Description

    Santa Fe Expedition: Mirabeau Lamar Autograph Letter Signed as the second president of the Republic of Texas. One lined page, 9" x 11.25", April 5, 1841, Austin, concerning a horse to be used on the Texas Santa Fe Expedition. In full:

    Republic of Texas
    Qr Master Dept.
    Santa Fe Expedition
    To William G. Cooke

    One American Bay mare
    Furnished by[?] J. B. Ranson
    for Express to Nacogdoches $800.00

    Austin April 5th 1841
    Approved
    William L. Cazneau
    Qr Master Genl.
    Approved & to be paid. M B Lamar

    Charge to Sante Fe
    John G. Chalmers
    Secty of Treasury

    In an aggressive maneuver to lure some of the westward flow of goods through Texas and away from the Santa Fe Trail, President Mirabeau Lamar unofficially commenced the Texas Santa Fe Expedition in 1841. (The reason for the expedition was much more complicated than simply a trade mission: President Lamar, without the backing of the Texas Congress, was also attempting to lure the citizens of New Mexico to come under the jurisdiction of the republic.)

    The expedition began near Austin two months after J. B. Ranson furnished his "bay mare" for "Express to Nacogdoches." Merchants, with twenty-one wagons of goods valued near $200,000, were escorted by 321 soldiers with artillery. The expedition was poorly organized and executed. Traveling northwest in unfamiliar terrain, the party got lost. Meanwhile, food and water supplies ran short as hostile Indians harassed the party. When they finally arrived in New Mexico in mid-September 1841, they were met by a large Mexican Army. In no position to fight, the merchants and soldiers surrendered and were marched as prisoners to Mexico City. While there, they were rescued by U.S. diplomacy and released in April 1842. Though an unfortunate episode, it did bring Texas into the consciousness of the U.S. as war with Mexico loomed closer.

    William L. Cazneau, a personal friend of Lamar, was appointed by the president as commissary general. William G. Cooke was appointed a civil commissioner to negotiate with the citizens of New Mexico. The document contains period mathematical computations on verso. Mild toning around edges with some tape on verso along separated fold. A small strip of additional paper has been added on verso along left edge. Very good.


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