assembled quietly, possibly so as not to attract the attention either of Mexico or that of other powers whose interests might be affected by it, was expected to accomplish a two-fold purpose -- to open direct trade between the Texas settlements and Santa Fé by a route known to be much nearer than the great Missouri trail connecting Santa Fé with the United States, and to establish peaceably the Republic's jurisdiction over her western territory, which included Santa Fé as claimed under her own laws. It was the last major effort of the administration to add luster to its political star; and, yet, more than any of its other efforts to court popularity, it was to culminate in abject failure.
The sending of this expedition beyond the historic boundaries of Texas was an act of war-provoking character, and was regarded by the Mexican government as an effort of her "rebelled province" to take further territory from her. By September this most ambitious and ill-advised "caravan" was a complete failure. Its members, "broken, dispirited, desperately hungry, and almost dying with thirst," were easily captured by Governor Manuel Armijo of New Mexico and sent in bondage to Mexico City.
In the meantime, as the administration of Lamar ground to a halt, "everything and every body" appeared, "to be waiting the 'moving of the waters' by old Sam." The conditions under which the Sixth Congress assembled in Austin on November 1, in regular session, to hear
from the treasury to fit out this expedition. Texas Congress, Report of Select Committee on Resolutions relative to the Santa Fé Expedition; Austin City Gazette, Dec. 15, 1841.
4. For excellent accounts of the Santa Fé Expedition see George W. Kendall, Narrative of the Texas Santa Fé Expedition Comprising a Description of a Tour through Texas and across the Great Southwestern Prairies, the Comanche and Caygua Hunting-Grounds with an Account of the Sufferings from Want of Food, Losses from Hostile Indians, and Their March, as Prisoners, to the City of Mexico; A. K. Christian, "Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XXIV (1920-1921), 87-139; William C. Binkley, The Expansionist Movement in Texas, 1836-1850, pp. 68-95; H. Bailey Carroll, The Texan Santa Fé Trail; and Thomas Falconer, Letters and Notes on the Santa Fé Expedition, 1841-1842. The Santa Fé men were imprisoned at Mexico City, Puebla, and Perote. Many of them were placed in chains and forced to work on the streets and undergo other hardships and indignities.
[Ed: A recent publication of Kendall's Narrative . . . adds helpful annotation by the editors and travel locations from the above work of H. Bailey Carroll. See: George W. Kendall, Narrative of the Texan Santa Fé Expedition, Comprising a Description of a Tour through Texas and . . . , Gerald D. Saxon and William B. Taylor (eds.), Dallas, Texas: William B. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University, 2004.]
5. Anson Jones to Mary Jones, Austin, Nov. 19, 1841, in Anson Jones Papers, ms.
6. Duncan W. Robinson, in Judge Robert McAlpin Williamson: Texas' Three-Legged Willie, p. 184, says,
The personnel of the House of Representatives at the time was international, cosmopolitan, and colorful: three representatives were from North Carolina;