The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 13, July 1909 - April, 1910 Page: 7
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The Navy of the Republic of Texas.
While Texas was thus enjoying a respite through the involun-
tary assistance of France, Mr. Williams, in Baltimore, was doing
all in his power to obtain proper vessels for the navy. Owing to
the fact that the loan was not effected with which to purchase the
fleet, he was much discouraged. On October 9, 1838, he wrote
from Philadelphia,' that the only prospect at that time was to buy
the steam packet Charleston, which had been built eighteen months
before at a cost of $117,000. She could be had for $120,000,
payable in five years with ten per cent interest, and could be so
altered as to make her an available naval ship. On November 3,
1848, General Hamilton, who was the regularly appointed consul
for the Republic of Texas, in Charleston, addressed a lengthy com-
munication to the secretary of the navy,2 in regard to the pur-
chase of this vessel: He said that while in England he had had
the good fortune to induce his friend James Holford, Esq., of
London, to advance the money necessary for her purchase and
outfit; but Hamilton said:
As Mr. Holford is not a citizen, the title had to, be taken for
the boat in my name, and so it will continue until she gets out
to Texas, and a regular transfer is made of her to, your Govern-
ment. . . . As Mr. Holford has acted with the utmost liberality
and confidence, I trust your Government will have passed, in
secret session forthwith, a resolution confirming Messrs. Burnley
and Williams' contract with me, as the agent of this gentleman."
Agreeable to this request, an act was passed sanctioning the
contract for the Charleston, afterwards known as the Zavala, for
the price of $120,000.4 This vessel was, therefore, the first one
of the new navy. Its final cost, as later altered and equipped, was
much beyond the original contract price. But in this, as in other
matters, the financial records of the navy are so tangled and
obscure as to render details impossible. It would be alike tedious
and unprofitable to attempt to unravel them. Indeed, the secre-
1House Journal, 5th Tex. Cong., 1st Sess., Appendix, 212.
'Hamilton to Secretary of Navy, November 3, 1838, in House Journal, 5th
Tex. Cong., 1st Sess., Appendix, 214-216.
'Gouge, Fiscal History of Texas, 93.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 13, July 1909 - April, 1910, periodical, 1910; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101051/m1/15/: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.