Stephen F Austin to James F Perry, 01-14-1834

Summary: Announcing arrest, discussing past policies, and advising tranquillity.

Monterey Jany. 14 1834

Dr Brother and Sister,

The affairs of Texas are likely to cost me much trouble and expense in addition to what I have already undergone since I left home. The state govt, have made an accusation against me of some kind, to the genl Govt, and I was arrested on the 3rd inst. at Saltillo on my arrival there and shall leave in a few days for Mexico as a state prisoner. Give yourselves no kind of uneasiness about this matter— it can do me no other harm that [than] the delay and expense—all I can be accused of is that I have labored most diligently and indefatigably to get Texas made a state separate from Coahuila, and that is no crime, nor no dishonor—it is quite the reverse

I made some enemies in Mexico for opposing a territory, but I have many good friends, who will see justice done me and amongst them, the vice President himself

It is very likely that I may be hammered and pummeled about for a year before I get home again, but I think that good will come of it for Texas. The April law is repealed and before I quit the matter I hope to see some other remedies. I did not like the manner this question was started I wanted Bexar to take the lead—but so it is— you must all now harmonize more with Bexar and Goliad and have union—and no more party spirit. I suppose that some of my enemies in the colony will rejoice at what they may think or hope will be my ruin—-no good man will envy them their joy, nor participate in it.

I have been very kindly treated by the Commandant General Don Pedro Lemus and by the Govr. of this state and Col. Ugartechea and have no cause to complain on that score. I hope when Genl Lemus visits Texas my friends there will remember that he befriended me very much.

I hope there will be no excitement about my arrest—-it will do me harm and no good to Texas, that is unless I should be unjustly dealt by, in that case there will be cause for excitement.

I have requested Williams to provide me with the means of living in Mexico, it is likely I may want as much as one thousand dollars, tho I do not know.

Collect all the stock you can in claims due me and put them on your farm at Chocolate Bayou, in your own brand—call on Williams for the claims and hire some one to collect them.

When I return I wish to make my home at your home and hope you will have a room or cabbin for me.

I send you some seeds of a beautiful tree in shape like a lombardy poplar, in foliage like a cedar—sow them—in a bed like pepper seed—raise the bed so that the water will not lay on it—water them in dry weather, protect them from frost in the winter when young, and from the hot sun in the middle of the day, by a bush or mat. They will do to transplant the second or third year—take special care of them. I have many seeds and my miniature taken in Mexico by Wm Howard who intends to visit Texas, I recommend him to you very particularly. I cannot send these things to you now. So will give away the seeds and take the miniature to Mexico again.

You have suffered a great affliction since I left in the loss of dear little Mary, and in the sweep made by the cholera—it is dread full but without remedy—my good friends John Austin, Westall, and many others are gone. I sympathize sincerely with you all—poor Henry too has his share and more than a share of affliction—it is dreadfull indeed.

Remember me to Mrs. Westall—to the McNiels, and Munson, to Phillips and Eliza, and do not let little Stephen and your children forget me, I hope they will some day be benefited by my labors.

remember me to Henry particularly—I have not received a line from you since I left home

Cotton is worth about 30 cents in San Luis Potosí—the freight from Tampico is from eight to nine dollars a hundred. If you wish for information write to Dall and Drege in San Luis PotosiHenry knows them

God bless you—farewell—your brother


It is very rare that a man who labors for the genl good of thousands, or for a whole country, can escape persecution and detraction—no man did more good than DeWitt Clinton for the state of New York, but he did it against a torrent of abuse slander and opposition. Smith the father and champion of the infant colony at Jamestown in Virginia was even banished by those whom he had labor'd for. Party spirit and envy only see with their own eyes and for their own ends—they are everything that is uncharitable malignant, selfish, anti moral and anti honest—the mass of the people, the honest laboring class think of their families and their domestic concerns, and are therefore easily mislead by demagogues and designing or envious men, who only think how to destroy and involve others to build up themselves. It is well known that I have always been opposed to violent measures in Tejas and that I have always been the friend and a sincere one of the Mexicans. Party spirit has tryed to make this a crime in me. I wished to smother this spirit because history shows that the most dangerous enemy to new colonies and infant communities is division and discord amongst themselves, and I resorted to conciliating, yielding and passive means to keep down party spirit, when perhaps I ought to have adopted the reverse. Up to 1830 my sistem was not interfered with, and all went well, but since then, all has been confusion—and my enemies have succeeded to their utmost wish in involving me in difficulty—had I been as vindictive against them, as they have against me, and called the old settlers and sound part of the people to rally a-round me. I could have easily crushed my enemies—but they [would] have been totalty ruined, and I did not wish to ruin even the worst enemy I had on earth. They have tryed violent measures and gained nothing but trouble, let them now try peace and harmony awhile and let the country advance in population and resourses. The favourable reforms and changes are taking place in the Mexican government and people, and a little time will put all right—there will be toleration of religion—Texas will be a state and all will go right— but above all things the colonists must harmonize with Bexar and Goliad. In the beginning of October I lost patience I recd a letter then from Texas that irritated me, also some things occured in Mexico that soured and discouraged me, and I wrote to the Ayuntamientos a letter which is the cause of my arrest—since then favourable changes have taken place. There is no sort of doubt of the right of the people of Texas to take care of themselves, if there be no other remedy—this is very clear—it is more than a right—it is a duty—but evil may be done by precipitation. The evil in these matters is that ambitious and bad men wish for revolution, and they take advantage of a fevered state of public opinion, to hurry the people into it, when it is not necessary—in such cases the actors gain, and the instruments loose.

As I before said, when I return I will make my home at your house. I will not have anything more to do with public business if I can honorably and consistantly avoid it

I am told that Sterling Robinson has made charges to the state Govt, against me. I think it unkind that such a man as that should be made use of as an instrument by others, to try and ruin me—but all this is in the regular course of things with envy and party spirit.

Keep yourself totally clear of politics and party and seek happiness within the limits of your farm and the circle of your family and personal friends, and I will join that circle as soon as I can, it is the only place where I expect to find quiet or happiness— adios

S. F. Austin

the most certain way for letters to reach me is to direct them to William Parrott, merchant, Mexico, and send them to Tampico, or Vera Cruz, to be put in the mail there—if there is no other opportunity, send them by way of New Orleans, I saw Baldwin in Mexico and put a letter in the mail here from him to you—-he has lost and suffered much.