The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 Volume 1

16

Laws, Orders and Contracts

in Austin relative to the local government of the colony, that it was
extensive, and without clearly defined limits, except submission to the
governor of Texas, and the commandant general; and that consequently
the degree of moral, as well as personal responsibility, which rested upon
him indivdually, was co-extensively great. Had he been furnished with
laws and fixed rules for a guide, his responsibility would have depended
on his observance of, or departure from those laws or fixed rules; bat
placed as he was, a peculiar or prejudiced view of his acts, by his superiors,
might have involved him in total ruin or unmerited disgrace. It
will also be seen that no salary or alowance whatever was assigned him,
to defray the expenses of the local government, all of which consequently
had to be borne by himself, and which in this jurisdiction were many,
owing to its peculiar situation with respect to the Indians, and also for
the want of regular soldiers, for expresses, guards, but he was not bound in any
manner by that contract, to take upon himself the labor, responsibility
and expense of the local government; and had he refused to have done
it, and some other person had been appointed for that purpose, it would
not in any way have interfered with his right to premium land. So that
it was, in fact, altogether gratuitous on his part, so far as depended
on his contract with the government, to undertake that labor, or not,
as he pleased. Why then did he accept of so heavy and expensive
a charge?
He accepted it because it was necessary for the advancement
of the colony that some one should do so; and no one would have
accepted it without a compensation; he considered that he was bound
by the original contracts, which he thought were fairly and publicly
made, between him and the settlers, previous to the commencement
of the colony, as heretofore stated, to be at all the labor and expense of
procuring the titles, and advancing the settlement, so far as it lay in his
power, by his individual exertions; calculating that the settlers would
never wish to evade the payment stipulated on their parts, when they
saw that he had complied, and more than complied on his; for he promised
them lands by hundreds of acres, and they have received it bv thousands;
league tracts were granted to them by the government, in place
of the sections promised by Austin. His expectations, however, were
all disappointed; the original contracts passed away, and the colony was
dragged forward, amidst pecuniary embarrassments and poverty, with
the fatal weight of internal opposition superadded to its other difficulties.
Some misunderstanding has heretofore existed in regard to the payments
on land in this colony. For instance, it has been stated by those
who knew nothing of the law, or of the subject, that Austin sold the
land to the settlers; that he exacted from them what he had no right
by law to exact; that he was speculating on the settlers, to wit(16)

Gammel, Hans Peter Mareus Neilsen. The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 Volume 1. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5872/. Accessed August 30, 2014.