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Capture and Death of Dimitt

in breaking up the blockade contemplated under the proclamation of July 1. A portion of the Texas fleet was virtually leased to Yucatán at the rate of $8,000 a month.

While Lamar was at Galveston, the resolutions and accompanying papers from Victoria, Gonzales, and other points pertaining to the Dimitt case arrived at Austin. The Victoria express reached the capital on July 14 and created quite a stir. In the absence of the President, the papers were handed to Samuel A. Roberts, the Acting Secretary of State. Since the Texan commissioners had already left on their mission to the Río Grande to negotiate with General Arista in regard to the frontier trade, Roberts was reluctant to do anything that might endanger their safety; yet, Thompson, the courier, assured him, and the spirit of the letters that he brought indicated that the country was ready to turn out en masse to rescue Dimitt and the other prisoners, or to retaliate with or without governmental authorization. A cabinet meeting was immediately summoned. Secretary of State Roberts opposed ordering out the militia, believing that no good could result from its being activated, for obviously Dimitt could not be rescued and the safety of Van Ness and Morris should not be jeopardized. After considerable argument, and having secured the approval of the other members of the cabinet to dispatch the next day a "trusty messenger" to the Río Grande to warn Van Ness and Morris of the threatened danger and to advise their immediate return, Roberts finally consented to the calling out of the militia. He reported to Lamar that he had consented for the sake of unanimity, "for I would not have it go abroad that we could not unite on any thing." "War," he concluded, "seems now inevitable."[39]  "Under this critical state of affairs," in order to prevent any rash action on the part of the frontiersmen, the cabinet by unanimous vote decided "to authorize the turning out of the militia, tho' not to order them out."[40]  The latter responsibility was taken by

Department of State (Texas), Correspondence between the Secretary of State and Col. Peraza, Special Commissioner from the State of Yucatán; the correspondence contained in the foregoing document is reprinted in Smither (ed.), Journals of the Sixth Congress of the Republic of Texas, III, 264-272.

39. Samuel A. Roberts to M. B. Lamar, Austin, July 14, 1841 (at night), in Lamar Papers, III, 546-547.

40. Branch T. Archer to Richard Roman, John T. Price, and Others, War Department, Austin, July 14, 1841, in Telegraph and Texas Register, Aug. 11, 1841; Samuel A. Roberts to M. B. Lamar, Austin, July 22, 1841, in Lamar Papers, III, 555-556; M. B. Lamar to Congress [Austin, Texas, Nov. 3, 1841], ibid., V, 494-495.

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