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a man somewhat conspicuous in the history of Texas of late years.  He is a Mexican, and now hails from Bejar.  Does not speak English.[15]  About 8 o'clock Dr. Cameron came in, and expressed much surprize that some gentlemen who had left Nacogdoches before him had not arrived.  He, Durst and Alderete had much conversation in Spanish.  The gentlemen expected were Mr. Guild, Mr. Newland and Capt. Sherman.  They did not arrive.

Monday, February 8, 1836

Capt. Sherman and Mr. Newland arrived to breakfast, also a number of travellers from Tennessee, etc., seeking for land and a home in Texas, among them Col. Geo. Reed, John B. Reed, J. W. Stamps, Jas. Beatty, Iredel Redding; they all started before us.  Guild, it seems, had gone back to Nacogdoches, and Newland stops here.  He is a young Scotchman, and it would seem there is some secret business on foot, in which he, Cameron, Durst, Alderete and Guild are concerned, and probably some gentlemen in Nacogdoches.  They are all of the Constitutional party, and are very solicitous to sustain the election of the four delegates from Nacogdoches who are of that party.  Forbes, the Alcalde, speaks of setting it aside for some informalities, at which they are indignant.  We are in the midst of a revolution.  Many intrigues are doubtless on foot.[16]  nous verrons.

Durst has acquired possession of a great deal of land, and is, or pretends to be alarmed at the state of things, and anxious to sell.  He says he has upwards of 40,000 acres in the tract on which he lives, which is part of an old Spanish grant, and will sell it for less than fifty cents per acre, including the beautiful improvements -- a mill, and the ferry across the Angelina.  It could not fail to be a good speculation.

Durst was in the last Congress that sat at Monclova.  Austin and Sam'l Williams were also elected, but when the Congress sat Austin was imprisoned in Mexico, and never took his seat.  Durst and Williams were the only two who represented Texas.  It was that Congress that authorized the Governor Viesca to sell 400 leagues of land, and it is said Durst got 100 of them.  The country is now ringing with charges of fraud and corruption, and Durst is out of favor with the sovereign people, who say that the revolutionary government must set the sale aside.  Durst explained the thing to me thus:  By the Constitution, or the laws, the government is authorized to sell portions of the public land when the exigencies of the country require it.  The last Congress resolved that the exigencies of the country required it, and authorized the sale of 400 leagues, for the same price that colonists pay to the Empressarios.  The colonists, however, have a credit of four, five and six years on their purchases, and are allowed six years to make a settlement in.  The purchasers of the 400 leagues pay the whole

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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