Henry Austin to Stephen F Austin, 03-15-1831

Summary: Cotton mills for Texas. Emigrants rapidly filling Austin's contracts. Galveston Bay & Texas Land Co. carrying on frenzied speculation, and will attract too much attention to Texas on part of the Government.

New Orleans March 15th 1831

Col S F Austin


My Dear Sir

I wrote you by the Surprize for Matamoros on the subject of Mr Wares proposal to establish a cotton factory in the colony. The matter appears to me of so much moment, and the chance of letters reaching Saltillo so small I think it advisable to repeat the sub- stance of that letter. The immediate establishment of a manufactory of a 1000 spindles with a capital of 40,000$ would not only encourage the cultivation of cotton in the interior but promptly produce a specie circulating medium by furnishing a comodity for legitimate trade with the interior of Mexico, and the establishment would be rapidly encreased if suscessful, which appears to me certain unless political disturbances should occur. Mr Ware has not only a large cash capital of his own but ability to command any amount that can be securely and profitably invested. He proposes as I wrote you to embark 40.000$ in the establishment of a Cotton manufactory in the Colony, provided he can have permission so to do, and your protection and support, that is if he can be assured no impediments will be thrown in his way to defeat the object. Such as priveleges to others, denied to him, excessive taxes etc. I have told him as my opinion that as the establishment of cotton manufactorys is a favorite project with the Govt and the location of one in the colony obviously calculated to promote the permanent interests of the State and people he might safely calculate on your giving the project all the encouragement in your power consistently with your public duty and that I had but little doubt you would obtain for his benefit an increased grant of land in consideration of the project being carried into immediate effect, perhaps five possibly eleven leagues. He then said if you would do so he would allow you a share of the profits for getting him the land, but on my observing I had doubts whether you would allow your private interest to influence your public duty he observed then that in case of obtaining eleven leagues as an encouragement to establish the factory he would consider half of the land as mine for my agency in making the arrangement or it might be estimated as so much capital on my acct and you might particĂ­pale in the benefits or not as you might judge proper. He also wishes to engage me in the operation, and on my telling him I had no capital to embark in it offered to consider my attention to the business as equivalent to Capital

It is very doubtful whether I can join in this operation, were my solicitation granted, I might be induced to do so as the most secure mode of establishing myself in the colony to secure my lands, but altho two months and an half have elapsed since your arrival in Saltillo, I have not recd a line from you and give up all expectation of getting the land, I have therefore declined entering into any arrangements on the subject until I hear from you. Mr Ware will also wait your reply, before he moves in the matter. Would it not be practicable to get the Govts sanction to a grant of 11 leagues for the encouragement of the establishment of the first fac- tory of not less than one thousand spindles With authority to warrant that encouragement I could ensure the establishment of the manufactory at once. I should think both the Govt and Genl Teran would be favorable to this enterprise. Perhaps it would be judicious to apply to Teran for pecuniary aid for the object as he has funds expressly for such purposes and it might add to the security of the property if some Govt funds were at hazard as a loan for encouragement—yet it would not be well to be entangled with the Govt in the matter any further than policy might require to make him believe such establishments require encouragement. Mr Ware wishes you to write him on the subject as we may not be here when your reply comes I give you his address on the envelope. I shall wait here doing nothing until I hear from you.

My Sister Mrs Holley now here with the family of Mr La Branch, wrote you some time ago on the subject of getting land for herself and son Her intention is to accompany my family in case I locate in the colony and her object is to secure some ultimate provision for her son. She has a few thousand dollars which would enable her to make the needful improvements. She is full of the project of reuniting the members of our dispersed and reduced family and forming a society of our own, it is not probable her letter has reaehd you. Cannot some arrangement be made to connect the U. S. with the Mexican mail? Correspondence with the Colony is now very uncertain.

The Galveston Bay land company in New York are running wild in their operations. Selling land by hundreds of thousands of acres a 5 cents pr acre, etc. Sending out steam machinery for mills boats etc. I fear they will do much harm by calling the attention of Govt too much to that quarter. I have not recd a line from the colony since I left and know not how matters are going on. Mr Pollet of Nacogdoches told me the other day that the emigrants going in by land had great difficulty there for want of passports. Some for Dewits colony had been turned back. He had passd some through destined to your colony by engaging to procure passports for them from the Consul here, which the authority said was indispensable This will cause much disappointment and injury if persisted in. The great numbers of people going into the colony will soon fill up your contracts I beg you will let me know when your power to grant lands will probably cease, because if I do go in I may want to provide for some I may take with me. I should be glad also to know, (if you can ascertain without calling the attention of Govt to the subject)when the privelege of taking goods into the colony duty free will cease. I see the law of April speaks only of provisions and lumber, and expect that in ease I go in I shall be caught with the whole length of the tariff on what I take with me according to my usual luck. I am told they already collect the duty in Matagorda bay.

Respectfully and cordially, your friend and Serv

H Austin [Rubric]