Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown. Page: 849 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
ber of others, from Wythe County, in 1799, to his
new grant, and there in the wilderness laid the
foundation of the settlement in what is now Washington
County, Mo. The early settlers of that
county have borne ample testimony to his enterprise,
public spirit and unbounded hospitality.
These admirable qualities are rarely found united
with great prudence and sound judgment in
financial matters; nor were they in the case of
Moses Austin, the failure of the Bank of Missouri
causing him serious pecuniary embarrassment.
Once more he became involved, and, surrendering
his property to his creditors, he turned with unabated
ardor, in the decline of life, to a new and
hazardous undertaking in the wilds of Texas.
In 1803 Louisiana was ceded by Spain to France,
and, in the same year, by the latter to the United
States, which government revived the old French
claim of the RioGrande as a boundary. But bythe De
Onis treaty in 1819 the question was settled, and the
Sabine was made the boundary, and it was then
that Moses Austin arranged his plans for an application
to the government of Spain for a grant of
land in Texas on which to locate a colony of Americans.
As it was contemplated to bring the settlers
through Arkansas Territory, Moses Austin so far
anticipated matters as to send his son, Stephen,
with some hands, to Long Prairie, near Red river,
to open a farm there which might serve as a restingplace
and provision depot for his trains of
Having been told that the best way to lay his
petition before the home government would be
through the authorities of New Spain, as Mexico
was then called, the elder Austin at once started
for Bexar (now San Antonio), the capital of the
Province of Texas.
But, before starting, it had been decided to abandon
the scheme of a farm at Long Prairie and to
adopt for the future colonists the route through
New Orleans by water to Texas. Accordingly,
Stephen F. Austin, proceeded to that city to perfect
arrangements for transportation, supplies, etc.,
while his father started, on horseback, on his tiresome
and perilous journey across the vast prairies
of Texas. It was early in December, 1820, that
the elder Austin arrived in Bexar, the capital of
Texas. On presenting himself to the Governor, he
was not even allowed to explain the object of his
visit, but was peremptorily ordered to leave the
capital instantly, and the province as soon as he
could get out of it, the Governor being very angry
that he had violated the well-known Spanish law
excluding foreigners, without specific passports,
from Spanish territory in the New World,
There was nothing left but to obey, and Austin,
much dejected, withdrew, with as good grace as
possible under the circumstances, from the Governor's
mansion to prepare for his return .home,
when, in crossing the plaza, he had the good luck
to meet the Baron de Bastrop, with whom many
years previous he had become acquainted in Lower
Louisiana. The Baron recognized his old friend,
cordially embraced him, took him home with him,
and was soon informed of all Austin's plans and
troubles. It was the turning-point in the fortunes
of the Austins; and that chance meeting on the
plaza was pregnant with great events.
Baron de Bastrop was a gentleman of culture and
refinement, and in high favor with the Governor;
and on the morrow, when he laid before that irate
functionary the documentary proof that Austin had
become a regularly naturalized Spanish subject in
Lower Louisiana, in 1799, and stated that he was
now lying in bed very ill from the effects of his protracted
journey, the order for his departure was
countermanded and his memorial received. In a
few days, thanks to the kind offices of De Bastrop,
the intelligence and the pleasing address of Austin,
the memorial asking permission to settle 300 families
in Texas was forwarded to the superior government
of the eastern internal provinces, in whose
jurisdiction Texas was, strongly recommended by
the local authorities of this province. Austin left
Bexar in January, 1821, anxious to get home and
complete his arrangements for moving to Texas as
soon as he could hear of the success of his application.
The journey was one which few would hbave
ventured upon at that season of the year. Over
the dreary wastes of the trackless prairie he took
his course. Losing his way at times, swimming the
creeks now swollen by the winter rains, rafting
himself and horse across the rivers which he met,
and suffering greatly from exposure and want of
provisions, Austin, some time in the spring, reached
the town of Nachitoches, La. From thence he proceeded
at once to Missouri, where he died soon
after his arrival, his health having been completely
shattered by the hardships undergone on his Texas
trip. His last request was that his son, Stephen,
should prosecute the enterprise which had been
commenced at so costly a sacrifice. And never did
filial piety execute more faithfully the dying injunction
of a revered parent.
The memorial of Moses Austin was approved by
the supreme government of the eastern internal
provinces of New Spain, at Monterey, on the 17th
of January, 1821, and the Governor of Texas was
at once informed of it. He thereupon dispatched
Pon Erasmo Seguin (after whom the present town
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown., book, 1880~; Austin, Tex.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/849/: accessed July 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .