A new history of Texas for schools : also for general reading and for teachers preparing themselves for examination Page: 35 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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ERA OF DISCOVERIES AND MISSIONS.
Denis, a bright and energetic young Frenchman of noble
family, was sent out by the governor of Louisiana to open
a trade with Mexico. His career was a checkered one: in
prison, his goods seized, in favor with the Spanish authori-
ties, marrying the daughter of a Mexican official,* winning
the friendship and love of the Indians, again imprisoned,
an escaped fugitive, establishing an illicit trade with the
Mexicans--he, after some years passed in such experi-
* The story of St. Denis's love-making affords material for a pretty romance
and presents a striking example of woman's devotion. When St. Denis, on his
'journey to Mexico, reached the Presidio of San Juan near the Rio Grande he was
hospitably entertained by Sefor Vilesecas, commander of the fort. With the
gallant Frenchman and Donna Maria, the fair young daughter of Sefior Villesecas,
it was a case'of love at first sight. The governor of Coahuila, Anaya, was also a
suitor for Donna Maria's hand; hence he not only refused St. Denis permission to
proceed to the City of Mexico, but ordered his rival to be loaded with chains and
to be imprisoned in the fortress at Monoclava. One day the prison door swung
open, and the haughty governor entered St. Denis's cell to tell him he might at
once walk forth a free man if he would solemnly swear to give up all clai n to
Donna Maria and to see her never again. With flashing eyes St. Denis replied:
"I scorn such an offer. So long as Donna Maria honors me with her love and con-
fidence, so long shall that love and that confidence be jealously guarded as my
most sacred treasures. You may take from me my life, Sefior, but you cannot take
from me my honor." Governor Anaya ordered the keeper to treat St. Denis as a
common criminal; but when months passed and the Frenchman showed no signs
of yielding, the governor sent a courier bearing this message to the distressed
Donna Maria: "Marry me and St. Denis shall at once be liberated; refuse, and
your lover shall surely die." The brave young girl declined his offer in emphatic
terms, and at once appealed to the Viceroy of Mexico in St. Denis's behalf, telling
him the story of their love. Finally her prayers were granted. The Viceroy re-
leased St. Denis, treated him as an honored guest, offered him a position under the
Spanish government, and gave him.full authority to punish his enemy, the gbv-
ernor. The young hero in most courteous terms declined the position offered,
pardoned this wicked persecutor and joyfully returned to the Presidio San Juan
to cIaim as his bride the faithful maiden who there awaited him. Years later St.
Denis was again imprisoned through the plots of his old enemy, Govermor Anaya.
He was again released through the labors of his wife, who went to the City of
Mexico, and so eloquently pleaded his cause in person that he was not only set free
but was compensated for all the losses he had suffered. St. Denis met his death in
a struggle with the Natchez Indians.
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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/m1/35/: accessed November 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .