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Messrs. Albert Brisbane of New York, and Victor 구월동오피 Considerant of France, got to our house a few days ago, coming into Texas at Preston, and thence to our bend. They are on their way through northern Texas for the purpose of selecting some several thousand acres of land, with a view to the settlement of a French Colony. They are well pleased with what they have seen. They remained with us a day and night, and we sent a guide with them on their way to Gainesville. They are fine looking, intelligent gentlemen. Their purpose, when they left our house, was, to examine the Cross Timbers country, and on to Fort Worth.
Having reached Texas, Considerant immediately began to write his reactions. “I was expecting something wild and rude, coarse grasses and weeds of enormous height, etc.” However, he was astonished when he found a “superior richness” of the soil, wild oats, numerous 41 tender grasses, large forests, and many prosperous, cultivated fields. Even the land which the Americans rejected as poor, rocky, and of thin soil, which they refused to cultivate, was exactly what the French needed to grow their vines. Grapevines grown on such soil were of “lower growth and much less run to wood and leaf, than the kind which overspreads the bottoms. The latter reaches forth on all sides its gigantic branches and climbs to the summit of the largest trees, balancing between them its clusters of black grapes.” Near Dallas, at the junction of the forks of the Trinity river, Considerant and Brisbane met M. Gouhenans, chief of the first Icarian vanguard, who gathered these wild grapes and made wine out of them, which he sold for a dollar a bottle.
The people classified the soil into four kinds: black sandy, red sandy, mulatto, and black sticky. Considerant explains that the latter is difficult to work and is more appropriate for cotton than for anything else.
The reports he gave concerning the crops were very enthusiastic. For instance, he mentions that he saw beets grown in unfertilized land that measured two feet six inches in circumference, and tomatoes that put forth shoots from ten to twelve feet in length. At Fort Worth and Fort Graham gardens which the soldiers had prepared were very prolific. Within a few months after they were planted, there were beans of all kinds, green peas, melons, sweet potatoes, and twenty other plants of the kitchen garden, which were succeeding perfectly. All of this was accomplished without manuring the land, an absolute necessity in Europe. There was no weeding necessary and only one or two plowings were 42 required. The garden in Fort Worth, so he reported, had been planted and no further attention given to it, yet it was in very neat order.
From the very first day of their trip, when they left Lake Erie, both men had feared the Texas climate. They were afraid of the sub-tropic summers, the fevers, langour, and sun-stroke; consequently, they were surprised at the favorable reports they received wherever they went. In Fort Worth, Major Merrill, who commanded the fort, told them that the winters in Texas were so little feared “that he was in the habit of making excursions of 15 days, sometime of a month, into the prairie or forest, without serious inconvenience, and that he and his men did not often even give themselves the trouble of erecting tents for the night.”
On inquiry they found that the soldiers of Fort Worth were comprised of English, French, Irish, Spaniards, Russians, Swedes; in fact, a very large portion of all the soldiers was European. However, there was no complaint of climate—“one perfect accord, not a complaint, not a regret.” The soldiers were happy and well, in spite of the not very hygienic life and the sudden long and dangerous expeditions made into the prairies and forests after the Indians. The settlers, exposed as they were in cabins open to the wind and rain, were in good health, and no serious illness was observed, except a few cases of fever in the district along the coast. Nevertheless, this is not surprising when one realizes that there are never more than thirty days of really cold weather in the winter and that the hot summer days not tempered with the Gulf breeze are few. Reflections of the climatic conditions were noticeable in the habits 43 of the live stock. There was an utter lack of shelter for the stock. Horses, cows, sheep, and goats all wandered in the woods or on the prairies the entire year without forage or shelter being furnished them. The fowls around the houses had to be fed to keep them from going “wild,” and effort had to be made to raise them, but not so with the livestock.
Considerant’s estimate of the settlers is worth considering. When a new settler came, he reported, his nearest neighbors, living anywhere from six to fifteen miles from him, asked him on what day he desired to raise his building, and at that time they all came to aid him in constructing his modest home. In the meantime, the family camped in the open in their covered wagon, the means of transportation used to get to Texas. At first the settlers intended for the log cabin to be only a temporary home, but the climate was so mild that they soon forgot to build more commodious or permanent buildings until a growing town forced them to do so. Examples of these settlers becoming financially independent in a very short time are given by Considerant; for example,
One had come with his wagon, his family, two horses and four or five dollars; another had only a pair of oxen, a third nothing at all, and the greater part of the immigrants were in this plight. We saw it everywhere, and yet everywhere at the end of some years, these families, so lately destitute, were surrounded with oxen, with cows, with horses, with hogs and fowls of their own, amid their fields which ripened abundant crops of corn, wheat, Irish and sweet potatoes, etc., and gardens where ever they chose to make them.
