Stephen F Austin to James F Perry, 12-31-1829

Summary: Urging him to remove to Texas. Good description of productions and economic condition of Texas.

San Felipe de Austin. 31 Decr 1829

Dear Brother and Sister,

I have reflected very much on your removal to this country, and after weighing the matter carefully I have become convinced that it is my duty to advise your removal, and I now do so, and urge you not to delay any longer than is absolutely necessary to close all your affairs, or to put them in train to be closed

I have peti[ti]oned the Govt of the State for eleven Leagues of land for you on Galveston Bay, within Six or seven Miles of Galveston harbor, if the half of that quantity is granted it will be a fortune, My standing with this Govt justifies the expectation that the whole will be granted but there will be a condition that the grant shall be void unless you actually remove to this colony within two years from tomorrow (1 of Janry 1830) and the limit may possibly be 18 months, tho. I have asked two years—

There is a fine opening here for a good Merchant, and a regular trading shooner to ship produce such as corn, lard etc. to Tampico and vera Cruz would make money rapidly— there is considerable cotton made and some sugar— Beef, Tallow, pork, Lard, Mules etc All goods can now be introduced free of duty but this previlege expires the 1 of Novr next so that next Spring is the best time to move or if you come in the fall let it be before November, for after that time you will have to pay enormous duties. I really do not think that a greater prospect ever before presented itself and I shall think that you are trifling with fortune if you do not embrace it.

This matter ought to be considered in another point of view— I am quite alone here— My beloved brother is no more— he has left but one child and I had taken care to secure a large tract of land in my brothers name, which will be a handsome provision [for] my little nephew— my constitution is much broken— at my death I shall leave some land to some one and I wish to see all my sisters children provided for, The eleven Leagues I have petitioned for, will be in the names of both of you and for the equal benefit of both— that is half for Sisters children by Bryan, and half for you, to be disposed of as you think proper, this will be a handsome provision even if they get nothing more, It is now uncertain wheither I shall ever Marry, and if I do not, I shall perhaps have some land to divide amongst them this however is uncertain, and I do not urge your removal on account of any expectations of that kind, I wish to secure you a certainty in the 11 Leagues and that is an object worthy of removing to, seting aside every thing else— If you want more land more can be had— I can now buy 50 Leagues at about 8 to 400 dolls, pr. League and less— The 11 Leagues I have petitioned for will cost you about $1000 including every thing, and you will be allowed 4, 5, and 6, years to pay a part of that in and the balance can be settled by me easily—

I have not heretofore urged your removal because I have never been so thoroughily convinced as I now am of the future rapid rise of this country-— you have no idea of it, or you would be here before April, family and all— There is a good situation on the land I have asked for you, for a Steam Saw Mill— lumber sells at Tampico Vera Cruz etc at from 50 to 80 dolls, per 1000— none can be imported from the U. S. for it is a prohibited article— your servants must be indented or hired by contract executed before a Jud[g]e or Clerk of the County with his certificate under seal- indenture them for life at a small hire; and let each one acknowledge in the indenture that he or she is indebted to you 5. 6. or 800 dolls, according to the value of the slave— No Slaves can be admitted, but there is a special law guaranteeing all contracts made in a foreign country with servants or hirelings- Bring ail manner, and great quantities of fruit seeds with you and some Gooseberry and rasberry roots, in particular

Furniture is scarce here and high, but as we are all poor backwoodsmen, costly furniture is unknown and unnessary, but you ought to bring enough to be comfortable

I have set my heart on your removal and I shall be dreadfully disappointed if you do not— Consign any thing you wish to send here to James W. Breedlove New Orleans with orders to ship it to John Austin Brazoria Texas— Send your letters to Breedlove, post paid and enquire of him as to vessels, freight, etc he is the Mexican consul for New Orleans and my friend, do all your business with him— Send some letters directed to me, care of Hugh McGuffin, Post Master at the Sabine Parish of Nachitoches post paid— as soon as I get an answer from the Govt I will write, in the meantime prepare to move for I must have you here— You must come indeed you Must I have fine situations for building in this place and all round it, you can take choice I will live with you until I marry—that is to say until I die—Brothers widow and little Stephen will join us, I wish the remnant of our family united once more, and it can be done with all ease

This is the most liberal and munificent Govt on earth to emigra[n]ts— after being here one year you will oppose a change even to Uncle Sam

I can now help you—but if you delay it will be out of my power— now then is the time—

All the difficulties as to Slaves about which I wrote you are removed, by a new law excepting Texas from the Gen1 emancipation law of 15 Sepr this applies to Slaves brought in before the time expired for introducing them—this shews that the principle of Slavery is admitted as to Texas, and I have no doubt that in a few years this will be a Slave State— I have no doubt that it is the Settled policy of the present administration of this Govt to fill up Texas with emigrants from the U. S. as soon as possible and from it into a State of this confederation, it will be the best State in the Mexican Union

Now is the golden Opportunity—if you loose it, such another will never offer—

I send this by way of Opelusas tomorrow I will write by way of Orleans and in a few days by way of Nachitoches for fear some of the letters may miscarry. I shall tax you for postage, but the object is worth it for if you come to this country I see nothing to prevent your being rich very rich in a few years— 11 Leagues of land is near 50.000 acres- try and bring some of the breed of English cattle, nature never made a better place for stock than the land I have asked for you— oysters and fish and fowls at your door etc the latitude is about 29° .10'— it is about 80 miles from this place— so soon as the grant comes in I will go in person and have it surveyed

S. F. Austin [Rubric]

J. F. Perry and Emily M. Perry

Bring all your capital it can be well employed here— I have said to the Govt that your capital is considerable—