Stephen F Austin to R. R. Royall, 12-25-1835

Summary: Bitterly opposing methods used by Wharton and others to promote independence

Quintana, December 25, 1835.

[R. R. Royall]

Dear Sir: The affairs of Texas are more entangled than I suspected they were. While the real friends of the country have been laboring in good faith for the general good of all, a few men, an unprincipled party, have clanned together to get possession of the public affairs to promote their own aims of ambition and personal aggrandizement. There has been much low intrigue, and amongst others I have been deceived and treated with bad faith. My whole thoughts and soul were devoted to the common cause of Texas, and I could not suffer even my suspicions to descend so low as to suppose that there were individuals who could be influenced by any other motives than purely patriotic ones. I ought to have known better, but I was unwilling to believe that so much bad faith and political dishonesty and low intrigues existed as I am now compelled to believe has been and no doubt will continue to be practiced by Wharton and a few others.

What ought the owners of the soil, the old settlers of Texas, who have redeemed this country from the wilderness and made it what it is, think of men who will collect the signatures of persons on their first landing, who had not been here a day, or only a few days in the country, and attempt to impose a paper thus signed upon the world as the opinion of the people of Texas. This has been done here, and a large number of names collected to a paper for declaring independence. It is time for the people of Texas to look to their true interest and distinguish between those who serve them in good faith and those who are mere political jugglers and base political intriguers.

I am associated in a mission to the United States with a man that I cannot act with—a man whose conduct proves that he is destitute of political honesty, and whose attention is much more devoted to injure me than to serve the country. I mean Wharton. Dr. Archer, I believe, is governed by pure intentions, but he is very wild, as I think as to his politics, and too much inclined to precipitate this country into more difficulties than there is any necessiy for. Associated with such men, what have I to expect? or what has the country to hope? The war is now taken beyond the limits of Texas. Why bring it back by adopting such a course as must and will turn all parties in Mexico against us? Will the people of this country suffer themselves to be jeopardized in this manner by a few men who attempt to assume their voice?

I have given my opinion on these matters in a letter to the Provisional Government, which Col. Fannin takes up, and to which I refer you. The fact is that Texas is now in the hands of a party, and the whole objects of this party are to retain the power and serve themselves. If they are not checked they will saddle the people with an army and a debt, and involve them in a war that will be difficult to bear. The people ought to look to their interest before it is too late. I find that I have but little to expect, that is if I am to judge of the future by the past few months, and that I can be of but little use to Texas. I go on this mission from a sense of duty. It is a bad example for any one to refuse the call of the people when the country is in difficulty. I have been called to go, and I obey the call; but if party influence and low intrigues and cabals are to govern Texas, I wish to have as little to do with her affairs in future as possible.

Perhaps I am myself somewhat to blame. My unsuspicious disposition and the great importance I have always attached to union and harmony, may have led me into errors by trusting and countenancing men who were unworthy of my notice or of confidence. When I arrived here last September I found the country distracted and divided. My first object was to try and unite and harmonize, and I set the example by harmonizing and acting with my personal enemies. I did it in good faith and in the firm belief that I was serving Texas by such a course. Had there been good faith in the men I thus attempted to harmonize, it would have been a service to the country, but there was not, and for this reason the course I adopted did harm. I find that parties must and will exist. I have heretofore tried to keep them down. I have never been a party man, but in future I believe the public good will be promoted by having the parties clearly and distinctly marked. Let a line be drawn between them, let the people understand that such a line is drawn and judge for themselves. Jackson's rule is a true one: 'everything for friends and nothing for enemies.'

I beg leave to recommend my friend, Col. Fannin, to you and my friends generally as a man who is identified with the soil and interests of Texas, and as an honorable soldier. Farewell,

S. F. Austin.