The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941 Page: 304
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
provided "that the State of Texas hereby releases to the owner
of the soil all mines and mineral substances that may be on
the same, subject to such uniform rate of taxation as the
Legislature may impose."'
It may be interesting to point out the background of this
reversal of the policy of the State, as related in the opinion
of Judge Nelson Phillips in the case of Cox v. Robison." It
seems that the primary purpose of the adoption of the ordi-
nance quoted above was to validate the title of private owners
in a salt lake in Hidalgo County, and the ordinance was in
fact entitled, "an ordinance relative to the salt lake known
as El Sal del Rey."
"From an early time there has existed in Hidalgo County the
famous salt lake called 'El Sal del Rey.' It was of large extent
and regarded as of great value. Public historic accounts are
to the effect that its salt was comparatively pure as dug from
its bed and apparently inexhaustible. For many years it was
the source of supply for people on both sides of the lower Rio
Grande, and during the Civil War it furnished salt for a large
portion of Southern Texas."" A patent to the lake had been
issued by the State in 1847. This patent was confirmed by
an act of the Third Legislature in 1850' in which the State
relinquished all of its rights. However, when the salt lake became
of more importance to the State during the Civil War, by a
joint resolution approved January 10, 1862,8 the Legislature
asserted title of the State to the lake, and required the Gov-
ernor to take possession of it and to detail troops to maintain
such possession, and required the agent of the State to sell the
salt from the lake at the customary rate.
At the Constitutional Convention in 1866, a committee was
appointed "relative to the salt lake 'El Sal del Rey'." On March
17, 1866, the committee made its report recommending the
passage of an ordinance containing the provision quoted above,
whereby the State released to the owners of the soil all mines
and minerals beneath their lands, subject to the right of the
Legislature to impose taxes thereon, and this ordinance was
4Constitution of 1866, Article 7, Section 39.
'105 Tex. 426, 431, 150 S. W. 1149, 1151.
uCox v. Robison, 105 Tex. 426, 431, 150 S. W. 1149, 1152.
Special Laws, Third Legislature, p. 96; 3 Gammel's Laws of Texas, 766.
sChapter VIII, Joint Resolutions, Ninth Legislature, p. 61; 5 Gammel's
Laws of Texas, 505
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941, periodical, 1941; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146052/m1/341/: accessed June 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.