The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916 Page: 325
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Spanish Search for La Salle's Colony, 1685-1689
felt in Spain that their operations met with the approval of their
With the lesson of Santo Domingo before her, Spain was con-
stantly uneasy as to the future designs of the French. In 1678,
six years before La Salle's last expedition, news reached Spain
concerning the efforts of the renegade Pefialosa4 to induce the king
of France to undertake the conquest of the provinces of Quivira and
Teguayo and the rich mines of northern Mexico. It was reported
in Spain that Pefialosa had been assured that his proposals would
receive favorable consideration as soon as France should again be
at peace. Warnings were at once sent to the colonial officials of
New Spain instructing them to be on their guard against the
threatened aggression. No definite measures of defence were
adopted, however, until 1685, when an asiento was granted to
Martin de Echagaray, a naval captain of the presidio of San Au-
gustine, for the settlement of fifty families in Florida, and for
the exploration of the famous Bay of Espiritu Santo, said to be
the finest harbor on the Gulf of Mexico.5 By this action it was
hoped to protect the province of Florida from the ravages of
French and English pirates, strengthen the hold of Spain upon
the mainland north of the Gulf of Mexico, and thus anticipate
any possible encroachment on the part of France arising from the
representations of Pefialosa.
Yet in spite of these measures of precaution and the generally
vigilant attitude of Spain, the activities of La Salle, though far
more ambitious and threatening than those of Pefialosa, seem to
have been absolutely unknown to the Spanish crown, and, as has
been stated, the first definite information concerning La Salle's
designs was received by way of Mexico many months after the
8Respuesta fiscal, June 28, 1740, summarizing French aggressions in
Santo Domingo; manuscript in the General Archive of the Indies, Seville,
Spain, Audiencia de Santo Domingo, estante 55, caj6n 1, legajo 2.
4Penalosa was a former governor of Mexico, who had suffered disgrace
at the hands of the inquisition. Cf. E. T. Miller, "The Connection of
Pefialosa with the La Salle Expedition," in THE QUARTERLY, V, 97-112,
for an account of Penalosa's activities in France.
5Royal cadulas of December 10, 1687, and August 2, 1685; Audiencia de
Mexico, estante 61, caj6n 6, legajo 20. The complete autos of the Echa-
garay enterprise are found in this legajo. Unless otherwise stated, all
citations throughout this paper will be understood to refer to this same
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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/m1/352/: accessed November 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.