Phineas Smith to J. E. B. Austin, 09-23-1827

Summary: Acknowledging news of his brother's death.

New Lebanon Sept. 23.1827

Dear Sir

Your letter under date of 16 July last announcing the intelligence of the decease of my dear brother George Smith has reached me. The melancholly tidings contained in your letter though I had longed feared its arrival, does notwithstanding deeply affect my heart. Though fully apprized of the fatal nature of the malady with which my deceased brother was affected yet upon the arrival of the melancholly news of his death, I found that I had entertained more hope of his recovery than I was conscious of. I hoped to have seen him once more on earth—to have clasped him in my arms, and to have mingled my tears with his. These hopes are now utterly blasted, still I have a hope of a meeting with my departed brother, that is inconceivably more precious and charming to the soul, than every earthly hope united—it is the hope of meeting him in heaven. The tenor of several of his last letters to me indicated a mind deeply impressed with a sense of the uncertainty of every earthly thing, and the infinite importance of being prepared for the retribution of eternity. A more particular account of his temper and views in his last days would have been highly gratifying, whether he gave evidence of a sanctified heart and leaned upon the arm and trusted in the righteousness and blood of Jesus Christ the only mediator between a holy God and guilty man—These things I take to be implied in his remark "that his last moments, were devoted to his God," but if the account had been more full in relation to some particulars it would have been very pleasing to me. Perhaps it may be convenient to write me hereafter on these points. I feel under lasting obligations to you for your kindness to my deceased brother, but I exceedingly regret the calamity, that eight months should transpire after his death before I received the melancholly intelligence.

You observe that my brother made a will and that you are his executor. In the days of my prosperity I advanced considerable sums to assist my brother George to an education which has never been refunded. I suppose my legal claim upon my late beloved brother, at the time he left this part of the world was a thousand dollars. If therefore any thing can be saved for me justice seems to demand it. Should there be a tract of land I hope it will be such an one as to induce me to go to Texas as a residence. This my brother George once had in view (my removal to Texas) and it is possible it may yet be effected. Please to write me as soon as possible after you have closed the concern of my brothers state.

Phineas Smith

[Addressed:] James B. Austin Esqr. San Felipe de Austin (Texas) Care of Stephen F Austin Esq. by way of Nachitoches (Lou)