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from Natchitoches to Nacogdoches, forty-five miles from Fort Jesup, where he invited me to call.

Dr. Barton invited Thornton and myself to a seat in a private box at the theater with him, where I went reluctantly and spent a dull evening.  Play, Romeo and Juliet; Juliet by the celebrated Miss Philips.  She does not suit the character, too majestic, and to my notion, overacted.  The farce, Bold Dragoon, very tolerable.

Tuesday, January 12, 1836

Warm and raining.  Wrote letters, etc.  The loan is much talked of, and the Texians are in high spirits.  I feel an increased cordiality in their manner.  It has raised their credit, and others are now anxious to come in on the same terms.  This they cannot allow.  They have offers of credit for supplies, on the faith of the country.  I trust the stone, being set agoing, will now go ahead.

Wednesday, January 13, 1836

Fine day, clear and warm.  Hancock left today in the Caspian for Red River.  Memo. to take charge of his scrip, and call for him at Alexandria.  Send a messenger for him to Judge Johnson's, and he will accompany me up Red River.

Called with Thornton to see Mr. Jones (son of W. S. Jones, of Winchester, Va.), who unhappily killed his fellow student in Bedford County some years ago.  He is now practicing law here.  Has traveled in Texas.  Speaks highly of what he saw of it, but thinks there is no safety in buying lands.

Chewning and H. Dawson arrived today from Vicksburg.  No letters for me.  C. says there were none at Vicksburg.  What can be the meaning of this? 

In a conversation with Dawson he made the following proposition: he and his brother own about 11,000 acres of unimproved land, which they have entered.  If I will obtain capital, say $50,000, to invest in Negroes, they will put in their land at $2.50 per acre.  They will buy Negroes in Virginia or elsewhere, and place them in detachments on the land, so as to open several farms at once, and as good sales can be effected, sell land and Negroes together.  When the lands are sold, the $50,000 to be first returned without interest, and next the price of the land paid to them, and the profit on the operation to be divided equally between the two parties.  The two Dawsons to give their exclusive attention to the business, to buy slaves, hire overseers, and see that they do their duty, and make sales, and to make further entries of land, should the capitalist choose to go on in the business.  An agent to be established at Vicksburg, to receive and forward the slaves, supplies, etc.  This is a good money-making scheme, and is in fact the same plan that I proposed to Green.  The Dawsons have acquired a character as land hunters, and are worthy business men.  An

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The Diary of William Fairfax Gray, from Virginia to Texas, 1835-1837
Copyright 1997 William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas