The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 8, July 1904 - April, 1905

De Witt's Colony.

expense involved in this effort are almost incredible compared with
the results attained. The conduct of the Spanish soldiers toward
the Indians that were brought to the missions by the exertions of
the padres was, as a rule, so bad that the converts usually deserted
at the first opportunity. The Indians, therefore, made little
progress in civilization, and Spanish families never came in num-
bers large enough to colonize the country. Though France prac-
tically gave up its claim to Texas, Spain, left in almost undis-
turbed possession, toiled slowly on for more than a hundred years
at the colonization of the province with little result. The popula-
tion of Texas at the beginning of the nineteenth century probably
did not exceed seven thousand, including Spaniards, French,
Americans, and the few civilized Indians and half-breeds.'
Now was inaugurated a series of filibustering invasions from the
United States, beginning in 1800 and lasting until 1821, which
helped to destroy the little that already had been accom-
plished. The Spanish colonists in Texas, especially those
at Nacogdoches, became involved with the filibusters and suffered
fearful punishment for what they scarcely could have prevented.
Nacogdoches itself was nearly destroyed in 1819, and Texas was
almost stripped of the signs of civilization as far west as B6jar.
Shortly after the beginning of the filibustering expeditions,
however, Spain's claim to Texas was again threatened in a way
that, had not other circumstances forbade, might have brought
about a new effort on her part to accomplish the colonization of the
province. In 1803, by the Louisiana purchase the United States
acquired the claim that France had made to Texas, and Spain
found this new rival much more aggressive. For a little while
in 1806 war between the two countries seemed imminent. But
it was averted by the Neutral Ground Treaty of that year, and
finally on purchasing Florida in 1819, the United States defi-
nitely surrendered to Spain all claims to Texas.
But Spain had been too busy elsewhere to provide against threat-
ened encroachments upon Texas or to take advantage of the clear
field after the United States had withdrawn. Until 1814 she had
been overtasked by the Peninsular War. Moreover her American
colonists had risen in a general insurrection which she was unable
completely to suppress, and which culminated in their indepen-
dence, that of Mexico being acknowledged in 1821. With her
strength and energy tnus absorbed, it is not hard to understand
why Spain did no more to colonize the northern parts of Mexico.

1 Bancroft, North Mexican States and Texas, II 2.

Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 8, July 1904 - April, 1905. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101033/. Accessed October 24, 2014.