History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families Page: 67
HISTOR OF TEXAS.
and the house of representatives made an appropriation
for a diplomatic agent to the
William H. Wharton, on his return froin
Washington on the ship Independence, was
captured by the Mexicans, conveyed to Matamoras,
with others, and cast into prison. His
brother, John H. Wharton, having obtained
permission and a flag, proceeded thither witli
thirty Mexican prisoners, hoping to effect his
release; but on arrival he wa/s seized and
thrown into a dungeon. William II. Wharton,
with the aid of Captain Thompson, of
the Mexican navy, escaped and reached home;
and John H. also escaped after an imprisonment
of six days. Thompson, who had agreed
to desert the enemy's service, had previously
left Matamoras, his departure being hastened
by information given against him to the authorities.
May 1, 1837, the congress reassembled at
the town of Houston, and the president on
the 5th read his message, wherein he referred
to the recognition of the independence of
Texas by the United States with an eminent
degree of satisfaction, and said that the republic
was now unwilling to invoke the mediation
of other powers; but with regard to
the financial position of the government it
could hardly have assumed a much worse
state. On account of the unfavorable condition
of the money market in the United
States, no portion of the $5,000,000 loan had
been realized, and the land scrip (for which
the sale of 500,000 acres had been authorized)
had produced nothing, owing to the
questionable action of the agents at New Orleans,
who would render no account of their
transactions to the executive, and dishonored
drafts drawn upon them by the latter.
Sectionizing the public domain met with a
difficulty, the old settlers preferring their old
"leagues " and "labores."' At this tine the
Caddo Indians on the northeastern frontier
were under treaty with the United States.
They had been very troublesome, showing a
disposition to unite and amalgamate with the
The most important question which occulpied
thle attention of the congres of 1;S7
was that of the land bill. During this and
the called session in the fall the matter wa.repeatedly
brought up, and several acts
amendatory to the original one were passed.
Besides the problem of surveying the public
land into sections, there were imany other
knotty difficulties as to the disposition of tlhe
lands, to titles, grants, etc. Since tlhe closing
of the land offices in November, 1838, questions
concerning imperfect titles had increased
in the commissioners' offices, and the
grants to empresarios and titles depending
thereon had to be considered. To distinguish
legitimate claims and guard against fraud
was a most difficult matter, and to frame a
bill that ,vould defeat the ingenuity of land
stealers without violating the rights of citizens
of Texas, justly acquired under the old1
Mexican legislation, and even un(ler old
Texan legislation itself, was almost an impossibility.
Moreover, land bounties had
been granted to the volunteers who had so
valiantly stepped forward to aid Texas in her
direst need, and land scrip had beein sold in
the United States. To protect the soldier
and colonist in the priority of choice of location,
against unprincipled speculators who
supported their prior claims by perjury, was
no easy matter. Head-rights of individuals
were purchased by numbers of persons who
never intended to make Texas their home.
Names of natives, to whom exceptional
privileges as to the area of grants were extended,
were used to substantiate claims, and
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Lewis Publishing Company, publisher. History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families, book, 1893; Chicago. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth29785/m1/71/ocr/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .