Notes and Documents
Texas as Seen by Governor Winthuysen,
Edited and Translated by RUSSELL M. MAGNAGHI*
N THE EARLY EIGHTEENTH CENTURY THE SPANISH, AWARE OF THE
need for a durable defensive bulwark against French encroachment
from Louisiana into Mexico, began to establish permanent settle-
ments in Texas. In the early 169os the Spanish had temporarily occu-
pied East Texas in response to La Salle's settlement on the Gulf
Coast. Within a few years the Spanish left because the missionaries
were hungry and sick and the Indians were indifferent to their ef-
forts at conversion and increasingly hostile to their presence? The
appearance of the French trader Louis Juchereau de Saint Denis
on the Rio Grande on July 19, 1714, caused the Spanish to reevaluate
their position. Two years later, in the summer of 1716, a presidio and
four missions were established among the Hasinai. Then in the fall
of 1716, after an inspection of the French post at Natchitoches, the
Spanish established Mission San Miguel de Linares among the Adaes
on or near the site of modern Robeline, Louisiana, and Nuestra
Sefiora de los Dolores de los Ais halfway between the first four mis-
sions and San Miguel.2 As reports filtered back to Mexico City, Span-
ish officials began to think it might be desirable to establish a way
*Russell M. Magnaghi is professor of history at Northern Michigan University. He has
researched Indian slavery in the borderlands and written several articles on the subject.
1Elizabeth A. H. John, Storms Brewed in Other Men's Worlds: The Confrontation of
Indians, Spanish, and French in the Southwest (College Station, Tex., 1975), 185-192;
Carlos E. Castafieda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas, 15r9-1936 (7 vols.; Austin, 1936-
1958), I, 368-370, 372-377.
2John, Storms Brewed, o203-204, 208; Castafieda, Our Catholic Heritage, II, 66-67.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101210/. Accessed October 25, 2014.