Lamar's Efforts to Protect the Frontier
SHORTLY AFTER BECOMING PRESIDENT on December 10, 1838, Mirabeau B. Lamar called Congress' attention to the defenseless and exposed condition of the inland frontier of the Republic. Since the victory at San Jacinto, he declared, "we have sustained but little annoyance from our principal enemy," but "our western frontier has been polluted and our citizens desquieted by small bands of Mexican brigands who war for spoil and invade only to ravage and destroy." It should be our duty, he continued,
. . . to chastise these depredators and suppress their incursions. . . . I would therefore recommend a law be enacted which shall visit a just and severe retribution upon such Mexican citizens, not in the actual service of their government, as shall be found in arms, or convicted of any hostile practices within our territory. An honorable warfare we will reciprocate. But the predatory aggressions of unauthorized banditti have always received, as they justly merit the severest chastisement that an indignant community can inflict.
Lamar also made reference to the incursions of the hostile Indians along the frontier, and urged Congress to provide for security against these barbarians. He suggested, too, the need for placing the trade developing with northern Mexico on a firmer basis, with some official sanction other than the mere executive proclamation upon which it then existed. The improvement of this trade would not only help Texas to cultivate the friendship of the people of the northern Mexican states
1. M. B. Lamar to the Senate and House of Representatives, Houston, Dec. 21, 1838, in Record of Executive Documents from the 10th Dec. 1838 to the 14th Dec. 1841, ms., pp. 14-53; Lamar Papers, II, 346-369; Lamar, Mirabeau B., Message of the President, Submitted to Both Houses, December 21, 1838. Published by order of Congress. The date of the message as published in the Journal of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas: Regular Session of Third Congress, Nov. 5, 1838, pp. 167-195, is shown as December 20, 1838.