The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948 Page: 18
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
all the region, and there was scarcely a town in it that did not
suffer from Indian raids. Travel from place to place was difficult
and dangerous. Nevertheless, the bishop began early to visit the
various towns and villages. He soon became convinced that the
greatest need of the region was a larger population, which should
be concentrated in towns and villages. Such concentration would
make both protection from the Indians and religious instruction
From the first he showed a special interest in the province of
Texas. As early as March 7, 1804, although he had not yet visited
Texas, the bishop addressed a letter to the Spanish minister of
justice and ecclesiastical affairs in which he discussed the need
of populating Texas. He prefaced the letter as follows:
Since having taken possession of my diocese, I have been making
continuous journeys in fulfillment of my duties. I have returned
home with pain and sorrow upon seeing these fertile lands almost
entirely deserted and especially the exceedingly rich province of
Texas, where there are only a few settlements. On the other hand
it abounds in indigo, cotton of a very superior grade, and all kinds
of wild game both large and small. Its rivers, which are very large,
abound in fish and in pearls (although not of the best quality). All
of which excites the covetousness of the Anglo-Americans, who do
not have these things and who are on its boundary in the Louisiana
territory, without a fort nor a considerable population to detain
He pointed out that as the people lived on scattered ranches
or haciendas, which were forty or more leagues apart, they
lived "without culture and in sad ignorance of religion." He
said, furthermore, that it was impossible for him to improve the
situation under existing conditions because there were not
enough priests to take care of the widely scattered population.
The people had indicated to him that they preferred to live in
towns, but they had found any change difficult because of the
infinite number of applications which had to be made to the
various administrative officers and courts and because of the
great financial risk that such change involved. The people had
8Primo Obispo del Nuevo Reyno de Leon, Monterrey, March 7, 1804, to Josh
Caballero. Dunn Transcripts of AGI, Audiencia de Guadalajara, 1800-i819, p. 68,
at University of Texas,
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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/m1/36/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.