The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 30, July 1926 - April, 1927

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

ANTONIO DE ESPEJO AND HIS JOURNEY TO NEW
MEXICO
J. LLOYD MECHAM
"With the desire to serve your Majesty and increase the royal
crown, like a loyal and faithful vassal . . . I set out from
the government of Nueva Vizcaya with a religious and fourteen
soldiers, whom I took with me, moved and compelled by a very
pious and charitable occasion." Such, in his own words was the
purpose of Antonio de Espejo in journeying to New Mexico in
November, 1582. The primary object of the expedition was to
rescue two Franciscan friars, Agustin Rodriguez and Francisco
L6pez, who had entered the pueblo region of the upper Rio Grande
with Francisco Chamuscado the preceding year, and had remained
in that land. Antonio de Espejo, notwithstanding his protests
that he "entered those lands with a pious purpose,"2 and was
actuated by a "desire of serving the Lord and augmenting our
Holy Catholic Faith, and of increasing at the same time the realms
of the royal crown,"' neglected to state the real reason why he
joined the rescue party of Father Beltran. He was then under
sentence for murder, and since it was advisable that he absent
himself from New Spain-at least until he could present a satis-
factory account of services rendered to the crown as a pretext for
petitioning the royal clemency-he welcomed the opportunity to
join the expedition to New Mexico.' So meritorious did he regard
"Letter to Espejo to the king, 1584, in H. E. Bolton, Spanish Exploration
in the Southwest, 1542-1706 (New York, 1916), 195.
2Letter of Espejo to viceroy, 1583, in Bolton, Spanish Exploration, 193.
'Comisario general de la Orden de San Francisco, Fray Pedro Oroz, to
the king, Mexico, April 22, 1584 (A. G. I., 58-3-9).
'In no printed account of the Espejo expedition, either early or modern,
is there mention of the murder charge. The principal printed sources of
information regarding the entrada are those documents contained in
Coleccidn de documents in6ditos relations al descubrimiento, conquista y
colonzaci6n, de las posesiones cspoaiolas en America y Oceania, sacadas, en
su mayor parte, del Real Archivo de Indias (Madrid, 1864-1886), XV.
Most of these are translated in Bolton, Spanish Exploration, 168-195. In
Hakluyt's Voyages (London, 1599-1600), III, 383-386, and in Mendoza,
History of the Kingdom of China (translation in Hakluyt Society Publica-
tions, London, 1854), II, 228-252, are accounts of the expedition. Prior to
the publication of Bolton's Spanish Exploration these were the only sources
of information concerning Espejo. Accompanying his translation of the
"Narrative of Espejo," Bolton refers in his foot-notes to two unpublished

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 30, July 1926 - April, 1927. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117142/. Accessed December 24, 2014.