The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 25, July 1921 - April, 1922 Page: 87
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Conditions Affecting Colonization Problem, 1795-1801 87
port themselves. Those who had not been under the influence of
the priests were still more treacherous. One tribe would make
war upon another and then beg aid from their "friends, the Span-
iards." Whether or not assistance was given mattered little. The
unfortunate and reluctant referees were almost sure to be attacked
by one tribe or the other. Again, they would commit depreda-
tions merely for the sake of plunder, frequently falling upon a de-
tachment of soldiers carrying supplies from one point to another
and making away with everything in sight; or worse still, ventur-
ing under the very walls of the presidios to steal away the mounts
of the soldiers, so that their escape with the loot was laughably
easy. They robbed and often murdered settlers who ventured out
to round up wild stock needed for actual subsistence-and all this
without fear of effective punishment. Sometimes, indeed, soldiers
were sent out in pursuit, but only in rare cases were the offenders
overtaken; and, in rarer cases still, were they punished for their
excesses. As a rule, the punishment went the other way. For
instance, after a catastrophe the Spanish authorities usually or-
dered a careful investigation into the cause of the trouble, often
claiming that someone must have "offended" the Indians and thus
"provoked" hostilities; and the only result of the investigation
would be an order to owners of stock to keep, a closer watch over
their property so that the temptation to attack would be lessened.13
An idea of the hopelessness of the situation may be gathered from
a letter written in May, 1798, by Manual Mufioz, Governor of
Texas, to Antonio Cordero, Governor of Coahuila, one of the most
experienced Indian fighters at that time on the frontier. In reply
to a letter giving information of the excesses of the Comanches in
Coahuila and of the measures adopted to secure indemnification
for injuries, Mufioz advised caution, insisting that in each case
the motive for attack should first be ascertained. He urged that
tactful measures be taken so that the whole country might not be
laid waste, as the authorities-and especially those in Texas-
were in no position to prevent continuous attacks from this war-
like nation whose members were exceedingly numerous and brave,
and, likewise, thoroughly familiar with the country. The Co-
manches, he pointed out, were allied with other nations of the
north who would be glad of an excuse for entering the conflict.
'8De Nava to the Governor of Texas, July 23, 1798.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 25, July 1921 - April, 1922, periodical, 1922; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101082/m1/93/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.