Sam Houston and the Texas War Fever
cial advantages of Texas dominating this trade.15 Congress, how-
ever, would not give its approval to the project. Lamar then
determined to act without specific authorization. It is not nec-
essary to go into details of this expedition except to say that it
was poorly planned and that the leaders miscalculated the
amount of support they would receive from the natives of Santa
Fe. The expedition left its encampment in June, 1841, and
began the trek through the unknown territory that separated it
from Santa Fe. In various groups the members, after many mis-
adventures, were captured by Governor Manuel Armijo, and
were started on the needlessly savage march to Mexico City.16
The fate of the members of this ill-starred expedition was not
learned definitely until January of the following year. In this
interim period, Sam Houston had become President for the sec-
ond time in December, 1841. He had made clear his concern
over finances and the absolute necessity of a sane fiscal policy.
In his first message to Congress he admitted frankly that Texas
was bankrupt. He said, "We have no money-we cannot redeem
our liabilities.""' Thus when the fate of the expedition was
learned in January, 1842, Houston was already committed to a
policy of retrenchment. He refused to be stampeded into avow-
ing the foolish attempt at reprisal made by the Congress. This
reprisal was simply to be a redefinition of the boundaries of
Texas, this time to include great portions of Mexico within
the alleged boundaries. The President vetoed the bill with the
notation that to assert such claims would "make other nations
regard this action as visionary--or a legislative jest."'s
The Congress, roused to fever pitch over the maltreatment of
the expedition prisoners, passed the act over Houston's veto. The
country demanded the immediate release of the prisoners. That
this was totally impossible, considering the state of affairs, did not
15Lamar's Second Annual Message, November 12, 1839, in Charles Adams Gulick,
Jr., and others (eds.), The Papers of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar (6 vols.; Austin,
1920-1927), III, 181-183.
16For the Santa F6 Expedition, see George W. Kendall, Texan Santa Fd Expedi-
tion (2 vols.; New York, 1844), and William C. Binkley, "New Mexico and the
Santa F6 Expedition," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XXVII, 85.
17Houston's First Message to Congress, Second Administration, in Williams and
Barker (eds.), Writings of Houston, II, 403.
1sHouston to House of Representatives, February 1, 1842, ibid., 462.
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 May 3, 2015.