The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 39, July 1935 - April, 1936 Page: 256
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
sect the thirty-second parallel and therefore could not fulfill the
treaty specification, even if the treaty had not designated the
Sabine as indicated on Melish's map.3 And in this respect
Melish's map was quite correct.
The western river, the Neches, had never been known as the
Sabine, nor the eastern, the Sabine, as the Neches. An examina-
tion of old Spanish maps shows, however, that up to the end of
the 18th Century there was a very widespread ignorance and un-
certainty regarding the topography of East Texas, then largely
uninhabited. Thus some Spanish maps, failing to show Sabine
Bay, had pictured the two rivers as flowing directly and inde-
pendently into the Gulf of Mexico, while other maps pictured the
two rivers as joining to form one river before entering the Gulf,
while yet other maps showed only one river where the two should
have been. Also the superfluous designation "Rio Mexicano" had
by some Spaniards been applied to the Neches and by others to
the Sabine. The Spaniard Pichardo, who made a close study of
the Louisiana-Texas boundary matter in the first decade of the
19th Century, reports all of this past confusion, pointing out at
the same time that in general the then fixed designations of the
two streams-Neches or Rio de Nievas for the western and Rio
de Sabinas for the eastern-had been well established for years.
And when the Rio Mexicano designation had been used it had
only properly applied, in his opinion, to the Neches. Pichardo
points out that Fray Puelles in his map of Texas at the begin-
ning of the 19th Century was thus careless in labeling the Sabine
as the "Sabinas, or Mexicano, or de las Flores."' From all this
to me. . . . I never heard of another Sabine; nor did it ever enter
into the head of any one, while I was in Louisiana, to claim the post of
Nacogdoches excepting under the general pretension to the whole as far
as the Rio dcl Norte, which was abandoned by the treaty. I think the
case too plain even for the pretense of claim." Brackenridge's letter,
August 1, 1836, in National Intelligeneer, August 24, 1836.
'On the speculators as originators of the claim, see James Fortune to
Samuel Swartwout, December 30, 1840, quoted in Southwestern Social
Science Quarterly, XV, 241 note; G. W. Featherstonehaugh, Excursion
Through the Slave States (London, 1844), I1, 155.
4Speaking of the early confusion in the nomenclature of the East Texas
rivers, Pichardo concludes: "In view of this can we not say quot capita
tot sentie"-or, more correctly, "quot homines, tot sententiae," i. e., as
many opinions as men. C. W. Hackett, ed., Pichardo's Treatise on the
Limits of Louisiana and Texas, I, 378-379, 397-402. A number of the old
Spanish maps may be found in Professor Hackett's work and in H. E.
Bolton's Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century. Fray Puelles wrote a
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 39, July 1935 - April, 1936, periodical, 1936; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101095/m1/282/: accessed October 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.