The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 58, July 1954 - April, 1955

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RUDOLPH L. BIESELE, Editor
Texas-Irish Empresarios and Their Colonies. By William H.
Oberste. Austin (Von Boeckmann-Jones Company), 1953.
Pp. xii+31o+[g]. Illustrations and maps. $1o.oo.
As a study of Empresario James Power and as an authoritative
account of his enlistment of the Wexford colonists who sailed
January 8, 1834, aboard the Prudence, or else, on March 12, 1834,
aboard the Heroine, to make new homes in Texas, this is a mag-
nificent work. It is a product of twenty years of tireless research
and is irreplaceable as a chapter in the overall history of the
colonization of Texas, which Oberste, and other Texas students,
are gradually bringing to life.
Hints of this story of the Wexford emigrants were incorporated
by its author in his History of Refugio Mission (Refugio, 1942),
and Our Lady Comes to Refugio (Corpus Christi, 1944), but ten
more years of patient research have added immensely to the
author's knowledge, and to the human interest of his work.
Power's difficulty in persuading the Wexford colonists to join him
in Texas, his typically Irish quarrel with them, and their deci-
mation by cholera, are magnificently told. These chapters are
fine writing, and belong, without correction or emendation, in
that eventual history of colonial Texas which can never be written,
but must be compiled.
Of equal historical import, though less dear to the heart of their
author, are his chapters relating the almost forgotten story of the
Spanish colony founded in Texas, on the San Marcos River, in
1807, by Felipe Roque de la Portilla, a retired Spanish officer,
at the instance of Manuel Antonio Cordero, Texas' enlightened
Spanish governor of that day. Only fragments of the story of
Cordero's efforts to populate Texas have appeared, as yet, in
English print. Cordero understood the implications of the
Louisiana Purchase and of the American westward migration, and
knew that without countercolonization he could not save Texas
for Spain. De la Portilla's settlement on the San Marcos was
only a portion of Cordero's plan. The fortified town of Palafox,

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 58, July 1954 - April, 1955. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101158/. Accessed October 31, 2014.