Stephen F. Austin to Unknown, 10-20-1823

Summary: Terms for obtaining land. Measures to exclude undesirable immigrants; must be moral, industrious, and "free from the vice of intoxication." Catholic Church established, but private worship will not be disturbed. No "exhorters" allowed.

San Felipe de Austin Oct. 20 1823

Dr Sir,

I recd your letter dated 5 April 1822 only a few days since, and am much pleased to see your inclinations directed towards this quarter.

You have doubtless heard much of, and concerning me and my prospects etc, it is true they have been at times brighter than at others, tho there never has been any just cause to doubt of final success in the completion of my business with the Government. The revolution coming on at the critical time it did threw some difficulties in the way that were never even dreampt of, but time and perseverance has overcome them all, and I am now engaged surveying the lands to the settlers.

The terms on which emigrants are recd [are] as follows— No one will be recd as a settler or be permitted to remain in the Province who does not bring the most unequivocal evidence from the highest authority and most respectable men of the state and neighborhood Where he resides, that his character is perfectly unblemished, that he is a moral and industrious man, and absolutely free from the vice of intoxication- those who presume so far on the lenity of this Government as to intrude themselves upon its territory without such evidence will be immediately ordered to leave the Province and if the order is not obeyed within the time specified (which will be ten, twenty, or thirty days according to the situation of the family) they will be sent off under guard and their property seized and sold to pay the expenses, and should any resistance be made they will be whipped or condemned to hard labor on public worfe with a ball and chain attached to them according to the nature of their offence.

Those who are received as settlers have everything to hope—they will get one league of land if they wish for so much and as much less as they please which will cost at the rate of twelve dollars and a half pr hundred acres—The land will be surveyed and the titles delivered at the houses of the settlers and all the records made complete without any additional charge—a very large family, or a person who brings a valuable capital and erects mills or establishes any useful and extensive branch of business that will be of real benefit to the Colony, can get as much as five leagues of land if he wishes at the same rate—

The Government is yet unsettled tho there is now no doubt of its being a federal republic on the plan of the United States in every particular except toleration, the Roman Catholic is the established religion to the absolute exclusion of all others and will so continue for a few years, but the natural operation of a Republic will soon change that system—private worship will never be enquired into, but no public preaching or exorting will on any account be permitted, and I should feel myself compelled to silence any preacher or exorter who would attempt it within my jurisdiction.

You may think me rather tyranical relative to those who come without proper recommendations, but I have been much imposed upon, no recommendation from justices of the Peace will be noticed unless I personally know them, and all bad or idle and worthless men who come here will have abundant cause to curse the hour they crossed the limits—the wellfare of this Colony requires the most rigid police, and my orders from the Govt on this subject are imperative and must be obeyed.

No credit will be given for lands and nothing taken in payment but money or negros—this is the general rule, but if you and a few more of my old friends come you may have your own time to pay in. If you see any worthless and idle men on the way here try and turn them back.

[Stephen F. Austin]