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Lamar's Efforts to Protect the Frontier

mouth of the Aquilla [Creek], where it was felt the line could be extended with little difficulty, directly to the mouth of the Llano.

Colonel Cooke returned to Austin about the middle of February 1841, where a grand ball was given in his honor on the evening of February 27 in the Senate Chamber, being preceded by a fine dinner presided over by Mrs. Bullock.[54]  In his report to the Secretary of War he protested against Congress' determination to end the permanent military establishment, so badly needed to give protection to the frontier. He asked the Department to assume the responsibility for sustaining his regiment at a reduced size to enable completion of the military road and for giving security to the frontier settlers. He proposed to fill the company at the headwaters of the San Marcos from Major Howard's command at San Antonio, and to establish a post on the Brazos, which would make communication practicable and safe from Austin to both extremes of the frontier.[55]  A bill was presented in the Fifth Congress and enacted into law, approved by Acting President Burnet on January 21, 1841, to reserve a twelve-mile strip on each side of the military road, running from Red River to the Nueces, for distribution to actual settlers who would receive 640 acres of land, if a head of family, and 320 acres, if single, on condition that they reside on it and cultivate a part of the land for a period of five years.[56]  The law also prohibited any surveyor of the Republic from surveying or locating "any lands lying further north of said road than the twelve miles" as provided by the law, "or any lands lying west of the river Nueces." These lands were reserved to the future disposition of Congress.

Congress appropriated $25,000 in paper money for the construction of the military road, but the road, as well as the additional posts, failed to materialize because of the chaotic financial condition of the country. Cooke's expedition exhausted the original appropriation[57]  of $300,000 and nothing further was done toward carrying on the survey or promoting a colonization program. It would have required $10,500 per quarter to maintain Cooke's force in the performance of its work. The

54. Ibid., Feb. 25 and March 4, 1841.

55. William G. Cooke to Branch T. Archer, Secretary of War, Austin, Feb. 17, 1841, in ibid., March 4, 1841.

56. Ibid., Nov. 28, 1840; Jan. 16, 1841; Gammel (ed.), Laws of Texas, II, 536-537.

57. Mirabeau B. Lamar to the Senate and House of Representatives, Dec. 2, 1840, in Texas Congress, Journals of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas: Fifth Congress, First Session, 1840-1841, p. 211.

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