The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976 Page: 56
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Nicolas Bravo. The situation called for a person of culture, sympathetic
to the Mexicans, who could make a favorable impression. Shortly after
Potter's supplication, General Bravo released the prisoners.'
Potter moved to Velasco, Texas, in 1837. His success with the Mata-
moros prisoners was not forgotten when President Lamar decided to send
peace missions to Mexico during 1839-1841. Commissioner Barnard E. Bee
strongly recommended that Potter go along as secretary of the first mis-
sion: "He is intelligent, virtuous, and an accomplished Spanish scholar."
Again in 1841, for the last such venture, James Webb asked for Potter--
needing someone who had knowledge of Mexico as well as an understand-
ing of Spanish. These missions failed to secure Mexico's recognition of the
new republic, and, perhaps, Potter's instincts told him that they would fail,
for there is no record that he accepted any of these posts.4
Potter did fulfill Lamar's request, however, that he draft copies of the
proclamation which the commissioners of the ill-fated Santa Fe expedition
were to deliver to the people of New Mexico in 1841. Potter's close friend
Jose Antonio Navarro reluctantly agreed to become one of the commis-
sioners and to help dispurse copies of the proclamation, which Potter wrote
both in English and Spanish. Navarro checked Potter's Spanish translation
and only changed a few words for style. It may be that the proclamation
never reached the intended recipients, however: Mexicans seized six copies
of it when they captured a messenger from the secretary of the expedition
to the Texan agent in Santa Fe, and other copies possibly were never
Earlier, in 1839, Potter had been prevailed upon to gather intelligence
on Mexico from his custom house post in Velasco, Texas, and transmit it
to the capital. Texas was expecting a major Mexican invasion, and Pot-
ter's duties were to get Mexican newspapers brought by the schooner Wasp
and the sloop Citizen and to compare their accounts with the reports of
SIbid., I, 3, 5-27.
4Ibid., 33; Barnard E. Bee to [James Webb], [April 7, 1839], Diplomatic Correspond-
ence of the Republic of Texas, edited by George P. Garrison (3 vols.; Washington, D.C.,
I9o8-191), II, 440. James Webb was secretary of state under Lamar in z84I. Walter
Prescott Webb and H. Bailey Carroll (eds.), The Handbook of Texas (2 vols.; Austin,
1952), II, 873-874.
5R. M. Potter, "The Texas Revolution: Distinguished Mexicans Who Took Part in
the Revolution of Texas, With Glances at Its Early Events," Magazine of American
History, II (October, 1878), 596-597. William Campbell Binkley, "New Mexico and
the Texan Santa Fe Expedition," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XXVII (October,
1923), 104. The proclamation called on the people of New Mexico to peacefully accept
Texan rule, guaranteeing them the same privileges possessed by the citizens of the
Republic of Texas. Instigators of the expedition believed that most New Mexicans pre-
ferred to join Texas rather than remain under Mexican rule. In instructions to the com-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976, periodical, 1975/1976; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101203/m1/74/: accessed October 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.