The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919 Page: 9
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Stephen F. Austin
colonization law itself and the authority vested in me under that
law holds me up as a public mark to be shot at.17
With the readiness of the colonists to 'growl' and 'grumble' and
'mutter,' "without knowing why, or without being able to explain
why," he was not, however, disposed to quarrel.
It arose [he said] from a principle which is common to all North
Americans, a feeling which is the natural offspring of the un-
bounded republican liberty enjoyed by all classes in the United
States; . . . jealousy of those in office, jealousy of undue en-
croachments on personal rights, and a general repugnance to every-
thing that wore the semblance of a stretch of power.ls
Another duty that brought Austin some enemies and much an-
noyance was that of keeping criminals and men of bad character
out of the colony. lie required certificates of character from all
who obtained land, and though, in the nature of things, these cer-
tificates could be hardly more than formal statements of "parties
unknown," he made remarkably few mistakes.'9 He banished
several from the colony in 1823 and 1824 under threat of severe
corporal punishment, and in one case appplied the lash. Some of
the exiles took refuge in the neighboring colony of the Mexican
empresario De Le6n and avenged themselves by making false re-
ports about Austin to the government, and others settled in the
"Austin to Edwards, September 15, 1825, Austin Papers.
"Austin to White, March 31, 1829, Austin Papers. This letter was pub-
lished in the Texas History Teachers' Bulletin (University of Texas), Feb-
ruary, 1917, pp. 41-45.
""No person will be admited as a settler who does not produce satis-
factory evidence of having supported the character of a moral, sober, and
industrious citizen.'--From a printed permit (1821) to settle in Austin's
first colony. Austin endeavored to have immigrants present testimonials
from the justice of the peace or some other local official of their former
residence in the United States, but this was not always possible, ,nd it
is evident that many were received on the recommendation of settlers al-
ready in the colony, on very short acquaintance, one may suspect. There
is abundant evidence, however, that Austin tried to give this requirement
a real meaning. See, for example, entries in "Register of Families in
Austin's Colony," General Land Office, Austin, Texas: "John II. Jones,
single man, wants a place below tract where John Williams lives .
,and as he is an entire stranger I have required him to produce me satis-
factory evidence of his moral conduct" (p. 16); "Henry Martin, Mary
his wife, 1 male child, 3 female children . . has presented no rec-
ommendations-his reception as a colonist is to be subject to future evac-
uation-no certificate is issued to him, and it is entirely optionary with
the empresario to receive him or not" (p. 18, June 17, 1831).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919, periodical, 1919; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117156/m1/17/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.