1(1)r

Texas.

Observations.
Historical, Geographical and Descriptive.

In a Series of Letters,

Written during a visit to Austin’s Colony, with a view to a permanent
settlement in that country, in the Autumn of 18311831.

By Mrs. Mary Austin Holley.

with an appendix,

Containing specific answers to certain questions, relative to Colonization
in Texas, issued some time since by the London Geographical
Society
. Also, some notice of the recent political events in that
quarter.

Baltimore:
Armstrong & Plaskitt.
18331833.

1(1)v
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 18331833, by
Armstrong & Plaskitt,
In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of Maryland.

Printed by J. W. Woods,
1, 5 Calvert street.

1(2)r
To
Col. Stephen F. Austin.

Dear Sir,

Too much praise cannot be awarded
to you, for your judicious, disinterested and generous
management, of the affairs of your Colony.
You have accomplished great ends with small
means. You have endured more hardships, and
made greater sacrifices, than often falls to the lot
of man to encounter. You have a right, not only
of that best reward, the consciousness of good
deeds done—but to a just appreciation of those
deeds by the public.

There is great pleasure, therefore, in inscribing
to you, as a humble tribute to distinguished
merit, this little work on your own Texas, by
your friend and kinswoman.

Mary Austin Holley.

1(2)v 1(3)r

Introduction.

Texas, until within the last few years, has
been, literally, a terra incognita. That such a
region existed, has, indeed, been known; but in
respect to its geography and natural resources,
clouds and darkness have rested upon it. This
is the more remarkable, lying as it does, contiguous
to two enlightened nations, the United States,
on the one side, and Mexico, on the other, being,
moreover, very easy of access, both by land and
sea. While Britons, impelled by a daring spirit
of enterprise, have penetrated to the ice-bound
region of Melville’s Island, and our New
Englanders
have encountered all the hardships
and hazards of the western desert, the Rocky
Mountains
and hostile Indians, to find a home at
the mouth of Columbia river, this most inviting
region, lying just at their doors, has been altogether
overlooked. Quite unexpectedly, as it
were, a report has reached the public ear, that 1* 1(3)v 6
the country lying west of the Sabine river, is a
tract of surpassing beauty, exceeding even our
best western lands in productiveness, with a
climate perfectly salubrious, and of a temperature,
at all seasons of the year, most delightful.
The admirers of this new country, speaking from
actual knowledge, and a personal inspection, are
not content, in their descriptions of it, to make
use of ordinary terms of commendation. They
hestitate not to call it a splendid country—an enchanting
spot. It would seem as if enchantment
had, indeed, thrown its spell over their minds,
for, with very few exceptions, all who return
from this fairy land, are perfect enthusiasts in
their admiration of it. Whatever qualifications
to its excellence, the most cautious of them are
disposed to make, have reference to those inconveniences,
which unavoidably pertain to every
country in the incipient stages of its settlement.

So apparently extravagant have been the representations
of the natural beauty and resources
of this country, that many persons are incredulous,
and attribute them to the schemes of interested
contractors, eager to allure the unwary
emigrant, by deceptive statements. Such a motive,
if it really actuates the conduct of any one, 1(4)r 7
cannot be, too severely, condemned. A design
more criminal and disgraceful cannot be, easily,
conceived of, and ought not to be lightly insinuated
against respectable men. What design more
cruel, than that of deliberately seducing, not the
confiding emigrant alone, but, with him, his wife
and children, to become the certain victims of
privation, disappointment and ultimate ruin, in
the wilderness. The character and respectability
of the witnesses above referred to, at once, repel
an insinuation so atrocious.

While listening, for the first time, to the
favourable reports of Texas, it must be confessed,
a suspicion is very apt to arise in the mind, that
so much imputed excellence if it really existed,
could not have been so long concealed from the
view of the world; and we are prone to ask, how
has it happened, that a territory, possessing such
uncommon advantage of climate and soil, has not
been explored and appropriated before. To this
very natural inquiry, a satisfactory answer is at
hand.

Two causes seem to have operated to prevent
the earlier settlement of the province of Texas,
and to retard the development of its resources.
In the first place, the jealous policy of the old 1(4)v 8
Spanish government, uniformly discouraged all
attempts to penetrate into the country. It was
the policy of the government, that completely
locked up Texas, and all the Spanish American
possessions, and excluded even visiters and travellers.
It was a favourite saying of the Spanish
Captain General of the internal provinces, Don
Nemisio Salcedo
, that he would stop the birds
from flying over the boundary line between Texas
and the United States, if it were in his power.
This rigid policy prevented any one from attempting
to explore the country by land, for
perpetual imprisonment was the inevitable result
of detection and capture.

In the second place, the Carancahua Indians,
who inhabited the coast, were represented to be
of a character, uncommonly ferocious. They
were, popularly, believed to be cannibals, and
many tales of most frightful import, were told,
of them; such as, if true, it must be acknowledged,
were sufficiently appaling to check the enterprise,
and damp the ardour of the most eager adventurer.
These representations of the character
of the Carancahuas, though, in a measure
true, were, greatly, exaggerated; and it is believed
by many, that they were either fabricated 1(5)r 9
or at least countenanced, by the Spanish authorities,
to prevent intercourse with the Province,
which it was not easy to guard by a military
force. Thus, the whole of this country remained
for ages unknown to the world, and instead
of being converted into an abode of industrious
and happy freemen, as it might have been, it was
doomed by the selfishness of men, to continue a
howling wilderness. No maps, charts or geographical
notices, were ever allowed by the
Spaniards to be taken of it. The map, compiled
by Col. Austin, and published by Tanner, is the
first and only correct geographical information of
the country, that has been ever published. The
persons who were engaged in the expeditions
under Generals Bernardo, Guitierrez and Toledo,
in 1812–18131812-13, knew nothing of Texas, except
along and near, the road they travelled, for they
were too much occupied, by the war, during the
short time, they had possession, to explore the
country. It is uncertain how long this extensive
and valuable country would have remained unknown
and unsettled, had not the bold enterprise
and perseverance of the Austins, torn away the
veil that hid it from the view of the world, and
redeemed it from the wilderness, by the settlement 1(5)v 10
of a flourishing colony of North Americans,
on the Brazos and Colorado rivers. With the
settlement of this colony, a new era has dawned
upon Texas. The natural riches of this beautiful
Province have begun to be unfolded, and its
charms displayed, to the eyes of admiring adventurers.
A new island, as it were, has been discovered,
in these latter days, at our very doors,
apparently fresh from the hands of its Maker,
and adapted, beyond most lands, both to delight
the senses, and enrich the pockets, of those, who
are disposed to accept of its bounties.

Without any assistance from the government,
or fostering care of any sort, but simply under a
permission to enter, some thousands of industrious
farmers and mechanics, with their families, have
already located themselves here. Their numbers
are rapidly increasing, and there cannot be a
doubt, that, in a few years, Texas will become
one of the most thriving, if not the most populous,
of the Mexican States.

Of the numerous contracts for purposes of
colonization, made by the Mexican Government
with individuals and companies, few of those of
early date, for causes, which it is not necessary
now to mention, have proved successful, while 1(6)r 11
that of Col. Austin, to which the following letters
have especial reference, has been eminently so.
The author of these letters, made a visit of observation
to this colony, in the autumn of 18311831,
with a view to the ultimate settlement of herself
and family. Many of her friends did not hesitate
to condemn the enterprise as romantic, and too
adventurous for a female. Allured however, by
the flattering representations of the country,
made to her, by persons in whose judgment she
placed implicit confidence, and tempted by the
very liberal terms of settlement proposed by the
colonization laws; but, above all, impelled by a
desire, which every widowed mother will know
how to appreciate, of making some provision for
an only son, a provision, which, if not immediately
available, cannot fail to be ample, at some
future day; favoured, also, by a previous personal
acquaintance with Col. Austin himself, and encouraged
by a brother already established in the
country, she resolved to go. But previous to a
final removal from her native land, prudence dictated,
that she should first cast an eye of observation
over the ground, the probable scene of
her future weal or woe.

1(6)v 12

The result of her expedition was, a decided
purpose of removal, as soon as domestic arrangements
would permit. Her most sanguine impressions
of the natural advantages of the country,
both with regard to the salubrity of the climate,
the fertility of the soil, and the facility with which
the lands can be brought under cultivation, were
confirmed, and, without further hesitation, she
determined to choose this spot for her home.

To the enterprising public, especially to emigrants,
the following letters, in the hope of being
useful, are respectfully presented.

The publication of them was suggested, by
the notice of some queries, by the London Geographical
Society
, regarding the localities, the
moral and physical capabilities and prospects of
Texas, with a view to emigration, to which queries
a distinct, and it is believed, satisfactory reply,
will be found, in the subsequent pages. The
commands of numerous friends, to whom a visit
to Texas seemed little less marvellous, than the
wanderings of Dante on the other side of the Styx,
enjoined upon her, to observe and tell them all about
the country
, and to assure them, whether it were,
or were not, a fabulous land.

2(1)r 13

The public mind, seemed to require, more
just, more distinct, and detailed information, than
had, hitherto, been given: many persons, disposed
to emigrate to this fair portion of the earth, needed
assurance, that the natives do not kill and eat
people
there, nor always insult and rob them. It
has been thought, that an exact representation of
things, just as they are, in this beautiful and fertile
country, where the greatest abundance of all valuable
and substantial possessions, are the easy and
certain reward of industry and perseverance,
would be acceptable.

Emigration is, often, undertaken with expectations
so vague and preposterous, that, disappointment,
if not ruin, is the inevitable consequence.
Not more unreasonable were the emigrants
of the early history of America, who expected
to find streets, paved with gold, because
that metal abounds in the mines of Mexico and
Peru, than are those individuals of the present
day, who, escaping from confinement and poverty
in the northern cities of America, or from the
slavery and wretchedness of the crowded and oppressed
communities of Europe, complain of their
disappointments in Texas, because, forsooth, they
do not find in Brazoria and San Felipe, the Philadelphia2 2(1)v 14
market and streets lighted with gas.
Such persons would do well to ask themselves, in
what part of the world, they can get land for
nothing?—where obtain so many enjoyments, with
so little labor? What region combines every
good?

The idle and the vicious, as it happens every
where, will be sure to be disappointed in Texas.
Like the hero of Milton, such characters carry
their discontent with them.

A soil, that yields the fruits of nearly every
latitude, almost spontaneously, with a climate of
perpetual summer, must, like that of other countries,
have a seed-time and a harvest. Though
the land be , literally flowing with milk and honey,
yet, the cows must be milked, and the honey
must be gathered. Houses must be built and
enclosures made. The deer must be hunted, and
the fish must be caught. From the primeval
curse, that, in the sweat of his brow, man shall
eat bread, though its severity be mollified, there
is no exemption, even here. The emigrant should
bear in mind, that in a new community, labour is
the most valuable commodity. He sees about
him, all the means for supplying, not only the
necessaries, but also, the comforts and luxuries of 2(2)r 15
life. It is his part, to apply them to his use. He
is, abundantly, furnished, with the raw materials;
but his hands must mould them into the forms of
art.

With a view to emigrant mothers, on whom
the comfort of every family, and the general well-
being of the infant colony, so much depends, it
has been thought that, a journal in detail, of one
of themselves, would furnish more hints for the
judicious arrangements of the voyage and the indispensable
attentions to the comfort and economy
of an infant establishment, than could be gathered
from the more abstract and general views of gentleman
travellers. Many trivial circumstances
are, therefore, introduced, not with a view to
amuse, but to be applied to some useful end.
Much incident, calculated to interest the general
reader, is not to be expected. But the author
having ample means of information, may, without
vanity, indulge one hope, as she professes but one
aim—utility.

2(2)v 2(3)r

Letter I.

I hasten, my dear C――, to comply with my
promise of giving you a full and detailed account
of my movements during my visit to Texas. I
shall first give you an account of my voyage; you
shall then be informed of all I have seen with my
own eyes, and of all I have learned from others,
respecting this interesting country. I will not
promise to be too concise, and you may, perhaps,
find, that you have got more than you bargained
for. I have seen and heard much that interests me
exceedingly, and it is likely, I shall have much
to say; I hope you will be patient and hear my
story out. Of this you may rest assured, that I
will write nothing which I did not either see with
my own eyes, or learn from sources which commanded
my entire confidence. You may perhaps
surmise, that my journey into the province was
too short to admit of much incident or observation.
As for that matter, I might have travelled farther
and learned less. What useful knowledge was to 2* 2(3)v 18
be gathered by traversing the unbroken wilderness,
or gazing upon the boundless prairie? I
might have seen more trees, more Indians, and
more wild beasts. I consider myself most fortunate,
indeed, in having met, so soon after my
arrival in the colony, with the very persons, who,
doubtless, are more competent, than any other
individuals living, to give the information I desired;
men who had, personally, inspected the
land, in its length and breadth, had explored its
rivers, and surveyed its coast; men who were
perfectly familiar with its whole history from the
beginning, and were the best judges that could
be, of its present capabilities, and future prospects.
I need not say, that one of these gentlemen, was
Col. Austin himself. But, I will not anticipate,
so, to begin with my voyage.

I took passage, for the Colony, in the schooner
Spica, sixty tons, captain D――. A larger
vessel would not answer for the navigation of the
Brazos, on account of a troublesome bar, at the
mouth of the river. I was, therefore, obliged to
content myself, with small accommodations.
They were, however, neat and comfortable.
The cabin, appropriated to the ladies, had but
two berths, which had been taken by two of my 2(4)r 19
fellow travellers, one of which had several children.
A lodging place, was, therefore, arranged
for me, on the transom, far more comfortable,
and with a better circulation of air, than the
berths afforded. Another lady joined us, afterwards,
and our little cabin, as you may well suppose,
was completely filled, with ourselves and
baggage.

The captain was a Bostonian, polite and
agreeable, and what was yet more to the purpose
in hand, an excellent seaman. He had
been in the India and Mediterranean trade, and in
the service of the United States as commander
of a Revenue Cutter. He had been recently
“reformed out of office”, as the phrase is. But
having known many honest citizens in the same
predicament, we were not the more distrustful
of him on that acount. It was a satisfaction to
know that he had seen service, and was a seaman
of experience, for our voyage, though short, is,
sometimes, not without hazard, on account of the
Northers; A troublesome wind on the coast, about which I will tell you
something by and by.
as they are called. The passengers,
though strangers, were respectable, and I
promised myself a safe and agreeable trip.

2(4)v 20

I was on board at the time appointed, Tuesday,
1831-10-18October 18, at three o’clock. We were to sail
at four. All hands were punctual—every thing
ready. I took my seat, with the other passengers
on deck, engaged in conversation with some
friends, while waiting for the tow steamer, to
conduct us to the mouth of the Mississippi.
Thus occupied, I did not regard the lapse of
time, until the sun went down, and no steamer
came. My attention was aroused, by a philippic
of our captain, against a certain class of people
in New Orleans, for their faithlessness, and utter
disregard of their engagements. He was, however,
extremely moderate, considering the disappointment,
inconvenience and delay, we were
about to suffer. It was now too late to proceed
for this day. The musquetos were troublesome.
There was no alternative, but to go on shore:
which most of us did, with the utmost good
nature, not much displeased, in fact, with the
prospect of one more night, of comfortable repose,
without rocking. So here is good night to
you. We will take a fresh start in the morning.

Affectionately, yours.

2(5)r 21

Letter II.

The next day, at the appointed hour, we were
all at our quarters. The captain of the tow-boat
sent word, that he would be along for us about
sun-set. But, our captain doubtless thinking one
good turn deserves another, without giving him
notice, made a different arrangement, and before
that time, we were attached to the smoking sides
of the Shark, balanced by another schooner on
the opposite side, and under way for sea.

The skies were soft—our spirits buoyant,
and under the influence of sanguine hopes, we
were willing to consider these little delays, as
the most serious, if not the most amusing, of our
adventures. We moved smoothly down the current,
during a glowing sun-set, succeeded by a
full moon, giving a romantic beauty to the luxuriant
and cultivated shores.

I had now, an opportunity to notice my fellow
travellers. They were all bound, like myself, to
the land of promise, on a tour of observation, with 2(5)v 22
reference to a permanent residence. A better assortment
of professions and character, for an infant
colony, could not have been selected. An
editor of a gazette from Michigan—a civil engineer,
from Kentucky—a trader from Missouri,
with his bride along, and an outfit of dry goods—
a genteel good looking widow, on a visit to her
son—with a suitable proportion of the working
class.

At day-light, the next morning, the tow-boat
left us, to pursue our solitary course, in the great
gulph, which spread its deep waters before us.
We pressed onward, while she tacked about, to
offer assistance to a ship and four brigs, which
were waiting for an escort to the city we had
left.

We stood out for sea, with a gentle breeze
from the south-east. Soon we were sensible of
the change of motion. We began to find it difficult
to preserve our equilibrium, and very shortly,
most of us were compelled to yield to the
sickening influence of the sea, our sufferings from
this cause, being not a little aggravated by the
pitchings and tossings, of so small a vessel. My
mattress was spread on deck, for I could not endure
the closeness of the cabin. Under other 2(6)r 23
circumstances, what a delightful situation was
this for contemplation. The resplendent sky
above, around me, on every side, the sea, ever
glorious and beautiful. But, nothing, just then,
was capable of inspiring me with sentimental
emotions, nothing could counteract the morbid
sensations which oppressed both my body and
mind. The other ladies and some of the gentlemen,
were in the same predicament, making a
most poetical group—poetry, after the Hogarth
school.

Our progress was rapid. We met no sail,
and encountered no adventure. On the evening
of the second day we had a gale, sufficiently violent
to frighten ladies, but not so much so as to
endanger the vessel, the wind blowing off shore.
The storm was soon over, leaving a swelling sea.
I cannot say that night was the most agreeable I
ever passed, being prostrated by sickness, and
having eaten nothing for two days. I would advise
all who take this voyage, to carry a liberal
supply of oranges with them. This fruit is most
refreshing to the lips, and has a relish, when
every other article of food seems insipid.

The morning of 1831-10-22October 22d, was fair and
bright, and land to our great joy was announced. 2(6)v 24
After dinner, the mouth of the Brazos lay before
us. It was less than three days, since we parted
from the levee, in New Orleans. We cast anchor
and sent off a boat for a pilot, and to take
soundings on the bar. The pilot came on board.
He is an American, of gentlemanly deportment,
and lives at the point of land, formed by the
Brazos with the gulf. Here there is a Mexican
garrison, and the tri-colored flag is hoisted, the
first signal of our approach to a foreign land.
He reported, that in consequence of the high
wind, the night before, there were but four feet
of water on the bar, that tide, and the Spica,
drawing six feet, it would be necessary for us to
remain where we were, until the next morning,
when he would conduct us over.

We had now leisure to survey our position—
to recover our spirits and the use of our feet; to
fish and amuse ourselves, and to enjoy the grateful
feelings which succeed to moments of suffering
and danger.

On our right, in front of their palmetto-roofed,
and windowless barracks, the lazy sentinels
were “walking their lonely rounds,” without excessive
martial parade; nor did the unturretted
quarters of the commanding officer, show forth 3(1)r 25
much of the blazonry of a Spanish Don. There
was no tree, no cultivation. A uniform verdure,
alone, indicated the season of the year. Nothing
marked civilization, save a fabric for making salt;
itself an image of desolation, and the solitary
house of the pilot, standing high on piles, serving,
at once, for a beacon for the mariner, and a refuge
from the storm. The whole appearance of the
scene, at the north, with the associations of a
northern climate, would be called bleak; but in
this latitude, the dark blue sea, when not made
terrific by a storm, always suggests agreeable
images to the mind, especially that of a refreshing
coolness.

We amused ourselves, while lying here, with
dissecting some of those curious links, between
the vegetable and animal kingdoms, called sunfish.
They were large and delicately white and
transparent; formed, not unlike a flower of the
rose shape, partially expanded, and placed in a
saucer. At first view, one is disposed to call it a
vegetable; but, on applying the knife, it shrinks
and quivers, as from a sensation of pain, especially,
the saucer part of it. The saucer, is
obviously and beautifully designed by its author,
as a boat for the little mariner. The collapsing, 3 3(1)v 26
however, is not so violent as that of the sensitive
plant, when touched. We spent the evening,
not unpleasantly, singing our first vespers in this
Catholic land.

Affectionately, yours, &c.

Letter III.

The moment the tide would answer, next day,
it was not, however, till after dinner, the pilot
was on board. In a few minutes, we were safely
over the bar, for it is not wide, but not without
some severe rubs and pitches. The tide, always
irregular, had not yet recovered from the influence
of the storm, nor attained its usual height,
though there was no hope of its being higher,
that day. This bar presents a serious obstruction
to the navigation of the river. Vessels have
been, indeed, wrecked, in crossing it, and none
but strong vessels, or such as are of light draught,
should attempt it. It is to be hoped, and may
be, reasonably expected, that, when an extended 3(2)r 27
commerce will justify the expense, this bar will be,
in a good measure, removed by the hand of art.

This bar is not peculiar to the Brazos river.
Bars are common to all the rivers of this coast.
They are formed by the prevalence of the
southerly winds, which act in a direction contrary
to that of the stream, and by checking and dispersing
the current, cause a deposite of the sand,
which the water brings with it.

Vessels arriving after the commencement of
the northers, as they are called, which is, generally
about the last of November, are sometimes
blown off to sea, for weeks. When they return
to the coast, there is much danger, that the
southern breezes, not always gently blowing, may
dash them against the bar. The moment of
arrival, therefore, is a moment of great anxiety,
as well as of joy, and all hands pray for fair
weather, and “whistle for favouring gales.” “Whistle to St. Antonio for a fair wind,” is a familiar expression
of the sailors and boatmen. The Brazos boat song, adopts this
expression.
We
were, therefore, sufficiently happy, as we doubtless
had much reason to be piously thankful,
when we found ourselves safe, upon the bosom
of this beautiful river.

ElLos Brazos de Dios, in Spanish, means: The 3(2)v 28
arms of God.
. It is on many accounts, a most
interesting river, and has one peculiarity which is
very remarkable. Its head waters spring in the
Comanche country, and consequently, are but
little known. It has the very peculiar feature, in
one of its branches, which has no parallel in any
part of the world—a salt water river running
from the interior towards the sea.

The westernmost branch has its source, in an
extensive salt region, not Mr. Jefferson’s Salt
Mountain
, of which so much was said and sung,
at the time of the Louisiana purchase, but a vast
plain, of one or two hundred miles, in extent, the
land of which, is charged with mineral salt, and
on which nitre is deposited by the atmosphere.
The rains dissolve this salt. When, in the dry
season, the water is evaporated, the salt is deposited,
in immense quantities, and the whole
plain is covered with chrystalized salt. When,
on the other hand the rains are copious, an extensive,
shallow, temporary lake is formed, which
discharges its briny water into the Brazos, by
the Salt Branch, as it is called, its waters, being
at times salt enough to pickle pork.

The freshet produced in the Brazos, by the
rise of the Salt Branch, renders the whole river,
for a while, brackish, and its waters bring with 3(3)r 29
them a fine red clay, as slippery as soap, and as
sticky as putty. This clay is deposited, on the
shores of the river, and retains its saltness, as
does the water its brackish, or slightly saltish,
taste, until a freshet produced by the fresh
branches, washes it away, or covers it up, when
the river becomes fresh and potable, and continues
so, until another rise in the salt branch.

