History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families Page: 34
34 txIStORY OP TEXAS.
Many persons employ an individual in the memorial to the State Government asking for
business of hunting in all its branches, and permission to colonize certain waste lands
thus are constantly supplied with provisions which were designated, as well as the number
of every description, even to eggs, which are of families he proposed to introduce. To
furnished by the iniliense numbers of wild afford ample choice to settlers, the tract
fowl. These hunters are very profitable to
their employers, and much cherished in the
family, and often become spoiled by familiarity
and indulgence. A roughness of manners
and a rudeness of speech are tolerated
in them which would not be brooked in other
servants. They are a sort of privileged character.
Indians and Mexicans are considered
the best qualified for this important office.
But it sometimes happens that a white man
from the States, who lias become somewhat
decivilized (to coin a word), is substituted.
The dress of these hunters is usually of deerskin;
hence the appropriate name 'Leatherstocking.'"
THE EMPRESARIO SYSTEM.
After the Mexican provinces had declared
themselves free and sovereign, and subject
only to federation, a national colonization law
was adopted August 18, 1824, one provision
of which authorized the legislatures of the
different States to form colonization laws for
the occupancy of the public domains within
their respective territories, on terms that
were not at variance with the federal constitution.
Accordingly, the newly-formed State
of Coahuila and Texas, having organized its
government, the legislature, on March 24,
1825, decreed such a law, one provision of
which required, in order to people the land
by the colony system, a certain number of
families to be introduced within a given time,
at the expense of the immigrants themselves.
The particulars of the system were as follows,
in brief: The empresario first presented a
designated and usually conceded by the government
was greatly in excess of the appropriation
to be finally made-; but after the
establishment of the settlement and the completion
of the allotments of the colonists, ai d
the assignment of the "premium land" to
the empresario, all the surplus land reverted
to the State. The distribution of the allotments
was under the control of a commissioner
appointed by the State, but he had
power to make an assignment without
the approval of the contractor. If the
contractor failed to introduce the stipulated
number of familes within the termn of six
years, he lost his rights and privileges in proportion
to the deficiency, and the contract was
totally annulled if be had not succeeded in
settling 100 families. The premium granted
to a contractor was five square leagues of grazing
land and five laborers of tillage land four
each hundred families; but lie could not acquire
a premium on more than 800 families.
Sqsquare league was a tract of 5,0Q0 varas
square, and contained 4,428 ac (.A labor
was 1,000 varas square, and contained 177
acres. Twenty-five laborers were equal to one
sito, and five 8sitio composed one hacieda.)
Every family whose sole occupation was
farming received 177 acres (one labor) of agricultural
land, and if it engaged in stockraising
also a grazing tract sufficient to complete
a square league was added. Those
families whose sole occupation was cattleraising
received each a square league, less
one labor (177 acres). An unmarried man
received one-fourth of the above quantity.
The State government alone could increase the
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Lewis Publishing Company, publisher. History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families, book, 1893; Chicago. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth29785/m1/36/ocr/: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .