The Franco-spanish Border
The Texas-Louisiana boundary question.—The proximity of Los Adaes and Natchitoches had furnished numerous grounds for irritation between Texas and Louisiana. French traders engaged in contraband trade, and the international boundary was uncertain. In 1735, when Natchitoches was moved from the island in the Red River to the west bank of the stream, a quarrel ensued. After several years of bickering, the Arroyo Hondo was tentatively adopted as the international boundary in that region.
Meanwhile French traders had invaded the coast tribes and monopolized the Indian trade of northern Texas. In 1750 the military strength of Louisiana was considerably augmented, and it was reported in Mexico that the new arrivals were for the western Louisiana frontier. These conditions again brought forward the quiescent boundary question, which was inconclusively discussed in Spanish circles for several years. While the higher authorities debated, residents on the frontier generally agreed on the Arroyo Hondo. In 1754 the King of Spain declared that "boundaries between the Spaniards and the French in that region have never been a subject of treaty nor is it best at present that they should be."
The New Mexico border.—By this time renewed French intrusions into New Mexico were becoming alarming. The return of the Mallet party (1739) and the peace between the Comanches and their eastern enemies (ca. 1746) were followed by the arrival in New Mexico of trading parties from Canada and Louisiana under Fébre, Chapuis, and others. A more vigorous policy was now adopted and the recent comers were arrested and sent to Spain. The intrusion into New Mexico found an echo in far western Sonora, where in 1751 the French advance was given by a prominent official as a reason for Spanish haste to occupy the Colorado of the West.
The lower Trinity fortified.—The more stringent policy toward intruders was extended to Texas, where a new outpost was established to ward off French aggression. In the fall of 1754 traders on the lower Trinity were arrested and sent to Mexico, and in 1756-1757 the region was defended by a presidio (San Agustín) and a mission east of the stream among the Orcoquiza Indians. Thus another point on the Texas-Louisiana frontier was occupied and defended by Spain. The site was disputed by Governor Kerlérec, of Louisiana, who proposed a joint boundary commission. The offer was rejected and the viceroy of Mexico, on the contrary, proposed a Spanish post on the Mississippi "to protect the boundaries." With his proposal he sent to Spain a map showing Texas as extending to the Mississippi. Thus the region in dispute extended from the Trinity to the Mississippi, at least.
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