We came to, before the door of the pilot’s
house, which fronts the stream. The officer of
the garrison boarded us, to examine our passports,
a ceremony, the Mexicans are very tenacious of,
from their known jealousy of foreigners. He
was a young man, dark and rather handsome, in
a neat Mexican uniform, probably his dress-suit,
for occasions of so much company, are not of
every day occurrence, on this station. He very
politely, addressed our captain, in a few words
of English, probably, his whole vocabulary;
while the latter displayed to best advantage, in
reply, his whole stock of Spanish. Saluting us
gracefully, as he passed, the business of passports
was soon adjusted in the cabin. Ours were spoken
of, and inquired about; but with courtly complaisance,
and gallant reliance upon a lady’s word,
he waived the ceremony of examination, and 3* 3(3)v 30
saved us the trouble of searching our trunks for
them.

Our sails were now spread to a fair, light
breeze, upon the Brazos. We proceeded gaily,
with the accession of spirits, our good fortune
had inspired, for about four miles. The river,
for that distance is deep, but partially obstructed,
at one spot, by a sunken vessel. The average
width of the Brazos, from its mouth, to Bolivar,
is about fifty yards. Its average depth, from
three to five fathoms. A slight flaw of wind
took us, suddenly, too far towards the left bank;
the tide left us, and there we stuck fast. Here
we remained another day, waiting for the evening
tide. Though impatient to proceed, we made a
virtue of necessity, and did not permit the hours
to drag heavily upon our hands. The gentemen
went ashore to hunt, and the ladies amused themselves
with fishing. Wild fowl of every description,
were continually passing over our
heads, while ducks, snipe and curlews, were in
constant motion, among the high grass of the
shore.

The next tide, happily, took us from our
moorings and our sports, and soon opened to us, 3(4)r 31
the most beautiful river scenery, I ever beheld:
and I have travelled, “From Mexico to lake Champlain,From Maine to Mississippi shore.”

The alternate woodland and prairie, which
make the peculiar beauty of a Texas landscape,
commenced, with small intervals: now the glossy
boughs of the one, hanging over the river’s brink,
and now the rich grass of the other, extending,
as far as the eye could reach. Nothing was
wanting, but neat white dwellings, to complete
the picture. The lawns were as smooth as art
could make them, and the trees, sometimes in
clumps, sometimes in avenues, seemed to display
the hand of taste. The sun and the air, seemed
brighter and softer, than elsewhere. We were,
all enchanted with Texas, and, with one accord
exclaimed, “This is the spot, and here I wish to live,Despising all that wealth and power can give.”

Thus we moved onward, through a day of
gentle pleasure, feeling, as if we, alone, were the
possessors, of this beautiful creation: for we saw
not a human creature, nor any trace of one. We
admired the variety of foliage, much of which 3(4)v 32
was new to us, all in the hues of spring, and the
graceful windings of the river. There is nothing
in the whole course of the Ohio and Mississippi,
for quiet beauty, to be compared with the Brazos.
So much were we excited, one and all, by our
prospects, that we sat up, half the night, admiring
the fair moon, the bright stars, and the
atmosphere without dew, conversing upon various
matters of practical utility, connected with our
intended settlement, and relating anecdotes we
had gleaned from others, or incidents of our own
experience. I wished most earnestly, that some
of my northern friends, of cultivation and taste,
who in their finished dwellings, far, far off—are
pitying, perhaps, my singular destiny, or wondering
at my adventurous hardihood, had been with
me, to participate in the rare pleasure of that
day. They, with their habitual foresight, are
preparing their winter clothing and hoarding their
winter fuel, for with them, “November’s wind is chill and drear,November’s leaf is red and sear.”
Long, long may they enjoy, their Christmas
fires, their Christmas cheer, and all the blessings
of their happy, happy lot.

Affectionately, yours, &c.

3(5)r 33

Letter IV.

The shores of the Brazos are not flat, though
never bold, but undulating and graceful. The
prairies, only are level, gently sloping towards
the bay. The trees of larger growth are sometimes
covered with Spanish moss, as on the shores
of the Mississippi. But these bearded non-descripts
are not so frequent as to give the sensation
of gloom; nor is there any cypress, to increase
that effect on the mind. Where the land is of,
comparatively, recent formation, the growth is of
willow and cotton wood, with occasional young
sycamores; but this is not very frequent. The
Brazos pursues the noiseless tenour of its way,
and never overflows its banks, in its whole
course, of many hundred miles. In colour, it is
more red than the Mississippi, or the Missouri,
and resembles that of the Red river. From the
centre, both shores show to advantage. There
is no caving in, no cut offs, no dead timber, and
scarcely a snag. Nature in its solitudes, is quiet 3(5)v 34
and lovely, and subject, here, to no violence.
Such, at least, was its aspect, when I saw it. I
have been informed, it is not always so. In the
common stage of water, it is justly represented
by images of gentleness and peace. The water
is, then, tranquil, and its onward movement, silent
and uniform. Where it is seldom disturbed, as
above Brazoria, it is as smooth as a mirror,
slightly tinged with green. I am told, indeed,
that all the rivers of Texas, when undisturbed by
freshets, have this greenish hue, like the sea in
shallow water.

When, on the contrary, the mountain torrents,
pour down, with their infusions of red clay, the
Brazos becomes dark and furious, tearing away
all obstructions of its channel, but never carrying
away its banks. In its former state, it may be
compared, in tranquility, to a lamb: in the latter,
to a roaring lion, foaming with blood.

Thus its name, El Brazos de Dios, is significant
of its character; being placid and beneficent
in repose—mighty and terrible in wrath.

We saw but one alligator. These creatures
are lazy and harmless, and not ferocious, devouring
animals, as some suppose. You must tread
on them, as they lie baking in the sun, before 3(6)r 35
they will move, and then, they slowly drag their
clumsy length along. This one was fired at, and
twice hit, without stirring, and a billet of wood,
at last, drove him into his natural element. We
were near to him, and closely inspected his ugly
proportions. Never was such odious deformity.

We have not been, at all, incommoded by
mosquetos, or other insects, during this voyage,
and have, but two nights, made use of mosqueto
bars.

We reached Brazoria on the evening of the
1831-12-2626th, being the third day from the mouth of the
river, and the sixth, from New Orleans. Thus,
had we not been detained by the bar, and by
getting aground, we should have made the whole
passage in four days. The last ten miles, we had
to warp, as the sailors term it, the turns were so
numerous, and the wind so fitful and faint. It
certainly cannot be long, before all tedious delays
from this cause, will be remedied by the interposition
of steam power. Never, was a river
better calculated than the Brazos, whether we
consider its depth, its placid current, or unobstructed
channel, for the perfect operation of the
steam engine. At present, they say, there is not
enough of business to defray the expense of a 3(6)v 36
steamboat. The experiment has been made. But
the tide of population is setting in so strongly and
trade increasing so rapidly, that this objection,
must of course, be speedily removed.

Some of the passengers, tired of confinement,
went ashore, to exercise their limbs and survey
the land. They proceeded to town on foot, and
arrived there long before us. They saw many
deer, in their walk. They, with the male population,
en masse, stood on the shore, the future
quay, to welcome us. An arrival at Brazoria, is
an event of some moment; and the schooner
Spica excited a far livelier interest than the Lady
Clinton
or the Benjamin Franklin usually do in
the docks of New York and Boston. The port
was not crowded with shipping, nor would it be
slander to allude to grass-grown streets. We
were safely moored among tall masts (the only
masts there) still flourishing in all their leafy
honors. Not a naked spar, save ours, was to be
seen, nor an inch of canvass, to dispute the supremacy
of nature over art.

The staging being adjusted, we were soon
boarded, not by Spanish myrmidons, or cannibal
Indians, but by friends and kinsmen, all of the
same complexion with ourselves, and speaking 4(1)r 37
our native tongue. The letter bag was the first
object of curiosity, and its interesting contents
were soon searched.

Too much must not be expected of Brazoria.
It is not located in a prairie, where nothing was
to be done to prepare the foundation of the rising
city, but to mark off its lines with compass and
chain; but upon a wooded elevation of poachland,
as it is called. This spot was chosen as
the most commanding and healthful, besides combining
other advantages. It has, therefore, to
dispute empire with the lords of the forest, which
are paying tribute to the power of man, in every
possible position, from the erect to the prostrate.
One street stretches along the bank of the Brazos,
and one parallel with it farther back, while other
streets, with the trees still standing, are laid out
to intersect these at right angles, to be cleared at
some future day, as the wants of the citizens may
require. Its arrangements, as well as its wealth
and greatness, are all prospective. A speedy
settlement and a rapid growth in population and
importance, are calculated upon with perfect certainty.
Nor will these calculations appear unreasonable,
when we consider that it is but three
years since the first tree was cut, and it now 4 4(1)v 38
contains fifty families, many of which are of the
first respectability. A stranger is more surprised
to see brick stores and frame dwelling houses,
than disposed to complain that he does not find
more elegance and convenience.

Brazoria gives constant employment to the
few carpenters there, so many buildings are required
by the rapid increase of population from
abroad. Every body here is employed, and
every house occupied. Some families, recently
arrived, are obliged to camp out, from the impracticability
of getting other accommodation.
The place has, therefore, a busy and prosperous
air, which it is always agreeable to notice, but
has not yet advanced beyond the wants of first
necessity. There is neither cabinet-maker,
tailor, hatter, shoe-maker, nor any other mechanic,
except carpenters above mentioned, not
even a blacksmith. Such persons would, of
course, find encouragement and business. By
combining agriculture with their trade, they need
not fear a want of employment. The useful arts
only are likely to be encouraged in a new colony.
Sound policy, indeed, should teach the colonists
to look coldly on whatever tends to extravagance
of any kind.

4(2)r 39

Brazoria is thirty miles from the mouth of
the Brazos by the meanders of the river, and
fifteen by land. It is situated on the right bank,
and contains from two to three hundred inhabitants.
It has a very good boarding-house, that
is, one that furnishes every thing that absolute
necessity requires, in neatness and good order.
The proprietors of it are from New York, and
know how things should be, and have intelligence
and good sense enough to make the best
of circumstances they cannot control. Thus
they contrive to render their house, not only a
comfortable, but an agreeable sojourn for travellers.
A hotel is about to be erected, which will
accommodate a greater number of persons. It
is a very desirable thing to have such a one here,
as in all places, the first impression, whether
favourable or the contrary, depends so much
upon the degree of personal comfort enjoyed.

Brazoria has, already, some families of education
and refinement. In one of my visiting
excursions, I called on Mrs. ――, who was, I
found, from my native state, (Connecticut,) a circumstance
sufficient to place us, at once, on the
most sociable footing. The family had not been
here long, and their cabin was not yet built. 4(2)v 40
They occupied a temporary shed among the
trees, or camp, as they call it here, not impervious
to the light, though there was no window.
A white curtain supplied the place of door.
The single apartment contained three or four
beds, as white as snow. Books, glass, china,
and other furniture in polite usage, were arranged
in perfect neatness about the room, as best
suited the present exigence. It was Sunday
evening. Mrs. ―― was seated in a white
cambric wrapper and tasteful cap. The children
around the door, and the servants, were at their
several occupations, or sitting at leisure about
the temporary fire-place without. The whole
scene was an exhibition of peace and happiness.
I gazed upon it with emotions of admiration and
delight. I have seldom seen a more striking domestic
group, or enjoyed a conversation of more
genuine good sense, than during the hour of my
visit. The prospects of a new country and the
retrospect of the old, were of course the absorbing
topics of our discourse, as they are the
unfailing themes of conversation among all classes
in Brazoria, all uniting to extol the advantages of
these fair regions of the sun, over the frozen climates
of the the north. Mr. ―― is an alumnus 4(3)r 41
of Yale College. Stimulated by the love of occupation
and the desire of doing good, he is
about to open a school, in which the higher
branches of education will be taught; the first
school in Brazoria.

Nowhere is conversation so animated as
here, where every body is excited by the beautiful
creations around them, and all busily engaged
in appropriating the luxuriant bounties of heaven
to their own use. Each has the best land, the
best water courses, the finest timber, and the
most judicious mode of operation; proving, at
least, that each is satisfied with his own lot, and
not disposed to envy his neighbour. Never was
self more amiably displayed. Never was rivalry
more honourable in itself, or one that promised
more beneficial results to the community.

In Texas, most domestic business is transacted
in the open air. There has not been time to
attend to the supernumerary wants of convenient
kitchens. The most simple process is used for
culinary purposes, and one is often reminded that
hands were made before tongs, shovel and poker,
as well as before knives and forks. Rumford
and Franklin seem to have laboured in vain, and
the amusing melody of mother Goose is almost 4* 4(3)v 42
realised; for pots, kettles, and frying-pans, in
playful confusion, greet the eyes of visiters and
enjoy the benefit of fresh air, as well as of severe
scrutiny.

Affectionately, yours, &c.

Letter V.

Frequent mention was made, in conversation
of honey trees. In Kentucky, you hear of sugar
trees
. Upon inquiring what kind of tree was
meant by honey tree, I learned, that hollow trees,
in which the bees deposit their honey, are so
called. These trees are very abundant, and
honey of excellent quality and in any quantity,
may be obtained from them. These trees are
also called bee trees. There are persons here,
who have a peculiar tact in coursing the bee, and
of thus discovering these deposits of the luscious
store. This employment is not a mere pastime,
but is profitable. The wax alone, thus obtained, 4(4)r 43
is a valuable article of commerce in Mexico,
and commands a high price. There is always a
demand for it, it is so much used in the churches.
This, it will be remembered, is a Catholic country.
In some of the churches, the wax candles made
use of, are as large as a man’s arm. It often happens,
that the hunters throw away the honey,
and save only the wax.

The character of Leather Stocking, is not
uncommon in Texas. Many persons employ an
individual in the business of hunting, in all its
branches; and thus, are constantly supplied with
provisions of every description, even to eggs,
which are furnished by the immense numbers of
wild fowl. These hunters are very profitable to
their employers, and much cherished in the
family, and often become spoiled by familiarity
and indulgence. A roughness of manners, and
a rudeness of speech are tolerated in them, which
would not be brooked in other servants. They
are a sort of privileged character. Indians and
Mexicans, are considered the best qualified for
this important office. But it sometimes happens
that a white man from the States, who has become
somewhat de-civilized, (to coin a word,) is
substituted. The dress of these hunters is usually 4(4)v 44
of deer-skin. Hence, the appropriate name
Leather Stocking. Their generic name, for they
form a distinct class, is Frontiers-men.

Mr. McNeal employs an Indian hunter. His
table is always supplied with venison and other
game. This gentleman came to Texas four years
since. He brought with him six sons, and twenty
negroes. With this force he opened a cotton
plantation, from which he already realizes an
annual income of ten thousand dollars. His
plantation is below Brazoria, ten miles from the
Gulf, which, with every passing sail, it overlooks.
A prairie only, intervenes. A situation
more beautiful cannot be found.

It is a very curious fact, in the natural history
of the bee, that it is never found in a wild country,
but always precedes civilization, forming a
kind of advance guard between the white man
and the savage. The Indians, at least, are perfectly
convinced of the truth of this fact, for it
is a common remark among them, when they
observe these happy insects, “there come the
white men.”

The people of Texas should take the bee for
their emblem, as the Mexican nation has done the
Cactus, Nopal, or Prickly Pear; and for the same 4(5)r 45
reason, its abundance and delicious fruits. For
their motto, I would add, this most appropriate
sentiment: “Industry is Fortune’s right hand.”

The Nopal, or Prickly Pear, which you may
observe in the Mexican coat of arms, is a very
interesting and valuable production of Mexico.
In some districts of the upper country, it
grows in great abundance, and forms, in places
impenetrable thickets, higher than a man on
horseback. This plant produces an immense
quantity of fruit, which, together with the young
leaves, furnishes food for vast herds of cattle and
wild horses. On this account, the Mexicans,
when selecting land for a stock farm, always
choose that which has a good proportion of the
Nopal.

Of the fruit of the Nopal, there are two kinds;
one is a scarlet, about the size and shape of a
large pear. The other is much longer, and when
ripe, of a yellowish white color. The latter is
most esteemed, and is sold in the market of Mexico
as a choice fruit.

During the revolution, the army of the patriots
was, at one time, preserved from famine by the
fruit of the Nopal. Which circumstance, in connexion
with its never-failing abundance, its great 4(5)v 46
value for feeding cattle, and for nourishing the
Cochineal Insect, probably suggested the idea of
adopting it as a part of the Mexican Arms.

Among the superstitions of the Mexicans,
there is a tradition, from which many credulous
people derive the origin of this emblem. The
Mexicans, it is said, originally inhabited a cold
climate, and a barren, mountainous country,
where, with difficulty, they gathered a scanty
subsistence. They resolved to migrate in a
body. The Great Spirit appeared to the king in
a vision, and directed him to lead his nation to
the south. An eagle should fly before them to
direct their course. This guide they were to
follow, until it should settle and finally disappear.

In conformity with these instructions, the
whole nation followed the eagle, which according
to promise, flew before them. The eagle
stopped on a tree in California, but did not disappear,
continuing to fly around and around the
same spot, every day. The king, believing that
this was the place destined for the permanent location
of his people, caused large storehouses
to be erected, the ruins of which may be seen in
the forests of California to this day, known by
the name of las casas grandes.

4(6)r 47

At this place the nation remained a few years,
the eagle still hovering round the spot. At length
the king received an indication, by means of another
vision, that the eagle would lead them to
their permanent home, having rested at that place
only to let them recruit. Accordingly, the winged
guide again set his feathered sails for the destined
haven. The nation, with the king at their
head, again followed the eagle, until he settled
upon a Nopal, on an island in the lake Tescaco,
and shortly afterwards, died. This was pronounced
by the king, priests, and wise men of the nation,
to be the spot designed by the Great Spirit,
for their permanent location. Here they remained
and founded the city of Mexico.

From Brazoria to Bolivar, I came in a sailboat,
with occasional rowing, as the wind subsided
or was unfavourable. The weather was fine,
and the scenery picturesque. The different
reaches of the river, resembling so many lakes
in a chain, were like mirrors, to reflect from their
polished surfaces, the shores of unbroken forests.
The limpid water, instead of being muddy and
red, as below Brazoria, looked as if it passed
over a bed of emeralds, and had not been disturbed
since creation. No human creature was 4(6)v 48
to be seen, and the numerous flocks of birds
were so tame, as seemingly to court our acquaintance.
A basking alligator and an occasional
herd of cattle, which gazed at us with almost
human curiosity, were the only objects which interrupted
our musings. A solitude more complete,
it is not easy to imagine. But I enjoyed
it. The universal repose of nature inspired my
heart with solemn, peaceful, pleasing emotions.

Half way between Brazoria and Bolivar, is
the town of Marion, or Bell’s Landing, from the
name of the proprietor. It has two or three
cabins, a country store, and one frame house
painted white. The lofty forest trees have been
left standing, in sufficient numbers to protect it
from the vertical sun, and to prevent the banks
from sinking. This little village, as I strolled
among its quiet shades at noon, struck my fancy
very agreeably. You must know, it is the common
practice with settlers here, to cut away
every tree of a clearing, and to substitute, for
the noble giants of the forest, those of diminutive
size, and ephemeral growth; whether with a
view to shade or ornament, I know not; but it
certainly is a very mistaken policy; as well as
most wretched taste. Fine trees are not the 5(1)r 49
growth of a life-time. How much better is it to
suffer those to live, which are venerable by age
and size, which, by their elevation do not obstruct
the free circulation of air nor bharbour insects;
but, being trimmed to the top, serve as
true parasols to the dwellings they ornament.

How would Europeans be astonished to be
told that almost every settler in Texas, hews or
burns down the fine live oaks that grow about
his door, and thus, in this sunny climate, leaves
his roof without a shelter from the rays of the
sun.

Before sun-set, I arrived at this my forest
home, for such Bolivar may now be regarded,
being the place of my temporary abode in Texas.
Bolivar, though selected as an advantageous location
for a commercial town, and laid off for that
purpose before Brazoria, at present consists of
but a single residence. Its location, for purposes
of trade as well as on account of the fertility of
the adjacent country, has doubtless many advantages.
But it was abandoned for that which was
regarded, upon the whole, as a more eligible position,
on account of its easier access from the
sea. It is at the head of tide water on the
Brazos, sixty miles from the river’s mouth by 5 5(1)v 50
water and forty-five by land. It is an important
point, as any vessel that can pass the bar can
ascend to this place in the lowest stage of water,
but not farther. It is fifteen miles nearer to San
Felipe
than Brazoria, and the road much better.
The distance from Bolivar to the navigable waters
of the Galveston bay, is but fifteen miles,
over a high, dry prairie, with the exception of
six miles through timber land, where the road is
now good.

The land, in and about Bolivar, is the best in
the colony; clothed with heavy timber, with
peach and cane undergrowth, to the distance of
six miles from the river. The bank of the river
in front of the town, is a high bluff of stiff red
clay. About fifty acres are cleared and under
cultivation.

The undergrowth of the best land in the
Brazos valley, is cane and a species of laurel,
the leaves of which taste like the kernel of the
peach stone, containing an extraordinary quantity
of prussic acid. The leaves resemble those of
the peach tree. Hence it is called by the colonists,
wild peach. This tree is an evergreen
and grows to the height of twenty or thirty feet,
though its usual height does not exceed ten feet. 5(2)r 51
This tree is regarded as a certain indication of
the best soil. Hence, when a colonist wishes to
describe his land as first rate, he says it is all
“peach and cane land”.

Affectionately, yours, &c.

Letter VI.

I have now been domiciliated at this place for
some weeks. The interval has passed away
very delightfully, and I trust, not without improvement.
I have been greatly interested in
every thing I have seen and heard relative to the
country, and though my anticipations respecting
it were sufficiently sanguine, I do assure you they
have not been disappointed. I have been fortunate
in enjoying the conversation of some of the
oldest colonists and most intelligent men of the
country, from whom I have gathered much valuable
information respecting the history and geography
of Texas. From copious notes taken at 5(2)v 52
the moment, I now proceed to give you the result
of my inquiries. These inquiries relate to
the general face of the country, including its
rivers, soil, productions, towns, and harbours; Indians,
climate, and natural resources; the history
of its original settlement, together with the present
conditions and encouragements of colonization.

I shall endeavor to be as systematic in my remarks
as I can, but you must not expect the
complete and formal arrangement of a book.

Texas at present forms a part of the state of
Coahuila and Texas, being provisionally annexed
to Coahuila, until its population and resources
are sufficient to form a separate State, when its
connexion with Coahuila will be dissolved. Its
latitude is, from 28° to 34° north, and is bounded
by Louisiana on the east, by Red river, which
divides it from Arkansas, on the north, by the
Nueces river, which divides it from Tamaulipas
and Coahuila, on the west, and by the Gulf of
Mexico
on the south.

Texas is divided into three distinct tracts or
regions, whose characteristics are, in many
respects, entirely different. These are, the level,
the undulating, and the mountainous or hilly.

5(3)r 53

The whole coast, from the Sabine river to the
Neuces, is rather low and very level, but entirely
free from marsh; so much so, that in most places
a loaded wagon may be driven to the beach without
obstruction. There is a belt of prairie along
its whole coast, about eight or ten miles wide.
This prairie is destitute of timber, except narrow
skirts, on the margins of the rivers and
creeks.

