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instructions in making the contracts; and finally, the government doubted its right to alienate the public lands. For these reasons the president and cabinet refused to ratify the loans and proposed to refund the money already advanced with twenty per cent interest, payments to be made in two instalments, six months and one year from date. The “faith and credit of the republic” was pledged for these payments, but the lenders wanted land, and Triplett, who had already submitted numerous proposals of compromise, finally secured the acceptance of one on the same day that Burnet's letter was written.
By the terms of the compromise, the right of prior location was surrendered by the lenders in return for a bonus of thirty-two leagues of land, which was to be distributed to them in proportion to their paid up subscriptions. As for the rest of the loan, they might pay it or not as they chose. The stockholders as a rule were inclined to accept the compromise, and a number of them, in fact, on May 25 voted to do so. They also intended, they afterward said, to advance the balance of the loan; but dissatisfaction arose over the form of the scrip which the government issued to them and, before this could be adjusted, the government authorized Thomas Toby & Brother to sell five hundred thousand acres of land at the same price at which it was offered to the lenders — fifty cents an acre. This destroyed the monopoly which they expected to enjoy and ruined their market, so that they declined to buy more. There followed a good deal of bickering on both sides, the government and the lenders charging each the other with bad faith, but by acts approved respectively June 3, 1837, and May 24, 1838, Congress made appropriations of land at fifty cents an acre to pay the two loans, and thus closed the most important chapter in the finances of the revolution.
· Burnet to Triplett, Gray et al., April 1, 1836. Archives of Texas, diplomatic correspondence, file 22, nos. 2164 and 2185.
? Dienst Collection, ii, 27. The original MS. of the compromise is in the comptroller's department, in file "relating to the $50,000 loan.”
Copy of the compromise in the comptroller's department, in file "relating to the $200,000 loan”; also Triplett to Jack, August 19, 1836. Archives of Texas, diplomatic correspondence, file 18, no. 1796.
• Triplett to Jack, August 19, 1836. Archives of Texas, diplomatic correspondence, file 18, no. 1796.
The next loan, $1,000, reached the treasury from the hands of Mr. G. C. Childress. Whether it was advanced by Childress personally or obtained by him as agent in the United States is not clear.
But the commissioners, greatly encouraged by their success in New Orleans, continued their activities in the United States. They were offered a loan of $50,000 in Mobile on the same terms as the New Orleans loan, but for some reason nothing ever came of it.? Elsewhere they were not so well received. Men hesitated to risk their money in Texas until a declaration of independence was made, and though the commissioners urged this step upon the government time after time, no attention was paid to them. Indeed, as late as April 24, Austin complained that they had heard from the government not “one word.” To make matters worse, there spread through the country rumors of the unchecked advance of the Mexicans and of the unfortunate quarrel between the governor and council, and it is not strange that the most strenuous efforts of the commissioners were in vain — although, as Wharton said, “we offer to the lenders to pledge all we have on earth, even to our wearing apparel.”
On April 11 Austin made an ingenious proposition to President Biddle of the United States Bank for a loan of $500,000.” Biddle sympathized with the Texans, but, needless to say, his business conscience could not accept Texan bonds as bankable security. On the 15th, Austin made a frantic appeal to President Jackson and Congress for a share of the $37,000,000 surplus in
· Treasurer's report, August 7, 1836. Archives of Texas, D, file 29, no. 2844. ? Commissioners to Governor Smith, February 16, 1836. Austin Papers, N 29.
3 Austin to Bryan, April 24, 1836 (copy). Archives of Texas, diplomatic correspondence, file 1, no. 41.
• Wharton to Smith, April 9, 1836. Archives of Texas, diplomatic correspondence, file 21, no. 2001.
