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fixed at Los Adaes, now Robeline, Louisiana. Orig. inally the name Texas had applied only to the country east of the Trinity River, but now the western boundary was fixed at the Medina River. It was to be moved half a century later to the Nueces. After much petty quarreling with the French of Louisiana, the little Arroyo Hondo was made the eastern boundary, and thus for a century old Texas included a large strip of the present State of Louisiana.
For twenty years after the Aguayo expedition, the Frenchman St. Denis, or “Big Legs," as the natives fondly called him, ruled the border tribes with paternal sway from his post at Natchitoches on the Red River. The relations of French and Spaniards on this border were generally amicable. Intermarriages and a mutual love of gayety made friendship a pleasanter and more natural condition for the Latin neighbors than strife. Indeed, when in June, 1744, the long career of the redoubtable St. Denis came to a close, prominent among those assembled at Natchitoches to assist in the funeral honors were Governor Boneo and Father Vallejo,
* In 1819, long after French rivalry had passed, the Sabine River was made the boundary. It is an error to suppose that it was originally the boundary between New France and New Spain.
from Los Adaes, across the international boundary line. And yet, when, a few days later, Boneo reported the event to his Viceroy in Mexico, he did so in terms which meant, “St. Denis is dead, thank God; now we can breathe more easily."
Spain's hold upon Texas was secure against France, but many a battle was yet to be fought for the territory with the ferocious Apaches and Comanches, and the incursions of French traders into the Spanish settlements continued to be a source of friction. The jealous trade policy of Spain only increased the eagerness of these traders to enter New Mexico, where the Pueblo Indians and the colonists alike were promising customers, if Spanish officers could be bribed or outwitted. For a long time the way from Louisiana was blocked by Apaches and Comanches, who were at war with the Louisiana tribes, and the river highways were unsafe. Canadians, however, conspicuous among them being La Vérendrye and his sons, descended from the north through the Mandan towns on the Missouri, reaching the borders of Colorado, and two brothers named Mallet succeeded in piercing the Indian barrier, entered New Mexico, and returned safely to Louisiana. The town of Gracia Real below Albuquerque where they lodged
was given the nickname of “Canada." French traders in numbers invaded New Mexico, some of whom were seized and sent to Mexico or to Spain and thrown into prison. Spanish troops were sent to guard the approaches to Chihuahua below El Paso; fears were felt for even distant California; and to keep the New Orleans traders from the Texas coast tribes, a presidio and a mission were established on the Louisiana border at the mouth of the Trinity River, near Galveston Bay.
But the scene soon shifted. The Seven Years' War removed France from the American continent, left Louisiana in the hands of Spain, and brought Spain and England face to face along the Mississippi.
The year 1759 was a fateful one in North America, for it recorded the fall of Quebec, France's princi. pal stronghold in the Western Hemisphere, and the accession of Carlos III, the ablest king since Philip II, to the Spanish throne. The second of these events tended to offset the results of the first. The continued English successes and French disasters of 1760 alarmed Carlos, and in 1761 he renewed the Family Compact and entered the war as the ally of France. In response to the challenge, in August, 1762, an English force captured Havana. Two months later another took Manila. The treaty of peace which closed the Seven Years' War restored the Philippines and Cuba to Spain, but gave Florida to England. By a secret treaty, signed before the conclusion of the war, France had transferred Louisiana to Spain to save it from England.
During its brief term under British rule and free
trade Havana prospered as never before; and Carlos was not slow to profit by the hint. Carlos indeed saw that to preserve his overseas domain and to restore Spain to her former eminence drastic reforms were necessary. From the last days of Philip II, Spain's power in Europe had declined, though her colonies had expanded in extent and population. The policy of absolutism was bearing fruit; and the harvest was ruin. While vast expenditures of men and money were being made in the conquest of new lands, the nation at home was being mangled under the weight of abnormal taxation. Industry could not survive and, therefore, a sturdy normal growth was impossible. The galleons brought gold, but it was spent in other than Spanish markets. The colonies produced far below their capacity because of the jealous restrictions imposed on them, and were further hampered by grafting officials. These were some of the external evidences of a blight that went deeper. Spain had kept the minds of her people dark in a day when other nations, accepting the challenge of new forces, were working out the principles of constitutional government and of individual liberty. In clinging to a selfish and fictitious ideal and in forcibly molding her people to it, she deprived them of the power