and $150,000 could be sold immediately at Béxar for specie or bullion. Prices were high, and profits were good. Business in the frontier towns experienced a short-lived boom, and there were hopes for improved business conditions; at Houston, for instance, "tradesmen of all sorts" began to arrive "on horseback from the interior of the country, among them many a Mexican smuggler." The Matagorda Bulletin of April 4, 1839, reported a brisk demand at Matagorda for goods suitable for the Mexican market. Although its editor lamented that ten mules laden with specie, having passed through Columbus headed for Matagorda, had turned eastward upon learning that "our market was bare of goods" and that an even larger party of traders, which crossed the Colorado about forty miles above Matagorda had done likewise, he was much gratified
. . . to see specie coming into the country, let it be deposited where it may. Had we a full supply of goods of the kind suited for that trade (chiefly dry goods), we are satisfied that a heavy business could be done; and it certainly will be to the interest of our merchants to secure the business of these specie-paying traders. . . . This trade is becoming one of vast importance, and it is to be hoped that our merchants will be sufficiently awake to their own interests to make an effort to realize from it the advantages that our favorable location secures to them.
A large caballada left Houston on Saturday, April 20, 1839, for the west "with merchandize to the amount of ten or fifteen thousand dollars," and another arrived in town on the 21st for further supplies. After the founding of Austin, Mexican traders from the Río Grande with cattle and piloncillas reached the new capital on December 22, 1839.
Canales, one of the leaders of the Federalists in Tamaulipas against Santa Anna's Centralism in 1835 and now again prominent in Federalist circles, addressed a friendly letter early in December 1838, to President Lamar in which he reviewed the objectives and successes of the Federalist movement. "The cause of liberty must infallibly triumph," he wrote, "and those towns and yours will again very shortly be united
61. Ibid., May 29, 1839.
62. Freund (trans. and ed.), Gustav Dresel's Houston Journal, p. 37.
63. Morning Star, April 22, 1839.
64. Telegraph and Texas Register, Jan. 1, 1840.