The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940 Page: 5
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The Men of Goliad
existing in American public opinion between aiding the cause of
Texas, resisting despotic government, and undertaking a predatory
expedition, with filibusters or soldiers of fortune, against a purely
Mexican town. Technically, and from Santa Anna's viewpoint,
Texas and Tampico, alike, were Mexican soil. That many of the
Texan leaders failed also to see this distinction was one of the
underlying causes of the sacrifice of Fannin's men. Even so, there
is no excuse for Santa Anna's having so completely misjudged
his means to an end. Relying on the Tampico precedent, he decreed,
before beginning his invasion of Texas, that all "foreigners" taken
in arms in Texas should be treated as pirates and shot. He thought
thus, by intimidation, to cut off Texas from American aid. It
was, of course, a complete misunderstanding of the American
people to suppose that such a fulmination would be likely to
have that effect. But when Fannin's men were captured by Urrea,
the first wave of American sympathy for Texas was spent. Even
at New Orleans, where the American interest was most conse-
quential and direct, the Texan Commissioners had difficulty in
finding money and were compelled to secure it on drastic terms.
There was a marked reaction against Texas because the marine
underwriters, and the New Orleans merchants trading in Mexico,
were effectively back-firing Texan support. American reaction
against the Tampico expedition; the stupidity of the Texan Pro-
visional Government; tales of neglect and hardships whispered by
volunteers returning from Texas; and the divisions in Texan
counsel, apparent to all, were having their effect. The Texan
defeat at the Alamo, and the capture of Fannin, had restored
the prestige of the Mexican arms. As at no other time during the
revolution, Texas was dependent on help from the United States.
Had Santa Anna seized the opportunity of Fannin's surrender to
dump his men, with Miller's, on the wharves at New Orleans,
humiliated, starving, half naked, penniless, homesick, and forlorn,
and each with his painful story of Texan mismanagement and
Texan neglect, Texas' standing with the American people would
have fallen to a new low; and American men, and American money,
for the Texan venture would have been scarce indeed. Killing
them was exactly the fillip needed to American sympathy and
American pride to insure for Texas the financial and moral backing
of which the struggling young Republic was then in such dire
and desperate need.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940, periodical, 1940; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101111/m1/13/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.