Diary of the Alarcón expedition into Texas, 1718-1719




Céliz, Francisco
Hoffmann, Fritz L. (Fritz Leo), 1907-1985

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When in January, 1933, the diary of the Alarcón expedition into Texas and Louisiana was found in the Archivo General de la Nación by Mr. Luis Ceballos and Miss María Viamonte, paleographers in the archives, it was not until the document was shown to the noted Mexican historian and scholar, Ing. Vito Alessio Robles, that its full importance came to be known. Ing. Alessio Robles, being an authority on the early history of northern Mexico and Texas, immediately had several transcript copies made of the manuscript, one of which he gave to me with the suggestion that I translate the document and have it published with notes. In accordance with his wishes, I have translated the diary, consulting the transcript and the original in the archives, and have made the notes with the aid of other historical manuscripts furnished me in the Archivo General and by using the historical works so generously lent me by Ing. Alessio Robles. The diary, lost for more than two centuries, had been misplaced in an expediente entitled Medidas de Tierras efectuadas en las Misiones de San Bernardino de la Candela y Santiago de Valladares, 1718 (Survey of Lands effected at the Missions of San Bernardino de la Candela and Santiago de Valladares, 1718), at the end of volume 360 of the section of the archives known as Tierras. In the meantime Senor Alessio Robles has published the original Spanish text, without notes, in the review, La Universidad de Mexico, Tomo V, Nos. 25-26 (Noviembre-Diciembre, 1932), pp. 48-69, and Tomo V, Nos. 27-28 (Enero-Febrero, 1933), pp. 217-239. Since the original manuscript was not discovered until January, 1933, it must be noted that both numbers of this review appeared several months later, the November-December number appearing in February and the January-February number in March of 1933. The original manuscript consists of twenty-six sheets, 15 x 21.5 cms., written on both sides in a small hand by the chaplain of the expedition, Fray Francisco Céliz, a priest of the mission of El Dulcísimo Nombre de Jesús de Peyotes in Coahuila. The document carries no title. Alarcón's son, Francisco de Alarcón, in a letter written July 19, 1719, attached to the diary, calls it El Diario de la conquista y entrada a los Thejas (The Diary of the conquest and entrance to the Thejas)