Mexico City: 1828. Printed broadside, 17 x 12.5 inches. Previously folded. Very minor wear and dampstaining at edges. Light creasing. Very good plus. Item #1585
An unrecorded Mexican broadside that prints twelve articles announcing new regulations for immigrants seeking to settle in Mexico that were decreed by the Congreso Nacional on March 12, 1828. This work promulgated the law on March 18 in Tlalpan, just outside of Mexico City in the surrounding state of Mexico, where Lorenzo de Zavala was ensconced as state governor, just prior to his involvement in Texas land schemes as an unsuccessful empresario. The statutes printed here relate principally to passports and land ownership, and comprise some of the first legislative retreat from the original colonization laws governing immigration to Mexico, and Texas in particular. The first section of the broadside reads, in part:
"Art. 1.o Para que los estrangeros puedan introducirse y transitar por el territorio mexicano, es necessario que obtengan pasaporte del Gobierno general. 2.o El Gobierno por medio de un decreto, prescripirá las reglas que crea convenientes para la emison y revision de pasapartes [sic], y designará los emplados que deban darlos. 3.o Los estrangeros se hubieren introducido sin pasaporte, se presetaran dentro de diez dias, contados desde la publicacion de este ley, en los lugares de residencia, à la primera autoridad politica del mismo lugar, la que tomará razon del objeto con que han venido, y del giro en que se ocupan. 4.o Las autoridaded politicas darán cuenta à los Gobernadores de los Estados, distrito federal ó territorios, quienes espediran á los estrangeros de que se habla, los correspondientes pasaportes, conforme las reglas que se prescriban por el Gobierno general, á quien darán razon individual de los estrangeros que se hayan presentado, del objeto de su venida, de los giros en que se ocupan, de los pasaportes que se hubieren espedido, y de los estrangeros á quienes no pueden espedirse, en virtud de las reglas que se dicten por el Gobierno. 5.o Los estrangeros que no cumplieren con lo dispuesto en los artículos anteriores serán espelidos de la Republica, quedando á discrecion del Gobierno ampliar el termino de los diez dias de que habla el articulo 3,o. hasta el de veinte y cinco."
The first five articles explicitly spell out the requirement that immigrants obtain passports in order to enter and travel through Mexico. They also announce further forthcoming regulations that will govern the issue, use, and monitoring of such documents and their recipients. The present law states that all immigrants lacking passports will be required to appear before their local authority within ten days of the passage of the law to justify their presence in Mexico, and that these authorities would issue or deny passports based on these interviews and report their findings to the national government. Any immigrant lacking a passport found not to have complied with this direction would be expelled from the country within ten to twenty-five days. The later decree, passed on May 1, 1828, was also of patent interest to Texan colonists, and was condensed and reprinted by Samuel Bangs, the first American Texan printer, at Saltillo in Spanish, French, and English.
The following three articles of this broadside state that legal immigrants will be subject to the same laws as natural-born Mexicans, aside from those that apply to the acquisition of territorial property (except silver mines, for which provisions were granted in an 1823 law), and that the colonization law of 1824 is still in force. The final four articles set forth conditions under which unnaturalized foreigners can acquire land, in the first place mandating that they seek permission from the Mexican federal or state governments. Furthermore, potential empresarios are limited to sixteen leagues of land, for which twenty-five percent of the colonists must be Mexicans. In seven years the land must be individually divided amongst the natural-born colonists and the entire property must be dispersed to its occupants by the end of twelve years from acquisition. Finally, If property were illegally acquired by an immigrant, any Mexican that can prove the fraud can claim the land.
The regulations put forth in this degree represent some of the first legislative efforts by the Mexican government to assert some control over colonization in Texas, which had clearly become worrisome to them. At the beginning of 1827 they had been forced to put down the Fredonia Rebellion and drive the empresario Haden Edwards from the territory; American colonists were clearly displeased about severe new restrictions on slavery passed in the same year; there was virtually no control over the border between Texas and the United States. Following the passage of this law and the subsequent passport rules, General Manuel Mier issued his 1829 report, advising that Texans demonstrated no desire to assimilate into Mexico and that an increase in military garrisons in the territory to patrol the colonists would be prudent. By 1830, Mexico had outlawed immigration to Texas from the United States, although these, and other attempts to assert greater control north of the Rio Grande seem to have had little effect other than to generate more resentment among Texan colonists.
We locate only one copy of the federal printing, at SMU, and none of this broadside or any other bando printing. Rare; no issue in Streeter Texas.