But neither the average Texan nor his government was to be stampeded into rash action. Lamar saw in the internal disorders in Mexico, and in the French invasion, an opportunity to press for recognition of the independence of Texas, and he did not wish to jeopardize his chances of success in attaining this objective by offending the Centralist government. Especially did this seem to be the opportune time, since Santa Anna, following the battle of Vera Cruz, had once more become, in the eyes of the populace, the martyred hero bleeding for his country and had taken over the direction of the government from Bustamante.
It looked now as if Santa Anna might be in a position to redeem the pledges he had made in the treaties of Velasco, although Texas had long given up the idea that those pledges were binding upon the Mexican government. Several determined efforts were made by Lamar during 1839 and 1840 to come to terms with Mexico through peaceful negotiation. In March 1839, the administration sent Richard Dunlap, who had been serving as Secretary of the Treasury, to Washington to solicit the good offices of the United States in solving its differences with Mexico. From New Orleans, Dunlap wrote Lamar urging that he give the Federalists an assist in getting recruits from the United States. "The signs are this way," wrote Dunlap.
Col. [D. J.] Woodlief and Colo Morehouse, or either or both, will take 500 men from this City to Tampico to join the federalists under Genl Mexia. . . . I promised to write you on this subject as you will have to pay $10,000 for the transportation of the men who will sail under the flag of the U. Sts. and seem to be mere volunteers from this City to aid Genl Mexia, who has some friends in this City. This may embarrass Col. Bee's mission but it can be done so as not to commit the Republic. You can think of this, and if you agree to pay the passage &c, authorise Morehouse as your Consul to draw on the Gove[rnmen]t for $20,000 as this will be ample. Col. Woodlief will
72. The engagement with the French forces at Vera Cruz on December 5, 1838, in which Santa Anna played a cowardly role but was so severely wounded in the left leg that subsequently it had to be amputated, is fully told in Bancroft, History of Mexico, V, 197-200. By decree of January 23, 1839, Santa Anna was selected provisional president to take over the helm of government while Bustamante took the field to put down the spreading revolt centered at Tampico. After being in office some four months and witnessing the success of Bustamante and others in suppression of the Federalists in the North and conscious of the great financial problem confronting the government, Santa Anna quietly withdrew from the Presidency, thus permitting the restoration of Bustamante.