Secular Life in the San Antonio Missions
indignations that I truly cannot find sufficient words with which to
describe them. .. The grief they inspire in me is so overwhelming
that I am conscious of being alive only because I can still suffer. When
I examine my conscience, I find it free from mortal guilt."
During his regime many of the Indians began to ignore the
routine of mission life and some abandoned the missions com-
Disputes between the missionaries and officials grew until in
1769 Father Marion de los Dolores offered to turn the temporal
administration of the missions over to the military and civil of-
ficials. He said that the missionaries were supposed to convert
the natives and that the governmental officials should handle
all other matters concerning mission life. The officials refused
his suggestion and beat a hasty retreat by retracing their accu-
sations, but quarrels continued throughout the period.
Disagreements between the villa settlers and missionaries also
often centered around temporal aspects. The settlers claimed
that the missions occupied the best lands and that presidios
bought mission products to the exclusion of villa products. The
settlers wanted to hire Indian labor, but the fathers refused on
the grounds that the Indians might be mistreated or corrupted,
or that they might run away.76
The subject of unbranded cattle concerned the missionaries,
the villa settlers, the soldiers, and the crown. In 1780 the com-
mandant general of the Interior Provinces decreed that all un-
branded cattle belonged to the king. Any individual could round
them up if he paid the royal treasury fifty cents a head. Much
of the unbranded cattle around San Antonio belonged to the
missions and ranchers who, because of Indian hostilities, had not
held a roundup in fourteen years. The mission cattle had been
a source of conflict between the settlers and missionaries since
Governor Franquis' regime. The cattle had been one of the
largest sources of wealth to the missionaries.77 Both the settlers
and the missionaries protested against the order.
75Franquis to Marquis of Torreblanca, August 26, 1739 (MS., Bexar Archives
Translations, Archives Collection, University of Texas), XI, lot.
76Rupert N. Richardson, Texas: The Lone Star State (New York, 1947), 59-60;
Chabot, Morfi Excerpts, 59.
77Dabbs, "Texas Missions in 1785," Preliminary Studies of the Texas Catholic
Historical Society, III, 18-19; Castafieda, Our Catholic Heritage, V, 24.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/. Accessed May 3, 2016.