The following are from the original Spanish records in Mexican archives as translated and presented by A.B.J. Hammett in The Empresario.
Provincial delegation at Bexar to De Leon 13 April 1824. Rules and Regulations. In the City of San Fernando de Bexar this 13th day of April, 1824, the Provincial Delegation in Session assembled. Members present were Citizen Antonio Saucedo, José María Tanibremo, El Baron de Bastrop and Ramon Músquiz, Member Secretary. Absent members Citizens Miguel Arciniega and Juan José Hernandez, and Mariano Rodriquez. The members present in session, having duly considered the petition of Martin De Leon, a resident Citizen of the town of Cruillas, within the jurisdiction of the State of Tamaulipas soliciting for himself and similar individuals of that district: permission to remove with their property to this province, for the purpose of settling on the banks of the river Guadalupe, with the intention of founding and building up a town, upon the conditions that they shall be exempt for ten years from all taxes, hold in right of property the Salt licks or ponds they may discover, be permitted to take wild horses free of duty, with permission to sow all kinds of grain and seed of general benefit and utility. The Delegation having deliberated upon the subject, with due reflection, and having always in view the advantages resulting to this Province, by the admission of Settlers, whose labor, industry, and establishment of the arts and manufactures they may introduce; have resolved to admit the petition of the said Martin De Leon the following restrictions.
First: That said De Leon and his associates who immigrate with him, to the territories of the Province, shall enjoy the exemption of duties as provided by the sovereign decree of the 29th of September of last year, for the term of seven years, as there described, after which, he will be at liberty the same as all other inhabitants of the province to petition the Supreme Government for an extension of this or any other exemption or privilege they may wish.
Second: That as the duty of two rails per head and wild horses caught, is paid into the public treasury of each respective town, and as this new town will necessarily require some disposable funds, for the indispensable expenses of the Authorities, and other Municipal purpose; it is optional with the Empresario and associates, either to excuse themselves altogether, or defer the payment of said duty or tax, on all horses collected by them for the purpose of increasing their stock, for breeding, or for the use of their farms, provided nevertheless, that horses collected and sent out of the province, shall not be exempt from said tax or duty.
Third: That with the exception of Tobacco, they are perniitted to cultivate every species of grain and seed they please, Vineyards, Coffee, Cocoa, Flax, Olive Plantations, the Mulberry for Silk, Hemp and Bees Wax, with the understanding that these articles shall be free for ten years from excise, First fruits, Tithes, and all other tax or duty of every denomination whatsoever, conformably with the provisions of the sovereign decree of the 8th October, last year.
Fourth: That the salt licks or ponds found in that district or its vicinity may be used so far as necessary, for the consumption of the inhabitants until the Government hereafter thinks proper to exact an export duty on horses taken to foreign Countries, they are bound to pay it not withstanding the foregoing exemptions.
Fifth: That all persons intending to settle in said new Town, as well as, those already enrolled, must be of good moral character, have some trade, profession, or visible means of support, as required by the Colonization law, the provisions of which must also be strictly observed in the distribution of lands, and founding the town, which will be known by the name and style as they request, of Our Lady of Guadalupe de Jesus Victoria, (Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe de Jesus Victoria).
Sixth: Whenever the said Martin De Leon, and his associates shall have arrived near the place they intend to settle upon, they will notify this Delegation of the same, in order that the site may be put in possession of land for a house, farm and field.
Seventh: That the said Martin De Leon will be furnished with a duly authenticated copy of the foregoing instrument, which he can retain in his possession, should he agree to the foregoing propositions. It will also serve for the basis of the file of documents, which may accumulate in this matter, and the original remaining as documentary evidence of the same, will constitute a part of these Archives.
