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Republic of Texas Laws—from the Declaration of Independence to Annexation



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516.     TEXAS (REPUBLIC). LAWS. Collection of eleven imprints (laws), all Texas imprints, 1838-1845. 8vo (21.5 cm), early twentieth-century brown cloth, red and black leather label, lettered in gilt: Laws of the Republic of Texas, First to Ninth Congress. Light shelf wear, title page of first imprint wanting upper right blank corner, light to moderate foxing and browning throughout due to paper quality, some leaves with light waterstains, overall very good copies of a rare assemblage of legal imprints, with continuous coverage of the first through the ninth congresses, plus supplements. It would take years to assemble a collection of these laws, if ever. Early twentieth-century pencil ownership of S.C. Bass in Sherman, Texas.

TEXAS (Republic). LAWS. Laws of the Republic of Texas, in Two Volumes. Printed by Order of the Secretary of State. Vol. I: [& II]. Houston: Printed at the Office of the Telegraph, 1838. Vol. I: [1-3] 4-276, [i] ii-v [1, blank] pp. Vol. II: [1-3] 4-122, [2, blank], [i] ii-v [3, blank] pp.

First edition. American Imprints (1838) 53260. Eberstadt, Texas 162:964. Gilcrease-Hargrett, p. 360: “Important acts relating to the protection of the frontiers against Indian depredations and hostilities.” Raines, p. 230. Sabin 94995-94996. Streeter 275. This is one of the fundamental works on the Republic of Texas, containing all the acts and resolutions passed by the First and Second Congress (1836-1838). The set begins with a complete printing of the Constitution of 1836 and the Texas Declaration of Independence, followed by the foundation laws of the new Republic. See Streeter’s notes 210 & 210A for the first and second issues of Vol. I, where he gives some idea of the difficulties of printing in the young Republic. Streeter explains that the first issue was incomplete (the printer could obtain only enough paper for the first 163 pp.). The second issue was not completed in two volumes because printing of the congressional proceedings (Streeter 249 and following) interrupted publication of the Laws.

TEXAS (Republic). LAWS. Laws Passed at the 2d Session of the 2d Congress of the Republic of Texas. April and May, 1838 [caption title]. [Houston: Printed at the Telegraph Office, 1838]. [1] 2-48, [2, index], [2, blank] pp.

Eberstadt, Texas 162:796. Rader 3065. Sabin 94997. Streeter 277: “This volume was apparently published as a private venture.” Includes incorporation of San Antonio, incorporation of the Brazos and Galveston Railroad, purchase of astronomical instruments, establishment of Galveston, establishment of Corps of Cavalry to protect the southwestern frontier, land grants to San Jacinto and other Texas Revolution veterans, establishment of various mail routes, etc.

TEXAS (Republic). LAWS. Laws of the Republic of Texas, passed at the First Session of the Third Congress. In one Volume. Houston: Telegraph Power Press, 1839. [2], [1] 2-145 [1, blank], [i] ii-v [1, blank] pp.

Second issue. American Imprints (1839) 58843. Eberstadt, Texas 162:799. Streeter 354A (setting out second issue points): “With same title, imprint, and date, but having on p. 145 (on different paper) an additional act approved Jan. 26, 1839 [An Act to provide for the punishment of Horse Thieves], and a certificate (dated April 30, 1839, and signed by James Webb, Secretary of State) of the accuracy of these laws ‘as published by Cruger & Moore,’ i.e. the Telegraph edition.” Sabin 95000. Content includes death penalty for horse theft, protection of the northern and western frontier from Comanche, audit of claims from Rusk’s campaigns against hostile Mexicans and Native Americans, act to encourage steam navigation, act to select a city between the Trinidad and Colorado River above the old San Antonio road and name it Austin and the seat of government of the Republic (don’t pay more than $3 an acres), obtaining loan of $1,000,000, translation of laws into Spanish, purchase of Library for the Republic, patent rights, opening trade between with Mexicans on the Rio Grande, etc.

TEXAS (Republic). LAWS. Alphabetical Index to the Laws of Texas, Arranged by a Member of the Bar. [Houston: Printed at the Telegraph Office, [1839?]. [i-iii] iv-xii, [2, blank] pp.

American Imprints (1839) 58842. Eberstadt, Texas 162:798. Sabin 95001. Streeter 353: “This index is to the Telegraph editions of the Laws of the first three congresses.”

TEXAS (Republic). LAWS. Laws of the Republic of Texas, Passed at the Session of the Fourth Congress. Printed by Order of the Secretary of State. In One Volume. Houston: Telegraph Power Press, 1840. [1-3] 4-280, [i] ii-vii, [1], [2], [1] 2-41 pp.

American Imprints (1840) 6502. Eberstadt, Texas 162:802. Raines, p. 230. Sabin 9500n. Streeter 415, 416, 478. Repeal of Coahuilatecan marriage laws and adoption of English Common Law, protection of frontier, mail routes, suppression of gaming and dueling, prohibition of free persons of color emigrating to the Republic, running the western boundary, allowing sale of reserved Cherokee lands, various acts relating to the Texas Navy, act for surveyors to make maps of counties, establishment of land reserve for Alabama-Coushatta, survey of Austin town tract, incorporation of the City of Austin, marking boundary between Texas and the U.S., money for supporting Caddo, raising the “Fannin Guards” Mounted Gunmen, etc.

