Stephen F Austin to Thomas F Leaming, 06-14-1830

Summary: Instructions to be followed by immigrants coming to his colony. Slavery. Law of April 6, 1830.

San Felipe de Austin 14 June 1830.

Dr Sir,

You have no doubt seen published in the news papers the law of 6 of april passed by the Mexican Congress relative to emigration from the United States

The 10 article of that law declares that no variation shall be made in the colonies already established— Mine is established, and no embarassments can be legally enterposed to the imigration of honest and good men of families, who are comprehended in my contracts

It will be necessary for emigrants to procure pasports from some Mexican consul—the law requires it, and one pasport for the head of the family answers for the whole, but the number of the family should be stated. They should report themselves to the local authorities of the frontier, or port where they enter, and the recommendations of good character which the colonization law requires must be produced. Those recommendations should be given by a Judge or some civil authority of the place where the emigrant removes from, of a higher grade than a justice of the peace

The Government have ordered that the 13 article of the State constitution should be rigidly enforced, that article is as follows " No one can be born a Slave in this state after the publication of this Constitution in the capital of each civil jurisdiction; and six months after such publication the introduction of Slaves is prohibited, under any pretext whatever" The constitution was approved the 11 of March 1827 and published in due form at this place in May of that year— A law has been subsequently passed by the Legislature of the State garanteeing all contracts made in foreign contries, with hirelings or indented servants

No duties will be collected untill after November as I informed you when here. The law of 6 april last permits the free introduction of all Kinds of provisions and lumber into Galveston and Matagorda for two years free of duty, also all kind of furniture tools etc for the use of the colonists is free of duty—Tobacco is contraband as it always has been and will be seized. The exportation of the produce of the colonies in foreign vessels is permitted by the Same law to the ports of Matamoros, Tampico and vera Cruz, or in other words foreign vessels are allowed to engage in the coasting trade from the colonies to the above Mentioned ports.

The main object of the law of 6th of april is to keep out turbulent and bad men vagabonds and Slaves, and the true prosperity and happiness of this country requires that all of those classes should be for ever kept out— The honest and industrious farmer who brings his family has nothing to fear and will be well received and obtain more benifits and privileges than have ever been granted by any Govt, on earth.

The imprudence and thoughtlessness of some on the Sabine frontiers and the excessive noise that has been made in the U. S. papers about the purchase of Texas, seems to have had a much greater weight in Mexico than a matter so essentially unimportant ought to have had. It appears to have caused an impression that the North Americans are all turbulent and that the Govno of the north wish to take Texas by force right or wrong. All these impressions are erronious and have been created by the reports of some evil minded persons for the purpose of trying to extort from this Govt, unjust and arbitrary measures against the colonist, so as to foment discontent in Texas. Those persons have also been trying to sow the seeds of suspicion and jealousy against the Govt, of the U. S. with the hope no doubt that a war might be brought about between the two nations, in which event Texas would be lost to Mexico in one campain. A train seems to have been laid by some one, to drive this Govt, to such acts as would be most likely to kindle discontent in Texas and at the same time to sow the seeds of disgust between the two nations, and the means which appear to have been adopted to effect those objects seem to be to operate on the credulity of this Govt, by false reports about the colonists, and the views of the U. S. They appear to have made this Govt, believe that an offer to buy Texas, by the U. S. was a declaration that it would be taken by force right or wrong. These things will all correct themselves. The Govt, will find on a proper examination that the colonists have done their duty faithfully as mexican citizens, that they have performed important and essential services to their adopted country, and that they deserve the highest confidence.

I returned from Bexar the capital of Texas a few days since, all is peace and quietness— Genl Teran is expected soon but without many troops— I am on the best of terms with that General and with all the officers of Govt, and think that I shall be able [to] work this colony through all troubles which seem to threaten it. I know the Mexicans well—. The latest accounts from Mexico give a bad a/c of the State of things in that quarter— those matters do not reach or affect us here—

A [Rubric]

[Addressed:] Thomas F. Learning Esqr Philadelphia Pena