The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952

Book Reviews

Father Gasparri's account; the second part is a translation from
the Spanish of a collection of Sunday announcements covering
the period from April 26, 1868, through October 18, 1874.
Extensive research, careful editing, and excellent documenta-
tion are evident in this study, which includes a bibliography, an
index, and an introduction by Dr. Carlos E. Castafieda entitled
"The Irresistible Challenge of the Pueblos."
Texas Western College
Motolinia's History of the Indians of New Spain. Translated and
edited by Elizabeth Andros Foster. Berkeley (The Cortes
Society), 1950. Pp. x+294-
Fray Toribio Motolinia was a Spanish Franciscan friar who
arrived in New Spain in 1524. For the next forty-five years he
worked among the Indians of Mexico and Guatemala. His first
concern was for the people whose souls he had come to save, but
he was interested in them also as human beings. It is obvious
from his letters that he liked the Indians and admired their good
qualities, their intelligence, their gentleness, and their indiffer-
ence to wealth. Also, the country itself with its marvels and
possibilities attracted him. He investigated lagoons, volcanoes,
springs, and natural bridges. He was not a scientist, but he did
observe the kinds of trees and fruits that grew in the different
climates of Mexico, the birds and beasts, the nature of the soil,
the mineral resources, and the native crops.
The Indians of New Spain was written in intervals of leisure
during the years from 1536 to 1541. By the author's own state-
ment, the intervals of leisure were few and far between and al-
ways subject to interruption by calls for his service. In spite of
sixteenth century verbosity, Motolinia's style is remarkably
straightforward and simple. It is mercifully free of learned com-
parisons and pious reflections. Motolinia has one reference to
Aristotle and thirteen to the Bible. Rhetorical moralizing is in-
dulged in only twice.
The work is divided into three books of fifteen, ten, and twen-
ty chapters, respectively, and is launched by an introductory let-
ter to Don Antonio Pimental, sixth count of Benavente.


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed October 4, 2015.