The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 23, July 1919 - April, 1920 Page: 94
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94 The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ally into four episodes: The Merchant's War, the Invasion of
Piedras Negras, The Cart War, The Depredations of Cortina.
The Merchant's War.--In order to understand what may ap-
propriately be called the Merchant's War, it will be necessary to
go somewhat fully into the Mexican tariff laws of the period. By
those laws, the commodities which the northern frontier of Mexico
needed most, and those which the merchants of the United States
could most conveniently and profitably furnish were either placed
under a heavy duty or prohibited. The tariff law of October 4,
1845, prohibited sugar of all kinds, flour, lard, bacon, molasses,
rice, coffee, tobacco, raw cotton, cotton threads and cotton textiles
of coarser weaves.7 On April 4, 1849, the prohibition was re-
moved from a number of these at the port of Matamoras, but a
high tariff was levied upon them, and on April 5, 1851, the im-
portation of sugar was again prohibited.8 By decree of November
14, 1849, all duties were uniformly lowered 40 per cent., but they
were still high.s
A bare statement of the situation serves to present the difficulty.
No sooner had the Mexican war closed than the American traders
began to feel the embarrassments of the Mexican revenue system.
Immediately after Taylor invaded Mexico, the United States issued
circulars establishing its own tariff and inviting American mer-
chants to introduce their goods.'0 The tobacco dealers seem to
have responded most readily to this call, and thousands of pounds
were introduced under the new system. When hostilities came to
an end, it was found that a great deal of this commodity was yet
unsold. The treasy of Guadalupe Hidalgo accordingly made provi-
sion for the protection of these and other dealers, the nineteenth
article stipulating that goods brought into ports, or taken into
interior points, during their occupation by the United States forces
should not be subject to import or sale duties, or to confiscation,
after the withdrawal of the troops." Nevertheless, the Mexican
authorities proceeded to levy duties upon these goods, or refused
'Dublan y Lozano, Legislaci6n Mexicano, V, 42-44, 62-63, articles 9
"Ibid., V, 545-546, VI, 42-43; Senate Em. Doc. 52, 32d Cong., 2d Bess.,
'Senate Em. Doc. 52, 32d Cong., 2d Sess., 227.
"0Senate Em. Doo. 80, 32d Cong., let Sess., 57.
"Malloy, Treaties, etc., I, 1115-1116.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 23, July 1919 - April, 1920, periodical, 1919; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101075/m1/100/: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.