Telegraph and Texas Register (Columbia, Tex.), Vol. 1, No. 33, Ed. 1, Tuesday, October 11, 1836 Page: 1 of 4
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WE GO FOR OUR COUNTRY.
AND TEXAS REG-ISVER.
PUBLISHED WEEKLY,, )
BY GL & T. H. BORDEN.
COLUMBIA, TIDES AX, OCTOBER 11, 1836.
TERMS, $5 PER ANN., IN ADVANCE.
ADVERTISING, USUAL PRICES.
MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT,
TO THE FIRST CONGRFSS OF THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS.
Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives ;
Tin: assembling of the elect representatives of a free and
sovereign people, within the late department of Texas, is an
event that calls for the warmest gratulations of every patriot
heart. But mutual felicitations alone, would be inadequate to
express the high sentiments that .ought to pervade our bosoms
on this solemn and interesting occasion. Holier and loftier
feelings become us; for it is meet that we raise our thoughts
and our thanksgivings to that omnipotent Being, who rules the
Universe, directs the affairs of empires, and guides the destiny
Among the many revolutions that have varied the political
condition of men, few have exemplified more clearly, than that
in which we are now engaged, the controlling supervision, and
the high approbation of a beneficent Providence. We have re-
alized, by actual demonstration, that "the battle is not always
with the .strong" The enemy came upon us, a well marshalled
10St with great vigor and might; but he was repelled by a
mere handfull of patriots, and the flush of his confidence, in-
spired by numbers, was turned to paleness and trembling. It
therefore behoves us, in the spring-time of our national exist
ence, to lift up our hearts in devout gratitude to the God of
battles, that peradventure He may continue his blessings and
vouchsafe to us a happy issue to all our labors.
On you, fellow-citizens, members of the first Congress of
the republic of Texas, labors oi the most arduous, the most in-
teresting, and the most important character devolve. To rou
is committed the beginning of legislation; and as you shall la.y
the foundation, so will be reared the superstructure. On you,
therefore," rests the high responsibility of giving political cha-
racter, and moral reputation, to one just born into the family of
nations. The present generation will feel and exhibit the im-
press of your doings, and ouo posterity will transmit it to gene-
rations unborn. 1 pray, therefore, that in all your delibera-
tions, you may be so guided by a spirit of wisdom, of justice,
and of truth, that when the star of Texas shall culminate in all
its brightness, it may shed forth a glorious and beneficent light.
And whether she take her station among the illustrious constel-
lation of the North, or revolve on her own axis and within her
own sphere, that she may display, not only the goodness of God,
but the wisdom and prescience of her early legislators.
On me rests the duty of presenting to your consideration, a
brief exhibit of our present political condition; and to suggest
such measures as may be adapted to supply the wants, secure
the well-being, and develope the resources of our beautiful
country. In the execution of this task, there is much to excite
embarrassment and apprehension; but more to animate our
hopes and foster a spirit of perseverance. Many difficulties
have been overcome and many remain to be subdued. But a
general spirit of harmony, unify of purpose and of action, and a
sincere devotion to the public weal, will easily surmount them
all; and Texas will soon be enabled to assert a legitimate claim
to be received among the nations of the earth.
. The government ad iiilcrim, over which I have the honor
to preside, has hitherto conducted its labors under every imagi-
nable difficulty. At the institution of that government, the
forces of the enemy were rapidly advancing into the country,
with an imposing array. The mqans of repelling the formidable
invasion, were not of sufficient power to inspire general confi-
dence, and many families had abandoned their homes and were
fleeing from the approaching devastation. The entire settle-
ments, from the Nueces to the Colorado, had been broken up,
and the fall of the Alamo, where the gallant Travis and his
brave associates consecrated their lives to the liberty of Texas,
had spread dismay even to the line of the Brazos. Our military
force in the field was greatly inferior in numbers to that of the
host that was marching against us: and were it not, that there
was a vast discrepance between the military capacities of the
opposing armies, the subjugation ol iexas would nave appeared
inevitable. But that discrepance had constituted an important
ground of confidence in the secession, and it was worthy of all
estimation; for it was a discrepance, not only of military prow-
ess, but of moral attributes and of political knowledge.
