H. H. League, James C. Ludlow, Elias Wightman, Richard Matson. to Stephen F. Austin, 08-02-1826

Summary: HPetition for permit to establish a town on the Colorado River and Matagorda Bay.

To the Honorable Stephen F. Austin Empresario, Military and Political chief of Colony No 1

The Petition of the undersigned Citizens of said Colony most respectfully beg leave to set forth and show

That Whereas: We the said Petitioners, having viewed the Matagorda Bay as the most important and safe Harbor on the Coast of the Department of Texas, and in fact the only one which can, and will be recognized by men of Enterprise both of adopted Mexicans, natives, and those of foreign nations as the general grand, mart and emporium of commerce to which all business must, and will center and a point to which, all the produce of the Country must find its way to the market of the contry, as well [as] that of foreign markets by means of the ready admission of vessels of every descriptions which no other port on the coast is susceptable of— And further taking into consideration the ease and facility of a ready communication between that point and the eastern—by means of an inland navigation—almost furnished by nature from said bay of Matagorda to that of Galveston—These with many other reasons, have directed our attention to said Bay and well knowing the far superior country admiting the most dense settlements and most extensive bodies of productive lands, and the partiality of Emigrants to settle on the Brazos, Bernard, Bay Prairie, and Colorado and the vanity of any calculation—that the western colonies could ever rival or come in competition with this most superior fertile and rich section of the country—Induced us to hope that there might be a possibility of finding a site for the establishment of a town at or near the mouth of the Rio Colorado though every one informing us of its impracticability for want of sufficient depth of water over the Bar etc.—

But if this should be the case (which we hope can be overcome by assiduity and perseverence) still we have to suggest to your Honor, that we do not hesitate to think according to our best judgment and the means we had in our power to ascertain facts necessary to predicate any just ideas—that there may still be a town erected on the east side of the Rio Colorado some two or three miles from the mouth, and on the margin of the Bay—We discovered to our admiration and surprise—one of the most beautiful situations for the building a large commodious and tasty commercial town that our utmost imagination could conceive. A large amphitheatre, a semicircular Bluff of about 6 or 8 feet above high-water mark of very perminant dry soil, and ascending back to an extensive and beautiful prairie, about 2000 bars in diameter, making a very regular curveresting one end on the Rio Colorado and the other on the bay the margin of both being remarkably straight and regular—in the front of this amphitheatre is a low rich marsh prairie though no stagnant waters the beauty of the whole and particularly the Colorado is past discription.

We are very confident that a mere trifle will open a canal from the Colorado through this low land to the Bay, and a bayou already flows up to meet it, which must have a full communication with the Bay as it had the appearance of being agitated by the swells from the Bay, though we were not prepared to examine for the want of a water-craft—and here it is certain that vessels can lie safely at anchor and be admitted into the Colorado by means of this Bayou, and Canal should there be insupurable obsticles to ascending the river, which we trust is not the case. We will now only refer you to a diagram accompanying this petition, as nigh the true Situation as we are able to delineate without an actual survey.

And therefore in consideration of the above.

We your Petitioners beg leave to ask the favor of a grant of land embracing said site with the privileges of laying out said contemplated town, Binding ourselves immediately to erect and maintain a post of defence against the hostile Indians, and commence the building of warehouses, and other necessary Houses for the reception of Imigrants as expected (in case of a grant) from Missouri and Tennessee as well as elsewhere—Subjecting ourselves to all the rules and regulations of Government to taxes imports, tonage and duties of whatever descriptions, name or nature, conforming ourselves to the laws of the Government regulating ports and harbors.

And that we may avail ourselves of the advantage of your knowledge and experience in the laws and customs of the Mexican Government, as well as your patronage, and advice, and direction, we would solicit, your participation, equally with your Petitioners in all its profits and emoliments to which entent we bind ourselves to convey an equal right whenever we shall be ennabled so to do. We would further Submit to your consideration and inspection a plan of the Town to [be] laid out------

If the granting for the express purpose of a Town, is not compatible with the nature of your authorities of which we are uninformed, We your Petitioners in such case would beg leave that a League, as above defined may be granted for the purpose of stockraising—

And further if a grant to an individual would be more consistent than to the Company—-We would nominate Conl- Matison, as the grantee who is bound to make conveyances to the company. Our intentions are to reduce it to five shares, for although yours inclusive would make seven, two we consider as merely nominal which Mr. Ludlow engages to extingush by contract, and substitute his own in lieu thereof—

Considering the vast importance to your Colony and in particular the early, and immediate attention which we would bestow, and gaining the advantage of the first Port where provisions and accommodation can be afforded and a safe protection guaranteed to vessels, which must give it every advantage over every other in said Bay—not naming our opinion of the practicability of making an artificial pass, through the peninsula between the Bay and main Gulph together with the many other advantages which we will in a personal interview explain. We do not hesitate to think and hope that your Honor will deem [it] of the highest interest to the Government in General but the most important in particular to this Section and [your] own Colony, more especially—

That your honor may so consider and grant the prayers of your Petitioners and Undersigned is our most earnest Solicitations, and as in duty bound will ever pray etc.—

H. H. League

James C. Ludlow

Elias Wightman

Richard Matson

Sn Felipe de Austin 2d August 1826