Eighth: That until the said Town shall be organized, and the inhabitants possess the necessary elements to elect the Judges, and establish the tribunals, provided by law, the authority of Constitutional Alcalde for that district shall be vested in the aforesaid Martin De Leon, subject meanwhile to the Authorities of this Capital with the power in case of sickness or other accidents, to appoint a substitute in the person he may think best qualified to discharge these important duties, investing him with his power and authority as such. Whereupon the session closed after signing the foregoing, in testimony, thereof. ---José Antonio Saucedo---El Baron de Bastrop---José María Tanibremo---Ramon Músquiz Member Secretary
Acting Political Chief Beramendi to Victoria Alcalde 13 Mar 1825. Acting Political Chief to the Alcalde of Victoria. By your official communication dated 26th of February last, I am apprised of the many obstacles which have heretofore prevented you from bringing in as many families as you stipulated for in your memorial to the Most Excellent Delegation of this Province, wherein you requested permission to found the new town therein mentioned. Although you have not fulfilled your engagements, yet persuaded that you are ardently desirous to effect that object, I anxiously await the consummation of it, so that the town may increase with a rapidity communicate with the inviting fertility of the soil and its locality and the industry of the people who may settle it. As soon as I receive any orders or regulations relative to matters of colonization, I will communicate them to you for your government. God and Liberty San Fernando de Bexar March 13th 1825---Juan Martin de Beramendi
Alcalde Hernandez of Goliad to Acting Governor 26 Mar 1825. Number 21. It becomes my duty, officially to inform your Excellency, that a number of Foreigners are settling themselves in the new town called Guadalupe de Victoria, and that, up to this date none of the families contracted for, to colonize at that place have made their appearance with the exception of that of the Empresario, Mr. Martin De Leon. I know not whether those strangers have come into the country and settled in accordance with the conditions prescribed by the Sovereign Congress for all foreigners, or whether it has been done clandestinely; but it is certain that the said Martin De Leon did engage with the Most Excellent Provincial Delegation the then Government of Texas, to found and build that Town, with Mexican Citizens from the town of Cruillas. These as well as the Empresario have failed in their engagement. The Town of Guadalupe is within the limits of my jurisdiction, and as yet, I have received no information in relation to the class of persons, who have arrived or settled, or of the place whence they came, and with the view to prevent the clandestine introduction of foreigners into the territory of the United Mexican States, in compliance with the resolution of His Excellency the President of the Honorable Legislature of the free State of Coahuila and Texas, transmitted to me by your Excellency under date of the 15th November. I hope that with the least possible delay, your Excellency will communicate orders to me on this subject for my government, with suitable instructions for the rule of conduct I am to observe toward those foreigners, informing me what requisites are necessary to entitle them to admission by the Supreme Authorities; as they have settled in the Country, in my opinion without the approbation of our Government. God and Liberty March 26th, 1825 To His Excellency the acting Governor of the State of Coahuila and Texas-----Juan José Hernandez
Governor Gonzales Referral to Political Chief 17 May 1825. Present the foregoing to the political Chief of the Department of Texas, that he may in continuation communicate to me all the information he is possessed of, in relation to the contract for settling families, which Mr. Martin De Leon made with the Ex-Provincial Delegation. The number of families he offered to settle, the place at which he was to settle them, their terms upon which they were to be settled, with such other particulars, as he may deem relevant in this case; remitting them to me. Gonzales
Political Chief Saucedo's Report to Governor Gonzales 10 Jun 1825. Most Excellent Sir. During the last year the citizen Martin De Leon petitioned the Ex-Provincial Delegation of Texas, for permission to colonize on the opposite side of the River Guadalupe, South of the Atascocito road, and at the place called Cypress Grove, (El Sabinal) within the territory of this Department, offering to found a town called Guadalupe Victoria, and to settle it with families which he would bring from the State of Tanralipal, without designating the precise number, but presenting a list of the names of upwards of thirty persons or heads of families who at that time had resolved to colonize at said place, petitioning also for exemption of the Tax on the Wild horses taken and from other taxes, which I do not now recollect, not having before me the minutes of records of the proceeding and acts of the Ex-Provincial Delegation above mentioned, into which was copied, the terms upon which the said Martin De Leon was permitted to Colonize. It occurs to me that this individual did not contract to Colonize any specific number of families, or was he limited as to time for the organization and completion of his Colony, but of this I am certain, that many months elapsed after his petition had been granted before he removed to the place appointed for his Colony, when he brought with him his own property, consisting of droves of horses, cattle, sheep, he, together with the families which he promised to bring, have joined them, and although I understand that some foreigners are desirious to settle in the said Colony, I do not believe that the said Martin De Leon is authorized by his contract to admit them without the knowledge and permission of the Government; although they might possess all the qualifications required by law. This is all the information I am in possession of, or have in my power to communicate to your Excellency, in reply to your Excellency's decree of the 17th of May last, accompanying the representation dated the 26th March of the Constitutional. Alcalde of the "Presidio de la Bahia" in the preceding official communication. San Fernando de Bexar 10th June 1825. Most Excellent Sir---José Antonio Saucedo
