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Growth of War Spirit in the West

The Select Committee on Boundaries, headed by John W. Dancy, declared that "Texas is merely the nucleus of a mighty republic."[102]  In his inaugural address of December 10, 1838, Lamar had referred to the boundaries of Texas as "stretching from the Sabine to the Pacific and away to the South West as far as the obstinacy of the enemy may render it necessary for the sword to make the boundary."[103]  By the joint resolution now enacted, Congress proposed to add nearly five hundred million acres of land to the national domain by including in Texas portions of the states of Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Durango, Sinaloa, and all of Chihuahua, New Mexico, Sonora, and Upper and Lower California. As a plan for occupying the territory, the committee recommended the chartering of one or more commercial companies, "with authority to take possession of the most important points on the coast of California and to give them privileges which would justify them in keeping in their employ a sufficient number of soldiers to protect them against any hostile movement which might be made against them by the Mexicans."[104]

The extension of the boundary by Congressional resolution, declared the editor of the Telegraph,[105]  is mere "legislative humbug." "This is about as sensible as the act of the Mexican Congress, declaring the ports of Texas under blockade, when the Mexican government had not even a cockboat afloat on the Gulf. We think the two governments may now turn to each other with the self-complacency of two boys that have been playing tag, and say -- 'now we are even'."

This bill, too, was vetoed by the President on the grounds that it was "visionary" and that the government was powerless to exercise jurisdiction over the area. It was ridiculous to think that one hundred thousand Texans who were unable to sustain a regular military force could govern successfully two million Mexicans. "A legislative jest" of this type could only affect adversely the safety of the Santa Fé prisoners

102. Texas Congress, Report of Select Committee on Boundaries of Texas; the report is reprinted in Smither (ed.), Journals of the Sixth Congress of the Republic of Texas, II, 363-366; "A Bill to amend an act entitled an act to define the boundaries of the Republic of Texas," in Texas Congress, Bills, Sixth Congress, no. 2491, ms.

103. Smither (ed.), Journals of the Sixth Congress of the Republic of Texas, I, 26-27, 27 n, 312; Records of Executive Documents from the 10th Dec. 1838 to the 14th Dec. 1841, p. 8; Lamar Papers, II, 320.

104. Smither (ed.), Journals of the Sixth Congress of the Republic of Texas, II, 363-366.

105. Feb. 23, 1842.

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