The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916 Page: 324
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
available. This paper will be confined instead to an account of
the way in which the first reports of La Salle's activities reached
Spain and Mexico, and of the elaborate search made by the Span-
iards for the French settlement during the years 1685 to 1689.2
The First News of La Salle's Colony Received in Mexico and
It is rather surprising that the first news that reached Spain
concerning La Salle's expedition in 1684, which resulted in the
founding of a French colony on the coast of Texas, should have
come by way of America instead of through regular diplomatic
channels in Europe. But such seems to have been the case. So
well was the secret guarded in France that no. inkling of La Salle's
enterprise seems to have penetrated to the Spanish court until
despatches from Mexico reached the Council of the Indies more
than a year and a half after La Salle and his followers had sailed
from La Rochelle.
This ignorance seems the more remarkable when it is remem-
bered that at the time of La Salle's preparations Spain was upon
her guard against threatened encroachments upon her colonies in
America. The policy of France toward the corsair settlements on
the northern coast of Santo Domingo and the neighboring islands
had made Spain justly suspicious of the intentions of her neighbor.
Although France had at first disavowed the action of her adven-
turous subjects in establishing themselves in the oldest of the
Spanish colonies in America, the royal jurisdiction had finally
been extended over the pirate settlements. A governor was ap-
pointed, and French courts erected in the capital, Petit Gouave,
and three other towns. From this center of French influence a
horde of pirates began to descend upon the coasts of Spanish
America, inflicting enormous damage upon defenceless seaports,
fleets, and galleons. Although the French crown claimed that it
was unable to control these turbulent subjects, little doubt was
2This paper may be considered as the first fruits of a movement headed
by the University of Texas to exploit the archives of Spain for material
bearing upon the history of Texas and other portions of the Southwest.
Transcripts are now being made of such material in the General Archive
of the Indies at Sevile, copies of which will be deposited in the manu-
script collections of the University of Texas and the Library of Congress.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916, periodical, 1916; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101067/m1/351/: accessed March 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.