Decree of Governor Gonzales 14 Jul 1825. To His Excellency Rafael Gonzales, Governor of the State of Coahuila and Texas, Saltillo 14th, July 1825. Lay the foregoing documents before the Hon. the Baron de Bastrop member of the Legislature for the Department of Texas, together with copies of all other papers relative to the matter in question, and request him to be pleased to communicate to me such information as he may possess on the subject.---Gonzales
Baron de Bastrop to Gonzales 30 Jul 1825. Most Excellent Sir. In compliance with your Excellency's foregoing decree, I have the honors to present herewith a copy of the petition presented by the Citizen Martin De Leon to the Ex-Provincial Delegation of Texas, praying for permission to colonize on the Bank of the river, Guadalupe, with a number of families a list of whom he also presented. A copy of which is annexed, offering to found a town under the name of Guadalupe de Jesus Victoria. Which was acted upon by the Ex-Provincial Delegation in their resolution of the 13th April 1824, as appears by the Copy of the same Surewith annexed, and this is all which occurs to me I have to communicate to your Excellency upon this subject. Saltillo July 30, 1825 Most Excellent Sir---El Baron De Bastrop
De Leon to Governor 30 Jul 1825. To His Excellency the Governor of the free State of Coahuila and Texas Citizen Martin De Leon a native and resident of the Town of Cruillas in the State of Tamaulipas; most respectfully represents to your Excellency. That in April of 1824, he petitioned the Most Excellent the Delegation of Texas, to grant him permission to settle on the Banks of the river Guadalupe, Fortyone families from the State of Tamaulipas, in the manner and on the terms contained in the resolution and grant of said Delegation. A Copy of which is hereunto annexed; in pursuance hereof, in the month of October of the same year, he commenced the settlement with twelve of said families establishing the town on the North bank of said river, and about a quarter of a league from the Atascocito road; subsequently to that period, sixteen families of Anglo-Americans, bringing with them their property, have (joined) him and have been admitted, in conformity with the present Colonization laws. The remaining twenty-nine Mexican families, have been prevented from joining him by the unusual drought which has destroyed the pastures on the road, and subsequent excessive rains; but I have just received advice that they were lately preparing to start and may be expected here at an early date. The Town now organized, fields opened, facilities for watering stock provided, enormous disbursements made, and all in State of active progression; the foreigner Green De Witt, new Empresario, presents himself, stating that the lands occupied by my settlers and myself compose a part of those granted to him, attempting to exercise authority over these families, telling them their lands are under his control, preventing thereby one individual located at the crossing of said river; by widely spreading reports of this nature. He has alarmed my settlers, and caused many who were actually engaged with great assiduity in building extensively, to suspend their operations and thus become discouraged to a degree that they were about to abandon their possessions and improvements, it required the greatest exertion and perseverance on my part to inspire them with confidence in our Government and that in its wisdom; justice and protection would be rendered to them, that the Government was probably not aware that the petition of Green De Witt, embraced the territory occupied by me and my settlers, as well as, lands appertaining to some of the inhabitants and that nothing but the absence of a knowledge of this fact, could have induced the Government to accede to the proposition of that petitioner who should not have been extended his boundaries so as to encroach upon the territory occupied by me with the above mentioned families, nor ought he now to insist upon taking such a measure.
By the Copy aforesaid it will appear that I petitioned for a sufficient quantity of land whereon to build a Town, and that whenever it should be settled with the whole or a part of the families, I proposed, the land should be designated to me by certain fixed limits or boundaries, but it so happened that by the time I had effected this, the Provincial Delegation had been dissolved and the Honorable the State Legislature was not yet organized, there was at that time no other authority of which I could apply to fix my boundaries aforesaid, except the nearest Alcalde to whom I made a requirement to that effect, as appears by his reply hereunto annexed. Finally, when the Legislature (of the State) was organized and I could measurably withdraw some of my personal attention which had been until then, exclusively engrossed in protecting the lives and property of said families against the transgression of the savage Indians, and at the time I was about to request that the boundaries of my territory might be permanently fixed, behold the new Empresario, Green De Witt presents himself with the grant he had obtained setting up pretensions to the very lands I already occupy as Empresario. It is understood by the families of this settlement that its boundaries are from the Anastasia fork where the road from La Bahia to Nacogdoches crosses the river Guadalupe on a straight line North to the Sea Baca Creek, with these two streams La Baca and Guadalupe eastward, to the line of the ten Coast Border Leagues, which district of country is well known to them, and for the possession of which I now claim your favor and protection, by virtue of the 9th Article of the Supreme decree of the 18th of August, 1824, which is in these words, "In the distribution of lands," "a preference shall be given to Mexican Citizens and no other distinction shall be made," "in regard to them, except their which may be founded on individual merit, or services," "rendered the country, or under equal circumstances, a residence in the place share the lands to be distributed are situated."
