The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970 Page: 300
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
writing in the field has been in the areas of exploration, conquest,
colonization, and international relations, while relatively little has
been done on administrative and institutional history, or social and
economic development. This monograph on the political administra-
tion in the province of New Mexico during the last fifty years it was
under Spanish rule is, therefore, a welcome addition to the literature
on the borderlands. Professor Simmons bases his findings on research
in a number of manuscript collections, two in particular-Ramo de
Provincias Internas, and the Spanish Archives of New Mexico in
Santa Fe; although he concedes on numerous occasions that the docu-
mentation is fragmentary, most will probably support his conviction
that his research is sufficiently complete to establish a general pattern,
and that the basic structure which he has described will stand.
The organization and presentation of the material is simple and
logical: the Spanish administrative reforms of the late eighteenth
century which led to the establishment of the gommandancy general
and the intendancy system; the provincial administration, emphasizing
the office of the governor; and local and municipal government, with
special attention being given to the office of alcalde mayor. There is
new light on several topics which have received little or no attention
in the past-the organization of the Santa Fe presidio and the urban
militia, the postal system, the administration of the tobacco monopoly,
and the judicial structure.
Finally, the author offers several interesting and significant conclu-
sions. In spite of its geographical isolation, New Mexico was closely
tied administratively to the viceregal government of New Spain and
to the mother country. Social and economic patterns in New Mexico
generally followed those throughout the commandancy. The pace of
economic development in New Mexico was somewhat livelier than
has been believed, the dismal conditions presented in the celebrated
account of Pedro Bautista Pino in i812 being a gross distortion de-
liberately intended to extract concessions from the Spanish govern-
ment. Finally, there was a growing concern in the late eighteenth
century for more effective administration at all levels, accompanied
by a steady increase in the volume of documentary materials.
Simmons' study is at times tedious and repetitious, but on the whole
it is an effective presentation of a difficult subject, and his book will
be a useful one.
University of Texas at El Paso
W. H. TIMMONS
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970, periodical, 1970; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117147/m1/322/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.