The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952 Page: 145
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of treason. Many of his notes were consequently lost to him. One
wonders what size work he would have produced had he been
able to preserve all his notes. While in Sonora, he had obtained
his monumental quantity of information by questioning natives,
Spaniards, and mestizo ranchers, by plying his brothers in the
Society of Jesus with questions and comparing notes with them,
and by much personal observation.
Pfefferkorn thought he should write his book for two main
reasons: to make a contribution to the store of world knowledge
and to show what the Society of Jesus had been doing in the
Americas and thus prove there was no sound reason to tear
them so rudely from their work for God and King. A minor
reason was to express in this way his gratitude to the Elector,
Max Ferdinand, for obtaining his release from Spain. To him he
dedicated his extraordinary and unique compendium of things
seen and heard in Sonora.
The original Beschreibung der Landschaft Sonora samt andern
merkwuerdigen Nachrichten von den inneren Theilen Neu-
Spaniens und Reise aus Amerika bis in Deutschland appeared in
two volumes. Pfefferkorn began the work when he was fifty-two
years old. He finished the second volume in 1795, the first having
been published in 1794. In his preface he mentions a third vol-
ume, which apparently was never published or even written, for
there is no further notice of it. It seemingly was to have been a
travel description, covering the Jesuit expulsion, his own travels
through New Spain and the Caribbean to Spain, his imprison-
ment in Spain, and selections from other Jesuits' writings, in-
cluding those of Kino and Sedelmeyer.
In addition to his own observations, Pfefferkorn admits that
he obtained much information from other persons, especially his
brother Jesuits. How much of this information he used without
testing its veracity is a little questionable. He states that he
maintained a critical attitude and tested all second-hand "tips"
given him, but he accepts certain yarns that appear preposterous.
Perhaps they were accepted as fact in his day. One of these was
that snakes struck offenders with their tails. Yet he repudiates
many other so-called "scientific facts" because they had not been
proved. That he had advanced views on other subjects has to
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952, periodical, 1952; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101139/m1/169/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.