The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974 Page: 488
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ings and were in a flourishing condition. About two decades later they began
to decline and the number of Indians associated with the missions gradually
grew less. These Indians belonged to various small tribes of Coahuiltecan
nomads who had roamed through southwestern Texas. They had never been
very numerous, and one of the principal reasons for the decline of the mis-
sions was the fact that only a small number of Coahuiltecans remained to be
Christianized and civilized.'
This fact is made clear by an hitherto unknown report concerning the
San Antonio missions written in 1792 by the father president of the Texas
missions, Jose Francisco L6pez.4 The original is a manuscript of twelve pages,
written in a beautiful hand except for a postscript and the signature, which
seem to be in the handwriting of L6pez. The father president addresses his
report to the superiors of the College Zacatecas. It is dated (before the
postscript) Mission San Antonio de Valero, September 7, I792.5
L6pez advocated the complete secularization of San Antonio de Valero,
because the residents at the mission were neither neophytes nor Indians but
well-instructed Christians who were for the most part the children of Indian
fathers and Spanish mothers, and there were practically no more pagan
Coahuiltecan Indians within a radius of I50 miles. He also proposed that
the administration of secular affairs in the other four missions be turned over
to officials appointed by the government, and that there be a resident mis-
sionary only at two of the missions, with the other two converted to submis-
sions or visitas.
Both suggestions were carried out. San Antonio de Valero was completely
secularized in 1793. The next year the other four, while still classified as
missions, were "partially secularized" and merged into two missions, each
having a resident missionary who took care also of a submission.6
All this, says L6pez, was in conformity with the avowed purpose of the
3Marion A. Habig, "Mission, San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo, 1720-1824," South-
western Historical Quarterly, LXXI (April, I968), 503-516; Marion A. Habig, San
Antonio's Mission San Jose (San Antonio, 1968), 47-92; Habig, The Alamo Chain of
Missions, 49-65, 89-103, 128-139, I66-176, 210-215. See Ibid., 270 and 271, respec-
tively, for census figures and for a list of Coahuiltecan tribes at the San Antonio missions.
4This Father L6pez is not to be confused-as in Carlos E. Castafieda, Our Catholic
Heritage in Texas (7 vols.; Austin, 1936-1958), IV, 391-with another Father Jose
Francisco L6pez, member of the College of Quer6taro, companion and successor of Father
Mariano de los Dolores y Viana at Mission San Antonio de Valero, 1756-1766 (?); Libro
de Bautismos, Mission San Antonio, 1703-1783, ACSF.
5The original is at the Archives of the College of Zacatecas (hereafter referred to as
ACZ), in Zacatecas, Mexico; microfilm copy and print are at RLSJ.
6L6pez to Manuel Mufioz, April 11, I793, Bexar Archives (Archives, University of
Texas Library, Austin); Castafieda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas, V, 58.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974, periodical, 1973/1974; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117148/m1/550/: accessed April 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.