The administration which had been organized at the town
x)f Washington, deemed it expedient io change its location to
Harrisburg, from which point it could possess an easier access
to foreign countries (from whence our chief supplies of muni-
lions were to be obtained) and a more direct supervision of its
naval and other maritime concerns. Such removal was ac-
cordingly effected within a few days, after the government was
At this gloomy period the financial affairs of the country
were in a condition more deplorable, than its military equip-
mp.nts. The commissioners, Messrs. Austin, Archer, and Whar
ton, appointed by the late Provisional Government, had negoci-
jated a loan for two hundred thousand dollars, and another for
:fifty thousand, with sundry individuals in the city of New Oilcans.
Ht was doubtless the best arrangement that could be made at
,'that period. Mr. Robert Triplett, a principal subscriber to
each of the above loans, presented himself to the government
;.at Harrisburg. Twenty thousand dollars had been paid in, on the
sfirstloan, and the whole of the second was advanced. The rati-
sfication of those loans had been submitted to the Convention,
.and by them was referred to the Executive Government. On
".inspecting the terms of the loans, some of the conditions were
considered inadmissible . The exclusive right to an immediate
location of the scrip, was a privilege, which it was believed
would cause infinite dissatisfaction in the country, arid be espe
cially obnoxious to the volunteers of the army; the nature of
whose services, would seem to preclude any right of priority of
. location, in others. For no species of public service is consi
dered more onerous, or more entitled to recompence, man mat
donation of thirty-two leagues of land, to be distributed pro rata
among the stockholders, in consideration of a relinquishment of
the right of priority of location, conceded to them, by the terms
of the original contract. The modification was accepted by
Mr. Triplett for himself. He was not' vested with authority to
bind his co-lenders; but he expressed an opinion, that they also
would accede to it. From the first loan, the government confi-
dently anticipated a fiscal aid of some importance, in the then
pressing emergency ; but as the sequelwill disclose, they were
unhappily disappointed. Mr. Triplett, on his return to the
United States, presented his modified contract to his associate
stockholders, and to our surprise they unanimously voted against
its reception, and declined advancing the residuum of the loan.
Some disappointment resulted from this decision of the
lenders;, and the government felt the inconvenience of an illu
sory anticipation. A new proposition has been made to the
lenders, to adjustthe amounts advanced, on the principles of the
modified contract; but no definite answer has been had to that
overture. The presumption is, that it will noHbe accepted, and
that the settlement of the whole transaction, will devolve on
Congress, for I have long since determined to submit the whole
matter to your decision.
The result of this negotiation, afforded conclusive evidence
of the impracticability of anticipating the wants of the country,
by ordinary loans. Some other course was necessary, and the
government resolved to issue scrip for land, considering the pub-
lic domain as the most available and the least objectionable
source of public revenue. Accordingly, the agent appointed in
New Orleans, Thomas Toby, Esq., a gentleman who had al-
ready made considerable advances on account of the govern
ment, and had manifested a warm sympathy in our behalf, was
authorised to issue scrip, to the amount of five hundred thousand
acres of land, to be located on the public domain of Texas; and
to dispose of it, at the established minimum price of fifty cents
per acre. He has subsequently been empowered to extend his
issues to one million of acres.
The finances of the country is a subject of vast importance,
and will commend itself to the early and serious attention of
congress. The adoption of a plan for a permanent and certain
revenue,is indispensable; and 1 trust your combined intelligence,
will suggest such a system, as will answer the great purposes
intended; and will afford a general satisfaction to your constitu-
ents. The principal points to be observed, in drawing contribu-
tions from the people, for the support of the government, are
equality of burden, and facility and cheapness of collection.
Unequal taxation is one of the most odious features of despotism.
