The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 31, July 1927 - April, 1928 Page: 298
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298 Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the last payment was to be made to the state. To acquire a title
to his land the colonist had to occupy or cultivate it.
The law extended the empresario or contractor system, which
had been provided for in the national law. Each empresario made
an agreement with the state to introduce a certain number of fam-
ilies within six years. He received a definite area in which to
locate his immigrants. Often his territory was spoken of as his
grant. The use of the term was misleading. It led people un-
acquainted with the colonization laws to believe that all the land
within the grant belonged to the empresario to dispose of as he
desired. In reality the land was only allotted to the empresario
to settle with colonists. At first he did not own one acre of it.
Although he would eventually receive a premium in land for each
one hundred families introduced, no premium was due until he
had located at least a hundred families. The premium consisted
of five leagues and five labors for each hundred families settled on
No empresario was permitted to receive a premium for more
than eight hundred families. Since, however, the maximum pre-
mium an empresario might obtain was more than the eleven
league limit fixed by the federal law, he had to alienate the ex-
cess within twelve years.
The state law repeated the restriction of the federal law with
reference to grants within twenty leagues of the boundary of any
foreign nation or within ten leagues of the coast.
It was under the national law of August 18, 1824, and the
state law of March 24, 1825, that most of the empresario contracts
were made for the colonization of Texas. Even before the fed-
eral colonization law was passed, there were men in Mexico City
who were trying to obtain empresario contracts. Among them
were Haden Edwards, Green de Witt, Frost Thorn, and General
James Wilkinson.7 Stephen F. Austin was also there but for the
purpose of having his father's grant confirmed. With the promul-
gation of the national law making it necessary for each state to
pass a colonization law, those who were endeavoring to obtain
contracts transferred their attention to Saltillo, the capital of
Coahuila and Texas. In less than a month after the passage of
'Thrall, Homer S., A Pictorial History of Texas, 158.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 31, July 1927 - April, 1928, periodical, 1928; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101088/m1/322/: accessed July 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.