Baron de Bastrop to Colonists, 08-09-1823

Summary: Austin's authority. Procedure in Issuing titles.

[Copy by Austin]

To the Inhabitants of the Colorado District in Austin's Colony, Province of Texas convened at the house of Sylvester Castlemans at a public meeting—

By order of the Governor of this Province I have convened you together to inform you of the powers and faculties which the Superior Government have conferred on Citizen Stephen F. Austin— what those powers and faculties are you will see by the following translation of the said Governors Official letter to me dated at Bexar the 16 of last month (here read the letter).

I therefore, the Baron de Bastrop Commissioner duly appointed by the Government for that purpose, now, in this public manner invest him the said Stephen F. Austin with the before mentioned offices and powers, and I charge the inhabitants to respect and obey him in every thing relative to the good Government and prosperity of the Colony, and the defence of the Nation to which he belongs under the penalty incurred by those who disrespect or disobey an officer or magistrate of the Mexican Nation.

The number of families is limited to three hundred for this Colony, those therefore who are not received by Mr Austin into it, must move further into the interior of the Province or if they are of bad character Mr Austin is ordered by the Supr Govt to remove them out of the Colony, for which purpose he is authorized to use military force should it be necessary.

In registering the Families all those who are connected either by blood or marriage must be registered as one family, and the land for the whole must be taken in the name of the head of the familySingle men must either be included in some family, or a sufficient number of them must unite to form a family and draw land for all in the name of one.

The Colonization law agreeably to which the land for this Colony will be distributed, was repealed on the 10 of April last, as regards every other person except Mr Austin and the Families which he is authorized to introduce. As respects the titles to your land, the settlers may rest satisfied that they are indisputable and must always be good under any circumstances, or any change of Government— The original Concession for this Colony was granted by the Spanish Government before the revolution, it was then confirmed and the quantity of land designated by the Emperor Augustin, by his Imperial Decree dated February 18th 1823, and the whole was reconfirmed by the Sovereign Congress of the Mexican Nation by their Decree dated the 10 of April 1823 which was approved, published, and ordered to be executed by the Supreme Executive Power on the 14 of the same month—The Grant and all the Decrees and papers relative to it are regularly recorded in the office of the Secretary of State for Interior and exterior relations in the City of Mexico, and also in the office of the Commandant General of these Provinces in the City of Monterrey, and also in the archives of this Province in the city of Bexar, and Mr Austin has a certified copy in his possession

Agreeable to the grant, the title Deeds for each tract of land will be made in the name of the Mexican Government and signed by Mr Austin as the founder of the Colony, and by me as the Governmental Commissioner appointed for that purpose by the Governor of this Province, and records will then be made of them in the archives of this Province in BexarMr. Austin is also authorized to establish a Recorders office at the Capital of the Colony in which the titles will also be recorded.

I cannot too strongly recommend to you the necessity of good order, industry, and obediance to the Constitutional authorities, and that you should be governed in all things connected with public matters by the founder of this Colony Mr. Stephen F. Austin, a man whose former character in the United States, and prudent and correct conduct in this country has acquired him the full confidence of the highest authorities of the Mexican Nation.

Castlemans on the Rio Colorado

August 9, 1823—3d year of Independence and 2 year of Liberty.

El Baron de Bastrop [Rubric]