Texas Almanac, 1945-1946 Page: 61
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HISTORY OF TEXAS. 6
manches. The little Republic was beset
by financial difficulties, being without
resources except its vast public domain
which was not readily convertible into
David G. Burnet had been named
Provisional President of the Republic,
which was set up at Washington-on-the-
Brazos in March, 1836. Fleeing before
the advancing army of Santa Anna, civil
headquarters were removed to Harris-
burg, then to Galveston and later to
Velasco and finally to Columbia. The
chief issue of Burnet's administration,
after the Battle of San Jacinto, was the
Treaty of Velasco and disposition of
General Santa Anna. Many Texans
wished to turn him over to the army for
court-martial and possible execution.
The army itself was cause for concern
by civil authorities. Refusing to accept
the Cabinet's appointment of Mirabeau
B. Lamar as Major General it chose
Gen. Felix Houston by election. The
army had grown to about 2,500 be-
cause of rapid accumulation of volun-
teers following the Battle of San Ja-
cinto. It governed itself in rather unruly
fashion for several months but civil au-
thorities, fearing invasion from Mexico,
were afraid to do anything to bring
about a decline in its strength.
Death of Austin.
The first national election, in Sep-
tember, 1836, resulted in the overwhelm-
ing victory of General Houston over Hen-
ry Smith and Stephen F. Austin. The
first Congress of the Republic met at
Columbia in October, 1836, and the first
popularly elected administration of the
new Republic was inaugurated. At this
first election the Constitution, which had
been adopted by the convention of 1836,
was ratified by the people. Austin was
named Secretary of State by Houston,
but the man who had come to be known
as the Father of Texas was in failing
health and died Dec. 27, 1836, a short
time after assuming duties of office.
The young Republic was rich in one
thing, land, and the efforts of Houston
and his successors were directed toward
the utilization of this resource in such a
way that it would yield sufficient reve-
nue to relieve the government2of its
pressing financial burdens. The General
Land Office was established in 1837 to
handle the land problems, which includ-
ed surveying the vast domain, distrib-
uting land bounties that had been prom-
ised those who had taken part in the
Revolution, and the formulation of poli-
cies of colonization and settlement under
the laws of the Congress of the Repub-
lic. One of the lasting results of efforts
to induce rapid settlement was the
"Homestead Law" of the first Congress
which provided that a homestead could
not be taken for debt other than debt
contracted in payment for the home-
stead. The homestead law has been
handed down through changing govern-
ments and exists today in the Constitu-
tion and statutes of the state.
Widespread frauds developed in Tex-
as and the United States in connection
with the practice of issuing land scrip.
Much forged paper was found in circu-
lation by the newly established Land
Colonization Under the Republic.
The new government attempted to
continue the empresario system of en-
couraging colonization and a number of
large grants were made during the first
Houston and later administrations. Hen-
ry Castro brought 600 Alsatian families
to a grant west of San Antonio. Castro.
ville, which he founded, with its quaint
architecture remains one of the out-
standin lan dmarks of Texas today. An-
other important colonization venture
was that of W. S. Peters for the settle-
ment of families in the vicinity around
Another enterprise was that of Fisher
and Miller in the Colorado and Llano
Valleys. It was for this grant that the
caravan of Prince Carl of Solms-Braun-
fels was headed when it decided to stop
at the great springs at present New
Braunfels. It was during the last days
of the Republic and early statehood
that most of the German settlements
were made in South Central Texas.
As the result of the policies of the Re-
public, immigration from the United
States increased and the population of
35,000 to 50,000 in 1838 increased to 125,-
000 or 150,000 at the time of annexation
The second national election, Sept. 3,
1838, resulted in the election of Mira-
beau B. Lamar who had served as Vice-
President under Houston. The adminis-
tration of Lamar was distinguished for
two policies-his interest in education
and his belief in an aggressive military
policy against Indians and Mexico.
In the matter of public education, La-
mar played an important and construc-
tive role in early Texas history. Largely
due to his influence Congress passed an
act in 1839 providing three leagues of
land for each county's school fund in ad-
dition to a grant of fifty leagues for
two universities for the Republic. Sub-
sequently, an additional league for each
county's school fund was granted. While
this action did not materialize in any
early benefit, because of the cheapness
of land, it did set a precedent and
paved the way for later educational pol-
icies. Lamar s phrase, contained in his
first message to Congress in 1838, "the
cultivated mind is the guardian genius of
democracy," has become the slogan of
Texas advocates of public education.
Lamar is sometimes called the Father of
Education in Texas.
Lamar supported the Texas Navy in
its harassment of the Mexican coast
and its alliance with rebels in Yucatan.
In 1841 he set about the establishment
of jurisdiction over New Mexico by send-
ing out an expedition under Gen. Hugh
McLeod. The results of the Santa Fe
Expedition were disastrous, the expedi-
tion encountering many difficulties on
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Texas Almanac, 1945-1946, book, 1945; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117166/m1/63/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.