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Mexican Commander Requests Armistice

Although the Texan commissioners appealed to Carrasco for an end to the "system of predatory incursions and forays, attended with no other results than the pillage and ruin of unoffending citizens and settlements," and hoped for an arrangement which would place intercourse between the two frontiers on a higher and more honorable footing they let it be known that they had not come to compromise "the character or dignity of either nation." Open and honorable war was neither shunned nor invited by Texas, and was far preferable to the species of hostility now being conducted upon the frontier. They went on to say that unless measures were taken to relieve the border settlements from the continued apprehensions they were under, Texas would be forced to take retaliatory measures.

You cannot but be aware that even at the present time, a considerable commerce is carried on between the inhabitants of the two frontiers, and notwithstanding the vigorous efforts which have been made by the authorities both military and civil to put an end to this trade, it continues to exist. That it is beneficial to both countries cannot be denied, nor do we believe it possible effectually to check it unless at an enormous expense and trouble -- expense entirely beyond any benefits to be expected. By authorizing that commerce and protecting, instead of persecuting it we entertain no doubt but that results of the most important character could be realized by you. And as it must exist why not place it upon that footing that will enable you to derive the great benefit which must necessarily arise from it.[16]

Carrasco declared officially that he was unable and unwilling to enter into any negotiations upon the propositions of the Texans, but, reported the Texan commissioners, he gave

. . . an absolute verbal pledge that so soon as the matter could be secretly arranged, the ranging parties who are now stationed on the frontier to intercept traders, and by whom our frontier has been continually harrassed, should be removed, every effort should be made to prevent any hostile movements by the citizens and that so far as they were concerned the trade should proceed free and uninterrupted.[17]

Carrasco pointed out that during the last two years Matamoros, once a flourishing port and growing city, had dwindled to almost nothing

16. C. Van Ness and J. D. Morris to Col. [J. M.] Carrasco, Guerrero, July 25, 1841, in Garrison (ed.), Diplomatic Correspondence of Texas, 1908, II, 772-773.

17. John D. Morris to Samuel A. Roberts, Acting Secretary of State, San Antonio, Sept. 30, 1841, in ibid., II, 768-776.

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