A number of patriotic citizens have voluntarily executed
their bonds for various sums, and tendered them to the govern-
ment, with a view to relieve the present exigencies of the
country. These bonds, amounting in the aggregate to one hun-
dred and twenty thousand dollars, have been transmitted to the
agents, Messrs. T. Toby and brother, by the quartermaster
general, and a hope is entertained that they will prove a pre-
Duties on imports and in some cases on exports, constitute
a convenient and economical mode of supplying the public neces-
sities; and are less onerous to individuals, than almost any other
impost. They therefore form a part of the financial resources of
all countries. The idea of a free international commerce, is a
modern improvement, that reflects great: credit on the philan-
thropy of the present age; and it is much to be regretted that
the entanglements of ancient institutions, and the inveteracy of
confirmed habitudes, have prevented its adoption by the princi-
pal nations of the earth. While these oppose ii, by cordons of
custom houses and ponderous codes of revenue laws, it would
be vain and ineffective, for a nationjust springing into existence,
to attempt its practical establishment. When the abundant in-
trinsic resources of our country, shall be fully developed, then it
may be the peculiar glory of Texas, to invite the kindred nations
of the earth, to an unembarrassed intercommunion of their
diversified products. The effect of such a system, on the peace
and happiness of nations, and on the comforts and enjoyments
of individuals, would transcend all that has heretofore been
accomplished, by the straightened and selfish spirit of commerce;
and that spirit, parsimonious and jealous as it is, has done -much
to meliorate the condition of man, by dispensing the munificent
and various benefactions of Providence, to and from the remo-
test climes. The institution of a Tariff, is a matter of great
delicacy, requiring a minute attention to the smallest concerns
of domestic life. An excessive or disproportionate charge, upon
one necessary article of merchandize, would violate the grand
principle of equalization; and I trust you will be enabled, so to
order the assessments, as to avoid that evil. The experience of
the nation, from which we have seceded, affords abundant testi-
monjr, of the pernicious consequences of an overcharged tariff.
An exhorbitant rate of duty, not only defeats itself, by presenting
allurements to evasions of the law; but it has a tendency to de
moralize a valuable portion of the community. It is one of the
most interesting purposes of legislation, to purify and elevate
the standard of moral sentiment among the people.
The military organization of the country is defective in
many respects, and will require your eany attention, mc uiw
offering a bounty in lands, to volunteers, expired by its own
limitation on the hist of July, and since that period, a number
of volunteers have arrived in the country, to aid in its defence.
Common justice would seem to require, that the same remuner-
ation be conceded to them, that is rendered to their predeces-
sors in the chivalrous enterprise, for they were doubtless actua-
ted by similar motives, and stimulated by similar inducements.
From the present aspect of our foreign relations, we have
every reason to believe, that a further accession of these gen
erous champions ol liberty, may oe uesirame; aiiu arrange-
ments are made, which I trust will be adequate to all our wants
in this respect. But I would recommend to your consideration,
the propriety of withholding all inducements, to enlistments for
which is rendered in the field of battle. Under these imp res-! short periods of time; for it is very apparent that a volunteer
sions, we proposed to Mr. Triplett a modification of the loans, for three or six months, can scarcely be lamihanzed with the
.and agreed to reduce the price of the landvor rather to make a I ordinary duties of a camp, before his term of service expires.
The continuation of the land bounty system, is perhaps expe-
dient, but it is also desirable that it be made as effective as
possible, in the grand purpose ofits creation.
The report of the secretary of war, will inform you of the
present condition of the army. Its numerical strength has been
fluctuating on account of the frequent accessions and discharges
of volunteers, under short enlistments. A more permanent es
tablishment will obviate this, with many other and more serious
The army has suffered, and is still suffering some privations;
but considering the very limited financial resources of the gov-
ernment, their supplies have been as abundant and as regu-
larly administered, as could reasonably be expected. The
Executive government has been anxiously and assiduously
intent upon rendering them as comfortable as possible, and if
occasional failures have occurred, they are attributable to in-
evitable circumstances. The quarter master general has been
sent to New Orleans, for the purpose of facilitating the pro-
curement of supplies from that quarter. The approach of
winter admonishes us of the great necessity of obtaining
comfortable clothing, and ample provisions for our gallant
troops, whose exposures in the tented field, will command your
earliest and most active solicitudes. Orders to a large amount
have been transmitted, for provisions, clothes and other requi-
sites; and a hope is entertained that an adequate supply will be
speedily obtained. But orders had previously been issued of a
similar character, and owing to the want of means, they have
resulted in disappointment.
