The Republic's Colonization Program
BESIDES INCREASED TEXAN ACTIVITY on the frontier, another development which no doubt drew Mexico's attention to Texas was the Texas colonization program. The Indian disturbances of 1838 and 1839 had caused a renewal of the discussion of colonizing the area beyond the frontier of settlement. When the Indian campaign of 1839 removed the most immediate danger to the settlements, the government turned its attention to the problem of establishing frontier posts and promoting a colonization plan. Early in 1841 a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives providing for the incorporation and establishment of a French colonization company to introduce eight thousand Frenchmen, over seventeen years of age, into Texas as colonists. This company, previously mentioned, to be known as the Franco-Texienne Company, was to station its colonists at twenty forts to be erected and maintained by it for twenty years along the western frontier, and to enjoy exclusive trading privileges with the New Mexican settlements; its settlers were to be exempt of all taxes and tariffs for a period of twenty years. When the required number of settlers had been introduced and located at these forts, the company was to receive three million acres of land, to be divided into sixteen tracts scattered along the frontier. The eastern boundary of the proposed grant was substantially the line of frontier posts which had been suggested by Johnston, in 1839, "while the tract as a whole covered a strip of territory varying from twenty to one hundred miles in width from east to west." The bill contained a number of objectionable features and failed to pass the Senate,
1. William C. Binkley, The Expansionist Movement in Texas, 1836-1850, p. 55.
2. For details concerning this bill and the opposition thereto, see Binkley, The Expansionist Movement in Texas, pp. 54-56; Rupert N. Richardson, Texas: The Lone Star State, pp. 157-158; Bernice Barnett Denton, "Count Alphonso de Saligny and the Franco-Texienne Bill," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XLV, (1941-1942), 136-146; Texas Sentinel (Austin), May 27, July 1, Aug. 5, 12, Oct. 7, 1841; Telegraph and Texas Register (Houston), Aug. 4 and 11, 1841; Austin City Gazette, Dec. 8, 1841; and Red-Lander, Oct. 23, 1841.