The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 26, July 1922 - April, 1923

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

outpost of New Spain by 1701 was San Juan Bautista, on the Rio
Grande, at which place there were three missions and a presidio.
Between this and the French settlements in Louisiana the vast,
unexplored area of Texas intervened. This the adventurous fron-
tiersmen at San Juan Bautista desired to penetrate, but the au-
thorities would permit no steps toward permanent occupation.
Among those who were especially anxious for the reoccupation
of Texas was Father Hidalgo, a Franciscan, who had been at the
East Texas missions between 1690 and 1693, and who wished to
return there to work among the Indians. However, his many peti-
tions to his superiors and to the government officials were refused.
At last, in 1711, he wrote a letter to the Jesuit missionaries of
Louisiana and the next year another to the French governor at
Mobile making inquiries concerning the Asinai, or Tejas, Indians.
This method was adopted to create a situation which had always
in the past been an effective means of securing official action,
namely, the danger of foreign aggression. The French in Louis-
iana, upon more than one occasion, had, contrary to Spanish law,
attempted to open up trade with New Spain, but theretofore they
had been unsuccessful. Hence the advances made by Hidalgo in
one of the letters, which finally fell into the hands of Cadillac, the
French governor of Louisiana, were eagerly met.
Cadillac at once sent Louis de St. Denis, an experienced trader
and explorer, with instructions to establish a trading post among
the Tejas Indians, find Hidalgo, and discover the possibilities for
trade with New Spain. In his commission, however, no mention
is made of the latter purpose. St. Denis left Mobile in 1713, and
in the latter part of the year founded the post of Natchitoches on
the Red River, in the present state of Louisiana. Not finding
Hidalgo in this region, as he had expected, he proceeded in the
spring to the Rio Grande, reaching it in July, 1714. Upon his
arrival at San Juan Bautista, Captain Diego Ram6n, head of the
flying squadron stationed there, seized the goods brought by his
party and detained St. Denis until the orders of the Viceroy should
be received. He was summoned to Mexico, arriving there in
June, 1715,3 and after being questioned at length upon the pur-
'See Clark, R. C., "Louis Juchereau de Saint Denis and the Reestablish-'
ment of the Tejas Missions," in Texas State Historical Association, THE
QUARTERLY, VI (Austin, 1902), p. 14.


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 26, July 1922 - April, 1923. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed December 1, 2015.