The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 Volume 1

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Laws, Orders aind C'oitracts

ability of the settlement itself, would seem to require; and if what land
he has acquired, (and he has but little else,) was valued at its present
rates, he is now nearly insolvent. Other men, who have never had any
other trouble than to attend to their private affairs, and to receive their
titles, have derived more benefit from his labors than he has. As regards
his selling land to settlers: the idea of an empresario, under the
colonisation law, selling the land of this nation, is so absurd, that it
would be an insult to the understanding of those who can read that
law, even to refute it. There never have been any payments made to
him under the original contracts, although many offered it; but those
contracts were interfered with in a manner which rendered it doubtful
whether they could have been generally enforced, without jeopardising
the principal motive which had stimulated him to persevere in the enterprise,
which was to ,settle the country, and not merely to make a speculation.
Had the latter been his object, lie certainly would have made a
totally different use of the extensive powers that were placed in his
hands, than spending his life in a wilderness, harassed by constant cares
and perplexities. He, therefore, would not accept of a compliance of the
original contracts, from any one, unless it was also exacted from all; thus,
those contracts passed away forever; and the payments on the land titles
were regulated by the political chief or governor of Texas, by a fee bill
which he published the 20th of May, 1824: those payments were for the
commissioner's fees, office fees, stamp paper, surveying fees, for all which, he has received
from some of them, murmurings and abuse. It can, however, be
truly said, to the honor of the North American character, that the murnmuring
part of the settlers is limited to a very small number, and it is
to be lioped that what has appeared to be ingratitude, even in them, has
arisen solely, from not understanding the subject, rather than from disposition.
It is just to correct another erroneous idea, that at one time prevailed,
which was, that the fees were paid in money. Mioney was required from
those who it was known had it to spare, which was used to make up
the cash payments to the government for the stamp paper, commissioner's
fees,
and by that means, and that alone, the poor were provided for
as well as the rich: no one was turned away, or even waited for his title,
because he was poor; and many have received leagues of land in this
colony, who were not worth twenty doIlars when they reached here.
This system, however, caused murmurs against Austin, on the ground
that a distinction was made, and partiality shown. They did not reflect
that is was the interest of all to get the settlement under way, and that
if poor men had been turned off, because they could not pay the fees,
the settlement would have been thinned so much, that it would have
been totally broken up. A clamor was raised, and, strange as it may
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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 April 17, 2014.