That part of the level region which lies between
the Sabine and San Jacinto rivers, extends
back about seventy miles from the coast,
in a north and north-westerly direction. This
tract is, in general, heavily timbered with pine,
oak, ash, cedar, cypress, and other forest trees.
The Sabine, Naches, and Trinity rivers, are all
navigable entirely through this section, and the
latter for a considerable distance above it. The
Naches affords good navigation to the junction of
the Angelina, twenty-five miles south-east of
Nacogdoches.

North and north-west of this section of the
level region, the country is undulating to Red
river
, there being no portion of it sufficiently
broken to be called hilly. The thickly timbered
or wooded lands, extend quite to Red river, and 5* 5(3)v 54
as far west, as a line drawn due north from the
heads of the Sabine. West of this line, there
is a wide belt of undulating prairie, extending
along Red river, which is thinly timbered, the
timber being confined to the margins of the
streams.

The whole of this eastern section of Texas
is very well watered by the above mentioned
rivers and their tributaries, which afford many
favourable sites for saw-mills and manufactories.
The soil, in general, is well adapted to agriculture
and grazing. The timber business, from
this quarter, will become very valuable, for the
supply of the southern ports of the Gulf of
Mexico
, as soon as mills are put into extensive
operation. One steam saw-mill is already completed
at Harrisburg, and another will soon be
in operation on the east bank of the San Jacinto,
opposite the mouth of Buffalo Bayou.

The old Spanish military post and village of
Nacogdoches, is situated in this eastern section
of Texas, in latitude 31° 40′, sixty miles west
of the Sabine river. In 18191819 or 18201820, it was
totally broken up by the revolution and abandoned.
Its inhabitants were driven away by the
Spanish troops and compelled to seek a refuge 5(4)r 55
in Louisiana, near Nachitoches, exiles from their
native country, and dependent in most instances,
on the hospitality of strangers.

Nacogdoches remained without population,
until the year 1822–18231822-23, when many of the emigrants
who left the United States with the view
of joining Austin’s Colony, stopped at this place.
A number of the ancient inhabitants, also, returned
to their former possessions, and thus the town
has been gradually re-peopled and is now a
respectable village. A garrison of Mexican
troops is stationed here under the command of a
Colonel of the army. There is, also, a custom
house established, for the collection of duties
on the inland trade from Louisiana. The country
on the road between this place and the Sabine,
is thinly settled by emigrants from the United
States
.

A military post and town has been established
by order of General Teran, on the north-east
corner of Galveston bay, opposite the mouth of
Trinity river, called Anahuac. The lands on
Trinity river and the lands on the lower portion
of the Naches, is pretty well settled. There is
a settlement of about two hundred and fifty
families on Red river, above the mouth of Sulphur 5(4)v 56
fork
, which, it is supposed, will fall within
the boundary of Texas when the line is accurately
run.

The section of the level region lying between
the San Jacinto and Guadalupe rivers, including
the lower parts of the Brazos, San Bernard,
Colorado, and La Baca rivers, extends into
the interior about eighty miles from the coast, in
a northerly direction. This beautiful and very
valuable portion of Texas as far as the La Baca,
is embraced in Austin’s Colony. The land is sufficiently
elevated to drain easily and rapidly after
heavy rains. It is entirely clear of all marsh,
lakes, and overflow. The supply of pure water
is sufficiently abundant in the rivers and creeks,
while excellent water for domestic purposes may
be obtained from wells, at a moderate depth, in
every part of this territory.

The alluvial bottom lands of the Brazos, San
Bernard
, and Colorado, are from three to twenty
miles in width. They are heavily timbered with
live oak, with red, black, and other species of
oak, with cedar, pecan, elm, hackberry, mulberry,
and all the other varieties of forest trees
and undergrowth common in the rich alluvions
of the Mississippi. The cane-brakes are of immense 5(5)r 57
extent, particularly on Cane-brake creek.
On this creek there is an uninterrupted cane-
brake seventy-five miles long and from one to
three miles wide. It extends on both sides of the
creek, from within twelve miles of its mouth into
the gulf, to its source, a few hundred yards from
the Colorado river. Scarcely a tree is to be
found in this ocean of cane, which has, hence,
received the name of the Great Prairie Cane-
brake
. It is bordered on each side by the heavy
and lofty timber of the alluvial soils.

Cane-brake creek or Caney, as it is usually
called, winds its way through this tract, and exhibits
so many and such unequivocal evidences
of its having been once a branch of the Colorado
river
, that not a reasonable doubt exists that such
is the fact. The bed of the creek is of equal
depth and of equal width, with the bed of the
river. The appearance of the banks, the nature
of the adjacent soil, in short, every feature is the
same in both. What seems to confirm the above
suggestion beyond controversy, is the abrupt
termination of the deep, wide bed of Caney,
within less than two hundred yards of the bank
of the river, in an alluvial bottom nearly ten
miles in width. From these appearances, it is 5(5)v 58
very evident that the Colorado, at some former
period, divided at or near the present source of
Caney and discharged its waters into the gulf
by two distinct mouths more than twenty-five
miles apart, forming an extensive island. This
island constituted what is now called the Bay
Prairie
; a large, rich, and very beautiful prairie,
lying between the timbered lands of Caney, and
those of the Colorado. Not any of the water of
the river has been known to flow into Caney
since Austin’s colony was commenced, nor is
there any indication of there having been an
overflow for many years.

Oyster creek, on the east side of the Brazos
river
, affords also extensive bodies of prairie
cane-brake, though by no means so extensive as
that which has just been mentioned. The cane
land on Oyster creek extends indeed along its
entire course, but it is not all prairie cane-brake,
in many places being interspersed with heavy
timber. This singular creek takes its rise in the
alluvial lands of the Brazos. Winding its course
through the bottoms of this river, which it drains,
it discharges into the gulf two miles east of its
mouth. Oyster creek forms a connexion with
the Brazos at Bolivar, by a deep channel, 5(6)r 59
through which the waters of the river, in time of
freshets, pour their crimson tide with a rapid
current.

The soil of the Brazos, Bernard, Caney, and
Colorado lands, has the same general character,
as to appearance, fertility, and natural productions.
It is of a reddish cast, nearly resembling
a chocolate colour, and is evidently alluvial,
formed by deposits of the rivers during freshets.
The colour of the soil is precisely such as would
be expected from the appearance of the river at
such seasons: for the Brazos and Colorado, when
swollen by the spring and autumn freshets, are
of a deep red and very turbid. The deposits
from these rivers at these stages, are very great;
much greater than that from the waters of either
the Mississippi or Red river.

The beds of these rivers are deep and narrow.
Their banks are clayey and not so liable
to wear away as sandy banks, nor easily permit
a change of channel.

The Guadalupe, La Baca, Navidad, and a
great number of fine rivulets that intersect
this level region, also afford valuable bottoms
of rich alluvial black soil, all of which are well
clothed with timber.

5(6)v 60

These alluvions are in the highest degree
productive and easily cultivated. Three thousand
pounds of seed cotton and seventy-five
bushels of Indian corn or maize, are an average
crop in these lands.

That remarkable feature of the Brazos river,
the Salt Branch, has been already mentioned. It
is probably owing to this particuarity that the
land of the Brazos has a fertility so truly extraordinary.
The freshets of the fresh branches
are much more copious and frequent than those of
the Salt Branch. They all rise and flow through
very rich land, and their waters go towards the
sea, charged with fine loam and clay washed into
them by the floods.

The alternate deposits by these salt and
fresh tributaries in time of freshets, form a soil
of a light reddish brown colour, slightly impregnated
with salt and nitre. The colour of the
water varies from a deep red to almost chocolate,
according as the one or the other rise prevails.
Salt and saltpetre, it is well known, are
potent manures. This bright mulatto soil, as it is
called, formed in this manner, is considered the
best land in Texas. The whole valley of the
Brazos is mostly of this description. On the 6(1)r 61
surface of this alluvion, a black mould is formed
by the decomposition of vegetable matter. The
soil, properly speaking, possessing the power of
vegetation in all its vigour, extends to an unlimited
depth. When brought to the surface from a
depth of twenty feet, it will produce as good
crops as the surface itself.

Where this mulatto soil is found, the banks of
the rivers and smaller streams are clothed with
heavy timber. Near the sea coast, the timber is
mostly live oak of enormous size, intermixed
with Spanish oak, red and black oak, ash, sycamore,
mulberry, pecan, hackberry, and other
kinds. Immediately on the bank of the river
cotton wood abounds. At Bolivar, the timber
tract is five or six miles wide and the road to
the prairie is walled in with tall cane filling all
the space between the trees.

The live oak region is from the Bay of Matagorda
to the west end of Galveston bay, and
extends on the banks of the Brazos towards the
interior about seventy miles. There is a live
oak tree in Bolivar, sixteen feet in circumference,
and keeps this size more than thirty feet from
the ground. It then spreads out its enormous
branches. Larger trees than this, however, are 6 6(1)v 62
not uncommon. Ten miles from Bolivar, there
is a tree which measures nineteen feet in circumference.
What would such trees be worth in
the dock yards of the United States or of England!

About fifteen miles east of the Brazos, the live
oak region ends. Thence to the Sabine river,
fine cedar, Spanish oak, post and red oak, and
black oak, ash and mulberry, with other common
timbers, are the growth on the water
courses.

The intervening country between the rivers,
creeks, and rivulets, is open, level, rich, and elevated
prairie, clothed with a thick and luxuriant
growth of grass of a good quality for pasturage,
with occasional points and islands of timber, as
the wooded projections and scattered clumps of
trees are called, which give the plains the appearance
of vast parks, with ornamental trees
artifically arranged to beautify the prospect.
Nothing can exceed the beauty of these vast,
natural meadows in the spring and summer seasons,
neither is it possible to form an estimate,
even in imagination, of the number of useful domestic
animals that may be reared on them without
trouble or expense. Even in the winter season,
the pasturage is sufficiently good to dispense
with feeding live stock.

6(2)r 63

The value of the prairie lands is not confined,
however, to grazing alone. These lands are so
nearly equal to timbered alluvions for all the
purposes of planting and farming, that many persons
who have cultivated this kind of land,
prefer it to the alluvial bottoms. They maintain
that the prairie, when properly broken up by
the plough and sufficiently mellowed, will yield
crops nearly equal to the best alluvions. That
the labour, expense, and time, required to clear
twenty acres of timbered bottom land and prepare
it for cultivation, would be sufficient to prepare
sixty acres of prairie, that, supposing both
kinds of land to be equally prepared, a hand
can cultivate two-thirds more of the latter than
of the former. So that, taking all things into
account, the cultivation of the prairie land requires
less capital in the outset and is more profitable
in the end, than the cultivation of the bottoms.
Experience has proved that these calculations
are not unfounded, and that the prairies
are valuable for all the purposes of farming, as
well as for grazing. The soil of the prairies is
a deep black mould mixed with sand in various
proportions.

6(2)v 64

Of the settlements in this region of country,
besides Brazoria, which has been already mentioned,
a town has been laid off at the mouth of
the Colorado river, on the bay of Matagorda,
called Matagorda. This place must become
the depot of the Colorado river and of an extensive
fertile country which will find its natural
market at this point.

The town of San Felipe de Austin was founded
in 18241824, by Col. Austin and the commissioner
of the government, Baron de Bastrop. It is the
capital of Austin’s Colony, situated on the right
bank of the Brazos river, eighty miles from the
gulf by land, and one hundred and eighty miles
by the meanders of the river. The site of this
town is exceedingly beautiful. It is a high prairie
bluff, which strikes the river at the upper or
northern limit of the level region. It is the residence
of the Empresario, Col. Austin. The
state and municipal officers of the jurisdiction
hold their offices here, and here all the land and
judicial business of the colony is transacted.

Above the level region just noticed, upon the
Brazos, Colorado, and Guadalupe rivers, the
country becomes gently and beautifully undulating.
This description of land extends in a 6(3)r 65
north-west, direction up those rivers, from one
hundred and fifty to two hundred miles above the
level region, and reaches to the mountain range of
Texas. This extensive undulating section is
probably as desirable a country for the residence
of man, as any other onn the face of the earth.
Whether we regard productiveness of soil,
healthfulness of climate, or beauty of natural
landscape, it cannot be surpassed. The soil, in
general, is of the first quality of black mould,
easily cultivated and very productive. The climate
is much more healthful and pleasant than
that of the level region. There are no mosquetos
and very few insects of any kind. The surface
is beautifully and often fancifully diversified with
prairie and woodland, presenting to the enterprising
farmer, large and fertile fields already
cleared by the hand of nature, and waiting, as it
were, to receive the plough. The woods which
encircle the prairies, afford the best of oak, cedar,
ash, and other timber, valuable for fencing
and building.

The whole of this undulating region, is most
bountifully watered, and abounds in bold rivulets
and springs of pure water. These rivulets have
all more or less of bottom land adjacent to them 6* 6(3)v 66
and are lined with the lofty forest trees of the
rich alluvions.

The undulations, in many places, rise into eminences
of considerable elevation, but always with
a gentle ascent and with lengthened intervals.
Abrupt elevations or cliffs seldom occur, nor is
the surface so uneven or broken, as to be justly
designated hilly. From the summit of these elevations
the view is extensive and imposing.
The landscape is rich and splendid, and the eye
delights to roam over the smooth, verdant, extended
slopes. The round tops of the eminences
are here crowned with tufts of cedars or groves of
oaks and pecans; there presenting an unbroken
surface of grass. The pale green of the prairie
sprinkled with flowers of every hue, forms a
pleasing contrast with the dark foliage of the cedars
and other lofty forest trees: while the rivulets
which wind their serpentine course at the
foot of the undulations, agreeably diversify the
scene. All combined under a clear blue sky,
present a picture, not only delightful to the eye
but enchanting to the imagination, which, with
the pencil of fancy, would fain fill up the scene
under view, with rural cottages, with the flocks 6(4)r 67
of the herdsman, and all the various indications
of human activity and domestic happiness.

Successful experiments have been made in various
places on these undulating lands, of wheat,
rye, oats, and flax, and the result satisfactorily
establishes the fact, that these articles may be
cultivated upon them to any extent. All the
fruits and agricultural productions of the level
region arrive at perfection here, except sugar and
Sea Island cotton. It is considered to be fully
equal to the level region, for raising black cattle
and hogs, and far superior to it for rearing horses
and sheep. Lime stone and building stone of various
sorts may be obtained in any abundance in
this tract, neither of which has yet been discovered
in the level country. Indigenous grapes,
of several varieties, grow in great profusion, and
extensive natural vineyards await the hand of the
vine-dresser.

A military post and town has been established
on the right bank of the Brazos, twelve miles
above the upper road leading from Bexar to
Nacogdoches, fifteen miles below the mouth of
the San Andress river, and one hundred miles
above San Felipe de Austin. This post is called
Tenoxticlan. It is very eligbly situated and 6(4)v 68
abundantly supplied with excellent water. It is
the intention of the government to keep a garrison
at this place, for the twofold purpose of protecting
the frontiers of Austin’s Colony from the predatory
incursions of Indians, and of facilitating the
extension of that colony, northwesterly, up the
Brazos river. The adjacent country for many
miles around, is fertile and heathful, and the
Brazos in seasons of freshets, is navigable some
miles above this port.

A new town is about to be established by the
Empresario, Col. Austin, in his contract of 18271827, on
the left bank of the Colorado, at the intersection
of the road above mentioned, with the river. An
abundant supply of fine cedar, oak, ash, and
other timber is found at this spot, as also lime
and other building stone, clay and sand suitable
for brick-making.

The town of Gonzales, the capital of De
Witt’s Colony
, is situated in the tract of country
now under review. It is on the left bank of the
Guadalupe river, at the point where the direct
road from San Felipe de Austin intersects that
river. The site of this town is elevated, pleasant,
and healthful, and possesses many natural
advantages.

6(5)r 69

To return to the level or coast lands. That
portion of them which lies to the west and southwest
of the Guadalupe, lying between that river
and the Neuces, differs in some important respects
from that which stretches to the eastward,
and which has been already noticed. This tract
is much narrower than the eastern tract and not
so well clothed with timber. The distance from
the bay shore to the undulating lands varies from
twenty-five to thirty miles. The margins of the
Aransaso and Neuces bays are also much higher
than the margins of the bays lying farther eastward.
The whole tract is more elevated, though
level, than any parts of the level regions before
noticed. The climate also, is believed to be more
salubrious and pleasant. The soil of this tract,
like that of the other prairie lands, is a deep
black mould, very fertile and productive. The
pasturage here, is confessed to be even superior
to that of any other district of the country, consisting
of a different species of grass, called
Muskit grass, (pronounced Muskeet.) This grass
bears a strong resemblance to the blue grass, so
common in the United States, and furnishes the
most nutritious pasturage. It continues green
throughout the winter, and retains its nutritious 6(5)v 70
qualities, even after it has become dry and apparently
dead.

The Muskit tree also abounds here, affording
excellent fire-wood and valuable materials for
fencing; while forests of oak, ash, and other
timber suitable for building, flourish on the margins
of the water courses.

Two Irish gentlemen have contracted with
the government to settle an Irish colony on this
tract. The boundaries of the contemplated
colony embrace all the lands between the Guadalupe
and Neuces rivers, within ten leagues of the
gulf or bay shore. This is a very valuable part
of Texas, and there can be no doubt but that
many thousands of the oppressed sons of Erin, if
they possessed the information and means of emigration,
would joyfully exchange their cows
grass
and potatoe lots for rich farms in this
colony. Here are no tithes, no poor rates, no
burthensome exactions, nor vexatious restrictions.
Here enterprize and energy may unfold themselves
to their fullest extent, in all the various
pursuits of honest industry, without fear and
without reproach. The colony has already commenced
operations under favourable auspices, and
will doubtless succeed and ultimately flourish. 6(6)r 71
Nothing is now wanting to insure its immediate
success, but a sufficient supply of industrious
emigrants.

The undulating region succeeds to the level
tracts just noticed, between the Guadalupe and
Neuces, which, stretching in a north-westerly direction
and gradually increasing in elevation,
finally terminates in the mountain range, a distance
of about two hundred miles. The whole
of this extensive tract affords the best of pasturage,
being principally clothed with the Muskit
grass, and is, on this account, peculiarly adapted
to grazing and the raising of stock of every description.
Timber and water are not, however,
so abundant as in the country lying farther east.
The Nopal thrives here with greatest luxuriance,
forming oftentimes impenetrable thickets, and
furnishing, with its fruit and leaves, a bountiful
supply of excellent food for cattle and wild
horses.

The Muskit tree before mentioned, the most
common tree found in this section, is a species of
locust. Its size is about that of a peach tree,
which, when viewed at a distance, it very much
resembles in appearance. The leaves of it are
similar to those of the honey locust, but much 6(6)v 72
smaller. It bears a pod about the size and shape
of the common snap bean, quite sweet to the
taste, and when dry, is used by the Indians in
times of scarcity, for food. It is highly valued
by the Mexicans, who maintain, that for purposes
of fattening cattle and hogs, it is equal to Indian
corn. The wood of the Muskit is very durable,
as much so as black locust or cedar, and hence
its value as a material for fencing.

Lime stone and building stone of good quality
abound, and are procured with little labour.

The ancient town of Bexar is situated in this
region of country, on the San Antonio river,
which flows through it. This place is in latitude
29° 25′, 140 miles from the coast, and contains
2500 inhabitants, all native Mexicans, with the
exception of a very few American families who
have settled there. A military out-post was established
at this spot by the Spanish government
in 17181718. In the year 17311731, the town was settled
by emigrants sent out from the Canary
Islands
by the king of Spain. It became a
flourishing settlement, and so continued till the
revolution in 18121812. Since which period the Comanche
and other Indians have greatly harrassed
the inhabitants, producing much individual sufferfering, 7(1)r 73
and totally destroying for a season, at
least, the prosperity of the town.

All the land cultivated in this vicinity, is irrigated
from the San Antonio river. To facilitate
this purpose, a low dam of stone is thrown across
the river, which diverts a portion of the water
into a small canal leading to the cultivated
grounds. More than two hundred thousand acres
of land might be irrigated, at and below this
place, with great ease and with trifling expense.
The soil is rich, and the principal articles cultivated
by the inhabitants, are corn, sugar cane,
beans, and other vegetables.

This place is admirably located for the establishment
of manufactories, especially of cotton
and wool. The supply of water is abundant,
and the fall of the river sufficient to admit the advantageous
application of it to machinery, at very
frequent intervals. The San Antonio seldom or
never overflows its banks, nor is it exposed to
sudden or violent freshets, its source being within
three leagues of Bexar, and there is not sufficient
space for any dangerous accumulation of water.
From a concentration of innumerable springs,
which unite their rivulets within a few hundred
yards of their fountains, the San Antonio bursts 7 7(1)v 74
forth at once a river, and its chrystal waters
flow off with a rapid current over a bed of limestone.

The village of Goliad, formerly La Bahia, is
situated on the right bank of the San Antonio
river
, about 110 miles south-east of Bexar, and
30 miles from the coast. This place contains
about 800 inhabitants, all Mexicans.

A second Irish colony has been commenced
on the Neuces river. A town has been laid off
upon the river’s bank, called San Patrick. A
number of Irish families have already established
themselves here, charmed with the country, and
animated with the certain prospect of plenty and
independence. Never was there a more inviting
asylum for Irish emigrants, than is presented by
the colonies on the Neuces, and it is much to be
regretted that so few of them have availed themselves
of the advantages here presented to them.

The mountain range of Texas may very properly
be called a spur of the Cierra Madre,
(mother mountain,) which it leaves near the junction
of the Rio Puerco with the Rio Bravo, and
pursuing a north-easterly direction, enters Texas
at the source of the Neuces river. Thence
continuing in the same direction to the head 7(2)r 75
waters of the San Saba, a branch of the Colorado,
it inclines to the east, down the San Saba, crossing
the Colorado some distance below the mouth
of that river, it is finally lost in the undulating
lands of the Brazos. This range does not cross
the Brazos. The country east of this river
and upon Trinity river is gently undulating, and
in some districts quite level; this description
of surface extending the whole distance to Red
river
.

Spurs of the mountain range extend southwardly
down the rivers Madina and Guadalupe,
to the vicinity of Bexar. Spurs also extend
down the rivers Slanos and Pedernales and the
smaller western tributaries of the Colorado.
Similar spurs stretch up the Colorado, above
San Saba, to a considerable distance, and round
the head-waters of the San Andress and Bosque,
tributaries of the Brazos.

The mountains are of third and fourth magnitude
in point of elevation. Those of San Saba
are much the highest. They are in many places
thickly covered with forests of oak, cedar, and
other trees, interspersed with a great variety of
shrubbery. Granite, quartz, lime-stone, and other
rocks, are common. It is believed they abound 7(2)v 76
also in mineral wealth, but they have been, yet,
very imperfectly explored. Iron, lead, and
mineral coal, have been found, and tradition says,
that a silver mine on the San Saba was successfully
wrought many years ago, but the prosecution
of it was arrested by the Indians, who cut
off the workmen.

Towards the head waters of the Brazos, a
large mass of metal is known to exist. It is of
several tons weight, and said to be worshipped
by the Comanche Indians. It is malleable and
bright, having little oxide or rust upon its surface.
A large piece of this metal was taken to
New York many years since, by way of Nachitoches,
under a belief that it was platina. It is
said that experiments made by chemists in that
city, proved it to be pure iron in a malleable
state. The existence of such a mass of metal is
doubtless very remarkable. It is, however, well
attested by many persons in Nachitoches and in
Texas, who have been at the spot and seen it.
Whether it be iron, is perhaps not so well ascertained.

