Southwestern Historical Quarterly
issued in too large a volume and depreciated almost to nothing.
The loans which Texas did obtain were not sufficient to offset
her unsound fiscal policy. Examples abound of the precarious
situation of the finances of Texas. In 1838 President Houston,
in vetoing the issuance of more promissory notes, stated that
"owing to the depreciated character of our currency, qualified
as it has been, the prices of merchandise in Texas are from one
hundred to two hundred per cent higher than in the United
States."12 Of course, a major deficiency such as this would have a
tremendous effect upon the whole of society. Commerce within
the settled portions of Texas was stereotyped: "Money was scarce,
there was no circulating medium in the country. Commerce and
trade was by means of exchange of produce, goods, and chattels."13
As a result of the unstable financial conditions, and in order
to promote commerce, President Lamar sought first to establish
trade relations with the northern states of Mexico in 1839. Failing
in this initial effort, he decided to force the commercial rap-
prochement which he desired. The instrument which would ac-
complish this was the ill-fated Santa Fe Expedition. A brief de-
scription of this curious expedition is in order, for it proved to
be the catalyst that called forth the retaliatory events of March
and September, 1842, which led Texas to the brink of war.'1
Lamar felt that if Texas rule could not be established in Santa
F6, Texas would still be able to profit immensely in the hard
cash of the New Mexico market. If properly established, Texan
traders would have a definite advantage there over their com-
petitors from the United States. These imaginary advantages of
diverting a large part of the Santa Fe market into Texas were the
primary purposes of the scheme. Lamar's dream of a Texas empire
dictated the organization and nature of the expedition. In the
fall of 1839, he called to the attention of Congress the commer-
1916), and Herbert Rook Edwards, "Diplomatic Relations between France and the
Republic of Texas, 1836-1845," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XX, 225-241.
lsHouston to the House of Representatives, May 12, 1838, in Amelia W. Williams
and Eugene C. Barker (eds.), Writings of Sam Houston (8 vols.; Austin, 1938-1943),
18Lucy A. Erath (ed.), Memoirs of George B. Erath (Austin, 1923), 58.
14Houston's First Message to Congress, Second Administration, in Williams and
Barker (eds.), Writings of Houston, II, 403.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/. Accessed September 19, 2014.