The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919 Page: 6
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
power to, admit immigrants to or exclude them from his colony,
which covered an area larger than Massachusetts; and, acting with
a commissioner appointed by the governor, he could give title to
married men for 4,600 acres of land, subject to improvement in
two years, and could greatly augment that amount to men with
large families, or who established gins, sawmills, or other public
Most of this power Austin retained for seven years. The legis-
lature, it is true, was organized in 1824, when Texas was united
with Coahuila to the south, but, aside from passing the state colo-
nization law, its attention until 1827 was centered on the formation
of the constitution, so that there was very little legislation for
Texas. A local ayuntamiento or municipal government was estab-
lished in 1828, but for several years this took little of the burden
of administration from Austin, because, though he steadily re-
fused to accept office in the ayuntamiento, the members of that
body looked to him for guidance and both state and federal authori-
ties showed a disposition to hold him responsible for the smooth
working of the local government, while of the land system he
retained direction throughout the colonial period. From inclina-
tion as well as from necessity, he followed democratic methods of
administration, dividing the colony into districts and allowing the
inhabitants to elect alcaldes, or justices of the peace, and militia
officers, himself hearing appeals from the former and directing the
latter. But in the matter of legislation he acted alone, promulgat-
ing, with the approval of the political chief at San Antonio, a brief
civil and criminal code which was in operation for five years. In
his management of the lands of the colony he followed from the
beginning the practice of issuing titles only on official surveys and
of recording in permanent form all papers connected with the title,
including the surveyor's plat of the land. The government made
no allowance for the expenses of administration, and in the early
days taxation was impossible, so that, except for fees of alcaldes
and constables, the cost of government fell heavily upon Austin.
This was particularly true of his management of the land business,
while he was at constant expense also in entertaining travelers and
13Austin's power to grant lands in his colony is defined in the imperial
colonization law of January 3, 1823, for which see Gammel, Laws of
Texas, I, 27-30 (Austin, 1898).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919, periodical, 1919; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117156/m1/14/: accessed January 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.