John P. Coles to Stephen F. Austin, 07-07-1824

Summary: Austin's right to collect 12 1/2 cents an acre for land. This based on contracts with immigrants and can not be affected by interference of political chief.

July 7th 1824

Dear Sir

From the friendship I feel for you I venture to submit the following ideas for your reflection relative to the situation of this colony and you as the founder etc.—you [know?] that the governor of this Province has by his tory arrangements violated the contract made between you and the People I can not conceive that the Governor of the Province has any thing to doo with the arrangement made by you with the settlers this I judge from the Authority Given you by the Supreme Government of the Nation I see that the Governor of the Province is Commissioned to assign the Titles to the Lands and to put the settlers in possession or a commissioner by him appointed for that purpose. I see no Authority given him by the Supreme Govt. to doo away the arrangement that you had made with the settlers and Establish a list of Taxes to be paid by the Settler Contrary to the Laws of the Nation you say in a letter of a late date to McNeel and to others that you are Ruined that the Governor had Reduced the price of Land to fore cents pr acre why you should have sujested such Ideas to McNeel or any one Else unless such as you aught to have had more interest in I am at a loss to know it is now Confirmed and believed by men who never believed before that you have no authority from the Government and are only Imposing on the people as has always been said. The fact is you are entitled to 12 1/2 cents per acre for Lands from the settlers and there is no candid man who would not agree that they are justly Indebted that amount for all the lands he acquires through you and were I in your situation I never would make any man a Deed to Land until I had from him an assurance for the payment at 12 1/2 cents per Acre those are the Grounds on which you have a Right unquestionably to ask for pay and no other and it is on those grounds you should ask it you can not say that the Government gives you the Right to ask pay nor neither can you say that the Governor of the Province has a right to Establish a Bill of Taxes to be paid by the settlers to be applied to his own use or to your Benefit. An attempt to collect pay off of the people in any other way than on a Contract made by you with the settlrs would be danger [ous] and it would have its day of Persecution and Trouble. I hope Sir that you will doo me the Justice to believe that the foregoing observations are intended for your good as well as for the Benefit of us all As respects those letters Referred to you must on Reflection concur with me in saying that they are only calculated to Injure your standing and establish more permanently the doubts of your Authority for such use is made of them And further to intimidate the Respectable and prudent Emigrant who would always prefer keeping himself and family out of difficulty that might be Expected from such Reports. I received an Official Order from the Governor which you will see by Mr. Williams the purposes of said order is vary contrary to my feelings I shall not pay any respects to it until I see you.

Jno. P. Coles.