Therefore I pray and entreat that in consideration of the reasons set forth in my petition and the justice of my pretensions, Your Excellency will be pleased to commission a person, to establish permanently the boundaries of the lands, requisite for the settlement of the number of families, which the population of said town will soon contain, this may be effected so as to include a part of the lands last mentioned, not yet settled by the families proposed by Green De Witt, as it will offer no impediment to the settlement of those families, even should he be able to carry his contract into effect, as he has proposed, this appears to me to be justice and I make oath in due form to the purity of my intentions, protesting against all damages, costs, etc. Most Excellent Sir---Martin De Leon
Political Chief Saucedo to Governor Gonzales 21 Aug 1825. Most Excellent Sir. I present to Your Excellency with accompanying documents a memorial of Citizen Martin De Leon, Empresario of the new Town of Guadalupe de Jesus de Victoria, situated upon the opposite bank of the river Guadalupe, praying that the limits of boundaries may be permanently established, as described and considered requisite for the settlement of the Mexican families he has contracted to bring as Colonists, from the State of Tamaulipas. I am convinced of the justice of his pretension, that those lands should not be included within the boundaries assigned the foreigner Green De Witt. The advantages which must result to the Nation in general and the State in particular by colonizing her territory with Mexicans in preference to foreigners are evident not only because our laws are not repugnant to them, and for the reasons, in my opinion, I consider the Empresario, Don Martin De Leon entitled to the favor he solicits, especially as it will not operate to the prejudice of the other party, the performance of whose contract is very doubtful. Nevertheless, the usual judgement and prudence of Your Excellency if so pleased to consider, will resolve according to their dictates in the matter. God and Liberty Bexar August 21st, 1825 Most Excellent Sir---José Antonio Saucedo
To His Excellency, Don Rafael Gonzales, Governor of this State
Gonzales Decree 6 Oct 1825. Annex the foregoing memorial accompanying, to the file of documents in relation to this matter and let the whole be reviewed, that action may be had thereon. Gonzales---Juan Antonio Padilla---Secretary
In consideration of the memorial of Citizen Martin De Leon, and the accompanying documents in support of the same, transmitted to Your Lordship with your official note of the 20th of August last of your opinion expressed in the same, the file of documents at folio 6 Book A., No. 1, relative to the formation of a new Town by the Empresario, Martin De Leon, on the river Guadalupe named Guadalupe de Victoria, and of all other in relation to the matter, and inasmuch as it is provided in the second article of the contract of Green De Witt, entered into on the 15th of April of the present year, in which is included the boundaries of the settlement (Empresa) of the Citizen Martin De Leon that he shall respect all possessions given to settlers who occupy lands under legal titles, within the limits of his boundaries, and as article 47 of the Colonization Law of the 24th of March last, provides that the families, who may have settled within the limits of the State, without having lands legally assigned them, shall subject themselves to the aforesaid law.
I have resolved. First: That the resolution of the Ex-Provincial Delegation of Texas, passed in session of the 13th of April 1824, granting to the Citizen Martin De Leon permission to found a town on the banks of the river Guadalupe, with the families he proposed, under the appellation of Guadalupe de Victoria, being sufficient to authorize the said settlement to be made conformably thereto, was the families already established there, lands will be distributed and the town founded in strict conformity with the aforesaid law of the 24th March, and pursuant instructions, through the agency of a Commissioner whom I shall appoint for the purpose.
Second: That, the exemptions and privileges granted in favor of said new Town or settlement, by the resolution of the aforesaid Ex-Delegation, shall remain in force, so far as is consistent with the before mentioned Colonization Law, and the general laws of the Federal Government.
Third: That, the limits of the new Town, as well as, the Possessions of each inhabitant respectively, shall be designated by the Commissioner who I shall appoint, as soon as, the instructions for the government of commissioners in the distribution of lands which I have submitted to the Hon. Congress May be approved by that Honorable Body.
Fourth: That, this resolution be made known to the Empresario Green De Witt, in order that he may not in any manner whatever molest the inhabitants of the town of Guadalupe de Victoria, nor interfere with the progress of their building or farming. All of which I communicate to your Lordship for your information and the purposes herein contained. God and Liberty. Saltillo 6th October 1825---Gonzales---Juan Antonio Padilla---Secretary
To the Political Chief of the Department of Bexar No. 43
Saucedo to Gonzales. Most Excellent Sir. I have received your Excellency's official note communicating to me, that in view of the memorial and accompanying documents presented by the Empresario, Citizen Martin De Leon, which I transmitted to your Excellency under date of 21st August last, wherein he petitioned for a ratification of the permission he obtained of the Ex-Delegation of the Province of Texas, to establish a town on the banks of the river Guadalupe, under the name of Guadalupe de Victoria, and my opinion showing why he should not be molested by the Empresario, Green De Witt, Your Excellency has been pleased to confirm the grant made by that Body, in article 14th and 4th of your official communication of 6th article: which supreme resolution I have transcribed to the party interested. Citizen Martin De Leon, for his satisfaction and fulfillment and to the Empresario, Green De Witt, in compliance with the orders of your Excellency in said official communication to which I hereby duly reply. God and Liberty. Most Excellent Sir---José Antonio Saucedo
