The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979 Page: 268
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
report caused the viceroy to refuse the request of the two agents.11 Yet
the agents' request was granted in 1739, as Urrutia's 1740 report makes
Father Mariano Francisco de los Dolores, missionary at Mission San
Antonio de Valero, clearly indicates that the Canary Islanders' first pair
of agents went to Mexico City in 1739-not in 1740. In his letter of
1739 to Viceroy Archbishop Vizarr6n, Father Dolores presents seven
reasons why Vizarr6n's 1739 order granting the agents' petition to
allow the hiring of Indians from the missions to work on the settlers'
farms should not be carried out; it should be revoked. Father Dolores's
letter argues against the decree, which also forbade the missions to sell
grain to the captains of the presidio. The missions needed this income
to build suitable churches: "In the old Mission of San Joseph there is
being built (1739) an entirely new church, and in the Mission of San
Antonio there is a most urgent need either that the present church be
repaired or that it be rebuilt from the ground up, since it is highly
unbecoming and.damaged by many adversities."12
The testimony that did even more to vindicate the missionaries and
to bring about the revocation of the decree of 1739 was contained in an
hitherto unknown memorial, written on March 15, 1741, by Father
Benito Fernandez de Santa Ana.13 He was the missionary of Mission
Purisima Concepci6n, and was also the father president (1733-1750) of
all the missions in Texas which were staffed by the Apostolic College of
Santa Cruz de Queretaro.
Somehow Father Fernandez was able to get a copy of the order issued
by Viceroy Archbishop Vizarr6n. In his memorial Fernandez clearly
refutes sixteen misstatements contained in the petition of the Canary
Islanders.?4 The immediate result of Father Fernandez's memorial,
which was submitted to the new viceroy, Pedro Castro Figueroa y Sala-
zar, shortly after Captain Urrutia's report arrived in Mexico City, was
to induce the new viceroy to reconsider the matter and halt the execu-
tion of the order of 1739. In the meantime, in 1743, the Canary Island-
l1Castafieda, Our Catholic Heritage, III, o103.
12Dolores to Vizarr6n, 1739.
13Father Fernindez, as president of the Querdtaran missions, served as their spokesman.
Mission San Jose was the only San Antonio mission that was not staffed from Queretaro.
Its staff came from the College of Zacatecas. Father Fernandez, however, acted as a spokes-
man for Mission San Jos6 in his 1741 memorial. Habig, The Alamo Chain of Missions,
14Copies of Alvarez's and Leal's petition to the viceroy and of Father Fernlindez's reply
are in the archives of the former College of Zacatecas. Microfilm copies are at Old Spanish
Missions Historical Research Library.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979, periodical, 1978/1979; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101206/m1/320/: accessed March 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.