The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925 Page: 17
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Influence of Slavery in the Colonization of Texas
Austin transmitted this on April 7, 1828, to Ram6n Mfisquiz,
Saucedo's successor. Misquiz approved and sent it to the Texan
representatives, Jos6 Antonio Navarro and Miguel Arciniega.
Navarro, who was a member of the committee on colonization,
introduced a bill and secured its passage somewhat surrepti-
tiously during a heated contest over another bill which diverted
the attention of the members. Both Navarro and Arciniega be-
lieved that under other circumstances it might not have passed,
and Arciniega dropped a hint that it might be repealed.41
A clean-cut translation of the law by Austin reads:
The Legislature of the State of Coahuila and Texas taking into
consideration the scarcity of laborers and servants for agricul-
tural purposes, and being desirous to promote the general ad-
vancement in all the various branches of industry, have decreed
All contracts not contrary to the laws of this State made in
foreign countries between emigrants to, or inhabitants of, this
State and servants or hirelings introduced by them are guaran-
teed as valid in this State.42
The application of this law was simple and comprehensive.
Theoretically, master and slave, but often in practice only the
master, went before a notary and declared the value of the slave
to be a certain sum. The slave wished to be free and in Texas
would be free; but he could not avail himself of this boon unless
his master took him there and the master could not afford to sac-
rifice his value. Therefore, in recognition of the owner's right
and of the privileges which he himself would acquire by emigra-
tion, the slave contracted to work for the master at stipulated
wages after removal until he had repaid his value. Minors and
unborn children were included in the contract and the wages
through the Chief of Depart[ment] a project of a Law whereby Emi-
grants and inhabitants of this state may be secured in the Contracts
made by them with servants or hirelings in foreign countries which
project the president will make out in the following turns to wit. 'Are
guaranteed the Contracts made by emigrants to this state or Inhabitants
of it with the servants and hirelings they introduce' and solicit the said
Chief to forward it on to the Legislature with such additional influence
as he may think proper to extend to it."
"Mfisquiz to Austin, April 17, May 15; Padilla to Austin, May 3;
Navarro to Austin, May 17; Arciniega to Austin, May 17, 1828, Austin
Papers, MS. The law passed on May 5.
a2Decree No. 56, Gammel, Laws of Texas, I, 213.
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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/m1/21/: accessed June 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.