• Austin Paper', N 15. The proposal was to deposit in the United States bank Texas bonds for $500,000, bearing eight per cent interest for ten years, upon which the bank should issue stock certificates at $100 each for the same amount. These stocks were to be offered to the public for a cash payment of $25, with notes at sixty, ninety and a hundred and twenty days for the bal. ance. The notes were to be discounted by the bank, and all the money thus obtained should be paid over to the commissioners. At the end of five years the state would begin the redemption of the bonds, and would take up onefifth annually.
the national treasury, but naturally nothing came of that.' Two weeks later arrangement was made for a loan of $100,000 in New York on the same plan as the New Orleans loans. The lenders in this case had the option of taking land in repayment at twentyfive cents an acre, but since the expense of issuing stock certificates and surveying the land was to be borne by them, it is doubtful whether they enjoyed any advantage over the former lenders. Ten per cent of the loan seems to have been paid, but only $7,000 can be accounted for. Austin deposited $5,000 with William Bryan in New Orleans, June 12, and $2,000 was paid to Wharton. The commissioners themselves admitted that they did not expect this loan to be ratified, “unless the prospects of Texas were gloomy even to desperation.” 5
Thus it is evident that the actual cash cost of the war of Texan independence was not great. The treasurer reported on March 1, 1836, that he had received and expended since November 28, 1835, $3,981.85. This amount was yielded principally by the revenues of Texas, but if any other sums ever came from the same source, the fact is not revealed by the records. Donations it seems certain did not exceed $25,000, and much of this was in kind; while the loans amounted, it was said, to $100,000.
The total indebtedness of the government at the end of August, 1836, was estimated by the treasurer at $1,250,000. Of this amount there was due for loans $100,000, on account of the navy $112,000, to the army $412,000, for supplies $450,000, and for civil and contingent expenses $118,000. The remaining $60,000 is not itemized. Some of these claims were paid in land, but the most of them were discharged with treasury notes, which subsequently were unmercifully scaled and redeemed. Such debts as remained unpaid at the time of annexation were paid from the ten million dollars which the state received from Congress in 1850.
1 Raines's Year Book for Texas, ii, 435, 436. The letter is addressed to "Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, Richard M. Johnson, John Forsyth, Lewis Cass, T. H. Benton, and to any member of the Cabinet or Congress of all parties and all sections of the United States."
* Treat to Austin, July 30, 1836. Austin Papers, N 15.
5 Austin, Archer, and Wharton to Burnet, July 21, 1836. Archives of Texas, diplomatic correspondence, file 1, no. 47.
• Treasurer's report, November 28, 1835, to March 1, 1836. Comptroller's department, in Miscellaneous Papers of the Treasury Department, 1835-1836.
? Estimate of Public Debt, August 26, 1836. Comptroller's department, in Miscellaneous Papers of the Treasury Department, 1835-1836.
In the end, therefore, notwithstanding the importance of the stake, it is easily seen that the cost of the revolution was trivial. And one is inclined to marvel with Mr. Morfit that Texas could have carried on “with so little embarrassment to her own citizens or her treasury” a successful war.
EUGENE C. BARKER. THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS.
A GOLD STANDARD FOR THE STRAITS
HE decade from 1870 to 1880 was noteworthy in monetary
history for the extensive substitution throughout the western world of a gold standard currency for the previously dominant bimetallic standard. The ten years beginning with the closing of the Indian mints in 1893 will in like manner be noteworthy for the extensive substitution in the eastern world of the gold standard for the silver standard which had theretofore existed throughout almost the entire Orient from time immemorial.
Among the most recent of oriental countries to undertake the adoption of a gold standard currency is the Straits Settlements. This British colony, composed of Singapore, Penang, Malacca and their dependencies, is one of the great entrepôts of the shipping trade of the Orient. Like most eastern countries it has had a varied monetary experience. The tin “pice,” the various kinds of silver rupees, the Dutch rix dollar, the Japanese copang, the Carolus dollar of Spain, the Mexican and British dollars and their kindred South American coins, as well as sterling coins and money coined by the Straits Settlements themselves, have all had at one time or another a wide circulation in the Malay peninsula. From early in the sixteenth century until the present time, however, in spite of several attempts to displace it,” the principal medium of exchange and the real money of account of the Straits Settlements has been the old Spanish dollar or some of its illustrious descendants like the Mexican and British dollar.
In 1867, the year of the transfer of the Straits Settlements from the control of the Indian government to that of the secretary of state for the colonies, an ordinance was passed repealing all laws making Indian coins legal tender and declaring that, after April 1 of that year, “ the dollar issued from her Majesty's mint at Hongkong, the silver dollar of Spain, Mexico, Peru and Bolivia, and any other silver dollar to be specified from time to
1 An excellent brief historical treatment of the Straits Settlements currency will be found in Chalmers' Colonial Currency, chap. 38. Ibid.