The present condition of the navjr, is by no means com-
mensurate with the importance of that arm of the public de--fence.
The defect of means has restrained the executive gov-
ernment, from effecting any actual increase of its strength.
Some efforts have been made, to improve its organization.
Conceiving it of importance that an immediate and responsible
commander-in-chief should be created, who was himself a prac-
tical man, and practically engaged in the service, I appointed,
with the advice and consent of the cabinet, Charles E, Haw-
kins Esq., a gentleman whose gallantry and nautical science,
would grace any service, to that high office, with the rank of
Commodore. The operations of the navy, have been as efficient
as could have been expected. They have prevented any dep-
redations on our coast, by the enemy, and have expelled his
maritime forces from the gulf. The want of one or more ves
sels, of a larger class than any in the service, is sensibly felt,
and no eiiorts should be untried, to accomplish the important
acquisition. One brig of 18 guns, in conjunction with our present
force, would secure to ns-thecoinmainro'f-th g,ulf, and greatly
facilitate the operations of our own army, while it would enable
us to embarrass every military movement of the enemy.
The judicial department of the government is in a very
imperfect state. By the Constitution, the old system is abol-
ished and an entirely new judiciary created: but it was not con-
sidered advisable, by the executive government, to make any
iurther innovation upon the established courts, than necessity
imperiously demanded. The courts were closed to civil busi
ness, and they were thought to be adequate to the conservation
of the public peace of the country. But I am apprehensive
that opinion is illusory,' and that a more energetic administration
of criminal justice, is indispensable. The increase of crime, is
an inevitable concomitant to an increase of population. Under
the existing system, there was no tribunal in the cduntry, vested
with maritime jurisdiction cind consequently, none competent to
adjudicate questions, arising from captures on sea. Some prizes
had already been taken, and it was due to the character of the
navyand of the country, that a regular and lawful disposition,
should be made of them. The government therefore, concluded
to appoint a district judge for the district of Brazos; within
which, it was probable, all prizes taken, would be brought, or to
which they could easily be transported. I accordingly appointed
Benjamin C. Franklin Esq. to that office. It remains for the
wisdom of congress to determine, how soon the new organiza-
tion shall be perfected.
The recent and much lamented decease of the honorable
Bailey Hardeman, whose devoted patriotism and inflexible in-
tegrity are well known, and who has been with me through all
the vicissitudes of the times, deprives me of the pleasure of pre-
senting to you a regular report from the treasury department.
The principal intelligence in my power to convey, you will find
in the auditor's expose, herewith transmitted. The importance
of filling the vacancy in that interesting department of the gov:
ernment, induced mc to invite to it. Barnard E. Bee, Esq. a gen-
tleman of high character, to whom 1 had previously designed
tendering the office of secretary of state, to which office I have
The post office establishment, created by the late provisional
government, ceased its operations soon after the advance of the
enemy within our settlements, and they have not been re&umed.
The great importance of instituting the means of transmit-
ting intelligence throughout the country, scarcely involves a
question; and I doubt not, you will render an early attention to
this interesting subject. The want of such means has been se-
riously felt by the present administration.
It will be recollected, that the powers conferred on the gov-
ernment. l,ad interim" were extraordinary: that they comprised
the plenal attributes of sovereignty, the legislative and judicial
functions excepted. The circumstances under which that gov-
ernment has been administered, have been equally extraordi-
nary. Sometime, when Texas was a moving mass of fugitives,
they have been without "a local habitation,'7 and scattered to
the cardinal points: again they have been on Galveston island,
without a shelter, and almost without subsistence; and never
have they been in circumstances of comfort and convenience,
suitable to the orderly conducting of the grave and momentous
business committed to their charge. That errors should have
been committed, and that duties should have been omitted, under
such circumstances, will not surprise those who have an honest
consciousness of their own fallibilities. But that those extraor.-
roxci.uDi:i) o fourth i'age.
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G.& T.H. Borden. Telegraph and Texas Register (Columbia, Tex.), Vol. 1, No. 33, Ed. 1, Tuesday, October 11, 1836, newspaper, October 11, 1836; Columbia, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth47895/m1/1/: accessed November 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.