British Correspondence Concerning Texas
impressed me still more with the necessity of obtaining, for
official use, a Copy of the Laws the fidelity of which shall have
been certified by the Department of State.
I have had long experience of the general inaccuracy of docu-
ments printed in the United States. The usual causes of this inac-
curary exist in a still greater degree in Texas, and there is a pro-
portionate Amount of typographical error. Among the published
Laws of last Congress, there is, for instance, one entitled "An Act
Supplementary to an "Act regulating the Sale of Runaway Slaves,"
approved January Fifth 1841."-According to the Statutes for
1841, the original law (which, together with the Supplementary
Act, I have transmitted in my "Slave Trade" Correspondence)
was approved on the 5th of February, not January, as recently set
forth. I might adduce other instances, but this will suffice to show
the unreliable character of the printed Acts.
In reference to the concluding portion of Captain Elliot's reply
to my letter of the 18th April, 1 would beg to observe that-while
very far from presuming to question the expediency of any ar-
rangement sanctioned by Her Majesty's Government, it appeared
to me that, without any abatement of becoming deference, and in
strict accordance with the understood duties of my office, I might
respectfully point out whatever public inconvenience arose from a
particular arrangement, in order that due provision should be
made against the recurrence of such inconvenience. In enacting
new laws, or amending old ones, the Legislature of Texas usually
provides that the enactments shall come into operation, "from and
after the passage of the Act," or "from and after the first day of
April," next ensuing. Now, as the Legislative Session, almost
invariably closes in the beginning of February, it is certainly de-
sirable that timely notice should be given of all changes affecting
trade and shipping, for the guidance of Merchants and Ship-
owners during the current year. For lack of such notice, as I
stated in my letter to Captain Elliot, of 18th April, "Shipments
may be made from England to Texas, under the faith of one
Tariff, and arrive just in time to be taxed inopportunely, under
the provisions of another."
It is a fact universally admitted here, and not unfrequently a
Subject of Complaint, that the Majority of those chosen to the
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101064/. Accessed October 9, 2015.