The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925 Page: 16
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
providing that emancipation should not take place when the mas-
ter died in any unnatural way. At the same time the legisla-
ture legalized domestic tradings by providing that a slave might
"change his master," if the new master would indemnify the old
for his value."
Aside from half-hearted efforts of the political chief to inaugu-
rate the registration of slaves in Texas, no more attention seems
to have been paid to this law from any source. Slaves must have
passed by inheritance after 1827, but there is no record of any
manumissions nor of the question's being raised.3
Settlers on the ground might now accept the status quo with
reasonable assurance, so far as their own slaves were concerned-
might even foresee their rapid rise in value by the exclusion of
others-but letters from the United States made it plain that
immigration of the better class would cease unless a way could
be found to continue the introduction of slaves.39 Perhaps the
solution of this problem lay in the direction of Ellis I-I. Bean's
suggestion of a peonage contract. If slaves already in Texas
could be retained as indented servants, why could they not be
introduced as such? The idea first appears in a laconic resolu-
tion of the newly organized ayuntamiento of San Felipe request-
ing the government to recognize the validity of labor contracts
between master and servant made before entering Texas.40
"TDecree No. 35, Gammel, Laws of Texas, I, 202. There is no docu-
mentary evidence that Austin influenced this second provision. A trans-
action of November 16, 1824 (Austin Papers, I, 969) shows how trad-
ing had been carried on: By it Samuel and Elizabeth Pharr, for a con-
sideration of $625, "hired" to William Pettus for a term of sixty years
Lissy, twenty-eight years old, and her son Willis, seven. The loss was
to Pettus if they died or ran away before the term expired.
"88Auction sales by administrators settling estates commonly included
slaves, but from the information available it is not possible to say that
they violated this law. It would appear, however, that such sales were
contrary to the federal act of July 13, 1824. See advertisements in
Texas Gazette, September 25, November 7, 1829, January 10, February
18, 1832; and in The Mexican Citizen, March 17, 1831. The last two
issues of the Gazette cited and The Mexican Citizen are in the library
of Yale University.
"See, for example [Richard Ellis] to Austin, from Tuscumbia, Ala-
bama, January 3, 1828, and Henry S. Brown to Austin, New Orleans,
March 21, 1828, Austin Papers, MS.
"4April 5, 1828, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XXI, 311. The
entry in the record reads: "Considering the paralized state of immigra-
tion to this Jurisdiction from the U. S. arrising from the difficulties en-
countered by Imigrants bringing servants and hirelings with them, this
Body conceive it their duty to propose to the Legislature of this state
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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/m1/20/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.