Stephen F Austin to Mary Austin Holley, 04-20-1833

Summary: Texas petitions for organization as a State. People do not want to separate from Mexico, but anything preferable to present conditions.

[April 20, 1833.]

I do not know that, in the whole course of my life I have so sensibly felt the extremes which ardent and sanguine temperaments are liable to, as during the last eighteen months. When you were here we permitted our imagination to ramble into futurity with untiring, and more than full grown wings. The result has been what calm and calculating judgment would have foreseen—an unnatural flight, and consequent disappointment. Well, so be it. I had rather at least be capable of being moved by bright visions, never realized, than to pass through the world without being touched by the recollection of the past, the events of the present, or the anticipations of the future.

The calamity which Henry has suffered by the loss of his wife, and by sickness is truly distressing. I am convinced from numerous examples that persons raised in cities ought never to remove to a new and thinly settled country. It is a total change of element, and a corresponding change of habits, ideas, and customs must take place, or disappointment and discontent will surely follow. The wild garb of nature may delight and enchant at first, because it is new; the foliage the vines and the forest are pleasing images to those who have always looked upon brick walls and paved streets, but it is the pleasure of novelty and soon vanishes. Henry's health, and that of his family have very much improved, and also his spirits. I think, after this summer we shall get along much better.

Our political affairs have been somewhat agitated during the past year. But their course though often much too wild and rapid, and too impulsive, has been tending towards the prosperity, and permanent tranquility of the country. Every thing has now settled down on one fixed basis. Texas needs a State Government and is determined to have one. We have lately had a Convention and asked of the general Congress admission into the Mexican Confederacy as a State separate from Coahuila. This request is accompanied by a Constitution as an evidence that we wish for nothing contrary to the National Constitution. I was appointed by the Convention to take on our application for admission as a state; and depart tomorrow morning on this responsible and important mission. I go by land, and expect to be in the City of Mexico in about a month.

I have great confidence of success in procuring the approbation of Congress to the measure. It was originally united to Coahuila provisionally and the law that joined them says, "So soon as Texas is in a situation to figure as a State she shall inform Congress thereof for its resolution." So that we are acting by authority, and in virtue of the express mandate of the law, for we only inform Congress that we are in a situation contemplated by said law, as it requires us to do, and ask for admission as such.

Should this application he refused it will be the greatest error ever committed by the Mexican Government. Texas is now in the budding, and impulsive vigor of youth, and a wise direction of its energies will make it one of the most efficient, faithful, and devoted states of the Union. But, under disappointment it will be an unmanageable and wayward child. For young as it is in some respects, it is far advanced in energy of character, and an unbending determination of purpose. In short, Texas is determined to have a state Government.

There is a decided opposition to seperating from the Mexican Confederacy. The people do not desire, and would not agree to it, if they could get a State Government, but anything would be better than to remain as we are, for we have no government that deserves the name of one.

If I succeed in this mission I intend it shall terminate my participation in public matters. I have contributed very much to the settling of the Country, and if I am now successful, I shall be contented, and think I have done my part. Where, a few years since, the primitive solitude of nature was undisturbed, a grand Theatre has been erected. I have no desire to enter upon the stage as an actor. But, I must confess, I have done calculating for the future. Before this I fully expected to have been settled on my farm quite snug and comfortable. Instead of which I am on the wing for twelve hundred miles, on a mules back (not a pegasus) over plains and mountains, to the City of Montezuma, farther from all hopes of farm and home than I ever was.

Henry informs me that you intend spending the summer in Kentucky. I think this a good plan. In the fall, or winter come and pay us a visit and look at your league of land so as to keep up your domicil in Texas, for you know you are only temporarily absent. I enclose a certificate that may be of use in case it should ever be made a question whether you were domiciliated or not.

I hope to be back in four months. It is probable I shall return by water, and as it is doubtful whether I can get a direct passage from Vera Cruz to Texas I shall have to come by way of New Orleans. Farewell—

S F Austin