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Federalist Wars: First Phase

official personage representing those in revolt against their government. Lamar emphasized that he thought the opening of trade with the northern revolutionists -- an unconstituted authority -- would soon degenerate into plunder, robbery, and murder; but, he continued,

. . . if it be the wish of Congress that a friendly intercourse and traffic with such of the Mexicans as are disposed to neutrality, or are in a state of hostility to their own Government, should be encouraged, it will be obvious that such intercourse and traffic, if not protected by a competent force on the border would soon . . . [become] altogether subversive of the peaceful ends for which they shall be established; and instead of being productive of good, would result in disastrous consequences to our citizens on the frontier, and destroy all the hopes of negotiation to which the present amicable feelings of the liberal party in Mexico, has given rise.[68]

By joint resolution, Congress on January 26 authorized the President to open trade between western Texas and the Mexicans on the Río Grande, and on February 21 Lamar issued a proclamation[69]  opening the trade. Scarcely had this policy been instituted, however, when the French lifted their blockade of the Mexican ports on March 9, ended their war with Mexico, and Mexico forthwith cancelled her decree authorizing the importation at Matamoros of certain articles prohibited under the existing tariff laws while the blockade existed.[70]  The net effect was to increase discontent in the north, especially among the supporters of the government who had profited by the trade funneling through this northern port, and to intensify the smuggling between the Río Grande towns and the Texas frontier by all Mexicans regardless of political creed. After about three months another decree permitted certain articles, hitherto prohibited, to enter the port of Matamoros.[71]

68. M. B. Lamar to the House of Representatives, c. Jan. 16, 1839, in ibid., II, 389-391.

69. "An Act to open the trade between the citizens of the western portion of the Republic and the Mexicans residing near the Río Grande," Journal of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas: Regular Session of Third Congress, Nov. 5, 1838, pp. 407-408; H. P. N. Gammel (ed.), Laws of Texas, II, 117; "Proclamation opening a trade with the Mexican citizens on the Río Grande, February 21st 1839," Lamar Papers, II, 457-458.

70. "Notice to Merchants," issued at Matamoros, April 1, 1839, by Valentín Canalizo, Pedro J. de la Garza, and Manuel Pina y Cuevas, in Telegraph and Texas Register, May 1, 1839; D. W. Smith to J. W. Breedlove, Collector of the Customs, N. Orleans [dated:] Consulate of the U. States, Matamoros, April 3, 1839, in ibid.

71. Colorado Gazette and Advertiser (Matagorda), July 4, 1840.

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