The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 27, July 1923 - April, 1924 Page: 172
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
known story of La Salle's enterprise. In 1682 La Salle descended
the Mississippi to its mouth and conceived the idea of founding
there a colony in the name of the king of France. In writing
of his purposes, historians generally have laid the chief emphasis
upon La Salle's desire to control and develop the valley of the
Mississippi, and through that stream to establish connection with
Canada. But La Salle had other purposes which were equally or
even more prominent in his plans. French explorers in the in-
terior of North America had long dreamed of finding a way to
the much talked of mines of northern Mexico. France and Spain
were continually at war or on the verge of war, and at the very
time when La Salle descended the Mississippi French buccaneers
were scouring the waters of the gulf and making raids upon the
Spanish settlements of Florida. In the course of the next year
French corsairs three times sacked the Spanish settlement of
Apalache. Thus France and Spain were competing for the con-
trol of the northern shores of the Gulf of Mexico, and of this
competition La Salle's project was a part. When he returned to
France, therefore, La Salle proposed to establish a colony on the
gulf, not only as a means of controlling the Mississippi valley
and the northern gulf shore, but also as a base of attack, in case
of war, upon the Spanish treasure fleets and upon the northern
provinces of Mexico. These purposes La Salle plainly set forth
in his proposals to the king, and on these terms his plans were
approved by Louis XIV.2
The colony of some four hundred people left France in the
summer of 1684, and in the autumn reached the West Indies, the
ketch of St. Frangois having been captured by the Spaniards on
the way. While in the West Indies La Salle was gravely ill, but
he recovered his health and in November continued his voyage.
For reasons which have never been fully explained, the mouth
of the Mississippi was missed and a landing made near Pass
Cavallo, on Matagorda bay.3 Some students have maintained that
the passing of the Mississippi was not accidental, but designed by
'See documents in P. Margry, Ddcouveries et dtablissements des frangais
dans l'ouest et dans le sud de l'Ambrique Septentrionale, 1614-1698 (Paris,
1878), II, 288-301, 359-3064; III, 17-28. Also G. Gravier, Cavelier de la
Selle de Rouen (Paris, 1871), 96-97.
""Relation de Henri Joutel," in Margry, Dbcouvertes, III, 91-146.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 27, July 1923 - April, 1924, periodical, 1924; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101086/m1/178/: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.