Stephen F. Austin to Unknown, 05-01-1824

Summary: Austin to the settlers. Congratulations on adoption of federal system. His responsibility to the settlers. Attitude toward Indians.

Fellow Citizens,—With the most heartfelt and sincere congratulations I now have the pleasure of announcing to you officially the form of Government which the Mexican Congress have adopted, and which you are now called on to swear to And this I do with the more satisfaction as I am convinced that there is not a breast amongst you that will not palpitate with exultation and delight at the prospects of Freedom, Happiness, and Prosperity which the Federal Republican System of Govenmment presents to your View.

Words cannot express to you the Satisfaction I feel from the reflection that those whose fortunes I shall be instrumental in promoting in this Country can now enjoy them without the alloy, which the fear of a despotic Government would have thrown into their future hopes. The great Mexican Nation is free—rational liberty with all its concomitant blessings has opened to the view of the world, a Nation which Despotism had hitherto enveloped in intellectual night—The Federal Republican System that last and glorious hope of persecuted freedom, first established by the great fathers of North American Independence on the ruins of British Colonial oppression, and which soon raised a new born nation to a degree of prosperity and happiness unequaled in the history of the world—Now Spreads its fostering arms over the vast dominions of Mexico—The hitherto enslaved Spanish Provinces are now free and independent States.

This Province forms a State in conjunction with Cohahuila and New León the two adjoining ones— The convention is to meet at the City of Monterrey early in the Summer to form our State Constitution— One year more will see the Government completely organized with the several departments of Executive, Legislative and Judicial divided and clearly delineated, and the civil and Military power forever seperated as in the Government of the United States. In the mean time fellow citizens we have nothing to disturb our tranquility here unless we willfully create confusion and discontent amongst ourselves— As regards your lands I am responsible to you—to the world, to my own honor and to My God that no difficulty or embarrassment can or ever will arise unless produced by your own impatience or imprudence.

The task I have had before me has been a laborious and perplexing one, I have however never shrunk from the hardships, exposures or the responsibilities which it imposed upon me, nor never shall,—I have endeavored to make the fortunes of every one who joined me in forming this Colony and the Greatest consolation I derive from the enterprise is the conviction that I shall do so—

It has been my Study to treat all with equal justice and impartiality and if I have failed to do so it must be attributed to the imperfections of my judgement and not to those of my heart, and with almost unlimited Authority in My hands I think you must say that I have governed you with mildness—

It is our true interest to keep peace with the Indians as long as we can do so consistent with our rights, but Should a war be unavoidable you will not find me backward in prosecuting it. I trust however that you will all have too much prudence to commit any act that would prematurely bring on hostilities.

I hope fellow citizens you will attend to the words of the Political Chief of this Province and in future disregard those vague rumors that are only put in circulation by the enemies of good order for the sole purpose of creating confusion and discontent, and that you will repose with confidence under the Authority that governs, being assured that the Government will always cherish and protect you, and that every thing in my feeble power to do for your benefit will be cheerfully done, for as I before observed, the greatest consolation I ever expect to derive from My labors in the wilderness of this Province will arise from the conviction that I have benefited many of my fellow beings, and laid the foundation for the settlement of one of the finest countries in the world—

Your fellow Citizens,

Stephen F. Austin [Rubric]

May 1, 1824