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Lamar's Efforts to Protect the Frontier

(then in a state of revolution) but might also make it possible for the Texans to secure a more definite knowledge of the country between the Nueces and the Río Grande. The hostile Indians in the area would have to be eliminated.

"When I came into office," Lamar later informed the people of Robertson County, "I found the Country destitute of all resources necessary in cases of sudden emergency. It was without soldiers, without arms, without money, and without credit."[2]  Just what could be done under these conditions to give the security at home and protection from abroad to which the inhabitants of the young Republic were entitled posed a serious problem to Lamar and his followers. On the eve of his inauguration, Lamar's cousin Gazaway B. Lamar of Savannah, Georgia, had made suggestions which he hoped might be useful to the new chief magistrate. Toward Mexico and other nations he recommended firmness, discretion, prudence, the advancement of trade and commerce, and peace. On the other hand, as far as Mexico was concerned, there was the alternative of war to force from her recognition of the independence of Texas. "By directly attracting all the dissolute and abandoned of all other nations to your standard by a proclamation of universal plunder," he said, it could be done. With

. . . such a horde more might and probably would be effected -- but cui bono? You could not expect order and subordination from such a combination -- and though they might and probably would conquer Mexico -- they would require themselves to be conquered -- before anything valuable could be produced of them. I would therefore recommend the use of all conciliatory measures consistent with a just respect of your own people.[3] 

On the other hand, Thomas M. Bradford of Montgomery, Alabama, advised that the unsettled differences between Texas and Mexico justified aggressive measures. "Will your Congress sanction and authorize . . . [an] expedition?" he asked;

. . . and will you, Sir, go as commander in chief? If so, I assure you, from information and observation in which I cannot be mistaken, that at the first tap of the Drum for volunteers, 50,000 men (100,000 if necessary) will

2. Mirabeau B. Lamar to the Inhabitants of Robertson County Relative to the Preparations Being Made to Relieve them from the Hostile Incursions of the Indians, Executive Department, March 13, 1839, in Records of Executive Documents from the 10th Dec. 1838 to the 14th Dec. 1841, ms., pp. 63-64.

3. G. B. Lamar to Genl. M. B. Lamar, Savannah, Nov. 9, 1838, in Lamar Papers, II, 286-289.

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