Stephen F. Austin to Humphry Fullerton, General, 10-02-1826

Summary: Immigration. Swiss colonists. Slavery. Constitution.

San Felipe de Austin October 2 1826

Genl Humphry Fullerton,

Dr Sir, I was truly gratified to learn by your letter to Major Burnett that you had arrived at home safe in July, that your health was improving and that you had received applications from near one hundred families who wished to emigrate to this colony, and more were daily applying—

The forty swiss families you speak of from Vevey will be valuable acquisition as cultivators of the vine, a species of culture which I have no doubt will succeed well and yield great profits in proportion to the Capital and labor employed. The climate and soil are said, by those who profess themselves judges, to be well adapted to the cultivation of the vine, we cannot decide from actual experiments for none of consequence have been made—wild grapes are very abundant in sandy soils throughout the country and of a good quality, well flavored.—

It is important that you should send on as soon as possible a list of the families who are coming on stating the name of the head of the family, age, where born, last place of residence, wheither married or single, number of male and female children, ages, number of hirelings—occupation—age of wife—This list is necessary in order to enter them in the records of the Colony

In regard to the fees I am as yet unable to inform you—The commissioner has not come on and I have received no final instructions on the subject—I am certain however that they will not exceed about four cents pr. acre including surveying fees and all charges and six years will be allowed to pay a part of them. Such arrangements can no doubt be made with the surveyors in regard to their fees as will make the payment easy

The Government move very slow—and sometimes produces embarrassments and frequently disappointments and I wish the families who are coming on to understand that I am not in any manner to be accountable or censurable for embarrassments occationed by the delays of the Government—So far as depends on me their business shall be promptly and faithfully attended to. we as yet have no constitution for this state altho the Legislature or congress convened to frame it have been two years in session—there is a prospect that it will be completed in all this winter—The question as to the admission of slavery is undecided tho I think it probable that the unrestricted admission of slavery will not be permitted—those now in the country will probably be held as slaves for life, what will be done with their descendants is doubtfull

The Commissioner of the old Colony I expect will be here in all this month or next in company with that of the new one; and as soon as the affairs of the former are finally closed the surveys of the latter will commence and not before, by that time the list of families above spoken of can be sent on and the land laid off for them—

I am in very bad health which must be my excuse if I have not written as fully as you wished—hoping to see you and the families in the course of the coming winter I remain

Stephen F. Austin [Rubric]