Stephen F Austin to J L Woodbuy, 07-06-1829

Summary: Welcoming him as a fellow empresario and describing the natural advantages of Texas. Manufacturing would be profitable—particularly cotton textiles.

San Felipe de Austin July 6. 1829

Doctor Lucius Woodberry.

Dr Sir, On my return to this place a few since I recd your much esteemed favor of 27 May. I regret that I was absent when you passed as I should have been happy to have seen you

It gives me great pleasure to hear that you are bound to Philadelphia for the purpose of consulting with the House in that City who are concerned with you in Colonization, and I flatter myself that an efficient impulse will be given to the settlements on Trinity by your exertions and those of your friends—there cannot be a doubt that individual profits, as well as much general good to the country will result from the settlement of the section which has been assigned to you to the eastward of my Colony— That section embraces a very interesting portion of Texas-—the Trinity and Neches rivers run through it, both navigable, and the former discharges into Galvecton Bay— you will however obtain a more correct knowledge of its geographical position by examining my map of Texas which you can see by calling on Mr. Thos. F. Learning of that City to whom I have sent it.

Texas as a Country, wheither viewed with reference to its geographical position, its soil, its climate, the number of its rivers and creeks of pure running water, its Bays and the variety, abundance, and value of its productions, may be advantageously compared with any portion of north America. This country has laid dormant for ages— It was the policy of the Spanish Govt to keep it out of view and to conceal, as much as possible, its natural advantages— The grant to my Father Moses Austin to settle a colony in Texas made by the Spanish Authorities in January 1821, a few months before the independence of Mexico, was the first deviation from this policy that had ever occured. After the death of my father I explored the country in the summer and fall of 1821, and in the succeeding winter and spring commenced my settlement in the midst of its wilderness on the Brasos and Colorado rivers Since when the progress of the new settlements under the fostering hand of the Republic of Mexico has gradually developed the value of Texas and brought it into notice. The touch Stone of experience has been applied, and the result has shewn that our climate is healthy and pleasant, our soil productive beyond expectation, our seasons regular and rain sufficiently abundant. Our rivers are navigable, and our harbors safe and of sufficient depth for all the purposes of commerce.

When I entered Texas in the winter of 1821-22 with the first emigrants, the idea of forming a settlement in this remote wilderness amidst tribes of uncivilized Indians was ridiculed by my best friends as visionary and impracticable— The value of the country was unknown or greatly doubted, and it was entirely uninhabited except by savages from the Sabine to the Towns of Bexar and La Bahia (now called Goliad) and those places were reduced to a weak state by the indian war Also at that time the Mexican Govt was in an unsettled and revolutionary state and it was beyond the calculation of the most judicious to say what shape or form it would ultimately assume. In answer to any doubts that may now exist as to the value of Texas as a Country, I would merely refer to what it was when I commenced, to the difficulties and impediments which retarded my progress and then ask, wheither I or any other person however great his perseverance may have been could have formed a settlement of intelligent worthy and industrious north Americans in this wilderness, and that too without the aid of power full patronage or wealth, if the country itself had not afforded the strongest inducements to emigration by its real and intrinsic value.

There is an immense opening in Texas for the establishment of Cotton Manufactories— The raw material is raised here in abundance and of superior quality.— Provisions are cheap and will daily become cheaper, there are numerous good situations for Machenery and abundance of good oak, Pine, Cypress, Cedar, Ash and other timber—the Tariff of Mexico causes a Domestics " to sell high and as the restrictive System appears to have become a part of the national policy, fair prospects may be calculated on for the manufacturer for Many years to come. [Deleted:] I would very freely engage in an establishment of this kind and nothing but my being tied down here with colonizing matters prevents my visiting the north[ern] States of that union with the view of trying to form a large manufacturing company in Texas.

[Added In a copy—apparently made by J. E. B. Austin:] It will afford me much pleasure to become acquainted with the house in Philadelphia with which you are concerned in colonization and to render them any aid in my power in forwarding the settlement of Texas.

Stephen F. Austin.