Stephen F Austin to Peter and Joseph Powell, 01-22-1834

Summary: Discussing his arrest and advising quiet in Texas.

Monterrey, Jany. 18, 1834.

To Peter Powell and Joseph Powell.

Dr Sirs, Mr. Allsbury has informed that you are at Pilon, and have heard of my arrest. I am arrested by an order of the Minister of War to answer an accusation made, as I understand, by the State Government, on account of my having written to the Ayuntamiento of Bexar recommending that all the ayuntamientos of Texas should consult together as to what ought to be done in the event no remedies could be obtained for Texas, and also in the event that the Arista or military party should succeed, it being somewhat doubtful at that time (2nd of October), how the civil war would terminate.

The genl. govt, could do no otherwise than order me back to Mexicon, to answer to this accusation, coming as it did from the state, neither could the state govt, very well have avoided making the accusation—so do not blame either of them in any manner.

It was my duty, as an agent, acting under the instructions I had to write as I did under the circumstances.

The fact is that the revolutions since the plan of Jalapa, have kept everything so disjointed and so confused all over the nation, that no man who has had anything to do with public business, could avoid being entangled in some way. It was always my wish, as is well known in Texas, to keep the colony and that whole country out of the revolution, but it was impossible. All the measures of the Bustamante administration tended to ruin Texas, and subject it to a military govt. This irritated the people so much that they could not be restrained. They had sufficient cause to oppose military usurpation, but I wished them to keep out of that revolution for it was not absolutely necessary.

The military would have gone away of themselves in a short time. Since then all has been unsettled everywhere and I have been drawn into the whirlpool, unavoidable. It could not be helped.

The disposition of the genl. govt, toward Texas is in the highest degree favorable and friendly and everything will be done for that country that can be consistent with the constitution and laws. It would be made a state or a territory without delay if it was asked for by the ayuntamientos unanimously, but there must be no more conventions and no more wild excitements. The people must keep quiet, obey the state authorities and law, harmonise fully with Bexar and Goliad and with the Mexican population, discountenance all violent men or measures and speak to the govt, through, the legal channels, that is the ayuntamientos and chief of department, as they would speak to a kind and affectionate father, and they will then be listened to and all their reasonable requests will be granted.

I hope there will be no excitement about my arrest, and I particularly request that on your return, you will say that I request of the people there to remain quiet, and not be excited because I am arrested. No injustice or violence will be done me, I have been very kindly and respectfully treated since my arrest. It may cost me some months and perhaps a year delay and great expense but nothing more, and good will finally come out of it for Texas.

God knows the Colony has given me trouble enough. I am wasting away my years, my strength and my spirit to try and make all your fortunes. I have no time of my own, it is all yours, and yet many of you (I speak of the colonists) complain—you lissen to men who are my enemies. If you think I do wrong in anything it is unpardonable and magnified, you get perversed and excited and violent and drag me into difficulties in spite of myself these things however are all inevitable. Upon the whole my Colony has suffered much less from party spirit and division than most new settlements under such circumstances, and it is now entirely safe. The govt, is in favor of Texas and will protect it, and the people are beginning to have too much property and too many comforts at home to risk them by any more conventions or excitements. I think things will now get better and better every day, and that consideration and reason will have more weight than they heretofore have had. If so there will be peace, and prosperity. I particularly request that you will say to the people that I advise them to harmonise fully with the Mexican part of the population. This is very important indeed.

Remember me kindly to everybody. I am as I always have been and will be a friend to Texas and to you all.

S. F. Austin