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of thieves and cutthroats in English, in French, and in
German. For throughout this palaver not a word was ex-
changed between us that either they or I understood. In-
deed, what there was of mutual understanding was entirely
by way of the sign-language.

My only satisfaction over the result of my invective
was that several smiled or nodded as if in applause, the best
proof that they had not understood a word.

Only once had I a 'fleeting notion that my German was
understood, for one of the savages endeavored to repeat with
the most ludicrous stress the word "Flegel" 3 which I had

8. Boorish fellow.


thrust at him in particular. But to my chagrin I saw that it
was only the odd sound of the word that had caught his
fancy and that he endeavored to memorize it through repeti-

I now uttered curses upon the river, the prairie, and
all the Indian pack, both individually and collectively. Half-
crazed I then looked across toward the wagon in my utter

Suddenly my eyes caught sight of a horseman who
appeared on the near hill-slope across the river just as if he
had stepped out of nothingness. Soon a number of others
bobbed up out of the same direction. At last, to my inex-
pressible delight, came a wagon drawn by six mules. This
I immediately recognized as the government postchaise
from Fort Laramie escorted by American soldiers.

As by an electric shock all became changed within me.
My low spirits vanished. Never had I seen a fellow more
courageous than I was at this moment, now that I knew that
help from people of my own race was nigh.

I ran up to the tent, tore open the flap and gave the
rascals within to understand beyond all doubt that they had
to clear out. When they showed no disposition to comply
promptly I made a speech, loud and bellicose and all in the
tongue in which alone could do justice to my feelings, the
German. It ran about in this wise: "If you red rabble do
not get out of this tent I shall cut down the tent poles and
bury your vile carcasses underneath, then set fire to it so
you will all burn to cinders and all memory of your rotten
existence may be blotted out forever."

Though the redskins did not understand what I had
said they guessed its meaning from the upraised hatchet in
my hand. Perhaps it was more on account of my sudden
boldness that they suspected that something unusual was in
the air. At least I saw that, one after another, the unbidden
guests were crawling from the smoky quarters.

It was my first heroic gesture among the Indians.
Proudly I looked down upon the savage horde which bowed
obediently to my will. Like so many another hero of a
moment I thought to myself : "If only some artist of genius
were here to sketch me in this magnificent pose !" But deep
within me was the far more fervent wish to be back among
the comforts and fleshpots and security of civilization.

When the Indians caught sight of the little caravan
across the river, they rushed to their horses in order to earn


the reward I had offered them for bringing the wagon to
firm ground. But I turned down their assistance, and the
same answer was made to the headman by the duke who had
in the meantime crossed and joined the group.

(Here ends the account from Moellhausen; and now
Paul Wilhelm takes up the thread of the story again as we
read it from his journals.)

(To be concluded)



DURING the past few years interest in the intellectual his-
tory of the Spanish colonies has grown rapidly. One
manifestation of this interest is the increasing number of
studies on the book trade and the importation and distribu-
tion of books, especially in the major colonies and centers of
population such as Mexico and Peru. These have already re-
futed the conventional notion that the scientific, philosophical
and literary works current in Spain and Europe during the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were seldom available in
or even permitted to enter the colonies. 1 But it is equally im-
portant, perhaps even more important, to know what books
reached the outlying areas which did not enjoy the same
facilities for formal academic training as were to be found
in the richer and more populous districts. On the frontier
the dissemination of ideas and the degree of intellectual en-
lightenment necessarily depended in great measure upon the
kind of books imported and circulated and their influence
upon the people who owned them, and through them, upon
others. The unlettered, of course, formed the major part of
the population. Those who owned books in large or small

1. F. Rodriguez Marin El "Quijote" y Don Quijote en America (Madrid, 1911) ;
[F. Fernandez del Castillo, ed.], Libros y libreros en el siglo XVI (Mexico, 1914) ;
[E. O'Gorman, ed.], "Bibliotecas y librerias coloniales, 1585-1694," Boletin del Archivo
General de la Nation, X (1939), 661-1006; I. A. Leonard, Romances of Chivalry in the
Spanish Indies with some Registros of Shipments of Books to the Spanish Colonies

(Berkeley, 1933) ; , "A Shipment of 'Comedias' to the Indies," Hispanic Review,

II (1934), 39-50; , "Notes on Lope de Vega's Works in the Spanish Indies,"

Hispanic Review, VI (1938), 277-293; , "Don Quijote and the Book Trade in

Lima, 1606," Hispanic Review, VIII (1940), 285-304; , "Los libros en el in-

ventario de bienes de don Pedro de Peralta de Barnuevo," Boletin Bibliogrdfico . . . de

la Universidad Mayor de San Marcos de Lima, Ano XIV (1941), 1-7; , "Best

Sellers of the Lima Book Trade, 1583," The Hispanic American Historical Review,
XXII (1942), 5-33; O. H. Green and I. A. Leonard, "On the Mexican Booktrade in
1600: A Chapter in Cultural History," Hispanic Review, IX (1941), 1-40; J. Torre
Revello, El libro, la imprenta y el periodismo en America durante la domination
espanola (Buenos Aires, 1940).


