Stephen F Austin to Ayuntamiento of San Fellipe, 11-05-1830

Summary: Assuring it that he will expel certain undesirables from the colony.

To the Illustrious Ayuntamiento of the Municipality of Austin,

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the official communication, made to me by that corporation, dated yesterday, and a copy of the resolutions, adopted on the 2nd inst. relative to the removal from this colony of certain persons therein named, of notorious-infamous character; and recommending a rigid scrutiny as to the conduct of certain others, before they are received as settlers.

The 5th article of my contract with the government for the settlement of this colony, is in these words, "It shall be an obligation upon him (Austin,) not to admit criminals, vagabonds, or men of bad character, and he shall cause all those of this description who are found within his limits to leave it, and should it be necessary, he shall put them out by force of arms."

The 122d article of law No. 37, prescribing duties of the Ayuntamientos, says: " They shall not permit in their jurisdictions, vagabonds, drunkards, gamblers by profession, nor any other idle or vicious people who have no visible means of subsistence, etc. etc."

The above mentioned 5th article of my contract has imposed a very heavy and responsible obligation upon me, and one which from its nature, might necessarily involve much delicacy and ought to require great prudence in its execution. This has never been more particularly the case, than at present, for heretofore the ex- pulsions of bad men ordered by me, have been made, solely on my own individual responsibility, without the powerful support of a special recommendation to do so, from municipal representatives of the people.

The situation of this country on the borders of a foreign nation certainly exposes it to impositions by criminal fugitives and vagabonds, who are nuisances in all countries, but more especially so in a new and thinly settled one like this. The first settlers who have devoted years of hardship to bring it forward, justly deserve and have a right to expect protection from such nuisances. The Government has offered the most liberal inducements to honest emigrants, but nothing to fugitives or, vagabonds, and it expects and commands that no such shall be admitted. It is therefore due to the people who are permanently settled—to the law—and to the government, that the 5th article of my contract, and the 122nd article of law No. 37 which I have quoted, should be rigidly executed; always, however keeping in view what is due to justice and to humanity.

The measures which I have heretofore deemed it my duty to adopt on this subject, have been promptly executed by the militia officers charged therewith, and they have been sustained by public opinion, which in this colony has always been on the side of good order, and opposed to the admission of bad men. But notwithstanding this, it is with great satisfaction, that I find the Ayuntamiento co-operating by the weight of its authority and influence, in a measure which might be construed by the designing, or the everscrupulous, into an act of oppression, or as being too strong for mistaken ideas of liberty. I have therefore to assure that corporation, that the removal of Peter Whetstone, Trammel Pryor, John or Jack House, and Brooks Williams, which is recommended by it, shall be immediately ordered; and that the course will be adopted which is indicated, with respect to the other individuals named in said resolutions.

I embrace this opportunity to present to that illustrious corporation the assurances of my consideration and respect; and of my hearty co-operation in all measures which are calculated to promote the public good, and to inforce the laws.

San Felipe de Austin, Nov. 5th 1830.

Stephen F. Austin,