Stephen F Austin to James F Perry, 07-11-1830
Summary: Advising Perry in Philadelphia what goods to buy for store in Texas and giving information about Texas ports. Orders uniform of an infantry colonel. Harmony restored in Texas. Austin's motives in founding Texas.
San Felipe de Austin
I wrote you a few days ago to Potosi and to Philadelphia and now improve the opportunity presented by Cap Brown who goes direct to new york in the Sloop Nelson he is a settler here and has a good house at Brazoria, and intends returning immediately with a new vessel suitable for this trade— I[t] would be a good opportunity for you to send out your goods. Col Jesse Woodberry who was here with you goes out in the Nelson and will return in her should you wish for information write to Austin and Tayleur New York. The first of that house John P. Austin is a cousin of mine, a brother of Henry, Horace, etc. Woodberry will do his business with them.
Fisher the collector of Galveston has recd orders from Govt to suspend the custom house at Galveston for the present the reason assigned is that no custom house is wanting, owing to the exemptions from duties and other laws in favor of Texas.
I made an engagement with Mr Morton to put me up a small brick house in this place that would do for you to winter in, but he has been taken sick, and I fear a total disappointment. The steam mill is going and does very well, and I will have a house ready, either here, or at the point on the bay—
I think it will not be material which place you land at, Brazoria
or Harrisburgh, the water over red fish bar is about the same as over
the Brazos bar 5 feet— it will be more convenient to send goods to
Trinity from Harrisburgh-— I think that you might bring out a
considerable assortment and some indian goods among them one
hundred troops are stationed on the Brasos at the upper or San
Antonio road and a small store would do well there to supply them
and the Indians— there has been a great emigration and this
I want Vattel's law of nations in Spanish, a portable writing desk, and a large plain secretary and book case to keep my private papers in-— such a thing cannot be got here except at great cost.
If Tanner makes a good profit out of the Map I sent him he ought to give me one of his best bound and last American Atlass, it is the best now extant and would be very useful to teach the children geography—
I have sent the Texas gazette containing the law of
quarterly review for me, and
have them sent in packages to an agent in new Orleans to be sent
out by private conveyance by water, otherwise I shall not get the
half of them, and if such an arrangement cannot be made it will be
useless to take them.
Our colony matters are getting on very well, there is the utmost
harmony among the settlers and between them and the Government.
All the difficulties which appeared to be brewing when you were
here about stopping emigration from the U. S. have passed away
and I have been officially informed that I can go on and introduce
the whole number of families I have contracted for and finish all
my contracts— My standing with the Govt, has always been good
and it is better now than ever, for they know more of me owing to
the investigations which the stir in
all the empresarios. My letter to Learning that
was published in the Nat. Gazette has made some of those speculating
gentlemen my bitter and deadly enemies—and they are now secretly
I wrote to Learning to send me a genealogical account of my mothers family— call on him for it. Also bring or send me the number of the Nat. Gazette that has my letter about selling Texas lands—I wish for it to send to the Govt, in case those gentry should attempt to injure me, also get the newspapers that contain their advertisements on the subject.
Instead of roaming about in other countries to speculate I have devoted my life to the arduous task of trying to redeem this country from the wilderness and I have succeeded greatly beyond what was supposed possible, for I was ridiculed by some for attempting such a thing. I had no capital, and have supplied its defect by personal labor and attention, and by putting my shoulder to the wheel in earnest and in good faith. I have not made a fortune for my self (except in lands which now have no value) and probably shall not live to derive much personal benifit, but I have greatly benifited many others, hundreds of them, and made them and their families rich who were worth nothing before, and I have opened and enlarged a fine field for human enterprise and human happiness. This has always been the main object of my ambition and not a mere avaricious view to personal speculation. I have no fears that my motives or my acts will not receive the reward in public opinion which they merit, or that a few speculators can materially injure me, but they may harrass me. In a democratic republic enemies are sometimes more troublesome and dangerous than in any other form of Govt, for popular opinion is as often moved by whim or accident, as by reason or justice
Farewell I long to see you that we may all settle down on a quiet Stock farm, far from the reach of politics or popular whims—