San Antonio de Bexar: A Guide and History Page: 42
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SAN ANTONIO DE BEXAR.
constant springs, and goodly lands. They might have had within them a
feeling of thankful exultation that their lot was cast for at least a brief space in
pleasant paths. In these peaceful glades they might soon forget the lurking
danger and hostility of the warlike natives: and overlooking the valley
they might have concluded " Verily a river went out of Eden to water the
garden; and here are provided two, that river was divided into four heads,
these by the blessing of God and our Lady Mary on our labors and resources
shall be divided into many to water this second Eden." Some such an inspirtion
was likely enough the origin of some of the older acequias or irrigation ditches.
Or it may have been that the plain practical thought only occurred to them,
" here is provided an abundance of water and fine facilities for irrigation, necessi-
ties to the success of our undertakings and Missions. Let us take and have
enough and to spare, for nature is lavish; besides our converts and the people
that shall be afterwards drawn here and shall follow us soon, and shall enjoy and
supplement our labors,-these will need it all by and by." It may be that this
is nearer the truth, for that the Fathers were eminently practical and unselfish
workers as well as thinkers has been proved by works which testify to this day.
In these later days, when the Spanish domination is almost forgotten by the prevail-
ing population, when the representing race of it is regarded simply as one of the
attractive curiosities rather than one of the main historic quantities of the place,
when the past and present influence of it is only keenly remembered by the
lawyers, searchers after land titles and aspirants to local political emoluments
(and honors) at election times, we are apt to forget how much we modern San
Antonians owe to the right estimate that these men and their generation put upon
the value of the water of this valley and their quick appreciation of the facilities
for its distribution. San Antonio owes its very existence to this estimate. For
that it has been a city always more or less flourishing, it may thank these pioneers.
Are we not now also-in our arrogance of the possession or rather enjoyment of
an almost perfect modern system of water works, with its miles upon miles of
iron pipes that was almost pressed upon the citizens like a dose of wholesome
medicine upon a wilful and perverse child-only too prone to despise in our
scientific superiority these monuments of a simple wisdom and industry of the
If any reader should weary at the length of these remarks on the " taking
of the water," (saca de agua) he may skip it; but it must be written if only to do
justice to the founders of our city, not to speak again of the pleasure of the task.
Let this be the apology, if one be needed, for an article that may prove wearisome
to some by reason of its length ; the editor has found that no such true estimate
and understanding of the history, domestic and public, of the aims of these good
old religious pioneers, and later their imitators in ditch construction, of " their
useful toil their destiny obscure," nor indeed for that matter, the history and
growth in the last century of the whole community, as by following up the
gradual construction, fact of existence, and logic of these old water ways. The
reader may judge for himself if it is not so, by following the story of one of these
acequias from the discovery of its public necessity to the formation of a company
of shareholders among those settlers most nearly interested and concerned, to the
obtaining of the permission from His Majesty, the King through his
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Corner, William. San Antonio de Bexar: A Guide and History, book, 1890; San Antonio, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143549/m1/86/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.