Stephen F. Austin to J. R. Poinsett, 11-03-1827

Summary: Transmitting petition from David G. Burnet asking permit to establish a colony from Ohio in the border reserve. Exclusion of slavery checks immigration from Southern States; presumes the Government will encourage movement from the free States.

Saltillo, November 3, 1827

Hon. J. R Poinsett,

Sir—¦ At the request of my friend Mr David G. Burnet of Ohio I inclose you two letters of recommendation, one from the Hon. H. Clay and the other from the Hon. E. A. Brown.

Mr. Burnet has obtained from the Gov't of this State authority to colonise a district of Country lyying west of Nacogdoches and as it is a small strip he wishes to annex to it a portion of country ex- tending East from said village to the Sabine river, but as this latter is embraced within the twenty border leagues reserved by the Colonization Act, it cannot be colonized without the previous permission of the President and Mr. Burnet has presented a memorial to that effect which goes on by this mail to the minister of relations recommended by this Gov't.

His object in directing his attention to this enterprise is to settle a number of reputable farmers from the State of Ohio, who find it inconvenient to provide lands in that country for their large and increasing families owing to its excessively high price. The morality, industry and agricultural enterprise which characterize the inhabitants of Ohio are well known and proverbial, slavery is unknown amongst them, they are " principled " against it, every man is a laborer, and in this particular to their other recommend able qualities, they unite a principle which is in strict accordance with the broad ideas of liberty and universal emancipation laid down in the State Constitutions, and so strenuously urged in legislative deliberations—

The restrictions as to Slavery in this State present very material obstacles to the settlement of Texas by emigrants from the southern States, and should it be the wish of the Mexican Gov't, to convert that fine portion of its territory from a savage wilderness and useless dead burthen on the nation, to a populous, civilized and cultivated state capable of contributing a material quota towards national incomer wealth and prosperity, sound policy, and expediency I should presume would approve of a decided encouragement of Ohio and other northern emigration. As regards national policy, I can see no objection to emigrants from our sister republic, similitude of political institutions, unity of genl interests, absence of cause for a difference in local interests and enthusiastic love of liberty, present natural and mutual guarantees of perpetual harmony and peace between the two nations. Not so with the nations of Europe, who are, and must ever be the natural enemies of American prosperity; and besides, the kind of emigrants that may be brought from Europe for colonizing purposes will not be of the class calculated to advance the lower orders of Society for the purpose of filling a contract, they will not in general possess the enterprise, perseverance and morality so indespensable to settle a wilderness, whereas emigrants from the north, to these and many other good qualities will add Capital—such emigrants certainly cannot be compared with the overflowings of the redundant population of Europe

Mr. Burnet is in Nacogdoches and in obedience to his wishes, as well as to comply with my duty as a friend, I have troubled you with this letter, and solicit such aid with the minister of relations in favor of the application as may be consistent.

I embrace this opportunity to present my warmest wishes for your health and happiness and big you to accept the assurance of respect and esteem with which I have the honor to remain your very Obt. Servt.

Stephen F. Austin

P. S. Any communications relative to Mr Burnet's business which you may think proper to make will reach their destination directed to me " en la villa de San Felipe de Austin, Texas, (por el Saltillo)"

Estevan F. Austin.

Nov. 5—I enclose copies of Mr. Burnet's petition and the "in- forms " of the Govt.