David G Burnet to Stephen F Austin, 12-04-1829

Summary: Reports concerning negotiations of the united States for purchase of Texas. Speculations in Texas lands.

Cincinnati 4 Decr 1829

My dear Sir

The return of our worthy friend Genl Fullerton affords me another opportunity of troubling you with a letter— Well now I do verily believe that some of my late letters have been a trouble to you—but I dont see the use of having a friend unless we can trouble him now and then-—

The principal burden of my last letters (and I have written you five or six within two months) has been the probable purchase of Texas by this government— This subject has somewhat died away here and the excitement produced by its first agitation in the public papers has measurably subsided— The newspaper discussion of it was I believe first Started by T. H. Benton whom you know— Some writer in Nashville rung the second peal, and anon the matter was taken up by a variety of scribblers, both friends and foes to the contemplated acquisition— My original opinion, as expressed to you in my first letter on the subject, has been somewhat modified but not essentially changed— I still believe the purchase will be made, but not so speedily as I then apprehended— It seems to me that Mr Poinsett has rendered himself too much an object of jealousy, and become too unpopular in Mexico to negocíate a treaty on so delicate and important a subject as the relinquishment and the acquisition of so valuable a territory— Rumor says that Mr Hughes, who was recently superseded as charge d'affairs at the Netherlands will be appointed to Mexico, and I think the report very likely to be correct—

Mr Hughes is now in Europe and probably will not arrive in this country before spring— Should he be sent to Mexico, he could not reach there until late in the fall, for he would not venture himself at Vera Cruz during the summer or autumnal months— If then it shall fall to his lot to negotiate the treaty, it will not be practicable for him to perfect it until late in the ensuing winter, and hardly in time to submit it to the senate of 1830-31— It will doubtless be a part of the policy of the administration to bring it in before the sages of the land, near the close of their session when the ranks of the opposition may be a little thinned and those who remain are pretty well fagged and out of tune for a fierce onset— It is therefore not probable in my opinion that you will belong to Uncle Sam before March or April of 1831—and I do really hope that I shall be able before that time, to have my Colony fully Settled and so firmly fixed as not to be disturbed by the arch cupidity that has too often characterised our good Uncle's dealing with large land claimants— I have but little time to write, but I send you a packet of news papers from which you will [be] able to glean more of the late doings in the world than I could give you in a week— I observed in one of the national Journals which I send you, a letter from San Felipe touching the advertisment by Dennis A Smith of 48,000,000 of acres of Texas lands— I was truly rejoiced to see that publication— They have an agency here and when it was first established I was detirmined to expose the imposition as I then considered it by a publication under my own proper name— The agent here called on me on the subject and I stated to him very frankly my views concerning it and told him that I should feel com- pelled if they put out an , to enlighten the public mind on the matter— He assured me that no money should be paid over to the alleged proprietors until they gave entire satisfaction as to title— I then concluded not to interfere and make myself many enemies for I have learned from experience that enemies made in this way have much more zeal, than any friends whom the doing of Such a service might procure a body— so I even resolved not to meddle with the matter, but I have freely spoken of it to many gentlemen in this City and have communicated my views to two respectable citizens of Baltimore—

Peck, who left here a few days ago for Orleans, tells me that Willson is selling Texas lands in New York at 2 cents an acre— Willson told me last summer, that he had a grant in fee for 8,000,000 acres— Is it so qu[i]en sabe, as we Mexicans say— Certain I am that these things are doing an injury to all of us—- the detection of one fraud in relation to Texas lands, will entail suspicion upon us all, and it is outrageous that honest men should suffer for the misdeeds of a few sharpers

I have some expectation of forming a company in Baltimore for the settlement of my Colony— Should it be done we shall proceed rapidly in the work—a few weeks will determine— I am exceedingly desirous to get back— Should our friend Padilla be with you I beg you will mention me to him—- I wrote to him and also to the Governor some time ago and enclosed my letters to Williams and I hope they have not miscarried— I have since then written to the Governor, inclosed to you, and sent a duplicate I would write to both by this opportunity but have not much time and am not yet able to speak positively as to my success or my return to Texas

I received a nacogdoches paper yesterday containing an obituary notice of your amiable and lamented brother and I have taken [it] to the Gazette office to have it published here— It occurred to me that there might be some friends and relatives who had not heard of his decease, and besides it would be a gratification to my own feelings to give currency to that modest tribute of respect for the memory of a friend whom I much esteemed—

I send a half barrel of buck wheat meal directed to League, to be divided between Williams and himself— Should you be at house-keeping you must make a tripartite division of it, for I have sent it under a presumption that you were not— My Texas friends are so frugal of their time or their paper that I am left entirely to presumptions on all matters relating to them— The one letter from you and one from Williams at Orleans are all the evidence I have that I am remembered on the Brasos— I have never received one line from League— I beg you will write to me by the first opportunity as it is probable I shall be here long enough to receive it if not here, will have it Sent after me— do write any how and give me all the news, for I am exceedingly in the dark in respect to Texas affairs— Farewell— May God bless you in all things— Remember me to all friends—and should you have opportunity remember me particularly to Mrs. Long— I heard long ago that she had left San Felipe and was living on the river below and therefore have not mentioned her in my former letters—in haste.

David G. Burnet [Rubric]

Col. Austin