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growing sense of the importance of Texas and its hostility to the Anglo-Americans. It has been previously mentioned that, by the decree of the 6th April, 1830, issued by the Vice-President Bustamente, the Government was authorised to appoint Commissioners to visit the colonies of the frontier States, and, in the words of the third article,“ to contract with the Legislatures of said States for the purchase, by the nation, of lands suitable for the establishment of new colonies of Mexicans and foreigners; to enter into such arrangements as they may deem proper for the security of the Republic, with the colonies already established; to watch over the exact compliance of the contracts on the entrance of new colonists; and to investigate how far the contracts already made have been complied with.” By the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh articles of the same decree, the Executive was empowered to take possession of such lands as might be suitable for military defences and new colonies, indemnifying the State by deducting the amount of their value from the debt due by it to the Federation; to remove convicts from Vera Cruz and other places to the new colonies, giving to each, at the end of his term of service, a grant of land, with necessary implements of husbandry, and means of subsistence for one year; and to convey, free of expense, Mexican families desirous to become colonists, with the like provision that was to be appropriated to discharged convicts. Texas alone could have been contemplated by these enactments, it being the only frontier State that had been selected for colonization.
In the spring of 1834, while Stephen Austin was expiating his contumacy in a Mexican prison, Colonel Juan Nepomuceno Almonte was commissioned by the Supreme Government to visit Texas, and report his observations to the Executive. Subsequent events warrant the conclusion that the Commissioner's instructions extended to inquiries for military as well as civil purposes.
With the permission of the Government, he published, in January, 1835, his Statistical Notice of Texas, dedicated to General Barragan, which, according to the Commissioner's introductory statement, formed only part of the information he had presented to the
authorities. This publication, though indicating, by its flimsy texture, the indifference and ignorance of Mexico with regard to Texas, is important as a link in the chain of historical evidence. Colonel Almonte cannot be suspected of partiality to the AngloTexans; and as his Report illustrates their social progress during a period of ten years, beginning with the settlement of Stephen Austin's first colony in 1824, an abstract of its more important contents may be usefully incorporated in the general narrative.*
In his prefatory remarks, the author observes that he had not contemplated the publication of his researches in Texas, both from the reserve incumbent on an agent of the Government, and from the want of sufficient time to examine the great resources of
* My copy of Almonte's work, which is about the size of an ordinary pamphlet, bears the following imprint: “Mexico-Impreso Por Ignacio Cumplido, Calle de los Rebeldes, n. 2. 1835."
that extensive and interesting country. In deference, however, to the desire for information evinced by many, he had, with the sanction of the Supreme Government, determined on publishing his Statistical Observations, which, although imperfect, might not perhaps be regarded with indifference, as they would afford some idea of what Texas is and what
“ What it will be, it is not difficult to anticipate. If we consider the extraordinary and rapid advances that industry has made; its advantageous geographical position, its harbours, the easy navigation of its rivers, the variety of its productions, the fertility of the soil, the climate, &c.,--the conclusion is, that Texas must soon be the most flourishing section of the Republic. There is no difficulty in explaining the reason of this prosperity. In Texas, with the exception of some disturbers, (con ecepcion de algunos revoltosos), they only think of growing the sugar-cane, cotton, maize, wheat, tobacco; the breeding of cattle, opening of roads, and rendering the rivers navigable. Moreover, the effects of our political commotions are not felt there, and often it is only by mere chance our dissensions are known. Situated as Texas is, some 450 leagues from the capital of the Federation, it is easy to conceive the rapidity of its progress in population and industry, for the reason that Texas is out of the reach of the civil wars that have unfortunately come upon us. The inhabitants of that country continue, without interruption, to devote themselves to industrious occupations, giving value to the lands with which they have been favoured by the munificence of the Government.
“ If, then, the position of Texas is so advantageous, why should not the Mexicans participate in its benefits ? Are not they the owners of those valuable lands (preciosos terrenos)? Are they not capable of encountering dangers with firmness and courage ? Let small companies be formed ; enter into contracts with agricultural labourers; appoint to each of the companies its overseer, agent, or colonial director ; and I will be the surety that, in less than one or two years, by the concession of eleven league grants of land, which will not cost perhaps more than a trifle for the stamped paper on which the title is made out, the grants will be converted into a property worth more than from fifteen to twenty thousand dollars. Let those who wish to test the worth of this assurance visit the plantations of the colonists, and they will perceive I am no dreamer.”
The Commissioner, adverting to the objection of the remoteness of Texas as a field for Mexican colonization, remarks that it is not necessary to remove thither by land: from the city of Mexico to Vera Cruz it was but four days' journey, and the voyage from thence to Galveston or Brazoria might be made in six or eight days more. “ If, as is possible,” he proceeds to say, “I return to Texas as colonial director, I shall have great pleasure in affording to purchasers of land and Mexican Empresarios all the information in my power for the better colonization of the country. I do not hesitate particularly to assure retired officers and invalids, that the best way to provide for their families is to solicit permission of the Government to capitalise their pay, and go and colonise Texas. There they will find peace and industry, and obtain rest in their old age, which, in all probability, will not be found in the centre of the Republic."
The Report opens with a general notice of Texas, and then enters upon separate statistical details respecting the three Departments—Bexar, the Brazos, and Nacogdoches. My object being to adduce the Commissioner's authority as Mexican evidence to fact, I shall refer to his testimony in the order of his own arrangement. The investigation commenced in the Spring, and terminated in the Autumn of 1834.
“The population of Texas,” states the Report, “extends from Bexar to the Sabine River, and in that direction there are not more than 25 leagues of unoccupied territory to occasion some inconvenience to the traveller. The most difficult part of the journey to Texas is the space between the Rio Grande and Bexar, which extends a little more than 50 leagues, by what is called the Upper Road, and above 65 leagues by the way of Loredo. These difficulties do not arise from the badness of the road itself, but from the absence of population, rendering it necessary to carry provisions, and even water during summer, when it is scarce in this district. This tract is so flat and rich in pasturage that it may be travelled with sufficient relays, and at a suitable speed, without the fear of wanting forage.
“ In 1806 the department of Bexar contained two municipalities; San Antonio de Bexar, with a population of 5,000 souls, and Goliad, with 1,400; total 6,400. In 1834 there were four municipalities, with the following population respectively :
-San Antonio de Bexar, 2,400; Goliad, 700; Victoria,