Stephen F Austin to Mary Austin Holley, 11-17-1831
Summary: Methods and motives and difficulties in settling Texas. Confidence in justice of Mexican Government. Wishes now to advertise Texas and settle Irish, Scotch, German, Swiss, and French immigrants.
I wrote you a scrawl some days since, (I do not recollect the date)
when I was quite debilitated, and with rather a feverish brain, and
really have no clear recollection of the contents of my letter, but
When I explored this country in
favor of the new
government of Mexico—that is, permission to settle this country, and
become one of its citizens. What I asked was granted. I became
a Mexican Citizen. From that moment, honor, the sanctity of an
oath, gratitude—all bound me to Mexico and her interests. Never
have I for one moment, deviated from the line of duty which those
obligations imposed on me. And, I attribute my success (for I may
say with pride I have been successful) to this circumstance. Should
this Government ever attempt to trample upon us, however, honor,
duty, justice, the approbation of all good people of all good Nations,
will point out the course for us to adopt. But, I have no fears—
not the most distant of such an unhappy event. But few of my
native countrymen understand me, my character, motives, or
principles. An earnest desire to benefit all; in short, more good will,
and confidence in mankind than [was] deserved, have often led
me into mistakes verging on weakness, and exposed me to the
impositions of the crafty and designing.
A thorough knowledge of the Mexican character, the policy of
the Government and the feelings of the mass of the people towards
foreigners convinced me at an early day that Texas must be settled
silently, or not at all. Hence it is that I was progressing here for
years, and rearing a flourishing settlement in this country, and it
was unknown even in parts of Louisiana, the adjoining State, that
such a thing existed. The circumstances are now changed, and it
is time to bring out my ward and introduce her to the world.
The emigration of North Americans is now
totally prohibited. I
wish to start an emigration of English, Irish, Scotish, German, Swiss,
French, any civilized people; the three first are the best from the North
American prejudice against the English, on the contrary I only
remember that our ancestors were English.
There is a gentleman here from Virginia Doctor Branch T Archer
of Richmond, a relation of the Congress [man] Archer, with whose
character you are no doubt acquainted. He arrived in
As soon as I can I will try to spend some time with you at Bolivar, and will give you all the information I can. After I have seen Gen : Terran I can form a more certain opinion of the future policy of the Government, and shall be better able to answer the proposed queries of the " British Geographical society" —certainly with more satisfaction than at present.
I shall not leave for Saltillo until I am fully restored in strength,
which will not probably be sooner than
I am a houseless bachelor and have no accomodations to offer
you, but my sister can furnish you a room in a Texas Cabin—with
Texas fare—and an affectionate welcome. Hope promises better
things for next year, though as for
me, a tree, or a tent, with
blankets and plenty of fat wild meat—, I am satisfied.
I congratulate Henry on the near prospect of seeing his family. We have been scattered before the four winds of Heaven. Texas will bring our dispersed family together, and afford us competence, and—a home. To me the idea is truly grateful.