John P Austin to Stephen F Austin, 01-01-1830

Summary: Prospects of purchase of Texas by the United States. Terms of recognition of land grants.


New York, January 1, 1830

My dear Sir,

I took this liberty some few weeks since, which letter I hope came safe to hand. I now confirm its contents, and remark that nothing has been done Publicly, at Washington, relative to the Texas Country; as the President was silent on the subject in his message, so also have Congress been thus far, and it is perhaps probable that any thing in contemplation, either on the part of the administration, or the Congress, will be delayed until late in the session, to gain time, for Mr. Poinsett's return to Washington, or for further advice from Mexico. Persons however high in office, it is said, and others at head quarters whose opinions are entitled to some credit have, I know, expressed opinions favorable to the obtainment of that Province, and it is admitted to be understood that this Government have determined on the measure provided it can be reasonably obtained. But when the thing will be formally moved is uncertain and may depend on many circumstances which are not within my reach to divine. The project is now making some noise in the English papers, and perhaps will call forth a protest from Spain. Yet it appears probable that sooner or later and I believe ere long, the change will be brought about some how or other by amiable negotiation. There seems (as far as I have been able to learn) a considerable disposition to speculate in the Texas lands, which can only be accounted for on the supposition that they will soon belong to the U. States.

January 9th. Since the above I have reason to believe, (by information received from persons who have good means of judging at Washington) that the Texas negotiations, although in embryo yet; are still going on, and something has no doubt been fixed on by this Government, that is, the acquisition for reasonable considerations, and I further learn, that this Govt, will probably not be satisfied with the sovereignty of that territory alone, but must have something more, that is all the lands they can get, to reimburse the payment and satisfy the people, and make the measure popular. I am also informed, it is (or more properly speaking) will be determined among other things that, all grants whatever, having relation to that country (and particularly land, grants) will be strictly scrutinzed and if found informal, or not duly given, or the conditions of the said grants not fully complied with, will not be recognized as valid by this Govt. Those of a fair legal character and whose conditions are fully complied with, will doubtless, on principles of justice be confirmed. I loose no time in giving you this information (in confidence) which I am satisfied comes from a correct source. Having the best of opportunity of obtaining the earliest information, and such as can be relied on, as to the views of both Governments will give me pleasure to communicate it to you, feeling confident, [it] can but prove of interest, and tend to guard you against speculators. A special minister arrived here a few weeks since from Mexico, (one high in favor with its President) and now on his way to Washington, if not full power to act, is authorized to listen to such proposals as our Govt, may have to offer touching the purchase of Texas, and there appears on the part of the Mexican Govt, a strong disposition to cultivate a friendly feeling with this Govt., and at the same time no little jealousy towards the powers of Europe, and not without good cause from what recently came to light respecting their views towards both Columbia and Mexico. All of which will attribute much to aid the purchase of Texas on more favorable terms, and which I have no doubt now occupies the attention of this Govt, and under existing circumstances should not be surprised if an early transfer took place. Letters from Vera Cruz state that Mr. Poinsett and secretary had taken passage in the packet ship Virginia to sail about the 15 Dec. for this port. We are without news from brother Henry since last I wrote, which left him at Matamoras, to proceed on his second trip up the river in a few days. With the hopes of soon being favored with a letter, I close in haste, as the packet sails in a few moments

Jno. P. Austin.

P. S. The enclosed queries, (from the daily advertiser of last thursday) proposed to his Highness Prince Paul William of Wiirtemberg, are from a source whence his movements are well known, and fully explain the motives of his Highness scientific researches.

January 22d 1830.

Dear Sir—

Referring to above duplicate of my last report leaves me now but little to add further than a confirmation. Mr. Poinsett did not arrive in the Virginia as was anticipated, but promised would embark in the Falmouth sloop of war, which remained at Sacrificios on the 22nd of December. Among the Virginia passengers were Col. José Maria Tornell, Minister plenipotentiary from Mexico to this Govt, and Col. Mejia secretary of legation with their families. They leave tomorrow for Washington, where they will meet col. -----, referred to in the above, who arrived there some weeks since, as a special agent from Mexico and whom Col. Tornell says enjoys the unlimited confidence of Guerrero. Should I get anything of importance, [I shall] loose no time in communicating it. Brother Henry writes from Matamoras Dec. 2d that, that country heretofore so healthy, the last of September a flood came in, which would have enabled him to go quite to Sante Fe, but he was unable to avail himself of it, for it brought with it a pestilence which prostrated every body and that he was the only one of the boat's crew who escaped it. He had made a second trip to Camargo and on his return trip had but two well men and when he wrote was thus unable to move the boat as his engineer and men were too feeble to do anything. I hope you have communicated with him as it might prove mutually advantageous.

John P. Austin. [Rubric]

Col. Stephen F. Austin, San Felippe de Austin, Texas.