The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932 Page: 4
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
of frontier protection, was used in the settlement of the debt of
the Texas Republic, this debt being paid at the rate of 77 cents
on the dollar.
In the beginning of agitation for better transportation in
Texas, and until the settlement under the Compromise of 1850,
the State had a public domain unappropriated which was esti-
mated at 180,000,000 acres of land, this being some two and a
half million acres more than the combined area of the five states
comprising the old Northwest Territory, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan,
Wisconsin, and Indiana. The settlement of 1850 took away some
sixty-seven million acres of the public domain of Texas; but well
over a hundred million acres remained after that date.7 Texas
was now free of debt and the advocates of internal improvements
thought the prospect was good for some early action by the state
The first efforts to improve Texas transportation had been di-
rected at the work of opening up river navigation. By 1850
further efforts along this line were opposed because such improve-
ments would give relief to such a small area of the lower coun-
try, and would not reach the problems of the upper region at
all. Opponents of river improvements had begun to argue that
railroads could be extended to any part of the state and that the
gentle upward slope of the country from the coast would inter-
pose such few and slight obstacles to construction that the cost
of railway building in Texas would be comparatively very small.
The state of Illinois had been granted 2,500,000 acres of public
domain by the United States in 1850 for the construction of the
Illinois Central railroad. The road was soon completed. Texas
decided to follow the example of Illinois, despite the fact that the
latter state was twenty times as densely populated as was Texas.
But the first railroad in the state was begun without state aid.
General Sydney Sherman had interested Northern capital in a
proposed road from Buffalo Bayou and Houston to Austin. A
charter was granted this road in 1850 under the name of Buffalo
Bayou, Brazos, and Colorado Railway. The incorporators were
business men of Galveston and Houston, and Jonathan F. Bar-
rett was made president. This line was expected to turn to Gal-
veston down the Bayou the cotton of some of the heavy producing
'Report of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, 1899, 4.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932, periodical, 1932; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101092/m1/8/: accessed June 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.