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Went with Triplett and Ritchie to the theatre, the play being for the benefit of Texas.  Met the Commissioners and sat with them in the parquet.  A poor house; rather a poor performance.  Left the house before the performance was over.  Wrote till 2 o'clock a.m.  Wrote to T. Green.

Understood Yates to say that, by the law of Texas (or Mexico), any person might rescind a bargain after receiving payment, should he desire it, by paying up principal and interest.  Can this be so?  Query.

Sunday, January 17, 1836

Wrote to T. B. Barton.  Received a joint letter of introduction from the three Commissioners to Governor Smith of Texas.  Also private ones from Austin to Gen'l Houston, and T. F. McKinney, mouth of the Brazos.  Gave Austin letter to I. Taliaferro and S. L. Southard.  Received letters also from B. Waller to Governor Smith, Edwin Waller, Columbia, and Wm. B. Travis, San Felipe.  Employed all the forenoon in writing; did not go to church.  Dined at Beverly Chew's; cordially received.  Company, Dr. Barton, Dr. Davidson and daughter, H. F. Thornton and self, Mr. and Mrs. Conolly and Miss Conolly.  Dinner and wine abundant and excellent.  After dinner walked with the gents. to see Clayton's ascension in a balloon.  He ascended from the State House yard.  Went up very finely, and remained in sight some fifteen or twenty minutes.  The day was colder and cloudy, threatening rain.  His course was northeast or east northeast.  Walked to the basin, or head of the new canal.  This canal and railroad company is connected with the bank of which Chew is cashier.  Arch'd Taylor was the first president.  It is a great work, and in successful progress.  Will add much to the wealth and health of New Orleans.

At night introduced to Major Richard B. Mason, U. S. army.  Conversation about Red River and Texas.  Says the Red River bears much more to the southwest than is represented on the maps.  The Comanches are a deceitful, mischievous, thieving tribe.  He has been among them, and saw a great many Spanish prisoners in their nation, a number of boys and girls, whites, that had been stolen by the Indians and raised by them.  Thinks the lands high up on Red River not so good as those about the Raft.

Had a long conversation with Dr. Richardson about Texas.  He is intelligent, communicative, and unpretending.  Corroborates the accounts given by others of San Antonio.  No building timber, no rain; the land would be desolate were it not for irrigation, which is easy.  One hand will irrigate fifteen acres in a day.  The old Spanish buildings are of stone, does not know where it is obtained; none in the country that he saw.  The climate is most delightful.  The valley, when viewed from the heights, seems covered with a hazy matter, resembling the Indian Summer, but not dense, transparent enough to show the most

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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