The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988 Page: 318
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
This bold assertion, based on the Sieur de la Salle's desultory explo-
ration and short-lived "colony" along the Texas coast, naturally out-
raged Spain. Surely Spanish occupation of Texas over the past century
gave them undisputed claim to the province as far eastward as the old
capital of Los Adaes, a few miles from the Red River. But now, facing
the aggressive Americans across that stream, Spain found it necessary
to offer proof of its historic boundary.
Crucial to such a determination, as Jefferson early recognized, were
maps. Unfortunately, at the time of the acquisition-insofar as the
Louisiana wilderness was concerned-the process of mapmaking was
still as much an art as a science. In short, none of the three powers in-
volved had mutually acceptable maps. Though a multitude of charts
existed, all were vague and contradictory in their depiction of what lay
within the contested ground.
To rectify this situation, and to strengthen the Spanish position at the
bargaining table, evidence was clearly needed. In Louisiana, the Mar-
ques de Casa Calvo was designated by the king as boundary commis-
sioner and authorized to survey the western limits of what Napoleon
had sold to the United States. Likewise, the king ordered the viceroy of
New Spain to appoint a special commissioner, responsible for gather-
ing the documents necessary to defend the Louisiana border and prove
Spain's historical ownership of Texas.2
In the years 1808-1812 Father Doctor Jose Antonio Pichardo, who
succeeded Father Melchor Talamantes as the special commissioner,
compiled a monumental defense of Spain's traditional Louisiana
boundary with France. Like Talamantes, Pichardo gathered maps far
and wide to support his idea of where the historic line had been. In his
the western boundary as the Rio Bravo. After learning this, Jefferson steadfastly maintained
that the Louisiana Purchase included Texas. See Thomas Maitland Marshall, A History of the
Western Boundary of the Louisiana Purchase, 1819-1841 (Berkeley: University of Cahfornia Press,
1914), 2-5, 10- 13; Alexander DeConde, Ths Affair of Louisiana (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State
University Press, 1976), 213-217; Pierre Clement de Laussat, Memoirs of My Life ... ,trans.
Agnes-Josephine Pastwa; ed. Robert D. Bush (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press
for the Historic New Orleans Collection, 1967), 76, 91
2Casa Calvo, a former interim governor who stayed in New Orleans until expelled by United
States authorities in February of 1806, did not receive the funding for his survey until 1805
The viceroy was ordered to begin his inquiry by a royal decree of May 20, 1805, but it took him
almost a year to so notify the commandant general of the Interior Provinces, Nemesio Salcedo.
Not until January 27, 1807, was a commissioner, Fr Melchor Talamantes, selected. Meanwhile,
conditions on the frontier reached a crisis stage and war was narrowly averted by the formation
of a "neutral ground" in 1806. See Jack D. L Holmes, "The Marques de Casa Calvo, Nicolhs de
Finiels, and the 1805 Spanish Expedition through East Texas and Louislana," Southwestern His-
torical Quarterly, LXIX (Jan., 1966), 326; Charles Wilson Hackett (ed.), Pichardo's Treatise on
the Lzmits of Louisiana and Texas, trans. Charles Wilson Hackett, Charmion Clair Shelby, and
Mary Ruth Splawn (4 vols.; Austin: University of Texas Press, 1931-1946), I, xiv-xv, 14-15.
The latter work is cited hereafter as Treatise.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988, periodical, 1987/1988; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101211/m1/374/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.