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Texas Navy schooner seizes mercantile brig; friction with U.S. ensues


On this day in 1836, the sixty-ton armed schooner Liberty, commanded by William S. Brown, seized the brig Durango in Matagorda Bay. The Durango was owned by a New Orleans mercantile house with a longstanding interest in the Texas trade, which makes it unlikely that she was carrying war contraband designed to assist the Mexican army. A more likely explanation for the seizure is that the fledgling Texas Navy simply needed the vessel and her supplies; the Liberty had been the first ship purchased by the republic, only two months before. The Durango incident added to an already hostile attitude within the United States about attacks by both Mexico and Texas on United States vessels, which eventually led to the arrest of the crew of the Invincible after this vessel captured the United States merchant vessel Pocket. The Durango incident was closed officially in 1838, when Texas and the United States entered into a convention of indemnity. The total settlement, which also made provisions for the Pocket claims, was for $11,750 plus accrued interest.

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