Extensive valleys of rich, arable, alluvial
lands, are found throughout this range, particularly
upon the water courses. Most of these valley 7(3)r 77
lands may be irrigated at little expense, from
the numerous streams which flow through them.
The sides and even the summits of the mountains
are, for the most part, susceptible of cultivation.
The soil is sufficiently rich, and adapted
to wheat, rye, and other small grain, as well as to
the vine and all the northern fruits.

This range of high land on its north-western
frontier is of vast advantage to the state of Texas.
It not only renders the atmosphere more salubrious,
but abounding in copious fountains of
limpid water, it gives rise to the numberless rivulets
which, having first irrigated their own fruitful
valleys, flow off with a rapid current, and
unite to form the large rivers of the central and
western parts of the state. These last mentioned
rivers are uniformly more limpid than the
rivers to the east of the Brazos.

The resources of this elevated or mountainous
section are very great and valuable. At
some future period, it will, in all probability,
supply the whole country with grain, and afford
a surplus for exportation. Fine wool will be a
staple article from these high lands, which are
probably as well adapted to the raising of sheep
as any country in the world.

7* 7(3)v 78

North of this mountain range, and on the
extreme head waters of the Brazos river, the
country becomes level again, and presents to the
view interminable prairies. These stretch to the
north and north-west, beyond Red and Arkansaw
rivers
, and are finally lost in the vast ocean of
prairie that terminates at the foot of the Rocky
mountains
.

Affectionately, yours, &c.

Letter VII.

You are doubtless tired enough by this time of
these dry, geographical details. I can only say,
by way of apology, that I have made them as
concise as possible, and have not permitted my
imagination to expatiate for a moment, as it was
very prone to do, over the delightful scenery we
have traversed. I need not repeat to you, for the
hundredth time, that I am charmed with this beautiful
country. Its mountains, its prairies, its 7(4)r 79
forests, and its rivers, all have their charms for
me. Hence it is, I suppose, that what you may
regard dry geographical details, affect my mind
with much of the inspiration of poetry. As I
have not permitted any opportunity of gathering
useful information to escape me, I have yet more
details of the same kind in store, with which I
shall now proceed to tax your patience. You must
accompany me in a trip along the coast, and take
a view of the bays and inlets which indent the
shores of Texas.

The following account of the harbours and
bays of Texas was received, not from a landsman,
but from an old sailor, who has traversed
the ocean around and across in every direction.
A more experienced navigator, or more accurate
observer is not to be found. A spirit of enterprise
in the prosecution of his profession, led
him in one of his expeditions, to examine a portion
of this coast; so that he speaks from actual
personal observation and survey, of most of the
points here noticed.

Beginning at the eastern extremity of the
coast, the first large body of water is Sabine
lake
. The inlet into this lake has six feet of
water. It is, however, difficult to cross, owing to 7(4)v 80
the mud and oyster banks which extend opposite
to this inlet, out of sight of land.

Galveston is the next inlet to the westward.
This inlet has twelve feet of water on the bar.
The harbour lies between Galveston and Pelican
islands
, in which there is good anchorage in five
fathoms of water, with muddy bottom. From
the harbour, through Galveston bay, to the mouth
of Trinity river, or the San Jacinto, the navigation
is difficult, being obstructed by Red Fish
bar
. This bar has five feet of water at high
tides, but in northerly winds, not more than three
feet. The bay generally has about nine or ten
feet of water.

A western arm of this bay stretches to the
south-westward, along the coast, to within two
miles and a half of the Brazos river, and might
be very easily connected with that river by a
short canal. There is also an inlet at the west
end of Galveston island, which may be advantageously
used by small vessels, drawing not
more than six or seven feet.

An eastern arm of Galveston bay extends
along the coast, called East bay; from the head
of which there is a deep tide water creek, which
nearly intersects a similar creek from Sabine 7(5)r 81
lake
. By uniting these two creeks, which might
be effected with little expense, a canal communication
could be opened between the bay and
the lake.

The Trinity and San Jacinto rivers discharge
their waters into Galveston bay. The former in
the north-east, the latter in the north-west corner
of it. Trinity river is navigable in time of freshets,
a considerable distance above the upper
road, heretofore mentioned in these letters. The
San Jacinto forms a very beautiful bay at its
mouth, and is navigable for any vessel that can
pass Red Fish bar, as far as the mouth of Buffalo
Bayou
. The Buffalo Bayou is also navigable to
its forks above Harrisburg, to within forty miles
of San Felipe de Austin, which interval is a level
prairie. It resembles a wide canal, with high
and heavily timbered banks. The tide flows up
as far as the forks above mentioned.

The Brazos river presents the next inlet.
This river has been already noticed in part, but
deserves a more particular description in this
connexion. The ordinary depth of water upon
the bar of this river is six feet. The bar is narrow,
formed by a bank of sand not more than
twenty yards wide. The harbour inside the bar 7(5)v 82
is perfectly safe, and the river is sufficently deep
for large ships as far as Brazoria. The anchorage
off this bar is good in northers, which blow
off shore, or in light southerly winds. The bottom
is blue mud with three fathoms of water,
immediately outside the bar, which gradually
deepens as you recede from the shore. This bar
is about four hundred yards from the beach.
The substratum beneath the sand of the bar is
blue clay, as is also that between the bar and the
beach. This clay would afford a solid foundation
for piling, by which the channel of the river
might be contracted over the bar, and thus a deep
and safe passage formed into the largest and most
important river of Texas.

The next entrance west of the Brazos, is the
Passo Cavallo, which is the inlet into the spacious
and beautiful bay of Matagorda. This
pass has twelve feet water over the bar, and a
safe anchorage within, with four fathoms of water.
Like Galveston bay, however, this bay is
shallow. The average depth of water through
it to the mouth of the Colorado river, is not
more than eight feet. Vessels that can cross the
bay, cannot approach nearer than one mile of the
mouth of the river, and are compelled to unlade 7(6)r 83
their cargoes by means of lighters. The same
inconvenience exists at the mouth of the La Baca,
three feet, or three feet and a half, being the depth
of water at the entrance of those rivers, at ordinary
high tides.

The Colorado river is obstructed by a raft of
drift wood, ten miles above the town of Matagorda.
The raft fills the bed of the river and
causes a dispersion of the water into several
channels. The raft is not extensive, and might
be easily removed. When this is accomplished
the river will be navigable almost to the mountains.

Between the Brazos and the Passo Cavallo,
the San Barnard river and Caney creek discharge
into the gulf, but the water on their bars is very
shallow.

Pursuing our course in a south-west direction,
we come next to the entrance into the bay of
Aransaso. This entrance is easy for vessels
drawing not more than seven feet. The bay is
safe and much deeper than either Galveston or
Matagorda. This bay is the principal harbour
for vessels whose cargoes are destined for Goliad
or Bexar, and for the Irish colonies of the
Neuces.

7(6)v 84

The entrance into Neuces bay is in every
respect equal to that into Aransaso bay, but it
has not often been resorted to. Settlements are
now beginning to be formed on its margin, and
all affirm that no situation for building can be
more beautiful and picturesque. The margin is
bold and elevated, and when the wilderness shall
have given place to a respectable body of Irish
emigrants, this spot will present one of the most
pleasant and desirable residences in Texas.

I am perfectly satisfied that Texas is, in many
respects, the most eligible part of North America.
I speak of course of its natural advantages. Its
civil and political condition is of course altogether
prospective and uncertain. If it should
hereafter become the victim of foreign domination,
or the theatre of domestic oppression, it
would not be the first instance of an Eden converted
into an abode of sorrow and wretchedness
by the folly of man. Its position is favourable
for commerce. Its climate is salubrious,
pleasant, and diversified, partaking of the tropical
and the temperate, according to local situation.
It presents every species of soil that can be
found in alluvion, level, undulating, or mountainous
lands, embracing all the varieties of clayey, 8(1)r 85
sandy, pebbly, rocky, with all their intermixtures.
It is sufficiently supplied with good timber and
woodland, also with the most useful metals and
fossils. Its harbours and rivers are well adapted
to facilitate all the purposes of commercial intercourse
both at home and abroad. Situated on
the Gulf of Mexico, it has easy access to the
Mexican ports on the south, to the West Indies
on the east, and the United States on the north.
An immense inland trade may be also carried on
through the ports of Texas, with New Mexico,
Chihuahua, and all the northern portion of the
Mexican republic. This inland trade now passes
in large caravans, from St. Louis, in Missouri, to
Santa Fe, in New Mexico, through a wilderness
infested with Indians. Whereas the distance
from either of the ports of Texas to the Paseo
del Norte
and Chihuahua, or New Mexico, is
much less than from St. Louis, and a good wagon
road may be opened the whole distance.

Nature has been bountiful in distributing her
favours in Texas. Nothing now is wanting but
a liberal system of policy, on the part of the government,
with regard to emigration on the one
hand, and a population of industrious mechanics
and farmers and intelligent planters on the other, 8 8(1)v 86
to make this country rival the most favoured
parts of the earth.

And now, I suppose, you are prepared to demand
a chapter on the politics of Texas. What
is the present and likely to be the future political
position of this infant Hercules? On this topic
I must disappoint you, for feeling little interest in
politics myself, I have made few inquiries on the
subject. I should say, however, that it is not
difficult to determine what, in all likelihood, will
be the future destiny of Texas. Should the
Mexican government adopt a correct policy in
relation to this country, it will form a valuable
and efficient state of the Mexican confederation,
for under a judicious system of administration, it
would not be the interest of the inhabitants to
dissolve the present connexion, and they could
feel no motive to do so. It certainly is not their
interest to separate now, nor do I believe they,
that is the more prudent and intelligent settlers,
have the least wish to do so.

It is very possible, however, that an unwise
course of administration, on the part of the
general government, might provoke a separation.
What might be the ultimate result of such a separation,
I shall not attempt to conjecture.

8(2)r 87

All the attention and vigour of the settlers appears
to be now, as it ought to be, directed to
their own individual private concerns. If unmolested
in their lawful pursuits of industry, and
protected by equal laws from the imposition of
the federal officers, they will be satisfied, for I
cannot conceive that they should be so blind to
their own interests as wantonly to resist the laws
of the republic. One thing is certain, that no
greater calamity could befal them than the intrusion
of party politics among them. Nothing
would more inevitably retard the development
of the resources of the country, check emigration,
and in every way thwart the benevolent
purposes of heaven, and blast the present sanguine
expectations of the friends of Texas, than
party jealousies and party intrigue.

The question of negro slavery in connexion
with the settlement of this country, is one of
great importance, and perhaps may hereafter
present a difficulty. The existing constitution
and laws totally prohibit this worst of evils.
Should this wise policy be abandoned and Texas
become, what Louisiana now is, the receptacle of
the redundant and jail-delivered slaves of other
countries, all its energies would be paralysed, 8(2)v 88
and whatever oppressions may hereafter arise
either from abroad or at home, must be endured,
for the country would require a prop to lean
upon, and, from necessity, would be forever dependant.

Affectionately, yours, &c.

Letter VIII.

The Comanches are a noble race of Indians,
inhabiting the country to the north and northwest
of San Antonio de Bexar. They are a
wandering race, do not cultivate the earth for
corn, but depend altogether upon the chase for
subsistence. They follow the immense herds of
buffaloe which graze the vast plains of this region,
often to the amount of thousands in one
herd. These plains are also stocked with wild
horses, which run together in droves of many
hundreds. These wild horses are called, in the 8(3)r 89
language of the country, Mustangs, and hence
the figure of speech to denote any thing wild and
uncultivated, as a mustang girl, applied to a rude
hunter’s daughter. These horses are not natives,
but descended from the stock brought over by
the first Spaniards. Domestic animals, and man
himself, become rude, when removed from the
associations of civilized life. The Comanches
catch and tame these wild horses, and when unsuccessful
in the chase, subsist upon them.

These Indians always move on horseback.
Besides the bow and arrows, the usual arms of
the Indian warrior, they are armed with a long
spear, having a sword blade for the point. A
war party of these mounted Indians is sufficiently
formidable. They are headed by two squaws,
who by their shrill voices, serve as trumpeters,
and have, like them, various tones, to denote the
different evolutions and movements. When they
descry an object of attack, or pursuit, they dart
forward in a column, like lightning, towards it.
At a suitable distance from their prey, they divide
into two squadrons, one half taking to the
right, and the other to the left, and thus surround
it.

8* 8(3)v 90

Though fierce in war, they are civil in peace,
and remarkable for their sense of justice. They
call the people of the United States their friends,
and give them protection, while they hate the
Mexicans, and murder them without mercy.

The Comanches have one head chief and
many subordinate ones. They hold regular
councils quarterly, and a grand council of the
whole tribe once a year. At these councils all
important matters are decided, and all prisoners
taken for offences are tried. Their discipline is
rigid. If a hunting party takes the life of a North
American
after making him prisoner, without
bringing him before the council for trial, the offenders
are punished with death. Not so with
the Mexicans, who are considered as enemies
and treated as such. This hatred is mutual, and
fully reciprocated on the part of the Mexicans.
Hence the origin of the epithet, expressing odium,
so general in all parts of Mexico. To denote
the greatest degree of degradation, they call a
person a Comanche.

The following adventure with a body of these
Indians, was related to me by Col. Austin himself.
Being illustrative of the character of the Comanches,
I insert it here. It will show you also, 8(4)r 91
an instance of the kind of hazard, both of life
and limb, which this enterprizing man has encountered
in accomplishing his noble project.

On his way to the city of Mexico, in the
year 18221822, with but two persons in company,
arriving at San Antonio, he was told it was dangerous
to proceed without an escort, for a war-
party of Comanches was abroad, killing every
unprotected person who came in their way, that
some individuals had been murdered by them the
day before, and that he, with so much baggage,
being a valuable prize, could not possibly hope
to escape.

Finding, however, no opportunity of obtaining
an escort, and the business of the colony requiring
his presence in the metropolis, he resolved,
at all hazards, to proceed on his journey.
They travelled the first day unmolested. On the
morning of the second day, feeling somewhat indisposed,
he undertook to prepare some coffee.
There were no accommodations on the road, and
it was necessary to carry provisions on a pack-
horse, and cook by the way-side. His companions
warned him, that if there were Indians
near, they would be attracted by the smoke. He
flattered himself, that by selecting a sheltered 8(4)v 92
place, and making little smoke, it would be impossible
for them to discern it. Besides, his
craving for the coffee was so great, being afflicted
with a bad head-ache, he insisted he must have
it, at all risks. They were upon an open plain,
and they could see many miles around. No living
creature at the moment, but themselves, was
in view.

The men in company went to seek the horses,
which had been hoppled the night before and let
loose to feed. This is a mode of tying the
horses’ legs together to keep them from running
away. The Colonel retired to a little ravine to
enjoy his coffee. It was boiled, and in the act of
putting the refreshing beverage to his parched
lips, he heard a sound like the trampling of many
horses. Raising his head, with the coffee yet
untasted, he beheld in the distance, fifty mounted
Comanches, with their spears glittering in the
morning sun, dashing towards him at full speed.
As the column advanced, it divided, according to
their usual practice, into two semi-circles, and
in an instant, he was surrounded. Quicker than
thought, he sprang to his loaded rifle, but as his
hand grasped it, he felt that resistance by one
against a host, was vain.

8(5)r 93

The plunder commenced. Every article of
the little encampment, with the saddle-bags,
which he stood upon to protect if possible, was
greedily seized. His presence of mind, however,
did not forsake him. He calmly meditated for a
moment, on what course to pursue.

Assuming great composure, he went up to the
chief, and addressing him in Spanish and the few
words of Indian he knew, he declared himself to
be an American, and demanded if their nation
was at war with the Americans. “No,” was the
reply. “Do you like the Americans?” “Yes—
they are our friends.”
“Where do you get your
spear heads, your blankets,”
&c. naming all their
foreign articles, one by one. “Get them from our
friends the Americans.”
“Well, do you think if
you were passing through their nation, as I am
passing through yours, they would rob you as
you have robbed me?”
The chief reflected a
little, and replied, “No, it would not be right.”
Upon which he commanded his people to restore
all the things taken.

Every article of value came back, with the
same despatch with which it had disappeared,
except the saddle-bags. These, which contained
all his money, were indispensable to the further 8(5)v 94
prosecution of his journey. No one could tell
any thing of the saddle-bags. Almost in despair
of seeing them again, he observed in a thicket, at
a little distance, a squaw, one of the trumpeters,
kicking and belabouring her horse, to make him
move off, while the sagacious beast would not
stir a step from the troop. The Colonel instantly
pursued the female robber, and, thanks to her
restive mustang, secured his property, which was
very adroitly hidden under the saddle blanket and
herself. The whole sqaudron then wheeled off,
and were seen no more.

One little circumstance connected with this
adventure must be added. A Spanish grammar,
which the Colonel carried suspended at the saddlebow,
that he might study it as he rode along,
(for he was not then familiar with the Spanish
language,) was missing. This grammar was afterwards
found among the Indians by some
traders, and having the owner’s name in it, a report
spread abroad, that he had been killed by
the Comanches. This report reached the ears
of his anxious mother and sister in Missouri, and
it was many months before they learned that he
had survived this dreary pilgrimage.

8(6)r 95

The Carancahuas inhabited, formerly the
whole of the sea coast. They were reputed to
be cannibals and very ferocious. Hence, probably,
the Spaniards were little disposed to invade
them, or to visit the country without a strong military
escort. Hence also, it is less surprising, that
they acquired little knowledge of the coast, and
that they supplied the place of knowledge, with
tales of factitious horrors.

The first settlers in this part of the country,
under Colonel Austin, arrived in considerable
force, and were well armed. The Carancahuas
were sufficiently peaceable so long as the settlers
remained in a body, annoying them only by begging
and stealing, whatever fell in their way.
But when the settlers separated to explore the
country for the purpose of selecting an eligible
location, four of the number, who were left with
the provisions and baggage to protect them, were
killed by these Indians, and their goods carried
off.

Thus hostilities commenced. The colonists,
at this period, were not strong enough to inflict
the chastisement the Indians had provoked, being
unaided by a single soldier from the government,
and were compelled to submit to the insolence 8(6)v 96
they could not resent. These vexations were
endured for some years, when, at last, the number
of the colonists being much increased, they
mustered a party of sixty riflemen, to punish them
for some murders they had committed. Colonel
Austin
commanded this expedition in person.
The result was, the slaughter of half the tribe.
The remainder took refuge in the church of the
Mexican Mission of La Bahar. The priests
were ordered to turn them out, on pain of having
the sanctuary violated in case of refusal. But,
after much entreaty, by the priests and Alcade,
a truce was granted them, on condition, that they
should never again cross the La Baca river, the
western boundary of the colony. The Alcade
and priests became surety for their good behaviour.
This engagement, they have faithfully
kept.

Recently, the Mexicans have commenced killing
the remnant of this tribe, for some robberies
and murders committed by them. The survivors
have crossed the La Baca, to the number of forty
or fifty, to beg the protection of the colonists, offering
to perform any kind of service or labour,
in return for protection and food. The people 9(1)r 97
on that frontier have, accordingly, distributed
them amongst their families, as servants.

Thus, the shores and bays of this beautiful
region, in which these fierce children of the
woods once roamed, free as the lion of the desert,
have been transferred to other hands. From
being the rightful proprietors of the domain,
they have become the hewers of wood and
drawers of water, to their invaders.

There are remnants of several other tribes of
Indians, which still exist in Texas, but of too
little note to merit particular notice. They are
either too few in numbers to be formidable, or so
far civilized, as to provide well for themselves,
without disturbing others. The Cushatees are
most worthy of notice. They have their villages
on the Trinity river, their houses are well
constructed, and their fields well cultivated.
They have good stocks of horses and cattle, use
culinary utensils, and are hospitable to strangers.
In autumn, when their crops are laid by, they
range the country in small parties, to procure a
winter’s stock of venison and bear’s meat, leaving
their villages often without a single individual, to
protect them. They are few in number, and
quite friendly. When among the settlements, 9 9(1)v 98
they conduct themselves with great propriety,
and know the difference between a wild hog and
one that has a mark on his ear.

The Kickapoos and Shawnees, driven by the
people of the United States to the west of the
Mississippi, sometimes extend their hunting parties
quite to the settlements on the Brazos. They
appear to regard the American settlers in Texas,
as a part of the people of the United States, and
conduct themselves in a friendly and respectful
manner.

Affectionately, yours, &c.

Letter IX.

The first settlement of this colony by Colonel
Austin
and his little band of hardy pioneers, displays
a spirit of noble enterprise not often surpassed.
If the project of establishing such a
colony in Texas did not originate with the Austins,
it was the first proposal of the kind that 9(2)r 99
was accepted by the Mexican authorities, and it
cannot be denied, that the sagacity, the prudence,
the industry and perseverance, displayed by Col.
Austin
in the successful execution of the undertaking,
are worthy of all admiration. A short
history of the origin of the colony, with some
of the difficulties which embarrassed its first
struggles for existence, cannot fail to be interesting.

The idea of forming a settlement of North
Americans
in the wilderness of Texas, it is believed,
originated with Moses Austin, esq. of
Missouri, and, after the conclusion of De Onis’
treaty
, in 18191819, efforts were made by him to put
matters in train for an application to the Spanish
government in Old Spain. In answer to his inquiries
as to the best mode of laying the subject before
the Spanish government, he was advised to
apply to the Spanish authorities in New Spain.
A memorial was accordingly presented, and his
application granted, on the 1821-01-1717th of January, 1821,
by the supreme government of the Eastern Internal
Provinces of New Spain
, at Monterrey.
Authority was hereby granted to Mr. Austin to
introduce three hundred families into Texas, on
terms that were satisfactory to both parties.

9(2)v 100

At this juncture of affairs, before any location
for the intended colony was fixed upon, in the
midst of diligent preparations to fulfil his engagement,
Mr. Moses Austin died. His health had
suffered greatly by exposure to bad weather,
from swimming and rafting rivers, and from want
of provisions on his return to Missouri from
Bexar, for at that time Texas was an entire wilderness
from Bexar to the Sabine. A severe
cold, occasioned by this exposure, terminated in
an inflammation of the lungs, which finally put
an end to his mortal life.

This gentleman was a native of Durham, in
the State of Connecticut, and presents an eminent
specimen of the enterprising character of the
New England people. At a very early age, impelled
by a thirst of knowledge, and an ambition
to make a speedy fortune, he left his native state,
and, at the age of twenty, was married to Miss
Maria Brown
, in Philadelphia. Shortly afterwards,
in partnership with his brother, Stephen Austin,
he purchased the lead mines, called Chessel’s
Mines
, on New river, Wythe county, Virginia,
to which he removed, and established a regular
system of mining and smelting, together with the
manufacture of shot, sheet-lead, &c. Miners 9(3)r 101
and mechanics to prosecute this business, were introduced
from England, for at that time, manufactures,
of this description, were in their infancy
in the United States. Owing to causes beyond
his control, this enterprise failed of success.
Having received flattering accounts of the lead
mines in Upper Louisiana, now Missouri, he resolved
to visit that distant and unknown country.
Accordingly, having procured the necessary
passports from the Spanish minister, he visited
Upper Louisiana in 17971797, and procured a grant
from the Governor General, Baron de Carondelet,
for one league of land, including the Mine-a-
Burton
, forty miles west of St. Genevieve. After
closing all his affairs in the United States, he removed
his family, with a number of others from
Wythe county, by a new and almost untried
route, down the Kenhawa river, to his new grant,
in 17991799, and laid a foundation for the settlement,
of, what is now called, Washington county, in
Missouri. The early settlers of this county will
bear ample testimony to his enterprise, public
spirit, and honourable character. The exercise
of these generous qualities, in fact, brought on
another reverse of fortune, and compelled him
to turn, with unabated ardour, in the decline of 9* 9(3)v 102
life, to a new and hazardous enterprise in the
wilderness of Texas.

