Stephen F Austin to Archilbald Austin, 02-24-1830
Summary: Advantages in Texas for Swiss immigrants.
Texas.—It is a singular phenomenon that a colony of Americans, almost in the infancy of our country, should be planted on a foreign soil—there to establish our institutions, speak our language, practice our virtues, and cherish our religion. Although under a foreign government, it is impossible not to regard them as " bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh," and to feel an honest pride when we see them extending the influence of civilization and industry over a territory the most inviting perhaps on the face of the earth, but hitherto, only the abode of wild beasts and roaming savages. We have been favored with a letter from a gentleman long resident in Texas, from which we make the following extracts :—
San Felipe de Austin, Fed. 24, 1830.
You ask me as to Swiss emigrants. They of all others would be most
benifltted by a removal to Texas, The Government is highly in favour of
Swiss and German emigrants, and they would be well received. They carry
industry and peace wherever they go; and the Swiss in particular, would
introduce the culture of the vine, and the making of wine. It is the decided
opinion of some very intelligent Europeans who have visited this country,
that its soil and climate are equal to the best wine regions of France. We
have in fact every variety of soil, from the richest alluvion on the margins of
the rivers, to the high and rich uplands;—-clay and sandy soils, and all possible
varieties and intermixtures of them, and also rocky soils,—level, rolling,
undulating and hilly lands. There is a large portion of very black, sandy soil,
having a clay foundation of eighteen inches to three feet in depth, which is
surprisingly productive; and I perceived that land of this kind is covered
with an excessive growth of wild Grape of very superior flavour to any other
wild Grape I have ever met with. Sugar, Cotton, Indigo, etc, will yield most
The prospects here are
very good for enterprise and industry. The natural
resources and wealth of Texas, in fertile lands, timber, pasturage, etc. are
incomparably greater than any country I have ever seen. Its climate is mild
and healthy, and it possesses abundant facilities for navigation, both rivers
and harbors. We need nothing which nature could supply, but we do need
population. We need agriculturists to develope the great advantages of our
soil and climate. It is the settled policy of this Government to fill Texas
with an industrial population, and to effect this object it has extended a
degree of liberality to foreign emigrants which is altogether without a parallel.
This liberality extends to all the sacred rights of security of persons and
property, which are primary considerations with all men; and also to every
privilege and indulgence which any reasonable people could ask.