R C Nicholas to Stephen F Austin, 10-11-1829

Summary: Intention to settle in Texas, uncertain status of labor deters many, but great interest aroused in Tennessee and Kentucky. Prospect of purchase of Texas by the United States.

Nashville Oct 11th 1829

Col. Stephen F. Austin

Sir. I was much concerned in leaving your country without seeing you, and having farther conversation; I left it with a fixed determination of returning as soon as possible and my health was not restored until the July or august thereafter,— I descended the river last winter for the purpose, but hearing of the extreme indisposition of my brother Maj. Carey Nicholas, I was obliged to go to Tallahassee, where I arrived in time to see him die, and was compelled to administer upon his estate.

In the mean time I have constituted myself a sort of recruiting sergeant for your Colony, I have said and done every thing in my power to aid in its prosperity—it has now become a leading topic in conversation, and one of the most interesting subjects of discussion in the political papers.—

A strong and simultaneous effort is at this moment making from the one end of the country to the other, to induce this Govt to purchase it— I incline to the belief, that if the Mexican Govt will sell this Govt will buy. I think that the prospects are so strong, as should forbid a disposition to sell— The Sugar lands on the Mississippi are selling for seventy dollars the superficial acre—let the change take place what will they be worth on the Brassos?—

Under all and every circumstance it is my fixed purpose to make it my future residence, and I doubt not that one or two years experience will enable me to induce the greater portion of my Kentucky relatives to do the same.— Their doubts as to the health, the difficulty that presents itself to them as to labor, the abandonment of their native Country and government, are the stumbling blocks of the present hour, Could these be removed the Country would be filled immediately,—the unproductiveness of the Capital heretofore engaged in the culture of Cotton, would fly there in Crowds beyond your most sanguine hopes and calculations, I expect to be with you the latter end of November or first of December— I will come in the double character of Uncle and guardian to the Hawkinses-— and will be ready to take Such steps as you may suggest for the division of the property, I shall come prepared to sit down upon one of the Leagues on the Oyster Bayou,— My wish is to get the one nearest the Sea beach— Should it be more valuable than any of the others, I will be willing to pay the difference—that difference being estimated by the intelligent and disinterested. As I shall come prepared with men, tools provisions, seeds, and every description of thing that the new settler would require—

The prime object of this letter is to induce you to point out and designate the league that you may be willing or wish me to settle on. For instance, I wish you to procure some surveyors, to go on the ground, and remark and designate the league—leaving the istructions at Mitchells, or should there be no inhabitants at Mitchell's former residence, at Clarks or some intermediate place, where I may be sure to fall in with them, and thus save the time and trouble of calling at your residence to obtain the information— If there is no insurmountable objection to getting the league next the ocean, I rely most confidently on your acquiesance,

I shall come prepared to become a loyal useful citizen—it is my expectation and intention to be able to put up immediately a small steam Saw mill, and to build immedeately a schooner for the Coasting trade—tho' so long neglected, I feel confident this is the most valuable part of your Colony— with moderate luck, I think I shall be able to exemplify this beyond a doubt, and in consequence, enhance the value of the lands-— I shall bring with me some choice seed wheat, I wish you to select some planter to whom I will give it, and thus have at once a satisfactory experiment made upon this valuable grain.