At his death, Mr. Moses Austin left a request,
that his son, Stephen F. Austin, should prosecute
the enterprise which he had thus commenced, of
forming a settlement in Texas. Stephen F.
Austin
, whom I shall hereafter designate as Col.
Austin
, immediately entered upon the prosecution
of the enterprise with vigour. After having
first visited the capital of Texas, to make the
legal arrangements, and having personally surveyed
the country, without a guide, and at much
risk, in order to select a favourable location, in
1821-12December, 1821, he arrived on the river Brazos
with the first emigrants, and the new settlement
was commenced in the midst of an entire wilderness.
Without entering into a detailed history
of all the difficulties, privations and dangers that
were encountered by the first emigrants, it is sufficient
to say, that such a detail would present
examples of inflexible perseverance and fortitude
on the part of these settlers, which have been
seldom equalled in any country, or in any enterprise.

Of two cargoes of provisions, shipped from
New Orleans for their subsistence, one was lost 9(4)r 103
on the coast, the other, after having been deposited
on shore, was destroyed by the Carancuhuas,
and four men, left to protect it, were
massacred. They were compelled by these disappointments,
to obtain their seed-corn over land,
and with much trouble, from Sabine or Bexar. For
months, they were totally destitute of bread and
salt. Sugar and coffee were luxuries, enjoyed
only in remembrance or in anticipation. Their
only dependence for subsistence, was upon the
wild game. To range the country for buffaloe,
was dangerous on account of the Indians. The
mustangs, or wild horses, fortunately were abundant
and fat, and, it is estimated, that one hundred
of them were eaten in the course of the two first
years.

The Carancuahua Indians were very hostile on
the coast. The Wacos and Tawakanies were
equally so in the interior, and committed constant
depredations. Parties of Tankaways, Lepans,
and other tribes, were intermingled with the settlers.
These Indians were beggarly and insolent,
and were restrained from violence the first
two years, only by presents, forebearance, and
policy. There was not force enough in the
colony to awe them. One imprudent step with 9(4)v 104
these Indians, would have destroyed the settlement,
and the settlers deserve as much credit for
their forebearance, during the years 1822–18231822-23, as
for their fortitude. In 18241824, the force of the
colony justified a change of policy, and a party
of Tarankaways was, in that year, publicly tied
and whipped, in the presence of their chiefs, for
horse stealing.

The hardships of the wilderness, however,
were not the only difficulties to be surmounted.
Great embarrassment arose from another quarter,
which produced much delay, expense, personal
risk, and discouragement to Col. Austin, and not
only checked all further accession to the colony
for a time, but compelled some of the actual emigrants
to abandon their lands.

In 1824-03March, Col. Austin proceeded to Bexar to
make his report to the Governor, by whom he
was informed, for the first time, that it would be
necessary for him to proceed, immediately, to the
city of Mexico, in order to procure from the
Mexican Congress, then in session, a confirmation
of the original grant to his father, Moses
Austin
, and receive special instructions as to the
distribution of land, the issuing of titles, &c.
This intimation was totally unexpected, and, as 9(5)r 105
may be well supposed, very embarrassing; for not
calculating upon any thing of the kind, he had
not made the necessary preparations for such a
journey. There was no time for hesitation.
Hasty arrangements were made with Mr. Josiah
H. Bell
, to take charge of the infant settlement,
and Col. Austin immediately departed for the
city of Mexico, a journey of twelve hundred
miles.

This was an undertaking of no little hazard
at that time. Owing to the revolutionary state
of the country, the roads were infested with
robbers, and the Indians, taking advantage of the
times, committed many outrages. Col. Austin
fortunately escaped without molestation, except
that of being partially robbed by a party of Comanches,
as related in a preceeding letter. From
Monterrey, he had but one companion. They
both disguised themselves in ragged clothes, with
blankets, so as to pass for very poor men, who
were going to Mexico to petition for compensation
for services in the revolution.

The state of political affairs in the capital, at
this time, was very unsettled. In addition to embarrassments
likely to arise from this source,
when Col. Austin arrived in Mexico, he laboured 9(5)v 106
under the disadvantages of being a foreigner, a
total stranger, and ignorant of the language of
the country, except what little knowledge he had
acquired in his first trip to Bexar, and on his
journey to the capital. Without entering into a
minute detail of all the perplexities and difficulties
which embarrassed the business, arising out
of the revolutions and frequent modifications of
the general government, which took place at that
period, and these were neither few nor small,
Col. Austin, after a whole year’s detention, at
last had the satisfaction of returning to Texas,
with the object of his journey fully accomplished.
His authority to plant a colony in Texas,
under which he had been acting, was confirmed
by all the national authorities which, under different
names, had ruled the Mexican nation
during the year; and, as the last confirmation was
by the Sovereign Constituent Congress, whose
members were the acknowledged and legal representatives
of the people of the nation, there
could be no shadow of doubt as to the legality
and validity of his concession.

In August, when Col. Austin arrived in the
colony, it was nearly broken up, in consequence
of his long detention in Mexico, and emigration 9(6)r 107
had totally ceased. Many of the first emigrants
had returned to the United States, and a number
of those who had commenced their journey for
the colony, had stopped in the vicinity of Nacogdoches,
or on the Trinity river, and thus the
settlement of those sections of the country began.
By energetic exertion and prudent management,
however, the life of the expiring colony was
soon revived, and from the day of Col. Austin’s
personal re-appearance in the settlement to the
present day, the affairs of the colony have flowed
onward, with a silent, but rapid and uninterrupted
prosperity. It now numbers upwards of six
thousand inhabitants, and the influx of emigrants
greater than ever. These people I am assured
are, as a body, of the most industrious and worthy
character, for the greatest precaution has been
used, from the commencement of the enterprise,
to exclude the idle and the vicious. This judicious
policy has been pursued throughout, from
a conviction, that the success of the undertaking
must depend upon the good character of the population.
A report, counter to this statement,
has more than once found its way to the public
ear, and been circulated in the newspaper, but
it is a fabrication and a slander.

9(6)v 108

Several fugitives, who found their way into
the colony in 1823–18241823-4, he expelled, under the severest
threats of corporal punishment if they returned,
and in one instance he inflicted it. As
regards the general morality and hospitality of
the inhabitants, and the commission of crimes,
the settlement, it is contended, will bear a favourable
comparison with any county in the
United States.

When, in the progress of years, the state of
Texas shall take her place among the powerful
empires of the American continent, her citizens
will doubtless regard Col. Austin as their patriarch,
and children will be taught to hold his name
in reverence; for thought there have been many
other respectable men engaged in the work of
colonization, yet Col. Austin began the work,
and was the first to open the wilderness. All
the subsequent labour of others has been comparatively
easy.

Col. Austin has proved himself, both in point
of talents and sound judgement, perfectly qualified
for the arduous undertaking he took in hand. In
the first place, we view him as the hardy and
bold pioneer, braving all the dangers of a wilderness
infested with hostile Indians, far out of the 10(1)r 109
reach of civilized society, and all the most common
comforts of civilized life, enduring with the
humblest labourer of the little band, all the exposure
and privation of the camp, living for months
upon wild horse-flesh, without bread or salt.

In the second place, we view him as the skilful
negotiator in the capitol of Mexico. His
difficulties here, were of the most trying and discouraging
kind, and required the greatest discretion
to surmount; for his business was with the
government, and that government in a constant
state of revolution and counter-revolution. Twice
was his business brought, as he had every reason
to think, almost to a successful termination,
when a change of government threw it out, and
left him where he began months before, to commence
anew. His difficulties were not a little
increased by the number of petitions for grants
of colonization similar to his own. Among these
applications, was one from Gen. Wilkinson, formerly
of the United States army. It argues not
a little in favour of his own skilful management,
that, of all these petitions, his alone was finally
acceded to, at that time, by the Mexican authorities.

10 10(1)v 110

Next, view him as the civil governor and
military commander of the people, for he was
clothed with very extensive civil and judicial authority
in all matters, and, as commander of the
militia, he was vested with the rank of Lieut.
Colonel, by the provincial deputation of Coahuila
and Texas. If his power has been great, most
judiciously and beneficently has he wielded it,
as is abundantly proved and illustrated, by the
present prosperity of the colony. If any one is
inclined to surmise, that this prosperity was a
matter of course, he should reflect, that, out of
twenty grants of colonization similar to his own,
his, alone, can be said to have fully succeeded.
Whoever will reflect upon the proverbial jealousy
of the Mexican people, which, for years, was indulged
to such a degree as to exclude every
foreign footstep from the soil of Texas, will
know how to appreciate the prudent and sagacious
management which has produced such
pleasing results. Nor should it be forgotten,
that, whatever has been accomplished, has been
effected by policy and private resources alone,
without the aid of a single soldier to repel hostile
Indians, or a single dollar from the public treasury, 10(2)r 111
even to pay the salaries of the necessary
subordinate officers and clerks.

It may be supposed, that he is now sufficiently
compensated for all his labours by a vast accumulation
of wealth. But this is not so. He indeed,
holds the title to much valuable land. Aside
from this, he is poor, and land can hardly be considered
wealth, where land is so abundant, and
to be got almost for nothing. Many of the settlers,
without any hardships, or exposure,
or labour, which he has encountered, are richer
than he. That many opportunities of promoting
his private fortune have presented themselves,
will, of course, be understood. But his character
is noble and generous, and he has, in a great
measure, yielded all considerations of a private
nature, to the general welfare of the colony. He
has had his enemies and calumniators, as it is natural
to expect of one, who held the power, and
was determined to exercise a wholesome authority,
in the management of affairs. His reputation,
however, remains untarnished, and never
in higher estimation than at this present moment.
Amidst all the slanderous imputations that have
been uttered against him, he finds sufficient consolation,
in the general confidence of all the intelligent 10(2)v 112
and worthy part of the settlers, and above
all, in the uniform approbation of the Mexican
authorities.

The colony has received the most cordial and
uninterrupted manifestations of liberality, confidence,
and kindness, from every superior officer,
who has governed the province of Texas, or the
state of Coahuila and Texas, from its commencement
to the present time. For its services on
one occasion, it received, in flattering terms, the
approbation of the President. These testimonials
are too high and unimpeachable to leave any
doubt, as to the morality, honour, and integrity,
of either Col. Austin himself, or of the great
mass of the settlers. To say that there are no
base men here, would be a violation of candour
and truth, but these individuals meet their reward
in Texas, as in other well regulated communities,
in the frowns of public opinion.

Col. Austin is still a young man, not yet forty
years of age, but, through the hardships of his
life, looks much older than he really is. In his
youth, he received a respectable academical education
at Colchester, in Connecticut, but began,
very early, to acquire that species of knowledge
which is to be obtained only by the experience 10(3)r 113
of business, and the intercourse of men,—a kind
of knowledge which has qualified him to perform
well his part in the peculiar sphere of life in
which he has been called, by Providence, to act.
He is, now, a member of the Legislature of Coahuila
and Texas
, which holds its sittings at Saltillo.
Long may he live to reap the reward of
his arduous labours, and enjoy the fruits of his
noble enterprise.

We do injustice to the subject, and to the
Austins, by regarding them merely as the founders
of the colony which bears their name, They
have, in fact, been the movers, either directly or
indirectly of the whole North American and
Irish emigration to this country, and, whatever
good may result to the great cause of liberty, of
science, and human happiness, by the introduction
into this vast region, of the English language,
and of those principles of republican and
constitutional government, which always accompany
that language, may be very properly attributed
to them,—to the father for conceiving the
idea of such an enterprise, to the son for successfully
accomplishing it. Few instances occur
in the history of new settlements, in which results
so important and permanent have been produced10* 10(3)v 114
by means so comparatively feeble, and
under circumstances so discouraging, The settlers
of Austin’s Colony were unaided by capital
or support, either from the Mexican government
or from any other quarter. They had no resources,
whatever, to depend upon, except those
afforded by the spirit and prudence of their
leader, a total contempt of danger, obstacles,
and privations, and a firm reliance on their rifles,
themselves, and their God. Besides the natural
difficulties of subduing the wilderness, they had
to contend with the deeply fixed prejudices of
the people in the United States, who were loath
to remove to a country, which they had been
taught to believe, was barren and savage, doomed
to eternal pestilence and fevers, and, at least, but
a refuge for fugitive criminals, pirates, and desperados.
Other obstacles, not less appalling to
some, arose from the revolutionary and distracted
condition of the civil government of Mexico.

Until recently, neither the Mexican government
nor the Mexican people, knew any thing of
this interesting country, and, whatever value it
now possesses in their estimation, or in the opinion
of the world, is to be attributed, entirely, to
the foreign emigrants. They redeemed it from 10(4)r 115
the wilderness,—they developed its resources,—
they have explored it, in its length and breadth,
and made known its geography. All has been
done by them, without the cost of a single cent
to the Mexicans. This consideration, certainly
gives to those emigrants, a natural and a just claim
upon the liberality of the government, and authorises
them to expect a system of colonization,
of revenue and municipal law, adapted to their
local situation and their infant state.

Affectionately, yours, &c.

Letter X.

The people of Texas, as yet, have little time for
trade. Every body is occupied with his domestic
arrangements and plans for supplying his immediate
wants. It is found to be easier to raise
or manufacture such articles as are needed in the
family, or to do without, than to obtain them from
abroad, or to employ an individual to scour the 10(4)v 116
country, in search of such as may be desired.
People live too far apart, to beg or borrow often,
and few trouble themselves to send any thing to
market, though they have ever so much to spare.
They had rather give to you of their abundance,
if you will send to their doors. The towns are
too distant to obtain supplies from them; while
some are too proud, some too lazy, and most too
indifferent, to trouble themselves about the matter.
If they want any article of first necessity, coffee,
for instance, which is much used, they will send
some of their chickens, butter, and eggs, to a
neighbouring family newly arrived, and propose
an exchange as most new comers bring with
them some stores. There is much of this kind
of barter, provisions being so much more plenty
than money. Nobody, however, fares very sumptuously;
the new comers have not the articles,
and the older residents have grown indifferent to
the use of them. Besides, they are rich enough;
without depending upon the sale of small matters
for an income.

There is a peculiar feeling among them about
game. No one will receive money for any thing
taken by his gun, but will cheerfully give you as
much as you will take, and feel insulted, if you 10(5)r 117
offer him money in return. As the chief supplies
are of this description, there is, of course, little
for sale. It would be better for the public, if this
feeling did not prevail, as provisions of this sort,
could be furnished at so easy and cheap a rate.

Hence, there is some ground for reasonable
complaint against the living in Texas. But it is
not the fault of the country. It is an evil, which
persons suitably disposed, who would open farms,
gardens, and poultry yards, in the vicinity of the
settlements, could very soon remedy, while they
would not, themselves, be the persons least benefitted.
In no country, with the usual attention to
the arts of life, could more luxuries for the table
be furnished. At present, vegetables, fruits, eggs,
butter, and chickens, sell very high in Brazoria;
though they are yielded in every season of the
year, in a profusion unexampled in any part of
the world. The new comer has but to plant his
seeds in the ground, and collect a first supply of
live stock to begin with. They need but little or
no care afterwards, and the increase is astonishing.
He brands his cattle and hogs, and lets them run.
They require no attention, but to see that they do
not stray too far from home, and become wild.
A field once planted in pumpkins, seldom needs 10(5)v 118
planting again. The scattered seed sow themselves,
and the plants are cultivated with the corn.
These pumpkins, as large, often, as a man can
lift, have a sweet flavour, and are very palatable.
A field of them is a curiosity, they are in such
numbers and so large. Sweet potatoes, also, are
cultivated with almost equal ease, and yield, at
times, five hundred bushels to the acre. Some of
these potatoes weigh from four, to seven pounds.
Yet they sell, at Brazoria, at the enormous price
of seventy-five cents a bushel. Corn is obtained
in the prairie cane-brakes, the first year, when
there is no time to prepare the land, with the
plough, by merely making a hole for the seed,
with a hoe. Cows and horses get their own living.
The trees at this moment, (1831-12-1717th December,) are
loaded with rich clusters of grapes; not very
large, but of a delicious flavour.

Amidst this profusion of the good things of
life, can it be difficult, with proper arrangement,
to live, and to live well, in Texas? Unfortunately,
cooks do not grow on trees. The epicure, therefore,
who brings with him his morbid appetites,
must also bring his cook.

During my stay at Bolivar, we might have
had, every day, the finest of game; could any 10(6)r 119
one have been spared to take the field, with his
gun. Our neighbor, at one hunt, brought in three
bears, a Mexican hog, a rabbit and two bee-trees.
Our carpenter, without leaving his bench five
minutes, killed several wild ducks, the finest I
ever tasted.

Affectionately, yours, &c.

Letter XI.

The extensive flat country, which stretches from
the coast of Texas many hundred miles, to the
interior mountains, produces periodical winds,
like the monsoons of India. From March to November,
but little rain falls, and the power of the
sun upon the flat surface of the land is such, as
to exhale that little, promptly. The face of the
flat region is, therefore, dry in summer, and the
continual action of the sun upon a surface so extensive,
flat, and dry, causes a constant indraught
of air from the sea. A strong south-east wind is 10(6)v 120
thus produced, which blows, almost without intermission,
except at the full and change of the
moon. There are occasional interruptions, by the
calms of midsummer, and by northers of slight
force, and of short duration, in the spring and
fall.

In November, the strong northers set in. The
rains, which usually fall in this month, cool the
land. The mountains of the interior, now covered
with snow, serve as generators of cold air; while
the continued action of the sun upon the waters
of the gulf, rarefies the air in that direction, and
consequently a strong current is produced, of the
cold and heavier atmosphere of the north. Hence,
in the months of December and January, the cold
northern winds sweep down the plains, with nearly
as much regularity, as the south-east wind in summer;
being, occasionally, interrupted by that wind,
chiefly on the full and change of the moon. In
these months, the southerly winds are of short
duration, and soon produce rain, an infallible indication
of an immediate norther. These northers,
or northerly winds, blow sometimes from the
north-west, and sometimes from the north -east.
The north-west is most prevalent in midwinter:
the north-east, early and late in the season. They 11(1)r 121
come on very suddenly; often without warning,
always blow strong, and at times, very violently.

The effect of these winds upon the tide-water
of the bays along the coast, is very perceptible.
In Galveston bay a strong norther, reduces the
depth of water three or four feet, and keeps out
the tide until it moderates. A south-east gale has
a reverse effect. On Red Fish bar, which crosses
that bay, during a strong norther, there are, at
times, but three and a half feet of water at high
tide, but with a strong south-east wind, there are
usually six feet, and sometimes seven. This observation
will apply to all the bays of the coast.

These periodical winds, doubtless tend, greatly,
to purify the atmosphere, and contribute much to
give to the climate of Texas a blandness, which
I do not recollect to have experienced any where
else, and a salubrity, which we look for, in vain,
in the low country of the southern United States.
The climate may be described to be, in general
terms, a perpetual summer. But it must not be
supposed, that there are no cold days in Texas,
nor exceptions here, as elsewhere, to the general
course of things. The last winter, (18301830.) was
so severe in Louisiana, as well as in Texas, that
all the young orange trees were killed, and the 11 11(1)v 122
old ones injured. Even much of the cane was
destroyed. But this is a very rare occurrence.
In 18311831, of which I have personal experience,
the northers, as they are technically called, were
frequent from the middle of November until
--12-25Christmas. They seldom lasted long, not more
than a day or two, and were invariably succeeded
by warm rains, or bright sunshine. The greatest
cold produced but white frost, considered at the
north, as the harbinger of mild weather, except
once, when there was hail and sleet, and the
ground had a slight covering of snow, the only
instance except one, Col. Austin informed me,
since his residence in the country. The foliage
did not leave the trees, nor even the rose bushes,
and the grass was verdant. Yet with summer
feelings and summer dresses, and apartments not
very tight, these winds were sufficiently uncomfortable.
I regret not having a better thermometer
than my own feelings, to give you the precise
degree of cold. These cold days, however,
while they last, make so small a proportion of
the year, as to be hardly remembered when they
are past.

Emigrants arriving during the time of which
I speak, would of course, be disappointed in their 11(2)r 123
visions of the climate. It is not at all surprising,
that some, who have arrived in Texas at this unpropitious
moment, have become disheartened,
and sighed for home, or what is much less excusable,
have given vent to their morbid feelings,
by detraction, and slanderous misrepresntations
of the country. An old settler from Maine told
me, he had known winters here so mild, as not to
kill the Lima bean. The best month to arrive in,
is October. The first impression at that time is
delightful, as well as just, and there is less inconvenience
and trouble at that time, than at any
other season. It is also the most favourable season
on account of health. The change to the hot
months of the succeeding year, is then gradual.
Those persons who come from the northern states
or from Europe, in the spring and summer, experience
too sudden a change, and are always more
or less, affected by it.

House-keepers should bring with them all indispensable
articles for household use, together
with as much common clothing (other clothing is
not wanted) for themselves and their children, as
they, conveniently, can. Ladies in particular,
should remember, that in a new country, they
cannot get things made at any moment, as in an 11(2)v 124
old one and that they will be sufficiently busy,
the first two years in arranging such things as
they have, without occupying themselves in obtaining
more. It should also be done as a matter
of economy. Where the population increases,
beyond the increase of supplies, articles of
necessity, as well as of luxury, are dear. If, on
arrival, they find a surplus on hand, it can be readily
disposed of to advantage; for trade, by barter,
is much practiced, and you buy provisions, with
coffee, calico, tea-kettles, and saucepans, instead
of cash.

Those who must have a feather-bed, had better
bring it, for it would take too long to make
one; and though the air swarms with live geese,
a feather-bed could not be got for love or money.
Every body should bring pillows and bed linen.
Mattresses, such as are used, universally, in Louisiana,
and they are very comfortable, are made
of the moss, which hangs on almost every tree.
They cost nothing but the case and the trouble of
preparing the moss. The case should be brought.
Domestic checks are best, being cheap and light,
and sufficiently strong. The moss is prepared,
by burying it in the earth, until it is partially rotted.
It is then washed very clean, dried and 11(3)r 125
picked; when it is fit for use. These mattresses
should be made very thick: and those who like
a warmer bed in winter, can put some layers of
wool, well carded, upon the moss, taking care to
keep this side up.

Every emigrant should bring musqueto bars.
Since the middle of October, I have not found
them necessary. They are indispensable in the
summer season, and are made of a thin species of
muslin, manufactured for the purpose. Furniture,
such as chairs and bureaus, can be brought in separate
pieces and put together, cheaper and better,
after arrival, than they can be purchased here,
if purchased at all. But it must be recollected,
that very few articles of this sort, are required,
where houses are small, and building expensive.
Think of the Vicar of Wakefield’s picture. Tables
are made by the house carpenter, which answer
the purpose very well, where nobody has
better, and the chief concern is, to get something
to put upon them. The maxim here, is, nothing
for show, but all for use. A few well selected
standard books, must not be forgotten.