TEXAS (Republic). LAWS. Laws of the Republic of Texas, Passed at the Session of the Fifth Congress. Printed by Order of the Secretary of State. Houston: Telegraph Power Press, 1841. [1-3] 4-189 1-8 [1],[2], [i] ii-viii pp.

American Imprints (1841) 5901. Eberstadt, Texas 162:804. Raines, p. 230. Sabin 95000. Streeter 479A: “Another issue [of entry No. 479], with same title, imprint, and date, but including four additional acts on p. 185-189, and with the appendix of proclamations separately paged (p. 1 on verso of p. 189).” Navigation of the Guadalupe River, spy companies for the Western frontier, protection of Texas shipping and coastal trade, granting the Alamo to the use and benefit of the Catholic Church, incorporation of “The Galveston University,” incorporation of the Texas Trading, Mining, and Emigrating Company, incorporation of the German Union of Texas, granting land to emigrants, detection of fraudulent land certificates, corps of volunteers to “dislodge hostile Indians” on upper Brazos, treaty with France, etc.

TEXAS (Republic). LAWS. Laws Passed by the Sixth Congress of the Republic of Texas. Published by Authority. Austin: S. Whiting, Public Printer—Congress Avenue, 1842. [1-3] 4-120, [i] ii-vii [1, blank]; [i] ii-viii (Abstract of Private Acts and Joint Resolutions…) pp.

Eberstadt, Texas 162:805. Graff 4112. Raines, p. 230. Sabin 95000. Streeter 537A. Includes public printing (appointing Samuel Whiting), licensing attorneys, Colorado Mining Company, ransom and rescue of Indian captives, pay of officers of Texas Navy.

TEXAS (Republic). LAWS. Laws Passed at a Special Session of the Sixth Congress of the Republic of Texas, Convened and Held at the City of Houston, June 27th, 1842. Houston: Printed at the Telegraph Office, 1842. [1-3] 4-9 [3] pp.

Eberstadt, Texas 162:806. Streeter 537A: “Another issue [of entry No. 537] with same title, imprint, and date, but with attestation numbered as p. 9.; 9 p. (including attestation on p. 9); index, ii p.; Abstract, etc.” Contains resolutions for the support of the Navy and for frontier protection, an act providing for the survey and sale of 400,000 acres of land formerly occupied by the Cherokee Indians, etc.

TEXAS (Republic). LAWS. Laws Passed by the Seventh Congress of the Republic of Texas. Houston: Telegraph Office, 1843. [1-3] 4, [i] ii-iv, [i]-ii, [2], [i] ii-xxvii [3, blank] pp.

American Imprints (1843) 4914. Sabin 95000n. Streeter 570: “Two proclamations re import duties on French wines, and free persons of color…. The treaties given at the end are the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation with Great Britain, signed November 13, 1840; the Convention with Great Britain relating to mediation by Great Britain between Texas and Mexico, signed November 14, 1840; the treaty with Great Britain for the suppression of the African slave trade, signed November 16, 1840; and the Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation with the Netherlands, signed September 18, 1840. The two treaties with Great Britain were proclaimed by President Houston on September 16, 1842, and the treaty with the Netherlands on January 4, 1843.” Includes release of Texian prisoners from Waco village, protection of sea coast (military fortifications), establishing peace with various tribes, relief of Texian prisoners captured by Mexicans, etc.

TEXAS (Republic). LAWS. Laws Passed by the Eighth Congress of the Republic of Texas. Published by Authority. Houston: Cruger & Moore-Public Printers-Main Street, 1844. [1-3] 4-120, [i] ii-vii [3, blank], [iii] iv-viii pp.

American Imprints (1844) 6075. Eberstadt, Texas 162:807. Raines, p. 231. Sabin 95000. Streeter 603. Colorado Navigation Company, authorization of John C. Hays to raise a company of mounted gunmen “to act as Rangers” on the Western and Southwestern frontier,” survey of Cherokee lands, runaway slaves, colonization contracts, relief of Minute Men, act to open and establish a National Road, Texas Navy vessels, etc.

TEXAS (Republic). LAWS. Laws Passed by the Ninth Congress, of the Republic of Texas. Published by Authority. Washington: Miller & Cushney, Public Printers, 1845. [1-3] 4-133 [1], [i] ii-ix [1, blank], [i] ii-vi pp.

Eberstadt, Texas 162:808. Raines, p. 231. Sabin 95000n. Streeter 651: “Proclamation of treaty with Comanche.” Act for providing for location of the Seat of Government of Texas, Brazos Canal Company, relief of J.C. Neill and many others, mail rates, tonnage duties, protection of the frontier (John Coffee Hays), incorporation of Baylor University, erection of light house on Galveston Island, limits of Mercer Colony, peace treaty with Comanche, Keechie, Waco, Caddo, and other tribes (with names of chiefs of each tribe), etc.


     As with many compilations of laws, these publications are important for revealing the day-to-day problems, both great and small, that confronted Texas’ founders as they struggled to organize a new nation. As briefly outlined above, the matters that required their attention ranged from relatively small, such as divorces and debts, to larger issues, such as military and governmental organization. In many ways, these publications provide insight and information on the early days of Texas not available in any other source.



Auction 22 Abstracts

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