Stephen F. Austin to Josiah H. Bell, 08-29-1823

Summary: Seeking a site for capital. Too busy to select land for himself, asks Bell to do it for him.

KeyKendales, Augt 29 1823

Dr Sir

I expected to have visited you before this time but cannot do so for two or three weeks—I am now endeavoring to find a place suitable for the capital of the colony and believe I shall fix it below Cummings on this River at a place now occupied by Mr Bright—If an opportunity opens I wish you would write me wheither there is any suitable place on your River any where between the place called the fort and Mr. Boatrights I do not wish to go higher up than Boatrights unless the situation should by its superior natural advantages require it. I want a place for the town on the west side of the Brazos where there is abundance of good water besides the river, either springs or a good creek.

The place I have in view on this river is very well watered with the best of springs—it is about 38 miles from Castlemans, about 65 or 70 miles from the mouth of this river, about 25 miles from Boatrights and I suppose about 45 miles from you, and about 70 miles from the mouth of the Brazos and if the La Baca is settled will be nearly central, but if a situation can be found on the Brazos more so and a good site I will fix it there—

I wish you could do me the favor to select some good places for me say about six or eight league tracts any where between Parkers and McFarlands, or employ some one to do it and I will pay for it—or I will pay you if your other occupations will permit. I want good land water and timber, and if the places are not selected now they will all be occupied. It will be a real service to me if you can do this, and Mark them and let it be known that they are reserved— also try and find the best place for a town up above or near you on the River—it will be valuable at some future day, and you shall be profited by making a good selection in lots—also I want a good situation on some creek off from the River where there is a body of good land suitable for a stock farm—also some good mill seats if to be had—it is no more than just that I should have a pick as well as others, and I have too much public business to attend to, to do anything for myself and must call on my friends to aid me—I will send you a regulation relative to Indians, vagabonds etc. as soon as it is copied which I wish to have rigidly enforced—

How do I envy the quiet life you enjoy—I have not a moment that I can call my own, and the task before me is a very troublesome one I cannot expect to please all nor shall I try to do it—I will try to satisfy myself by doing justice to all-

It is probably I shall go to McFarlands in three or four days, to look at that place for a town, but I am told that there is no good water there.

Remember me to Mrs. Bell, your friend

S. F. Austin [Rubric]

I shall decide on the town in less than a week therefore if you know of any good place send me word soon.

J. H. Bell

[Addressed:] Mr. Josiah H. Bell Brazos Care of Kykendall