Hitherto, no duties have been required by the
government, upon any articles, brought from any
country by emigrants. The time of limitation, 11* 11(3)v 126
however, has now expired, and custom-houses
have lately been established. The rate of duty
can be ascertained, by applying to a Mexican consul,
from whom it is necessary to obtain passports.
No foreigner is admitted into the country, without
a passport. Careful attention must be given
to these particulars, to prevent detention, and an
examination, by no means agreeable, on arrival.
It should be stated in the passport, whether the
person be really an emigrant or a trader, as the
former is allowed some privileges over the latter.

The rate of exchange, operates very favourably
to emigrants. At the present moment, they
may receive seven per cent, on all the money
they bring. Money is scarce, in Texas; but all
that money can purchase, and much that it can
never buy, is plenty. The poor man of industry,
should know, that he can get along without it; or
at least, with very little. Those who are so fortunate
as to have it, loan it, at a very high interest,
on real estate security. Fifteen and twenty
per cent is the common rate of interest.

Affectionately, yours, &c.

11(4)r 127

Letter XII.

Ones feelings in Texas are unique and original,
and very like a dream or youthful vision realized.
Here, as in Eden, man feels alone with the God
of nature, and seems, in a peculiar manner, to enjoy
the rich bounties of heaven, in common with
all created things. The animals, which do not
fly from him; the profound stillness; the genial
sun and soft air,—all are impressive, and are calculated,
both to delight the imagination, and to
fill the heart, with religious emotions.

With regard to the state of society here, as is
natural to expect, there are many incongruities.
It will take some time for people gathered from
the north, and from the south, from the east, and
from the west, to assimilate, and adapt themselves
to new situations. The people are universally
kind and hospitable, which are redeeming qualities.
Every body’s house is open, and table
spread, to accommodate the traveller. There are 11(4)v 128
no poor people here, and none rich; that is, none
who have much money. The poor and the rich,
to use the correlatives, where distinction, there is
none, get the same quantity of land on arrival,
and if they do not continue equal, it is for want
of good management on the one part, or superior
industry and sagacity on the other. All are happy,
because busy; and none meddle with the affairs
of their neighbours, because they have enough
to do to take care of their own. They are bound
together, by a common interest, by sameness of
purpose, and hopes. As far as I could learn, they
have no envyings, no jealousies, no bickerings,
through politics or fanaticism. There is neither
masonry, anti-masonry, nullification nor court intrigues.

The common concerns of life are sufficiently
exciting to keep the spirits buoyant, and prevent
every thing like ennui. Artificial wants are entirely
forgotten, in the view of real ones, and self,
eternal self, does not alone, fill up the round of
life. Delicate ladies find they can be useful, and
need not be vain. Even privations become pleasures:
people grow ingenious in overcoming difficulties.
Many latent faculties are developed.
They discover in themselves, powers, they did 11(5)r 129
not suspect themselves of possessing. Equally
surprised and delighted at the discovery, they
apply to their labours with all that energy and
spirit, which new hopes and conscious strength, inspire.

You wish to know my opinion, if it will do
for all sorts of people to emigrate to Texas, and
if I would advise J―― and S―― to sell out
and remove. On this point, I should say, industrious
farmers will certainly do well, and cannot
fail of success; that is to say, if abundant crops,
and a ready market with high prices, will satisfy
them. Substantial planters, with capital and
hands, may enlarge their operations here to any
extent, and with enormous profits. One gentleman,
for instance, whom I visited, has ninety-
three acres under cultivation, by seven hands.
His crop, this year, consists of eighty bales of
cotton, two thousand bushels of corn; five hundred
bushels of sweet potatoes, besides other articles
of minor importance.

Those persons, however, who are established
in comfort and competency, with an ordinary portion
of domestic happiness; who have never been
far from home, and are excessively attached to
personal ease; who shrink from hardship and 11(5)v 130
danger, and those who, being accustomed to a
regular routine of prescribed employment in a
city, know not how to act on emergencies, or
adapt themselves to all sorts of circumstances,
had better stay where they are. There is no better
advice, than, “to let well enough alone.” All
changes may be for the worse as well as better,
and what we are used to, though not so good as
might be, may suit us best. New shoes, though
handsomer and better than old ones, may pinch
and fret the wearer. Happiness is relative. A
high standard for one person, is a low one for
another, and what one prizes, another may think
worthless. So that even conceding all the advantages
I have claimed for Texas, it does not follow
that the happiness of all would be promoted, by
emigrating to this country. It depends much
upon the spirit of the man.

He whose hopes of rising to independence in
life, by honourable exertion, have been blasted by
disappointment; whose ambition has been thwarted
by untoward circumstances; whose spirit, though
depressed, is not discouraged; who longs only for
some ample field on which to lay out his strength;
who does not hanker after society, nor sigh for
the vanished illusions of life; who has a fund of 11(6)r 131
resources within himself, and a heart to trust in
God and his own exertions; who is not peculiarly
sensitive to petty inconveniences, but can bear
privations and make sacrifices, of personal comfort
—such a person will do well to settle accounts
at home, and begin life anew in Texas. He will
find, here, abundant exercise for all his faculties,
both of body and mind, a new stimulus to his
exertions, and a new current for his affections.
He may be obliged to labour hard, but riches are
a very certain reward of his exertions. He may
be generous, without fear of ruin. He will learn
to find society in nature, and repose in solitude,
health in exertion, and happiness in occupation.
If he have a just ambition, he will glow with generous
pride, while he is marking out an untrodden
path, acting in an unhackneyed sphere, and founding
for himself, and his children after him, a permanent
and noble independence.

Affectionately, yours, &c.

11(6)v 12(1)r

Appendix.

Questions Relative to Texas,


by the
London Geographical Society.

Note.— The following answers, it will be remarked, have, in some
respects, exclusive reference to Austin’s Colony, though, with few exceptions,
they are equally applicable to the whole country. It is to be
hoped, that the omission, either in these answers or in the preceding
letters, of more extended notices of other colonies in Texas, will not
be regarded as any disparagement of those colonies. The author’s
visit was to Austin’s Colony alone, where opportunities of inquiry
respecting the local concerns of the other colonies, did not occur.
Whatever notices of these colonies she might have been disposed to
insert in this volume, must necessarily, have been compiled from the
printed documents of the companies engaged in colonization, already
before the public. To these documents, she must refer the reader for
any local information that may be desired. It may be stated here, that
efforts were made by the editor, to procure, from the persons concerned,
a general statement of the condition of all the colonies and grants, that
have been authorized by law, in Texas, that the public might have the
whole subject presented in one view. The work was, actually delayed
more than a month, waiting for a statement of this sort, which was
promised by a gentleman every way qualified to prepare it. A pressure
of important buisiness, alone, prevented him from accomplishing his
intention.
Question first.—

The proportion of land taken up by the
Americans and on what title? Which of the susceptibilities of
the soil are they inclined to develope?

The largest portion of land taken up by foreign emigrants,
is in Austin’s Colony, which contains, (18311831,) six thousand
inhabitants, principally Americans, though there are a 12 12(1)v 134
number of Irish and English, and some Germans and French.
The colonization law of the State of Coahuila and Texas,
grants one league of land to families, and a quarter of a
league to single men. A Mexican league, is 5000 Mexican
varas square; equal to 4428 acres English measure. The
vara is 8 per cent. less than the English yard. The quantity
of land distributed in Austin’s Colony, with legal titles, is
about 1400 leagues.

In the colony contracted by De Witt, on the Guadalupe
river
, upwards of two hundred leagues have been granted
to American emigrants, settled by him, and about an equal
number of leagues, to native Mexicans. The Irish colonies
contracted for by Messrs. MacMullen and McGlone, on
the Nueeuces, and that of Messrs. Powers and Hewitson, on
the coast, between the La Baca and Nueeuces rivers, are in
a progressive state, but it is not known, how many leagues
have been distributed under these contracts. The country
on the San Antonio river, with that on the lower portion of
the Guadalupe, is granted, principally, to Mexicans, who
reside in Bexar and Golind. The extensive country lying
east of Austin’s Colony as far as the Sabine river, is holden
under contracts of colonization, by several respectable companies
and individuals, who are successfully engaged in appropriating
their lands, but the number of leagues distributed
by them, cannot be stated.

TitlesCol. Austin, has entered into five contracts, of
different dates, with the Mexican government, to colonize
a number of families, not exceeding two thousand. Of
these obligations, two have been already completed. One
will expire in 18331833, and another in 18341834. The last of the
above-mentioned contracts, was made in 1831-02February, 1831,
and, like all the others, will be in force for six years from
the date of it.

The emigrant, after being duly admitted by Austin as
a colonist, under his contract, receives a title from the
commissioner of the government, for the quantity of land
assigned him, by law. This commissioner is appointed by
the governor of the state, and the title issues in the name
of the state, on stamp paper, which costs from two to three
dollars. The whole cost of a league of land, to the settler,
will, generally, be about four cents an acre. For a part of
the sum a credit is given, of four, five and six years. All
land titles in Texas are granted in this manner, whether to
foreigners or Mexicans, and are all subject to the condition 12(2)r 135
of being forfeited to the state, if the grantee fails to make
actual settlement, and to cultivate his land, within six years,
from the date of his deed, or neglected to pay the sums of
money required by law. All right and title to the land are
also forfeited, if the grantee abandon the country, or sell
his land, before having cultivated it. Mexicans, however,
who obtain lands from the government by purchase, and not
as mere settlers, have the privilege of selling it, before
the actual settlement or cultivation, but the second purchaser,
is bound to do both, within six years from the date of the
original title, or forfeit the land.

The settlements in Austin’s Colony, extend quite down
to the gulf shore, and to the margins of Galveston and
Matagorda bays. None are settled in this colony without
legal titles, and, consequently, there are no Squatters here.

Articles principally cultivated.—The principal occupation
of the foreign emigrants is, farming and raising black cattle,
horses, mules, &c. Cotton, sugar, maize or Indian corn,
beans, sweet potatoes and vegetables of all sorts, are successfully
cultivated. The cotton produced here, is of very
superior quality, and yields from 2500 to 3000 pounds of
seed-cotton, to the acre. Seventy-five bushels of Indian
corn to the acre, have been, frequently gathered: but it is
not usual for the farmers to bestow a sufficiency of labour
on their corn crops, to produce that quantity, generally.

Question second.—

What are the natural productions?

The natural productions of Texas are, in general, the
same with those of Louisiana and Florida. The indigenous
indigo of Texas is considered, by those who have tried it,
to be greatly superior to the plant which is cultivated in
the United States. It is manufactured in families, for domestic
use, and is preferred to the imported indigo.

The productions which may be considered as naturally
adapted to the soil of Texas, and which may be made profitable
by cultivation, are short and long staple cotton,
sugar, indigo, tobacco, olives, grapes, rice, wheat, Indian
corn, rye, oats, barley, flax, hemp, sweet and Irish potatoes.
The extensive natural pastures found in the prairies, furnish
peculiar facilities for rearing horses, black cattle, hogs,
sheep and goats. Butter and cheese may be made in very
great quantities, and of superior quality. The honey-bee
seems to have found a favourite haunt in Texas. These industrious
insects swarm in great abundance in every district,
and bees-wax and honey may be produced in any quantity, 12(2)v 136
and without the least expense. White or bleached bees-wax,
generally sells for one dollar a pound, in the cities of Mexico.
Texas is, without doubt, equal, and perhaps superior
to Cuba, for bees, and will rival that island, in the exportation
of honey and wax.

Dried fruits and distilled spirits, may be estimated as
important articles of produce:—of the former, peaches,
figs, grapes, &c.—of the latter, whiskey, peach and grape
brandy, and rum.

The mulberry is a common forest tree throughout Texas,
and affords every facility that can be desired, for the rearing
of silk-worms.

The country between the San Jacinto and Sabine rivers,
is for the most part, heavily timbered with pine. On the
Brazos and Colorado, there are great quantities of live oak
and cedar; so that the lumber business cannot fail to become
an object of importance, at some future day.

Question third.—.

The water, whether good or bad,—abundant
or scarce?

The water, generally speaking, is good, in all parts of
Texas. Springs of water, do not, indeed, abound, near the
coast, but here the supply of water from the numerous
rivers and creeks, which intersect the country, is abundant,
and of good quality. Cool and refreshing water may be
obtained from wells of moderate depth, in every portion of
the country. The interior and undulating districts of Texas,
are sufficiently watered to supply all the demands of the
farmer, grazier, and manufacturer.

Question fourth.—

What are the materials for building?

Materials for building are abundant. There is a sufficiency
of timber for all the purposes of building, in most
districts. Excellent clay, for bricks, is found in all parts.
On the coast, lime may be obtained from shells and in the
interior, from lime-stone. The price of lumber, at present,
is high—not, however, from a scarcity of materials,
but from a scarcity of saw-mills, and the high price of
labour. On which account, emigrants will find their advantage,
in bringing plank, scantling, window-sash, &c.
with them.

Question fifth.—

What is the current money?

Specie is the only current money of the country. There
are no banks here, and no such thing as paper money. The
greatest part of the silver coin in circulation in Texas, is
of the description called provincial, or hammered and sand 12(3)r 137
dollars;—a coin of the revolution, made by the Mexican
patriots, before they obtained possession of any of the
mints. This coin circulates at par in the state of Coahuila
and Texas, and in the other eastern states: but is received
at a discount of 8 or 9 per cent, in the banks of New-Orleans,
and other parts of the United States. This produces
a rate of exchange, highly favourable to the emigrants; for
merchants, who have remittances to make to the United
States
, always prefer exchanging their provincial money,
at the discount, for United States’ bills, gold coin, or standard
of exchange, sufficient to defray all the expenses of their
passage to the country.

Question sixth.—

The harbours discovered, their depth and
the soil in their neighborhood?

Galveston harbour has twelve feet of water over the
bar. Within the bar, it is safe and commodious. There
are no settlements in the immediate vicinity of the harbour.
The nearest settlement is the town of Anahuac, or that at
the mouth of the San Jacinto, each forty miles distant, in
a north and north-west direction up the bay, with the exception
of a single family at the west end of Red-Fish
bar
.

The next entrance west of Galveston, is the mouth of the
Brazos river, which has six feet over the bar, and a safe
anchorage within. The flourishing town of Brazoria is
situated on this river, thirty miles by water, and fifteen by
land, from its mouth. This entrance is much the most
eligible for emigrants who are bound to Austin’s Colony.
It is the route most frequented, and offers the best facilities
for procuring the common necessaries that are needed on
arrival, as well as the means of transportation into the
interior.

The Passo Cavallo, or entrance into Matagorda bay
has twelve feet of water over the bar, and safe anchorage
within. But the bay is shallow, and will not admit of
more than seven feet draught to the mouth of the Colorado
river
. At the mouth of the Colorado, there is a new
town, called Matagorda, which is flourishing, and is a convenient
landing place for emigrants, who are destined for
the western parts of Austin’s Colony.

Near the mouth of La Baca, on the east side of the
river, there is a considerable settlement of Americans,
which belongs to Austin’s Colony, and on the west side, a 12* 12(3)v 138
settlement of Mexicans. This is the best landing place for
those who are bound to the Guadalupe river, or the La
Baca
and Navidad. Lighters are required to unlade vessels,
both at the town of Matagorda, and at the mouth of La
Baca
.

Aransaso bay, the port of those destined for the Irish
colonies on the Neuces, is similar to the preceding.

The soil in the vicinity of all these harbours and bays,
is of the first quality for cultivation, but there is a scarcity
of trees suitable for timber.

Question seventh.—

How far north have the Mexicans
settled, and what do they pursue for a livelihood?

The principal settlement of Mexicans, is at the old
Spanish town of Bexar and Golind, (formerly called La
Bahia
.) The former is the capital of Texas and contains
2500 inhabitants. The latter is a village containing about
800 inhabitants. There is, also, a small village of Mexicans
on the Guadalupe, at a place called Victoria, about
twenty miles from the mouth of the La Baca, near which,
there is also a military post. At Nacogdoches and in the
vicinity of the town, there is a Mexican population of
about 500 souls. A few Mexican families are dispersed
among the American settlers, particularly in Austin’s
Colony
. They are employed by the settlers mostly as
herdsmen, and are universally acknowledged to be the best
hands that can be procured, for the management of cattle,
horses and other live stock. The occupation of the Mexicans
in Texas, generally, is raising live stock, and agriculture
on a limited scale. Many of them make a business of
catching and taming Mustangs or wild horses, which they
sell to the American settlers.

Question eighth.—

Which of the agricultural implements
should be provided by emigrants?

Emigrants should provide themselves with the principal
iron agricultural implements and tools, in common use in
other countries; such as ploughs, hoes, axes, brush and hay
scythes, harrow teeth, chains, &c. &c. In Texas, as in
other countries, there is a diversity of opinion as to the best
construction of the plough. The only kind used by the
Mexicans, here, and in all parts of Mexico, is, what may
very properly be called, the primitive plough. It is formed
of one stick of timber only. A tree is sought for with a
long straight body. One end of this is made to answer the
purpose of a tongue. Near the other end a fork projects, 12(4)r 139
at an angle of 45 degrees, about one foot long, having a
strap of iron fixed to the end. This is the part which
breaks the ground. On the upper side and just at the extremity
of the main stick is the handle, by which, when in
operation, the plough is kept erect, and guided by the
ploughman. This simple plough is similar to that which is
called a coulter plough. It serves to loosen the earth to a
considerable depth, without turning it over, and is preferred
by the Mexicans for this reason. They say that experience,
in the Island of Cuba and in other hot climates, has proved,
that the use of such ploughs as turn over the soil at every
furrow, impoverishes the land and wears it out in a few
years, by exposing it, too much, to the action of a burning
sun. Many farmers use the coulter and bull-tongue
ploughs.

A box of tools, containing, saws, augers, chisels, a
broad axe, planes, a drawing knife, square and compasses,
&c. is indispensable, as these tools are needed to make the
wooden part of all farming implements, as well as for the
construction of buildings. Strong cart wheels, suitable for
plantation use, must be provided, as articles of this sort are
not yet manufactured in Texas.

Question ninth.—

What is the best mode of emigrating from the British Islands?

The best mode of emigrating from the British Islands,
is, to embark directly, for some of the harbours of Texas,
in a vessel drawing not more than six feet of water, which
will admit of navigating the bays, and crossing the bars.
Large ships might anchor off the mouth of the Brazos river,
within five hundred yards of the shore, and discharge, by
the aid of lighters but as no vessels of this class, have
ever yet touched at this place, boats suitable for lighters,
have not been provided. There are always a few good
yawls, at the pilot’s house; but a ship ought to rely mainly
upon its own boats, to unlade.

October and November, are much the most favourable
months for emigrants to arrive. During these months, the
winds are light, and vessels of any size, may ride at anchor,
off the mouth of the Brazos and other harbours, with perfect
safety, and discharge their cargoes without inconvenience
or delay. In these months, no danger is to be apprehended
from sickness, and provisions are more abundant, than at
any other season of the year.

140
Question tenth.—

What seeds and fruits are most needed?

Emigrants ought to bring every kind of seed they can
procure; for though seeds and fruits, of various kinds, are
to be found in Texas, they are not always to be obtained
without trouble and expense. The quality of many vegetables
and fruits, degenerates through careless cultivation or
the effect of climate. Little attention has, hitherto, been
paid to the cultivation of fruit, and the country is imperfectly
supplied with the choicer varieties. The climate and
soil are well adapted, to all the varieties of the peach, nectarine,
apricot, plum, pear, and grape. In the interior, the
apple, cherry, and similar fruits, and near the coast, all
the more hardy tropical fruits succeed very well, while,
with a little care, the more delicate ones, may be brought
to perfection.

Seeds of small grain and grass, are scarce, such as
wheat, rye, barley, buckwheat, &c. timothy, clover, and
other grasses. Thorns suitable for permanent hedges, are
very desirable.

Of domestic animals, emigrants from England who can
afford it, should bring the best breed of English cattle, and the
grass hog. The prairies afford vast natural pastures for
these animals. Also a few blooded horses, to intermix with
the light and active Andalusian breed of Mexican horses.
Merino and other fine wool sheep are needed, to improve
the native stock. The expense of raising sheep and goats,
is so very trifling here, that it does not enter into the list
of farm expenditures. Sheep require no feeding, either
in summer or winter, the natural pasture being always
sufficient.

14(5)r 141

Communication
From San Felipe de Austin,

Relative to late events in Texas, 18321832

Remark.— Prior to the events detailed in the following communication,
the citizens of Texas had been provoked, by several illegal and tyrannical
acts of the military officers of the general government. They
made a manly effort to relieve themselves of their immediate oppressors,
and succeeded. In the accomplishment of their patriotic resolve,
they proceeded in a very determined, but most orderly manner. There
was not the least insurrectionary spirit manifested by them, or any wish
to oppose the laws of the country. They hailed, with joy, the success
of Gen. Santa Anna’s party, as the pledge of a more just and liberal
administration of the general government. The following communication
is deemed important, as illustrative of the political feelings of the
people. While the events herein recorded, exhibit on their part, an
honourable sensitiveness to oppression, and a determination to resist it,
at all hazards, the tranquility which has every where prevailed throughout
the state, since they took place, satisfactorily attest the peaceable
and orderly dispositions of the settlers, when unmolested in their rights.

The 1832-07-2525th of July, of the present year, was a day of jubilee
to the citizens of San Felipe de Austin, on account of the
return of Col. S. F. Austin, representative from Texas in
the Legislature of the State of Coahuila and Texas, and
founder of this colony, who had been absent in the interior
near five months. He left Matamoras on the 1832-07-1414th July, in
the schr.schooner Mexico, one of five vessels which had on board
400 men of the troops of Gen. Santa Anna, commanded by
Colonel Mexia, formerly Mexican Charge d’Affaires at
Washington. The fleet arrived off the mouth of the river
Brazos on the 1832-07-1616th, and Colonels Mexia
and Austin having 12(5)v 142
landed immediately, they proceeded to Brazoria, where
they arrived on the 1832-07-1717th, and were received in the most
enthusiastic manner, as is seen by the account of the proceedings
on the occassion published in the Gazette of that
town.

On the afternoon of the 1832-07-2323d, Col. Mexia, having regulated
the custom-house department, and other public matters,
at Brazoria in the most satisfactory and harmonious
manner, departed to embark for Galveston and Anahuac.

Col. Austin left Brazoria on the evening of the same
day, and arrived, as above mentioned, at San Felipe, on the
1832-07-2525th. There a meeting of the citizens had been held for
the purpose of acting in concert, to give him such a reception
as was judged suited to the occasion. They had organized
from amongst themselves a volunteer company, under
the title of The Santa Anna Volunteer Company, of which
F. W. Johnson, commander of the Santa Anna forces in the
late expedition against the military post of Anahuac, had
been elected Captain; F. Adams, 1st Lieut.; Thomas Gay,
2d Lieut.; and Robt. Peebles, Standard Bearer.

