The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919 Page: 10
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
no man's land on the borders of Louisiana and Arkansas and de-
terred honest emigrants from proceeding to Texas by tales of vio-
lence and anarchy. To an enquirer alarmed by such stories in
1829 Austin wrote, "in proportion to our numbers, we are as en-
lightened, as moral, as good, and as 'law abiding' men, as can be
found in any part of the United States, and greatly more so than
ever settled a frontier"-an opinion whose substantial accuracy
the historian must confirm.20 For, besides the supervision of im-
migrants which good policy as well as law required, the great ma-
jority, especially of the earlier colonists, were men of family, seek-
ing homes, not speculators or adventurers. The state colonization
law of 1825 put a premium on marriage by allowing married men
four times as much land as unmarried men, while, Austin had
previously required ten single men to unite into a "family" to
obtain a league, the headright of a married man.
It would be impossible to exaggerate Austin's labors in the early
years of the colony. A letter to the political chief in 1826 gives a
clue to their character and variety. He had left San Felipe on
April 4 to point out some land recently conceded to, one of the
state officials and had been detained by excessive rains and swollen
streams until the 29th. On May 1 he had begun the trial of
an important case that had lasted seven days; at the same time
he had had to entertain a delegation of the Tonkaway Indians, and
make preparations for a campaign against another tribe; to talk
to and answer questions of many "foreigners" who had come to
look at the country, explaining and translating the federal con-
stitution and some of the laws for them; to receive and pass upon
applications for land, hear reports and issue instructions to sur-
veyors; and to correspond with superior civil and military officers.
This, the 8th, his first free day since returning, was mail day, and
he had received two communications and dispatched five.21 Too
much of his time, he once complained, was consumed in settling
"neighborhood disputes about cows and calves,"22 but it was the
patience with which he devoted himself to the minutiae of the
20See Bugbee, as cited, 109-113, 'and Austin to White, as in note 18.
There are a great many manuscripts in the Austin Papers bearing out
21Austin to Political Chief, May 8, 1826, General Land Office, Vol. 54,
"2Austin to Bell, April 16, 1830, Austin Papers.
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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/m1/18/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.