The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948 Page: 17
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Bishop Marin de Porras and Texas
Although little is known of Bishop Marin de Porra's early
life and education, he must have been a man of considerable
culture. At the time of his nomination, he was private chaplain
of King Charles IV and regular preacher and penitentiary of
the royal chapel in Madrid." He had not left Mexico City at
the time that Baron Alexander de Humboldt arrived there. And
it was to the bishop that Humboldt appealed for aid in the
unearthing of an interesting archaeological relic. An Aztec idol,
which has been variously called Teoyaomiqui, Coatlicue, and
Cihuacoatl, had been found under the pavement of the Plaza
Mayor in August of 179o. The viceroy, the Count of Revilla
Gigedo, had turned the idol over to the University of Mexico.
The professors there, however, thinking that it was not a fit
object to be viewed by the students, had had it buried in one
of the corridors of the university. When Humboldt heard of the
idol, he wished to examine it. He said that he found this pos-
sible only after having appealed to Bishop Marin de Porras,
who prevailed upon the rector to order the idol disinterred.6
Captain Edward Turner of Natchitoches, when reporting on the
bishop's visit to that place, remarked on the bishop's culture.
He spoke of the bishop as "a man of great literature and of
Of an energetic nature, the new bishop entered with zeal into
the work of his diocese. One of his first problems was to become
acquainted with the country. He had jurisdiction over the prov-
inces of Nuevo Santander, Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, and Texas,
and also the towns of Saltillo, Juamave, Palmillas, Real de los
Infantes, and Tula, all of which lay outside of the provinces
listed. In May, 1804, this vast region was named the Eastern
Interior Provinces. The population was extremely limited in
5Primo Obispo del Nuevo Reino de Leon, Monterrey, March 7, 1804, to Jos6
Caballero, Secretario del Estado y del Despacho Universal de Gracia y Justicia.
Dunn Transcripts of Archivo General Indias, Audiencia de Guadalajara, 18oo-1819,
pp. 68-7o, at the University of Texas. See also Gonzalez, Obras completas, III, 374-
eAlejandro de Humboldt, Ensayo politico sobre el reino de la Nueva Espana
(tr. Vito Alessio Robles) (5 vols.; Mexico, 1941), I, 8o, 117; II, 433-434; Alexandre
de Humboldt, Essai Politique sur le royaune de la Nouvelle Espagne (5 vols.;
Paris, 1811), II, 155.
7William C. C. Claiborne to James Madison, New Orleans, June 6, 1805, in
Dunbar Rowland, Official Letter Book of W C. C. Claiborne (6 vols.; Jackson,
Mississippi, 1917), III, 82.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948, periodical, 1948; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101119/m1/35/: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.