The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Like France, Spain harbored an intense hatred for Great Britain. In the re-
cently concluded French and Indian War, the British had occupied Havana, and
they took possession of Spanish Florida by the Treaty of Paris in 1763. Hum-
bling the English by assisting her breakaway colonies seemed very much in
Spain's interest, but it was never that simple. King Charles III's ambassador to
France, the Conde de Aranda, recommended immediate war with England. On
the other hand, his minister of the state, the Marques de Grimaldi, favored strict
neutrality. The king himself was torn between his desire to exact revenge on the
British and his concern that open support for the American cause would under-
mine royal authority-not to mention that the independence of the United
States would set an unfortunate example for his own colonies. To steer the prop-
er course of action required accurate political, economic, and military informa-
tion that could best be gathered by Spanish agents stationed within the former
English colonies.
After addressing the circumstances that led to the placement of Spanish ob-
servers in Louisiana and Florida, Professor Cummins provides an in-depth view
of two who were stationed in Philadelphia: Juan de Miralles (1778-1780) and
Francisco de Rendon (1780-1786). The former was obviously more important,
for he served during the critical time that Spain passed from neutrality to bel-
ligerency.
Overall, this book is a gem. It is based on exhaustive research in Spanish
archives and American libraries. Its organization and carefully crafted prose
make the narrative lively and informative, while casting important light on
Spain's role in the American Revolution. The book's format and design are
representative of the fine publications issued by LSU Press.
University of North Texas DONALD E. CHIPMAN
Lfe in Mexico Under Santa Anna, I822-z855. By Ruth R. Olivera and Liliane
Crete. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991. Pp. xiii+28o. Preface,
acknowledgments, illustrations, maps, bibliography, index. $24.95-)
Mexzco y Estados Unzdos: Origenes de una Relacidn, Iz89-z861. By Angela Moyano
Pahissa. (Frontera: Secretaria de Educaci6n Publica, 1987. Pp. 348. Intro-
ducci6n, mapas, anexo, bibliografia.)
For nearly three decades following the inauguration of independent Mexico,
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna influenced the main course of events. Life in Mexz-
co Under Santa Anna, by Ruth R. Olivera and Liliane Crete, is not about the
charismatic caudzllo who maneuvered in and out of the presidency no fewer than
eleven times. Rather, the salient thrust of the book is about the social environ-
ment in which Santa Anna's generation of Mexicans achieved a remarkable level
of material culture and then failed miserably in attempting to forge a national
consciousness of civic responsibility. To justify using Santa Anna as a convenient
reference point, the authors liberally sprinkle the narrative with spicy anecdotes
about the wily president's idiosyncrasies.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117154/. Accessed October 22, 2014.