Stephen F Austin to Samuel M Williams, 04-02-1831
Summary: Interest in passage of a general law for the government of territories. Slavery. Hold aloof from conflict between Madero and Bradburn. "In these matters say little or nothing, and nothing definite." Law excluding foreigners from retail trade.
[From Williams Papers, Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Tex.]
I have nothing of much interest to communicate. I refer you and Luke to my letters to Johnson and Williamson. I kept no copy of either of them, and may need the one to Johnson after my return, for which reason I wish you would request him not to let it be destroyed.
Genl Teran writes on
I wish you to take the copy of the oficio that Jorge [Fisher] wrote about the free negroes, and burn it, that is I mean the copy that was signed by me, in case I ever signed any which I do this recollect to have done, and carefully keep the copy and letter on that subject which is in his hand writing don't neglect to do this before you forget it, and send him no papers of any sort—you did very right in not sending those he wrote for.
This is holy week, of course nothing done in the Legislature, tho we have had any quantity of processions etc—the one last night which began at 8 and ended at 11—was beautifull—about 800 females walked in two lines each with a wax candle—the night was calm and dark—the lights made a fine display in these streets, some of which assend near 200 feet in half a mile.
We are at a law to prevent foreigners from retailing—at first I thought it would pass—I now think it will not. I shall oppose it in its present shape.
I am promised an officio to Arciniega by next mail in answer to
the consulta about the restriction—he may go on and put them all
in possession, without any fears. I shall have no difficulty of any
sort with Boss [Teran?]. Close all the
colonizing business of New York, but that
must also be touched prudently. In these matters say little or
nothing, and nothing deffinite, as many smooth words without meaning as
you please. By Rodrigues I sent forty titles, on which I have
paid forty dollars cash which you must collect. Send out the
Gonzales titles without delay get Pettus to attend to it.
Tell Arciniega that I have recd his letter of
The act of the Ayto, which you sent me would have been very
important if anything could have been done with the judiciary, but
it is impossible. Shew Johnson and Williamson the article of the
Jueces Arbitros, and remind Luke of my
recommendation to him on that subject.
All harmony is at an end in the legislature, the Menudeo [retail] law has split us into three or four odd sort of lumps.
Remember me to Sarah and Eliza and my nephew Austin and Mr Hunter. I recd Austins letter and am much pleased with it, would have written by this mail but have not time—will try and bring him the poney and rigging he writes me for.
The Govr has issued an order as I am told, to the Chief of
Department to report what colonies are commenced and how many
families are recd in each. Be very particular as to this, and make
out a corrected list, for the one on the old book is very incorrect-
one fourth of them have left the colony and ought not to be counted.
The certificates ought to be numbered differently, for otherwise
mistaken ideas will arise—by examining the Genl law of
This paragraph to yourself only
I expect Henry Austin is in the colony by this time—-tell him
to select his land without delay—he had the promise of tracts in
the 10 League East of Brazos and must have the preference, but
the best way is to give out the idea that all that land is hung up
untill I return. I also want a good tract for Mrs Holly, widow
of the late Doctor Holly, who will remove to the Colony
P. S. Since writing the above I have had a long conversation with the Govr relative to Texas. [He] is a very just man, and will not consent to an unjust act, if he knows it. I am fully satisfied that the rights of the people east of my colony will be fully respected in the end provided they do not attempt in any way to seek redress by force or violence—that will totally ruin them, and they had better submit to temporary evils than bring greater ones on themselves. I am much better pleased with the Govr than I ever expected to be. During the session various causes and considerations prevented me from being as intimate with him as I have been since—also the statements of others misled me as to a part of his character.
I hope my ideas as to a territory are not misunderstood. I think
I stated distinctly in my letter of
expedient. I have more confidence in the present
administration than I had—my faith in Boss [Teran?] is unimpaired and all
will be right in the end. If the official publication is made in the
U. S. papers stating that my colony is not included in the 11 Article
of the law of
If no notice has been taken of the retail law, let it pass off in silence.
Take care that the Ayto. do not entangle themselves by raising
arbitri[os] not authorized by law, as I see they are about to do—
the resolutions adopted as published in the paper of
Shew this letter to Johnson or such parts as you please.