The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925 Page: 15
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Influence of Slavery in the Colonization of Texas
and allowed introduction for six months after publication of the
constitution, but declared free children born to slaves there-
after.33 As the document was not published in Texas until May
29, immigrants might lawfully introduce slaves until the end of
November, 1827.34 This was not wholly satisfactory, but neither
was it ruinous; and Austin was still sanguine enough to advise
his brother-in-law, James F. Perry, to remove to Texas before
the door was closed against slaves. It is important to observe
that the constitution, in effect, construed the federal act of July
13, 1824, as applying only to the slave trade.
Machinery for the operation of article 13 was established by
a law of September 15, 1827. This provided for a census by age,
name, and sex of slaves in the state six months after publication
of the constitution, and required ayuntamicntos to keep a register
of slave births and deaths and to report to the government every
three months. At the same time it declared that slaves of a mas-
ter who died without direct heirs should be liberated and that
when there were heirs one-tenth should be freed by lot as a sort
of inheritance tax; but manumission should not take place if
master or heirs were murdered by one of the slaves. Penalties
of the federal act of July 13, 1824, were expressly applied to
those who introduced slaves contrary to the constitution, and pre-
sumably the federal law prohibited also domestic trading.3"
This law passed, so far as the Texans were concerned, without
premonition. Austin, who visited Saltillo shortly afterwards,
argued strongly for repeal," but only effected an amendment
"Journals, 513. On November 30, 1826, the Governor had sent in a
message protesting against the article as it then stood, his chief argu-
ment being that, in effect, it amounted to confiscation of slaves because
the state had no means of paying their owners for them. (Austin
Papers, I, 1523.) The presiding officer, J. M. Viesca, explained that the
Governor wished continued introduction for six months and emancipa-
tion at twenty-five. He himself evidently concurred with the Governor.
Other members expressed preference for emancipation of children at
fourteen, and the hope that by their labors they might purchase the
freedom of their parents. When the article came up for final considera-
tion, however, only one member (Valle) spoke against liberation of chil-
dren at birth, though it is probable that Viesca also opposed, and Bastrop
was ill and absent. See the Journals of the Legislature, November 30,
1826, January 2, 18, 30, 31, 1827, pages 466, 491, 501, 511, 513.
"J. E. B. Austin to E. M. Perry, May 24, and Austin to J. F. Perry,
May 26, 1827, Austin Papers, I, 1644, 1645.
"Decree No. 18, Gammel, Laws of Texas, I, 188.
"Austin to members of the Legislature, and to , evidently a
member of the national senate, November 8, 1827, Austin Papers, I, 1716.
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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/m1/19/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.