Moses Austin to Felix Trudeau, 02-03-1821

Summary: Kirkham's relations with illicit traders.

Copy of Declaration handed to Mons. Trudo Spanish Agent at Nachitoches.

Feby 3 Year 21

After leaving St Antonio in Company with James Kirkham the following circumstances transpired, a development of which I consider it my duty to make to you [to] exonerate me from any blame or reproach that might be attached to me in Consiquence of my being in Company with James Kirkham whose unguarded conduct may have drawn down disgrace on himself and indangered my Reputation.

The day before I left Sant Antonio Kirkham mentioned to me that five Spaniards would leave the City with us, for Nachitoches but did not say that they had an intention to leave in a Clandestine manner or to commit any act in violation of the orders of the Governor or Society Nor was their intentions made known to me until after our arrival at the River St. Marks. When Kirkham mentioned that the five Spaniards had made a brake on the Kings Yard of Mules and Horses and Stolen ten or twelve and had made there escape and would come up with us at the River Colorado at which place he had agreed to detain for them and had told them he would purchase there Mules and give them a safe conduct into the United States. I at the same time learned from him that the Spaniards had communicated to some of there friends at St. Antonio before they made theft of the Mules that Kirkham and the other American was to detain for them and give them a safe conduct into the United States I Expostulated with him for giving them any encouragements to bring out Mules in as much as he knew it to be against the orders of the Governor, he then said that he had not given them any encouragement except, that if they brought Mules-he would purchase, them. I again stated to him how unwise it was to have held out the least inducement to these men to commit a theft the consequences of which might turn on his own head and that I should take the earliest moment to Exonerate myself from any participation in the whole matter in as much as my name had been called in question it is however Clearly to be understood that I do not charge Kirkham with having Covenants with the Spaniards for the mules or of having been guilty of any act or Crime further than may be attached to the Offers he made the Spaniards to Purchase the Mules this statement therefore is made in Exoneration of myself. What ever agreement Kirkham may have made with the Spaniards, if any, is unknown to me—and I do most solemnly declare that. What ever conversation might have takin place between Kirkham and the Spaniards touching the Mules they are unknown (to me) as are also the men themselves with whom I never had a conversation directly or indirectly—

[Moses Austin.]