James E. Brown Austin to Stephen F. Austin, 08-23-1826

Summary: Authorities at San Antonio have made strong protest against abolition of slavery- Feels sure that slaves of the first colony will be safe. Valuable services of Bastrop in representing interests of Texas. Much regret at union with Coahuila. Saucedo approves collection of fee from colonists to reimburse you for labor and expense. Other matters.

San Antonio August 22 de 1826 (Wednesday)

Dr Brother,

I arrived at this place last fryday but declined writing untill the present moment as I had not collected matter sufficient for a lengthy letter and the mail does not go out untill thursday. on my arrival here I found a letter from you and last mail brought another; your " triste " letter by last mail has almost given me the horrors, to see you so gloomy—I am happy to hear your health is so much improved—and I hope a favourable Slave Law will have a salutary effect in removing the hippo and other affecting complaints—such as the frets, lowering the eye brows etc etc—

now for the news—in the first place Bernardo Gutierris has been removed from office and yr friend Genl Anastacio Bustamente appointed in his place— The Government is much displeased at the conduct of Gutierris he has deceived them on every point relative to the state of Indian affairs in this Department—the Government has made sufficient appropriations to carry on the Indian War with energy but it appears he applied the appropriations of Govt to his own private use; and represented to the Govt that the Campaign was proceeding with all possible vigor— Bustamante will make this head Quarters untill the war is finished—no doubt exists that he is on the way—his proclamación to the inhabitants of this Department has already arrived you will receive one by this mail—

I perceive by your letter that the Slave question has caused considerable sensation in the Colony I have had much conversation with Saucedo and others on this subject I see no reason why you should apprehend the abolition of the Slaves belonging to the 300 families; the thing is decided with regard to that point—those slaves are guaranteed to the settlers by the Law of Colonization and they cam, not he deprived of them—this is the opinion that prevails in this place— The Ayuntamiento of this place presented a memorial to the Legislature as soon as the project arrived—praying that the discussion on that important point might be suspended untill they could have time to consider upon it, and inform the other Ayuntamientos of the Department that they might do the same. Since then they have given it the attention it merited—and by the last mail have sent up a representation couched in the strongest language they could express in favor of the admission in the New Colonies—they declare it to be indispensable to the prosperity of this Department; in fact they have said all they can say—as to the prospect of freeing the slaves of the 300 families they declare it to [be] an unjust abuse of the rights of the Colonists— As to the plan of indemnifying the Settlers for their slaves it is absurd where is the State to obtain 500,000—in. cash to pay for the slaves that are already introduced—for it is not expected they will be deprived of them—and lay out of their capital 3 or 4 years—all these things have been considered—and for my part I have a more flattering hope of a favourable slave law—at this time than I have ever had before—your representation has been sent on—they say it is "algo duro"—but they make allowances—Saucedo showed me a letter from the Baron and the Senator Cevallos on this subject the viejo is very warm on the subject—you will receive a copy of it by mail— The Old Baron has strove hard for us—I know not what would have been our fate if he had not been a member of the Legislature— Our situation would have been a deplorable one indeed—

If a favourable Slave Law is passed it will be attributed in a great measure to the unremitted exertions of the Baron and I wish the Settlers to know it—as many of them are inimical to him—popular opinion has changed very much in his favor within the last year in this place—I wrote him a lengthy letter last mail to act a " contra " to the " Triste " one I supposed you had written At all events if it comes to the worst and the slaves of the 300 families are freed we have a right to appeal to Congress—where I am convinced all will go right—

I have conversed with Saucedo and Flores relative to yr. contract with Burnett and FullertonSaucedo is fully of the opinion that you are at liberty to make any contract of that kind you may think proper—and recommends the plan as the surest and most expeditious to settle the New Colony—he and Flores also observes that no objection can be made as to reserving a certain extent of country for them and having it surveyed against they arrive—even if they should not arrive under a year—as the Law allows six years for the settling of the new Colonies

I think you misunderstand the law relative to the introduction of 100 families before they can receive possession—Saucedo say's that as fast as they arrive they can have the quantity of land designated to them the law allows—and they can go on to it and go to work and when the Commissioner arrives they can be put in possession—Flores will wait untill he hears more from you—or untill the Slave question is decided but he tells me to inform you that you may expect the utmost latitude from him that can be given—without infringing the Law of Colonization too much—

I have fully explained to Saucedo the necessity of your receiving something to satisfy you for your trouble and the expense you are at—

he feels fully convinced that it is just and right you should do so—and says there will be no difficulty on that head—If you can make a contract with the new Settlers to pay 20, 30, or 100 dollars; if you please over and above what the Govt requires—he says you have a right to do so—as the Law makes all contracts on the part of the Empresario and Colonists binding provided it is with their consent— however—he has promised me to do all he can for you on this point— The New Arancel Mr. Kerr—will take on—I have seen the instructions of Flores they are very full and explicit but they are so lengthy that owing to my bad health I shall not be able to copy them for you—With the advice of Saucedo I do not think it necessary for me to go on to Saltillo but I have written the Baron that should it be necessary—to write me Directed to san Carlos

I shall leave this the day after to morrow for Laredo—I wish you to write to me directed to San Carlos—you must expect no assistance from this place untill the Comdt Genl Bustamante arrives then I expect troops will be stationed on the BrazosAhumada will be removed to Nacogdoches—with the Troops under his command, and a garrison will be placed on the Sabine—the Govt has appropriated an immense sum for the payment of Troops stationed in this Department $60,000 dollars arrived not long since and 30,000 will arrive next week—and 30,000 more is already "habilitado "—

