Stephen F Austin to Samuel M Williams, 12-28-1830

Summary: Political news. Difficulty of avoiding party entanglements. Certificates for admission of colonists according to law of April 6, 1830

[From Williams Papers, Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Tex.]

Bexar 28 December 1830

Dr Sam.

I arrived here last morning, and shall leave the day after tomorrow by the upper road. I get an escort from here as far as Rio Grande, and another from there to SaltilloMadero will leave in a few days for that place. I wish you to pay him all the attention you can. Shew him some of the deeds that are finished and explain the mode of translating the Surveyors return etc—also the general plots, he is (I have no doubt) as true and warm a friend as the North Americans have— he is a devoted friend of Guerrero and opposed to Teran and the present administration— on subjects of this kind it is best to be silent unless directly questioned, in the latter case you will of course give prudent answers.

The people of this place are, in heart, unanimously hostile to the present administration, and they are more friendly to the North American emigration than they ever were. The state of affairs in Mexico is, if any thing, more unsettled than ever. Teran I believe will not go to Mexico, and I think it not improbable that he may turn his course this way— from what I can learn both Piedrass and the General are desirous to have a good standing with the settlers— we ought to encourage this idea for we may derive much benefit from it, at least so far as to keep off harsh orders etc.

I send you two hundred signatures, have certificates printed over them verbatim like the others and fill them up, all except the name— give as many to R. Williamson as he wants and send some to McGuffin and some to Piedrass, and some to Col Thorn. Try and have them printed at night when no one is present and take care that none of the blanks get into other hands, let none know anything of this but Lesassier and Williamson.

Settlers can get in with certificates from De Witt and he ought to have about 200 struck off and sent to Arkansas and Natchitoches etc.

I presume you have heard all the news from Pettus and Johnson, in this place there is Novedad de indios [rumor of Indians] every hour—a large party were discovered yesterday on Medina near the road.

Arciniega will be on by the 15 of next monto try and get the coast colony out of the way by that time. I will write another letter by him and one by Madero both of a public character, that is you can shew them if you think proper, but this one no person must see except Lesassier.

There can scarcely be a more difficult thing than to play a double game, it is dangerous, and it is at times, a nice point to draw the distinction between such a game and dishonor— we are so situated that we must keep a good understanding with Teran and Alaman,— but at the same time all our best friends at Saltillo and in Mexico are very hostile to both those men. Silence, prudence, and vigilance, must all be called in requisition. I shall have a dreadful task at Saltillo—if I am compelled to come out and take sides openly, I must go with the Viescas of course, in this event the whole pack with Licenciado Aguirre at the head will open against me. Tho, it is best not to anticipate trouble, in two weeks after I get there you shall hear what the prospect is. Viesca has returned to the Govt.—this is a good sign. Say nothing for, nor against Zavala, very rigid orders have been issued by Teran prohibiting the admission of Zavalas families

Keep peace and union at home, I shall not idle abroad.

I have written to De Witt to get 200 certificates of the same kind of mine printed and signed by him and sent in blank to different places. Aid the poor fellow along with it. Chambers has not yet arrived. I cannot concieve what detains him. Pettus and myself parted in such terms as I wish to be with all the settlers—I have confidence in him now, and I think he has in me. The chiefs answer to Williamson will inform you what has been done in his business— A consulta with the Superioridad and nothing can be done until an answer is obtained

Attend to the writing of the certificates (do) take care of my signatures, don't put m[e] in the power of the printer or his boys. I have written to [name illegible] on this subject

remember me to Mrs. Sweet and Sarah

S. F. Austin

[Addressed:] S. M. Williams Austin