Stephen Austin to Moses Austin, 07-12-1812

Summary: His cargo sank in the Mississippi. Declaration of war. Privateers. Prices.

New Orleans July 12 1812

Dr Father

I wrote you from the [undecipherable] stating the situation of the Cargo which is sunk there and saying that I should return home, But in consequence of the Declaration of War I have determined to stay here untill I get up the Cargo and make sale of it, and then I can proced immediately on to N. York with out delay—

The declaration of war was received here by express from Washington on the 8th Inst and has thrown every thing into confusion. Business is almost anihilated Cotton fell in one day from 9.50 to 5 and 4.50 There are a great many Vessels in port all loaded and redy for sea they are now Striping and laying them up—

Amidst my misfortunes I think I have been truly fortunate, for had I arrived safe here. I should have saild about the 29th of June and should have undoubtedly been Captured,—Report says that there were thirty odd Privateers laying at New Providence ready for sea as soon as the declaration of war reached them—and that all the Forts in the British Islands were fitting out as fast as possible in expectation of the war. so that they were prepared for immediate opperation the moment war was declair'd, It is the general oppinion that all the vessels which cleard the Balize after the 16th of June will be taken about 15 in number, in fact Insurance cannot be got on those which cleard it on the 10th and 12th of less than 50 pr cent.

Genl Wilkinson arrivd here on the 9th. on Bord the U. S. Brig Enterprise and has resumed the Command, he was welcomed by a salute from Fort St. Charles etc—There is but little said about him nothing has been done as yet with the Troop here—The Coffee House Books this Morning say that Sir. James Yoes in Frigate South Hampton is off the Balize—One of our gun Boats a few day[s] since in an engagement with two French Privateers who had Capt'd a Spanish ship at the Ba[lize] burst his 26 pounder wounded some of his men and—Run away!!

The sickness will soon commence here I shall therefore leave this tomorrow in the Steam Boat for Natchez where I mean to stay until Burt pays what he owes then I will return to the Attackapa and try and make something out of the [undecipherable] which Dun has—There is no price for lead tho. I think it would bring 6$ Sheet lead wile sell well and also Shott. Coffee rose in two days from 18. to 25 cents and is still on the rise—

Step. F. Austin

M Austin Esqr.

[Addressed] Moses Austin Esqr. P. Master Mine A Burton Dist. St. Genivieve T. La