Your draft on the Govt at this place has been duly honored and I can get the money today—

The French fleet has met with a total defeat 10 miles the other side of the San Marks—6 Indians stole 80—mules and 25 horses and left them completely on foot—they have procured 30 yoke of oxen in this place—and have been a week gone to bring in the waggons—

The order for an Election for Electors was published in this place on Sunday last—and the same will be forwarded on to the Brazos by this mail—It appears the Electors are to meet at this place on the 6th of next month for the purpose of Electing an Elector to vote for Deputies to Congress the Elector that is appointed has to go all the way to Saltillo to give in his vote—and has to bear his own expense there and back; the inhabitants of this place are very much disgusted with so absurd a regulation—and I believe they have come to the conclusion to vote for the Baron; as he is already there and it is well known he will only vote for those that are favourably disposed towards this Department—they speak of Dn Victor Blanco, Gonzales, Cevallos, or Yesca [Viesca]—we are entitled to 4 Electors and they must be instructed to vote for the Baron as Elector—O! how the Citizens of this place do curse the day they connected themselves to Coahuila

I cannot tell when I shall return I am determined not to do so untill I do something—If slavery is not permitted I have come to the conclusion provided I can get 100 mules to employ 4 or 5000 dollars in goods and bring them to this place—I have never seen so good a prospect to clean 8 or 9000 dollars as offers at this time— here (and owing to the prohibition laws which they have lately received the strictest orders to enforce) And the additional number of troops to be stationed here, the prospect will be better—6 or 7 months hence—

As to the Colony Saucedo says there is no restriction—there is one thing I wish to caution you—There has lately arrived here a new decree relative to passports and you must be particular to whom you give pasports hereafter—(the same order has been sent on to you) you will have to express in the pasports whether they are Colonists or not—if they bring goods the kind and the amt The cause of this last Decree relating to pasports is owing [to] abuses comitted by strangers on the Coast against the Revenue laws—and also for fear Spain may introduce Emissaries into this republic as she has lately done in Buenos Ayres

Berrimende and Dn Erasmo's son Juan will start on the 1st of next month for New Orleans they calculate to go by Sn Felipe you must try and be at home—I wish you to be very particular in yr attentions to Juan for my sake for I am certainly indebted to his family for inumerable favors—[should] he want a new supply of provisions furnish him with the best let it cost what it may—Also he will want letters of recomendation to persons in which I wish you to furnish him with he goes on to purchase goods, probably to the amt of 1000 or 1,200—Also tell Mrs. Picket to have some good butter for him to take along on the road—I would rather that you and J. E. G[ross]—would come to some understanding different from the one you are now on—as to Keep from what I have learned since I left you—it is his intention to leave the country shortly—

Parker has been imprisoned in La Bahia very unjustly I have procured an order for his release—which the Govr has sent on to day-

Do, let me beg of you to assume more cheerfulness you always put the worst construction on things and thereby render yourself fretful and melancholy—you are . . . [three lines torn away] there has been and is still much sickness on this place

I wish you to inform Huber that he can do well in this place; as to His procuring a situation in the army it is uncertain untill the arrival of Bustamante for the Comte- of this place has petitioned for a surgeon some time since—And the Govt- has promisd to furnish one—but in the mean time Huber could come on and learn the language and form acquaintances—The obligation of Roxo the Chief has [been] received and enclosed I send you his receipt— Saucedo has informed me that from recent information reced- (not officially) Edwards will not be permitted to go on with his Colony but will have to leave the Country beyond a doubt—

I think Burnett's prospect pretty good—If Burnett gets the settling of that country I think you ought to make some arrangement to have an interest in it.

Do not neglect to ascertain if Bingham will sell his Gin and for what price—and let Musquis know by next mail if possible—I wrote to him on the subject before I left home—Also I wrote to Capt. Hirams to collect me a few pounds of Turpentine and to send it to Williams—to be forwarded on to Dn Erasmo by the mail rider—it is for Musquis and . . . [three lines torn away.]

Tell Williams that Dn. Erasmo has not time to write him this mail owing to Multiplicty of business— he thinks he had better come on here—

Enclosed I send you the measure of Saucedo for a pair of shoes which do not fail to send him by the Mail rider if they can be procured.

My health is bad— I continue weak and you must excuse errors in this lengthy scrawl—

Lewis is still in Santa Rosa his business is unfinished as yet but has taken favourable turn— I am told he is engaged in working a mine—

(Thursday) Since writing the above Owing to my weakness and the company that starts to day for Laredo not being sufficiently strong I shall wait until the 1st. of next month— When we can make up a considerable party— I am informed the road is infested by Indians.

Give my respects to Williams and Burnett— I am glad to hear that Williams " devil" has started I hope he will have more peace of mind than formerly—The mail has just arrived from the interior—The first part of the Constitution has arrived— (that is the project) no part of it has yet been adopted The Discussion comd [commenced] on the 22d inst. next month will bring something final—Bustamente left San Luis Potasi on the 11th of the present— etc. etc.—

I believe I have given you all the news that I am possessed of—

Remember me to the widow and all of my friends Dn. Erasmo and family send their respects—

J. B. Austin [Rubric]