Stephen F Austin to James F Perry, 09-22-1830

Summary: Much biographical matter. Conditions in Texas. Land matters.

San Felipe de Austin Sept 22 1830

Dr Brother

I have just got your letter of July 18 and am truly glad that you had so quick a trip home and found all well with the addition of another son— I was surprised that you thought me silent and reserved—it was what I never dreamed of-— I told you the grant was in your and Emilys name jointly— however I hope it is enough for me to say that if I appear reserved exteriourly I was not so in heart, and I will here apprise you and Emily of a change which time care and something like disgust towards the world and human affairs, has wrought upon my disposition I find from your letter that I ought to have done it the first day we met—- I have for the last few years been gradually loosing my taste for society, or for conversation— I am getting tactiturn, or what may be called absent minded— Silence is more agreeable to me than talking or noise— this thing is becoming habitual and in spite of myself it is growing upon me very rapidly— I therefore apprise you both that if you move here, you must not expect to find me the cheerful companion I once was,— if you wish to know any thing from me, you must ask the question direct, if I answer, yes, or no, and say no more, which may often be the case, you must not think that it proceeds from coolness on my part

I expect Henry Austin here tomorrow, he has arrived in the Brasos with his boat, and on the first interview with him I shall tell him of this part of my habits so that he may not be misled as you were, and think I am cool because I am not a great talker; dismiss that impression from your mind for ever I pray you I told you the grant was in your and Emilys name jointly — that was in fact saying all that could have been said on the subject by a days talking, and so far from casting any reflection on you as to Bryans children I felt gratefull for the care you had taken of them and was truly gratified that it was in my power to aid you in providing for them by means of this grant, and besides this it was necessary to state in the petition for the land that there were two families to be provided for in order to give a sufficient reason for asking for such a quantity as Eleven Leagues, without this it would not have been granted—. I hope this is sufficient on this point and that your mind will be at rest and never again think that I am silent or cool towards you for I again assure you there is nothing of that, in my heart, nothing—

I am as I was when you were here litterally overwhelmed with perplexities worse if possible than when you left I have no prospect of much quiet for the future, nor of being able to enjoy much of your society even if you move, at least for two years, for I was elected on the 5 of this month a member of the Legislature of this State for the two years from the 1 of Jany next and must leave here in Decr for Saltillo where I shall probably be detaind one year and perhaps longer— nine years ago I inlisted my self as the slave of this colony, and there is no remedy now, for I am bound in honor and duty to labor for it untill its affairs are finally done Our affairs with Govt, are on a much better footing than when you left here and are getting better—tho on that point changes are frequent. Now as to your removal—I have no house up nor under way—I made an arrangement with Morton to build one he was taken sick and disappointed me— The Steam Mill did not get under way as soon as was expected and has broken several times and done but little— I am now contracting with a carpenter to put up a frame store in this place and will try and have it ready by the time Hunter arrives—

From what you say I do not expect the family untill next fall— It will be hazarding too much to come in the Spring and besides perhaps you can come on during the spring or summer yourself and have a place provided for them to suit yourself—

There is much difficulty with Edwards about the place at the point and I know not as yet how to settle it without much bad feeling of an unpleasant nature, and your delay in removing will make the thing much worse— that place is of no value except as a pleasant situation— land of more value can be had— I will do the best I can— The titles are not yet finished because Padilla still is in confinement and no new Commissioner has been appointed— I now say to you once for all that any place which I have you may have for a residence or farm or what you please—the place where I originally intended to settle all my family is at peach point below Brasoria, on the Sea Shore prairie at the edge of the timber 6 miles from the sea beach— Every body says it is the best land and the best situation in the colony— It is my first choice for a residence, and on Chocolate Bayou is my second choice— I need you here to take care of my pecuniary affairs— unless I have some one to manage them for me I shall be as poor as a church mouse as long as I live, but you must consult your own feelings and your own wishes and act for yourself. If you come here, all that I can do shall be done. I am expecting instructions as to the introduction of negros, and as I have now no hope of seeing you this fall there will be time enough to send them to you before I leave here for Saltillo.

