C. B. Penrose to Stephen F. Austin, 06-27-1827

Summary: Desires to establish a distillery in Texas, and submits proposal for admission of molasses free of duty.

San Felipe De Austin June 27th 1827

Mr Penrose respectfully presents to Col. Austin, the following subjects for his consideration, and on which he would request an answer, whenever the Col's convenience will permit—

1st Mr. P— in conjunction with a planter of Louisiana, proposes erecting in Texas, an extensive Distillery for the manufactory of Rum, but as the law " Granting certain privileges to the Citizens of Texas " under which Mr P— would expect to import Melasses for the maintainance of his Distillery, appears to clash with a subsequent law of the Genl Govt, Mr P to place the matter beyond a doubt would solicit from the Govt, the privilege of introducing from Louisiana or elsewhere, an adequate supply of melasses, for a Term of years, free of duty, or untill the Citizens of the Colony who have turned their attention to the culture of the sugar cane, could afford the material in sufficient abundance, when Mr. P— would pledge himself to confine his purchases to the Colony—The capital which Mr. P— would invest in the prosecution of his design, would be little short of $10,000 and as the greatest part of that sum would be expended in the Colony—and as the houses and other fixtures when erected, would be an important and valuable acquisition to the Colony, Mr. P— would therefore, solicit the cooperation of Col Austin in obtaining the privilege refered to. Should the Genl Govt grant Mr P— the privilege of introducing Free of duty—one hundred thousand Gallons of Melasses, annually he would also suggest to Col Austin, the reasonableness of his asking an exclusive privi- lege. Mr P— would invest a large capital in a doubtful adventure, he stakes his all, with his time and attention for years—and should ultimate success, or entire ruin to himself, be the result of his enterprise, he conceives himself meriting the encouragement and protection of the Govt for introducing a manufactory heretofore unknown, or pursued upon a very limited scale—

2nd What quantity of Land—might Mr. P—expect to derive from the Govt as a donation and where situated ?—

3rd Mr P— is particularly solicitous to be informed by Co1 Austin of the various markets of Mexico—What quantity of Rum could be annually disposed of, in each place, and the probable price, and also the safest and cheapest means of transportation to the interior?

4th Whether 1st or 4th proofs would meet the readiest markets?

5th If Co1 Austin is of opinion that some point on the Brassos, would be the most eligable position for the proposed establishment— Mr. P would request him to designate the place, having a regard to the facility of transportation to the various ports of Mexico

6th Mr P— would require for his establishment, a large quantity of scantling and Cypruss plank, but as the latter cannot be easily obtained in the ColonyMr. P—would wish to get permission to bring from Louisiana—Cisterns ready made, or plank for the purpose of making them—

7th Could artizans and day laborers be obtained in the Colony or would Mr P have to bring them from U—S?

8th Are not the banks of the Brassos well wooded, and if so, what kind of timber is generally found?

9th Should Mr P— find it necessary to purchase a vessel, what tonage would Co1 Austin recommend ? and what steps would Mr P— have to pursue, to place his vessel under the Mexican Flag—

10th What is the regular army of Mexico—and what number of Seamen? how are they provissioned? might not Mr P dispose of a considerable quantity of Spirits annually—to the Govt for their army and navy

Should the privilege solicited—be granted, it will be in the name of Joseph B. Wilkinson and Clement B Penrose, Trading under the name of Penrose & Co

Would it not be profitable to establich a sugar house?

My Dear Sir

The foregoing memorandum I have hastily sketched out, there are other objects connected with my plan, which I will discuss with you when your liesure will permit; in the meantime the only apologys I can offer for the trouble I give you, is the assurance of my warm thanks for the friendly reception which you have given me—and to remind you of the friendship which has so long subsisted between our Families—I must also trouble you to enquire for me at San Antonio the price of 1st rate cognac Brandy and Annisette cordials— I have of the first upwards of 100 Gals, and of the latter, say 240 Gals,,—put up in casks of 12 Galls—if it is not too much trouble you might possibly dispose of it, for me, deliverable here to some of the traders of that place, I presume it is worth, from 3 to 4$ per Gallon—will you My Dear Sir, at all events, write to me, as early as your convenience will admit of,

If I have to go to San Antonio—I conceive the cheapest way, would be to employ mules—but as they are not to be had here I have to request, as a particular favor, that you would send them in—I will require ten—and Mr McKinstry who will accompany me will want eight more—and also two horses to ride—will you when you write inform me whether Dry Goods are abundant or scarce in San Antonio and Mr. McKinstry's prospects in going there. I shall not want the mules until I hear from you—If what I ask should in the least interfere with your convenience, I beg you will tell me so without ceremony—

C. B. Penrose

Col. S F Austin