The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925 Page: 5
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Influence of Slavery in the Colonization of Texas
try to plant settlements, towns, and cities in the plains now roamed
by wild beasts and savage Indians. The committee deplored the
existence in the world of slavery and the slave trade, "which dis-
honors the human race," and it proposed to prohibit the slave trade
in Mexico; but it could not disregard the rights of property, un-
just though they were, and settlers must therefore be allowed to
bring in their slaves, with the understanding, however, that chil-
dren born to them in the empire after the publication of this law
should be freed at the age of fourteen.' A minority bill at the
same time declared uncompromisingly against slavery8 and received
strong support. Both bills were recommitted and a month later
the minority bill was reported. After some thirty articles were
passed it was again returned to the committee for revision. Here
a political storm overtook it. Taking a leaf from the book of
Napoleon, his great exemplar, the emperor forcibly dismissed con-
gress and invested forty-five picked deputies with the legislative
power, pending election of a new assembly. This-the junta
national instituyete-revived and passed the original colonization
bill.' Article 30 tersely stated the slavery provision: "After the
publication of this law there can be no sale or purchase of slaves
that may be introduced into the empire. The children of slaves
born in the empire shall be free at fourteen years of age."0
It would be erroneous to assume that the slavery issue was alone
responsible for the delay in passing the colonization law. This
was the result of many causes, of which slavery was but one, though
an important one. In the end the slavery provision was more
favorable than Austin had for a time expected. On November 22
he wrote that as the bill then stood in committee slaves introduced
by immigrants were to be free after ten years' residence; he was
trying to have it amended so as to hold them slaves for life and
free their children at twenty-one, but did not hope to succeed.
His agency in obtaining the passage of the law was undoubtedly
great, perhaps decisive. Shortly afterwards he wrote:
'Actas del Congreso Constituyente, III, 15-21-speech of Jose Antonio
Gutierrez de Lara.
'By Gomez Farias, Ibid., III, 46-52, 57.
'Mateos, Historia Parlementaria de los Congresos Mecicanos, I, 991-
1010, II, 13-15, 18-29 passion; Lorenzo de Zavala, Ensayo Hist6rico de las
Revoluciones de Mejico (Paris, 1831), I, 190-191; H. H. Bancroft, His-
tory of Mexico (San Francisco, 1886), IV, 757-805.
"H. P. N. Gammel, The Laws of Teas (Austin, 1898), I, 30.
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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/m1/9/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.