The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 78, July 1974 - April, 1975 Page: 308
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Records in the Texas state archives indicate that Governor Davis replied
to Cornell's letter on January 26, I87o, but there is no copy of this reply
in the records, nor is the reply included in the Cornell papers. Undoubtedly
the reply was simply an acknowledgment for no action was possible at
that time. This impasse existed because the Congress had passed a joint
resolution on March 29, I867, which prohibited the issuance of college
land scrip to "any of the States lately in rebellion against the United States,
except the State of Tennessee," until "they shall be fully restored to their
rights as States by Congress."s
In the first weeks of the Davis administration, most executive business
was carried out by General Joseph J. Reynolds, the military commander,
because Davis did not feel legally empowered to act on his own. With the
readmission of Texas to the Union on March 30, 1870, and the final
proclamation of Reynolds on April I6, handing over all civil authority to
the officials elected by the voters, Davis issued a call for the legislature to
convene on April 26.'
Governor Davis made no reference to the agricultural and mechanical
college in his inaugural address or in his first message to the legislature.
Nothing could be done, in any case, until notification was received from
the Department of the Interior regarding the availability of the scrip. Such
notification must have been received prior to November 7, 1870, for on
that date Davis wrote to Messrs. Swenson, Perkins & Company, bankers in
New York, proposing that Swen M. Swenson act as agent for Texas in
the sale of the college land scrip upon its receipt, provided that agreement
could be reached on the terms of sale. A power of attorney for Swenson
Swenson, Perkins & Company informed Governor Davis that the power
of attorney had been forwarded to the secretary of the interior and, as to
(Serial xI2o), 1412; The Statutes at Large, Treaties, and Proclamations of the United
States of America from December, I865, to March, x867, XIV (Boston, 1868), 208-209.
sGould P. Coleman, Archivist, Cornell University, to W. T. H., Jr., February In,
1973; The Statutes at Large, Treaties, and Proclamations, of the United States of
America, from December, x867, to March, x869, XV (Boston, 1869), 25-26.
'Charles William Ramsdell, Reconstruction in Texas (New York, g910), 289, 292.
alnaugural Address of Gov. Edmund J. Davis, to Twelfth Legislature, April 28, 1870
(Austin, 1870); Message o CGov. Edmund J. Davis to Twelfth Legislature, April 28,
1870 (Austin, 1870); Davis to Messrs. Swenson, Perkins & Co., November 7, 1870,
Governors' Correspondence, Executive Record Book, October, 187o-May, 1871 (Archives
Division, Texas State Library, Austin), 44. Swen M. Swenson had been, a successful
businessman in Austin for a number of years before the Civil War. An avowed Unionist,
he was forced to flee to Mexico in 1863. From there he went to New Orleans and then
to New York, where he entered banking and finance. Walter Prescott Webb and H.
Bailey Carroll (eds.), The Handbook of Texas (2 vols.; Austin, 1952), II, 697.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 78, July 1974 - April, 1975, periodical, 1974/1975; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117149/m1/355/: accessed May 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.