Stephen F Austin to Josiah H Bell, 02-24-1829

Summary: Political news from Mexico. Sees prospect of amending Federal constitution to permit religious toleration; thinks household worship will cause no trouble now, but wants no Methodist excitement. Plans for an academy at San Felipe.

Feb 24 1829

Dr Sir.

The mail has this moment arrived—the subject of foriegn debts is finally settled as you will see by the enclosed law which speaks for itself and needs no explanation—it is very full— The difficulties in Mexico are all settled. Guerrero is the President and Bustamante the vice PresidentPedrasa's election was set aside by congress in the manner prescribed by the constitution on the ground of fraud and corruption and congress then proceeded to elect from the other persons who stood highest in the list, and at the first vote Guerrero recd. 15 States and Bustamte 13—there are 19 states in all so that this great question is now finally settled in a legal and constitutional manner and tranquility is fully restored

The prospect of a change in the national constitution so as to strike out the restriction on Religious toleration is so great and brightening so rapidly that I have no longer any doubts that it must and will take place, and under this belief I am of opinion that no evils will arise from family or neighborhood worship, or from the delivery of moral lectures, provided it is not done in a way to make a noise about public preaching So as not to start excited methodist preachers, for I do say that in some instances they are too, fanatic, too violent and too noisy,— Moral instruction delivered in that pure, chaste and dignified language and manner with which such instruction ought to be imparted to rational beings, will certainly not be objected to by the Govt on the contrary it will be highly approved of. I give this as my opinion

Mr Pilgrim proposes to teach school I am pleased with him so far as I have been able to judge— My opinion on this subject is that we should all unite with a view of establishing a permanent Academy at this place—

If we now commence on this basis, I have no doubt of succeeding, and if the subject is pushed and properly laid before the Govt. I have no doubt of obtaining a liberal endowment of funds— I fear that a division in the minds of the people as to where the Academy ought to be located would totally defeat the object, and for this reason I am in favor of engaging Mr Pilgrim to establish a School here permanently and that measures be adopted without delay to raise funds by subscription for a suitable house, large enough to accommodate about 100 scholars— I have drawn a plan which I send you

This subject is a very important one, it has always been a favorite one with me, and I think an effort should be now made to get the school under way, it can be added to afterwards—in fact it will naturally increase as its reputation becomes known and I fear that if the present opportunity passes of geting a permanent teacher another may not o[ffer so] on. I will however unite in support of any general plan to establish Schools, which will do the most public good—

Please present my best respects to Mrs Bell. Mrs Powel Dr. Wells and family etc

S. F. Austin [Rubric]

The subject of preaching must be managed with prudence, for I do assure you that it will not do to have the Methodist excitement raised in this country— All this is for your eye, and your confidential friends, and not for the public indiscriminately

[Addressed:] J.H.Bell