The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948 Page: 27
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Bishop Marin de Porras and Texas
month of August. This vine has leaves larger than those of the
fig-tree and is of the same height and breadth as the vines of Castile.
Here grows also a wild grape, whose branches climb to the tops of
the trees and are covered with clusters of wild grapes, somewhat
unpleasant to the taste, from which the natives make an exquisite
vinegar. There is another kind of vine that grows about three
"varas" [eight and thirty-four hundredths feet] high and entwines
itself around any shrub.
Bear, wild boar, deer and buffalo are found in such abundance
that it is incredible to one who has not seen them. Even more won-
derful to see are the great herds and droves of wild horses and mares
that are called mustangs here. As well built as the best of Europe and
of an incredible agility, they are caught by our Spaniards here with
a lasso. They are found close to the roads in herds of four to six
In proportion to this abundance are the great rivers that water
the province. They run from north to east, where they empty into
the Mexican Gulf. Most of them are navigable, and the sturdy,
massive trees that cover their banks are most useful for ship-building.
From this abundance of water are doubtless born the heavy dews
that bathe the land, and without the aid of rains keep all the plants
fresh and luxuriant. These dews make wheat and other seeds, which
I gathered with wonder, produce without cultivation. I grieved to
see such an enviable land abandoned.
The most extraordinary thing about this country is that in the
composition of its terrain, in the structure of its mountains and hills
(many of which contain deposits of iron, silver, and gold), it is
completely different from the rest of this part of America, and very
much like the fertile fields of Oropesa. Furthermore, whereas in
New Spain there is no plant nor shrub without thorns, in this
province there is not one that has thorns except the blackberry,
which has different kinds of fruit and in such abundance that on
the road aside from those we ate, we made from others a refreshing
drink. Its fruit is sweeter than the strawberry of Aranjuez, of which
there is also a great abundance of twice the size of those of Aranjuez.
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
themselves and are striving to come out of the narrow confines of
their forests onto these spacious plains. The visit with my parishion-
ers provided me with a perfect knowledge of the temper and ideas of
those republicans. The ranch where I was a guest is only three
leagues from the dividing line and five short leagues from the first
settlement of Natchitoches on the banks of the Red River. On its
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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/m1/45/: accessed May 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.