Henry Austin to Stephen F Austin, 03-30-1831

Summary: Mexican minister to the United States interprets law of April 6, 1830, to stop all emigration of natives of the United States to Texas. Henry Austin's arrangement with consul at New Orleans to allow passports to Austin's colony. Many disquieting rumors check emigration

Duplicate, original via Brazoria

New Orleans March 30th 1831



My dear Sir.

Since my last via Matamoros new matter has occurred of very serious import. The enclosed " Notice to Immigrants" put a dead stop to the emigration and I was told the orders of the minister went farther than the notice. I called upon the Consul for information; He showed me the ministers officio from Washington and General Terans on the same subject. The minister says the law of 6 april has no exception in favor of the Colonys of Austin and Dewit [and for] him to publish the notice and the concluding clause is " those who have obtained a location there since the publication of that law (being of the U S.) are liable to be expelled at the pleasure of the Govt" This clause the Consul suppressed because he thought it unjust towards you and because it did not correspond with the instructions of Genl Teran whose orders; no, not orders, instructions he was instructed by Govt to follow in all matters relating to Texas. He then shewed me General Terans officio, which tells him not to grant pasports for Texas to any emigrants but " los qe dependen a las colonias" of Austin and Dewit I endeavourd to construe the word dependence as applicable to all who were bonafide destined to those colonies, he took fire at this and I had to back out admitting my imperfect knowledge of the.Spanish language I then took the ground that the publications and notices by letters, that persons qualified according to law, who should present themselves at Sta Felipe during the term of your contracts should receive lands agreeably to law, was virtually a contract between you and them and brought them within the exception. He said you had undoubtedly agents in all parts of the country to pick up Settlers and all who had contracted with them might go. I assured him there were no such agents. He then said if I could produce a copy of a notice or a letter or a note from Mr Breedlove that he had knowledge notice had been given, he would consider it as an engagement with the emigrants and grant them passports. Your letter of Jany 19 1830 to Mr Breedlove contained a postscript exactly in point. Mr B wrote him a note which I handed him and obtained a reply a copy of which I annex. This removes the difficulty here for the present but will not counteract the effect in the country where you will see it is ordered to be published He expressed the most friendly disposition towards you and the colonys, said the Govt could not pass ex post facto laws, and stopping the emigration to your colonies would be ex post facto etc. but they are doing the thing whatever they may say. He professes to coincide with me in opinion that the Govt has no disposition to deviate from the just and liberal policy heretofore shown to the colonists, appeared anxious to convince me that his personal disposition was the best possible, and published these notices only by Superior order so I got along with him very smoothly.

In my own affairs I am at a dead stand still Mr. W. about whose propositions to establish a Cotton factory of a 1000 spindles in the Colony I wrote you via Matamoros made it a sine qua non, that I should take the direction of the business or he would not embark in it, I acceded, conditionally, we matured the plan, agreed upon terms, and were to reduce the matter to contract so soon as I had advices that my solicitation was granted,— Buys story that he had the exclusive right to establish cotton manufactorys in Texas not true and assurances that a premium in land would be granted for the establishment of the cotton factory of 1000 spindles no advices came, altho it is three months since your arrival in Saltillo and six weeks since my letters on this subject. My friend is getting uneasy at these consular notices, impatient of so much delay and has gone to day to attend the sale of a sugar plantation. If he buys it it will absorb 200,000 dollars of his Capital and I shall be thrown out of the saddle after all besides if the ministers construction of the law is to obtain, we cannot get a legal title to land enough to [settle] the manufactory upon. However whichever way things turn I must take a hand in the game somehow or other. I hope I may soon hear from you as I have already been here two months on expense and must soon be in action or raise the wind.

Henry Austin


Copy of a Letter from the Mexican Consul

New Orleans March 30—1831.

Mr J. W. Bredlove

Sir I have recd your letter of this morning in answer to it I inform you that I will have no kind of objection to give passports to any person whatsoever, if you will send me by those Persons an assurance that they are going to Mr Austins Colony to settle, It has never been my intention to refuse granting passports to Persons going to Texas on their private business or with a view of seeing the country.

Frano Pizarro Martinez

[By Henry Austin:] ps April 2d—I have just recd your favor of March 5th Mr W has not yet concluded the purchase of the Sugar plantation but is in treaty for it I may yet do something with him. Tailor has purchased and paid 50.000$ cash—I shall leave this for the colony shortly. The consular notices and reports that Mexican troops in great numbers are pouring into the colony are doing much harm. Morgan and Reed have given up their intention of going out altho they had made purchases and Reed had come from North Carolina. The consul told them they could not take their negroes there on any terms—and that Genl Teran was going to the colony to inforce the law and set all negroes free that had been taken there contrary to law etc.

I find it in vain to combat the many reports afloat here, some of which are that the colonists will have to fight for their lands or lose them, that the Govt is determined to drive them out etc. These reports have a bad effect every way, those who have money do not like to hazard it where there is but little security.