The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 10, July 1906 - April, 1907 Page: 81
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Land Speculation as a Cause of the Texas Revolution. 8 1
and he implies that Mason took it all. Mason did get hold of some
land-how much is uncertain--in 1834, under a contract dated
June 19,1 but that it was granted by authority of this law is not
clear. Chambers's story of the trick of enrolment, though it is
clever and may be true, is, in view of the evidence, somewhat im-
probable. If the land was to be distributed only to the soldiers,
and not sold, what is the meaning of article 3 (see above, page 80),
which appropriates $20,000 "of the first receipts of the state treas-
ury for sales of lands made by virtue of the law on the subject"?
And does not the supplementary law of April 14, 1835, declaring
that the governor shall only dispose of the lands for the purpose
designated in the original law, suggest the inference that the four
hundred leagues had not up to that time been sold at all? The
whole matter is extremely confused and the only positive statement
that one feels warranted in making, until further evidence de-
velops, is that Mason got a grant in June, 1834, for ninety-five
leagues, certainly, probably for three hundred leagues, and possibly
for more. He may have obtained it by a manipulation of the law
of March 26, or by the law of April 19-though the latter is im-
in which it received the sanction of Congress, and, if it had remained
thus expressed, the executive could never had sold the land to speculators.
For repartiendoselos is a compound word, composed of the participle of
the verb repartir (to divide among), and the two pronouns se and los, one
of which refers to the land and the other to the troops; making it obliga-
tory upon the executive to divide the land among the troops. But the
ingenious member caused the pronoun se, referring to the troops, to be
omitted in engrossing the decree; and it received the sanction of the ex-
ecutive, and was published as a law, with the compound word changed
into repartiendolos, leaving the executive free to dispose of the four hun-
dred leagues of land, by dividing them out, without determining among
1The statement of Land Commissioner John P. Borden, in the Supple-
ment to the House Journal of the Fifth Congress (1840), p. 347, shows
that under Mason's contract, dated June 19, 1834, there were issued by
his agent, James Bowie, nine titles for an aggregate of ninety-five leagues.
I have been unable to find these titles in the Land Office, though it is pos-
sible they are still there. Samuel M. Williams, in an address to the peo-
ple of Texas, July, 1835, declared that Mason's grant was for 300 leagues.
(See The Texas Republican, July 25, 1835, in the Austin Papers. Brown
(History of Texas, I 261) says that the Legislature of 1834 squandered
"to dishonest speculators eleven hundred leagues of land in one transac-
tion and four hundred leagues in another." He implies that it was done
after July, 1834, but goes on to say that "the Constitution mentions by
name John T. Mason, of New York, as chief beneficiary in this wholesale
squandering of the public domain." He gives no authority for his figures.
Kennedy (Texas, II 83) simply says, "An immense extent of the domain
of Texas had been granted in 1834 to John T. Mason, of New York."
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 10, July 1906 - April, 1907, periodical, 1907; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101040/m1/89/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.