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Kerr's Friendship with Austin-Arrival at Brazorià.

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the war broke out in 1811-12, and early Senate, over his father-in-law, Major enrolled themselves in the volunteer ser- Caldwell, one of the most popular men vice, and acquitted themselves through- in the state. While serving in the leout the struggle with much credit. gislature he took strong ground in favor Thomas, the younger brother, was one of encouraging, by all legitimate means, of the youngest volunteers in the field. the Santa Fe trade, then in its infancy, He and William were employed in seve- and warmly and prophetically contended ral trying emergencies, and did well. that it would become a great source of They proved then and in after life to be wealth to Missouri. made of good material; Thomas having, He had at an early day contracted an as a citizen, and in various responsible intimate friendship with the lamented public stations, ever sustained an unim- Gen. Stephen F. Austin, who had long peachable reputation, went to the grave resided in that portion of Missouri, and in peace and honor in January, 1849, in was then planting his infant colony in Lawrence county, Missouri. Richard Texas. Austin knew the man, and Kerr, than whom a purer man never sought by every means to induce him lived, not only acquired a good name as to relinquish his seat in the Senate, and a soldier and officer in that war, but remove to Texas, and after mature reserved his fellow-citizens of Missouri, flection he resolved to do so. and afterwards of Illinois, in the legisla- He arrived at Brazoria in March, ture many years, and the United States 1825, with his family and servants, when government in several capacities with there were but few families in the colofidelity, and ever enjoyed a rare degree ny. During the following summer his of popular esteem; indeed, he was al- young and amiable wife and two of his most idolized by his friends, and had no three children sickened and died, thus enemies. He died on a visit to Texas, stamping his entrance into the wilderDecember, 1852. William, the only ness with the greatest calamity known survivor, still resides in Missouri. to the common lot of man.

Having thus digressed a moment, we There was then no American settlewill return to James Kerr, the pioneer. ment west of the Colorado river; but During the war of 1812, notwithstanding Green De Witt, of Missouri, had just conhe was very young, he filled various tracted for a colony on the Guadalupe military stations, and was in several en- and La Vaca rivers, and solicited Major gagements, in which he displayed that Kerr to become surveyor-general of it; cool intrepidity that afterwards sustained and until his (De Witt's) final removal him for so many years in the wilds of with his family, to take charge of the Texas. In the summer of 1813 he was colony. This he consented to do, and second in command at Boone's defeat in September, 1825, he settled near on the Illinois river, in which they were where Gonzales now stands, on the Guarouted, and hotly pursued for 24 hours. dalupe ; built suitable cabins for present He was awarded great praise for his use, and commenced a survey of the cobearing on that occasion.

lony. He had with him, besides his During the same season he and two servants, five or six young men, among other men were ambushed and attacked whom was that remarkable man afterby 17 Indians, at the mouth of Salt River, wards so distinguished as a spy, and in Missouri, in which his horse was known as Deaf Smith. Very soon anthree times wounded under him, and other family settled near him—that of finally killed. The party, through his Francis Berry, who died in January, cool daring and a well-contrived ruse, 1853, near Lockhart, Texas. after a chase of six miles, escaped. The country was then occupied by

After the war he was chosen sheriff of the numerous wandering tribes of InSt. Charles county, then extending to dians, who have since become so faBoons-lick, and now comprehending mous in Texan history. Parties of these some ten large counties. In this capa- savages frequently visited the little city he served four years, and then re- settlement and generally appeared pamoved to St. Genevieve county (in cifically disposed; but they still showed 1819-20), where he had married. He a lurking opposition to having the country had not been long there till he was surveyed, a process they little underelected to the House of Representatives, stood, yet to their minds it foreboded no and at the next election to the State good. Kerr subsisted his party almost

exclusively upon wild game and coffee, governor, Gonzales, to lay out and name as it was impossible to procure other the capital of the colony, embracing in supplies. A gentleman of Missouri, the tract four leagues or six miles square looking at the country, and having an of land. In honor of the governor, he introductory letter to him, found him in- named the place Gonzales. tently drawing maps, without any food He afterwards became surveyor of on hand excepting a venison ham. De Leon's colony, and surveyed most of