BOOKS IN NEW MEXICO, 1598-1680 227

numbers were few, but what books there were reached the
people in some form, by loan to those who could read, or,
more indirectly, by the conversation and discussions of those
who had read them, colored inevitably by their personal
reactions and interpretations.

This was the case in New Mexico in the seventeenth
century. As the northernmost outpost of Spain in North
America, it was an isolated frontier colony cut off from the
rest of New Spain by vast stretches of territory inhabited by
hostile Indian tribes. Since it possessed but few easily ex-
ploitable resources, its economic importance was small and
it attracted relatively few colonists. Not many of those who
came had enjoyed much, if any, academic training. A cer-
tain number of mission schools were founded within the
province, especially during the first three or four decades
after the establishment of the colony, for the purpose of
teaching the elements of Christian doctrine and rudiments
of reading and writing. No formal education beyond this

Information concerning books that were brought to
New Mexico prior to the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 consists of
scattered incidental references in various contemporary
sources, citations of works which are found in documents
dealing with the never-ending Church-State controversy,
and a few lists of volumes in the possession of certain provin-
cial governors. Additional data may have been recorded in
private papers and in the local Franciscan archives as part
of inventories of church and convent furnishings, but these
records, along with the provincial governmental archive,
were destroyed in 1680. As might be expected, most of the
books were in the possession of the Franciscan friars and
the provincial governors. Undoubtedly the colonists owned
more books than are noted in the contemporary sources
that have been preserved, but the number was not large in
any case.

In the appendix we have compiled a list of references to
books, usually in the form or phraseology employed in the


documents. Most of the references and citations give incom-
plete or inexact data concerning author, title, or both. In
such cases identification of author and title has been made,
in so far as this was possible on the basis of the bibliographic
facilities at our disposal. Numbers used in the text in con-
nection with authors or titles refer to items listed by the
same number in the appendix.

The Franciscan friars constituted the most learned
group in the province. A considerable number had been
educated in Spain, where they had entered the Order before
going out to the New World. Most of the others had been
trained in the colleges and seminaries of Mexico City, Puebla,
or other educational centers of New Spain. Several had
achieved some prominence in the Order before entering the
New Mexico mission field ; others were rewarded by promo-
tion or preferment after their years of service in the prov-
ince. Fray Tomas Manso, who served for years as director
of the mission supply caravans, was elevated to the see of
Nicaragua, and according to tradition Fray Alonso de Bena-
vides became archbishop of Goa. Fray Francisco de Ayeta,
who played such a prominent role in local affairs both before
and after the Pueblo Revolt, was appointed special repre-
sentative of all the Franciscan provinces of New Spain at the
royal court. But no less worthy of mention as intellectual
leaders in New Mexico are men like Fray Esteban de Perea,
Fray Juan de Salas, Fray Cristobal de Quiros, and Fray
Antonio de Ibargaray to note only a few who spent the
best years of their lives in the province.

The friars who accompanied the Onate expedition were
undoubtedly the owners of most of the books taken to New
Mexico when the province was founded, but unfortunately
the documents relating to the expedition contain no lists
describing the kind of books they had. It may be assumed
that most of the books were bibles, breviaries, missals, and
ecclesiastical treatises of various descriptions, but the in-
ventories, if we had them, would probably reveal that some

BOOKS IN NEW MEXICO, 1598-1680 229

of the friars brought with them classics of Latin and Spanish
literature and a few volumes on medicine, science or pseudo-
science, and other mundane subjects. The earliest docu-
mentary evidence concerning books imported by the Fran-
ciscans is found in the treasury accounts of the first three
decades of the seventeenth century, which sometimes record
in considerable detail the kind of supplies purchased at royal
expense for friars sent out to the province and for those
already serving in the missions. The book items refer, how-
ever, only to the purchase of brevaries, missals, and choir
books of various kinds. (See appendix, items 1-10) . Works
of non-liturgical character were apparently privately owned,
or were supplied at the expense of the Order for convent

