Unknown to Unknown, 12-23-1820

Summary: Examination of Moses Austin before Gov. Martinez. Conditions on the Texan-United States frontier. Purpose of journey to Texas.

At the City of San Fernando de Bexar, the 23d day of December, A D 1820: The Governor of the Province of Texas, Colonel Don Antonio Martinez, in order to obtain detailed information about the condition of affairs and movements on the frontier of the United States, and the assembly of men in Galveston Island, summoned to appear at this office the foreigner Moses Austin, who arrived to-day in this city, with two other persons. Said Moses Austin being present was required through the Baron de Bastrop who had promised well and truly to discharge the duty of Interpreter, to make true answers to such questions as might be propounded to him, answered as follows.

Questioned as to his name, native country and residence— Answered : That he is a native of the State of Connecticut, actually a resident of Missouri, is a catholic, a merchant and dealer in lead ore.

Asked:—Whence he came, who accompanied him, and what is his object in entering this Province? Answered: That he came from Missouri through Nachitotches, that he had been accompanied by a negro boy belonging to him, and two other Americans; that he came to this Province for the purpose of applying to the Government for authorization to settle himself in it with his family, inasmuch as he had already been a subject of the Government of Spain, as is proved by a passport, which he presented, signed by Don Carlos Martinez de Irujo, Minister Plenipotentiary of His Majesty, signed at Philadelphia, the 13th July, 1797; and that it is his intention to provide for his subsistance by raising sugar and Cotton.

Asked: what observations he made on his way from Missouri; if he knows anything about the movements of the banditti on the frontier of the United States, if he has seen, or heard, anything of the state of affairs in Galveston Island, and to state whatever incident may have called his attention.—Answered: That he has observed nothing on his way from Missouri; that he had only heard it said at Natchitoches that Long has been abandoned by his men, 20 or 30 men only still remaining with him; that Lafitte has abandoned Galveston Island, after having been attacked by an American frigate, and that the President of the Congress had promised a reward of 500 Dollars for the apprehension of Long [Lafitte] That Lafitte repaired to South America, but that, on his departure from Galveston, he captured an American ship, and put to death all her crew, except two men who made good their escape; and finally, that he has read in the American newspapers a treaty made by Don Luis de Onis, Spanish Minister, with the American Congress, which treaty was already signed by the King and approved by the Sovereign Congress of the Cortes.

Asked; How, having obtained in 1797, a passport from the Spanish Minister, he has not applied sooner for the Settlement he intends to make in this Province?—Answered,—that, since the year above mentioned, he went to reside at Saint Louis (Missouri) which territory belonged, then to Spain; he had there lead mines, the produce of which he exported to Havana, until the year 1800 [sic], when the American Government having prohibited the working of mines by private enterprise, he lost all the benefit of his labor; but now, in view of the new system of Government adopted by Spain, he resolved upon aplying for authorization to settle in this Province

Asked; If he, or his associates have with them any merchandize, to declare the same in which case it should be sequestered and returned to them previous to their leaving this territory, or otherwise, it should be seized upon as unlawful ?—Answered, that all the property he has with him, is an escopet, a pistol, two horses, some clothing for his personal use, and the necessary amount of money for his traveling expences; that, those who accompany him are not under his control, and joined him at about six leagues from Natchitoches; Still, he is satisfied that they have no goods of illicit trade.

Asked: If he has any further statements to make; Answered in the negative, He, further, ratified the foregoing answers, and declared himself to be 53 years of age; Whereupon, he signed these presents, with me and assisting witnessesMoses AustinAntonio MartinezBaron de BastropFrancisco MontesYlario de la Garza.