The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 12, July 1908 - April, 1909 Page: 232
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Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
If we consider the condition of affairs in the colony, where the
greater part of the energies of the settlers was expended in trying
to win their homes from the wilderness, we shall see that the
ground was but poorly prepared for the seed, and we shall not be
surprised to find that Austin met with the discouragements usually
encountered by one in advance of his times. Again, to arouse in
the Mexican government an interest which would result in any
effective action was no light task; for, in spite of the fact that this
government had made after its own fashion several attempts to
promote education in Texas, they had all been unenergetic and
abortive, and no material advance had been made before Austin
began to work on the plan with which this paper deals.'
Austin himself had done some preliminary work on behalf of
education in the colony, which calls for attention in connection
with the subject of this paper. According to his contract with the
government for the colonization of four hundred families in Tex-
as, dated April 27, 18252 he was required to promote the estab-
lishment of schools in the Spanish language in such towns as he
might found. The constitution of Coahuila and Texas, ratified
March 11, 1827, provided also that there should be a uniform
method of instruction throughout the state, and required Congress
to form a general plan for public instruction. In conformity with
the spirit of these requirements, Austin had been endeavoring for
several years before his plan took definite shape8 to arouse an in-
terest along educational lines among the colonists, by urging upon
them the necessity for a permanent public school to be located at
San Felipe. There are among his papers the first drafts of sev-
eral letters written to his friends with the double purpose of se-
curing their co-operation and of ascertaining, as far as possible,
the sentiments of the colonists in regard to the question. Many
of the replies also are preserved. Although this evidence is but
fragmentary, it serves to forecast failure; for it shows two clearly
defined objections made by the settlers. In the first place, they
1Cf. Cox, "Educational Efforts in San Fernando," Part II, in THE QUAR-
TERLY, VI, 35-63.
'Gammel, Laws of Texas, I, 47-48.
"The earliest evidence of the definite plan that I have found is in the
letter of Austin to J. H. Bell, February 24, 1829, which is quoted a little
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 12, July 1908 - April, 1909, periodical, 1909; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101048/m1/260/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.