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Republic of the Río Grande and Texas

smoking their corn-shuck cigars and mingling in the amusements of the place with cheerfulness and familiarity and a confident reliance on their American comrades.[76]

The Federalist camp was established between La Bahía and Victoria on the Coleto, eight miles from Victoria. Three companies of Federalist troops were stationed at or south of the Nueces. One company early in April was reported to be at the Nueces, below San Patricio; another was collecting cattle in the vicinity of the Río Grande; and the third was reputed in pursuit of a group of Comanches and Cherokees who had collected "an immense number of horses," so eagerly desired by the Anglo-Americans around Victoria.

About three weeks before, eighteen persons, describing themselves as merchants of Victoria carrying on an extensive trade through Lavaca Bay, petitioned Lamar to consider "the propriety of affording protection to the Mexican Trade and of enforcing respect to the laws of the land." Their imports from which the government derived considerable revenue were almost exclusively for the Mexican trade. They explained that there

. . . still exists in our adjacent frontier bodies of Armed Americans who rob and otherwise molest the traders to an extent that none, or very few, are able to reach the settlement, and lately their outrages have been so daring the trade is almost wholly stopped. . . . Formerly these American parties contented themselves with pressing a few horses and other necessaries for Cow driving . . . notwithstand[ing] which the traders continued to come in with their money and trade; but since there is not only a risk of property but of life to the adventuring traders their trade has almost ceased.

The petitioners implied they could not mention the names of those who had committed the outrages "in defiance of Law and common decency," for the motto among these armed thugs was "Dead men tell no tales" and it was likely that their names were only known to the perpetrators of the evil deeds. For example, "a few days since an examination was had before a Justice of the Peace of this town," they said.

An individual who headed a party of those Americans was arrested. Two

76. R. B. T. to the Editor of the Colorado Gazette, Victoria, April 8, 1840, in Colorado Gazette and Advertiser, April 18, 1840.

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