To His Excellency Rafael Gonzales Governor of the State of Coahuila Texas No. 92
Saucedo to Gonzales 27 May 1827. Herewith I lay before your Excellency the accompanying petition of Martin De Leon, Empresario of the Town of Guadalupe de Victoria, soliciting that the lands described for his Colony in his petition may be designated to him. May 27, 1827. Most Excellent Sir---José Antonio Saucedo
De Leon petition to Governor Juan Arispe 18 May 1827. Jan. Arispe, Governor of the State of Coahuila Texas. Most Excellent Sir. Citizen Martin De Leon, Empresario of the Colony of Guadalupe De Jesus de Victoria, in the State of Coahuila and Texas; with due respect represents to your Excellency that ever since the year 1824, he has been located at the place granted to him by the Most Excellent Provincial Delegation of Bexar, and has endeavored by every means in his power, with great labor and pecuniary sacrifices to provide the advancement and prosperity of the settlement, and complete the establishment of the Forty-One families which he proposed at that time, but as the Citizen Green De Witt, Empresario of the adjoining Colony bearing his name, had interposed a claim to the land appertaining to the Colony, from which he desisted during the last year 1826, in consequence of Article 2 of Your Excellency's order of the 6th of October, declaring that said De Witt should not uncommode your petitioner in the flee settlement of his Colony, and fulfillment of this contract, and also that your excellency would appoint a Commissioner to regulate the distribution of lands to the Colonists. Now although the aforesaid Green De Witt has said nothing further to your Petitioner on the subject since he has been notified of your Excellency's above mentioned Supreme order, nevertheless your Petitioner is anxious in order to obviate similar difficulties in the future, which tend very considerable to retard the progress and prosperity of this Colony under this charge, that your Excellency should appoint a Commissioner, as soon as, possible. To come and legally designate the respective boundaries, which should be according to the representation of your Petitioner of last year, from the point at which the boundary line of the Ten Coast Border Leagues, crosses the river La Baca, thence with its right bank upwards to the road leading from "La Bahia del Espiritu Santo" to Nacogdoches, thence on a straight line South with the said road, to the river Guadalupe, at the place known as Anastasia Ford, thence with the left bank of said river, to the farm (Rancho) San Francisco (which although perhaps within the limits of the Ten Coast Border Leagues, your Petitioner thinks may be permitted to remain within his boundaries, as he settled it previous to the publication of the General Colonization Law, and because he has his stock of cattle and horses on it, and accustomed to the place) and thence on a straight line to the river La Baca, at the place of beginning, permitting him to designate by land marks, the said four points of his boundaries, and requiring the said Commissioner, to notify the Citizen Green De Witt, of the establishment of the same, for his information and due observance; therefore I humbly pray your Excellency to grant in justice the prayer of this my petition ... I make oath that it is without malice, in due form also. Martin De Leon Town of Guadalupe de Jesus Victoria May 18th, 1827
Governor Blanco to Saucedo 15 Jun 1827. Saltillo 15th June 1827. To the Political Chief of the Department of Texas. Desirous to dispose of the petition of Citizen Martin De Leon, presented to me by your Lordship with your official note No. 92, presented of the 27th ulto, I wish you to name some person of your City or Department adapted to perform the duties of Commissioner, in order that his appointment may be made, and that he may proceed to give the Colonists possession of their lands, and found the Town with the requisite formalities. God and Liberty---Victor Blanco---Juan Antonio Padilla, Sect.
Saucedo to Governor 8 Jul 1827. No. 153. Most Excellent Sir. In consequence of the Supreme order of your Excellency, under date of 15th of June last, requesting to me to propose a Citizen of this Department for Commissioner of the Colony of the Empresario, Citizen Martin De Leon, I am induced to represent to your Excellency, that the party interested merely petitioned that the Executive would cause the boundaries to be designated of the land which may be occupied by his Colony, with the view to prevent difficulties which might otherwise occur with the Empresarios of the Adjoining Colonies, (and as it appears that at the date of his petition, he did not calculate upon having a sufficient number of families to authorize him to ask for a Commissioner to put them in possession, he omitted to make this request) but notwithstanding this, and taking into consideration, that the citizens of this Department, capable of discharging the duty are at present occupied attending to their own private affairs, and would not therefore voluntarily accept the appointment, I am induced to avail myself of this opportunity to offer my own service to effect it, which I can do without in any manner neglecting the duties of the station I now occupy. God and Liberty, Bexar July 8,1827. Most Excellent Sir ---José Antonio Saucedo
Manchola petition to Governor Viesca for more land 13 Apr 1829. Augmentation. To His Excellency the Governor of the State of Coahuila and Texas. A Copy. (Signed) Santiago Del Valle, Secretary in the City of Leona Vicario this 13th day of April, in the year 1829, the Citizen Rafael A. Manchola, having presented himself with the foregoing power of Attorney and instructions, (the originals of which are annexed to this file of documents) for the purpose of contracting with the Government in the name of Citizen Martin De Leon for an Augmentation of land, in the manner and on the terms by solicits in his memorial of the 22nd day of last month, which augmentation the government has agreed to, in consideration of his offer to introduce One Hundred Fifty families, to most of them to be Mexicans, in addition to those already contracted for, on the 13th day of April 1824, with which understanding the following conditions were agreed upon.
