Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown. Page: 141 of 894
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INDIAN }VARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
David G. Burnet.
David Gouveneur Burnet, son of a revolutionary
surgeon, was born at Newark, New Jersey, April
His family ranked high for intelligence and
moral worth. His elder brother, Jacob, was senator
from Ohio and many years Chief Justice of
that State. Another brother, Isaac, was long
Mayor of Cincinnati. David G. received a thorough
education and when in his eighteenth year,
on the 1st of January, 1806, joined in New York,
the expedition of Gen. Francisco de Mirando,
a native of Venezuela, for the liberation of that
country from Spanish bondage. On that day he
received from that patriot chief a commission as
Second Lieutenant of infantry, the original of which
is in my possession, a gift from him in 1869. The
sons of many noted families of New York, New
Jersey and Massachusetts, including a grandson of
President John Adams, were in the expedition.
The invading squadron entered the gulf of Venezuela,
accompanied by the British frigate Buchante,
whose launch boat was commanded by Lieut.
Burnet, under whose orders the first gun was fired
in behalf of South American liberty. This was in
an attack on the fort protecting La Villa de Coro,
on that gulf. The assailants carried the fort, its
occupants retiring to the interior. At Porto
Caballo, a number of the invaders were capturedten
of whom were slaughtered, some condemned to
the mines, and others died. The death of Pitt,
Premier of England and patron of Mirando, caused
an abandonment of the enterprise and the return
of the survivors to New York.
In 1808 Mirando renewed the contest and secured
a position on the coast. Burnet hastened to him,
but he was persuaded by the patriot chief to
return home. Soon afterwards Mirando was captured
and sent to Spain, where he died in prison.
Various thrilling incidents are omitted.
Burnet, a few years later, went to Cincinnati,
and early in 1817, to Natchitoches, Louisiana.
Threatened with consumption, in the autumn of
that year, he went among the wild Comanches and
lived about two years with them, recovering robust
health, and having as a companion for a part of the
time Ben R. Milam, who went among those wild
people to exchange goods for horses, furs and peltries.
On leaving them Burnet gave the Indians
all his effects in exchange for a number of Mexican
women and children held captives by them, all of
whom he safely returned to their people, refusing
all offers of compensation. For the seven succeeding
years, in Texas, Louisiana and Ohio, he
devoted his time to the study and practice of law.
Marrying a lady, whose memory is fondly cherished
wherever she was known, in 1826, he became a
permanent citizen of Texas, on the San Jacinto
river, near Galveston Bay, introducing a steam saw
mill, which proved a failure for want of people to
In 1833 he was a member of the convention
which drafted and sent to Mexico a proposed constitution
for Texas as a State, and a long and able
memorial praying for its adoption. Gen. Sam
Houston was chairman of the committee which
drew the constitution; Burnet wrote the memorial,
and Austin, as commissioner, carried both to
Mexico. The base imprisonment of Austin and
utter refusal to adopt the constitution and allow
Texas to have a separate State government from
Coahuila were the causes, direct and indirect, of
the Texas revolution.
In 1834 a law was passed establishing a Superior
Court in Texas, with a judge, and three districts
with a judge each
Bexar, Brazos and Nacogdoches.
Burnet was appointed judge of the
district of Brazos, that is, all of Central Texas.
He held terms of court until superseded by the
revolutionary provisional government in November,
1835, and was the only person who ever held a
court of law in Texas prior to that time.
The convention which declared Texas independent
and established its government as such, on
the 18th day of March, 1836 (the last of its
session), elected David G. Burnet, President;
Samuel P. Carson, Secretary of State; Thomas J.
Rusk, Secretary of War; Robelt Potter, Secretary
of the Navy; Bailey Hardeman, Secretary of the
Treasury, and David Thomas, Attorney General.
The presidency of this ad interim term continued
till the 22d of October, when it was succeeded
by officers elected by the people under the
constitution, Gen. Houston becoming President and
Mirabeau B. Lamar, Vice-president.
The fame of President Burnet very largely rests
upon his administration through those eight months
of peril, gloom, disaster and brilliant success.
The Alamo had fallen twelve days before. The
butchery of Fannin and his 345 men occurred nine
days later. Houston was then retreating before
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown., book, ; Austin, Tex.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/141/: accessed May 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .