would beggar
them. The colonists deserved better than to be buried in the
wilderness without laborers, "without consolation for the present
2"Jos6 Antonio Saucedo to Austin, July 14, 27, 1826, Austin Papers, I,
"Quoted by Austin in his memorial to the Legislature, August 11,
1826, Austin Papers, I, 1407.
26Austin to Saucedo (August 7, 1826), Ibid., I, 1401.
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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/m1/16/: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.