Stephen F Austin to Warren Buford, 05-xx-1825

Summary: Summary of the colonization law and other terms of settlement.

[May—, 1825?]

Mr. Warren Buford

You state that a number of your neighbors and friends from the Attackapas and Oppelusas wish to remove to this Colony and have requested of me to inform you on what terms they can be recd the quantity of land that will be allowed them etc in answer to which enquiry I have to inform you

1—I am authorised by the Government as a Contractor (Empresario) to introduce and settle five hundred families on the waters of the Brazos and Colorado rivers including also the East side of La Baca and the West side of San Jacinto from the upper or San Antonio road to within ten Leagues of the Sea Coast, no new grants of upland can be made nearer than that distance from the Coast.

2—The 5th Article of the law of Colonization declares that all new settlers shall prove their Christianity morality and general characters by certificates from the authorities of the place where they moved from. If these certificates are satisfactory they will be recd and if not they will be rejected, for the law, contemplates and the instructions of the Government strictly enjoin that none but men of integrity, Sobriety and industry should be permitted to settle in the countryCriminals, fugitives from justice and notorious vagabonds proven to be such are ordered to be driven from the State by military force or otherwise punis[hed] for having imposed or attempted to impose them[selves] on the Govt, for honest and industrious men.

2—The 11th article of the same law says that " a Square of land which measures one League or five thousand varas (Mexican yards) on each side, or what is the same thing a Superficie of 25,000,000 Square varas shall be called a Sitio and this shall be the unit for counting one two or more Sitios, and the unity for counting one two or more labors shall be a Superficie of one million Square varas, or one thousand varas on each side which shall compose a labor of land

3—The 14 article of the same law says that " to each family whose " only occupation is cultivating the earth (labrar la tierra) there " shall be granted one labor, if he is also a Stock raiser there may be " added one Sitio of land proper for raising stock, and if he is only " a Stock raiser he can only have a Superficie of Said Stock land of " 24,000,000 square varas

4—The 15 Article provides that Single men shall only receive the fourth part of what is allowed by the 14 article for married men

5—The 17 article provides that on the recommendation of the Commissioner the Government can augment the quantity of land above designated in proportion to the size of the family, capital and enterprise of the Settler, but in no instance to exceed Eleven leagues.

6—The said law also says that the Commissioner appointed by the Govt, shall employ Surveyors and lay of the land for such settlers as are recd by the Contractor (Empresario) and returned to him as settlers, and that he shall issue to each one of them a complete title for his land in the name of the Government—The expences of Surveying—the Commissioners and other office fees and thirty dollars on each league to the Government must be paid by the settler— the 30 Dollars pr. league to the Govt, is to be paid in three instalments the first four years the 2d. five years and the 3d. 6 years after the date of the Grant, the amount of the Surveying fees will depend on the contracts made by the Commissioner with the Surveyors— heretofore a fraction more than three dollars pr. english mile has been given, these fees must be paid when the title is recd as the Commissioner has not yet arrived I cannot state what his fees or the other expences will be, tho I will insure that all the expences including Government, Commissioners, and all other fees and surveying will not exceed 12 1/2 cents pr. english acre if so much and but a small part of that will be required down I have hereto fore never rejected any man as a settler because he had not the means of paying the expences on his land in such cases I have on my own responsability allowed time for the settler to make his payments even the surveying fees— in many instances of this nature I have been deceived and suffered a total loss, this will compel me to be more particular in future, tho as a genl, rule no settler who has a family and satisfactorily proves his integrity Sobriety and industry and who has been reduced by misfortunes, will be rejected by me no matter how poor he may be A settler on his arrival here presents himself to me with his credentials of character, if these are satisfactory a register is made of his name, where he moved from whether married or single— the number ages and sexes of his family: the oath prescribed by law is then administered to support the constitution and no one can get a title to land untill he has actually removed to the Country. Six years is allowed to improve and settle the land, and anyone who moves out of the country forfeits his land unless he had sold it— and if he sells it without improving it as the law requires the sale is void and the land reverts to Govt, but every one who has improved his land can sell it and leave the country and the sale is good provided it is made before he moves away.

[Stephen F. Austin.]