Stephen F Austin to Samuel M Williams, 04-28-1832

Summary: New colonization law passed. Texans must be mere spectators in national politics. Nothing io fear If all are patient and quiet.

[From Williams Papers, Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Tex.]

Saltillo April 28 1832

Dr Sir,

The legislature's labors closed today (Saturday) for altho there will be one more sitting, on Monday, nothing more will be done on that day than to go through the formalities of closing the session etc.

The new colonization law has passed—it had progressed considerably before my arrival and is as favorable as could be obtained or expected at present. A law has passed reducing the Alcabala one half in the departments of Bejar and Monclova—another stating that the military in service have not, and never have had, any right to vote at elections, except the presidial companies in the towns where they belong—another establishing the municipality of Brazoria. Three years more have been granted to Powers, Cameron, Beales, Viehlien and Burnet to settle their colonies.

Upon the whole this legislature have done no harm except the retail law, and some good.

The States of Jalisco and Zacatecas have formally demanded the dismissal of the ministers. Tamaulipas is all at sixes and sevens— the Legislature have annulled the decree of the junta Legislativa of 19 March last, and asked pardon of the general Government, etc. The Governor of that State, Vital Fernandez, refused to sanction this last act of the legislature and mustering all the troops and militia he could marched towards Tampico in the night of the 20 April. General Teran it is said was within six leagues of him on the pursuit, but I doubt this, for I have a letter from Teran 14 April from Matamoros, he was then starting for Victoria. Santana is already besieged in Vera Cruz.

It is impossible to form any definite opinion as to how this matter will end, but I think the most probable conjecture is that the ministers will retire soon, and that a general amisty will follow and a total cessacion of all hostility. I must confess that I doubt very much whether the nation will gain anything by a change of ministers—our Congresito, very wisely I think, have adopted the turtle sistem, callado.

So much for general matters—now for home affairs. The removal of Fisher, and the establishment of a custom house office at Brazoria I presume has satisfied everybody, and of course you have peace and harmony in the colony. The prospect of getting the law of 6 April modified is much better than I expected. If the whole of Texas and that colony in particular are quiet, prudent and obedient, and can keep all the local officers and especially the Military in a good humor, and well satisfied, I will almost insure a repeal of the 11 article of the law of 6 April, but there must be no more such violent excitements as that at Brazoria in December—no more such illegal and even piratical conduct as the Boston Packet,—No more speeches. How silly and imprudent the best of us will talk and act sometimes when under excitement. Those who were abusing me at Brazoria and in San Felipe because I insisted that Teran and Brad- burn were not the enemies of the colony [as] some charged them to be, and who even ridiculed me for believing that Fisher would be removed and an officer of the custom house sent to Brazoria, ought now to be convinced that I knew more of the subject than they did. I can assure the whole colony and all Texas that nothing but the outragious imprudence of the people themselves will bring trouble on that country. If the whole of the Settlers will adopt my motto Fidelity to Mexico—and act and talk in conformity they will flourish beyond their own expectations, and every favor will be granted to them, they could expect in reason. The legislature of the State are favorably disposed towards colonization, as the new law will shew. The Governor is also friendly, and if a dead calm has been, and can be preserved, all will end well—very well. I rely on the old standards, the first settlers. They have known me for years. They now know that their destiny was almost entirely in my hands—nay I might say completely in my hands for several years, for my legal authority over them was very nearly absolute. They can now look back and see that I have taken them safely through all difficulties, and that so long as their affairs were exclusively under my own control, they progressed in peace and harmony with the Govt. These things ought to give them full confidence in me, and I say to them, as I have often said, that they have more to fear from the imprudence of drunkards and talking demagogues amongst themselves, than from the Govt. I recommend my motto to them, and those who have any influence ought to exert it to have that motto used as a popular toast in the place of some others that I have been told were drank.

It would be a good thing for the people of Brazoria to make a present to the new custom house office of the two guns. If they will do so and the expense is any obstacle, I will pay for them myself. Shew this to Cap. John Austin and any others you please and tell John that the assesor and judges say that if he has had a court at Brazoria it is illegal and his acts void and himself liable to punishment. Many papers have been, or will be sent into Texas from Tampico and Vera Cruz and perhaps some agents of that party, if so, treat them all politely. That is read the papers—and feed and lodge the agents while they stay—but nothing more. No matter which party gains, it would ruin the people of the colony to take any part in any way. They must be mere spectators, and silent ones, hear and see everything they can, but without taking any part or expressing any opinion. Try and get them to adopt this idea all over the colony and especially at Brazoria.

I think I shall go to Monterry, and perhaps to Victoria. Genl Mason wishes to see Genl Teran, and so do I. I do not see any necessity for my immediate return to the colony, and am as yet undetermined whether I shall return untill after the September session—tho I do not know how you are getting on for I have not heard a word from San Felipe since the 8th day of March, which was the day I left there, the last mail brought nothing.

Tell Sister Emily that Austin is well—has a Mexicanita Sweetheart and begins to hablar.

The session of today continued untill 4 P. M. so I have not time to write to the Ayuntamto, and therefor request you to read this letter to the members—and to present my respects to each of them individually—also to Sarah and all friends—y al Padre.

S. F. Austin

Reservado: Tell John Austin not to dispose of any lots in the new part of Brazoria untill my return, not one to any person nor on any account. I particularly request and charge you to attend to this—I mean the lots that were bid in by him for me, which includes the most that were sold. If he is not in San Felipe write to him immediately.

You need not send any letters to me untill farther orders, for I do not know where I shall be during the summer.

Genl Mason wishes you to keep his letters and papers, if any should come for him untill he arrives en esa

S. F. Austin

I wrote you from GoliadBexar—and twice from here by Don Luis del Valle, and Butler.

[Addressed:] Don Samuel M. Williams Austin