The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 126
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
amining the correspondence of Texas' last Spanish governor, one
can grasp some idea of the frustrating position in which Martinez
found himself, and one can also reach an over-all view of the last
few years of Spanish Texas. As a primary source which helps to
clarify this period of Texas history, Virginia H. Taylor's transla-
tion of Martinez' letters to Commandant General Joaquin de
Arredondo makes a definite contribution to scholarship.
Mrs. Taylor, Archivist of the Texas State Library, began her
translation of Martinez' letters in 1954 when she was translator
of the Bexar Archives at the University of Texas. Mrs. Mattie
Austin Hatcher had previously translated thirty-one letters which
were published in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly in 1935-
1936, and Mrs. Taylor published a calendar of Martinez letters in
the January, 1956, and succeeding issues of the Quarterly. The
calendar used in conjunction with the book's index should be an
excellent guide to the published texts of Martinez' communica-
tions to Arredondo.
Mrs. Taylor's translations were made from original copies in
the Texas State Archives, but this file of Martinez' correspondence
is incomplete. His letters to Arredondo from July, 1820o, to April,
1822, are missing. Another body of Martinez' letters, written to
the viceroy of New Spain during the years 1817 to 1821, is to be
published in translation at a future date and should prove to be
a valuable companion piece to the book under review.
By reading The Letters of Antonio Martinez, one acquires a
fairly clear picture of what was happening at the northern end
of Spain's vast American system. Antonio Martinez, a Spaniard
who had risen to the rank of lieutenant colonel, reluctantly ac-
cepted the governorship of Texas in 1817 only after the viceroy
had promised him financial and other aid. As Martinez' letters
subsequently make clear, such assistance was meager and inade-
quate. The governor, beset by Indians, rebels, and foreigners who
threatened the status quo, was further faced with the daily prob-
lem of providing food, medicine, clothing, arms, and other such
vital supplies for his forces. He doubtless would have found the
situation a vexing one at any rate, but his frustration was height-
ened by lack of co-operation on every hand. At times, one has the
impression that Martinez made good use of his excuses for failure
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959, periodical, 1959; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/m1/148/: accessed May 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.