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Growth of War Spirit in the West

sword be drawn!" wrote Houston's private secretary on the day scheduled for the "big meeting" at Gonzales.

Let the battle cry be raised, and the indignant countrymen of Cooke and his men will levy condign and fearful punishment. . . . It strikes me that we are upon the eve of a great and important crisis in the history of America. Think, General, and think betimes, of the complexity and grandeur of the movements about to be exhibited to the gaze of astonished millions. A great drama is in progress. Two acts have already raised. The first was the settlement and establishment of the independence of the United States -- the second, the settlement and liberation of Texas -- the third will be the conquest of Mexico.

He continued in the spirit of "manifest destiny."

"Westward the Star of empire makes its way"; and, like the wise men of old, the Anglo-American race will be true to its course. They will follow its light as a bad son of glory. General, I am not raving. I am in earnest. Fully do I believe, that as the morrow's sun will rise, the irrevocable destiny of that people points to an absolute dominion as extended as the continent itself. Heaven has decreed it; and will employ agents equal, by benign favor, to the splendid accomplishment. "Delen[d]a est Carthago."[115]

"Need I say . . . that ought in this life would give me more profound satisfaction, than to behold you once more directing the tide of conquest -- the champion of civilization, religion and Liberty," Miller had written the President earlier, "To me it would, indeed, be a 'consummation devoutly to be wished.' The world expects it from you. I trust in God it may not be destined to disappointment; but that the period may shortly arrive when your victorious sword shall cut the meshes of priestly bigotry and slavish ignorance, and your name be heard in every valley and enregistered upon every mount of Mexico, as the liberator of all her people."[116]  "Never again," in his opinion, "will circumstances so admirably concur for the achievement of unfailing renown and extended empire. The harvest of glory is ripe, and invites the reaper."[117]

[Ed: Mexican General Vasquez invaded Texas in early March, raiding Goliad, Refugio and San Antonio before withdrawing. Texas mobilized in response. The story is continued in Attack and Counterattack: The Texas-Mexican Frontier, 1842, Joseph Milton Nance, Austin: University of Texas Press, 1964.]

115. W. D. Miller to Sam Houston, Austin, March 5, 1842 (Private), no. 5, in W. D. Miller Papers, 1833-1860, ms., copy. "Delenda est Carthago" in the words of Cato the elder, "Carthage must be destroyed."

116. W. D. Miller to Sam Houston, Austin, Feb. 16, 1842 (Private), no. 2, in W. D. Miller Papers, 1833-1860, ms., copy.

117. Same to Same, Austin, March 2, 1842 (Private), no. 5, in ibid.

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