The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 15, July 1911 - April, 1912 Page: 4
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Texas Historical Association Quarterly
dier, and especially French trader, each readily made the Indian
3. Change in the French Frontier Policy.-The Aguayo expe-
dition, which is the theme of this paper, had its cause in a crisis
in the affairs of this Texas-Louisiana Frontier. For some time
there had been evident a tendency toward a more positive policy
on the part of the two nations occupying this border territory.
At first the political policy of both had been mutually forbearing,
inconsistent, and self-damaging. As regards France, while she
consistently claimed Texas after La Salle's attempted settlement,
she made no definite effort to occupy the country. Moreover, the
persistent efforts of the authorities in Louisiana, beginning with
1712, to open up a land trade with Mexico resulted in the occu-
pation of eastern Texas by Spain in 1716 with six missions and a
presidio with twenty-five soldiers. As for Spain, she maintained
a jealous, but inactive attitude, until, stirred by imminent danger
of a French occupation, she was aroused to spasmodic and weak
efforts to secure her claim on Texas, first in 1691 and again in
1716. But the history of early Spanish missions in Texas is a
history of successive failures on Spain's part to properly support
establishments that were destined to guard what was clearly a
danger point. This failure had led one of the early fathers2 to
seek aid among the French of Louisiana, and a later one not to
disdain a clandestine encouragement of the French trader at the
very time that the latter was carrying French influence into
regions claimed by Spain.3
'The French on the Texas border seem to have depended mostly on the
trader for the spreading of their influence. Early in 1717, when two of
the padres from the newly arrived Ram6n expedition of 1716 went to
Natchitoches, to their surprise they found the French there with a post.
The latter, however, had no priest, and Tissenet, the sergeant in command,
asked the padres to return on Sundays and feast days to celebrate mass
(P6nicaut, Relation, in Margry, V, 535). They performed this and other
spiritual offices for the French at Natchitoches for several years (Margry,
2This was Father Hidalgo, whose letter to the Governor of Louisiana
has undoubtedly been made too much of. See Clark, The Beginnings of
Texas, Bulletin of the University of Texas, No. 98, pp. 50-51.
'This reference is to a correspondence between Father Margil and La
Harpe in 1719, when the latter was at the Nassonites. La Harpe opened
the correspondence with an offer of trade, which would help the missionary
in his material needs. The priest's reply evinced a ready willingness to
carry on a trade which, however, must be secret, as he and the other mis-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 15, July 1911 - April, 1912, periodical, 1912; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101056/m1/8/: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.