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Frontier Raids, Threats, and Counter-Threats of Invasion

alleviation of the current situation in the nation's finances, for emigration into the country, "from which much had been expected, [had] proved generally not to be of that industrious and laboring class," which adds to the vigor and wealth of the nation through the cultivation of the soil. "The influx into our country," he informed Congress, "was of that adventureous character, which rather destroyed than strengthened the hopes that our fertile plains would be shortly subjected to the plow-share."[42]

Even Burnet, in defense of his conduct while acting as President the year before, was constrained to say in his valedictory to the Senate that the charges made during the past year against him by "partisan editors" and "respectable friends" that he was "in favor of getting up a military invasion of Mexico," were totally unfounded. They "have entirely misunderstood my acts and the motives which induced them," he declared.

I have never desired to be instrumental in calling my fellow-citizens from their peaceful occupations at home, to endure the toils, and dangers, and vicissitudes of "the tented field," in a foreign land: I have seen enough of war, its "pride and circumstances," in my youth; and enough in Texas, too, to repress every ambitious aspiration that could prompt me to wish a repetition of its calamities here -- and I have been too long conversant with the affairs of Texas, not to know, that her best policy consists in cultivating the nobler and more profitable arts of peace.

But, two certain messages, which I had the honor to transmit to Congress, have been denounced with all the vehemence of party strife, as "war messages." The plain import and the true intention of those communications, have been grossly misrepresented by others. At the time they were made, the minds of men here, were strongly impressed with the expectation of an immediate and formidable invasion by Mexico. Intelligence from highly respectable authorities was crowded upon us with a startling rapidity, that the enemy was actively embodying his forces, for the purpose of invading our territory, and again committing his vaunted claim to dominion over us, to the arbitrament of the sword . . . and I am still of the opinion it was founded in truth; but that circumstances entirely extraneous to us, and independent of any intervention on our part, diverted the attention of the enemy and dissolved the militant powers arrayed against us. . . .

A fair interpretation of the two messages will admit of but one understanding: -- that the whole matter was founded on the presumption that Mexico would certainly invade us, and that "very soon." And is there a

42. Smither (ed.), Journals of the Sixth Congress of the Republic of Texas, I, 20.

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