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The Origins of the Law of April 6, 1830 (CEC)

Having traveled to Béxar, Nacogdoches, the Red River, and down through Goliad to Matamoros in 1827, General Manuel Mier y Terán grew worried about what he saw. Notably, he believed the population trends in Texas would lead to an eventual loss of that region for Mexico and remained suspicious of American designs. He recommended several methods to remedy the situation:

  • Convicts should be sent to Texas to build infrastructure and to garrison military outposts;
  • To encourage immigration of Mexican families to Texas, laws would be passed that would give them preferential treatment;
  • Encouragement of Swiss and German catholics to immigrate to Texas;
  • Encouragement of coastal trade;
  • Free importation of frame houses into Texas;
  • Appropriation of the portion of the customs receipts shared by the maritime states to the support of the troops destined for Texas;
  • Free importation into Texas of food supplies for the troops;
  • Alteration of Austin’s contract to give the government control of the coast leagues;
  • Establishment of new Mexican settlements, and the support of the same for a time, at government expense;
  • The creation of a loan fund for voluntary colonization of Mexican families and;
  • Special awards or bounties to successful agriculturists among Mexican colonists.

Mexican Foreign Minister Lucas Alaman y Escalada agreed with these observations, and took measures to more successfully integrate Tejas into the Mexican economy, and to make its settlers more accountable to the Mexican government. He also hoped to attract a better quality of immigrant than those he feared were crowding Mexico’s northern frontera. The resulting Law of April 6, 1830, included the following elements:

  • Importation of Texas and American cotton to Mexico is encouraged; Duties from cotton imports would be used to support the Mexican army;
  • Mexican authorities would name commissioners to study existing empressario colonies in Tejas and make necessary changes for good of the nation;
  • The President of Mexico could seize property in Tejas for the construction of fortifications;
  • The government of Mexico can transport convict soldiers wherever they are needed;
  • The government of Mexico can employ convicts as forced labor, but can settle where they are transported to after their prison term expires;
  • Mexican families can become colonists in Tejas at government expense, and given preference over immigrants in claiming the most productive acreage;
  • All colonists in Tejas are subject to Mexican state and federal colonization laws;
  • The government of Mexico would no longer allow American immigrants without first obtaining a Mexican passport;
  • The Mexican government will allow slavery where it exist in 1830 but no will allow no more importation of slaves into the nation;
  • No immigrants can settle lands adjacent to their home countries, and all contracts allowing this are rendered null and void;
  • Coastal trade is free through ports of Vera Cruz, Matamoros, and Tampico;
  • The importation of materials for frame houses will be duty free through the ports of Matamoros and Galveston until 1832;
  • The Mexican government will appropriate $500,000 for the creation of frontier forts and will transport convicts drafted into the army as soldiers—with their families—for free and provide them with a farm for their own sustenance;
  • A tariff on cotton imports will finance the creation of these frontier garrisons and military colonies;
  • In addition, the Mexican government will dedicate 5% of the cotton tariff to promote cotton cultivation and textile manufacturing;
  • The Mexican government will create a fund of $300,000 to be used in case of Spanish invasion;
  • The government will regulate all colonization and create a thorough list of all emigrants.