The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925 Page: 25
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Influence of Slavery in the Colonization of Texas
rise of this country. . .. This is the most liberal and mu-
nificent Govt on earth to emigrants. After being here one year
you will oppose a change to Uncle Sam. . . All the diffi-
culties as to slaves . .. are removed . .. and I have
no doubt that in a few years this will be a slave state.""6
This exuberance seemed justified. The close of 1829 saw a
great immigration pouring into Texas. One hundred and fifty-
three families arrived in November and December. A number
of planters in northern Alabama made contracts to settle. The
Reverend Gideon Blackburn, president of Center College, Ken-
tucky, made inquiries with a view to settling from forty to a
hundred families, "so that he could spend the evening of his life
among friends in promoting the cause of literature and religion."
Judge Joshua Child of Natchez, Mississippi, had a plan for the
rapid settlement of the country and thought it immaterial whether
slavery was tolerated or not. On March 28 Austin again wrote
his brother-in-law: "You have no idea at all of this country,
nor of the great emigration that is daily coming to it, nor of
the character of the emigrants. We are getting the best men,
the best kind of settlers. Pay no attention to rumors and
silly reports."65 At the same time he was investigating,
with what appeared to be encouraging prospects, the feasibility of
turning Swiss and German immigrants to Texas.66
These flattering hopes were rudely shattered by a federal law of
April 6, 1830. Guerrero's emancipation decree had sought to check
immigration by excluding slaves; this law recognized existing
slavery, but forbade further introduction of slaves and prohib-
ited outright the future settlement of emigrants from the United
States in Texas. Austin's decision was quickly made. To sup-
port the government's policy against slavery would strengthen his
demand for relaxation of the anti-immigration provision of the
law, and accordingly he took his stand. Moreover, if allowed to
come at all, Americans could, by the state law, still bring in-
"4Austin to James F. Perry, December 31, 1829.
B"Austin to Perry, January 3, 16, March 28, 1830; Pettit to Austin,
January 6; Blackburn, January 19; J. Child, January 24; Ellis, Janu-
ary 30; Faulkner, February 23, Austin Papers, MS.
"Archibald Austin acknowledged from New York City on May 31, 1830,
a letter from Austin on this subject written February 24. See other let-
ters from Archibald Austin, July 14 and September 15, 1830. Austin
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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/m1/29/: accessed December 10, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.