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Republic of the Río Grande and Texas

and to assure the future happiness of the country. Their ritual, he said, forbids them wearing trousers with their shirts, and they carry no provisions for they have made as their patrimony the property of the towns wherever they go. "In each house they find a free storehouse. They replace horses at discretion and consume cattle from the hacienda of Uñate. In short, they take all as a measure of their desires, without taking the trouble of buying it or of carrying it [off]. Thus it is that they move with the greatest speed and place themselves beyond danger," and pass for brave men among "exaggerated patriots."[136]

"Can it be," asked the editor of the Ancla, "that men would be so obsessed or so stupid as to serve in any army under the orders of Canales and Cárdenas to divide our republic, to accept orders from those who vilified them, who have humiliated them to the last extreme, delivering their own possessions, their own wives, their own sons into the hands of a foreign enemy."[137]

Apparently, however, the marauding bands made no distinction between Centralist and Federalist ownership of property and were even completely indifferent as to whether it was Mexican or Texan. Furthermore, little seems to have been done during the last few months towards breaking them up. Wrote Judge John Hemphill of the Fourth Judicial District to his fellow judges of Texas,

Since the dispersion of the Federal Army, marauding parties have dispersed themselves throughout the country between the Guadalupe and the Río Grande, and robberies and other outrages have been committed to a considerable extent on the Río Grande. About the time of the expiration of the courts in my district, large droves of cattle arrived from the Río Grande, . . . which had been stolen from ranches on this side of the Río Grande. Murder of the Rancheros were also charged on some of these plundering bands. From circumstances which will at once suggest themselves to your reflection, I find great difficulty in suppressing these most pernicious evils in some sections of the Western country. To accomplish this object I rely greatly on the cooperation of my brother judges of the interior. If they will arrest and have prosecuted the purchasers or the original robbers who drive the cattle into the interior counties, those enormous violations of law and the rights of property and life must cease. I understand that a large drove or droves of cattle will reach Houston in some short time from the West. I have no doubt these are stolen cattle, and I have as little doubt that after the droves arrive in Houston, the evidence of the larceny or that they were

136. Quoted from El Ancla, March 13, 1840.

137. Sept. 14, 1840.

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