The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973 Page: 222

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

kangaroo court, not with the dignity of a firing squad but rather by
stabbing the governor to death.
It is both useful and refreshing to occasionally read history written
from the perspective of those who lost. While Tragic Cavalier may not
be remembered as a classic, it is eminently sound and considerably
better than most first books. With it Almariz wins himself recognition
as a very promising young borderlands historian.
University of Nebraska MICHAEL C. MEYER
A Description of the Kingdom of New Spain. By Pedro Alonso
O'Crouley. Translated and edited by Sean Galvin. (San Francis-
co: John Howell Books, 1972. Pp. xviii+ 148. Illustrations, maps,
appendices, glossary, bibliography, index. $01o.)
Pedro Alonso O'Crouley, a Spaniard of Irish descent, visited New
Spain several times in the years following the Seven Years' War. He
collected information about the country from written accounts, travy
elers' tales, and his own observations, and accumulated a remarkable
set of illustrations depicting the animals, plants, geography, culture,
and racial mixtures. Concluding that there was "no complete and ac-
curate history" of New Spain and that even geographers had neglected
Lower California, New Mexico, and Texas, he wrote his own descrip-
tion in 1774.
O'Crouley returned home to take his place as a wealthy merchant,
member of learned societies, and collector of antiquities. In 1794 he
published a catalog of his collection, listing among other treasures
about two hundred paintings by such artists as Rubens and Velasquez.
But his description and illustrations of New Spain, except for the
plates on racial mixtures, languished in the Biblioteca Nacional,
known only to a few scholars.
This English translation, the first publication of the manuscript,
compensates for any past neglect. The volume is especially notable for
its art work. O'Crouley's plates are handsomely reproduced, many of
them in rich color, and the book itself is a masterpiece of the book-
maker's art.
Only with the text can one find fault. O'Crouley is at his best when
writing of the commonplace. For example, he describes the buffalo as
"a kind of wild ox . . . quite ugly, with short curved horns and a
humped back like that of a camel." But he does not content himself
with the commonplace. He ranges from ancient Mexican history to the


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973, periodical, 1973; Austin, Texas. ( accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.