Anthony R. Clarke to Stephen F. Austin, 05-22-1824

Summary: Americans in east Texas object to the establishment of Catholicism as the State religion. Opposition to moving to the interior. Bastrop and Austin suspected of having selfish interest in this. Horse thieves.

Atoyac 22 May 1824

Dear Sir

your favour of the 20 ultimo was handed me by y[our] Brother who spent the night here I read the out lines for the Federal Constitution, the Ammericans can find no fait with any part of it but the 4th Article,—Mr Dill and Capt Gains have returned from St Antonio they speak very violently against the Counsel at that place as being self created and having no power, etc Gains took out a petition signed by about 150 men. I saw nothing in this that would be considered wrong or improper in the United States but Gains states that it was violently opposed in the Counsel particularly by Baron de Bastrop who he states is opposed to this District being settled by the Americans and that he rules the Counsel that he Gains argued and disputed with the Counsel for 15 days but could get nothing done owing to the opposition of the Barron, the oppinion now circulating is that the Barrons opposition to this settlement is owing to self interest that if he can break up this settlement that numbers would go to the Brassos and the more Setlers the more money for him as Survayor General—the answer to the petitions and the insinuations of those persons returned from St Antonio has caused much uneasiness to the setlers, as soon as I learnt those things I proceeded with one of my neighbours to Nacogdoches and had sufficient influence with Juan Segean (who is acknowledged by Sálceuda [Saucedo] as the first Alcade) to get him to issue a notice to all the Setlers in the District who wished to live in the Mexican provinces as quiet peaceable, citizens and to hold themselves in obedience to the laws and regulations of said Government to come forward on the 6th day of June to swear to support the Mexican Constitution—this will satisfy all parties and produce peace and harmony in the Country Mr Dill I conclude you are acquainted with if you have been in his company. As to Capt Gains I can truly say that in thirty years intercours with mankind I have never been so much deceived and cheated by any person as him. I state to you in confidence and I wish you to consider my statement as confidential, that this discription is his true carractor, that he is a bladder of wind seeking popularrity that he possesses a very inventive genius is very deceatfull and a most abominable lyer if you detect him in a lie he will deny it without a blush and produce such argiments as to convince a person not acquainted with him that it was impossible that he could make such a statement he has told a different story at allmost every house he stoped at since his return, he is becoming generally known, under those circumstances you may rest assur'd that we will not permit him to ruin the settlement by sowing the seeds of dissention among the Inhabitants,—I have been informed as a secret that he has purchased a League of land of you but that he does not wish the people of this settlement to know it—I have received a letter from Seceuda the firs alcade and president of the Counsel at St Antonio he informs me that no person but a native of the provinces can hold any office in this Country, of course I am no longer an Alcalde, this is unfortionate for the settlements for since the election of American Alcaldes we have broke up two gangs of theives, Jim Millan and his gang and one gang on the Teneha consisting of Ephraim Brown a Cousin of his by the name of Brown from Kentucky old Hogan and his nephew Walter Hogan they fled from justice and could not be taken some of their property was brought in and sold to pay the cost of the guard and stolen property, since that time no property has been molested for a number of months untill a few weeks past four Horses has been Stolen from this neighbourhood, three Americans met a Spaniard on this side the Trinity and traded to him two Gray mares one belongin to a Mr Carter the other to Mrs Brown one is still living the widow Browns is dead she had but one liors and mare, they had been wrode to death, one of the men is supposed to be by the name of Lane the other had red hair the third I have no description of, Mr Fulcher has lost two creatures on the same night, he thinks it possible that Brittian Bailey may have taken them as he left this country about the same time and was not seen on the Rhoad there is no evidence or other cause to susspect him than a knowledge of his former carracter nor do I wish that the breath of suspetion should light on him if inocent, I enclose a discription of Fulchers Mares and wish you to send it to Josiah H. Bell Esqr. I am informed he lives adjoining Baileys and could assertain if he has those Horses or had traded them on the Brassos,—Mr Fulcher feals confident that if Mr Bell find the Mares that he will secure the property you may think I have written a long letter but if you reflect that I feel confident that I am writing to a man that feels an interest for the settlement and a friend to all good Americans in the province I know you will pardon me—

accept my best wishes for your health and happiness,

Anthy R. Clarke [Rubric]

[Addressed:] Col Stephen. F. Austin St Phillipe de Austin Brassos