James C. Shields to Stephen F. Austin, 12-09-1821

Summary: Hard times. Terms of settlement in Texas. His mechanical ability.

Lexington December 9th 1821

Mr Stephen F Austin Dear sir after my compliments to you I take the liberty of writing you a few lines to git you to give me a corect statement of the texes or that part of the Country that you have large posesions in the peeple in this part of the country have various oppinions respecting the inducement that is held out to mecanicks that would migrate to that part of the Country some say there is no compultion on your giving them any thing only what they will pay for your letter in the paper says there will be grants of land appropriated to farmers and mecanicks it does not mention that it would be at your option whether you give any thing or not I know of mecanicks that would go if i was to go but as the paper states the[y] would not be there in time to make a crop next summer then they might be cut short of any thing this place is very dull no incourage- ment for mecanicks I have been for a long time dissatisfide with the place I have often been sorry that I dident take your fathers advice and go back to herculanenm he frequently wrote for me to come back but I was ingaged in making machinery and could not come at the time—as you are going to reside permanently in that part of the Country I would like very much to move there and spend the balance of my days you will please to write me imediately on the receipt of this give me the perticulars of the country write me what acknowledgment you will make me and my family to come on as soon as i can my family is small there is none but my wife and myself I have frequently been gocking her about going she says she wont go but she knows better if i say go the worst of all is i am in low circumstances to take a journy of that length if my business was setled so that I could come on I would need some little assistance to inable me to git on as to my caracture you are aquainted with me since I returned to lexington this eight years I am well known by the first caractures in the place—us respects being usefull to the settlement as a mecanick I can make any of the farming utentials and a house to live in and furniture I have worked a grate deal in the steem and watter mills in this place I have made stove paternes for the furnace and all the mouls for the paper factory machinery of all kinds—you will please to write me imediately on the receipt of this say what incouragement you think i would meet with or what you think you would be willing to do for me nothing more at Present

James 0. Shields

[Addressed:] Mr Stephen F. Austin New Orleans

if austin is not there the post master will forward this to him at the texis