The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916 Page: 329
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Spanish Search for La Salle's Colony, 1685-1689
the maps of the period as the "Rio, del Espiritu Santo." At its
mouth was shown the famous Bay of Espiritu Santo, designated
by old cartographers as the only good harbor on the northern
coast of the Gulf. Admiral Palacios, experienced pilot and navi-
gator, was not long in concluding that the probable site of the
French settlement was on this very bay. When he estimated the
distance from this place to the various ports of Mexico and Florida,
finding that it was only one hundred and twenty leagues from
Apalache, one hundred and sixty-five from Tampico, and one
hundred and ninety from Vera Cruz, the dangerous proximity of
the French colony was immediately realized. From the Bay of
Espiritu Santo the French would be able to attack the fleets of
the Indies and threaten the whole kingdom of New Spain. Pa-
lacios thought that immediate and vigorous action was imperative.
He therefore drew up a report to the viceroy, suggesting that steps
be taken to ascertain the exact location of the French settlement,
and that armed forces be sent to destroy it. The first measure,
he thought, would not be difficult. Two fishing boats, with twelve
men each, could easily be sent out from Vera Cruz to. examine
the Gulf coast; and a similar expedition could also be made, with
even more facility, from Havana, as the officials there were more
familiar with the region in question.12 The report of Palacios
and letters from other officials at Vera, Cruz,13 who concurred in
his opinion, were sent to the capital by special courier, arriving
there on November 3. The documents were immediately sent by
the viceroy to the fiscal, and a junta general extraordinaria was
summoned to meet as soon as the latter official should conclude his
report. The fiscal was at once impressed with the gravity of the
facts disclosed by the declarations of the pirates. The evidence
left little doubt, he thought, that a French settlement had been
made on the Bay of Espiritu Santo. He recommended, therefore,
that the suggestions of Palacios should be adopted. and a suit-
able person sent from Havana to spy out the location of the French.
In the meantime, all available naval forces should be made ready
for action. The fiscal made no recommendation in regard to an
12Palacios to the viceroy, October 27, 1685, Testimo de los Autos, y
diligencias fechas, 14-18.
1"The complete autos are in Ibid., 1-18.
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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/m1/356/: accessed December 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.