Stephen F Austin to Archilbald Austin, 02-24-1830

Summary: Advantages in Texas for Swiss immigrants.

Texas.—It is a singular phenomenon that a colony of Americans, almost in the infancy of our country, should be planted on a foreign soil—there to establish our institutions, speak our language, practice our virtues, and cherish our religion. Although under a foreign government, it is impossible not to regard them as " bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh," and to feel an honest pride when we see them extending the influence of civilization and industry over a territory the most inviting perhaps on the face of the earth, but hitherto, only the abode of wild beasts and roaming savages. We have been favored with a letter from a gentleman long resident in Texas, from which we make the following extracts :—

San Felipe de Austin, Fed. 24, 1830.

You ask me as to Swiss emigrants. They of all others would be most benifltted by a removal to Texas, The Government is highly in favour of Swiss and German emigrants, and they would be well received. They carry industry and peace wherever they go; and the Swiss in particular, would introduce the culture of the vine, and the making of wine. It is the decided opinion of some very intelligent Europeans who have visited this country, that its soil and climate are equal to the best wine regions of France. We have in fact every variety of soil, from the richest alluvion on the margins of the rivers, to the high and rich uplands;—-clay and sandy soils, and all possible varieties and intermixtures of them, and also rocky soils,—level, rolling, undulating and hilly lands. There is a large portion of very black, sandy soil, having a clay foundation of eighteen inches to three feet in depth, which is surprisingly productive; and I perceived that land of this kind is covered with an excessive growth of wild Grape of very superior flavour to any other wild Grape I have ever met with. Sugar, Cotton, Indigo, etc, will yield most abundantly; and the crops are certain and less liable to casualties, than in Louisiana. Corn, Tobacco and Flax, have been tried with great success. The upper part of the country on the Colorado and Brasos is rolling and in places hilly. It is believed that wheat will succeed well in that section. None but substantial and useful emigrants are wanted or desired in this country;—Not as respects wealth, but as regards industry, moral character and habits, education, enterprise and perseverance.

The prospects here are very good for enterprise and industry. The natural resources and wealth of Texas, in fertile lands, timber, pasturage, etc. are incomparably greater than any country I have ever seen. Its climate is mild and healthy, and it possesses abundant facilities for navigation, both rivers and harbors. We need nothing which nature could supply, but we do need population. We need agriculturists to develope the great advantages of our soil and climate. It is the settled policy of this Government to fill Texas with an industrial population, and to effect this object it has extended a degree of liberality to foreign emigrants which is altogether without a parallel. This liberality extends to all the sacred rights of security of persons and property, which are primary considerations with all men; and also to every privilege and indulgence which any reasonable people could ask.