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The Republic's Colonization Program

probably because of Lamar's opposition, although it was strongly supported in the House by ex-President Houston. Lamar offered a counterproposition known as the Santa Fé Bill for developing the trade of West Texas, but Houston actively fought Lamar's proposal and helped defeat it in Congress in January 1841. The two bills were among the leading issues in the presidential election campaign of 1841; and, in spite of the opposition, Houston, who had been one of the principal supporters of the Franco-Texienne Bill in the House, was elected. When the bill was presented again in the Sixth Congress, however, there was still very little enthusiasm for it. It had proven decidedly unpopular among Texans, and was allowed to die.

Even before the Santa Fé Expedition was organized, plans for colonizing the area between Austin and Santa Fé were being formulated by Lamar's administration and were no doubt a part of the general program to secure a monopoly of the Santa Fé trade for the Republic. By an act approved January 4, 1841, every head of family or single man who immigrated to Texas after January 1, 1840, but before January 1, 1842, was to be given 640 acres and 320 acres, respectively, provided he became a citizen, settled on the land for three years, and cultivated not less than ten acres. The law also authorized the President to form a contract for settling vacant and unappropriated lands "beyond the limits of the present settlements."[3]  This law allowed a single company -- that of W. S. Peters and Associates -- to colonize along the northern frontier. Later, President Houston and his Secretary of State, Anson Jones, proposed the establishment of alternate colonies of French, English, and Belgians along the lower reaches of the Río Grande to serve as a buffer against Mexican attacks. The passage by the Texas Congress of a law in January 1841 (amended on February 5, 1842), permitting the President, under certain conditions, to conclude contracts with individuals for colonizing the country, soon resulted in the signing of a number of agreements with foreign companies or other agents.

Hoping to take advantage of the amended colonization law, Henri Castro, a former citizen of France who had taken out naturalization papers in the United States, arrived in Austin on January 29, 1842, and applied for permission to establish a colony in Texas. On February 15 the Texas government awarded Castro and his partner, Jean Jassaud, a contract to introduce six hundred families or single men over seven-

3. H. P. N. Gammel (ed.), Laws of Texas, II, 554-557.

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AFTER SAN JACINTO: The Texas-Mexican Frontier, 1836-1841
Joseph Milton Nance, 1963