Benjamin W. Edwards to Stephen F. Austin, 10-01-1825

Summary: Answering Austin's of September 15. Plans for colonizing his brother's grant. Austin's difficulties clue to ignorance of human nature.

La Bahia Crossing Brasos River

Oct. 1st 1825

Dear Sir.

I recd in due time, your very friendly letter [of September 15], and have been compelled to defer replying to it thus long, in consequence of my continued indisposition, with which I have been persecuted since I left town, until a few days past— Indeed I am now barely able to grasp my pen; and such is the feble state of my body and mind both, that I am denied the gratification of writing you a long and sentimental letter as you request, and as I should have been pleased to have done.

In replying to your remarks respecting the claim of Mr Harrison, I can say nothing more than I have already said to you in person. I am sensible of the difficulties that present themselves in this case and being unacquainted with the laws and policy of this country feel myself incompetent to point out any way to you by which his claim could be obtained, that you could derive any instruction from. I myself can think of no other policy now, than that of your representing the peculiarity of the case to the Government, the merit of the individual, the justice of his claim, and the probability of its adding to the colony a worthy and useful family— Could it be obtained in this way, it would be much more agreeable to the feelings of his family as well as to my own— I hope you will not give yourself any inquietude upon the subject in the mean time from any apprehension of censure from his family— I feel confident they will be satisfied with whatever disposition you may choose to make of this matter-

In your letter, you are lengthy upon the subject of your difficulties in settleing this Colony. I have long since been sensible of the causes of your difficulties, and find that you have very correctly pointed them out. They are I hope now principally over, and with a proper degree of forbearance and perseverance, I have no doubt, that they will all shortly vanish, and leave you to the enjoyment of those advantages, that you have in the commencement anticipated, and which must inevitably follow. As it respects this affair of Kinney, I have barely heard the subject mentioned once or twice since my return to this quarter; and of late it appears entirely forgotten— You must expect censure and abuse so long as you remain in your present station, whether you act right or wrong. Suppress your feelings on such occasions and even, if necessary, humor the prejudices of the people you have to deal with. Your principal business is with the Government, and your greatest danger is from them. All your energies should be directed to the preserving of a good understanding with them, while those little bickering and commotions around you should pass unregarded and occupy but little of your time— Your greatest misfortune Austin, has been the want of a proper knowledge of human nature— It has been the cause of many difficulties, that you have encountered in the last two years— But you have in that short time, I doubt not, learnt more than in all your former life— This may be too great a freedom in me, but in this you read the evidence of friendship, and the only kind of friendship that can be relied on.

I have just learnt that my brother has reached Nacogdoches with his family, and that he will establish his office at that place.

I have not yet recd a line from him, and am of course in possession of no particulars respecting him and his movements. I hope to set out on my journey in two or three days, and shall consequently see him on my way in to the U S.— I shall disclose to him, as I have done to you, my undigested and limited views respecting this country, and shall urge him to commence a correspondence with you as soon as I see him—

I am much impressed with the importance of a friendly understanding and a free and open communication between all the contractors these grantsof , and as it respects my brother I feel no hesitation in saying that it will both comport with his feelings and policy.

In looking over the C —— law, I find you have overlooked an essential part of its provisions. I discover that each family, who moves into those grants at their own expence are entitled to two Labors instead of one, which being proclaimed might make in favor of the settlement of the country. The law seems to contemplate that the contractors will in the main bring in the families at their expence, being ignorant of the American character altogether.

You wish to know my ideas upon the subject of the Waco war. I feel some delicacy in giving an opinion, as I may not know enough about the situation and policy of the country to give a correct opinion—But since you have desired my views upon the subject, I must remark, that I am of the opinion I have always been; and which perhaps I ventured to express to you when I was down; and that is "that it should be the last and only alternative"—some of my reasons I think I then gave you. I have no room to say more upon the subject.

I shall in a day or two perhaps start on my journey home, and should I determine to return to this country, (which is very likely) we will I hope often have an opportunity of communicating our views to each other. Until then a dieu—

B. W. Edwards

Col. S. F. Austin.