Stephen F Austin to Sam Houston, 01-07-1836
Summary: Advising and giving reasons for declaration of independence.
In all our Texas affairs, as you are well apprised, I have felt it to be my duty to be very cautions in involving the pioneers and actual settlers of that country, by any act of mine, until I was fully and clearly convinced of its necessity, and of the capabilities of our resources to sustain it. Hence it is that I have been censured by some for being over cautious. Where the fate of a whole people is in question, it is difficult to be over-cautious or to be too prudent. Besides these general considerations, there are others which ought to have weight with me individually. I have been, either directly or indirectly, the cause of drawing many families to Texas; also, the situation and circumstances in which I have been placed have given considerable weight to my opinions. This has thrown a heavy responsibility upon me, so much so that I have considered it to be my duty to be prudent, and even to control my own impulses and feelings; these have long been impatient under the state of things which has existed in Texas, and in favor of a speedy and radical change. But I have never approved of the course of forestalling public opinion by party or partial meetings, or by management of any kind. The true course is to lay facts before the people, and let them judge for themselves. I have endeavored to pursue this course.
A question of vital importance is yet to be decided by Texas, which is a
declaration of independence. When I left Texas I was of opinion that it
was premature to stir this question, and that we ought to be very cautious
of taking any steps that would make the Texas war purely a national war,
which would unite all parties against us, instead of it being a party war,
which would secure to us the aid of the federal party. In this I acted