The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

For a time the archives were at the seat of government at Colum-
bia; the following year they were moved to Houston. The archives
of the young Republic were meager at the time and were hauled
in saddlebags and trunks.
In 1839, during the presidental administration of Mirabeau B.
Lamar, the town of Austin became the capital after much agita-
tion. The location selected was in the vicinity where Lamar had
hunted buffalo and was the approximate site that Stephen F.
Austin had chosen for his homes Austin in 1839 was on the edge
of the western frontier. To the north the closest settlement was at
the Falls of the Brazos; to the west and southwest the country
was in the hands of hostile Indians. The proposal to establish the
seat of government in such a remote area was opposed by those
living in the more populated regions along the coast.4 Chief
among the dissenters was General Sam Houston who stood firm
in his opinion that the seat of government should remain in the
city named for him, because it had the acknowledged advantage
of sea traffic. The Morning Star of Houston carried repeated
editorials denouncing any such move, and there were many ob-
stacles in transferring the capital. Provisions for housing had to
be made, the city had to be planned, and a method of getting
supplies to and from Austin had to be devised. These difficulties
were strikingly shown in the sharp language of the editor of the
Morning Star on April 17, 1839:
It appears to us absurd to suppose that the indispensible accom-
modations can be prepared for the President and the other officers
of the government, within the time specified by law, unless, indeed,
BStephen F. Austin to Samuel May Williams, August 21, 1833, in Eugene C.
Barker, Life of Stephen F. Austin (Nashville, 1925), 264-265.
aThe founding of Brasilia, new capital of Brazil, on April 21, 196o, has much in
common with Austin. "Both capitals were created remote from the centers of
population in their republics. Both capitals were constructed on the frontier to
force the development of the interior of their countries. The site for Brasilia, six
hundred miles inland, was chosen as a result of a survey which made use of modern
professional skills of city and regional planners quite unavailable to the selectors
of Austin over 12o years ago." Interesting to Texans is that April 21, the date
chosen for the inauguration of Brasilia, is a national holiday in Brazil. "That date
in 1789 marks the execution of the leader of a revolutionary party that first
proposed the removal of the capital from the seaboard. The insurgents accused
coastal Rio de Janeiro, capital of the then Portuguese Colony, of turning its back
on its own country." San Jacinto Museum Bulletin (Volume 4, number 3, Spring,


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed April 19, 2014.