“A library of source materials on Spanish explorations and missionary settlements in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Kansas”—Eugene C. Barker

“An important link in the cartographic chain of early Texas”—Jack Jackson

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490. PICHARDO, José Antonio. Pichardo’s Treatise on the Limits of Louisiana and Texas an Argumentative Historical Treatise with Reference to the Verification of the True Limits of the Provinces of Louisiana and Texas written by Father José Antonio Pichardo, of the Congregation of the Oratory of San Felipe Neri, to Disprove the Claim of the United States that Texas was included in the Louisiana purchase of 1803; Published for the First Time from a Transcript of the Original Manuscript in the Mexican Archives; Translated into English by Charles Wilson Hackett, Charmion Clair Shelby, and Mary Ruth Splawn; and Edited and Annotated by Charles Wilson Hackett. Austin: University of Texas, 1931, 1934, 1941, 1946. 4 vols.: Vol. I: [i-iv] v-xx, [1-3] 4-630 pp., 4 maps (3 of which are folded) pp.; Vol. II: [i-iv] v-xv [1, blank], [1] 2-618 pp., folded map in envelope at rear; Vol. III: [i-iv] v-xiii [1, blank], [1] 2-514 pp.; Vol. IV: [i-iv] v-xiii [1, blank], [1] 2-512 pp. 4 vols., 8vo (23.6 x 15.8 cm), original navy blue ribbed cloth. Other than occasional minimal foxing, an exceptionally fine set, with prospectus and American Historical Review printed slip laid in. Difficult to find complete, as the set was issued over a fifteen-year period. Dust jackets not present. Provenance: Library of Charles Wilson Hackett.

     First edition of a previously unpublished manuscript written 1808-1812, brilliantly translated, edited, and annotated by Charles Wilson Hackett. Basic Texas Books 160. Carlos Castañeda, untitled review of the present work, in The Catholic Historical Review, Vol. 18, No. 1, April 1932, pp. 119-120: “Pichardo’s Treatise marks another milestone on the way to a more sympathetic attitude towards the Spanish American pioneer based on an impartial knowledge of the facts.” Clark, Old South I:23. Cumberland, Hackett, pp. 145-146. Rader 2664. Saunders 3095. Streeter 270n (discussion of Picardo’s Treatise and Hackett in Puelles report of 1828). Tate, The Indians of Texas: An Annotated Research Bibliography 1834: “One of the most important sources on Texas Indians during the Spanish-French colonial period.” Wagner, Spanish Southwest, pp. 114-15n. Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West #276 (citing that the map was first published in Hackett’s work; for discussion of the map, see Vol. I, p. 138).The Handbook of Texas Online: Spanish Mapping of Texas; José Antonio Pichardo (1748-1812): “Pichardo worked for four years, ‘uninterruptedly night and day, without even leaving [his] room,’ to complete his 3,000-page report and twenty maps. “Father Pichardo has done a monumental work,” avers Charles W. Hackett, the translator and editor of the treatise, ‘of prime importance to the Texas-Louisiana region.... His conclusions are sane and correct.’“

     Eugene C. Barker, untitled review of the present work in The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Vol. 39, No. 2 (October, 1935), pp. 148-149:

The long title page of this book tells the story about as well as it can be briefly told. Pichardo...compiled a truly stupendous mass of material, digested it, and made a report of some two million words in which he incorporated the substance of all that he had collected. Pichardo’s Treatise is, therefore, a library of source materials on Spanish explorations and missionary settlements in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Kansas.... Professor Hackett brought to the labor of translating and editing Pichardo’s Treatise an exhaustive knowledge of Spanish activities in the Southwest, and his work is a model of erudition and patient industry. It was a task that needed to be done, and Professor Hackett has accomplished it so thoroughly that no other scholar need ever be tempted to re-thresh his old straw, or even to winnow his good grain. To one who accepts his thesis, as this reviewer does, that the Louisiana Purchase did not include Texas, the argument is convincing and needs no great elucidation; but one who believes the contrary will be tempted to consult his own ease and remain of the same opinion still without reading the fruit of Pichardo’s labor.