On the morning of the 1832-07-2525th, an escort, commanded by
Lieut. Gay, met the Colonel at the distance of 6 miles from
San Felipe. At 11 A. M. the Colonel, with the escort,
made his appearance, and was received by the company,
paraded for the purpose in the square, where he was addressed
by W. W. Jack, Esq. in the name of the company,
as follows:

“Colonel Austin,—In the name of the Santa Anna Volunteer
Company
, composed of your friends and fellow-
citizens, I, as their humble organ, take this opportunity to
greet you with the most heartfelt welcome. Your return
at this period is peculiarly fortunate, for while it is a source
of personal gratification, it is equally well calculated to
inspire with confidence all of us who are engaged in the
same great and good cause.
We have not assembled, sir, to flatter or caress you.
Such conduct would be as humiliating to us as it would be
disagreeable to you. A free people will never admit that
such a course should be pursued towards a faithful servant,
but they are always ready to concede to merit that reward
to which it is entitled.
Such a boon then as is due to him who has faithfully
discharged his duties, we grant to you, with an assurance
that the man whom the people have delighted to honour, still 12(6)r 143
has our most unbounded confidence. The occasion of your
unexpected return to Texas, will long be remembered. The
present is an epocha in the political affairs of our country,
on which the pen of the historian will dwell with peculiar
pleasure. It is a date from which will be computed the
regeneration of our beloved country; and that Texas has
contributed to the bringing about of such an event, will
always be a source of laudable exultation.
In conclusion, I cannot perhaps better express my own
feelings and those of our common countrymen, than by
saying—well done, good and faithful servant; thou art
welcome, thrice welcome, to thy home and to thy friends;
and may health and happiness always attend thee.”

To this address the Colonel made the following reply:

“Fellow-citizens, and Soldiers of the Santa Anna Volunteer
Company
,—I have not words duly to express my
grateful feelings and unfeigned thanks for the kind welcome
with which you have honoured my return to this colony.
In all my acts, as far as they have been connected with the
advancement of Texas, I have been governed by the most
sincere desire to promote its prosperity and the permanent
happiness of its citizens. My leading motto has been and
is, ‘fidelity to the constitution of our adopted country.’ The same
has been and is, the governing principle of the inhabitants
of this colony. I thank my fellow-citizens for their approbation;
it is the highest reward that can be offered to me
for my humble services as their public agent.
I accord with you in the opinion, that the present is
an important epocha in the political march of our adopted
and beloved country. With institutions founded on the
broad basis of representative democracy, the general government
of Mexico has, for the last two years, been administered,
in many particulars, on principles which more properly
belong to a military despotism than to a free republic.
A great and glorious regeneration is taking place; the free
democracy of the nation, the people, have asserted their
rights under the banner of that distinguished patriot and
leader, Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.—The cause
of constitutional democratic liberty is about to triumph
throughout the whole of this vast republic.
Borne down, in this remote section of the nation, by
military oppression, and by the most shameful violations of
the rights of the state of Coahuila and Texas, you believed
that all the guarantees of the constitution and laws were 12(6)v 144
disregarded and trampled upon. Patience itself was exhausted,
and you had recourse to arms, thus espousing that
cause of the constitution and of the people which is so
bravely advocated by Gen. Santa Anna. In doing this you
have not, for one moment, lost sight of your duty as Mexican
citizens, but have defended the true dignity of the
national flag, which has been insulted by the violators of
the constitution. In the course you have taken you will be
sustained by Col. Mexia, who has come to Texas with a
fleet and forces, under the orders of Gen. Santa Anna to
protect the rights of the nation and of the state; and you
will receive the support and approbation of Gen. Santa
Anna
himself, of Gen. Morntezuma, and of all liberal and
enlightened Mexicans. In such a cause you have nothing
to fear—it is just, and I will give my hearty co-operation,
so far as my feeble services can avail.”

At the conclusion of this address, the Colonel was saluted,
with 12 rounds of cannon and small arms; after which,
attended by the civil authorities, at the head of the company,
he proceeded on the road to his quarters at the edge
of the town, and was met by the regular troops, lately under
the command of Lieut. Col. Ugartecha, in fort Velasco, at
the mouth of the Brazos, and then commanded by Lieut. Moret,
who after having given a salute of two rounds of small
arms which was returned by the Santa Anna Company, fell
into the line, and the whole marched to the Col’s. quarters
where he addressed the regular troops in Spanish, as follows:

“I thank you, in the name of the inhabitants of this
colony, for this manifestation of your friendly sentiments
towards them. It is but a short time since you and they
were in a hostile array against each other at fort Velasco:
that was a political contest merely between different citizens under
the same national flag, not a war between enemies. The
contest, over, each party only remembered that they were
all Mexicans, and forgot that a difference of political opinions
had for a short time made them belligerents. As
Mexicans I now embrace you, for an evidence that we, the
people of this colony, are such also, and that we duly appreciate
the motives which have led you voluntarily to join
in welcoming my return.”

Col. Austin then embraced the Mexican officers, amidst
cheers of “viva la federacion y la constitucion Mejicana”. The
whole company then partook of refreshments and retired.

13(1)r 145

At 4 o’clock the citizens and the military again assembled,
and partook of a plentiful dinner, provided for
the occasion. Each State and Territory of the Mexican
Republic was toasted separately by name, and a salute of
cannon fired for each. After which, Col. Austin rose and
said: “We have drank to the prosperity of each state and
territory of the Mexican confederation, and I now beg to
offer as a sentiment,—the shield and bond of union of them
all, the constitution, and Gen. Santa Anna, its defender.”

Lieut. Moret, of the regular troops, then gave this sentiment:
“May the Supreme Being preserve the life of Col.
Austin
to the citizens of Texas, twenty years and longer,
so that they may have the benefit of his exertions to separate
Texas from Coahuila, and form it into a State of the
great Mexican Confederation, as the only means of securing
its prosperity, and the true interests of the Mexican republic.”

The Alcalde, in the name of the Ayuntamiento, gave
“Union, the Constitution, and Gen. Santa Anna, their
defender.”

F. W. Johnson gave “The State of Texas and the State
of Coahuila: may their political separation be the bond of
union between them.”

Besides the toasts thus particularized, many others were
given, all expressing, in one way or other, the sentiments of
“union with Mexico; support of the constitution; separation from
Coahuila; and encouragement of emigration.”
The greatest
harmony prevailed throughout the whole entertainment.

On the 1832-07-2727th, a general meeting of citizens, summoned
by the Ayuntamiento of the jurisdiction, was held at San
Felipe
; and the assembly unanimously adopted an exposition
and resolution, which explained the causes and nature of
the late events at Anahuac and Brazoria, and formally declared
their own adhesion to the Santa Anna party. This
measure, adopted as it has been, with the co-operation and
advice of Col. Austin, publicly given at the meeting, has
united the people of the colony fully, many of whom were
doubtful as to the course to be taken in the peculiarly critical
situation of public affairs, unexpectedly precipitated,
as they had been, under the excitement caused by Col.
Bradburn’s
illegal and arbitrary imprisonment of several of
the citizens. Austin’s Colony is therefore now identified
with the Santa Anna party; and information received from
Bexar, La Bahia and Nacogdoches, justifies the opinion 13 13(1)v 146
that all Texas will unite on the same side of the great political
question, which now agitates the Mexican nation.

In order to prevent any misconstructions, it is proper
and necessary to state, that the people of Austin’s Colony
will most decidedly oppose any attempt to separate Texas
from the Mexican confederation, and that they will as decidedly
insist, by all just and constitutional means, that the
embarrassments in the way of emigration to Texas, be removed,
so that it may, as speedily as possible, be formed
into a state of the Mexican Union, separate from Coahuila,
the river Neuces being the dividing line. There is no doubt
that all Texas will be governed by the same leading principle.

Exposition made by the Ayuntamiento and inhabitants of Austin’s
Colony
, explanatory of the late commotions, and adhering
to the plan of Santa Anna. Adopted, 1832-07-27July 27th, 1832.

The causes of the late disturbances are plain to every
person who resides in Texas, or is informed of the events
which have transpired here since the commencement of the
year 18301830; but as those causes have never been laid before
the Mexican people, it is necessary and proper that it should
now be done, as a justification of the course taken by a
large and respectable portion of the inhabitants, and also
as explanatory of the reasons which have impelled the
Ayuntamiento and the inhabitants of this colony unanimously
to adhere to the plan of Vera Cruz.

From the time when a national and state law invited
persons of all nations to come and settle in the wilderness
of Texas, duties and rights were established between those
who govern and those who were to obey in virtue of them.
Those laws and the general and state constitutions have
clearly designated the guarantees which secure the citizens
from the caprice and the arbitrary will of the subaltern
authorities. But unfortunately, since the present administration
went into power, an uninterrupted series of depradations,
calumnies, and injustice, has been the recompense
received by the citizens of Texas for their firm adhesion
to the Mexican republic and to the federal system by which
it is governed. The civil authorities have been viewed by
the military as mere subalterns, to be commanded as a corporal 13(2)r 147
commands a soldier. This military power, under the
authority of the superior chief, has disregarded all the rights
which the constitution secures to free citizens, and has
wished to subject every thing to its enslaving influence.
The government of the state of Coahuila and Texas has
not exercised in these colonies any more power than what
the superior military chief has been pleased to grant as a
favour.

To enumerate in detail all the violations of the constitution
and laws, and attacks upon the rights of the state of
Coahuila and Texas, which have been committed by the
military authority, would occupy more time and space than
the present occasion will admit; only a few of the leading
ones will therefore be mentioned, which have had a direct
influence in producing the late disturbances.

First—

On the 1828-04-2222d April, 1828, concessions of land were
made in conformity with the colonization laws of the president
of the nation, Don Guadalupe Victoria, and the
governor of this state, to the inhabitants established east of
the San Jacinto, and in the district of Nacogdoches. In
the year 18301830, Don Jose Francisco Madero was appointed
by the governor, commissioner to survey the said land, and
issue the titles in due form of law to said settlers. He
arrived on the Trinity river in the month of 1831-01January, 1831,
and had made some progress in the discharge of his duties,
when he and his surveyor, Jose Maria Carbajal, were arrested
by Col. Juan Davis Bradburn, military commandant
of Anahuac, and conducted to that post, as prisoners. The
only reason given by said commandant for that direct and
insulting attack upon the constitution and sovereignty of
the state of Coahuila and Texas, was, that the arrest of
Madero was made in obedience to the orders of his excellency
the commandant Gen. Don Manuel de Miersy Toran.
Similar orders were issued for the arrest of Madero to Col.
Don Jose delas Peidras
, commandant of the frontier at Nacogdoches.
His excellency the Governor of the state speaks
of this affair in his message to the legislature at the opening
of the session on the 1832-01-022d January last, in the following words, as translated:

“The public tranquility has not been disturbed in any
part of the state, although Col. Davis Bradburn assumed
the power without the knowledge of this government, to
arrest a commissioner appointed by it, to survey vacant
lands and issue titles,—which act might have caused a commotion; 13(2)v 148
but nothing of the kind occurred, owing to the
prudence of the arrested person, and of the citizens who
were to have received titles for lands, and who by this event
were deprived for the time being from obtaining legal possession
of their property. This government endeavoured
to ascertain the cause of this interference, and for that
purpose entered into continued communications with the
commandant general of the states, and so learned, that said
general thinks, that agreeably to the commission conferred
upon him by the supreme government of the union, under
the 3d article of the national law of 1830-04-066th April, 1830, the
commission of said arrested commissioner was in opposition
to the 11th article of said general law; and notwithstanding
he has been assured that such is not the case, he
still persisits in his opinion. For these reasons, this matter
is in such a situation, that to remove the obstacles it would
be necessary to adopt measures that might compromise the
state to the highest degree
.”
Second—

On the 1831-12-1010th December last, the commandant
general, by a laconic military order, annulled the Ayuntamiento
of liberty, which was legally established by the
commissioner Madero, and established a new Ayuntamiento
at Anahuac, without any authority from the state government,
and without even consulting it.

Third—

The commandant general has without any authority
from the state, taken possession of, and appropriated
such lands as he deemed proper, thus totally disregarding
the rights and sovereignty of the state. Speaking of this
subject, the governor, in the before mentioned message,
says, (as translated.) “Although this government, in the
message of last year, expressed a hope, that under the provisions
of the law of 1830-04-066th April, 1830, a considerable colonization
of the vacant lands in the department of Bexar
might be expected, nothing has been done up to the present
time. The commissioner of the general government, notwithstanding
the instructions he has received, to purchase
from the state a portion of vacant lands, has not entered
into the necessary contracts for this purpose, nor made any
propositions to do so, but has, without any authority, occupied
many points with garrisons. This government is ignorant
of the causes of this strange mode of proceeding, and
therefore cannot state what they are.”

Fourth—

The government of the state ordered U. B.
Johnston
, the Alcalde of liberty, to convene the people and 13(3)r 149
hold an election for Alcalde and members of the Ayuntamiento
of liberty, notwithstanding the order of Gen. Toran,
before cited, annulling that corporation. Col. Bradburn
issued orders, and repeated and reiterated them, to said
Johnston, prohibiting him from proceeding with said election,
and threatening him with military force; in consequence
of which, the election was not held, and thus the
order of the state government was disregarded by the military
power, and the citizens were by military forces prevented
from exercising the rights of suffrage which the
constitution and laws guaranteed to them.

Fifth—

Col. Bradburn has at various times, and without
any regard whatever to the constitution or the authorities
of the state of Coahuila and Texas, arrested peaceable and
quiet citizens, for no other reason than an expression of
opinion against his violent and arbitrary acts; and he has
disregarded the rights of persons and of property, which
were expressly guaranteed by the national and state constitutions,
and attempted to make every thing bend to military
despotism and martial law. Encouraged by the patience
of the state government, under the iron rod of military
power, his despotism reached its highest point. Of the
month of 1832-05May last, he imprisoned seven citizens, and attempted
to arrest George M. Patrick, the first regidor, and
acting, Alcalde of Anahuac, and Jan. Lindsey, another
regidor of the Ayuntamiento of that place, who, in consequence,
left Anahuac, and fled to Austin’s Colony for flawed-reproduction2-lettersenrity.

These repeated and continued acts of despotism, added
to the highly abusive manner in which Col. Bradburn expressed
himself against the citizens, and his threats against
the constitutional authorities of the state, finally exhausted
the patience of all, and caused an excitement which spread
through every part of the country. The quiet and peaceable
citizens had looked on in silence, with their eyes and hopes
directed to the state government, as the only constitutional
authority competent to remedy evils of such magnitude, but
unfortunately the state government was then borne down
by the same iron rod that was held over Texas. His excellency,
the governor, in his message before quoted, very
plainly says that he cannot sustain the constitution and law
of the state against military encroachments, without “compromising
the public tranquility in the highest degree,”
which is
saying in substance, that a resistance by force was the only 13* 13(3)v 150
alternative left to him, and this he was not authorized to
adopt, without the previous sanction of the legislature. His
exellency, therefore, did all he could without an open
declaration of war against the military.

In this state of things, the citizens, goaded to desperation
by military despotism on the one hand, and seeing on
the other, that the state government had in vain made every
effort of a pacific nature to sustain itself, and protect them,
considered that petitions made on paper, were useless, that
they would in fact only have given new opportunities to the
military to ridicule and trample upon the state authorities,
and to rivet their chains more firmly.

The last and only remedy left to an oppressed people,
was then resorted to, and without any previous combinations,
or organized plans, a large number of citizens, moved
by a common and simultaneous influence, took up arms, and
marched to Anahuac, to release the prisoners whom Bradburn
had illegally confined, to re-establish the Ayuntamiento
of liberty, and to prove to him that the state of Coahuila
and Texas, could not any longer be trampled upon with
impunity by the military power. Such were the causes and
the only ones which produced the attack upon Juan Davis
Bradburn
, at the military post of Anahuac.

Notwithstanding the efforts of the administration of
Bustamente to conceal the situation of things, the people
by this time had learned that the exercise of military despotism
was not confined to Texas, but that the whole republic
was governed by the same iron sceptre; that the
same causes which had disturbed the public tranquility here,
had roused the spirit of the free and enlightened Mexicans
in every part of this great confederation, and that on the
1832-01-022d January last, the heroic city of Vera Cruz had pronounced
in favour of the constitution and laws, headed by the
distinguished patriot Gen. Don. Antonio Lopez de Santa
Anna
, and being convinced that the last hope of liberty and
the principles of the representative democratic federal system,
depended on the success of the liberal party, of which
Santa Anna was the leader, the citizens who were under
arms against Bradburn, at the camp on Turtle Bayou,
near Anahuac, on the 1832-06-1313th June, unanimously adhered to
the plan of Vera Cruz, by adopting the following resolutions:

Resolved,

That we view with feelings of the deepest regret,
the manner in which the government of the republic 13(4)r 151
of Mexico is administered by the present dynasty; the repeated
violations of the constitution; the total disregard of
the law; the entire prostration of the civil authority, and
the substitution in its stead of a military despotism, are
grievances of such a character as to arouse the feelings of
every freeman, and impel him to resistance.

Resolved,

That we view with feelings of the deepest interest
and solicitude, the firm and manly resistance, which
is made by the highly talented and distinguished chieftain,
Gen. Santa Anna, to the numberless encroachments and
infractions which have been made by the present administration
upon the constitution and laws of our adopted and
beloved country.

Resolved,

That as freemen devoted to a correct interpretation,
and enforcement of the constitution and laws, according
to their true spirit. We pledge our lives and fortunes
in support of the same, and of the distinguished
leader, who is now so gallantly fighting in defence of civil
liberty.

Resolved,

That the people of Texas be invited to co-operate
with us in support of the principles incorporated in
the foregoing resolutions.

The citizens of Brazoria and of the precinct of Victoria
in this colony also pronounced in favour of said plan.
A deputation was sent to Lieut. Col. Ugartecha the commandant
of Velasco, inviting him to adhere to said plan,
which he refused. This left those who had pronounced no
alternative but to attack him; they did so on the 1832-06-2727th June,
under the command of the 2d Alcalde of this jurisdiction,
John Austin, and after a bloody battle in which the most
determined bravery was displayed on both sides, the fort surrendered
to the Santa Anna forces, and not to a faction of
rebels against the nation, as had been erroneously stated by
the enemies of Texas and of its inhabitants.

It is due to Lieut. Col. Ugartecha and but justice to say,
that the only complaint against him was that he sent a
re-inforcement of troops and arms to Col. Bradburn and
that he refused to adhere to the plan of Vera Cruz. He
acted under the orders of Col. Bradburn, and was bound
by his duty as a subordinate officer, to obey him, and do
as he did. No one has attached blame or censure to him,
and the same men who attacked fort Velasco, embraced
him most cordially the moment the conflict ended as a personal
friend, whom they esteemed and respected for his 13(4)v 152
moral worth and bravery. Every attention and respect
which circumstances would permit was shown to him, his
officers and troops; it was, in fact, a political conflict between
citizens acknowledging the same national flag.

The Ayuntamiento of the jurisdiction of Austin, were
impressed with the importance of preserving the public
tranquility, and felt the peculiarly delicate situation of the
settlers of these colonies, owing to their being of foreign
birth. It was well known that every species of calumny
had been heaped upon the by the enemies of Texas, and
of a republican and enlightened emigration, with the design
of reviving amongst the Mexicans the old Spanish
prejudices, against persons born in another country. It
was feared that those enemies would take advantage of
any disturbances here, to pervert the truth and attribute
to them hostile views against the Mexican territory and
federal constitution. This body was under the immediate
eye and direction of the political chief of the department,
who was then in this town and equally anxious to preserve
the public tranquility; and who we are assured is as much
opposed to military encroachments as any other man in the
community. It will also be remembered that the Ayuntamiento
had no means of acquiring information as to the
true state of things in the interior of this republic, the only
newspaper that was permitted to reach here through the
post office department, was the ministerial Registro Official
—under these circumstances, this body used every effort
to preserve good order and keep the settlers from participating
in the present civil war, and it is probable that
these efforts would have been successful, had not events
been precipitated in the manner they have been by the
tyrannical and illegal acts of Col. Bradburn. But now as
public opinion has expressed itself in the most decided and
unequivocal manner, in favour of the plan of Vera Cruz,
the same reasons which prevented the Ayuntamiento from
taking an early lead in this question, have impelled that
body, to unite with the people in adhering to said plan;
which reasons are the preservation of harmony and the advancement
of the general good which can alone be effected
by the most perfect union. In consideration of all which
and being convinced that the objects of the political party,
who, on the 1832-01-022d of January last, proclaimed the plan of Vera
Cruz
, are to restore the government to the true constitutional
basis, and to make it in practice what it professes to 13(5)r 153
be in theory—a free republican constitutional confederation
of sovereign states, the Ayuntamiento and citizens of the
jurisdiction of Austin, have adopted the following resolutions:

First—

That they solemnly adhere to the said plan of
Vera Cruz
and to the principles of the republican party
headed by Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.

Second—

That the inhabitants of this colony have never
for one moment deviated from their duty as Mexican citizens,
that in adopting the plan of Vera Cruz, they have no
other object in view, than to contribute their feebleflawed-reproduction8-letters
and aid in sustaining the constitution and the true dignity
and decorum of the national flag, and the rights of the state
of Coahuila and Texas, which have been insulted by military
encroachments in these colonies since 18301830, and that
they will be at all times ready to take up arms in defence
of the independence and constitution of their adopted country
and the integrity of its territory.

Third—

That the general and state constitutions ought
to be rigorously observed as the only guarantee for public
tranquility and national freedom, and past abuses corrected.

Fourth—

That the liberty of the press ought to be established
without any censorship or restriction whatever,
other than a recourse of the judicial tribunal in case of
personal slander.

Fifth—

That all citizens ought to be subjected to the
same laws and the same tribunal for civil offences, thus
destroying all privileged orders which are repugnant to a
republic.

Sixth—

That conciliatory measures ought to be adopted
to put an end to the present civil war on a basis that will
effectually guarantee the security and rights of all persons
who have taken part on either side and prevent the occurrence
of similar difficulties by adapting the laws and the
administration of the government to the genuine principles
of the federal republican system.

Seventh—

That a large standing army is totally unnecessary
for national defence, in the present state of friendly
relations between Mexico and all foreign powers except
Spain, which latter, it is well known is too impotent to
attack her; that such an army is a burthen to the people
and consumes the revenue of the nation without any benefit;
that it endangers the national liberty and is continually disturbing 13(5)v 154
the public tranquillity by affording the means of
committing and defending despotic acts and producing revolutions.

Eighth—

That the measures of the administration since
18301830, have been directed to embarrass and retard emigration
from foreign countries, rather than promote and encourage
it; thus paralyzing the advancement of the nation,
and preventing the settlement of its uninhabited and wild
lands to the evident injury of the national prosperity.

Ninth—

That a copy of this act shall be delivered to
Col. Jose Antonio Mexia, an officer of the liberating army,
now in Texas, with a request that he will transmit the same
to his excellency, the commander-in-chief, Gen. Santa
Anna
, with the assurances of the respect and hearty co-operation
of the inhabitants of this colony, in the glorious
work of political regeneration, in which he is engaged.

Tenth—

That a copy of this act shall be transmitted to
each Ayuntamiento in Texas, and to the chief of the department
of Bexar, to be forwarded to the Governor of the
state, in order that his excellency may be pleased to use his
influence with the legislature, whom we respectfully petition
to take under consideration the principles expressed in said
act, and to adopt such measures as in their judgement will
tend to restore the tranquillity of the confederacy, and protect
the rights of the state.

The foregoing exposition and resolutions were unanimously
adopted by the Ayuntamiento and citizens convened
in general meeting, in the town of San Felipe de Austin, 1832-07-2727th
July, 1832
.

Documents and publications, explanatory of the late commotions
and present state of affairs in Austin’s Colony.

