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The Southwestern Frontier

marauders and occasional hostility of the Indians. Typical of the increased activity of the seaports is the industriousness of W. B. Goodman, who arrived at Live Oak Point, on Aransas Bay, on March 28, with a cargo of goods which he carried down the bay to Corpus Christi, where they were sold.[39]  From thence he returned to New Orleans for another cargo, which he landed at Corpus Christi on the following July 4.

The life of the traders, however, was a precarious one, for before November 1840 Canales with his gangs of Federalist politicians and cohorts, and after that date the Centralists, often captured them and made the flow of commerce very uncertain. "Communications with the interior [of Mexico]," reported the American consul at Matamoros, "is frequently interrupted by numerous banditti, who infest the roads, committing robberies and assassinations with impunity. Great efforts have been made by the local authorities of this place to bring the offenders to justice, but hitherto without success. So formidable are these outlaws that they have recently," he said, "defeated two separate detachments of troops in attempting to arrest them."[40]  The Mexican authorities were not always unsuccessful, for we find that Adolphus Sterne was able to record in his diary under date of July 24, 1841, the news that "50 Cow Thieves have been overhawled by the mexicans and all Killed -- good."[41]  Yet, on the other hand, there can be but little doubt that some of the Mexican gangs were commissioned by such frontier commanders as Arista, Canales, and others for the purpose of breaking up the existing trade, if not at times turning it to their own personal advantage.[42]

Not all of the difficulties of the frontier trader can, or should be attributed to the Mexicans, whether operating as banditti or under the cloak of governmental authorization; nor were the Mexican raids upon the Texas frontier always without provocation. The cattle raids eventually led to the interference with frontier trade and the conduct of other types of legitimate business in the west. The collapse of the

39. W. B. Goodman, "A Statement of Facts, Washington, Feb. 10, 1843," in W. D. Miller Papers, 1833-1860, ms.

40. D. W. Smith to John Forsyth, Matamoros, May 13, 1841, Consular Dispatches (Matamoros), ms., microfilm.

41. Harriet Smither (ed.), "Diary of Adolphus Sterne," Southwestern Historical Quarterly XXXII (1928-1929), 166.

42. Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of Mexico, V, 262 n; Telegraph and Texas Register, June 9, 1841.

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