Stephen F Austin to Samuel M Williams, 04-09-1832
Summary: Retail law passed over governor's opposition. Political conditions prevent relief to settlers in east Texas. Prudence and moderation, however, will bring relief in the end.
[From Williams Papers, Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Tex.]
I arrived here Sin Novedad, on the
three voted against
it. Aguirre, Fuentes, and Figueroa. It will do the colonies no
material harm, for not many of them have ever retailed goods out of
the colony. In principle it is unconstitutional, but nothing need be
said on that ground at present.
The Governor is decidedly in favor of the colonists, he will sustain
them if they act prudently, and had it not been for this Santana
business he would have taken some measures relative to the
de la Libertad affair, but to notice it now would be adding fuel to
the flame of discord that threatens the ruin of the confederation.
The opinion of many who are opposed to the ministers, and of all who
are opposed ton Santana is, I that his real object is centralismo. The
Ministers are suspected to have the same views. The real federalists
are therefore opposed to the ministers and support Santana so far
as to insist on their removal, but there they will stop, and if Santana
still persists all parties will [be] united against him except his
personal friends and he will fall. Tamaulipas is in great confusion.
Santana is besieged in Vera Cruz—all the rest of the nation is quiet.
On my arrival here I found rumors in great abundance relative
to Texas—that it had separated and declared independence etc. etc.
The Govr did not believe anything of the kind, and I have fully
satisfied him, on that subject, he is in favor of the memorial and
will recommend it when it returns through the Chief of
Department— he thinks it will be granted if no imprudence is committed
by the colonists. There will be a change of ministers, an express
who arrived last night from Mexico, I am told brought news that
it had been finally determined to change all the ministers. The
Memorial will therefore reach Mexico with the Govrs
recommendation in the right time, just after the new cabinet is formed, and
reform is the order of the day. The object is a very important
one, and it is best to bear almost any thing rather than jeapordise all
by rashness and ill timed passion and imprudence. All the wild
sayings and gabbling over cups and speeches etc at Brazoria have
been circulated over this country with wonder full augmentations.
The fact is that the great majority of the thinking and intelligent
part of the people in the towns I passed through and in this place
The advice I have reed, from a high source is, as follows— " Harmonize as much as possible with the military—give no cause for disgust—be calm and never shew any passion—never use threats or harsh language. The Alcalde or Ayuntamto. ought to keep an exact and detailed account of all the oppressive acts of the military or revenue officers and report the same to the Chief of Department. Any one who is illtreated by a military or revenue officer ought to exhibit proof of the same to the Alcalde who ought to report it immediately to the Chief of Department. No violence must be used on any pretext—no imprudent talking etc."
Better advice could not have been given and if properly followed will produce favourable results. Do try and impress this on everyone, and especially on those in Brazoria who are rather warmer than they ought to be, tho perhaps not much more so than rigid justice requires.
Some men in the world hold the doctrine that it is degrading and
corrupt to use
policy in anything. Without saying whether I
approve of this doctrine or not, I do say that there is no degradation
in prudence and a well tempered and well timed moderation. The
absolute freedom of speech that is used in the U. S. of the North
is unknown in this country and hence it is not properly understood,
and for this reason just complaints when made in harsh language
are construed into rebellion etc. etc. As a general rule all over the
world Language and Acts, must be regulated in a great degree by
circumstances and characters
Some amendments to the colonization law are proposed—they are
not very unfavourable—the quantity of land is proposed to be
reduced to half a Sitio for those who exhibit proof that they have at
least 100 head of Ganado Mayor—those who have not that quantity
are only to get one labor—the price is proposed to be increased a
little etc. I doubt whether anything will be done with it this
session. The members do not harmonize amongst themselves. The
prospect is good that
nothing will be done by this Legislature except
the retail law.
Shew this to John Austin—