In June, 1826, he was called to San its lands. When De Witt removed his Felipe on business with Austin ; and settlers from the "Old Station” to Gonwhile absent, a portion of his household zales, Kerr was left alone, and for some started to a dance on the Colorado, some time remained without a neighbor near60 miles, to celebrate the 4th of July. er than 50 miles; but by prudence maWhile encamped and asleep on the naged to retain the friendship of the Insecond night of July, they were attack- dians in the immediate vicinity. No ed by a body of Indians, one of the men man, without having experienced somebadly wounded, their horses taken, and thing of the kind, can form an adequate the party routed. Returning next day idea of the dangers and trials, the to Kerr's house, they found it deserted, fluctuations of fear and hope, through one man dead and scalped in the yard, which persons thus situated' have to the house robbed and partially burned, pass. It would require a volume to reand other evidences of savage barbarity late the thousand and one interesting around. Passing on to Berry's house, they incidents and “hair-breadth 'scapes found it deserted, and on the door, connected with this period of Major written with charcoal, a memoranda, Kerr's life. In 1829-30, however, a that they were retreating to the Colora- few families settled within fifteen miles, do, whither the defeated and weary men and ere long several others, till a nucleus and women again started, and reached was formed, around which a good poputhree days afterwards in a suffering con- lation gradually gathered. Among those dition.

who first settled were the numerous faThis unexpected outbreak of the In- mily of the Sutherlands, Whites, and dians, and the weakness of the colony, Menefees, from Alabama, embracing a determined Kerr for the present to settle high degree of respectability and intelon the La Vaca, nearer the coast, and ligence, and who proved to be valuable nearer succor, which he did in October, auxiliaries. 1826, but continued the survey of DeIn 1827 Major Kerr made a tour into Witt's colony.

Mexico, with the view of extending his Soon afterwards, De Witt arrived knowledge of their laws and customs, with his family, and they built a little and derived much benefit from it. fort on the La Vaca, since known as In 1832 a convention of delegates was the "Old Station." Here the germ of the called to frame a state constitution, to be colony remained and made corn in 1827. sent on to the supreme government for During the latter year, what was known approval, and Major Kerr was elected a as the Fredonian war, headed by Ed- member of that body; and again, in wards, broke out at Nacogdoches, the 1833, when a similar body was demanded avowed object of which was to establish for the same purpose, (the first having an independent republic. The far-see- failed of success, he was almost unaniing Austin and his colonists, in their mously chosen as a delegate a second weak condition, looked upon the step as time. For bearing the constitution most suicidal, and bitterly opposed it. adopted by the latter body, Austin was A commission of five discreet persons, imprisoned in the city of Mexico. headed by Major Kerr, were sent on tóW hen the revolution broke out in Nacogdoches to negotiate and remon- 1835, Kerr was early on the frontier, and strate with the leaders there, and greatly participated in the battle of Lipantitlan to the satisfaction of their constituents, on the 4th of November. He was elected succeeded in their mission.

a member of the first consultation, Though Kerr continued his connection but did not leave the army in time to with De Witt's colony for several years, take his seat; being, however, immehe remained permanently on the La Va: diately chosen a member of the General ca, then in the municipality of Mata- Council of the Provisional Government, gorda. He was commissioned by the he at once entered upon the discharge

Kerr's Appointment in the Army, and Election to Congress. 339

of his duties, and did much that winter settling up his long-neglected private to aid the government and the troops in affairs, and devoting himelf to the purthe field. While in the council, he was suits of agriculture and to the education elected a member of the convention of his children, (having married a second which declared Texas independent; but time in 1833.) from the imminent danger of his family, Still, much of his time was given to on the approach of Santa Anna, he was the public, rendered valuable as his infor. compelled to postpone taking his seat; mation was in regard to the history of and before he could leave them in a safe the country and the rights of property ; position, the convention adjourned from and after our annexation to the mother necessity.

country, he served as one of the United In the organization of the republic in States marshals. March, 1836, he was appointed by Pre- Like his distinguished relative, Philip sident Burnet major in the army, and as Doddridge, Major Kerr possessed a rea necessary precaution to enable him to markable memory that never failed him; devote his entire time to the public good, a discriminating knowledge of men and he sent his family to Missouri, where they things; a strong and well-balanced mind; remained some time. In the spring of and a nobleness of heart that ever made 1837 he also visited his old home in that him a favorite with his friends—a highstate, and received many flattering marks toned and honorable gentleman, long to of respect from his former friends, and be remembered with grateful affection the people wherever he was known by those who knew him.

