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Frontier Raids, Threats, and Counter-Threats of Invasion
into their own country, to the extirpation of that bigotry and despotism that enslave the land.
Apparently by the end of his administration Lamar had given up any ideas that he may have had relative to an extension of the Republic's boundaries beyond the line set by Congress in December 1836, and had become more concerned with maintaining full sovereignty over the area lying between the Nueces and the Río Grande, within the claimed boundary of the nation.
Although . . . opposed to any active operations beyond the Río Grande, I am equally clear in the opinion that we should no longer delay enforcing our claims to the territory lying east of that river; for unless this be effectually done, the western country, where population is mostly needed, will be more slowly settled than any other section. As the best means of directing emigration to that quarter, and giving strength to the border, which it so much needs, I would recommend to congress the propriety of establishing such military posts, west of the Nueces, as may be deemed sufficient to the maintenance of our rights to the country, and to give security to its citizens. It is believed that this can be done without involving the Government in any serious expenditure; for the force necessary to this object, need not be large, inasmuch as we shall in all probability not very shortly, if ever, have to contend with any other enemy than the savages, and the marauding parties that may occasionally infest that region, until they shall be finally expelled. Should Mexico, however, seriously contemplate another invasion of our territory, this measure becomes the more important from the fact that the success of the enemy in penetrating our country, will depend entirely upon the condition of the west; which if permitted to remain unsettled and defenceless, can offer no barrier to the advances of the invaders; but if strengthened and sustained by means of military posts, it will soon be able of itself, to hold the enemy in check, until the forces of the nation can be rendered available, and be brought to bear upon our foes, before they can overrun the country as was done in the campaign of 1836.
The heavy debt of the Republic, much of which had been incurred during his administration, made any active campaign by land against Mexico most impractical, and Lamar saw little prospect of any speedy
40. M. B. Lamar to the Senate and House of Representatives, Executive Department, Austin, November 3, 1841, in Smither (ed.), Journals of the Sixth Congress of the Republic of Texas, I, 11-13; also in Record of Executive Documents from the 10th Dec. 1838 to the 14th Dec. 1841, ms., pp. 267-291.