Stephen F Austin to Document not sent, 05-18-1830

Summary: Arguing fidelity of Texans, injustice of law of April 6, interpretation that exempts his contracts from its operation.

I beg permission to call the attention of your E for a moment to a subject of deep interest to the prosperity of Texas hoping that the purity of my intentions (which have no other object than to discharge my duty faithfully as a M[exican] C[itizen]) will serve as my apology.

It is doubtless well known to Y. E. that I was the first emp° who undertook to form a settlement in the wilderness of Texas, that I have devoted all my time and personal attention to this object since the year 1821. That I have succeeded fully in redeeming a considerable portion of this country from the State of nature overrun with savages in which I found it, and that I have laid a foundation for the permanent advancement and prosperity of Texas by rendering it easy to form new settlements in consequence of the resources which may be drawn from my colony—Perhaps it may be necessary for me to declare that my objects in coming to Texas were pure, that I have never had any others, and that my maxim always has been and now is fidelity and gratitude to Mexico. There appears to be something humiliating in the idea that there should ever seem to be any necessity for such a declaration as this on my part, for I hoped that my conduct and deportment ever since I entered Texas, as well as the conduct of the settlers in my colony would have been sufficient to screen us from suspicion or jealousies, I know not however whether it has been sufficient or not, for I have seen the Mexican prints filled with reflections, which indicate but little confidence in the new settlers. Such reflections are unjust and unmerited—they are also impolitic, for they are well calculated to create discontent and disgust where it never has existed. The true policy of this Gvt. evidently is to make Texas a usefull and productive part of the nation to which it belongs— under this idea and with this object in view I have been laboring for eight years past. It has been a prominent point of policy with me in managing the new settlers and in forming their ideas and opinions as to the future, to impress upon them the belief that it is more to their interest to remain for ever United to Mexico, than to any other nation on earth—it would be occupying too much of your time to state the arguments which I have used to inforce this opinion and will therefore only say that they were fully successful, and I do most positively assert the fact that all the reflecting part of the settlers would oppose a change could they have hope of seeing the govt settled on a basis which offerd permanency and tranquility; Mankind are generally influenced by their interests, and it requires but a superficial examination to prove that the commercial and agricultural interests of Texas, will be more effectually promoted by remaining under this Gvt than under any other— besides this all powerfull ligament there is another, which I can with equal certainty declare is in the highest degree binding in these settlers, which is gratitude, a sence of the moral obligations which their oaths impose upon them as men of honor and as christians— They became Mexicans from choice they have been faithfull to this Govt since they entered its territory, they wish to remain Mexicans, and it is their interests as well as their duty to remain—under this view of the subject is it good policy to sour their minds and alienate their affections?

The law of the 6 of April will have a fatal tendency if imprudently executed as you can easily perceive by taking a slight view of my colony— I have made arrangements by means of contracts entered into by myself personally and by means of my agents to settle all the families which I have engaged to settle, and I believe that they have all arranged their affairs to remove the coming fall and winter and spring and are now on the road They are from N. Y. and the States from there to Louisiana— Many of them are persons of capital and all of them have property or lands or other effects to sell before they could remove, It is very evident that they require time to make their preparations, to sell their property and convert it into money and arrange their affairs for a final and permanent removal to a foreign and distant land— it is also evident that they had to make some preparations here for the reception of their families—and such is the fact with respect to the settlers who have contracted to emigrate to my Colony the ensuing fall and winter and spring— They have sold their property where they lived and made the necessary arrangements for a removal. They in [fact] properly belong to the colony and have the [same] right to come to it, which those who are [now] here have to stay, and to prevent them would be a direct violation of the law and of public faith, and could not be viewd otherwise by the intelligent world— under this view of the subject and considering that the 10 article of the law of 6 April gives all such emigrants a right even under that prohibitory law to enter this territory I have informed them, that the emigrants to my colony are not included in the prohibition contained in the 11 article for my colony is " established " and consequently no variation is to be made in it— This is consistent with the law and it was due to justice, and was more especially necessary to shield the character and public faith of this Govt from the odium which must of necessity have been cast upon it, if these families were not allowed to enter, for it would have ruined the most or all of them, immagine for a moment the situation in which some hundreds of families had to be placed, by being stopped on the road to this colony after having sold all their property where they formerly lived and incurred heavy expences, they would be totally ruined, and the odium would of necessity fall on the Govt that caused their ruin—public sympathy would be excited to a very high degree and public indignation would immediately follow,—The settlers whom I allow to [enter] are of the best class, whether considered with respect to their property, their morals or their intelligence—and the acquisition of that population would do more towards uniting Texas to Mexico and securing good order and tranquility than any measure that could be adopted. I have been informed that the commandant at Nacodoches will enterpose difficulties on [emig] rants to my colony, in order [to avo]id this I must beg that Y. E. will take this matter into consideration and procure from his E. the vice president the necessary instruction to the Comd Genl of this section not to stop the emigrants to my colony

The most of the contracts on colonization will expire in April next, my colony and Dewitts are the only ones that have progressed and mine is the only one that can be said to be " established " None of the [other] colonies are in the situation that mine is for none of them have progressed Dewitts has been commenced and he has over one hundred settlers

with regard to the admission of slavery in Texas, I have to say that I have always been opposed from principle to slavery and that I am well satisfied with the prohibitory laws on that subject. I have advocated the toleration of slavery here in the infancy of settlement because I at one time totally dispaired of getting emigrants without allowing them to bring slaves The country is now sufficiently advanced and as far as my influence extends I shall forever oppose slavery in Texas— I have made this declaratory to the settlers in public manner and my opinions relative to this matter are well known.

I beg leave to refer Y. E. to Dn Ramon Musquiz chief of the Dept of Bexar ,to Govr Jose Ma Viesca, to Genl Teran and to his Ey The vice President of the nation for information as to my character and conduct—with the highest respect etc