The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Spaniards as far as San Antonio, probably with the intention of
destroying this Spanish settlement. This plan seems to have orig-
inated in the mind of a frontiersman named Louis de Saint Denis,
who had previously attempted to open a contraband trade with
Mexico. Yet it received the approval of Jean Baptiste Le Moyne
de Bienville, governor of Louisiana, and of Delorme, a director
of the Company of the Indies. In France, the raid was approved
by the Duke of Orleans, the regent of France, and apparently by
the Company of the Indies and the Count of Toulouse, admiral
of France. It represents, therefore, something more important
than an isolated and individual attempt for personal revenge,
an impression the author of the report seems to want to create.
The expedition against San Antonio was probably called off
because of the cessation of hostilities between France and Spain.
Bienville received the order to halt the war in America on July
16, 1721,2 and it is possible that Saint Denis was informed that
peace had returned before his departure for Texas.
Although Saint Denis' raid never took place, this document is
published because it demonstrates the opposing views which
existed among the French between those favoring an aggressive
policy towards Spain and those who saw in a good-neighbor policy
a better future for colonial trade.
The original document, consisting of three manuscript pages,
is found in the archives of the Ministry of the Colonies in Paris.3
There can be no doubt regarding the authenticity of the docu-
ment. Its contents were submitted in 1721 for approval to Philip
of Orleans, the regent, who wanted the French envoys at the
peace congress at Cambrai to be informed of Saint Denis' raid
in order to be prepared when complaints by the Spaniards would
be made.4 The manuscript has been catalogued by Mrs. Surrey
2Bienville to Council of the Navy, July 20, 1721, Paris, Archives Nationales,
Colonies, C 13, A.6, fol. 167, Library of Congress transcript. An English translation
of this letter is found in D. Rowland and A. G. Sanders (trans. and eds.),
Mississippi Provincial Archives, French Dominion (3 vols.; Jackson, Miss., 1927-
1932), III, 304.
IRapport au sujet du raid de Saint Denis contre l'6tablissement espagnol de
St. Antoine [1721], Paris, Archives Nationales, Colonies, C 13, C 4, fols. 53-54,
Library of Congress transcript.
4La Houssaye to Count de Toulouse, July 12, 1721, Paris, Archives Nationales,
Colonies, C 13, A 6, fols. 193-193vo., Austin, Tex., University of Texas Library
Archives, transcript: France, I, 68.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed August 29, 2015.