Stephen F Austin to Samuel M Williams, 04-16-1831

Summary: Government attempting to close Texan ports. Territorial organization could be obtained for Texas. Slavery. Colonization law. Law concerning retail trade. Muldoon. Terán.

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

Lea Veo [Leona Vicario], 16 april 1831

S. M. Williams

Dr Sir. I refer you to my letter to the Ayto. and its enclosure, where you will find as huge a monster as ever appeared in any Legislative Hall on earth. I have endeavored to do all.I could for Madero, but nothing can be done with the present Govr. I will attend to this matter at Matamoros [with Terán] where more can be effected than here. I wish you to write to Madero or get Arciniega to do so and inform him of this.

By the last mail I recd the pamphlet from New York which you sent me, and the other letter. I have given no answer, and shall give none untill after my visit to Matamoros.

I have a letter dated 6 April from Alaman and one of 3d. April from Teran, all seems as well as could possibly be wished for. The excess of tonnage duty paid by S. Rhoads [Fisher], will be refunded—Texas will be remembered in regulating the ports. The arms of the Genl Govt, are wide open to receive us as a territory, (but no basis is stated with the absolute precision which I think necessary) agreeing in genl terms to the plan of Arkansas or something like it etc. The question of Slavery with the reasons which I presented (some of which you have seen in my letter to Johnson of 31 March) has made a very great impression. I sometimes shudder at the consequences and think that a large part [of] America will be Santo Domingonized in 100, or 200 years. The wishes of my colonists have hurried me into this thing—but I am now in for the cuestión and there is no retreat, for my rule is to go ahead after once coming to a decisive resolution on a matter of such consequence as this.

My health is not very good, this atmosphere does not agree with me. I wish for a long life, for if these devils jalapize me, I have a desire to live long enough to Texize them with full interest.

I have prepared a bill to amend the colonization law in the article which prohibits sales untill cultivated in totalidad, but I found there was a desire that I should move the subject so as to destroy the whole law and do all the harm possible. Jesus Grande is at the head of all the mischief—his brother Mariano made a handsome fortune out [of] the Salary he recd in a few months as vista of the Aduana of Matamoros, and now no doubt would find it to be a very comfortable thing to exclude foreigners from retailing here so as to employ his capital to proper and honest advantage.

I could have obtained anything and all I would have asked by joining in this retail law—but better nothing than everything on such terms. Push the titles as fast as possible.

Remember me very particularly to Father Muldoon—I have no objection to his seeing all my letters to Johnson, particularly that of 31 March, and of this date, also what I said to Williamson relative to the evident necessity of never separating from Mexico. I have confidence in Father Muldoon and in Teran, tho time will shew all things. He ought to be consulted as to the policy of forming a territory of Texas, and in doing so my letter on that subject might be shewn to him by Johnson, with a request that he could give his opinion, in as much as it was a subject of great importance and could involve the genl interests of the country etc. Tho do as circumstances may seem to indicate as the best.

I have become responsable for all the fees on all the pe[ti]tions sent on from Bejar, La Bahia and Nacogdoches, and shall have to borrow money, and you must have some ready to send in U. S. Bills.

Remember [me] to all and particularly to Eliza and Elizabeth and Arciniega, tell the latter that I have attended to all his requests read to him my letter to Johnson in full.

S. F. Austin [Rubric]

I shall send two seals for the Jusgado and Ayto by Powel and Hickoke who start in a few days

My colleague [Manuel] Musquis is in favor of excluding those who are merely foreigners in transit. I would not have opposed that, if the legislature had power to legislate on the subject, but I think that the 50 Article of the national constitution gives that power exclusively to the national congress. Musquis is a man of sound principles and unshaken integrity, he has made a host of bitter enemies here by his vote on the 1 Article and I fear will have an unpleasant time in the permanent deputation.

I think nothing ought to be said in the paper at present relative to this law—or if anything is said, don't fail to compliment Musquis on his vote against the 1 Article—on reflection I see no harm that can arise from publishing the dictamen of the committee, and the names of those who voted for and against—tho do as may be thought best. It would be a very good opportunity to make some energetic but respectful remarks on the danger of violating the constitution, and on the sacredness of that instrument etc—mention the thing to Wil- liamson and Luke. I have sent a copy of the law to Alaman, and to Teran so that they may not attribute the results which may happen from its publication in Texas, to any but to the true cause.