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Growth of War Spirit in the West

The navy should be put in ordinary; and no troops kept in commission, except a few Rangers on the frontiers. The Indians should be conciliated by every means in our power. It is much cheaper and more humane to purchase their friendship than to fight them. A small sum will be sufficient for the former; the latter would require millions. By a steady, uniform, firm, undeviating adherence to this policy for two or three years, Texas may and will recover from her present utter prostration. It is the stern law of necessity which requires it, and she must yield to it or perish! She cannot afford to raise another crop of "Heroes."[62]

Eight days later the President warned Congress that the War Department had received information, which, if true, left "no doubt that some movements against Texas" were in preparation by Mexico.[63]  Word had just been received at the War and Navy Department by letters from the United States that two "brig schooners" of about 170 tons each were being built at New York for the Mexican government and that in England other war vessels were under construction for that same government. Considering "a demonstration as most probable," Houston suggested that Congress authorize the President to procure as many Paixhan cannon as necessary for "the protection of at least Galveston and Matagorda Bays," as no invasion by land would likely be attempted unless supported by a naval force.

A week later, the President called Congress' attention to the fact that the law regulating frontier protection failed to achieve its real objective. "It seems," he said, "to have been inefficient and is certainly enormously expensive." No reports were made to the War Department concerning the operations of the several companies acting under provisions of the law; consequently, little information could be obtained about the state of the frontier or the services the companies rendered the country. "In this way, too," said the President, "frauds are liable

62. Quoted in "Biographical Sketch of Anson Jones Written in the Summer and Fall of 1880. Prepared with a view to publication in the 'Biographical Encyclopedia of the West,'" in Anson Jones Papers, ms.

63. Message of the President [Executive Department, City of Austin, Dec. 30th, 1841] and Accompanying Document. [Austin: Printed at the Austin City Gazette Office, 1842], 4 p.; [Houston] to the House of Representatives, Executive Department, City of Austin, December 30th, 1841, accompanied by a report of the Secretary of War and Navy, George W. Hockley to Sam Houston, Department of War & Marine, Decr 22, 1841, in Smither (ed.), Journals of the Sixth Congress of the Republic of Texas, I, 173-175; II, 237-239. Houston's message without the document will be found in Writings of Sam Houston, II, 415-416.

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