Hockley, Acting Adjutant and Inspector General, "that the greater part of the men are endeavoring to join the federal army." So bad had the situation become, even before the appearance of Cárdenas at Victoria, that President Lamar found it necessary to issue a proclamation warning of the penalty for desertion, and assuring a pardon to all deserters who would voluntarily return to duty; but, he declared, "the recreant who shall hereafter abandon the standard which he has pledged to maintain may read his destiny in the stern arbitrament of the law." It would, however, have taken more than proclamations to stop the desertions.
"Gen[era]ls Canales & Carbajal have been and still are," wrote George W. Hockley, twice Secretary of War under Houston, "a curse to our country. They are the primary cause of our late mutinies at Béxar (now fortunately quelled) and their agents [are] doubtless still at work. They should have been allowed time to recruit their horses, and leave the Republic. They are Mexicans and they are enemies. Time will show that I am right. The fact is now being developed."
Many other men, not in the Texan service, joined the Federalists for the want of something else to do. Texas currency was circulating at sixteen cents on the dollar, and times were "extremely hard," although probably not as bad as in the United States. "All business is much depressed," wrote Ashbel Smith, "unless an exception be made to Law," there being twelve hundred cases on the docket of Harris County alone. In reference to a projected business deal, James
108. Geo[rge] W. Hockley, Act. Adjt. & Inspector General, to Capt. A. Clendenin [Commanding Post San Antonio], July 30, 1840, Army Papers (Texas), ms., copy.
109. Mirabeau B. Lamar's "Address to the Soldiers of the Army, March 14, 1840, Executive Department, Austin, March 14, 1840," in Record of Executive Documents, from the 10th December 1838 to the 14th December 1841, ms.; Lamar Papers, III, 352-353; also published as a broadside, Mirabeau B. Lamar, [Address to the army on the subject of desertion], together with General Order No. 6, Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, Austin, March 14, 1840.
110. Geo[rge] W. Hockley to Ashbel Smith, Austin, June 1, 1840, in Ashbel Smith Papers, ms. In regard to the desertions at Béxar, Hockley reported that two deserters had been shot,
. . . which I think will have a salutary effect -- the five ring leaders of the late mutiny, who had been confined in the Calaboose at Béxar and escaped, have returned and surrendered themselves all save one who was drowned in crossing the river -- he "packed" the lead &c -- and could not swim -- they were evidently assisted in their escape -- but prudence and duty enjoin silence upon this subject. I give you that which has become public.111. Ashbel Smith to Col. Barnard E. Bee, May 22, 1840; Same to Ralph Hubbard