Henry Austin to Stephen F Austin, 11-24-1829

Summary: Difficulties of navigating the Rio Grande.

Comargo Sept 24th 1829

Col. S F Austin

My deae Sir I wrote you from Matamoros, advising you of my arrival there with a steamboat to commence the navigation of this river. Bravo del Norte I have been up nearly to Revilla, where I found the river so dangerous in low water that I did not think it prudent to proceed up at this late season.— At the commencement of the wet season the river May be Navigated quite to presidio del Norte, but as that season is now nearly passed, I shall confine My trips for the winter to this place

Between Matamoros and this, the river is navigable and Safe but I have great reason to apprehend there will not be business enough to support the boat We have by law the privilege of taking up lands but the unoccupied lands on this River are not worth having.

I was induced to embark in this operation by the hope of retrieving my ruined fortune and of laying a foundation for an estate for my family by Securing a large tract of land. Before leaving the US I laid before Govt a Memoir on the western boundary pointing out the advantages of exchanging the land beyond the Rocky Mountains for those between this River and the U S and suggesting the Mode in which it might be effected had I a Sure conveyance I would Send you a copy of it— I have reason to believe there is now a negociation pending on the Subject- Now I have reason to apprehend that my present effort will not realize the expected advantages and some reason to fear it may result in a failure—in which case, I should only be able to save my self from ruin by taking the boat to some place where She could be Sold or employed to advantage-

Can you inform Me whether the laguna which is laid down on the Map as extending from Brassas St lago to the Colorado River is Navigable with four feet water, if not by what rout could a Steamboat be transported from the Mouth of this river to Galveston bay or to New Iberia Is there sufficient wealth produce and travel in your quarter to employ a steamboat Could I obtain in your neighbourhood a tract of good land in perpetuity either through you or by application to the State

I wish extremely to have an interview with you but it is impossible for me to leave the business I am engaged in even for three days— I shall leave this in a week for Matamoros and return from there with a cargo immediately—during the winter I will be alternately here and at Matamoros as frequently as business May offer for the boat and probably Make 2 or 8 trips pr month—

Henry Austin [Rubric]