The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 Volume 1

24

Laws, Orders and Contracts

such a detail w-ould have added nothing material to an understanding
of the nature and validity of the titles, except so far as it tended to
prove that the settlers have fully earned, and justly deserved all the
land, and privileges they have obtained. This, however, is a fact too
evident to require any other proofs for its establishment, than those
which are self-evident, and publicly known.
The translations have been carefully made by Mr. S. I1. Williams,
and myself. It is believed, that should there be any inaccuracies in
them, they will be found on examination, to be more of a verbal and
unimportant, than of a substantial nature: the originals, however, will
always be open in the office, to the inspection of those who wish to
examine them.
I should consider that I had not fully complied with my duty,
were I to refrain from calling the attention of the settlers to a subject,
perhaps of as much importance to them, as the acquisition of their titles
has been; which is, the preservation and safe keeping of the records.
Since February, 1828, all the records of the colony, except those appertaining
to land titles, have been under the charge of the ayuntamiento
and alcalde. The land records have remained in my charge, and will
probably so continue a short time longer, when they will pass to the
ayuntamiento and alcalde. It should be remembered, that those records
are all in Spanish, and that all official communications with the government,
must be in that language, and that neither the alcalde, nor one
of the members of the ayuntamiento, understands Spanish, neither is
it probable that any one will be elected for many years, who does understand
it. The records of that body are now kept in a very loose and
careless manner in a log cabin, exposed to all manner of casualties. The
law requires the ayuntamiento. to provide a safe building to keep the
records in, and a suitable secretary, thoroughly acquainted with the
Spanish and English languages, to take charge of them on his own
responsibility, as well as on that of the alcalde and ayuntamiento. The
law also fully authorises that body to raise funds by a municipal tax
for the above purposes, and to defray the necessary expenses of the local
government, and it is their duty so to do; a duty which the people owe
to themselves, to their own security, and to the protection of their best
interests, which are involved in the safe keeping of the records, and supporting
the local government of the municipality; to pay said tax, so
far as is necessary and reasonable, with promptness and cheerfulness.
It is well known that up to February, 1828, the labor and expense
of the local government fell principally on me, individually, and that
since that period all the Spanish part of the labor has fallen on Williams
and myself, without any compensation. It is also well known,
that the translating and other duties connected with the local government
are sufficient to occupy all the time and attention of a secretary.
Since February, 1828, I have held no office which imposes any other
duty on me to aid or interfere in the local civil government, than what
belongs to any other citizen. As a citizen, I advised the ayuntamiento
of 1828, to resort to a municipal tax; that body thought it would be
unpopular, and feared to move. I repeated the advice to the ayuntamiento
of 1829, and strongly urged the vast importance of giving
respectability, system. and permanency to the local government, by the
creation of municipal funds, and the erection of public buildings: as
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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 October 22, 2014.