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accepted these proffers, but resolved to make use of them “only when imperiously demanded in the most extreme emergency.”

The labors of the consultation practically ended with the enrolment of an ordinance creating a provisional government. By this instrument it was made the duty of the general council “to devise ways and means," and jointly with the governor it was authorized to contract loans "not to exceed one million of dollars," hypothecating the public land and pledging the faith of the country therefor. And they were invested with power “to impose and regulate imposts and tonnage duties, and provide for their collection under such regulations as may be the most expedient.” They should appoint a treasurer and clearly define his duties; and finally, all monies due or accruing on lands and all other public revenues were placed at their disposal. As if this were not sufficient latitude, the governor and council were given "power to adopt a system of revenue to meet the exigencies of the state.

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Upon the provisional government's assumption of power it was felt that the time had at last come for less tentative measures. The problem, as tersely stated by Governor Smith in his first message to the council, was "to call system from chaos"; but, "without funds, without munitions of war, with an army in the field contending against a powerful foe,” the outlook did not appear to him particularly bright. As a preliminary step he thought a treasurer and other fiscal officers ought to be appointed. The council agreed with him, and the committee of state and judiciary reported, on November 17,

that the immediate appointment of a treasurer to the provisional government, whose duty shall be clearly defined, is now devolving upon

matic correspondence, file 1, no. 6. Fannin to same, November 6, 1835, file 6, no. 559. Smith to same, November 8, 1835, file 18, no. 1708.

From a letter of Frost Thorn's to the consultation, dated November 1, 1835 (file 18, no. 1753), it would appear that Nacogdoches took the lead in these contributions. He said that $2,800 in cash and twenty-eight horses had been subscribed by the citizens of that jurisdiction, but if this money ever reached the consultation, no acknowledgment of it was made.

* Journal of the Proceedings of the Consultation, 7-48, passim. * Journal of the Proceedings of the General Council, 12, 14.

this body. Receipts and disbursements of public monies have been hitherto carried on without system, consequently without any other responsibilities to the public than that high sense of moral feeling which so eminently distinguishes the free sons of that country in revolutionary times from which our citizens have descended."

Accompanying this report, the committee submitted an ordinance creating a treasury department. It was passed the following day, but was vetoed by the governor because the salary of the treasurer was fixed at $3,000 a year, an exorbitant one, as he thought, with the finances of the state in the condition they then were. Upon further deliberation, the council unanimously sustained his objection, and on the 24th D. C. Barrett proposed a new ordinance, obviating it. By a suspension of the rules this was passed the same day, and the governor approved it on the 26th. Besides defining the treasurer's duties, the law directed that disbursements should be made only upon the order of the general council, “approved and signed by the Governor and attested by the Secretary of the Executive.” ?

The election of a treasurer, Josiah H. Fletcher, completed the organization of the department, but the method of drawing drafts, though a safe one, was a bit cumbersome, and the council passed an ordinance (December 2) providing that an order from the chairman of the finance committee should be a sufficient voucher to the treasurer for disbursements. The chairman was required to report such orders to the house, in order that the amount might be entered upon the journal, but the governor, with some justice, pointed out that this was an inadequate safeguard, and vetoed the bill. The council, however, was determined and passed it over his objection.

But, perhaps in anticipation of this action, Mr. Millard, chairman of the committee on finance, shrinking either from the responsibility or, more probably, the labor involved, secured the passage of a resolution for the appointment of a committee of


Journal of the Proceedings of the General Council, 19.

Ibid., 21, 23, 37, 43, 48, 49; Ordinances and Decrees of the Provisional Gov. ernment, 24-26.

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public accounts. This was “to receive, audit, and register said accounts,” and keep records showing the status of all claims, "whether passed, rejected, or under consideration,” and report upon them twice a week to the general council.

A fortnight later Mr. Royall, who had been appointed chairman of this committee, sought escape by creating the office of auditor, and his bill, amended to provide for a comptroller also, was passed December 26. The law defining the duties of these officers is a rambling one of twenty-one sections; but in brief it was declared the duty of the auditor to pass upon the validity of all claims, keep the books of the government and, after observing the proper formalities, draw drafts on the treasury to cover audited accounts. After approval by him claims under $4,000 had to be examined independently by the comptroller. In case of disagreement between the two, the auditor might appeal to the decision of the council if it were in session or, in its absence, to the governor. All claims for more than $4,000 he must submit first to the council or governor, and, when passed by them, to the comptroller for his approval — in this case, perhaps, merely formal. All drafts on the treasurer must be signed by the auditor and countersigned by the comptroller, and if the amount were greater than $4,000, they must bear in addition the approval of the governor or council. But the council reserved the right to order "payments on claims not within the provision of this ordinance." Twice a week - on Wednesday and Saturday — to prevent fraud, auditor and comptroller must make to each other reciprocal reports of claims audited and drafts signed, and once a week both were required to report to the general council or the governor. The governor objected to the clause which gave the council power of exempting certain claims from the operation of the law, but the bill was passed unchanged over his veto (December 29).?