In 1838 he was elected to the Texan Though well advanced in life, and Congress, in which body he rendered having for nearly fifty years lived through invaluable service to the exposed fron- continued trials and hardships, incident tier, in securing the passage of the first to his residence in new and dangerous anti-dueling law, and the removal of frontiers, he enjoyed good health and an the seat of government from Houston to unabated flow of good spirits, till the Austin; a measure of cherished policy brief illness which closed his life. on the part of the western half of the He died suddenly, of pneumonia, at republic. No man exerted more salutary his old residence on the La Vaca, on the influence in that body; nor was any one 23d of December, 1850, aged sixty years better qualified by long residence, patient and three months. He chose to be investigation, and intimate acquaintance interred on his own premises; and in with the land laws and system of Mexico, presence of a large concourse of friends to propose wise legislation in regard to his remains were deposited in the spot the land titles of the country which he selected by himself. A handsome marhad adopted.

ble tomb, with an appropriate inscripSoon after this, Major Kerr, long having tion, marks the spot. Long will he be devoted himself to the public interests, remembered as one of the noble pioneers sought retirement, with the view of of Western Texas.






The extension of our territory to the Every day is it more indispensable that Pacific, -the inland and inter-sea com- we become acquainted with the means munication we are proposing to open for and the resources, the wealth and the the accommodation of our remote settle- power, of nations around us, with whom ments, and for the promotion of India we are to have close commercial and trade, are introducing, as we have fre- social intercourse. In this view we have quently pointed out, a new era in the presented, in our pages, within the last history of the American confederation. few months, elaborate papers upon


“Mexico," upon “Cuba," the “Sand- belot,ll the name was derived from Tsin, wich Islands," "Australia," « South or Chin, a celebrated family in Chinese America," and "Russia.” We proceed history, who held possession of a large to other countries of equal interest. portion of the western part of China; to

It has been a question long agitated which portion the name China being by the learned, whether the country first given by travelers from the west, at now known as China is identical with length became extended to the whole that of the ancient Seres, whose territory empire. According to Kloproth, the is called by Ptolemy and others Serica. name China is derived from the Malays, M. Malte Brun is opposed to the iden- who call the country Tchina. tity, and considers the ancient Serica The Chinese have a variety of names the same country as that of the most for themselves and country. One of the western regions of Thibet, or perhaps most ancient is Tien Hia, meaning "beCashmere, Little Thibet,' and Little neath the sky," and denoting the world. Bucharia.' Most of the highest modern Another name nearly as ancient is szi authorities, such as Gibbon,* Murray, Hai ; that is, “all within the four seas." Du Halde, Kloproth, † M. Abel-Remusat, The most common name given by the De Guignes, and other distinguished inhabitants to the country is Chung orientalists, decide for the identity. Dr. Kwoh, or Middle Kingdom, from the Anthon rests the question upon the testi- idea that China is the centre of the earth, mony of Ptolemy, whose descriptions, the Chinese having as good a right to made from accounts which he heard in call their country the centre of the earth India, are found by modern geographers as the Greeks theirs. Hence Mr. Wilto be remarkably accurate, particularly liams entitles his late invaluable work regarding the river Hoang Ho, which he on China The Middle Kingdom.The describes under the name of Baúticos, Malays, Hindoos, Persians, Arabians, (Bautisus.) Vossius is positive on the and other Asiatic nations, apply to subject. 'He says: $ “Whoever doubts China the names Chin, Sin, Sinas, Tžinisthe identity of the Seres of the ancients tae, and other similar names. It is and the modern Chinese, may as well thought, by eminent commentators, that doubt whether the sun which now shines the prophet Isaiah speaks of China as be the same with that which formerly “the land of Sinim,'' in chap. xlix. 12. gave light."

The Tsin dynasty established the cusIt is a singular circumstance that the tom of calling the country by the name empire of China, second to none in popu- of the reigning dynasty. The present is lation, and only second perhaps to that the Tsing dynasty, and hence the empire of Russia in extent, has ever borne a is now called Ta Tsing Kwoh; that is, name abroad utterly unknown to its in- Great Pure Kingdom. The terms Hanhabitants. The ancient name Seres for jin Han-tsz—that is, men or sons of Han the inhabitants, and Serica for the coun. -are now in common use by the people try, were derived from one, the word to denote themselves; the Han dynasty, used by the Greeks to denote silkworm, which was in power from 202 B.C. to 220 China being known to them only as the A.D., being regarded by the Chinese as land of silk; but the inhabitants them- the most glorious of all their dynasties. selves know nothing of those names. In The name Celestial Empire, Tien Chan, like manner the names China and Chi. is also used by the Chinese; but the nese are only known out of China. The term Celestials they have never ventured origin of the name China has given rise to adopt, that being, as Mr. Williams to much discussion. “The people them- says, of entirely foreign origin. selves have no such name for their EXTENT OF THE EMPIRE.—The most country, nor is there much evidence northern point of the empire is on the that they ever did apply the term to the Russian frontier, in lat. 56°, 30' N., the whole country."$ According to D'Her- boundary line running along the range

quote this work often, and rely upon it for a large * Gibbon's Rome, chap. xl.

amount of the information contained in this paper, + "Il n'y a plus de doute," says Kloproth, “ que les we take occasion to say of it, that it is the latest Seres des Anciens ne soient les Chinois." --Hist. de and most complete work that has appeared on l'Asie, p. 58.

