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Growth of War Spirit in the West

stition and Despotism -- these form the high incentives to action -- action -- action, on our part.

It must be enforced upon Texians and upon those who would co-operate with them in a war with Mexico, that, when the enterprise is undertaken, we must strike at her vitality -- we must supplant all the vestiges of her changeful but always licentious and despotic government, with Anglo-Saxon Institutions.

Cocke's ideas were typical of those found among Galvestonians and other Texans anxious to take direct, forceful action against Mexico; but, as is evident from subsequent action during 1842, these views did not represent the general opinion of the people of Texas. Even among those in favor of strong measures against Mexico, there were very different opinions as to procedures and objectives. Dr. Edmund J. Felder, who had acted as surgeon on Ross' Federalist campaign, was asked by the President's private secretary to comment on the public attitude at Houston toward the Republic's relations with Mexico and to express himself. His remarks, contained in his letter of March 1 to Washington D. Miller,[87]  are extremely interesting in the light of subsequent events, and may have had some part in molding the thinking of both Miller and the President after the Vasquez raid.

The voice of this people [he wrote from the City of Houston] is for war, as you may find from the proceedings of a town meeting held not long since and published in the papers of the city -- at which they unanimously passed upon Resolutions requesting President Houston to permit our Navy to remain at sea, for the purpose of hampering the enemy, and if need be punish them for injuries done to the prisoners of the Santa Fé expedition; and should they be injured this people in my opinion, will be for invasion almos[t] unanimously. This is my desire. I have been in favor of such measures all of two years, but for different objects than excites most persons who are favouring the project both here and in the United States.

With me conquest is out of the question, for already we have more territory than can be disposed of for less than a pep[p]er corn p[e]r acre. We have not money and means to defend effectually our present limited borders from the Indian & Robber. I am aware many calculate on much assistance from the people of the United States; but this is a very fallacy; there cannot be greater excitement gotten up in that country in favour of an invasion for the conquest of Mexico than was in favour of Texas during

87. Edmund J. Felder to W. D. Miller, City of Houston, March 1, 1842, in W. D. Miller Papers, 1833-1860, ms.

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