A new history of Texas for schools : also for general reading and for teachers preparing themselves for examination Page: 34 of 412
This book is part of the collection entitled: From Republic to State: Debates and Documents Relating to the Annexation of Texas, 1836-1856 and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the UNT Libraries.
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22 ST. DENIS. [1714.
St. Denis.-Texas was ruled during this period by a
governor, appointed by the Viceroy of Mexico, with the
sanction of the King of Spain. Yet the French had by no
means given up their claims to the country. In 1714, St.
its well-trained servants to work, to acquire, to bless. Coming through Mexico, the
progression from one great religious foundation to another would seem natural, as
he travelled northward and eastward, and, keeping in view Spain's necessity to
firmly establish her borders, the Texas Missions would appear at last perfectly in
place and keeping with a definite design and scheme. The puzzle would be absent,
but the admiration for indefatigable workers would be none the less. The Missions
would be the ornament on the fringe of the Spanish and not the Anglo-Saxon skirt.
To the brothers - Franciscans - who had the acquirements, resources, devotion and
energy to plan, design and build the magnificent churches of the City of Mexico,
the religious houses, chapels, bridges and aqueducts scattered over the land, the
foundation and construction of the San Antonio Missions, wonderful as the work
was, does not seem to be a very difficult task."
Sidney Lanier writes: " One cannot but lean one's head on one's hand to dream
out, for a moment, this old Military Plaza- most singular spot on the wide expanse
of the lonesome Texan prairies - as it was a hundred and fifty years ago. The rude
buildings, the church, the hospital, the soldiers' dwellings, the brethren's lodgings,
the huts for the converted Indians, stand ranged about the large level quadrangle,
so placed upon the same theory of protection which "parks " the wagon-train that
will camp this night on the plains. Ah, here they come, the inhabitants of San
Antonio, from the church-door; vespers is over; the big-thighed, bow-legged,
horse-riding Apache steps forth, slowly, for he is yet in a maze-the burning
candles, the shrine, the genuflexions, the chants, are all yet whirling in his mem-
ory; the lazy soldier slouches by, leering at him, yet observing a certain care not to
be seen therein, for Sefior Soleado is not wholly free from fear of this great-thewed
Sefior Apache; the soldiers' wives, the squaws, the catechumens, the children, all
wend their ways across the plaza. Here advances Brother Juan, bare-footed, in a
gown of serge, with his knotted scourge a-dangle from his girdle; he accosts the
Indian, he draws him on to talk of Manitou, his grave pale face grows intense and
his forehead wrinkles as he spurs his brain on to the devising of arguments that
will convince this wild soul before him of the fact of the God of Adam, of Peter, and
"Presently, as evening draws on, the Indians hold meetings, males in one
place, females in another; reciting prayers, singing canticles: finally it is bed-
time; honest Brother Antonio goes around and locks the unmarried young male.
Indians into their sleeping apartments on one side, the maidens on the other
side into theirs; casts a glance mayhap towards Mexico, breathes a prayer, gets him
to his pallet, and the Plaza of San Antonio de Valero is left in company of the still
sentinel, the stream of San Pedro purling on one side, that of the San Antonio
whispering on the other, under the quiet stars, midst of the solemn prairie."
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Pennybacker, Anna J. Hardwicke. A new history of Texas for schools : also for general reading and for teachers preparing themselves for examination, book, 1895; Palestine, Tex.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2388/m1/34/: accessed October 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .