The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 1, July 1897 - April, 1898 Page: 4
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4 Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
employments, and habits, it is beyond the capacity of one person to
bring to view all the facts pertaining to each part of the country.
Therefore, it is proper that there should be an association of per-
sons, so situated as properly to co-operate in doing the work. Nor
should their efforts be confined to literary and scientific subjects,
but should embrace material developments and .everything else that
tends to form the habits, character, and actions of the people of
every class and condition.
True history consists of a descriptive record of the people, their
actions, and beliefs that prompt to action, in the whole range
of human effort, during any given period and throughout a succes-
sion of periods of time up to the present. For the present is the
matured product of the past, as every effect is the result of the con-
tributory causes that produced it. One difficulty of our under-
standing the condition of things of the present time is the indefi-
niteness and generality of our information of the past, as well as
of the present. For instance, we may look over our constitutions
and statutory laws and inferentially learn that certain actions per-
formed by some persons at certain times were by common senti-
ment deemed to be prejudicial to the good of society by the penal
enactments of the time. And that other actions were performed at
different times may be likewise inferentially learned by laws con-
ferring the rights of person and property. Such information, so
obtained, would be indefinite. So, too, the information about the
past obtained from books of history, especially in a new country
like Texas, is generally too indefinite, to be entirely satisfactory;
because such books for the most part give an account of the im-
portant actions of the government and of its changes, under the
control of political parties, and of wars, and of institutions organ-
ized from time to time in obedience to public sentiment. Still,
those accounts are usually of a very general character.
To illustrate the ideas sought here to be conveyed: We can learn
from the laws and the public action of the government that a peni-
tentiary was established in Texas at a certain time, and has since,
then been kept in operation. From those sources we would fail to.
learn what was the condition of things that created th.e public sen-
timent that caused it to be established, what have been the employ-
ment of the convicts, how they were confined and treated, and what
has been its general result as a mode of punishment of crimes up%
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 1, July 1897 - April, 1898, periodical, 1897/1898; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101009/m1/14/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.