Stephen F Austin to Provisional Government of Texas, 12-2-1835

Summary: Urging organization of government in conformity with declaration of November 7. Importance of keeping confidence of Mexican liberals.

Velasco Dec.r 22. 1835

The best interests of Texas, I think require that the war should be kept out of this country and beyond the rio grande. On this principle I was in favor of fitting out Col Gonzales and did everything I could to do so. I was, and am in favor of giving to Genl. Mexia and his men what aid we could, and generally of affording assistance to the federl party in the interior by such auxiliary forces as we could spare. I have been and am opposed to any measures that will give to the central govt. in Mexico any foundation to say that the Texan war, is purely a national war against foreigners and foreign invaders— In short I have thought, and still think that Texas should rigidly adhere to the leading principles of the declaration of 7 Nov.r last. By so doing we preserve our character for consistency and good faith.

I will here observe, that in my communication to the provisional govt. of 2d instant recommending the convocation of a convention on the basis of equal representation, I objected to the declaration of 1 Nov.r as being liable to [mis]construction. Perhaps I ought to state the extent and nature of my objection—it is this— The declaration does not declare Texas to be a state of the Mexican confederation, which I think it ought to have done, subject however to all the other provisions and principles established in it— This would have given a fixed and definite character to the political position of Texas and concentrated public opinion, and at the same time left her the option of reuniting with Mexico or not hereafter, according as the federal constitution when reestablished conformed or not to the republican principles of the federal system, for it is to be remembered that the declaration of Novr. 7 does not adhere to all the anti-republican features and defects of the constitution of 1824, it only adheres to its republican principles and to the federal system.

It is well known that the object of the federal party of Mexico at this time is to reform the constitution of 1824 so as to expunge all its anti-republican principles. Our declaration of 7 Nov.r in this respect is therefore in strict conformity with the basis on which the federal party are acting

But it is objected that Texas cannot declare herself a state of the Mexican confederation, unless she does so under the constitution of 1824 with all its defects etc. To this I answer, that, the dissolution of the social compact and the present physical situation of all Mexico gives to Texas the right of declaring herself an independent community— This being the case she certainly has the right to do much less, that is, to say she will continue united with the Mexican confederation, provided the federal party succeed in reestablishing the federal system on truly republican principles, free from the defects of the constitution of 1824, at the same time offering her aid to that party to effect this object.

As to independence— I think it will strengthen the cause of Texas to show that we have legal and equitable and just grounds to declare independence, and under this view I touched upon this subject in, my communication to the provisional Govt. of ultimo. But I also think that it will weaken Texas, and expose the old settlers and men of property in this country to much risk, to make such a declaration at this time, and under the present circumstances, for the reason that it will turn all parties in Mexico against us—bring back the war to our own doors, which is now removed from Texas by the fall of Bexar, and compel the people to seek aid at any sacrifice.— I do not think it necessary to run any such risk, for the natural current of events will soon regulate everything. A large portion of the Mexicans are determined to be free. If they succeed, Texas will participate as a state in conformity with the declaration of 7 Novr-—if they fail, Texas can at any time resort to her natural rights.

There are about 200 volunteers here, and probably will be a 1000 of more in a month. What is to be done with them? They must and ought to be provided for and employed— I think that head quarters should be fixed at Goliad, and that a federal auxiliary army should be collected there, and offered to the federal party should it be needed by them. This will be in conformity with our own offers in the 2.d article of the declaration of 7 Novr- and it will also place Texas, on a footing as to the federal party that will justify the former in expecting remuneration from the latter for what she spends in aid of the federal cause by furnishing auxiliary forces

I write this letter as a citizen of Texas, and not as a commissioner— I give my opinions frankly and refer you to Col Fannin for a further explanation of them, I believe that this meritorious officer and myself do not differ materially on these subjects.

S. F. Austin [Rubric]

To the Provisional Government of Texas

[Endorsed:] Read and ordered to be filed Jan. 2th, 1836