Stephen F. Austin to Joseph H. Hawkins, 07-20-1821

Summary: Reporting progress. Outlining plans for exploring grant and announcing conditions of settlement.

Republic of Texas,

Nacogdoches July 20, 1821.

Dear Sir—I wrote you fully from Nachitoches, relative to the confirmation of my father's grant by the governor general, and council of the four internal province, enclosing you copies of the documents delivered me by Don Erasmo, the agent on the part of the Spanish government, and who is authorized to conduct myself and settlers to the lands granted.

We are thus far on our way to explore the country, and select the most judicious sites for our settlement.

We found several families at this place, who held a council upon our arrival, and resolved to remove within the limits of the lands granted my father; the inducements to their removal being the advantages of a situation nigher to the sea, and consequently to the seat of trade.

I have not the boundaries of the grant before me, but understand it will include the harbor of Mata Gorda, and the mouth of the Colorado river.

I met here a gentleman who travelled through the grant, and who assures me it is the richest and best watered part of the province. All travellers unite with our much lamented Gen. Pike, in alleging the climate to be one of the most delightful in this, or any other country.

I had both verbal and written correspondence with a number of gentlemen who proposed to migrate to Texas, and become settlers within the grant. As I have not leisure to write them all, be pleased to make known through the public prints:

1st. That I shall comply with the condition of the grant, and effect the settlement to the full extent, and in the same manner contemplated by my late father.

2d. That I shall explore the country, and then select the most judicious points for our settlement.

3d. That a port has been established by the proper authority, in the Bay of St. Bernard, which will at once secure great facilities to commerce.

4th. That I am authorized to introduce and settle on the grant, three hundred families; and they are permitted to carry with them all the property, effects and supplies they think proper.

5th. That every facility will be given calculated to aid the settlers, and they will be secured in grants of land proportionate to the numbers of each family, and the force or means they possess of carrying on useful and agricultural pursuits.

Liberal grants of land will also be made to mechanics of all descriptions who will become settlers; but no settler will be received, or grant made to any individual, who does not produce satisfactory evidence of good character and industrious habits; and the settlers will supply themselves with certificates to this effect from some court, magistrate, mayor, justice, notary, or other public officer.

The objects of this settlement are entirely agricultural. The richness of the soil, healthfulness of the climate, contiguity to the sea, and other natural advantages, promising a reward to our labors, which few spots on the globe could furnish to an equal extent.

I shall return to Natchitoches in Louisiana, by the 25th Sept. and after a visit to Herculaneum, in the state of Missouri, shall proceed with the settlers to the points of location.

All persons desiring information, will address me at " Herculaneum, Missouri," and their letters shall be answered immediately on my reaching that place.—As the communications will be numerous, it is expected that the applicants for information will pay the postage on their letters.

I will publish on my return, the point at which the settlers had best convene, and in the mean time, those who may come on should not descend the Mississippi river below the mouth of Red river, nor go farther into the interior than Natchitoches.

Persons wishing to become settlers will forward me to Herculaneum, their names, occupation, number and description of their families and the number of work hands they would employ.

Mechanics will be particular in describing their trades, and the number of persons, including apprentices, attached to their families.

A port having been legally established in the Bay of St. Bernard, the settlement will at once be secured in a direct communication with New-Orleans and other places, from which supplies can be obtained.

You have already been informed that the Spanish constitution is in full force in the internal provinces. And Don Erasmo, the commissioner appointed to conduct us to the lands, brought to Louisiana proclamations, promising security and protection to all persons who have left the country during former troubles, and who would not return.

I understand a number have already embraced the offer.

Such parts of my letters as you cause to be published calculated to give information to the settlers, I hope the newspapers in Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri will republish.

Very respectfully,

Stephen F. Austin,

P. S. All persons who were citizens of Louisiana at any time prior to its cession to the United States, will find great facilities in obtaining grants for land in this province.