Stephen F. Austin to Unknown, 03-31-1824

Summary: Militia organization. Commission and instructions to Josiah H. Bell. Immigration. Indians.

Stephen F Austin Lieut Col of Militia and Political Chief of Austins Colony in the Province of Texas.

The detached and exposed situation of the lower Settlements on the Brasos River in this Colony requiring that an officer of the Militia should reside in that quarter.

Therefore I do by these presents appoint Josiah H. Bell a Lieutenant of the Militia within the district of Country on the Brasos and Oyster Creek from the Fort and on the Bernard from the Mound to the sea Shore, and the said Bell will addopt all necessary measures to protect the said settlements from the attacks of the Karankawias, Cokes, or any other Indians, and to chastise them for any depredations they may commit within said limits without wating for orders from his Superior officer, avoiding in all cases the sheding of blood where more gentle means are likely to produce the proper effect— In all other cases the said Bell will be subordinate to the Captain of the Brasos Company The sd. Bell will also watch over the public peace and the observance of the laws generally and forward on to the Alcalde of the District for tryal all persons who violate them—he will also be attentive that no vagabond or fugitives from justice are harbord or protected within his command nor any persons who are avowedly enemies of the Mexican Nation, giving an Account to me of all such and if necessary apprehending and forwarding them to the Alcalde for tryal—he will be particular to give frequent statements to me in writin[g] of all his official acts, as also of the arrival of any vessels or emigrants or any other remarkable occurrance— And I command all persons to obey the said Bell accordingly—under the pains and penalties prescribed by the law.

Given in the lower settlement of the Brasos this 31, day of March 1824 in the 4th year of the independence and 3d year of the liberty of the Mexican Nation

Stephen F. Austin [Rubric]