Henry Austin to Stephen F Austin, 07-02-1830

Summary: Good account of Terán's attitude toward Texas. Political news.

Matamoros July 2d. 1830

Col S F Austin

My dear Sir I have recd your favor dated Bexar June 1st and regret to observe you have heard nothing of my application for a grant of land— My agent at Saltillo said under date 8 May that he had made enquiry and found my business in a fair train, that some document wanted your signature, this the Govt had sent to Texas for signature and so soon as returned signed the solicitation would be atended to—but as orders have been recd from the Genl Govt not to grant any more land to citizens of the US I fear I shall be defeated—

The law of the 6 April no doubt originated in a Jealousy of the Views of the US and fears of the growing strength of the Colonists in Texas— The Govts and people of Mexico appear to become more hostile daily to the citizens of the US. and I am of opinion will ultimately drive them from Mexico or reduce the U S to the necessity of compelling them to respect the rights of her Citizens— The authoritys here are now enforcing a law of this state which requires all foreign Merchants except English, German and Dutch to pay one pr ct on their capital in trade and on all importation during the last year, whether on acct or consignment—

This retroactive law in direct contravention of the Cons[titu]tion is levelled so directly against the citizens of the US (they being the only merchts affected by it) as to give good grounds for serious alarms, they are compelled to pay instanter or go to prison

Genl Teran is still here with two or three hundred men he is supposed to have orders to march to Texas but I am of opinion he will not leave this— The receipts at this custom house are the only resource for the payment of the troops in this department, the Genl probably suspects that heretofore not one half the legal duties have gone to acet of Govt and seems determined that in future every dollar shall be secured his troops perform the duty of French Gens d'Arms every point is guarded and the soldiers appear to be converted into custom house officers— The Genl dictates in all things he will kill the goose in search of the golden eggs as this troublesome and hazardous trade is profitless paying the whole dutys and will be abandoned—

It is now said 1600 men are to be here shortly to be drilled I do not believe they will be marched to the frontier as the Genl is convinced that the apprehensions of hostilitys by the US are without grounds and that the colonists are content to remain as they are He professes a disposition to favor the colonists in everything, says he will make this part of the country flourish etc, but until more stability can be infused into their Govt this is impossible

I think he has more apprehension of a Grito for Centralism in the South and a separation of those northern states which are federal, than of the US or Texas where in fact there is nothing to fear until outrage shall produce difficulty—

I also suspect he counts upon much support from Texas in such an event— I have abandoned the Navigation of this river, as I have no benefit from the past and no security for the future—and am preparing the steamboat for Sea I should be off in a Week could I close my business but I do not like to leave 6 or 8000 dollars behind me and shall continue two weeks to save what I can and leave the rest to an agent— My intention is to run first to the Brassos de dios where if the boat can be employed she shall remain, if not, when the season will permit I will take her to the Teché River— She is a boat of great speed and power carrys 100.000 lbs freight and according to Capt J Austins acct can run up to St philipe excepting in the lowest water—- If she could get one full freight a Month at the present rate of costage she would do better than here—and the influx of population and goods should I think warrant the expectation of so much employment— Col Bradburn has again joined the army under Genl Teran and is now under orders for Galveston in one of two Govt Schrs expected from Tampico ostensibly to survey the coast of Texas— he is also I believe to act as commisary for supplying the troops with provisions from N Orleans, He has recently returned from Orleans where he was sent by the Genl for the purpose as I have reason to believe of ascertaining the object of the US in establishing a port on the sabine and to collect information as to the views of the Colonists— His report as far as I can discover was that the troops were Stationed near the frontier to prevent smuggling and that the colonists were quiet and well disposed excepting some newcomers and idle disorderly young men that no measures were necessary but to support Col Austin with sufficient authority to controul this class of people you ask if I am on good terms with the Genl I was on the best of terms and had a high opinion of him, but since his return from Tampico he has been too great a man to hold familiar intercourse with— he obviously wishes to make himself popular in Texas and here— but here he has rendered himself very unpopular, and is now thought to be a very weak and arbitrary man— I am told he says "the north americans who now think him their enemy will in a few- months be perfectly satisfied with him—" what does this mean can he contemplate bringing about some important change?

I wrote you two letters by Captn J Austin which I hope went safe altho he had the misfortune to loose his sloop near Matagorda— I adhere to the opinion expressed in the last, the report by capt Harkens that you were coming here on your return from Bexar gratified the Genl very much and he expresses a strong desire to see you here

If it please God to permit me to escape from this detestable place alive and to reach the Brassos in safety I may have the pleasure to see you within a month but so many difficultys spring up here unexpectedly that no man can calculate upon any thing a week a head— at present there is nothing in the way to prevent my prompt departure but my reluctance to leave a large amount of property to the mercy of agents in such a country

H Austin [Rubric]

The country is parched with drought Thermometor at 98 or 100 in the shade I fear the river may dry up and prevent my departure The Sand drifts like the desart of arabia and makes us very uncomfortable