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Growth of War Spirit in the West

that the frontier be protected by a string of military stations of twenty-five men each, and that trading houses for the double purpose of conciliating the Indians and protecting the frontier from depredations of the heathen barbarians should be established.[47]

For two years, various persons had talked of invading Mexico for conquest, but more thoughtful persons considered the idea impractical, since Texas lacked the necessary resources. It was estimated that at least five thousand troops would be required to insure the success of an invasion.[48]  Such persons as Judge Anderson Hutchinson of the Fourth Judicial District, wondered if James Hamilton should succeed in getting a five million dollar loan from France if the country would squander it in redemption of the promissory notes, or what would be more mad apply it in creating up invading battalions for Felix Huston."[49]

Many thought, however, "We should not wait for a demonstration from the enemy; we must carry the war into Carthage. Let the tocsin be sounded. . . . Five thousand volunteers raised on this plan would be . . . sufficient with the cooperation of the Navy, to conquer the country to Monterey."[50]

Quite a number of men in the west believed that the Santa Fé prisoners were in a hopeless, merciless captivity and that their inevitable fate was death. Throughout her history, Mexico, it was argued, had in no single instance shown respect to the laws of civilization and humanity that was not dictated by unworthy considerations, or produced by circumstances which they could not control. Texans, then, had no choice. Vengeance was all that was left to them, it was argued. Texas was fast reaching the point where she could no longer afford to refrain from hostilities, for the peace that existed was, in fact, no peace. It handicapped the growth of the nation's population, and the development of its resources. It was, therefore, of paramount importance that a war to force recognition and peace from Mexico be brought about at the earliest practicable time. But when the advocates of a war against Mexico were asked how would Texas finance such an

47. No copy of Houston's inaugural message has been found. The substance of his address is found in the Telegraph and Texas Register, Dec. 22, 1841.

48. Edmund J. Felder to W. D. Miller, March 1, 1842, in W. D. Miller Papers, 1833-1860, ms., copy.

49. A. Hutchinson to W. D. Miller, Austin, July 28, 1841, in ibid.

50. Quoted in Houston: A History and Guide, p. 55.

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