Stephen F. Austin to Federal Congress, 06-10-1824

Summary: Law under which the colony was established recognized slavery; slaves necessary to furnish labor to improve the country; not intended for trade.

Stephen F Austin, Jared E. Groce James Cummings and Jno P Coles a Committe Unanimously appointed at a general meeting held on the 5th June instant by the Inhabitants of the Colony formed in the Province of Texas by the empresario S F Austin in the name and in the behalf of said Inhabitants respectfully represent to your sovereignty that these Colonists emigrated to this establishment from Louisiana in Consequence of the Invitation of said Austin and many of them brought their negro slaves with them as also all their property intending to establish themselves permanantly in this Province. They have been much alarmed by the news Communicated through the public Gazette that your Sovereignty were about to pass a Law freeing all the Slaves that were introduced by the emigrants.

These Inhabitants respectfully represent to your sovereignty that the Slaves introduced into this establishment by the emigrants were not brought here for the purpose of Trade or speculation neither are they Africans but are the family servants of the emigrants and raised by them as such from their infancy and were intended to aid in clearing the Land and establishing their farms which these Colonists Could not have effected without them for this Province is entirely uninhabited and great Labor required in Opening farms and as the Law sanctioned the introduction of slaves into the Country the emigrants felt entirely safe in bringing them.

These Inhabitants therefore respectfully solicit that your sovereignty will take into Consideration the right of property they have to their slaves that they brought them here As a necessary part of the Capital required by the desert State of the Country to establish their farms and Ranches and if freed the loss of their value added to the very heavy expenees of removing such a distance and settling in An entire wilderness and suffering all (he miseries of Hunger, exposed to the attack of Hostile Indians will complete their total ruin— Also these Inhabitants respectfully represent that some of their friends and Relations visited this Country last spring and winter and selected their Lands as a part of the Above named 300 families After building Cabins they returned to move out their families this summer and fall and are now on the Road bringing their Slaves with them relying on the faith of the Colonization Law under which Austin's establishment is formed— Article [30] of which Law Authorises the introduction of Slaves by the Colonists those emigrants therefore who are on the Road and are detained by the excessive heat and destructive drouth that now prevodes this whole Country will be totally and forever ruined if on their arrival here after so much fatigue labor and expense in removing they are to loose their Slaves and besides that be liable to heavy punishment for bringing them—

These Inhabitants therefore respectfully pray that your sovereignty may take their Case into Consideration and declare that the slaves and their descendents of the 300 families who emigrate to the Establishment formed by the Emprasario Stephen F Austin in this province shall be slaves for Life and that the emancipation Law which we have been informed has lately passed shall not apply to the slaves of the said 300 families except so far as prohibits all trade or trafic of them and should this solicitation be incompatible with the intentions of your sovereignty these Inhabitants pray that the necessary time may be allowed them to remove their slaves back to the United States

San Felipe de Austin June 10, 1824

Signed Estevan F Austin Jared E. Groce Santiago Cummings Jno P. Coles Comte.

[To Federal Congress or Executive.]