The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 10, July 1906 - April, 1907 Page: 12
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Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
settlement made by LaSalle in 1685, and subsequent acts of posses-
sion, which, however, he did not snecify. He closed his letter with
a challenge for Alarc6n to come and dispossess him, but the latter
did not see fit to make the attempt.
During the remainder of the year La Harpe occupied himself
in explorations to the west and northwest of his position, with the
design of opening up a route to New Mexico, but reached no far-
ther than a branch of the Arkansas in latitude 37 45', where he
erected a cross upon which were carved the royal arms.1
This year, 1719, is celebrated in the history of the Louisiana,
frontier because of the precipitate retreat of the Spanish mission-
aries and presidial troops from eastern Texas to the San Antonio
River. War had broken out in Europe between France and Spain,
and news of this event first reached the French colonial author-
ities. To Blondel, the French commandant at Natchitoches, the oc-
casion seemed to afford a chance to extend the opportune
protection of his garrison over the neighboring Spanish missions
grouped about Adaes. Such a move might be necessary in view of
the fact that most of the surrounding Indians were of French
predilection. Unfortunately the missionaries and the small pres-
idial guard did not understand his motive for advancing, and by a
precipitate retreat to the San Antonio they threatened to destroy the
future of French contraband trade on the Texas border. Rather
than lose so important a trading center as Adaes-a post estab-
lished with great expenditure of French and Spanish effort-La
Harpe, when his attention was called 'to the matter, forced Blondel
to write a most humble letter supplicating the friars to return and
re-establish their missions.2
In obedience to orders from France, Bienville, in August, 1720,
despatched a certain M. Beranger to reconnoitre St. Bernard's Bay
to determine its feasibility for a settlement. Three months later
Beranger returned, leaving a guard of five men, four of whom
afterwards perished. As a result of his report, Bienville made La
Harpe the commander of a formal expedition to plant a colony
near the scene of LaSalle's disastrous settlement. He bore with
him the survivor of Beranger's guards and was expressly ordered
1French, Hist. Coll. La., IlI 73, 74; Margry, VI 297.
'Ibid., III 72; Garrison, Texas, 76, 77; Margry, VI, 300, 305, 306.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 10, July 1906 - April, 1907, periodical, 1907; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101040/m1/20/: accessed August 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.