The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919 Page: 16
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The Southwestern HI'storical Quarterly
His defense of existing slavery in 1826-1827, it should be added,
was based on what he considered guaranteed vested right, his
original contract with the Spanish government, under which his
first families were introduced, having recognized slavery by aug-
menting a settler's headright in proportion to the number of
slaves he owned.3"
I have tried to present in this short paper something of the
personality of Austin as he revealed himself in his work. He
was a grave, gentle, kindly man, charitable, tolerant, affectionate
and loyal, naturally impulsive but restrained by habit, sensitive,
lonely, and given too much, perhaps, to introspection. He enjoyed
social companionship, but his position set him apart from the colo-
nists and made close friendships with them difficult and rare. He
smoked, danced now and then, loved music (he played the flute
in his younger days), and his bills show occasional charges for
whiskey, brandy, and wine. He was well educated, widely read
for his opportunities, and a clear thinker. His letters in their
straightforward precision and naturalness remind one of Franklin.
He worked incessantly, unselfishly, and generally most patiently.
In short, he appears to me a lovable human character, with many
On returning from his mission to the United States in the sum-
mer of 1836 he was persuaded to be a. candidate for the presidency.
He consented with indifference"3 and took his defeat by Houston
with equanimity. He had been absent from the country for the
better part of three years on public business, part of the time in a
Mexican prison; his personal affairs were greatly neglected, and
he welcomed the prospect of leisure to put them in order. IHow-
ever, when his victorious rival asked him to be secretary of state,
he consented, in the belief that he could be useful in bringing the
infant republic to the favorable notice of older governments. As
usual, he immersed himself in public duties to the utter neglect of
self, and died from overwork and exposure on December 27, 1836.
For fifteen years he had held the destiny of Texas in the hollow
"3There is much material on the subject of this sentence, .but see, for
example, Austin to ayuntamiento of Bexar, August 14, 1826, General
Land Office, Vol. 57, p. 96.
8"Austin to Gail Borden, Jr. (August, 1836), Austin Papers, miscel-
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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/m1/24/: accessed December 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.