Stephen F. Austin to Joseph H. Hawkins, 07-20-1821
Summary: Reporting progress. Outlining plans for exploring grant and announcing conditions of settlement.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.