On the 1832-07-1616th inst. Col. Jose Antonio Mexia, the 2d officer
of the 2d division of the liberating army of Gen. Santa
Anna
under the command of Gen. Montezuma, anchored
off the mouth of the Brazos river with his fleet and forces
composed of five sail and four hundred men. Col. Mexia
sailed from Tampico on the 1832-06-2222d ultimo to attack the ministerial
forces at Matamoras, and which place he took on the
1832-06-2929th as will be seen by the translation from the Boletin
inserted below. Being informed at Matamoras by the intercepted 13(6)r 155
correspondence from fort Velasco, and other
places in Texas, of the movements here, which were attributed
by the military commandants of those posts to have
for their objects the separation of Texas from Mexico, he
agreed to a cessation of arms with Col. Guera, on the 1832-07-066th
of this month
, and on the 1832-07-1414th sailed from the Brazos Santiago
for Texas accompanied by Col. S. F. Austin, our representative
in the state legislature and founder of this
colony. Immediately on his arrival, Col. Mexia, addressed
an official letter to the Alcalde, John Austin, which is published
below with the answer, and in conjunction with the
other documents, will give the public an account of what
has transpired.

“Sir— I have the honour to enclose you a copy of the
convention entered into, between the commandants in chief
of Matamoras and myself on the 1832-07-066th of the present month. This convention was made between Col. Jose Marlano Cavaran,
commandant-in-chief of Matamoras, and Col. Mexia, on the 1832-07-066th July
for a concession of arms, and Col. Mexia agreed to proceed with his
fleet and forces to Texas, to protect the Mexican territory which it was
stated by the official reports made from fort Velasco and other places,
was endangered by the attempt of the colonies to declare the country
independent.

This document will inform you of the motives which brought
me to Texas, and what would have been my course, had
the late movements here been directed against the integrity
of the national territory.
But if, as I have been assured by respectable citizens,
the past occurences were on account of the colonists having
adhered to the plan of Vera Cruz, and I am officially
informed of that fact in an unequivocal manner, you can in
that case apprise the inhabitants that I will unite with them
to accomplish their wishes, and that the forces under my
command will protect their adhesion to said plan. This
occasion affords me the opportunity of presenting to you the
assurance of my consideration and respect.
God and Liberty, off the mouth of the Brazos river on
board the brig of war Gen. Santa Anna.
Jose Antonio Mexia. To citizen John Austin, Alcalde, 1832-07-1616th July, 1832.”

Answer of the Alcalde, John Austin, to the foregoing:

“Sir— I have received your official letter dated 1832-07-1616th of
the present month
, and in reply, have the honour to inform 13(6)v 156
you, that a committee appointed by the inhabitants of this
town, will present you copies of the acts and resolutions
heretofore adopted, and the documents to the past occurrences,
which will explain to you the principles that have
governed us up to this time. These documents contain our
true sentiments, and will serve as an answer to your official
letter to me, dated the 1832-07-1616th of this month.
The enemies of Texas, the enemies of the enterprising
men who have devoted their time and labours to improve a
country that was never before trod by civilized men, have
taken pains and are continually doing it, to attribute to us
a disposition to separate from the Mexican confederation.
We have not entertained and have not any such intention or
desire. We are Mexicans by adoption, we are the same in
hearts and will so remain. If the laws have granted to us
the honourable title of citizens, we wish that title should
be respected, and that the authorities established by the
constitution of the state, shall govern us. We are farmers
and not soldiers, and therefore desire, that the military
commandants shall not interfere with us at all. Since 18301830,
we have been pretty much governed militarily, and in so
despotic a manner, that we were finally driven to arms, to
restrain within their limits, the military subalterns of the
general government. We have not insulted the flag of our
adopted country, as has been falsely stated by our enemies,
but on the contrary, we have defended and sustained its
true dignity, and attacked those who have outraged it, by
using it as a pretext for their encroachments upon the constitution
and sovereignty of the state of Coahuila and Texas,
and as a cover for their baseness and personal crimes. The
commandant of fort Velasco, acted under the orders of the
commandant of Anahuac, Col. Juan Davis Bradburn who
was his superior. An investigation of the conduct of this
officer at Anahuac, will inform you fully of the details of
many despotic and arbitrary acts. He refused to respect
the authorities or the constitution of the state of Coahuila
and Texas, or to adhere to the plan of Vera Cruz which
we had adopted. He was sustained by the commandant of
the Nacogdoches, Col. Predras, and by that of fort Velasco,
Lieut. Col. Ugartecha, and consequently we were compelled
to oppose them all. Col. Ugartecha was invited by a committee
appointed for that purpose to espouse the plan of
Vera Cruz
. He refused to do so, and we attacked fort
Velasco
, on the 1832-06-2727th of last month, with 120 farmers hastily 14(1)r 157
collected, without discipline and badly armed. And after
an obstinate and bloody engagement of 11 hours, it capitulated
on the terms expressed in the enclosed copy of the
capitulation, every article of which has been strictly complied
with on our part, besides furnishing him with the provisions
he needed for his troops. I herewith furnish you
a return of the killed and wounded.
This, sir, is what passed. I hope it will be sufficient to
convince you, that these inhabitants have not manifested
any other desire or intention, than to unite with Gen. Santa
Anna
, to procure the establishment of peace in the republic,
under the shield of the constitution and laws—and that the
sovereignty of the state shall be respected.
It is a matter of pride and congratulation to me, that
you have come to this place, to see, with your own eyes,
the rectitude of our sentiments, and that it has afforded us
the opportunity of presenting to you our respects; and the
assurances of our hearty co-operation in the great and
glorious cause which is so nobly advocated by our distinguished
commander-in-chief, Gen. Santa Anna. God and
Liberty.
John Austin. To citizen Col. Jose Antonio Mexia.

“Col. Antonio MexiaSir Conformable to your request
that a report should be made you of the number of men
killed and wounded, in the attack upon fort Velasco—and
the wounded left with us by the commandant at that post,
Col. Ugartecha, together with an account of the provisions
furnished him, and a return of the arms and munitions taken
with the fort.
We hand you separate reports and returns of the same. We have it not in our power to give you any light upon
the request, that ‘a report of those killed in the fort should
be annexed,’
but refer you to the minutes of Col. Ugartecha
on that subject.
With consideration, &c. John Austin, Commandant.”

Return of arms and ammunition taken at fort Velasco, 1832-06-2626th
June, 1832
.

  • 35 stand of arms in bad order, wanting locks, bayonets,
    &c.;
  • 1 brass cannon, eight pounder;
  • 1 small iron swivel;
  • 14 14(1)v 158
  • 30 cartridges for the cannon;
  • 45 do. for the swivel;
  • 200 do.
    for muskets;
  • 40 cartouch boxes;
  • 2 brass blunderbusses.

Return of the wounded from fort Velasco, left in our care by
the commandant Lieut. Col. Ugartecha.

  • 2 sergeants, under medical treatment;
  • 5 privates; 1 since
    dead.

Return of the killed and wounded on the part of the citizens
pronounced in favour of the plans of Gen. Santa Anna, in
the attack upon fort Velasco.

  • 7 men killed;
  • 6 badly wounded, under medical aid;
  • 11
    slightly wounded.

Translation.

“An agreement, which by order of Lieut. Col. Domingo
Ugartecha
, we the two officers, commissioned by said chief,
form with the division of the colonists who declare in favour
of the plan formed by the garrison of Vera Cruz,
which duplicate, Messrs. W. J. Russel, and W. H. Wharton,
signed on the part of the colonists, under the following
articles:
First—
The garrison will be permitted to march out with
all the honours of war, that is to say, with their arms, ammunition
and baggage.
Second—
There shall be a vessel made ready for their
embarkation to Matamoras, they paying to the captain of
the same, 600 dollars for the voyage.
Third—
If the collector, Don Francisco Duelor, should
wish to embark, he may do so, the Sargt. Ingatus Lopez,
and two soldiers, who remain with the former, shall be suffered
to come and incorporate themselves.
Fourth—
All the wounded military of the garrison who
can march, shall carry arms, and those who cannot, must
remain to be cured, receive good treatment and hospitality,
being supplied with food, which will be satisfied by the nation.
Fifth—
The 600 dollars, which the captain of the vessel
is to receive, shall be free of duties, and the troops shall
be disembarked outside the bar of the Brazos Santiago.
Sixth—
Lieut. Col. citizen Domingo Ugartecha, the two
officers who sign, and the ensign Don Emanuel Pintardo,
remain by this treaty, obliged not to return to take arms, 14(2)r159
against the expresed plan above cited—formed under the
orders of Gen. Antoniao Lopez de Santa Anna, and by the
garrison of Vera Cruz.
Seventh—
This day at 11 o’clock in the morning, will be
ready, the schooner, Brazoria, in which the garrison of the
fort is to embark, but previous to her going to sea, the
schooner Elizabeth, should arrive at this point, the garrison
shall be put on board the latter.
Eighth—
The cannon of eight, and the swivel gun, shall
remain at fort Velasco, with all the public stores, supernumerary
guns and ammunition.
Ninth—
All sorts of provisions, after the garrison shall
have taken what may be necessary for its march, are to remain
in the fort, at the disposal of the owners, given the
corresponding promissory notes, that their pay may be satisfactorily
made to the captain of the transporting vessel,
who shall carry the power of the owners for the recovery
of their import.
Juan Moret,
Jose Maria Rincon,
W. H. Wharton,
W. J. Russel.
I approve of the above agreement of peace, and will
observe it. Domingo de Ugartecha.
I approve of the above agreement of peace, and will
observe it. John Austin.”

Proceedings of a public meeting.

At a large and respectable meeting of the citizens of the
precinct of Victoria, convened according to public notice,
on the 1832-07-1616th of July—they unanimously resolved to succeed
or perish in the cause of the constitution and Santa Anna,
or in other words, the plan of Vera Cruz.

The meeting then proceeded to elect, a commmittee of
vigilance for the promotion for their cause—when the following
gentlemen were elected:

  • W. D. C. Hall,

  • Henry Smith,

  • W. H. Wharton,

  • J. P. Caldwell,

  • P. D. McNeel.
14(2)v 160

Who subsequently elected Charles B. Stewart their Secretary.

On the night of the same day the committee learning
the arrival of Col. Mexia, a friend and officer of Gen. Santa
Anna
, at our port from Matamoras with a fleet of five vessels,
accompanied by Col. Austin, bringing us the joyful
intelligence of the success of our cause, and of the surrender
of Matamoras.

Appointed a deputation to wait on, and invite him to
Brazoria. He acceded and arrived in town on 1832-07-17Tuesday
evening, July 17th
, in company with Col. Austin.

On their arrival on the east bank of the Brazos, they
were saluted with the firing of three cannon, and after partaking
of some refreshments at Maj. Brighams, crossed the
river, at the bank of which, they were received by the
committee and by two of the signers of the Turtle Bayou
resolutions, who were present, Capt. Wiley Martin and
Luke Lessosier, and conducted to an arch erected for the
purpose, and saluted by one gun, when W. H. Wharton,
read the following address:

“‘Colonel Mexia—As a member of a committee appointed
by the inhabitants of the precinct of Victoria to
congratulate your arrival, I tender you in the name of those
I represent, a cordial and heart-felt welcome among us, we
view you as a fellow struggler in the same field with ourselves,
and as the harbinger of the happy intelligence, that
the cause of the constitution and Santa Anna, or in other
words, the cause of truth and justice, and liberty, has
triumphed most signally and gloriously, we hail the day of
your arrival amongst us, in the sacred cause you came to
advocate, as the brightest one that ever shone on the prospects
of Texas. We long groaned and languished under
the withering influence of the odious and obnoxious law of
the 1830-04-06sixth of April
, a murmur, not that we did not perceive
its ruinous effects upon us, but that situated as we were,
we feared it might seem indelicate and dictatorial in us to
take the lead in opposition to the arbitrary measures of the
late tramplers on the constitution, when, however, the
highly distinguished Gen. Santa Anna, arose as the hero
and vindicator of liberty and the constitution; we may feel
as if a brighter and happier era had dawned uppon our prospects,
and as if we were then justified, and indeed in duty
to ourselves, called upon to go heart and hand with him, in
his righteous cause. We did go with him, and not twenty- 14(3)r 161
four hours elapsed, since in numerous and public meetings,
we resolved to succeed or perish with him. We declared
for his cause, sir, when it was in doubt, and that it is triumphant,
we give you the most solemn of pledges, that in putting
down the present violators of the constitution, and
bringing the government back to a strictly legitimate mode
of procedure, Gen. Santa Anna, shall have our warmest
support, and our most zealous co-operation. In conclusion,
sir, I tender you a warm, sincere and unanimous welcome.
And to you, Col. Austin, I am likewise instructed to offer
our cordial congratulation on you safe return amongst us.
In the arduous scenes in we have lately acted, we
all wished for your counsel and co-operation, we were deprived
of this, but we still are gratified, that we are once
more together at so propitious a period as the present.’”

To which Col. Mexia, made the following reply.

“‘Gentlemen— It is most gratifying to me to see your devotion
to the Mexican confederation, to the constitution,
and to his excellency, Gen. Lopez de Santa Anna. Men
who are governed by their principles, cannot be called enemies
of mine, for being myself influenced by the same, I
should do an injustice, did I not believe, that I was amongst
friends and brothers, whom I ought to appreciate. We are
all actuated by the same common sympathies, springing
from the uniformity of our sentiments.
The principles defended by you, are the same which we
have proclaimed in Vera Cruz and Tampico. Federation
laws, and a liberal ministry, who will respect the general
constitution and the sovereignty of the states. This is the
basis of the plan of Gen. Santa Anna, and that in the future,
the law and not individual caprice shall govern. Santa
Anna
asks nothing for himself, but all for his country.
He has always sustained the cause of the people, and
the nation will see him return to private life, the moment
government is legalized, and the constitution restored to its
full vigour, so that the citizens may enjoy the blessings of
the system they have adopted.’”

When Col. Austin rose and remarked.

“‘I return my sincere thanks for your kind and cordial
welcome. Nothing could have been more gratifying to me,
than to have participated with you in the arduous scenes in 14* 14(3)v 162
which you have lately acted, and to have contributed my
feeble aid, in the cause you have so nobly and bravely advocated.
During my absence, I have never for one moment lost
sight of the interests of my constituents in Texas, and have
used every effort to advocate and protect them, which circumstances
and the situations I have been placed in, would
permit. I will continue to do the same, and my fellow
citizens of this colony, can command my feeble services
now, and at all times when they deem them necessary.’”

After which a further salute of 21 guns, a feu-de-joi,
from one of the companies, who were in the action at fort
Velasco
, were fired, when the colonels were escorted to the
residence of John Austin, Esq. second Alcalde, by a numerous
body of our citizens, who on returning to town, manifested
their joyful feelings by illuminations, bon-fires, firing
of cannon,
&c., all the night.

Meeting of 1832-07-18July 18th, attended by Col. Mexia.

Col. Mexia, having expressed a desire to have our motives
and actions explained to him, that he might make due
representations to his chief. The citizens convened for that
purpose on the next evening, (1832-07-18July 18th,) at three o’clock,
when Luke Lessasier and W. D. C. Hall, read him the following
expositions of our acts, motives and feelings, and
delivered him these documents, as the sum and matter of
our operations from the date of our taking up arms against
the post of Anahuac, to the present time.

“‘Col. Jose Antonio Mexia—Sir— Having understood
that the cause which impelled us to take up arms, have
been misrepresented, or misunderstood, we therefore make
you the following representation:

First—
By their repeated violations of the constitution
and laws, and their total disregard of the civil and political
rights of the people.
Second—
By their fixing and establishing among us, in
time of peace, military posts, the officers of which totally
disregarding the local civil authorities of the state; and by
committing various acts, which evinced opposition to the
true interests of the people in the enjoyment of civil
liberty.
163
Third—
By the arrest of Juan Francisco Madero, the
commissioner on the part of the state government, to put
the inabitants east of the river Trinity, in possession of
their lands in conformity with the laws of colonization.
Fourth—
By the interposition of a military force, preventing
the Alcalde of the jurisdiction of liberty, from the
exercise of his constitutional functions.
Fifth—
By appointing to the revenue department of Galveston,
a man whose character for infamy had been clearly
established, and made known to the government, and whose
principles were avowedly inimical to the true interests of
the people of Texas.
Sixth—
By the military commandant of Anahuac advising
and procuring servants to quit the service of their
masters, offering them protection, causing them to labour for
his individual benefit by force, and refusing to compensate
master or servant.
Seventh—
By the imprisonment of our citizens without
lawful cause, and claiming the right of trying said citizens
by a military court, for offences of a character alone cognizable
by the civil authority; and by refusing to deliver
them over to the said authority when demanded.
Such Col. Mexia, are the causes which impelled us to
take up arms, and the following declarations are the legitimate
offspring of our deliberations, and form the basis of
all our acts.
This declaration is embodied in the expositions made by
the Ayuntamiento, on the 1832-07-2727th July.’”

“‘Col. Jose Antonio Mexia—Sir— As chairman of a
committee, elected by the inhabitants of the precinct of
Victoria, I respectfully represent to you, that some time in
the early part of 1832-06June, the people of this precinct received
information that the colonists assembled before Anahuac
had declared for the constitution and Gen. Santa Anna.
We were rejoiced to see this declaration, for such had been
for a long time, our own feelings and wishes.
For a long time we had groaned under the arbitrary acts
of Bustamente’s administration. We had been convinced
that that administration was disregardful of the constitution,
that it was hostile to the most vital interests of the colonists,
as was sufficiently evinced among other things, by
their odious law of the 1830-04-066th of April, and by the establishing
of numerous garrisons amongst us in time of peace;
which garrisons always trampled upon the civil authority, 14(4)v 164
and upon the constitutional rights and privileges of our citizens.
The people of this precinct, therefore, immediately
met and concurred in the declaration for the constitution,
and Santa Anna. When this was done, we felt ourselves
in open opposition to all the officers, civil and miltary of
the government, against which he had declared.
To declare against a government and to permit its officers
to remain unmolested at our very doors, would be inconsistent
and ridiculous; we therefore proceeded to displace
the collector of the customs at Brazoria, and to reduce
the nearest garrison, which was that at the mouth of
the Brazos.
In all that we have done, we have cried out and fought
for the constitution and Gen. Santa Anna, its defender.
We have conceived, and do conceive the constitution to be
a liberal, enlightened and republican instrument, and have,
therefore, never raised a voice or an arm against it.
We have understood, however, that it has gone abroad,
that we have been declaring and battling for independence.
This is slanderous of us, and we wish you as our friend,
so to represent it to Gen. Santa Anna, and at the same time,
to assure him, that an administration guided by the constitution,
will find as warm and as loyal support among the
colonists of Texas, as any other part of the Mexican republic.
W. D. C. Hall’”

At the conclusion of which address, Mr. Wharton made
the following remarks:

“Col. Mexia, in order to show you, tha tt we had not declared
independence, as had been misrepresented to you;
that we were not battling for ourselves; we refer you to
the manner in which we were recognized by the commandant
of fort Velasco, in the treaty between him and ourselves,
on his capitulation. By a perusal of which treaty,
it will be clearly seen that he recognized us as the favourers
and supporters of the plan of Vera Cruz . Whilst on
the subject of Col. Ugartecha, we beg leave to say, that in
his official and private intercourse with us prior to the battle,
he satisfied us all, that he was a friend and a gentleman,
and that during the conflict which ended in the capitulation,
he acted most heroically.
This much we consider due to real merit and praise-
worthy valour.”

Col. Mexia, then rose and addressed the meeting as follows:

14(5)r 165 “Gentlemen—The official note which I addressed to
the Alcalde, under date of the 1832-07-1616th inst. and the printed
document which accompanied it, has informed you of my
sentiments, and what were the motives which caused my
visit to Texas.
The late occurrences produced by the causes which the
committee and the president have just explained, were
represented in a very different light from the true one. It
was stated and repeated by the official reports made by the
commandants of three miltary posts to their supreme chief,
that the object of the inhabitants of these colonies, was to
separate from the Mexican confederation, and declare themselves
independent. As a Mexican, I could not look on
with indifference when the territories of my nation was attacked,
and forming an armistice with my adversary, I
offered to aid the authorities of this province against those
who had attacked it with such intentions. The printed document
before mentioned by me, explains this part of the
subject.
I sailed from Matamoras with the fleet and forces under
my command, and in 40 hours anchored off the bar of this
river where I informed myself of the nature of the late
occurrences.
These inhabitants have had their meetings with that republican
frankness, which characterises them, they have
adopted the resolutions, which you have presented to me,
adhering to the plan of Vera Cruz, sustained by Gen. Santa
Anna
as the chief. The cause which you have thus adopted
is that of the people against oppression; that of the friends
of federal institutions, against the military and oppressive
government which the ministers of Gen. Bustamente wished
to establish. These being the principles which influence
this respectable community, I should be inconsistent with
my own, were I not to offer them my friendship, and the
support of the chiefs under whose orders I am acting.
Until affairs are settled in the interior which have been
in commotion from the same causes that have produced the
confusion here. I recommend peace, harmony and union,
to effect which you will find me disposed to contribute my
support.”

Translation from the Boletin at Matamoras.

On the 1832-06-2626th of the present month, at 4 o’clock in the
afternoon, Col. Jose Antonio Mexia, disembarked at the 14(5)v 166
Brazos Santiago with his forces; Lieut. Col. Alexander
Yhari
, with a force of forty men, prepared to oppose him,
but the brave chief of the detachment, of the liberating
army, advanced in a pilot boat, took the schooner Juanita,
anchored within pistol shot of the point occupied by Yhari,
and covered the landing of his troops from the launches.
As soon as the landing was effected, Yhari was invited to
pronounce for Santa Anna, which he refused to do, but his
troops immediately proclaimed the plan of the free, and
with enthusiasm joined their standard.

Immediately after taking possession of the Brazos Santiago,
a party of one hundred infantry with two pieces of
artillery, marched to Bocachica, where they raised an entrenchment;
on the 1832-06-2727th, the force was augmented by a
number of the military and citizens who hastened with
delight to sustain the cause of the free, or perish in the
attempt.

On the 1832-06-2828th, a party of 54 or 60 cavalry was discovered
approaching, and it was the desire of the commander-in-
chief not to engage them, although he knew the obstinacy
of the officer, Don Ignacio Rodriguez, who commanded
them, and who retired with his troops and occupied a position
on the main road.

On the 1832-06-2929th, after leaving a competent force to protect
the brig of war, Santa Anna, and the armed schooner Montazuma
of Vera Cruz, Montazuma of Tampico, Adela and
Ameria; and also guards to the fortifications at the Brazos
Santiago
, and Boca Chica, the troops marched for this town.
Lieut. Rodriguez wished to dispute the passage, notwithstanding
the invitations he received from Col. Mexia to
avoid the effusion of blood, and it became necessary to open
a passage by force. Measures were adopted to do so, and
at the third discharge of the cannon Rodriguez’s men abandoned
him, and joined the lines of Col. Mexia, with Lieut.
Gonzales
at their head, having refused to fight against the
holy cause of liberty, and previously wished Rodriguez to
join the same cause—at the same time, a party of 40 infantry
of the 11th battalion, joined Col. Mexia’s division.
Col. Guerra, with the troops in this town, Lojero and others,
well known for their anti-liberal principles, precipitately
fled, giving the most barbarous orders to his troops, such as
to bayonet the pack-mules loaded with the baggage and
ammunition, should they be overtaken.

14(6)r 167

Col. Mexia’s division of the liberating army, is therefore
in full possession of this town, increased by a great
number who have joined it. The utmost tranquility prevails,
the inhabitants are tranquil, because they now see
the falsehood of what had been stated by the enemies of
the cause which was proclaimed by the heroic conqueror of
Tampico, Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.

14(6)v