Andrew Erwin to Stephen F Austin, 08-29-1825

Summary: Leftwich and the affairs of the Nashville Company, stock of which is selling at about 100 per cent advance. Concerning the business misfortunes of A. Erwin, Groce & Co.; and the character of Groce.

Nashville August 29. 1825

Dear Sir

Strange as it may appear it is true that I have never until two days ago seen your lengthy epistle to me on various subjects of 18th February last this is owing I presume to my absence from this State in Georgia and South Carolina from November until April last and my attention to my election for congress from that time until the 5th inst. in which I was again 2d on the list having 3 others to console with me in disappointment since when I visited this place for the first time since November last and here find your letter previous to seeing of which however I have seen our old fellow sufferer Genl Leftwich and his grant and several meetings of the Texas association. They had some difficulty in arranging matters with the Genl about his compensation expenses etc. etc. which however now appears settled by allowing him his expenses and about $200 pr month for services and the stock is selling at about 100 pr ct advance It is now believed that Doctr Robertson one of our most worthy citizens will go out as agent and take with him a large connexion and many respectable friends you will find him a great acquisition to the settlement of your new Country, he possesses sterling integrity good sound sense mildness of manners and conduct and firmness suited to the undertaking and with all a good stock of practical experience in the ups and downs of life—I was a stockholder but poverty prevents my holding on to it— The old business of A. Erwin Groce & Co. and Erwin & C° of which you have heard so much and so varient from the true state of the case keeps me in poverty and at present on the limits prescribed for unfortunate debtors from which I shall be released in about twenty days as I have twice within the last 7 years given up my last knife and fork to creditors I did expect to have escaped this ordeal but so it is owing to party feelings growing partly out of my defending myself and neighbours against Genl Jackson & Co. with eventual success excites feelings of hostility from that quarter and the circumstance of Mr. Groces leaving the country with property causes some to suppose I had knowledge of it which he knows is not the fact and the circumstances of my living on a good tract of land and having the use of 14 negroes which are mortgaged to the government for three times what they would sell for furnishes a pretext for some illdisposed persons to say that I hold property and withold it from my creditors Even your neighbour Mr. Groce who knows these facts as well as I do sometimes I am told indulges himself in saying we are all rich and owe him and refuse to settle with him etc etc In your letter you ask how this matter is above you have the answer all of which I could prove by Mr. Groce himself in a court of the United States and by Record Testimony in the city of Augusta were he here—no man wishes Mr. Groce to prosper more than I do It is true he joined me in a merchantile business in which business I had been prosperous for more than 20 years—Both our objects were to make money in which I lost upwards of $100,000 of my own capital and Mr. Groce near $50,000 leaving us jointly bound for large sums which both he and myself exerted ourselves to settle and at our last meeting in Augusta James Erwin Mr. Groce and myself each executed our notes to Col. McKinne for about ten thousand dollars which each were to pay and was to exonerate Mr. Groce from all other liabilities in Georgia and he exonerated us from him for all claims by him on either of us. Mr. Groce left the country without paying his note it was paid by us and I presume is the claim about which James Erwin has been writing Judge Thomas to which you allude in your letter in this latter part, however, I may be mistaken as I seldom see James Erwin and when I do we speak and feel somewhat different about Mr. Groce. I make more allowances for his misfortunes and his disposition to turn molehills into mountains that he does I have no knowledge of any other unsettled business between him and us which would require references as to what was said in Mr. Groce's letter to which you allude and which I had answered which answer Mr. Groce had not shown you—I viewed it all as intended for your eye and others and his own gratification whilst talking about it. as to either myself or family having anything to fear from any thing Mr. Groce could publish either in this country or that it is all a mistake—we have no fears of the kind As to your expressions of personal regard I assure you it is reciprocal—I view you as instrumental in doing much good for yourself and friends and wish you long life and continued prosperity.

Yours very respectfully,

Andrew Erwin.

P. S. as I write a bad hand and dislike Copying I send you the above writen by my son George Washington Erwin, from a Copy written by myself Since writing the above Doctor Felix Robertson has been appointed sole agent for the Texas association and will depart thence in October or November next

PS. In addition to all I have said I wish to be remembered affectionately to Mr Groce and all his Children that are with him, my regard for all of them as old acquaintances is undiminished and had Mr Groce been as cautious in speaking of my means and Intentions to relieve him as was his duty and his Interest I do believe I should have Effected that Desirable object long since, he has Injured me without Bennifiting himself—I however am Blessed with a family who view Enemies and Misfortunes as removeable by time and proper Exertions where truth and Justice is right in front as the poler star, this rule we adhere to and of Course fear nothing man can do or say— my best respects to Mr Westall and family and all other acquaintances with you


[Addressed:] Stephen F. Austin Esqr. Care of Jacob Cable Nachitoches Louisiana