First: The survey of the land which in addition to that already granted on the date above mentioned to be augmented by the present agreement, shall be as follows: Beginning at La Baca Creek, near the place where it is crossed by the middle road leading from La Bahia to Nacogdoches, and thence run one league with the said creek upwards, thence a line shall be run parallel with said road to cross the river Guadalupe, at the "Lego" ford, until it strikes Coleto Creek, and thence with this creek downwards, the survey terminating at its junction with the aforesaid river Guadalupe.
Second: The Empresario, Citizen Martin De Leon receives the lands above described and designated, as an agregation to his Colony, and therefore in its adjudication is subject to the requirements and provisions of the Colonization Law of the 24th of March 1825, and the time allowed for the settlement of the One Hundred Fifty families he now offers, is that prescribed by said law, commencing on the day of the date above written agreement. And his Excellency the Governor, and the said Attorney of the Citizen Martin De Leon, having agreed to the stipulations of this contract they and each of them, mutually obligate themselves, to the faithful and punctual performance of the same before one the Secretary of State, which they sign in testimony thereof. And as the file of original documents remains in the Archives of this office, certified copies of it, were by order given to the party interested, in order that with it, he, may apply to the Commissioner General which this Government has appointed, who will put him in possession and issue the corresponding legal instrument.---José Ma Viesca------Rafael A. Manchola---Santiago del Valle, Secretary
The foregoing is a copy of the original on file in this office under my charge, from which it was drawn by order of his Excellency the Governor. Leona Vicario May 12, 1830 (Signed) Circular Governor to Political Chief---Santiago del Valle, Secretary
Gov. Letona to José Antonio Navarro (DeWitt Colony land commissioner) 2 May 1831. I have this day communicated to Citizen Antonio Navarro, Commissioner for the distribution of lands in the Colony of Green De Witt as follows. "Your official communication of the 15th day of April, last; is received, and the Executive informed of its contents, in relation to the circumstances that the contract of Citizen Martin De Leon grants to him part of the lands belonging to that of Green De Witt, and has to say to you, that when the augmentation of lands was granted to Rafael Manchola as Attorney for the said De Leon, at his petition, it was understood that he applied for such as were vacant, but as it appears that they belong to the area designated to Green De Witt, the grant made to Manchola on the 30th of April 1829, can be of no effect."
In order that in the future you may be enabled to act in similar cases which may hereafter occur, without the necessity of applying to the Executive, I have thought proper to reiterate the order I have already issued on this subject; which is that whenever the same land may have been granted to two or more persons, possession must be given to the first granted, for as the Executive has not a general idea of the localities nor a correct map, some error of this nature may have occurred and may still occur. The subsequent grantees cannot sustain, what they could not legally acquire. Which I transcribe for the information of your honor, and in order that in cases of a similar nature which may occur in this Department, your honor may act in strict conformity with the tenor of the foregoing communication. God and Liberty, May 2nd, 1831, Leona Vicario. (Signed) Letona---Santiago del Valle
Opinion of the Permanent Committee
To the Political Chief of the Department of Bexar Circulated to the Alcaldes, and Commissioners for the distribution of lands in this Department on 14th June. To the Honorable the Permanent Committee. The undersigned has with due deliberation, examined the Memorial and accompanying documents addressed to the Executive by the Municipal authorities "Ayuntamiento" of the Town of Goliad, and bearing date 4th day of June last, and although it appears throughout that the Provincial Delegation granted permission to Citizen Martin De Leon, to establish a single Town on the land situated between La Baca Creek and the river Nueces, it is also apparent that as it was not commenced until after the publication of the Colonization Law, it should have been done in strict accordance with the provisions of that law for without it, and the necessary and indispensable approval of the Executive, and this was never obtained that undertaking cannot; nor ought it to be considered legal, nor should it in any manner whatever affect the rights of the Empresario, Power and Hewetson, whose contract is complete with ever requisite and requirement of the laws. If for the reasons already set forth, the undertaking of Martin De Leon ought not to be considered legal, much less so is it made to appear by the idea of the Political Chief, pretending to legalize it, by the appointment of Fernando De Leon, to establish the boundaries of this Colony, for this proves nothing more than an excessive and notorious usurpation of power, as this appointment belongs exclusively to the Executives. Finally, the nullity of the undertaking of Martin De Leon is made more apparent in the memorial referred to by the "Ayuntamiento" claiming that it should be located within the limits of the Coast Border Leagues, a section of territory subject to the exclusive control of the General Government, and which has in fact been ceded by it in favor of the Empresario Power and Hewetson, who made their contract with the General Government and not with the Government of the State, inasmuch as it had no authority to that effect. This last observation, is sufficient in the opinion of the undersigned to set aside the principle which the Ayuntamiento of the Town of Goliad would establish, as well as, the report of the Political Chief of the Department, made with a view to legalize the Settlement which it recommends. The Political Chief of the Department at the commencement of his report, requests that no impediments may be created to prevent Citizen Martin De Leon from legally settling the families of his contract, within the limit of the Coast Border Leagues, which are to be settled by Hewetson, hence it appears, that in his opinion De Leon's Settlement is not legally located, nor are lands disposable by the State, as is the fact with regard to the Coast Border Leagues, and in this case that petition would seem to say or infer, that the authorities of the State assume powers expressly vested in the General Government. These observations with many others elicited by the aforesaid Report and Memorial, (one which, is that to accede to the petition of the Ayuntamiento of Goliad, it would be necessary to disregard the Decree No. 177 and that the town property of the extinguished Mission of Refugio, should be disposed of in some other manner than that provided by law) has determined that the undersigned to offer to the Nominating Committee the following resolution.
