FINANCES OF THE TEXAS REVOLUTION
FINANCES OF THE TEXAS REVOLUTION. The public financial administration of Texas before the Texas Revolution is vaguely understood. Colonists were required to pay the state a small fee for land, and titles had to be written on stamped paper. Receipts from these sources were collected by local municipal officers and in due time, no doubt, were paid into the state treasury. The colonists were exempt from federal tariff duties until 1830, and thereafter the tariff administration was intermittent. When the revolution began, there was no accumulation of federal funds in Texas, and only negligible state fees were held by local collectors.
The provisional government passed through several stages during the revolution and at each stage faced the duty of providing supplies for military forces in the field. Briefly, the government used the receipts from stamped paper and land fees; obtained some goods on credit from local merchants, chiefly from the firm of Thomas F. McKinney and Samuel M. Williams; and accepted some subscriptions and donations from citizens. It passed a tariff act and took steps to collect tonnage and ad valorem duties, with little or no effect. It authorized a loan for $1 million and appointed a commission consisting of Stephen F. Austin, William I. Wharton, and Branch T. Archer to solicit loans and aid in the United States. In the meantime individuals and mass meetings made cash and commodity contributions in the United States.
Austin, Archer, and Wharton arranged two loans in New Orleans, one for $200,000 and the other for $50,000, on which they received a total down payment of possibly $60,000. The lenders had the option of taking repayment in land at the rate of fifty cents an acre, but the provisional government did not ratify the contract, and further installments were withheld by the lenders. Volunteers received land bounties as an inducement to enlistment, and ultimately most of the cost of the revolution, estimated at $1.25 million, was borne by the public lands.
Eugene C. Barker, "Finances of the Texas Revolution," Political Science Quarterly 19 (October 1904). Edmund Thornton Miller, A Financial History of Texas (Bulletin No. 37, Austin: University of Texas, 1916).