Stephen F Austin to President of the Consultation, 11-05-1835

Summary: Advises letters of marque, organization of regular army, expedition from New Orleans against Matamoras. Send no more whiskey to camp


Head Quarters above Bexar Nov. 5, 1835

I have heretofore expressed an opinion that it would be doubtfull policy to grant letters of mark, on more mature reflection I am inclined to change that opinion— Every effort will be made to distroy us—we are therefore fully justified in resorting to every possible means of defense.

After the convention have declared for the Constitution and federal sistem, and war against centralism, letters of mark might be granted to defend our coasts and cruise against the vessels of the centralists and military usurpers—under this view I am in favor of it, and recommend the measure ,

In short we are in a war, in which the objects of our enemies is our total extermination. It is a matter of life and death—there is no medium or middle course left— none at all—under these circumstances there must be no half way measures on our side—no hesitation or scruples— The basis of the Constitution is just, and to defend that Constitution and ourselves, we are fully justifiable in calling in all the aid of every description, we can get.

I again recommend the immediate organization of a civil Govt, and the appointment of a Govr. or civil head— Also the organization of a regular army, with a Genl. of well known military talents experience, integrity and moral influence. This is very important.

With regard to certain individuals about whom I have been written to— I beg leave to say that the convention is the only competent authority to decide whether they are enemies to our country and cause or not— I would on this subject respectfully recommend moderation and prudence— The Army is in good spirits—the three cannon have arrived and reenforcements of 180 men— I must however say that the taking of Bexar is very difficult— My health for the last two weeks has been so bad that I have been unable to attend actively in person to the duties of my station— they would be truly arduous to the most experienced man, considering the nature of a militia force, where there is no law but moral principle and enthusiasm to keep them together, but they' are doubly so to me with a debilitated constitution and bad health, added to a want of experience in Military operations—I trust however that the people will be satisfied with the efforts and the movements of the army so far.

We have in every instance driven the enemy within his fortifications which are very strong and have gained many signal advantages.

Nothing will aid Texas so much as an expedition from New Orleans against Matamoros under Genl Mexia— It is all important— I recommend that every possible effort be made to fit out such an expedition if it has not already been done, as I hope it has been

Stephen F. Austin [Rubric]

If matamoros is attacked and revolutionized by Mexia, Bexar would fall as a matter of course, for all supplies of funds or troops would be cut off. There is no way in which funds or men could be employed to so much advantage to Texas as in an expedition against Matamoros

This enterprise merits the first attention of the convention an express, at any expense should be sent to the committee of N. Orleans urging this expedition, also to N. YorkZavala ought to write to N. York on the subject—even a rumor of such a thing would keep troops from being sent to Texas

The military operations will be pressed now very rapidly, as much so as practicable— The convention however must not be surprised should Bexar hold out for a long time— It has been unanimously decided in a council of war with one exception, that it ought not to be stormed— they have plenty of provisions inside— The corn and country around Bexar might be laid waste, it is true and [unreadable] Guadalupe but this will ruin the inhabitants who are our friends The grass will all be burnt from Rio Grande to Bexar— I shall send parties for this purpose but the other measures of laying waste the country round Bexar, I think too hard on the inhabitants

S. F. Austin [Rubric]

By Express very important to be sent without delay

To the President of the General Consultation of Texas wherever it is in session

In the name of Almighty God send no more ardent spirits to this camp— if any is on the road turn it back, or have the head knocked out—