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Invasion Excitement

if found practicable. Much may be said in favor of it whereas there are some serious objections to the project. . . . That the early occupation of the territory adjacent to the Río Grande, will be a matter of great moment, in the event of a treaty with Mexico, is most evident; and it is a question worthy of enquiry, whether the ordinary ingress of population will accomplish that object in a convenient season. A superinduced population, to be planted there, would more certainly effectuate it.[56]

In presenting the Huston colonization proposal to Congress, Burnet toned down the idea of an offensive campaign against Mexico. He pointed out the lack of prosperity in the land, the slow growth of population, the distressing financial situation of the government, and the great deficiency in the essential materials of war.

Our supply of ammunition is limited, and inadequate to a protracted campaign. We are destitute of horses for cavalry purposes, and the enemy will doubtless muster largely of this active and efficient force. Our field artillery is at a point where it is, and will be, perfectly inutile; and we are without the means of transporting it to the probable theatre of action. Provisions, camp equipages, and many articles which are necessary to the comfort of soldiers in the tented field, are wanting, and we have no means for their procurement. These [he declared] are unpropitious circumstances to a people threatened with formidable invasion.[57]

The President's message was referred to a select joint committee of the House of Representatives and Senate, which made its report on January 12. The committee fully concurred in the views and opinions of the Executive on the problem of frontier defense, and declared it was prepared to urge upon Congress "the propriety and necessity of carrying those views into practical operation." It would go further; it would suggest inquiring into "the expediency of adopting the most effective measures whereby Mexico could be forced to concede us those rights which have been so long and so unjustly withheld by her," and declared that Texas "has the perfect right to wrest from Mexico her possessions and property of every kind and description," if necessary to force Mexico to acknowledge the independence of Texas. The committee was convinced "that an invasion of the enemy's territory,

56. David G. Burnet to Congress, Dec. 30, 1840, in Texas Congress, Journals of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas: Fifth Congress, First Session, 1840-1841, pp. 388-390.

57. Ibid.

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