The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948 Page: 26
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Since last December I have been busy visiting my diocese, which
includes also the province of Texas, whose extreme eastern boundary
borders on the United States. In that part (although on the east
[west], north and south it is unpopulated) there are more than two
thousand Frenchmen within my diocese. Although they are Catholics,
they live forgetful of their religion and without the observance of
the sacraments. At the same time that they profit from our dominions
at their own free and uncontrolled will and pleasure without paying
tribute nor tax and without recognizing as superior our authority,
they serve as agents for the contraband trade, robbery and cupidity
of the Anglo-Americans.
These circumstances compelled me to undertake a trip to those
settlements, which I succeeded in entering in the midst of acclama-
tions and demonstrations of happiness and rejoicing on the part of
those inhabitants. At my presence they felt encouraged to confess,
to be confirmed and to have sanctioned many marriages that were
null. They also agreed with me that priests should be permanently
I would say nothing of these matters to Your Excellency if this
same journey had not given me an understanding of this province,
which as a public service I give to Your Excellency.
From La Bahia del Espiritu Santo [Goliad], from where I set out,
to the region where the Frenchmen live on the borders of the United
States, there is an unpopulated area of over two hundred leagues
containing no settlement other than that of our Nacogdoches Presidio,
and some small farms in its vicinity. At the beginning all the country
is composed of broken hillocks, on whose descent is found at great
intervals good running streams, cut to pieces by the sand and debris
that the winds and storms have amassed. The ground is more like
a rug than a delightful meadow, for from time to time are found
fields of exquisite flowers. Generally speaking this region is like the
pastures of Aranjuez, although with an incomparable advantage, for
here the large trees are of the tallest cedars, different species of wal-
nut, entire leagues of sassafras, and innumerable medicinal plants.
Among these is the very abundant "viperina," the tea of the Indian,
which is a very good stomach tonic, the sarsaparilla, the gentians
and others with which I am not acquainted.
About the middle of the province begin the ranges of rugged
mountains that extend to the Mississippi. In between them are
plains or small valleys and each one of them is strictly speaking a
botanical garden. Among the very massive and unknown trees are
those of the sugar maple and the wax myrtle. The woods end in
great streams filled with beavers. The strangest thing about the land
is that on the mountains themselves and in some of their valleys,
the ground is covered with vines that bear a delicious grape in the
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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/m1/44/: accessed October 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.