Moses Austin to James Bryan, 01-04-1813

Summary: Effects of war of 1812 in Missouri. Indians. Project for trade with Mexico.

Durham Hall Jany 4th 1813

Mr. James Bryan,

Dear Sr I reeved you[r] last favour under-date of Octbr 6th day before Yesterday only. My last letters from my son Stephen from New Orleans was under date of 2 Novr—he then contemplated to leave that City in a day or two and as I have nothing from him since I hope he has closed his business and left the Country, sence I wrote you last, little business has been don in the mineing or Smelting of Lead in consequence of the extreme badness of the weather Shebboleth is nearly abandoned, and such as remain are doing nothing. I have been raising mineral to Some advantage my Shaft is dry and produces as Well as I have don in times past, last month gave me 20 Thousand, I hope to raise as much this month, Collections are bad and I see little prospect of the Miners beeing in a Situation of makeing payment this Year, if they had a disposition which is generally wanting.

I do not think your brother or Mr Bates has collected 200 Dollars the last six months Thompson has not yet paid, in short no man pays a dollar, lead Never was so difficult to collect, and I am clearly of the Opinion that Ten thousand Dollars would,— Command Every Pound of Lead for sale this spring and Winter Would to god I could command that Sum a Speculation of moment could be made but I have not the means, I think I shall make up 60 thousand by April. If my prospects continue and Indians do not disturb us

I could not advise many goods being brought to the Country. Not but they would sell readely—but the pay is the question—the situation of the People is such that they cannot pay. You would be astonished to see the change in all Orders of Citizens in the Article of dress Indian dressed Buckskin for Overhalls and frocks are now as universal as broadcloth used to be, notwithstanding goods of a proper kind will sell Such as I have heretofore stated to you but I am clearly of Opinion that 5 thousand Dollars in Cash would produce double the neet produce in a Year than 10 Thousand Dollars in goods, because No man would calculate on asking Credit on Money, but goods at the prices they must sell at, purchased at War Marketts cannot be sold in this Country for ready, pay, to, much advantage, Lead is now 375 in St Genevieve part goods and 400 in Herculaneum, Cash, a Cargo purchased at even 450 and sent up the Ohio would do better than goods as I cannot suppose the expence of transportation to Philadelphia over 6 Dollars pr Hundred which would Make the cost 950 in Philadelphia and If 14 or 15 can be obtained the Neet proceeds would out do any advance on goods, and all in hand, nothing on Credit. As to Indians I have a hope we shall not be troubled with them I think the mine a Burton a safe place much more so than any other place in the Territory because no body of hostile Indians are in our quarter and cannot get to us untill they pass the Settlements of Saint Charles—Yet I am inclined to Suppose that the Militia will be called on in the spring unless the U S government sends us troops.

I have seen an account of a machine said to be const[r]ucted by a man by the name of Readhefer about 10 miles from Philadelphia Which gives, perpetual, motion, I have a desire to know more of this machine and If you could find time to Visit the [place] and examine the machine you your self and if to [be obtained?] git a Drawing of the machine I wish you to, do so. the advantages to be derived from the use of such an invention in the Western Country passeth all the Ideas and imagination of man, I am only doubtful it is not true. I wrote you some time since respecting a Mine of Antimony which had been discovered near the River Illinois Mr Elias Bates has information how to find the Mine. If a lead can be obtained; he also say[s] he has not any Doubts as to the goodness and quantity—this is also an object of great magnitude and worthy of attention, on both of these subjects I wish you to be attentive—If you can find time

I also wrote you my opinion on the opening towards Mexico, I have had Nothing to change a belief that an adventure to that Country would be both safe and advantageous As to a general assortment of English goods in this Country I do not think payment could be obtained so as to make the thing profitable except in the Articles I have mentioned. I am fully of the Opinion that many goods may be Sold but a life of labour could not collect the payment.

I have so long contemplated the Arrival of my son Stephen to attend my family to this Country, that I am truly distressed at this delay, and must depend on you to make with Mrs Austin the arrangements Should my Dear Son Not arrive in time Which god grant May Not be the case all I can say is that .... [mutilated] Could leave Orleans .... which I have recvd Nothing . . . I cannot Express my mortification at his Misfortunes and detention, but, gods, will be don little did I expect to be thus long deprived of the Company of my Dear family

I am D Sr With esteem Yours

Moses Austin [Rubric]

N B the appointment of the Counsel for this Territory Was nomi-nated by the Assembly and the following Gentlemen were named—

St Louis Aug Choutau Saml Hammond

St Genevieve Colo Cook M Austin John Scott Lawyer James Maxwell John Smyth John McArthur The other members I can not Name