J Child to Stephen F Austin, 01-24-1830

Summary: Suggests a plan for hastening the settlement of Texas. Does not care whether slavery is permitted or not.

Natchez Janry 24, 1830

Dear Col,

Since I visited Texas in the year 1822, at your request for the purpose of aiding in the establishment and support of your colony, it is well known to you that my exertions have been unremitting in the promotion of the original plan of the settlement, and perhaps my subsequent absence has been more beneficial to the undertaking, than I could have been by remaining among you. And at the same time I flatter myself that something has been gained on the scores of individual fortune and reputation both.

At the present crisis however a thought has struck me, that a movement might be made highly beneficial to the colony, in strict pursuance of the views and policy of the Mexican government and in accordance with your own. A movement, which England must approve and to which the U. States can raise no substantial objections, as it will have a direct tendency to perpetuate a friendly understanding between the three powers, my efforts in the service of Mexican Independence, and to suppress subsequent revolt, in Texas, are also well known to you and the government.

With this project in view, which I will hereafter more fully detail, I was on the eve of visiting the city of Mexico to confer with the general government on the subject- But thinking perhaps that your powers were already amply sufficient to authorise a beginning and having made up my mind to abandon the plan, unless it should meet with your approbation, it was thought most adviseable to consult you in the first place. Since my first visit to Texas in 1812 it has been my uniform opinion that, this section of the country is destined to become the strongest arm of the Mexican Republic. At that early period I fixed on the site you now occupy, as the future seat of government unless the opposite point on this side the river bottom should be deemed more eligible on account of wood and water, A military lookout post at fort Bolivar, a trading establishment at the head of the navigation on the Buffalo Bayou connecting these settlements with your Town on this side and securing the trade and attachment of the Indians and whites on the waters of the Trinity, and extending the same line on the other side to the navigable waters of the St. Bernard. With this view let the Mexican government open a land office at St. Felipe de Austin with full powers to make indefeasible complete grants of land to actual settlers at a price certain for any quantity not exceeding 640, or 1,000 acres, let them invite the Mexicans in the interior to move down and settle in Texas, and permit foreign emigrants of good character and small capital with industrious habits to settle permanently among them, whose attachment will ex necessitate rei be stronger in favor of their adopted country than any other, and my word for it, in three or four years we will give a spur to commerce and agriculture greatly enhancing the price of lands, and converting the present drone like apathy that broods over those delightful regions into the busy hum of the beehive in May.

This done, I will undertake to establish the trading house on the Buffaloe and make a settlement of some 100 or more persons, and it will not be material with me whether slavery is tolerated or not.

Be so good as to inform me whether you approve of the experiment, and if so whether you deem it within the scope of your powers to authorize me to commence it upon my own plan or one of your own suggestion,

J[oshua] Child

Col Ph Austin