Notes on Commercial Relations, 1888-1889
NOTES ON COMMERCIAL RELATIONS BETWEEN NEW
ORLEANS AND TEXAN PORTS, 1838-1839
JAMEs E. WINSTON
During the period of the revolution in Texas, New Orleans was
an important center for commercial and financial relations with
that country.' In the years immediately subsequent to the at-
tainment of independence exports from this city to the young re-
public were marked by an increasing volume as well as by a well-
nigh endless variety of articles.2 Virtually everything that a new
and rapidly growing country stood in need of, not to mention
articles of luxury, were provided by the scores of New Orleans
merchants engaged in the Texas trade. The years 1837 and 1838
in Texas are described by historians as being on the whole pros-
perous ones. The former was a good crop year, and emigration
was steadily on the increase.8 New towns were being laid out.
The chief economic asset was land, and the growing of cotton
constituted the main article of export. Five years before the
period covered by this study this crop was estimated at 5,000
bales, though the estimate of the crop in 1839-'40 as 80,000 bales
would seem to be an excessive one.' Next to cotton, skins, cat-
tle and hogs formed the bulk of the exports. For the first quarter
of 1838 imports at Galveston alone were valued at over a quarter
of a million dollars, the duties levied amounting to about $51,000.6
All authorities agree that coin was a scarce article in Texas dur-
ing these years. Prices were high, indicating a scarcity of pro-
1Abundant illustrations of this statement may be found in Eugene C.
Barker, ed., The Austin Papers, Vol. III.
'For the extent to which the Texan authorities relied upon New Or-
leans for supplies of all kinds, see Alma Howell Brown, "The Consular
Service of the Republic of Texas," THIE QUARTERLY, XXXIII, 189-191.
'Homer S. Thrall, A Pictorial History of Texas, 300. It has been
estimated that emigrants going to Texas during the decade 1836-1846
averaged 7,000 a year.
'Almonte's report in THE QUARTERLY, XXVIII, 177-222. Cf. Barker,
Readings in Texas History, 418. The larger estimate is that given by
N. Doran Maillard, History of the Republic of Texas, 345.
'Dudley G. Wooten, ed., A Comprehensive History of Texas, I, 332.
For January, 1839, revenue from imports of the country as a whole is
said to have amounted to the considerable sum of $335,955.83. Asa K.
Christian, "The Tariff History of the Republic of Texas," in THE QUAR-
TERLY, XX, 328. But see E. T. Miller, A Financial History of Texas, 391.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 34, July 1930 - April, 1931. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101091/. Accessed May 22, 2015.