Stephen F Austin to James F Perry, 01-14-1834
Summary: Announcing arrest, discussing past policies, and advising tranquillity.
The affairs of Texas are likely to cost me much trouble and expense
in addition to what I have already undergone since I left home.
The state govt, have made an accusation against me of some kind, to
the genl Govt, and I was arrested on the
It is very likely that I may be hammered and pummeled about for
a year before I get home again, but I think that good will come of it
for Texas. The
party spirit. I suppose that some of my enemies
in the colony will rejoice at what they may think or hope will be my
ruin—-no good man will envy them their joy, nor participate in it.
I have been very kindly treated by the Commandant General Don Pedro Lemus and by the Govr. of this state and Col. Ugartechea and have no cause to complain on that score. I hope when Genl Lemus visits Texas my friends there will remember that he befriended me very much.
I hope there will be no excitement about my arrest—-it will do me
harm and no good to Texas, that is unless I should be unjustly dealt
by, in that case there will be cause for excitement.
I send you some seeds of a beautiful tree in shape like a lombardy poplar, in foliage like a cedar—sow them—in a bed like pepper seed—raise the bed so that the water will not lay on it—water them in dry weather, protect them from frost in the winter when young, and from the hot sun in the middle of the day, by a bush or mat. They will do to transplant the second or third year—take special care of them. I have many seeds and my miniature taken in Mexico by Wm Howard who intends to visit Texas, I recommend him to you very particularly. I cannot send these things to you now. So will give away the seeds and take the miniature to Mexico again.
You have suffered a great affliction since I left in the loss of dear little Mary, and in the sweep made by the cholera—it is dread full but without remedy—my good friends John Austin, Westall, and many others are gone. I sympathize sincerely with you all—poor Henry too has his share and more than a share of affliction—it is dreadfull indeed.
remember me to Henry particularly—I have not received a line from you since I left home
Cotton is worth about 30 cents in San Luis Potosí—the freight from Tampico is from eight to nine dollars a hundred. If you wish for information write to Dall and Drege in San Luis Potosi—Henry knows them
God bless you—farewell—your brother
It is very rare that a man who labors for the genl good of
thousands, or for a whole country, can escape persecution and
detraction—no man did more good than DeWitt Clinton for the state of
New York, but he did it against a torrent of abuse slander and
opposition. Smith the father and champion of the infant colony
at Jamestown in Virginia was even banished by those whom he had
labor'd for. Party spirit and
envy only see with their own eyes and
for their own ends—they are everything that is uncharitable
malignant, selfish, anti moral and anti honest—the mass of the people, Party spirit has
tryed to make this a crime in me. I wished to smother this spirit
because history shows that the most dangerous enemy to new
colonies and infant communities is division and discord amongst
themselves, and I resorted to conciliating, yielding and passive means to
keep down party spirit, when perhaps I ought to have adopted the
reverse. Up to me in difficulty—had I
been as vindictive against them, as they have against me, and called
the old settlers and sound part of the people to rally a-round me. I
could have easily crushed my enemies—but they [would] have been
totalty ruined, and I did not wish to ruin even the worst enemy I
had on earth. They have tryed violent measures and gained
nothing but trouble, let them now try peace and harmony awhile and let
the country advance in population and resourses. The
favourable reforms and changes are taking place in the Mexican
government and people, and a little time will put all right—there will be
toleration of religion—Texas will be a state and all will go right—
but above all things the colonists must harmonize with Bexar and
Goliad. In the beginning of right of the people of Texas to take care of themselves, if there
be no other remedy—this is very clear—it is more than a right—it is a
duty—but evil may be done by precipitation. The evil in these
matters is that ambitious and bad men wish for revolution, and they
take advantage of a fevered state of public opinion, to hurry the
people into it, when it is not necessary—in such cases the actors
gain, and the instruments loose.
As I before said, when I return I will make my home at your house. I will not have anything more to do with public business if I can honorably and consistantly avoid it
I am told that Sterling Robinson has made charges to the state
Govt, against me. I think it unkind that such a man as that should
be made use of as an instrument by others, to try and ruin me—but
all this is in the regular course of things with envy and party spirit.
Keep yourself totally clear of politics and party and seek happiness within the limits of your farm and the circle of your family and personal friends, and I will join that circle as soon as I can, it is the only place where I expect to find quiet or happiness— adios
the most certain way for letters to reach me is to direct them to William Parrott, merchant, Mexico, and send them to Tampico, or Vera Cruz, to be put in the mail there—if there is no other opportunity, send them by way of New Orleans, I saw Baldwin in Mexico and put a letter in the mail here from him to you—-he has lost and suffered much.