Stephen F Austin to Samuel M Williams, 07-01-1832

Summary: The Santa Anna revolution. Advice for avoiding conflict in Texas. Fidelity to Mexico.

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

July 1. 1832

Dr Sir—

A revolution—or rather a change of garrisons has taken place in this town—Col. J. A. Mexia entered on the 28 without opposition, he fired three cannon shot at a small party of cavalry between this and the Brazo, which dispersed them. The most of them joined him, and escorted him into town, for he brought none but infantry, as he came by water.

I have never seen anything conducted with so much good order— one party quietly marched off towards San Fernando, and the other as quietly marched in and took up quarters in the barracks. The ordinary business of the merchants was not interrupted one hour— not one cent of private property has been touched—not one act of confusion nor even of disorder has occurred since Mexia arrived. By the by, he is a very different man now from what he was when you knew him—he has had ten years experience, a great part of the time as Secretary of Legation in Washington city—he is now a useful, and I think quite a liberal and good man, I am much pleased with him.

I have written to Ugartechea by the express which left here on the 27, also day before yesterday by cap Ross of the Exert bound to Galveston, he promised to call at the mouth of the river. I also wrote to Musquis, to the Alcalde to John and to you.

Ugartechea is ordered to take command at Anahuac. Duclor is ordered from the mouth of the river to Brazoria. Cortina is provisional collector of Galveston.

The course for the people there to take in the present distracted state of the nation, is to declare that they will take no part in the civil war at all—that they will do their duty strictly as Mexican Citizens—that they will adhere to Mexico and to the gen. and State constitution, and resist any unjust attacks upon either, by any, or by all parties no matter who they may be.

This must be the basis of all they do, or say,—that is, should they find themselves bound to do, or say anything to protect their personal security and property from unjust and arbitrary attacks-—but should there be no such necessity they ought not to say, or do anything— a dead calm is the best.

I am told the chief of department has gone on—he must act, and sustain the dignity of the State. I recd an officio from Genl Teran informing that he had ordered Ugartechea to advise with me, and put himself de accuerdo with me, I am requested to do the same with Ugartechea—in obedience, and full complyance with this request I have written to Ugartechea twice. I sent a copy of my first letter to the Chief by the express, and of the last by the Exert, and I now enclose you another for Ugartechea.

From the best information I can get I think that Teran will be upon Mexia in this place in a day or two with his whole force—if so it will be a bad business, and I fear the result for Mexia is in a just and good cause and deserves to get through well—his movement here was bold and prompt, and well managed.

I say that he is in a good cause for the reason that what is called the Santana party, is in fact the democratic republican federal party of the nation, opposed to the aristocratic party.

I have waited here to see the event of these things before I went to Saltillo—shall probably start tomorrow if nothing new occurs. Tho if Teran is close at hand, I will wait and see the end of his attack, he will take the place of course, for his force is very superior—it is said that Moctezuma has taken the field, which it was thought would detain Teran, but I doubt that-—it is not certain. How horrid is civil war. God keep it away from Texas. Mexia will not go to Texas, there is no object he can affect by going there, but on the contrary it would only make confusion. I have advised him not to go there and he will not—neither did he intend to go when he left Tampico.

The Governor of the State Vital Fernandez came with him from Tampico, the Lieut, Govr Juan Molano is also here.

Keep peace in Texas, and if there is anything done, mind the main basis, Union to Mexico, and obedience and adherence to the Constitution, repeat this basis in all that is done, and all that is said—never loose sight of it one moment.

I have had a good deal of talk with Fisher, and am reconciled with him—his intentions were better than were supposed, but he greatly mistook the means and committed imprudencies of which he is now aware—he never intended to go back—or at least not soon—let him alone—say no more about him—he is an unfortunate man and anything said against him now will be taken for persecu- tion—he would finally have done well and made a good collector, but he thought that he must be very rigid at first—

Let the past be forgotten—

S. F. Austin

Teran was still in victoria on the 27.

S. M. Williams