     Jack Jackson in his article “Father José María de Jesús Puelles and the Maps of Pichardo’s Document 74” in The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Vol. 91, No. 3 (January, 1988, pp. 317-347) extensively discusses Picardo’s map compiled from the best maps of the time (particularly those of Puelles), most of which were unpublished manuscripts until Hackett’s present publication. Jackson emphasizes the importance of Picardo’s work as “An important link in the cartographic chain of early Texas.” From Jackson’s article:

In 1803 the United States acquired “Louisiana” from Napoleon Bonaparte, with the understanding that the purchase covered all territory ceded by France to Spain in 1762 and retroceded to France in 1800. France, by failing to specify its historic boundary in the sales agreement, placed the burden of proof on Spain. As the line between France and Spain in the New World had never been clearly established, Thomas Jefferson’s administration seized the opportunity to make the most of its claim to a vast, uninhabited, and largely unexplored land. Soon after the United States flag went up in the Place d’Armes in New Orleans on December 20, 1803, Americans began to scurry about the frontier at Jefferson’s direction. Their purpose was to gather information, conduct explorations, and make maps. While Jefferson’s agents were busy testing the elastic boundaries of the Purchase, Spaniards were not idle. Wary of their new neighbor and fearful for their vulnerable possessions in the Floridas, Texas, and New Mexico, Spanish officials in New Orleans and beyond hastened to establish their line of demarcation. Boundaries had to be defined, a multitude of jurisdictional problems resolved, and the Americans kept out of lands that France had never owned—Spanish lands. Imagine, then, the anxiety stirred in December of 1803, when the French prefect of Louisiana, Pierre Clement de Laussat, declared that the western boundary of the Louisiana Purchase lay at the Rio Grande!

This bold assertion, based on the Sieur de la Salle’s desultory exploration and short-lived “colony” along the Texas coast, naturally outraged Spain. Surely Spanish occupation of Texas over the past century gave them undisputed claim to the province as far eastward as the old capital of Los Adaes, a few miles from the Red River. But now, facing the aggressive Americans across that stream, Spain found it necessary to offer proof of its historic boundary.

Crucial to such a determination, as Jefferson early recognized, were maps. Unfortunately, at the time of the acquisition-insofar as the Louisiana wilderness was concerned-the process of mapmaking was still as much an art as a science. In short, none of the three powers involved had mutually acceptable maps. Though a multitude of charts existed, all were vague and contradictory in their depiction of what lay within the contested ground.

To rectify this situation, and to strengthen the Spanish position at the bargaining table, evidence was clearly needed. In Louisiana, the Marques de Casa Calvo was designated by the king as boundary commissioner and authorized to survey the western limits of what Napoleon had sold to the United States. Likewise, the king ordered the viceroy of New Spain to appoint a special commissioner, responsible for gathering the documents necessary to defend the Louisiana border and prove Spain’s historical ownership of Texas.

In the years 1808-1812 Father Doctor José Antonio the special commissioner, compiled a monumental defense of Spain’s traditional Louisiana boundary with France....Pichardo gathered maps far and wide to support his idea of where the historic line had been. In his treatise he included a series of these maps, designated Document 74. His original intention was to submit “exact copies” of fourteen maps that he thought proved what had once been the boundary between French and Spanish possessions, and, after the cession of 1762, between neighboring provinces of the Spanish crown. Having assembled and copied these fourteen maps, he later added a few more to further strengthen his geographic assertions.

Father Pichardo then created an elaborate new map, using only the most trustworthy sources.... The maps that Father Pichardo chose for Document 74 are mentioned throughout his treatise, along with the numbers assigned to them. They represent, from Spain’s point of view, the most advanced cartographic efforts of the day. Included were charts based on standard works from several of the leading maritime nations of Europe. But the scholar-priest also incorporated details from various maps produced by Spaniards in the New World, most of them unpublished and carefully guarded. If Pichardo did not deign to include other maps among his select few, he at least referred to them in passing, thereby providing historians with a tangled cartographic thread that has not been adequately unraveled to this day. It should be noted that neither Pichardo’s treatise nor the maps copied for the project saw publication or wide circulation during the nineteenth century. By the time that Herbert E. Bolton rediscovered the treatise in the archives of Mexico, the maps in Document 74 had long since become scattered and were presumed lost....

Pichardo’s map no. 17 is important to those interested in the ranching epic of colonial Texas. As noted, the map pinpoints and names fifteen ranches along the San Antonio River between Bexar and Bahia. This area was the cradle of ranching for the entire province, despite the attempts at stock raising made in East Texas. Further, such graphic evidence is extremely rare, even though the documentation supporting the locations of these ranchos is voluminous. The various missions are set forth, as well as the two presidios and the little post of Santa Cruz, near the Cibolo....

See also, Jackson’s Shooting the Sun, Vol. II, p. 349 and numerous citations in cartobibliography. Jackson concludes on p. 348: “Pichardo’s map—like all maps drawn for propaganda purposes or created from political agendas—is a document more notable for its historical value than its geographical content. Especially is this true with his map, designated number nineteen, because of the complex treatise that accompanied it (or vice versa). Few maps have had such a lengthy and ponderous explanation of their raison d’etre as that written by Father Pichardo between the years 1808-1812.”


Sold. Hammer: $800.00; Price Realized: $980.00.

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