The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 8, July 1904 - April, 1905 Page: 300
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Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
laws similar to those in Spain was developed for the government
of consejos in America. Most of the laws that were in force at
the time San Fernando was founded are contained in the Recop-
ilacion de Leyes de los Reynos de las Indias. The first edition of
these laws was issued in 1680, the second, which was merely a re-
print of the first, in 1774, and the third in 1791.1 It ha:s already
been shown that the Spaniards, in their various efforts to hold the
Province -of Texas from 1689 to this 'time, had been controlled by
the laws of the Recopilacion. Now, it was the intention of the
government to found this villa, and have it governed in accord-
ance with these same laws. That this is true is easily established.
In accordance with the laws of the Recopilacion the new settlers
were created hidalgos2 and were given a municipal government,"
and detailed instructions, based upon the Recopilacion, were given
for the laying off of the town.' Other examples showing obedience
to the Recopilacion might ,be given, but these are doubtless suffi-
It is clear, however, that in practice the laws were modified to
meet peculiar conditions at San Fernando. One of the most strik-
ing instances of such disregard, or in fact of violation of these
laws, was the establishment of the villa near the missions, and the
groups of settlers that had gathered about Bexar between 1718 and
1730. The law prescribing the regulations for the settlement of
villas governed by ordinary alcaldes and regidores declared that
the boundaries of the four leagues of land set aside for the said
place should be distant at least five leagues from any ciudad, villa,
or lugar de Espaiioles5 which might have been previously estab-
'In the preparation of this paper I have used the edition of 1774.
For the development of the system of laws for the Indians see Ley, que
Declara la Autoridad que han de tener las leyes de esta Recopilacion,
Recopilacion, Tome I. Cf. Bancroft, Central America, I, 285-288, and
Bourne, Spain in America, XV.)
2Recopilacion, lib. IV, tit. VI, ley vi.
3Ibid., tit. V, ley x.
4As to how closely the laws were followed in these instructions see
"Recopilaoion, lib. iV, tit. V, ley. vi.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 8, July 1904 - April, 1905, periodical, 1905; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101033/m1/307/: accessed August 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.