Stephen F Austin to Samuel M Williams, 03-21-1832
Summary: Politics. Mexican attitude toward the colonies. Bowie. Authorities interested in the two cannon at Brazoria. Must avoid imprudence there. Union with Mexico the best course for Texas. Retail law. Land.
[From Williams Papers, Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Tex.]
I leave tomorrow for Saltillo. There is nothing very important
here from the interior. The
Sabios of this place are very doubtfull
that Santana will fail, except one, he thinks he will succeed—this
one is Erasmo [Seguin], who expresses the same decided republican
principles now, that he did many years ago, and I believe is the same
warm friend to colonization and to Texas that he was at first.
Personal feelings are more violent here now, than ever, I mean
amongst each other. I am told that the Ayto. here will support the
memorial, but they think that they ought to have been consulted
first and that even now if they do anything, it ought to bear a date
anterior to the memorial from there, so as to make it appear that
Bexar was the
Movil, and then the other Aytos. should follow in its
I have agreed to this idea and assured them that nothing should
be said about it, you will therefore keep this part of the letter
entirely to yourself.
A great deal of pains has been taken by
some one to foment
discord between Bowie and his connections and me, one of them has
told me who he thinks it is—he thinks him to be an aspiring man,
an enemy at least to both Bowie and myself— I care not much
about such matters. I shall soon be clear of all this stuff and of
public matters I hope.
An order has gone on to inquire how the two cannon came to be at Brazoria etc. This thing should be managed very prudently. The facts as to how they came into the country should be clearly stated, that is—The Steam boat Ariel had them on board on the rio grande. This boat started from that river for Orleans and put into the Brazos river for wood, and after taking in the wood it was found necessary to lighten her as much as possible to get over the bar again, and those two guns and other things were left for that purpose; that, notwithstanding this, the boat stuck on a bar and was damaged so much that she was finally lost in Galveston bay etc. etc.
It would be best to sell those two guns to Bradburn as he requested—they will do more harm than good in their present situation—or they might be delivered to the custom house officer that has gone to Brazoria.
The best friends we have in this place are alarmed lest there
should be some imprudent act committed at Brazoria, which will
put the colonists in the wrong, and afford a pretext to harrass them,
and also defeat the memorial. They think that if any such
imprudence is committed, it will turn the Santana party against the
colonizing system and make them enemies—but if no imprudence
is committed they think the memorial will succeed, even with the
present administration, and
certain if Santana gets up. This is
also my opinion. There is over 1000 troops in Texas, and over
700 in Matamoros, and a large garrison in Tampico. This force
can all be thrown into Texas by water, in a few days, besides the
militia of the adjoining states.
If things can be kept quiet in the colony all will end right and
prosperously, of this I have no doubt—what is needed there is a
dead calm. All reflecting men will become convinced that the true
interest of Texas is never to separate from Mexico, and that it is
the true interest of this nation to encourage the population of Texas,
and make a state of it. This being the case the govt, will remove
the restrictions and the country will prosper.
We have already seen what a check, even the
rumor of difficulties
in Texas has given to emigration. If difficulties should arise in
reality, there would be no emigration at all, and many would leave
the country, and the indians would take possession of it.
The news from Saltillo says that the retail law has put all in
confusion there— it had not passed, but was still pending— the Govr.
had refused to sanction it on the ground that it was unconstitutional-—
right. XXX[Image of hand pointing did not transfer, substituted with XXX- DML] I understand that the officers sent on from
Matamoros prisoners, are to be sent to Tenoxticlan, should they come into
the colony, they will be treated kindly and with hospitality, of
course—very kindly—also the officers from the La Baca Station. I
saw them at La Bahia—Chovel is Teran in full—the others have no
confidence in Chovel, as I suspect. I wrote you by the last mail
from La Bahia which I hope you received.
Navarro has mil congojas about the land sold to Royall—he first petitioned to take it in my colony, then wrote to the govr for authority to take it in Dewitts, and that the Alcalde should be authorized to give the possession. He now says that he cannot request the Govr to appoint a new comr to put him in possession on the west of the colorado, for it will make him appear ridiculous in the eyes of the govt. to be changing about so often. My advise to Royall and Caldwell is to take it in Dewitts Colony and finish the thing at once-—or if any place can be found in my colony that will not interfere, let him take it there, and finish the matter at once. They must recollect that this purchase is in the eyes of the law totally void and of no effect untill they are in a situation to hold land by purchase legally in their own names, and untill the possession is legally given, and a transfer from Navarro—and for this reason they run the risk of loosing all by delay and by being too particular—the best plan is to take it in De Witts Colony as was at first intended.
There is a project before the legislature, as I am told, to reform the colonization law, so that no time is to be lost in closing the titles as soon as possible. I have not seen the plan, but it is said to be almost a total change. Keep this matter in view so as to be ready for it—but say nothing about it for the report toay not be true. John Brown's widow spoke to me here about the land granted to her husband on the West side of Carankawy. He settled on it and has a considerable improvement which is now in cultivation. I believe the title is finished but the copy not delivered. See to this and finish it.
D. Gaspar sends mil memorias and says I must write to you in
conjunction with him that you must not " por ningún motivo
separarse de sus destinos." Arciniega will return early in
Mrs. Brown, the widow of John Brown will send for the deed of
the league on Carancahua bayou, send it to her by a safe conveyance.