Mission Records at San Antonio.
SPANISH MISSION RECORDS AT SAN ANTONIO.'
HERBERT E. BOLTON.
Students of Spanish-American history will ever be grateful for
the detailed and painstaking way in which most Spanish officials
kept the records of their acts. This excellence of the surviving
materials left by them serves to increase our regret for the loss
of those that have been destroyed or have otherwise disappeared.
A case in point is furnished by the records of the Franciscan mis-
sions founded and conducted during the Spanish regime in Texas.
For, while a small quantity of precious mission records are still
available, the larger portion of what we know must have existed at
one time has disappeared from present view. To say that they
are irrevocably lost is unsafe, except where there is positive proof
of destruction, for they may unexpectedly come to light in some
out-of-the-way corner or some unexplored repository. There is
good reason to hope, indeed, that when the archives of Mexico and
Spain have been duly searched, much of the missing material for
the history of these interesting institutions will be recovered.
It is not my purpose here to speculate as to what materials exist
elsewhere, but rather to describe briefly the small collection that
is now the property of the San Antonio diocese of the Catholic
Church, and is in the custody of the Right Rev. Bishop Forest.
Though the collection is small, it contains, besides important ma-
terial for the history of Texas missions, ethnological data that
may in the last resort be our only clue to the classification of a
number of native Southwestern tribes, whose racial affiliation
would otherwise remain forever unknown. This collection is pri-
vate property, is guarded with care by the custodian, and, prop-
erly, is made available for use only under the strictest safeguards.
It is highly desirable, however, that records such as these, which if
once destroyed could never be replaced, should be stored in a fire-
proof building, beyond the danger of destruction.
'For the opportunity to study the valuable records which are ,briefly
described in these pages, I am greatly indebted to the generosity and kind-
ness of the Right Reverend Bishop J. A. Forest, of San Antonio.
Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 10, July 1906 - April, 1907. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101040/. Accessed May 6, 2015.