Stephen F Austin to Samuel M Williams, 06-15-1832
Summary: Tariff politics. Teran against foreigners, but favors repeal of law of April 6, 1830. Smuggling. Galveston Bay & Texas Land Co.
[From Williams Papers, Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Tex.]
I left Saltillo on the
Mr Alexr Greaves, who came directly here from Victoria proceeds to Texas. I have told him to go direct to your house—he is the most useful man for an office I have ever seen in this country—rigidly moral, industrious, and in every respect worthy of confidence—his knowledge of the Spanish is most accurate—you will discover that his general knowledge of human nature and of mankind is not quite as extensive as that of some men, but his judgement in general is very correct. I think him a very worthy man-—a better man could not be found for the Secretary of the Ayto either of Austin, or of Brazoria.
I send you the law extending the privilege of introducing certain
articles free of duty in Texas for two years—it is not as extensive
as we need. I wish the Ayto. to petition again on this subject, and
ask for a modification of this new law, so as to leave out
and lumber from the law, and include all tools made of iron and
wood used for farming or the trades—furniture—carte and
waggons—iron and steel—cotton baging and bale rope.
It will not do to go any farther, and nothing else ought to be
included or mentioned in the petition. Send one
original copy to
Genl Teran and one to the Minister of Hacienda—also let the Ayto.
write an official letter to Bradburn, Piedras, and Elosua, enclosing
the memorial, and requesting each of them to give his opinion in
writing to the Comt Genl Teran on the subject. If their opinions
are all favourable Teran will also support it, and the measure will
succeed. Also request father Muldoon to write to his friends on
The news papers will have informed you of the political state of
affairs in Mexico—we have no information here as to who are to
compose the new ministry. Some think the revolution will stop
with the removal of the ministers, others are confident it will not.
I think myself that not much quietness can be expected untill after
the Presidential election is over—and even then—-
Genl Teran has gained much credit with moderate men for
avoiding bloodshed—but he has also
lost with the same men, and with
everyone except fanatic fools and old Spaniards, for the manner in
which he has spoken of foreigners in his letter to Moctezuma says, and not by what he thinks, and for this
reason I think those two papers will do the Genl great harm both
at home and abroad. They will also irritate the other party
excessively, for they contain a direct charge that the Santana party
are the mere tools of foreigners, which is certainly an incorrect
The Genl was greatly perplexed, and overwhelmed with
when I saw him at the cojo. He had just retreated from Tampico—
had just heard of the removal of the ministers—was not in very
good health, and in a camp in the midst of his army, of course not
in a situation to talk much about Texas matters—however, we had
considerable conversation on the subject. He expresses great
interest for the prosperity of the settlers—is in favor of repealing the
11 Article of the law of
If harmony and confidence can be maintained between the
merchants and settlers and the local officers of the custom house and of
the army at Brazoria, all will get on very well.
Some one reported
to Genl Teran that there were more goods imported into Brazoria
He says that what the Settlers need for their own use is of no consequence, and if goods could be prevented from being taken from Texas to the interior, no custom house would be established there for many years—but he says that the importations there for the purpose of the interior trade reduces the revenue of of this port, and defrauds the Govt. etc. I told him that the person who made such a report to him stated what was false. He said that every indulgence would be allowed on all articles for the necessary use of the settlers, but that the utmost rigor would be used as to light and fancy dry goods, suitable for the interior trade. By the by this interior trade has never been carried on from Brazoria or Galveston—it is a loosing business at best, and I hope for the future our merchants will let it alone. It is more important at this time to encourage the farmers than the merchants.
I shall go to Monterrey and try to enlist some friends there who
have influence in Mexico to use it with the new administration in
Remember me particularly to Padre Muldoon and
These long trips in the sun through such a wilderness as this
country totally destitute of every comfort for the traveller, are truly
wearisome to the body, to the health, to the patience and to the mind,
but if I can do any good to the colony I shall feel myself well
compensated for all.
S. F. Austin [Rubric]