The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 21, July 1917 - April, 1918 Page: 215
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Book Reviews and Notices
subject of the visitation. The first gives a general survey of the
Spanish empire at the time of the Bourbons, illustrating the need
of reform, financial and administrative, resulting from the rack
and ruin inflicted by the incompetence and extravagance of the
Hapsburgs. This is concerned with the leading motive of the
visitation: to bring about more efficiency of administration and
more revenue. This chapter contains some very useful data com-
piled from a. report of the Junta Com ercial in 1765 on the weak-
ness of the commercial system, with suggestions for reform. In
his second chapter Mr. Priestley gives a summary view of the
government of New Spain and its relation to and administration
from Spain. This chapter is, in effect, a well-connected series
of definitions, accompanied by brief historical summaries, of the
political, judicial, ecclesiastical, economic and financial institu-
tions of New Spain. The third chapter furnishes a history of
the institution and practice of the visitation, showing its origin
in Spain and its subsequent employment in New Spain from 1526
onward. In these first three chapters original sources are gen-
erously used whenever available, but it may be noted that the
author, like other modern writers and students of Spanish colonial
history, has felt justified in making frequent use of the works
of H. H. Bancroft and Arthur Helps.
It is really in the five following chapters that the real contri-
bution is made, utilizing chiefly the documents recently obtained
from Spain. So well have these sources been used that in no
part of this section can the criticism, of overdocumentation be
made (and seldom is it made except by those who are unable or
indisposed to make use of original documents). The treatment
of the tobacco monopoly and its administration is original. We
note also as typical the struggles which arose between a viceroy,
who did not wish to be disturbed in his pleasant and profitable
state of isolation, and a zealous reformer, keen to bring the gov-
ernment to the highest point of efficiency. This is an old story
in Spain's colonies. In the same manner we are instructed by
the data furnished us on the administration of the customs at
Vera Cruz, the amount of smuggling done not only by foreigners
but by the faithful subjects of the king of Spain. Here we see
in full swing the official corruption which was the ruination of
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 21, July 1917 - April, 1918, periodical, 1918; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101073/m1/221/: accessed April 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.