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Cattle Raids and Frontier Marauders

it is almost impossible to keep a horse. The latter I believe are almost as great a pest as the Indians. They come in from the Río Grande trading, bring in a drove of horses and mules.[22]  They sell out and buy what merchandise they want and steal all the good horses they can lay their hands on to carry back with them. In most instances, the Indians bear the blame. There is at present a constant communication between the Mexicans on the Río Grande and this place. It is encouraged on account of the trade, but the policy appears to be exceedingly doubtful -- for they steal almost as many horses as they bring in.[23] 

"Something ought to be done for the protection of the West," declared the editor of the Matagorda Bulletin.[24]  Shortly after retiring as Secretary of War, Colonel William S. Fisher, impatient with Houston's policy of leaving Mexico alone, wrote on February 6, 1838: "The people have lost faith in the Administration. They consider that the tendency of the whole of its measures is to prolong the war to an indefinite period, and then cry aloud for action and decided measures that will put an end to the harassing state of incertitude in which they now stand."[25] 

There was increased talk in the west that nothing short of the taking of Matamoros and the establishment of Texan military posts there and at the various crossings of the Río Grande would remedy the situation. Meetings were held at Velasco, Brazoria, and other points in the west, demanding offensive action against Mexico. Texas, it was said, should

22. A visitor to the Republic has left the following description of the Mexican arrieros, or muleteers, who braved the frontier dangers.
Mounted on Spanish horses, or well trained mules, with heavy Spanish saddles and bridles, enormous spurs, and large sombreros -- hats covered with green oil cloth, with silver bands, and tassels, and buckles, and rich ponchos over their shoulders, their legs protected by mountain goat-skins from the brushwood and the rain, with long whips and waccos, or drinking shells made of gourd, a "wild and wonderful" appearance. The constant crack of the whip, and the oft repeated vamos to the mules and horses, produces a spell-bound and startling effect.
[Frederic Benjamin Page], Prairiedom: Rambles and Scrambles in Texas or New Estremadura, by a Suthron, p. 98.

23. William McCraven to Gen. M. B. Lamar, San Antonio, July 29, 1838, in Lamar Papers, II, 192-193.

24. July 25, 1838.

25. Quoted in William Preston Johnston, The Life of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston: Embracing His Service in the Armies of the United States, the Republic of Texas, and the Confederate States, p. 85. William S. Fisher served as Secretary of War from December 21, 1836, to November 13, 1837. Handbook of Texas, I, 603.

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AFTER SAN JACINTO: The Texas-Mexican Frontier, 1836-1841
Joseph Milton Nance, 1963