Archibald Austin to Stephen F Austin, 06-30-1831

Summary: Sending dimensions for sawing live oak for shipbuilders. Wishes to get land in Texas.

New York 30 June 1831.

Dear Cousin,

I hope my letter acknowledgeing receipt of yours of 17 March last has reached you ere this, in which I inclosed some directions recd from Mr Burgh, one of our principal Ship Carpenters, relative to the proper dimensions in which live Oak should be cut, to answer in our Ship yards, for fear that letter may have miscarried, I inclose a copy of it, as there is I understand on the banks of the Brazos, a large quantity of that valuable wood, all the information that can be obtained from such a man as Burgh, must I presume be of consequence.

In my letter alluded to above I signified my desire to become a landholder in your Colony, if it could be done without interfering with your plans or views, say the usual quantity allowed to a man with a family if practicable, I should like to have it in a healthy situation, to have some part of it extend to the river. Henry writes me that he will be situated near Brazoria that is so near the Gulph, that I should think it must be unhealthy, in many other respects I should consider it preferable, particularly for commercial operations, perhaps a situation on the Border of Galveston Bay, may be more preferable for those purposes being easier I believe of access for vessels, and more contiguos to the United States, but my impression is that there is a good deal of low marshy ground in that vicinity, besides the Galveston Bay Company appear to have arrogated to themselves, the whole of that Bay, which might subject a body to some restrictions that would not be altogether agreeable—it puts me in mind of the State of New York claiming jurisdiction over all the navigable waters on the Jersey shore, this side of that state.

To have some of that valuable live oak included in my farm, would be very desirable as that must become very important sooner or later, but I presume that is out of the question, for if I mistake not it is all disposed of in another way. I should like to locate somewhere in your neighborhood.

Henry writes me from New Orleans that he would inform me, when an oppy offered in Texas, by which I might get a living, it would be strange if that oppy does not soon offer, in a Country that was so recently in Embryo, now possessing thousands of Inhabitants, and a rush of population, setting that way unpresidented, of such a variety of character and diversity of occupations, and represented to possess so many superior advantages over any part of North America, that I cannot but flatter myself, that I may benefit by a removal to it.

I should like some occupation when there, by way of variety and relief from the toils of the plough, a reasonable proportion of the time; as not having been in the habit for many years past of wielding any instrument in the way of labour, more weighty than a Goose quill, I fear my hands are too tender to follow the plough and hew timber for a constancy, practice may bring them to a proper consistency.

I saw a letter last evening from one of the agents of the G. B. C°, dated last April in Texas, in which he speaks of the country on the Trinity being very fine, but observes that it is superior on the border of the Brazos, a good deal for them to allow.

As you calculated to be back in May, I am flatering myself with the pleasure of a letter soon announcing your safe return, if you take the Leag of Land for me, let me know what the amount of expenses are as they accrue that I may remit the same, I think the time is six years before the whole amount becomes due, a pretty long credit however I suppose that depends on circumstances. I hope to be with you within the year from the date, cannot go immediately. should like to be here when you make your visit this way, but do not think you will be able to accomplish it, for several years yet.

The European powers are striving hard to prevent a general war on the continent, and it looks at present as if they wood succeed but it yet remains doubtful. The Poles fight desperately but must be overpowered and subdued by the Russians unless assisted by some European power, of which there appears no indication at present. The Genl who went to Spain from the Mexican Government for the purpose of forming, or proposing a Treaty between the two countries had had an interview with the King, and by the last accounts taken his passage at Bordeaux for Vera Vruz, where it is supposed he is about this time, with the Kings answer, and terms, on which he is willing to accede to, to lay before his Govt which are thought to be so favorable that a Treaty will soon be concluded. I understand that it is probable one of the Ports of Mexico will be declared a free port ere long. Please remember me particularly to Mr. and Mrs. Perry who I presume are with you. I hope to receive a letter from you soon telling me you returned safe in May last, and your health much improved.

Arch Austin [Rubric]

[Addressed:] Colo S. F. Austin, San Felipe de Austin, Texas.