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Growth of War Spirit in the West

they had paid off the national debt, or what they had done with it."[33]  Van Zandt was followed in debate by John W. Dancy of Fayette County, who probably made one of the ablest defenses of the Lamar policy.

I stand on this floor, not as an apologist to the President, nor as his accuser, but to advocate that course which is best calculated to advance the prosperity of our infant Republic.

I would ask those who are loudest in their denunciations, if our territory has not been invaded by armed enemies? Have they not kidnapped and carried into captivity a citizen of our Republic? Have they not sacked Refugio, and robbed and murdered the inhabitants of that unprotected country? Still we hear from the opposite side of this House the cry of peace! peace! when there is no peace. Heaven defend us from such peace! Do they wish us to fold our arms and remain in a state of inactivity until the enemy shall plant their daggers in our hearts, and die ingloriously, without lifting an arm in our own defence?

I regard the policy of keeping our navy in ordinary as the worst which we could pursue with respect to it. . . .

Let us take a view of the relative positions of Texas and Mexico, when the President issued the order for our navy to cooperate with that of Yucatán against our common enemy. We had made every proposition which a just, honorable and magnanimous nation should do, and had been treated with contempt. When our Commissioner applied, during the last summer, to the Mexican Government, through her Britannic Majesty's Minister, to make a treaty of peace, and offered to assume the payment of one million of pounds of sterling of the foreign debt of Mexico, what answer did he receive? He was told that they would not consent to a dismemberment of the territory of the Mexican Republic, and that they would never "bind themselves to an act equivalent to the sanction and recognition of slavery." All hope of succeeding by a pacific policy had vanished; news had reached this country that Mexico was endeavoring to procure a navy which could drive that of Texas from the Gulf, and that they designed blockading our ports. Yucatán had thrown off the Government of central Mexico, and driven every hostile foot from her soil. Mexico was preparing an expedition against Yucatán to reduce her to subjection. Peraza, as Commissioner from Yucatán, applied to Texas for assistance in order to prevent the contemplated invasion. He offered the means necessary to prepare the navy for active operations against Mexico as a common enemy. The proposition was accepted, not merely to assist Yucatán, but to protect our commerce and maintain that ascendancy upon the Gulf of Mexico which is essential to

33. Ibid., II, 131.

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