pany of twenty men to patrol along the Nueces as a precautionary measure.
The Lamar administration promptly ordered General Edwin Morehouse to intercept Arista if he should seek to enter Texas. Morehouse reached Houston on April 21 from Austin with instructions from the Secretary of War to enroll one-third of the militia regiment of the area and to hold his men in readiness to take the field immediately, and Lamar planned "to march a force to be commanded by Col. Karnes to occupy a position near or upon the banks of the Río Grande." This action was not dictated by any anxious apprehension of danger, but only as a necessary precaution against surprise, in view of the concentration of some 1,500 to 2,000 Mexican troops upon the western frontier, if not within the territory claimed by Texas. While few Texans seriously believed they would have to repel an invading army, many were of the opinion that in case a "tug of war" should come, "the Río Grande will no longer be our southwestern boundary -- we prefer the mountains beyond Monterey," wrote editor Francis Moore.
At Galveston James Love was expatiating on the virtues of sending the navy to sea to patrol the gulf and capture Mexican vessels. No additional expense would be involved, he argued, and
. . . if Mexico was merely amusing us with prospects of negotiation it will have the effect to make them think seriously of it. If they are in earnest it will make them hasten their action. If they seriously intend an invasion it will necessarily be the means of dividing their force, because they will naturally suppose we intend making a descent on the gulf shore. A large land force thrown across the Río del Norte would produce the idea abroad, that we were fighting for conquest and enlarged territory, and would of course lessen the confidence in the stability of our Government, and our credit, but whilst we adhere strictly to the public declarations of your Excellency, that we do not seek for Territory beyond our limits, the action of our fleet on the gulf will only be evidence of our wish to enforce peace and secure the boundary we claim.
26. Samuel A. Plummer to M. B. Lamar, Victoria, April 25, 1840, in Lamar Papers, III, 381-383.
27. Telegraph and Texas Register, April 21, 1840.
28. Memucan Hunt to Gen. Mirabeau B. Lamar, Galveston, May 3, 1842, in Lamar Papers, ms.
29. Telegraph and Texas Register, April 21, 1840.
30. James Love to Gen. [M. B.] Lamar, Galveston, March 15, 1840, in Lamar Papers, III, 353-354.