Stephen F Austin to D C Barrett, 01-15-1836

Summary: Advising declaration of independence and giving reasons

Copy of a Letter to Col. D. C. Barrett.

New Orleans, Jan. 17, 1836.

Dear Sir,

Texas stands high all over this country. We have effected a loan for two hundred thousand dollars and expect to procure another for 40 or 50,000. The enclosed contract contains the terms of the first loan, it will no doubt be ratified by the Convention as stipulated. The credit and prospects of the country will be totally ruined if it is not. The last news from Vera Cruz and Tampico is, that the Federal Party had united with Santa Anna against Texas. This leaves us but one course, which is an absolute Declaration of Independence. Such a measure is expected and called for by the people of the United States, from one end of this union to the other. We could not have obtained the loan here except on the firm belief by the lenders that a Declaration of Independence would be made in March next by the Convention.

The negotiation that is now pending for another loan has been embarrassed by a rumor that there has been a mob at San Felipe to destroy the Government, and restore the old state of things under Coahuila and Texas. I do not believe there has been any such thing. Texas must be united and act together and in harmony and never recede one inch. It may perhaps be necessary to stop and rest a while on the way, but never to retrace our political march. It must be forward. The country has rested a short time under the declaration of 7th November, in order to look around and gain a little more strength and a little more information as to the road yet to be traveled over—and we are now ready for another move and a final one. Whatever difference of opinion there may have been as to the time for this move, I hope there will be none now. The whole nation of all parties are against us; they have left us but one [course]—INDEPENDENCE— It is now necessary as a measure of self defence. The United States as a people are ready to sustain it—we shall sink in their estimation if we do not adopt it.

My health is greatly improved— I wish it had been as good in Texas— I should then have been more active and followed my- own impulses and judgment, both of which are sufficiently indicated by my communications of 30th November, 2nd December and letter to you about that time. I shall try to be at home by the first week in March and preach Independence.

S. F. Austin.