First: The Memorial of the Ayuntamiento of Goliad not being acceded to by this Committee, that body will remain subject to the resolutions of the Executive of the State, dated 25th day of May of the present year, and to the other resolutions, passed in relation to the Colonial undertaking of the Citizen, James Power and James Hewetson. Leona Vicario, July 23, 1831---Aguirre
Executive Decree 30 Jul 1831. Leona Vicario, July 30, 1831. Having this day received further official communications from the Political Chief of the Department of Bexar, accompanied by files of documents relative to the same subject, of which the preceding opinion treats, the resolutionof the Executive in this matter is suspended until the said Hon. Permanent Committee give their opinion upon the documents recently received the originals of which will be laid before them for that purpose.---Letona---Santiago del Valle-Secretary
Opinion of the Permanent Committee. To the Honorable the Permanent Committee. The new petition of the Ayuntamientos of the Town of Goliad together with that of Citizen Martin De Leon, both of them soliciting that the Colonization Contract which has been granted by the Government of the State with the previous aversion of the Government to the Empresarios James Power and James Hewetson, to settle the vacant lands of the Coast Border Leagues, between the La Baca Creek and the river Nueces, should be declared void, and that those lands thereby remain to be distributed to the inhabitants of Goliad, or for the benefit of the Empresario Martin De Leon agreeably to his pretensions already sustained by the Ayuntamientos of that Town, are according to the judgement of the undersigned destitute of all foundation, and neither law, reason, nor that decorum which should be observed by the Executive can justify the annullment of the contract made with the aforesaid Power and Hewetson, merely to gratify the wishes of those inhabitants, when that contract up to the present time is not violated by any defect whatsoever. The circumstances of the land being vacant as appears to be the case by the aforesaid contract, but upon which the petitioners now raise doubts, they themselves have maintained to be the fact in their previous petition were this not the case, neither the Citizen Martin De Leon the Ayuntamiento of Goliad, not the inhabitants of that place whom they represent would have failed to have alleged their right of property, or to have cleared up the doubts as to the condition of the lands which they are contending for. The consent of the General Government, which is by law made indispensably necessary to settle the lands of the Coast Border Leagues, has been obtained only by the Empresarios Power and Hewetson, and by no other person whomsoever, which as has already been stated on other occasions in the course of this affair, is sufficient not only to show that the pretensions of Citizen Martin De Leon and inhabitants of Goliad, cannot obstruct the consummation of their contract, but that even if they were admitted, the want of this acquisition, would render any Colonization contract illegal. In the file of documents which the Political Chief of Texas, has transmitted in support of the petitioners upon which this opinion is made, it is found that the contract made in April, of this year 1829, with Mr. Rafael Manchola as Attorney of the aforesaid De Leon, is declared null, as regards that part of it, including lands previously granted to the Empresario Green De Witt, in conformity with the general provisions of the Government relative to contracts wherein it is prescribed that when through mistake or otherwise, lands are designated which are already granted to other Empresarios, they shall be declared invalid; and it being notoriously evident, that in this said contract of Mr. Rafael Manchola, the lands therein designated Power and Hewetson, for these very reasons, it ought to be declared void as regards them. For the above reasons the prayer of the petition which the Executive has laid before this Committee for the purpose of hearing their opinion thereon, cannot merit their approval and although the petition signed by sundry inhabitants of Goliad, and transmitted by its illustrious Ayuntamiento, is calculated to awaken various reflections which might throw light on the rights which they pretend to have, in opposition to the Colonization of the lands to which they refer, that petition is deemed unworthy of consideration in consequence of the indecorous manner and terms in which it is couched, manifestly insulting the Majesty of the Government and showing an utter disregard for that respect and consideration with which the highest authority of the state would be approached. The undersigned therefore, unwilling to create reflections foreign to the subject under consideration, by occupying the Committee with observations on the ideas urged by the said Memorial, considering them unworthy of attention, submits to its consideration the following resolution.
