bar to bring cotton on board the vessels at anchor outside. I expected to be able to land direct on the Texas coast. He granted my request.
It seems that the same mail with which I arrived at Vera Cruz had brought some instructions to the admiral in relation to the expedition against the port of Matamoras, and that it was known on the fleet that it would soon take place,as one of the lieutenants on board came to speak to me about the projected expedition, and to tell me that the frigate would probably be engaged in it; that his duty called him to the command of the party of marines, who always make a part of the landing troops; that he was desirous of getting acquainted with the bar and the directions of the road to Matamoras,with a sight of the place itself,in order to be able to act with knowledge of the localities at the proper time. I understood readily that by acceding to his demand,if I could not land on the Texas side, his company might involve me in some difficulties with the Mexican authorities. Nevertheless, I made up my mind to take him along with me and run all risk. I was moved chiefly by the consideration that if the vessel that the frigate had orders to seize was really the bearer of arms for us,it would be easy for you, general, to give good proofs that they belonged to the Confederacy; and, if my opinion, it was important to justify the good faith of the claim before the seizure of the vessel, which would give great strength to our demand,and that bringing with me the lieutenant, you could immediately hand over to him the proper proofs, if necessary,and secure thus, as far as possible, the future recovery of the arms. I left the frigate on the 3d,at 11 a.m.,and all the officers, excepting the captain, did me the honor to accompany me to the Mexican lighter.
We got on board of her without any distraction, and, after the examination of the river boat by the officers, they left me on board with the lieutenant, who passed himself off as my secretary, he being in citizen's garb.
I took the captain aside, and told him that I was the friend of the Texan, owner of the boat; I knew that,although she was under the Mexican flag, it belonged, in fact,to us; that I was a Texas citizen, and wished to land on the Texas side, &c.
He answered me that he could not do it,as he had on board an officer of the Mexican custom-house, and that is was forbidden to him to land anybody on the left bank of the river;but that as soon as he would touch landing,there would be no difficulty in finding a small boat to cross the river. I saw at once that we had some risk to run, and we must take our chances.
As soon as we landed on the Mexican side, I got ready to cross over in a skiff, when the same Mexican officer who was on board told me that, in virtue of a convention existing between both countries, I could not cross the river without a permit, and that I must go before the port warden to obtain it. I went there directly,and, once in his presence, the officer mad an affidavit that I land my companion were persons of suspicious character; that we had arrived direct from a French frigate, on a boat with 12 seamen and officers in full dress. It being very evident, in his sight,that we were French spies, the port-warden considered it necessary to secure our persons. He told me that, according to his instructions, he was not free to grant me a permit to cross the river, and that he was bound to send us under guard to the authorities at Matamoras. Arrived at that city, we were brought before the gefe politico, who, on account of our late arrival, refused my demand to send for the Governor.