James A. E. Phelps to Stephen F. Austin, 01-16-1825

Summary: Fever of emigration in Mississippi and "adjoining State." Report concerning abolition of slavery has checked movement.

Pinckneyville Mi. Jan 16th 1825

Col. Stephen F. Austin

Dr. Sir

Agreeable to mutual promise I have the pleasure of now addressing you by mail, and of informing you that after a journey of 18 days from St Felipe De Austin I arrived safe home: with the exception of some bad weather, and some high water, a pleasant journey. The emigrating, or Texas fever prevails to an extent that your wishes would no more than anticipate—It has pervaded all classes of the citizens of this state and the adjoining; from the men with capital, to the man that wishes to acquire a liveing—Nothing appears at present, to prevent a portion of our wealthy planters from emigrating immediately to the province of Texas but the uncertainty now prevailing with regard to the subject of slavery—There has been a parragraph that has gone the round of Nuse paper publication in the Middle States [U.S.A], perporting to be an extract from a Mexican paper; which precludes the introduction of negro property into the Mexican Republick, without exception: Subjecting the persons so offending to the severest penalties, and also an immediate emancipation of thos slaves now belonging to the citizens of the province of Texas; and fredom to the slave that touches the soil of Mexico

If this be a fact it will check the tide of emigrating spirits at once: and indeed it has had its influence already—I have pledged myself to my friends to ascertain the fact if possible; and I know of no other way to satisfy the publick mind on the subject, but by application to yourself for a copy of the new constitution, and a promulgation of the same so soon as practicable—I have ventured to contradict so much of the report and publication as relates to your colony , upon the authority of your self, so far, as garranteeing the right of that species of property under consideration—That por- tion of the Mexican Republick is becoming every day more and more an object of interest with this portion of the United States— There is not a day passes that I am not calld on to give (the superficial) information that I am in possession of as regards your country : and have to regret that I am not able to satisfy the eager, yet not idle curiosity of my friends—If slavery is tolerated by the new constitution I could wish, for the benefit of your self, and others that you would petition the government for extension of territory, and colonial location, so as to comprise the Trinity [River] and its waters: Three Hundred familys more can be settled in less than two years—

A very considerable number of Gentlemen of fortune will visit the colony this Spring, from this section of Country—with a view of becoming citizens—I will inform you further on the subject in due time—

The death of my Father in Law during my absence has deranged my calculations in some degree, as it may cause some delay in the moving of my family but it is more than probable that the whole family of Col Kirby will move when I doo—Please give my best respect to Capt Austin and Mr Williams. Tell the latter that I am anxious to hear from him, and likewise to receive a map of the colony , which he promised—

Be so good as to designate the bounds of my Labours an the Deed so soon as surveyed, and send me a coppy

James A E Phelps