The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 47, July 1943 - April, 1944 Page: 254
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Wavell's letters. In 1824, Wavell returned to Mexico, still in
the service of the government, and there was an exchange of
letters, in which Austin said he was now ready to pay his in-
debtedness; but Wavell declared many years later that he never
In March, 1826, Wavell received from the State of Coahuila
and Texas a contract, approved also by the Mexican Federal
government, to settle five hundred families on a grant south of
Red River, which included all of the territory of our present
Lamar, Red River, and Bowie counties, parts of Fannin and
Hunt counties, and Miller County, Arkansas, which Mexico
claimed under an erroneous interpretation of the Florida Treaty
of 1819-21. Wavell employed Ben Milam to manage the settle-
ment of his colony. Just what Milam accomplished is uncertain;
according to Wavell, he introduced a considerable number of
colonists and might have fulfilled the contract for five hundred
families but for interference, first by the Mexican federal gov-
ernment, and, second, by Governor Polk of Arkansas, who
claimed nearly all of the territory for the United States. As a
result of the confusion, no titles were issued to actual settlers
down to the time of the Texas Revolution. Technically, there-
fore, Wavell fulfilled no part of his contract and was legally
entitled to no premium land for his service as empresario.
He believed, however, that he had a strong moral claim
against the government of Texas. In 1843, he recited his claims
in a memorial to the Senate of the Republic of Texas, and in
May, 1844, urged the British Government to exert diplomatic
pressure upon the Republic for its payment, but the Foreign
Office-after an opinion from the Crown law officer-told him
frankly that he had no claim on the government of Texas. He
took this rebuff philosophically, but continued to argue the
moral weight of his claim. He evidently formed a cordial friend-
ship with Dr. Ashbel Smith while Smith was representing
Texas in England, and perhaps with Smith's encouragement
continued to hope that Texas would recognize and compensate
his services. He died in 1860 at the age of seventy-five. He was
the father of ten children, of whom the youngest became the
father of General Archibald Wavell.
Mr. Sam Acheson published in the Dallas News of September
21, 1941, an interesting article, covering the substance of this
note. In it, he refers to Wavell documents placed in the Hall
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 47, July 1943 - April, 1944, periodical, 1944; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146054/m1/285/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.