The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 24, July 1920 - April, 1921 Page: 94
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94 The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Lamar was intensely interested in extending the trade of the
republic. In his inaugural address in December, 1838, he had
expressed himself in favor of free trade; and in the instructions to
the various ministers sent to Europe, he always suggested the
policy of offering favorable commercial privileges in return for
recognition of independence. In February, 1839, he issued a proc-
lamation, after Congress had passed an act to that effect, opening
trade between the western settlements of Texas and the Mexicans
on the Rio Grande.'5 This action was a result of the revolt of
Canales against the centralists, and did not carry any recognition
of Mexican rights to the east of the Rio Grande.
A considerable trade had developed between Santa Fe and St.
Louis on one side, and between Santa F6 and Matamoras on the
other. This had its beginning after the expedition of Pike,
though it was not until 1821 or 1822 that any appreciable success
attended the efforts of merchants to open trade-at the time that
Stephen F. Austin left Missouri with his colonists and settled in
Texas. In 1833 and 1834 the government of the United States
found it necessary to give military aid to the expeditions on ac-
count of the hostility of the Indians.16 In 1839 an effort was
made to open direct trade between Van Buren, Arkansas, and
Chihuahua, Mexico, an account of which appeared in the Telegraph,
and Texas Register on July 17, 1839, probably stimulating the
interest of the government and people of Texas in trade with
During the fall and winter of 1839-1840, the possibility and
desirability of getting control of the Santa FP trade was under
discussion by the people and newspapers. The editor of The Sen-
tinel, published at Austin, said that he had frequently been asked
as to the feasibility of establishing direct communication with
Santa FP. He estimated that the distance from Austin to Santa
F was about four hundred and fifty miles. The road, he said,
was through a rich, rolling, well-watered country. The distance
from Austin to the old San Saba fort was estimated at one hun-
dred and twenty-five miles, and the writer said that the old
Spanish road could be followed from Gonzales to that place. The
Santa FP road, it was stated, passed through a beautiful country
15Lamar Papers, No. 1079.
"'Gregg, Commerce of the Prairies, I, 24, 31.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 24, July 1920 - April, 1921, periodical, 1921; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101078/m1/100/: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.