Stephen F. Austin to Congress, 04-05-1823

Summary: Asks confirmation of Iturbide's decree of February 18.

Stephen F. Austin a Native of Virginia of the United States of America and a Settler in the province of Texas, one of the Eastern Interior Provinces, with due respect represents to your August Body, That in the year 1820 my father Moses Austin entered into a contract with the Provincial Assembly of the New Kingdom of Leon, then comprising the four Eastern Interior provinces to bring into this country at his own expence and settle in the province of Texas three hundred families of the Catholic religion, farmers by profession, and of industrious habits. The Assembly aforesaid admitted the contract on the terms specified in the file of documents, on record in the Archives of this Government, soon after which my father died, leaving me charged with the duty entrusted to him; this I have performed by bringing into the country the aforesaid number of families, which with the permission of the Governor of said province, I have located on the banks of the Rivers Colorado and Brazos. By this time the independence and emancipation of this part of America had fortunately taken place, and remitting through the said Assembly to this Government an Account of all I had done, up to that date, I deemed it necessary to present myself in person, with a view to obtain in the most legal form a ratification of my acts, in regard to that settlement. But, the consummation of this hope has been delayed more than a year, awaiting your Supreme pleasure to enact the General Colonization Law.

The Junta Instituyente at last determined upon the Colonization Law, on the 3rd of January of the present year, which being sanctioned by the Emperor, was published on the 4th of the same. Until the present time I have been unable to progress with better hopes of success, in the only business which for so great a length of time has detained me in this Capital, and in which so many families are interested, obtaining at last of the Government on the 18th February last the enclosed commission which I have the honor herewith to present to your August Body: I am informed that under the same date copies of this were transmitted to the Political Chief, and to the Commanding General Pro tem, of these provinces and also to the Governor of Texas; and although confiding in the good faith guaranteed by those documents and by this which I now lay before your Honors, I could have proceeded on to be put in possession of that settlement, yet I deemed it more to the purpose to await the favorable and happy re-establishment of your August Body, and the liberal form of government, which has been enthusiastically proclaimed by the Liberating Army and this honorable Nation: I have already witnessed, with the greatest pleasure, the consummation of this happy event, and the entire change of the Government, and desirous therefore to insure and secure my own welfare and permanency in this part of America, as well as that of the families that I have conveyed thither, at my own expense, I present said Commission, praying your Honors to confirm it, or decide in the matter according to the Sovereign will and pleasure of your Honbl Body, condescending to take into consideration the very great expenses I have incurred in conveying said families, in effecting their settlement, and in having been myself detained attending on this court for upwards of a year, as well as the state of uncertainty and exasperation of those settlers, caused by so much delay in the termination of my mission, while they have dedicated themselves, with so much ardor and diligence, to the cultivation of those lands, amidst the dangers and ravages of the tribes of savages, whom they have successfully resisted, and severely chastised, as is evident by the reports which have been transmitted to the Government. Therefore I humbly pray your Honors for a prompt decree favorable to this my petition and agreeable to your supreme wiil Mexico, April 5th 1823.

Stephen F. Austin