The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919 Page: 2
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
satility and with his intimate knowledge of frontier life, Austin
at twenty-eight was well prepared to be the founder and patriarchal
ruler of a. wildnerness commonwealth.
Hle embarked with his father somewhat dubiously upon the colo-
nization of Texas,2 and it was partly in obedience to his father's
dying wish that he determined to continue the undertaking alone.3
But having begun, he spent himself in singular devotion to the
healthy growth of Texas and the welfare of the colonists whom his
influence brought to the country and for whose prosperity he felt a
personal responsibility. In moments of despondency, when par-
ticularly harassed by public duties and anxieties, he longed for "a
small farm, a moderate independence, and a wife,"4' but for the
most part he had no time for. thoughts of self. His conception of
his task -extended farther than the mere planting of a number of
families in an uninhabited waste; it was to create there a. high
toned, intelligent, prosperous, and happy society. "Such an en-
terprise as the one I undertook in settling an uninhabited country,"
he wrote in 1832,
must necessarily pass through three regular gradations. The first
step was to overcome the roughness of the wilderness, and may be
compared to the labor of the farmer on a piece of ground covered
with woods, bushes, and brambles, which must be cut down and
cleared away, and the roots grubbed out before it can be cultivated.
The second step was to pave the way for civilization and lay the
foundation for lasting productive advancement in wealth, morality,
and happiness. This step might be compared to the ploughing,
harrowing, and sowing the ground after it is cleared. The third
and last and most important step is to give proper and healthy
direction to public opinion, morality, and education . . . to
give tone, character, and consistency to society, which, to continue
2Moses Austin to Stephen F. Austin, May 22, 1821, Austin Papers, Uni-
versty of Texas: "I can now go forward with confidence and I hope and
pray you will discharge your doubts as, to the Enterprise." Austin to
Wharton, April 24, 1829, Austin Papers: "I myself believed that the
probabilities of failure or success were almost equal."
'Mary Austin (mother of Stephen) to Stephen F. Austin, June 8, 1821,
Austin Papers: "he called me to his bedside and with much distress and
difficulty of speech beged me to tell you to take his place and if god in
his wisdom thought best to disappoint him in the accomplishment of his
wishes and plans formed, he prayed him to extend his goodness to you
and enable you to go on with the business in the same way lie would have
'Austin to W. C. Carr, March 4, 1829, Austin Papers.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919, periodical, 1919; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117156/m1/10/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.