The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 6, July 1902 - April, 1903 Page: 28
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28 Tewas Historical Association Quarterly.
the people were all too content with gaining an existence with the
least possible effort, to demand anything better. The first real
sign of educational awakening is contained in a petition, presented
to the cabildo, in 1789, by Don Jose Francisco de la Mata.1 In
this paper he says that, led by pity for the ignorance of the youth
of the villa, he had, a few years before, opened a sort of school for
them, in which they might learn something of the proprieties of
the church service, of parental control, and of public duties. The
object of his petition is to secure the good will of the members of
the cabildo, the cooperation of the village curate, the modest little
stipend of twelve reales per pupil, and lastly, but by no means of
least import, the formal authorization of his school by the proper
authorities, in order to prevent the undue interference of parents
with his educational methods.
The lot of this pedagogue could not have been a very happy one,
for he tells the members of the cabildo that the parents of those
to whom he had administered mild punishments were accustomed
to threaten him in a most insulting manner in the very presence
of their children. They would also, upon the least provocation,
remove the latter from his school, a policy disastrous alike to par-
ents, children, and the community at large. Perhaps these trials
could have been endured with greater equanimity had his salary
been in any way commensurate with his labors; but he had made
his tuition fees purposely small in order to attract to his teaching
all the children of the community.2
As Don Jos6 Francisco asked for little more than the good will
of the cabildo and the forwarding of his petition to the governor
for his necessary approval, his request was readily received by the
members and forwarded according to his wish. The governor
granted what the petitioner desired, but as the document abruptly
ends at this point, we can learn no more of Don Jose's pioneer
educational experiment. From another document we learn that,
three years later, he was arrested and imprisoned because the
members of the ayuntamiento found in possession of one of the
'Petition, May 1, 1789. Bexar Archives.
2The census for 1783 gave this number as 321 boys and 264 girls; the
figures for 1791 are 285 boys and 268 girls. Bexar Archives.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 6, July 1902 - April, 1903, periodical, 1903; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101028/m1/32/: accessed September 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.