The Last Years of Spanish Texas, 1778-1821. By Odie B. Faulk.
The Hague (Mouton & Co.), 1964. Pp. viii+156. Index.
In a series of topical chapters Faulk skims through the last
forty-three years of Spanish sovereignty in Texas. His purpose
is twofold: to "fill a gap" in the story of Texas and to determine
the reasons for the "failure" of Spain in the region.
A brief introduction which appears to be a presentation of
the historiography of the subject is marred by vagueness. He
states there have been three approaches to the subject: those of the
sound scholar, the romanticist, and a school he does not name
but which can be easily identified as the Manifest Destiny or
Anglo-Texan school. Of these three groups he fails to mention
any examples of the first two but does identify two authors in
the Anglo-Texan grouping. He then makes the charge that "the
present-day historian writing in this same Anglo-Texan vein
usually has done little original research in Spanish source ma-
terials," but he fails to cite even one example of this sort of work.
As to filling a gap in the story of Texas, it is difficult to see that
he has presented any significant information about Spanish Texas
that cannot be had in the Handbook of Texas or Carlos E. Cas-
tafieda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas. The organization of
his book is better suited to the second purpose of analysis rather
than narrative, yet his approach is so provincial and trite that
no new insight into the subject is forthcoming.
His most startling conclusion is that "Spanish Texas was a suc-
cessful failure." This muddled bit of prose must reflect a terrible
conflict between fact and fiction in the author's mind. He main-
tains that Spain "failed to convert the bulk of the Indian pop-
ulation to Christianity, the soldiers never wrested the land from
the native inhabitants, the Spanish immigrants did not settle
the province in large numbers and turn it into a replica of Spain,
and in the end, the territory slipped away from Spanish control."
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117144/. Accessed May 26, 2015.