The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 1, July 1897 - April, 1898

216 Texas Historical Association Quarterly.

SOME OBSCURE POINTS IN THE MISSION PERIOD
OF TEXAS HISTORY.
WALTER FLAVIUS M'OALEB.
The history of Texas for more than a hundred years after the
coming of the French is fragmentary and unsatisfactory. The cas-
ual reader can not have failed to be impressed by this fact, while
the student discovers long lapses and obscurities in the story. The
object of this article, then, shall be to point out a few of the gaps
which exist in our knowledge of the century. The period which
properly falls within our scope is marked, in a way, by the subject
of this article; but, a little more definitely, it may be said to begin
with the landing of La Salle in 1685 and to close with the seculari-
zation of the principal missions in the province in 1793.
The first narrative we know which tells of Texas reads like the
wildest fiction. There is something pathetically romantic in the
fateful coming of the Chevalier de La Salle and the little French
colony to our coast; there is something strangely fascinating in the
struggles of the Franciscan fathers to bring the red men to Christ.
The halo of romance which surrounds this period is due in a meas-
ure to the meagerness of our knowledge concerning it. Little has
been done to bring out of the archives of Bexar, Monclova, Chi-
huahua, Quer6taro, City of Mexico, and Madrid the facts which
would give us an accurate historical picture of the time. Until this
is done, we must content ourselves with what we have of its history.
When La Salle anchored in the Espiritu Santo in 1685, he found
himself in a land, which had been explored to be sure, but which
had no civilized inhabitant; and with the erection of Fort St.
Louis arose the dispute over the possession of Texas, to which the
United States became a party by the purchase of Louisiana, which
came so near precipitating a war with Spain, and which made pos-
sible the designs of Aaron Burr. The question was altogether un-
settled till 1819, and indeed it finally did involve us in an unjust
war with Mexico, which ended only with the treaty of Guadalupe
Hidalgo. The matter now, so far as we are concerned, is settled,

Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 1, July 1897 - April, 1898. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101009/. Accessed December 21, 2014.