That, notwithstanding the representation set forth in the documents made with a view to render invalid the contract of James Power and James Hewetson, and referred to the Committee by the Executive. The Committee confirms the opinion they have already formed and reported to the Executive on this subject. Leona Vicario, August 15th, 1831---Aguirre
Approval of the Executive
Leona Vicario, August 18, 1831 The Executive having approved the foregoing report of the Honorable the Permanent Committee, convened as council, it will therefore be duly executed as therein expressed, together with the former report'to which it refers, communicating the same to the parties interested for their due observance.---Letona---Santiago del Valle-Secretary
A COPY of the original on file in the Archives of the Secretary's office from which it was drawn by order of His Excellency the Governor Leona Vicario. August 19, 1831 Signed: Santiago de Valle, Secretary
Mier y Terán to Governor Letona 22 Oct 1831. Headquarters of the Commander in Chief and Inspector General of the Eastern interior States. The illustrious Ayuntamiento of the Town of Goliad, and Citizen Martin De Leon, Empresario of the Mexican Colony of Guadalupe, have made a remonstrance to me against the great injury their interests are sustaining by the settlement of the Colony contracted for, by the Citizen James Power and by the documents they have presented. I find that the decision of this question appertains to the Supreme Government of the Nation, inasmuch as it involves the Coast Border Leagues and grants, which have been made by that Supreme authority, so that as it appears that two exist, one in favor of Power and the other with the said De Leon, the preference can only be decided by the said Supreme Government. It also appears that by documents laid before me by Power, and the grant for an augmentation to his Colony of the lands of the Mission of Refugio, and of the Town property of the same, which was sold to him on the 25th day of May of last year, is deficient by not having the approval of the Supreme Federal Government, which is requisite, as the lands are within the Coast Border Leagues, and are not comprehended in the first contract of said individual; for when that contract was made the Mission was still extinct, and the lands belonging to it could not be granted to any person. For all these reasons, I trust your Honor will be pleased to prevent the said Power from taking possession of the land he claims between the mouth of the La Baca to Aransas Creeks. But as there is no objection to be made to his contract as regards the other lands it calls for, he may be given possession of those situated between the right bank of the Aransas Creek and the left bank of the Corpus Christi provided that the settlers who are to occupy then duly accredit themselves to be Irish, and not natives of the neighboring nation, who are excluded by the law of the 6th of April last year. The present occasion affords me the opportunity to reiterate to Your Honor the assurances of my highest consideration. God and Liberty, Matamoros. October 22, 1831. Manuel Mier & Teran
Fernando De Leon to Ramon Músquiz, Political Chief of the Department of Bexar 20 Apr 1831. No. 1. Under date of 20th day of April 1831, His Excellency the Governor of the State communicates to me as follows. "In view of the foregoing representation, and in conformity with the provisions of the Act of the Hon. The Legislature, dated 4th of April last, I have thought proper to Commission the Citizen Fernando De Leon, in order that, agreeably to the instructions issued for this class of officers by the same Honorable Legislature, under date of 24th of February 1827, he may proceed to distribute the land yet pending, and to which, the families who the memorial list states he has to introduce into that section of the country, agreeably to his contracts may be entitled to. Which documents will be delivered to the party interested for his information. Transmit to the Commissioner the memorial this decreed for its fulfillment together with the instructions herein referred to, with the understanding that the Political Chief of the Department, must be previously notified that this commission has been issued, for his information and in order that he may comply with the provisions of Article. 7, of Decree No. 128, issued by the Hon. The Legislature of the State, on the 7th day of April 1830, a copy of which is also transmitted.---Letona---Santiago del Valle, Sec.
Of which I notify your Honor for your orders to me according to my instructions. God and Liberty, Guadalupe 4th June 1831 (Signed) Fernando De Leon
To the Political Chief of the Department of Texas (Triplicate)
Músquiz to Power and Hewetson 4 Dec 1831. His Excellency the Governor of the State, having directed in his Supreme order of the 10th of March last, the execution of the resolution of the Supreme General Government relative to the preference to be given to the Colonists of the contract of the Citizen Martin De Leon, with regard to the possession of lands to which they are entitled, it becomes indispensably necessary that you should present yourselves either in person, or by Attorney, in order to exhibit your documents, by which to designate the boundaries of your Colony and that of Citizen Martin De Leon, with the understanding that should you not appear within the terms of sixty days from this date, the Commissioner of that Colony will proceed to run off the respective boundaries, according to the orders which the Executive of the State has given in relation to this matter. God and Liberty. Bexar 14th May, 1832, (Signed) Ramon Músquiz. To Empresarios James Power and James Hewetson.
Executive Order from Gov. Viesca 4 Dec 1831. For the purpose of distributing and giving possession of lands to the Empresarios, Colonists, and Purchasers, who have contract with the Government, I have under this date commissioned the Citizen Juan Antonio Padilla, who is authorized to put such persons in possession, and as one of such, the Citizen Martin De Leon. This I communicate to Your Honor for his information and in reply to Your Official letter of the 27th of May, 1827, with which was transmitted to me the petition of the before mentioned De Leon, dated 28th of said month and year. God and Liberty Leona Vicario, 4th December 1831 (Signed) Viesca (Signed) Santiago del Valle, Secretary
SONS OF DEWITT