The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919 Page: 11
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Stephen F. Austin
colony as well as his intelligence and ability in more important
things that accounts for his success. During these years he gath-
ered by painstaking surveys and personal observations data for a
map of Texas, published by Tanner in 1829; charted Galveston
Bay and the several harbors and navigable rivers of the state;
promoted trade with the United States and kept a stream of immi-
grants flowing into the colony; encouraged the erection of gins and
sawmills and the establishment of schools; and exercised through-
out a most remarkable influence over the legislature at Saltillo in
matters affecting the interest of the colony. To mention but a
few instances of this, he was responsible in considerable degree for
the liberal terms of the colonization law, his arguments prevented
the constitutional abolition of slavery in 1827 and secured the
labor law of the next year permitting the continued introduction
of slaves in the form of indented servants, and in 1829 his desire
to protect the colonists against suit for debts contracted before com-
ing to the country found expression in what we should now con-
sider a sweeping homestead law. He himself was a member of
the legislature in 1831-1832, and was re-elected in 1834 but was
prevented from serving by his detention in Mexico.23
Burdened as he was with the affairs of his own colony, he found
time to answer the calls of others. He repeatedly exerted himself
to obtain titles for families who had drifted in and settled on the
eastern border of the province before the passage of the coloniza-
tion law; and he, was always ready to give other empresarios the
benefit of his knowledge and experience. DeWitt was deeply in-
debted to him for such success as he enjoyed, Burnet drew heavily
upon him, and Edwards recei ,ed advice that ought to have saved
him from the folly of the Fredonian rebellion. He perceived very
clearly the mutual interest of all in the peaceful and rapid develop-
ment of Texas, and, with the field so vast and the laborers so few,
he welcomed every additional effort in the promotion of that end.
Some of his fellow-empresarios, however, without his vision and
interest in the permanent growth of the country, doubted his sin-
cerity and blamed him for embarrassments and failures due to
their own impatience, greed, and unwillingness to adapt themselves
"Each statement in this paragraph is based on abundance of manu-
script sources in the 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/m1/19/: accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.