The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916 Page: 327
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Spanish Search for La Salle's Colony, 1685-1689
individual was subjected to a special examination. In reply to
the usual preliminary questions, the witness said that his name
was Denis Thomas; that he was a native of Longueville, near
Dieppe; twenty-two years old; and lately page in the service of
the Marquis de Greville. About a year before, he said, he had
sailed from France on a royal frigate commanded by a Captain
Bonchiut (Beaujeu), in company with three other vessels, which
carried all necessary supplies for the founding of a settlement at
a place called Mississippi." The colonists numbered about two
hundred and fifty persons, including two companies of infantry,
seven priests, and men of various trades and professions. Only
four women were taken along, as it was understood that the
Indian women would serve as wives. On October 28, 1684, the
expedition arrived at Petit Gouave, the capital of the French set-
tlements, on the northern coast of Santo Domingo. Shortly be-
fore arriving there a ketch laden with provisions was captured
by the Spaniards,1o and the expedition was forced to remain at
Petit Gouave for more than two months in order to secure addi-
tional supplies. During this delay, Thomas said, he decided to
abandon the colony and return to France, as he had heard that
the voyage would be a very long one. Finding himself without
9This name is usually written "Micipipi" in the documents I have used.
1The writer has taken special pains to .obtain some light upon the
capture of La Salle's ketch, the Saint-Frangois, but has been unable to
find any formal report concerning the incident. According to survivors
of La Salle's colony captured in Texas some years later, the ketch had
fallen behind the other vessels, and was captured by four pirogues
manned by Spaniards (Declaration of Jean de l'Arch6vique, in Autos
y Diligencias q se an Executado pr. el Ca.pn. Alonso de Leon . .
sobre el descubrimto de Vna poblazon de franzeses q se dijo hauia en el
Seno Mexicano, 60; declaration of Pierre Meusnier, in Testimonio de
autos en orden a las dilixs. y resulta de ellas pa la entrada a los Paraxes
de la Vahya del Spiritu sto, 58). Andres de Pez and Juan Enriquez
Barroto, who made several expeditions in search of the French, declared
in 1687 that they had sailed with some of the 'men who had captured
the ketch, and that a report of the capture had been sent to Spain (Mar-
ginal annotations by Pez and Barroto, in Copia de relacion hecha al Rei
Xmo tocante a la Vahia del Spiritu ssto). Whether the capture was
really reported to Spain is still a matter of doubt, but it is practically
certain that no connection was seen between the incident and La Salle's
enterprise until much later. Bancroft has confused the ketch with the
pirate vessel captured by General Ochoa, and says: "Information of La
Salle's projects was obtained in 1684, probably from the crew of the cap-
tured St. Francois, though she is mentioned as a French corsair taken
on the coast of Yucatan" (North Mexican States and Texas, 1, 399).
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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/m1/354/: accessed March 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.