Stephen F Austin to James Hope, 12-05-1831

Summary: Conditions on which English immigrants will be received.

Mr. James Hope,

You inform me that you are going to England, your native country, on a visit, and expect that many enquiries will be made by your friends and relations relative to Texas, and as to the encouragement that is given by this government to emigrants and in order that you may be enabled to answer them correctly you wish me to give you a memorandum on the subject—

In complyance with this request I herewith hand you a pamphlet which contains translations of the colonization laws now in force— you will find the national law on the 40th and 41st pages numbered 20, and the law of the State of coahuila and Texas on pages 42, to 48—it is numbered 21, and commences at the bottom of page 41.— The State law is the one which prescribes the quantity of land each settler is to get and the mode of issuing the titles, The instructions to the commissioners on pages 55. 56. 57. and 58. also clearly explain the mode of issuing the titles etc—

It will be seen by examining the state law above mentioned that a league of land and a "Labor" can be granted to each family, and the quarter of that quantity to single men— A Mexican league is equal to four thousand four hundred and twenty eight acres english measure— A Labor is equal to 177 acres— The whole cost of a league of land including surveying, office fees and what has to be paid to the Government under the 22d article of the state law, will not exceed about four cents pr acre, and a considerable portion of this is payable in instalments—

By a new contract which I have lately made with the Government in which I have taken Mr S. M. Williams in as a partner, We are authorised to introduce eight hundred European families, and settle them on the vacant land within the limits of and adjoin- ing my other colonies which are completed, The new emigrants therefore who now come, will not have to settle in a wilderness, destitute of supplies as the first emigrants did, but on the contrary, they come to a country abounding in provisions, and in all that is necessary to make them comfortable By the existing laws of the Mexican Govt. Europeans are prefered to North Americans, and no people would be better received than the subjects of Great Britain, for no nation is on more friendly terms with the Mexican Government

English farmers, and capitalists would greatly benefit themselves by a removal to Texas— The industrious and economical habits of the former, would advance their fortunes rapidly by agriculture, and the capital of the latter invested in Manufactories, Agriculture, or commerce would yield them an immense interest— There certainly never was such an opening on earth for european emigrants, as is now presented in Texas, for it will be remembered that they are not compelled to settle in Austin's colony unless they chuse to do so, but can settle in other parts of Texas—it will also be rememberd that no money is required of the settler, untill he has actually recd, his title from the commissioner of the Govt, duly appointed for that purpose—no one can get a title without an actual removal of his family to the country. By the constitution and laws of this nation slavery is forever prohibited within the mexican territory, emigrants from England would therefore do well to bring a number of laborers and white servants, bound under written contracts specifying their wages and the term for which they had engaged—such contracts will be binding and enforced in this country. It would be a good plan to bring out a number of Dutch, Belgian or German families as laborers. It is thought by some that they would be much more easily managed and more profitable, than either english, irish, or scotch laborers

Emigrants will be required to produce evidence of their good moral character, respectable standing, and industrious and sober habits, from the judicial or civil authority of the country they remove from, which must be properly authenticated to avoid frauds and impositions, without this indispensable requisite, land will not be granted to them as settlers—.

On their arrival in this country, those who wish to settle under the [last] contract of Austin and Williams, must apply to one of those persons in this place, and report himself with a list of his family and present his documents of recommendation, and also his passport from the mexican consul of the port where he saild from

[Stephen F. Austin.]

San Felipe de Austin 5th December 1831