China. Mr. Williams resided many years in China, t«sinenses hodiemos antiquorum Seres esse qui and is entitled to the highest credit for the valuable dubitat, is quoque dubitet licet idemne nunc atque information he furnishes. His work is entitled olim sol luxerit."

"The Middle Kingdom." Wiley, New York, 1851. 6 Williams's China, vol. 1., p. 2. As we shall Bibliothéque Orientale, tome 10, p. 8.

Principal Divisions of the Empire-Rivers, Lakes, fc.


of the Yablonoi mountains; Cape Pa- drained by the great navigable rivers, tience, including the isle of Sagalien, is the Kiang or Blue River, and the Hoangthe most eastern point of the empire, in ho or Yellow River. From east to west lat. 48° 10' N. and long. 1440 50' E. this vast plain country has an average The western bend of the Belur-tag width of 200 miles. South of the parallel mountains, in lat. 700 E., is the western of 300 is the hilly country. The hills do boundary. Cashgar is the largest town not attain a great elevation, and their of importance on the western frontier. sides are cultivated. Their tops are The southern boundary is extremely ir- covered with pines which have been regular. The most southern point of the planted. The region is well watered, Empire, including the Isle of Hainan, is and the greater portion of the surface is in lat. 18° 10' N. It has Siberia on the in a high state of cultivation. In the north; Independent Tartary on the west; mountainous portion of China only the India and the Birman Empire on the valleys, for the most part, are cultivated. south; and the Pacific on the east. The Rivers, LAKES, COASTS.—The Hoanggeneral figure of the Empire is a rect- ho and the Yang-tse-kiang are among angle; the longest line in which that can the largest rivers on the globe. The rivers be drawn, from south-west to north-east, of China, says Williams, are her glory, is 3,350 miles long. The length from east and no country can compare with her to west is about 77 degrees of long., and for natural facilities of inland navigation, the width about 40. The area of this The next two largest rivers are the vast region, as estimated by McCulloch, Aneour and the Tarim. The Yang-tseafter a most careful examination of the kiang is the largest river of China. It best authorities, is fixed at 5,300,000 is about 3,000 miles long. The Yellow square miles; which, says Mr. Williams, River is about 2,200 miles long. The is much nearer the truth than the usual Yang-tse-kiangis navigable nearly 2,000 sum of 3,010,400 square miles. The miles for boats, and for ships of the circuit of the whole empire is 12,550 largest size, some 300 or 400 miles. The miles, or about half the circumference river is very deep. It is found to be of the globe. The entire line of sea- over 120 feet deep 300 miles from the coast is 3,350 miles. The area of the sea. Its banks are not inundated to any Chinese Empire comprises about one- great extent by freshets. The tides are third of that of the whole continent, and perceptible 400 miles. The tributaries about one-tenth of the habitable globe. are very numerous and advantageously The Chinese Empire is nearly a third distributed; so that the river drains a larger than the entire territory of the basin of 750,000 square miles. United States.

The Yellow River drains a basin The Chinese themselves, who have an nearly as large; but it is a rapid, turbid, immense number of books on the geo- furious stream, only navigable by steamgraphy of the empire, divide it into three ers, which the Chinese have not. The principal divisions :

cities on its banks are constantly in dan. 1. The Eighteen Provinces, or China ger of being submerged. The disasProper.

trous overflowings of the river are a 2. Manchuria, or all the north-eastern perpetual source of expenditure to the part of the empire, extending west to government, and of peril and calamity about the meridian of Peking.

to the people. 3. Colonial Possessions, including Mon. Without a further description of indigolia, Koko-nor, Thibet, and all other vidual rivers in China, it is sufficient to parts not mentioned above.

say, that numerous large rivers flow China Proper has an area of about through the country, each some hundreds 2,000,000 of square miles; or it is about of miles in length, draining vast regions the size of our states east of the Rocky of country, unsurpassed in, fertility. Their Mountains.

banks are lined with populous cities and About half of the whole surface of towns. China Proper is very mountainous. The The lakes of China are comparatively north-eastern portion is called the Great few and small, the largest, the TungPlain, extending from the great wall ting Hu, being only 220 miles in cir. north of Peking, 700 miles, to the 30th cumference. parallel of N. latitude. This vast plain The coasts of China are lined through. is the richest portion of China, and is out with multitudes of islands and rocky

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