The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948 Page: 22
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Mary Angela Fitzmorris says that the value of the visit "lies in
the fact that western Louisiana was ecclesiastically a part of
Mexico until the boundary settlement of 1819""I
It appears that the assumptions of Claiborne, Cox, and Fitz-
morris are all without much foundation. The bishop's visit
was obviously made on the spur of the moment. If it had been
premeditated and a part of a governmental plan to re-enforce
Spain's claim to western Louisiana, the bishop surely would not
have felt the necessity of apologizing for having made the trip as
he does in his letter to the viceroy. Also if Natchitoches and
western Louisiana had been within his jurisdiction as a part
of the diocese of Linares, he would have had no reason to ask
the king for forgiveness for having made this trip into what he
himself calls the American territory. The fact that the bishop
went to great pains to explain why he made the visit and to beg
the king's forgiveness indicates that the event was entirely
unpremeditated and had no political implications.
It should be pointed out here, however, that both Cox and
Fitzmorris had some basis for their assumptions in the light of
the evidence that they had at hand. They had access to only
the edited letter, in which the bishop's statement, "I did not
know whether I could cross our boundary, and on the other
hand I feared that those people would think me rude if I refused
their invitation," was omitted. Also this version did not contain
the paragraph in which the bishop asked the king's pardon for
his having entered Natchitoches without permission.20 They may
have been influenced in their assumption by the treatment given
to this visit by Mattie Austin Hatcher in her study The Opening
of Texas to Foreign Settlement. She quotes the first two sentences
of the ninth paragraph, which are as follows:
The country generally, whose wealth depends largely upon agri-
culture and whose climate is very similar to that of Old Castile,
deservedly asks that the matter of its population be dealt with ade-
quately, because the Americans who are on its borders are bestirring
InSister Mary Angela Fitzmorris, Four Decades of Catholicism in Texas, 820o-186o
(Washington, 1926), 42.
2oPrimo Obispo del Nuevo Reino de Leon to Jos6 de Yturrigaray, virey de esta
Nueva Espafia, in Dunn Transcripts of AGI, Audiencia de Guadalajara, 1800-18g,
pp. 141-151, at the University of Texas; Registro Oficial del Gobierno de los Esta-
dos Unidos Mexicanos, afio 2, Tomo IV, Num. 59, pp. 234-235,
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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/m1/40/: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.