My confidence in the ultimate rise and prosperity of this country is in no degree impared, it must prosper in the end— I have recd by the last mail the most friendly and satisfactory letters from Mr. Lucas Alamán the minister of state, and from the vice President Bustamante, and from Genl. Teran, they all say to me that this colony will be fully protected and encouraged by the Govt, and their confidence in me and in this colony is full and unimpaired and that they always have had confidence in me and the colony etc. these assurances are very flattering, and I think them sincere— My election to the legislature will also place me on still higher ground, tho I think it very probable that some change may take place as to our local government Texas does not suit to be united with Coahuila— But I am running into the all absorbing subject of public affairs, and general interests a thing which has always occupied so much of my time that I have neglected my own private affairs in toto, and I fear will always neglect them unless you are here to manage them. I had determind to put all my affairs of a private nature into your hands— I am laboring more for yours and Emilys children than for myself—what do I want with property or fortune? but little will do me, and every year less, for I am dayly getting more tired of the world and its entercourse and affairs— however let no wish of mine influence you, do as you please—only never again think that I am silent or reserved because I am not a great talker

I know not what else to say— I am opposed to your removing in the spring, tho if you put the family at Peach point I believe they will be [as] healthy as at any other place in the wood so do as you please on that subject— I shall be absent from here but that will make no difference I shall leave a full power of attorney with Williams to deliver to you all notes due to me, as soon as you arrive so that you may collect them in stock and also take charge of all my affairs I shall also leave my will with him to be delivered to you—

If you come this fall you must be content to quarter in log cabbins, which you will have to put up after you get here but that is no great job and I could do it, but I prefer that you would look at Peach point and other places and chuse for yourself— If you want any thing let me know, and not think I am reserved because I do not offer it— I again tell you and Emily that I am far different in my habits of cheerfulness and loquacity from what I once was— remember this and run no more into an error that is calculated to mar the happiness of us all— I hope next mail to get an answer from the Govt, as to the appointment of a commissioner and will finish the letter but I do not know how I shall manage the thing with Edwards and you must not be disappointed if that place is not included. I mean the situation at the point on the Bay— write me as to this and whether not getting that place will make any material difference with you— The situation on the Bay between the point and clear creek is as good as that at the point in some respects— Let me know your wishes and as you justly observe be very frank with me—

I am sorry to say that some of the people here are in a tangle amongst themselves. Seth Ingram and H. H. League are in confinement for killing a man by the name of Holtham—it happened in an affray in the street—public opinion is very much excited against League It all happend, as most of such things do in my absence the beginning of this month at Bexar—- The fate of League and Seth Ingram (the surveyor) is very doubtful, particularly the former— There is a furious excitement all over the colony against him— I think that you cannot complain that this letter is short so I will close it —-

remember me to the children

S. F. Austin [Rubric]

26th I am perplexed about your removal, I have not yet seen H. Austin. I really want you here to take care of my pecuniary affairs, and have some idea of throwing the whole of them into John Austins hands

There is no remidy for me, I must continue to devote all my time to the general interests of the colony or it will not advance, it may be necessary for me to go to Mexico next year— I cannot request you to advise any of my relations to come here— They would all think as you have that I am silent reserved cold or some thing else—¦ better live apart than in that way so for the future I never will say one word about any person who is in any degree related to me, removing to this country. If you were here to attend to it there might be two hundred cows and calves collected for me this winter and spring and as many more in the fall— this would be a sufficient start for a stock farm— I wish to know definitely what you intend to do for I must make some final arrangement before long, I have an impression that I told you all this when you were here, but perhaps I only thought it— At all events let me know what you are going to do and when you will be here, but act for yourself and do not be influenced by me in any part of your movement, I only want to know what to depend upon and what arrangements I must make to try and get some one to take charge of my affairs while I am absent and occupied about other matters

S. F. A

Sam Browne is well

27th. I send you a power of attorney which you must sign at both the places marked with pencil thus—

It is appointing S. M. Williams your and your wifes agent to attend to getting your titles completed—send this back by some safe conveyance as soon as you can. it ought to have been signed when you were here and is dated then. Be sure and sign it at both places Emily need not sign it—