We saw a man who had thus come without any means, working with a settler, to earn the team of oxen and the seed with which, three months later, he was going to commence his farming; we saw the father of a family already aged, who having begun five years ago with one cow, had hitherto provided for twelve children, the eldest of whom was hardly sixteen, and for two women, without other help than his brother-in-law. Beautiful cattle, horses and fields in full culture were the conquests of these five years.
A young French wagon maker arrived two years since on the upper Trinity with a dollar in his pocket for all his worldly wealth; he is now proprietor of the finest workshop in Dallas, which he has built at his own cost, and has an industrial capital of $1200....
He characterizes the settlers as ignorant, destitute, without capital, without instruments of labor, and without reciprocal ties. The social conditions cannot be matched anywhere else in the world; in fact,
In its elements, its action and effects, it is doubtless superior to the Savage state, since 구월동오피 it is a seed of civilization that germinates very fast. But in its form, it is inferior, for the Indians at least unite in hordes, in camps or in tribes, while among the settlers, the principle of separation is pushed to the extreme degree.
From Fort Graham Considerant and Brisbane returned by the way of the Colorado River to Austin, perhaps to San Antonio and thence to New Orleans, and Havana, reaching New York August 5. Considerant immediately sailed for Europe, reaching Ostend, Belgium, August 29, 1853, having had in all a nine-months’ trip of exploration and investigation.
With great faith in his glowing reports of Texas, and with a firm belief that he could offer to the colonists 45 the fullest economic liberty and opportunity, Considerant began to gather his forces from a Europe, blind, “timorous and enslaved to routine ... despotic even in its aims of liberty and life.”
“We have never been, in Europe, the abettors of disturbance, or the creators of disorder. We have there been diligent laborers in the good cause, the devoted soldiers of the interests of humanity. America! Free and Republican! was it a crime in us to have wished for Liberty and a Republic for Europe? And would it not be monstrous, should she repel us because we have been, at home, the martyrs of the very cause of which she bears the glorious banner in the face of the world?”
Victor Considerant, European Colonization in Texas, p. 27.
The over enthusiastic praise of Texas, its lands, its climate, and its opportunities in an economic sense should stamp Considerant as a promoter, if it were not for the caution with which he approached the formation of the colony. After serious investigation, it will appear to anyone that he was effusive by nature and his praise was sincere; no flattering statement was made by him to induce people to part with their money, or to participate in the Texas adventure. In fact, his first appeal to the French socialists to immigrate in mass to Texas contains a warning to those who contemplated investing money in the venture. He said that he had always with obstinate sincerity exposed the illusion of attributing to a first scientific experimental establishment the character of a profitable investment.
Furthermore, he warned that: first, the establishment must be considered as a costly experiment; second, that little or no returns on the money invested could be expected; and third, it would require very extensive co-operation to avoid compromising individual fortunes. All colonization, he declares, develops itself at the expense of those involved and at the risk of each individual participating in the act. However, colonization requires a collective principle at its emergence, as an individualistic principle is altogether too feeble to establish a new 48 home and new economic system in a difficult and distant state. Communism, he says, has failed, except in rare cases where the effort was supported by energetic religious faith, largely because of false theory or poor conduct in the establishment of the colony. Therefore, any effort that the Fourierists should put forth should be worked out completely in theory before the undertaking is started.
The first necessity for successful establishment, Considerant thought, was the creation of an agency to direct colonization. This agency was to have two functions: first, to acquire lands on which the first settlements were to be made; second, to prepare these lands to receive the first immigrants. Preparation was to involve the purchasing of grain, foods, live stock, implements, and the erection of houses sufficient to care for the first groups to arrive. After the advance guards of the immigrants had been established, they were in turn to choose other grounds and construct other houses for the next or succeeding wave of newcomers. This method would be continued indefinitely, 구월동오피 much like the Wakefield method proposed in England, until the available lands were taken. Of course, the difference between the Wakefield method and the one proposed by Considerant is that Wakefield would have colonization carried on by the government on money which had been obtained by the sale of government lands, while Considerant’s scheme provided for collectivism, sanctioned and supported by private individuals, either as participants in the act of colonization or as interested observers.