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Robert S. Weddle

SEVILLANO DE PAREDES, MIGUEL (?–?). Fray Miguel Sevillano de Paredes was one of a group of Franciscans sent from Spain to the New World mission field in 1715. He arrived at the missionary College of Santa Cruz de Querétaro in January 1716, just as a new missionary entrada was being organized for eastern Texas but did not join it. In 1725, while serving at San Antonio de Valero Mission and as president of the Queretaran missions in Texas, he received orders to proceed with the founding of San Francisco Xavier de Náxara Mission, which had been under discussion since 1722. Despite extensive negotiations with various tribes, he was unable to attract sufficient numbers. The mission never got off the ground.

On completion of his duties at San Antonio, Sevillano was elected guardian of the college at Querétaro, in which position he served from late 1727 to 1730. Before leaving Texas in the fall of 1727, he received orders from the commissary general of New Spain, Fray Fernando Alonzo González, to conduct an inspection of the missions of "the presidency of the Rio Grande." The term embraced not only the two missions on the Rio Grande (San Juan Bautista and San Bernardo) but also San Antonio de Valero and Santa María de los Dolores de la Punta at Lampazos de Naranjo, Nuevo León. After completing his inspection of San Antonio de Valero on October 16, Sevillano arrived at San Juan Bautista on October 24, almost two months ahead of the military inspector Pedro de Rivera y Villalón. Rivera, having begun his inspection tour in 1724, had been generally critical of the mission system. At San Antonio de Valero, he had ordered the soldiers assigned as mission guards back to their presidio and forbade military assistance to bring in fugitives. Sevillano's lengthy report, while comprising an important record of the four missions at that time, protested such actions and anticipated other deleterious results of the forthcoming Rivera report. For several years the two men were aligned against each other concerning management of the missions and the help they should receive from the presidios. On November 17, 1729, Sevillano complained to the king of the effects of Rivera's reforms. The king in turn ordered the viceroy to report on the matter. The controversy typifies the divergent points of view always present in the two arms, religious and military, charged with subjection of the New World and its native peoples.

About to end his term as guardian, Sevillano was heartened by arrival of twelve new additional missionaries from Spain, the result of his petition presented to the king by Fray Matías Sáenz de San Antonio. They were to work in the Queretaran missions of Texas and on the Rio Grande. Sevillano himself soon went to serve as president of the Rio Grande missions and there became involved in another controversy. He was at his post at San Juan Bautista, when in September 1736 Carlos Benites Franquis de Lugo became governor of Texas and set about extending his authority over Coahuila as well as Texas, religious as well as military. Having promptly placed himself in opposition to the oppressive governor, Sevillano reported Franquis's abuses to the guardian of the college, who informed the viceroy. When Franquis was removed from office and taken to San Juan Bautista to undergo his residencia, he constantly made the missionary the object of his ridicule. Sevillano ordered an investigation of his conduct. Franquis fled to Mexico City to present his case to the viceroy. Sevillano succeeded in getting the troublesome governor removed from the frontier, but he himself is little remembered except for the controversies in which he involved himself.

Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1936–1958; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976). Isidro Félix de Espinosa, Chrónica apostólica y seráphica de todos los colegios de propaganda fide de esta Nueva España, parte primera (Mexico, 1746; new ed., Crónica de los colegios de propaganda fide de la Nueva España, ed. Lino G. Caneda, Washington: Academy of American Franciscan History, 1964). Juan Agustín Morfi, History of Texas, 1673–1779 (2 vols., Albuquerque: Quivira Society, 1935; rpt., New York: Arno, 1967). Robert S. Weddle, San Juan Bautista: Gateway to Spanish Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1968).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Robert S. Weddle, "SEVILLANO DE PAREDES, MIGUEL," accessed July 07, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fse30.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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