The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914

Book Reviews and Notices

BOOK REVIEWS AND NOTICES
The Viceroy of New Spain. By Donald E. Smith (University
of California Publications in History, Volume I, No. 2, Pp.
99-293. Berkeley: 1913.)
To one who is looking for an exhaustive treatment of the office
of viceroy in New Spain, this book will prove to be somewhat dis-
appointing. Although the title would lead the reader to expect a
general study, the author does not claim to have attempted to
treat the viceroy throughout the entire period of that official's ex-
istence in New Spain. On the contrary, he states, in his conclu-
sion, that his work deals only with the functions of the viceroy "as
they were in the closing years of the Spanish reign." With such
an avowal as this, it would be manifestly unjust to criticize Dr.
Smith's book in the light of the broad and more comprehensive
title which he uses. It would doubtless have been better, however,
had he indicated the narrow limits of his work in the title itself.
As a matter of fact, the study made by Dr. Smith is confined
almost entirely to the period from 1789 to 1803, comprehending
the administrations of Revillagigedo, Branciforte, Azanza, and
Marquina. A glance at the footnotes reveals the paucity of pri-
mary sources to which Dr. Smith has had access. Indeed, the.
constant references to the Instrucci6n Reservada, of Revillagigedo.
might cause the superficial reader to think that the book is little
more than a digest or analysis of that important document. It is
to be regretted that the author could not make use of the vast store
of rich materials to be found in the Spanish and Mexican archives
in the nature of unprinted sources, for until such documents have
been utilized, the final word cannot be said even upon the brief
period of which Dr. Smith's book treats.
The author begins his study by presenting a summary of the
history of the office of the viceroy in Mexico from its establishment
to the time of Charles III, which includes a very helpful brief ex-
position of the changes wrought in the office of viceroy by the in-
troduction of the intendancy system in 1786. The body of the work
consists of five chapters, whose contents may be indicated as fol.-

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101061/. Accessed August 27, 2014.