The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914 Page: 316
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
lows: Chapter II treats of the relations of the viceroy with the
home government; Chapter III, of the functions of the viceroy as
governor; Chapter IV, of his functions as captain-general; Chapter
V, of his functions as vice-patron of the church; and Chapter VI
takes up more in detail the reforms of Charles III that are men-
tioned in the introductory chapter, especially the so-called free
trade decree of 1778 and the decree of intendants of 1786.
In considering the relations of the viceroy with the home govern-
ment, Dr. Smith departs from the limits he has set himself, show-
ing the connection of the viceroy with the various institutions of
the Spanish colonial system. He has added nothing to the accounts
given by Bancroft, Moses, and Desdevises du Dizert, although he
has done a service in presenting the facts in a more accessible form.
He takes exception to the view held by Desdevises du Dezert that
the viceroy was an oriental satrap, and shows that, on the con-
trary, he had practically no independence, being subject to the
constant interference, even in the most trivial matters, of the home
government. Here again the author depends almost entirely upon
the Instrucci6n Reservada, and does not attempt to characterize
the viceroy of an earlier period. In discussing the duties of the
viceroy in connection with the negro slave trade, Dr. Smith says
that it was by means of this traffic that the Spaniards were able
to avoid the enslavement of the Indians in New Spain, since they
could import sufficient laborers to produce an ample supply of
food. Negro slavery, however, played a very small part in the
economic system of New Spain, comparatively speaking, and it
certainly did not prevent the Indians from being reduced to a
state of practical slavery or serfdom.
In his chapter on the viceroy as governor Dr. Smith says:
"There was little real danger to Spain of losing her American em-
pire as the French lost Canada, as long as her rule was acceptable
to the great mass of the colonial population, and thus the real prob-
lems before the viceroy were civil ones" (p. 160). He seems, how-
ever, to take an entirely different view when he comes to discuss the
viceroy as captain-general, and points out, what seems to be more
in accordance with the true facts, that the military functions of
the viceroy completely overshadowed his civil duties. "On the eve
of Spanish-American independence," he says, . . . "the viceroy
was becoming more and more exclusively a military ruler" (p. 194).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914, periodical, 1914; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101061/m1/320/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.