Arthur G. Wavell to Stephen F. Austin, 02-17-1823

Summary: Business conditions in England. Mosquito Coast speculations. Plans for Texan speculations dependent on confirmation of grant.

Barnstable Devonshire February 17th 1823

Dear Austin

Although I have repeatedly written to you your first letter dated 21st Aug: 1822 reached me ONLY on the 15th of this month having been sent it appears to the Havannah and since it contains matter of great importance to us I lose not a moment in answering it which I had hoped to have done by means of the kindness of a Gentleman who I had expected would have left this place for your part of the country in which I am however disappointed— At some paragraphs contained in your letter I am I confess surprized but shall neither quote them nor make any remark since as I ever have stated [to] you I[t] shall never be my fault if in every transaction and correspondence which passes between us we do not act setting aside interested motives unworthy of either of us as Gentlemen and friends as such I am convinced we shall ever meet and trust hereafter travel over a great part of Europe together—I most anxiously wait your next letter containing the confirmation of your claims when I shall immediately take steps for effecting the sale of some part of the land in order to create a capital If you do not receive goods as soon as you expect you have only to blame the ill luck which has prevented your letters reaching me since I cannot doubt your having written very often and as I so anxiously solicited you by every channel, the Havannah, Jamaica, and the United States—In my former letters written when I was over head and ears in business, and bother I probably omitted stating to you the causes of my not forming a Company as soon as I had at first intended and you will I am convinced most fully coincide with me in [my] opinion relative to the propriety of the determination I announced to you in them of unless something offered more favorable than the aspect of affairs promised entering into no agreement except indeed it were on most advantageous terms or to a friend but rather await your advices and then sell land to create a Capital—The fact is the very day after my arrival in London I laid all our Documents before a friend one of the best informed and most respectable merchants there I subsequently fully explained the business and he made every requisite enquiry when we found that in consequence of the numerous Piracies which checked the Spirit of Speculation in that quarter by rendering the seas beyond measure perilous, and owing to the unfavorable impression made by false reports (representing Mexico as on the eve of a civil war and one general distress and confusion) which I in some measure did but owing to the silence of my correspondents in Mexico could not wholly do away to form a company even on fair terms would be beyond measure difficult and even when effected would require a vast sacrifice of interest since in order to procure 50 or 100,000 Dollars we must give up land which selling at the rate that of Poyais far inferior in every respect then brought in the market worth at least four or five possibly ten twenty or thirty times THAT SUM and this only in order to gain a few months or if you were careful in writing possibly only days— I ought to state that Poyais is on the Mosquito Shore near Portobello a tract granted to an Englishman and I understand has sold in part for more than I Dollar per acre the very same merchants and Banker who arranged his business have called on and offered me their aid and agency— Under these circumstances you would doubtless have deemed me worse than mad had I not suspended the execution of the scheme we had framed when at Mexico and my determination in consequence was such as will I am convinced merit the approbation of yourself and every one and prove the feeling which I was resolved should actuate my conduct in whatever proposal I might make you—Calculating that 300,000 acres of the best land would produce the same number of Dollars 1/3 of which I proposed lodging in your name 1/3 in my own and with the other 1/3 sending out all the goods you require which together with all the remaining land (in order that you might be enabled to provide for your family in which laudable effort I shall ever join you) I intended making over to you to be divided amongst your brother brother in law sister and other relatives as you might deem proper reserving only 1/6 so that if you chose your mother might have -1/6 your brother sister - Brother in law - yourself and myself 1/6 each—With regard to the distribution of whatever sum we might raise by Timber sold in this country which as I have so often stated if you can cut it down float it to the coast at little expense and ship ships lye there during the summer will produce an immense sum of money I should be equally liberal having no one member of my family to provide for nor wishing for any more than independent small portune for myself—I intended at the same time to request that a friend a merchant should be named agent for the concern since the greater part of the produce doubtless will be sold in this country—In all the schemes I have entered into relative to Mining &c you as I informed you at Mexico have an equal share with myself unless very unfortunate they will produce fortunes for us but I have not on that account neglected the land in Texas since it is well for us to have two strings to our bow—I ought to have mentioned that never man had so awkward a game to play as I had since first the Pirates plundered me of all my cash cloathes and nearly all my papers then no one of my correspondents notwithstanding all I had urged on the subject forwarding to me intelligence relative to the state of Mexico I was unable as I otherwise would have done wholly to discredit the reports which [eame] from the Havannah and N: America Papers so that when I offered the Valenciana spec- illation to a house inclined to take it the question asked was "what are your latest advices? accounts from N: Ama: state that a revolution is inevitable indeed has already commenced in Santander" and with regard to your grant in Texas every rich man to whom I had applied asked the same question adding your documents state that the claim was under the consideration of the Congress and not ratified that Congress has it appears by the Havannah and N: American Newspapers been dissolved by Iturbide—If therefore any time has been lost you must attribute it to the cause be it what it may which has prevented my receiving an account of the confirmation of your claim which you must recollect you was to send me immediately and by every conveyance in order to enable me to make a contract—Had I not been robbed, and disappointed for which I had reason to expect, those articles which you want for your self I should have sent out as soon as I arrived—If however as you state in your letter you can procure money in the United States on advantageous terms and time is so very important on the following terms I shall in order to meet your wishes have no objection to provided the best land be reserved to be sold in this country and the proceeds divided between us and reserve for me a share in the whole concern of one-sixth (1/6) — This offer I make you in order to meet your wishes since— remember that the Bank has resumed cash payments money here procures scarcely 4 pr cent: Capital was never so abundant as it now is in London consequently. . .[illegible] Mr Exter has removed to No. 109 Fenchurch London therefore address me there do not inclose more or thicker paper in your letters than absolutely necessary since it renders the postage very expensive and when possible as I always do to you write only a single sheet without enclosing it which doubles the postage—[If] you remove the obstacles above mentioned I have no doubt everything will succeed beyond your most sanguine expectations— Remember that in our agreement no time is specified had any given period been mentioned even in conversation I should of course have said so many weeks after the receipt by me in England of the sanction of the Congress my interest are as much concerned as yours consequently I will not lose a single moment indeed have already taken an expensive journey in order to meet a gentlemen who I expected might have advanced some cash but did not meet him at home—With patience all will go well or if in a very great hurry procure cash as I have before stated on the terms there mentioned in the United States The Bills Barry drew in favor of the Minr of finance have been I am informed protested—Write and most fully relative to Timber etc., etc. Believe me most truly yours

A. G. Wavell

[Addressed] Stephen Fuller Austin Esqr. To the care of Joseph H. Hawkins Esqr. New Orleans

To be forwarded immediately. Pr. Jessie.

Forwarded by your most O Servt. Liverpool 24 Feby 1823 R. McNeell

I most anxiously expect your answer and those from the Mexn Govt to the letters which I dispatched 2 1/2 months ago—France is about to attack SpainEngland is also about to recognize the independence of the Amas. Spain is in a terrible state of confusion and civil war. I have recd Gl. Bustamantes letter promises me to do every thing in his power to aid and protect you—The house you I hope found as I did a most excellent one—