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Invasion Excitement

Huston, however, was not willing to abandon his use of "scare psychology." He now proceeded to address the people of Texas through the columns of the Texas Sentinel, warning them that great efforts would be made by some individuals to discredit the reports of a Mexican invasion in the spring. "Many of the most intelligent men in the country," he declared, "believe that a Mexican invasion will take place, and that every effort should be made to meet it as far to the west as possible. . . . It is my sincere advice to every Texian to plant corn early, and be prepared in every respect, to meet a large Mexican force to the west, and Indian depredations to the North."[60]  From New Orleans, whence he had gone on personal business and to recruit for the First Regiment of Infantry, Samuel A. Plummer wrote Burnet he had conversed with a man just from Matamoros who reported that "the day before he left" six hundred rancheros and one hundred Mexican regulars" were fitted out for Live Oak Point on a robbing expedition."[61]  Scarcely had the joint committee report been made than a letter from Philip Dimitt, dated January 9, reached the President at Austin on the 13th with information supplied him by a Captain Sewell, that Arista was preparing to attack Texas with four thousand men. He was reported to be already on the Texan side of the Río Grande. Dimitt appealed to the President to act without delay in expelling the four to five thousand enemy troops now on the Texas side of the Río Grande, and "not suffer the whole frontier to fall a victim to the Mexican Guellatine and expose your Country to eminent danger."[62]  This report was immediately transmitted to Congress by President Burnet in exciting language: "Intelligence of the movements of the enemy crowds upon us, and I feel it my duty to impart it to the representatives of the people." Dimitt, he declared, is an "intelligent citizen residing at La Villa de los Jacales," and his letter seems to add strong confirmation to the many rumors that have preceded it in regard to a new invasion by the enemy.[63]

60. Felix Huston to the People of Texas, Texas Sentinel (Austin), Saturday, Jan. 23, 1841.

61. Samuel A. Plummer to Judge [David G. Burnet], New Orleans, Jan. 20, 1841 (Private), in Domestic Correspondence (Texas), 1836-1846, ms.

62. P. Dimitt to [President Lamar], Ten o'clock, Jan. 9, 1841, in Texas Congress, Journals of the House of Representatives, Fifth Congress, Appendix, pp. 399-400; also in Domestic Correspondence (Texas), 1836-1846, ms.

63. David G. Burnet to the Senate and House of Representatives, Executive Department, Austin, Jan. 13, 1841, Texas Congress, Journals of the House of Representatives, Fifth Congress, First Session, pp. 494-499.

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