The appointment of officers to collect, respectively, customs duties and dues on land completed the establishment of the fiscal administrative machinery.

But the provision of revenue was a matter of greater difficulty. The committee on finance estimated on paper an adequate income

Journal of the Proceedings of the General Council, 145. ? Ibid., 200, 205, 210; Ordinances and Decrees, 99-105.

from sale of the public domain, taxes on land, a tax on slaves, an export duty on cotton and tonnage and tariff duties; but they were constrained to admit that, although the picture which they presented might be "flattering and exhilarating in the highest degree to the patriot and statesman, ... yet the urgent, pressing, and unavoidable exigencies and immediate necessities of our state . . . require a fund to which it can immediately recur.” To secure this, they could think of no project “possessing in a higher degree all the essential requisites of speedy operation, and combining celerity and certainty in its accomplishment, than that suggested by a loan.” 1

In the end this really did prove, though none too speedy in its operation, the country's chief means of securing ready money, but the council had no notion of trusting all their ventures to one bottom. To mention their experiments in chronological order: on November 27 an ordinance was approved granting letters of marque to privateers; on December 5 a general law provided for the negotiation of a million-dollar loan; a week later a system of tonnage and tariff duties was declared; on December 30 measures were taken for the efficient collection of land dues; on January 6 the sale of certain public property was ordered by resolution; and on January 20 an issue of treasury notes was authorized. To these sources of revenue must be added finally a number of donations. In discussing these measures donations will be considered first and loans will be postponed till the last.

Most of the donations came from the United States, and, though never very great, as an evidence of good-will they afforded encouragement to the Texans far out of proportion to their intrinsic importance. The contribution of the New Orleans committee during the session of the consultation has already been noticed, but at the same time similar committees were busy in Natchitoches and Mobile. November 15 the council acknowledged the receipt of a letter from D. H. Vail, of the former place, informing them that he had received "in different articles about $800 for the benefit of Texas, and at the same time news came that in Mobile $2,000 had been raised. On November 30 General Hous


Journal of the Proceedings of the General Council, 61-67.

? Ibid., 8.

ton presented a gift of $100 from Mr. John Hutchins, of Natchez, Mississippi,' and some two weeks later we find the council taking steps to change a thousand-dollar bank note which, Gouge says, was a contribution from the United States. In the meantime, commissioners had been dispatched to the United States for the purpose primarily of negotiating a loan, but with instructions among other things to receive donations, and late in February they reported a gift of $500 from three citizens of Nashville. About the same time Samuel St. John, a rich cotton factor of Mobile, authorized the provisional government to draw on him for $5,000. He had visited Texas, he explained, in the summer of 1832 and had ever since retained a lively interest in her welfare, because of her peculiar facilities for cotton growing. On March 7 the convention passed a resolution of thanks to H. K. W. Hill of Nashville for a gift of $5,000,and on May 20 the citizens of Port Gibson, Mississippi, made a cash donation of $927.8 As late as June 27, a Dr. Williams presented a donation of $650 from the United States, but I have found no reference to other contributions, though it is not unlikely that others were made. The commissioners in their progress through the country appointed numerous local and general agents to solicit volunteers and donations, and the funds collected were employed in equipping those who volunteered. With the exceptions noted, this seems to have been the form in which all the contributions mentioned reached the Texans.


Journal of the Proceedings of the General Council, 78. ? Ibid., 171; Gouge, Fiscal History of Texas, 32. 3 Austin Papers, N 12.

* St. John to Governor Smith, February 22, 1835. Archives of Texas, diplomatic correspondence, file 16, no. 1586.

• Proceedings of the Convention at Washington, in Gammel's Laws of Texas, i, 848–849. • Treasurer's report, August 7, 1836. Archives of Texas, D, file 29, no. 2844.


Stewart Newell, agent in Philadelphia, was instructed to use for this purpose all money collected before the middle of June. Austin Papers, N 5.

Mr. Henry M. Morfit, writing to Hon. John Forsyth, under date of September 4, 1836 (24th Congress, 2d Session, House Ex. Doc. no. 35, p. 15), says that several individuals have “unostentatiously presented $5,000, while numbers have contributed $1,000 each,” but a diligent search through the archives has failed to corroborate this.



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