It would be interesting to know what books were
brought to New Mexico by Fray Esteban de Perea, Fray
Juan de Salas, Fray Alonso de Benavides, and other leaders
in the early missionary history of the province, but the docu-
ments record no information on this point. The only refer-
ence we have to a book owned by one of the early friars
relates to a work on astrology said to be the property of the
lay brother Fray Alonso de San Juan, who came to New
Mexico before the end of the Onate period and took an active
part in mission affairs for some thirty years. In 1626, when
Benavides was investigating conditions in the province, a
certain Lucas de Figueroa gave the following testimony: 2

He states and solemnly declares that about a
year ago, having entered the house of a Mexican
Indian called Pancho Bolon, a smith in this Villa
[of Santa Fe], he found there a book of astrology
and secrets of nature and of other strange things.
Since the aforesaid Indian did not know how to
read, this declarant asked for the loan of it and
took it from him. He kept it about five or six

2. The record of Benavides' investigation is found in Archivo General de la
Naci6n, Mexico (cited hereafter as A. G. M.), Inquisici6n, tomo 356. For a second-
ary account of the investigation and the causes which prompted it, see F. V. Scholes,
"The First Decade of the Inquisition in New Mexico," New Mex. Hist. Rev., X (1935),
195-241, and Church and State in New Mexico, 16 10-1650 (Albuquerque, 1937), Ch. III.


months, at the end of which time Fray Alonso de
San Juan, lay brother of St. Francis in this Cus-
tody, carried it off, saying that it was his. During
the time that this declarant had it, he found in it
the account of the planets at all hours,prognosticat-
ing according to the nature of each planet the
aspect and character of the persons who were born
under each planet, foretelling how long they might
live and certain future events in the course of their
lives. He did this once on the basis of the time of
her birth as told to him by a woman of this Villa
called Ana Ortiz, and he informed her that appar-
ently she had had an illness, according to what the
influences of her sign indicated for her. She replied
that this was true and that she had had it at the
time he named. He also told her that she would be
very fecund. In the same way he prophesied the
birth of a child, daughter of Francisco de Almazan,
a resident of this place, foretelling several events
which were to befall him, and other similar things.
And although it is true that this seemed to him to
be proper curiosity and he manifested it as such, he
always believed and understood that everything
was subject to the will of God and made this clear
to all those with whom he dealt.

These remarks illustrate the influence that a book of esoteric
character might have on a relatively unlettered colonist.
Figueroa's confession was undoubtedly prompted by knowl-
edge that Benavides, who was acting under authority as
Commissary of the Holy Office, was inquiring into the preva-
lence of superstition, and it was this factor that was respon-
sible for the witness' final affirmation that all things were
subject to God's will and that he had emphasized this point
in the prognostications he had made.

The convent libraries, made up of books received or
inherited from private owners and works purchased at the
expense of the Order for general use, constituted the most
important collections at the disposal of the friars. Each
mission must have had a few books, but the most extensive
collections were undoubtedly those kept at the convent of
Santo Domingo, ecclesiastical capital of the province, and at

BOOKS IN NEW MEXICO, 1598-1680 231

the convent of Santa Fe. The inventories of these collec-
tions, which once comprised part of the Franciscan archives,
are irretrievably lost, but fortunately we have other records
which provide considerable evidence concerning their con-

The most important source of information is a series
of opinions and letters written by Fray Juan de Vidania
c. 1640-1641 at the time of a bitter controversy between
Governor Luis de Rosas and the Franciscans. This contro-
versy was precipitated by numerous incidents involving the
authority of the custodian as local head of the church, ques-
tions of ecclesiastical immunity and privilege, and similar
problems. At the height of the dispute the province was
divided into two hostile camps. The convent at Santa Fe
was closed, and all of the friars in residence there, except
Vidania and a lay brother, who were staunch supporters of
the governor, were expelled from the Villa. Most of the
friars and a group of colonists who espoused their cause
assembled at Santo Domingo, whence the custodian, Fray
Juan de Salas, fulminated excommunications against Rosas
and his Franciscan allies. In a series of opinions, drafted at
the request of the governor, Vidania formulated arguments
to support Rosas' actions and to challenge the validity of the
prelate's edicts. These views were also reiterated in letters
to Salas and other friars. 3

In these papers Vidania cited numerous authorities in
such a way that it may be inferred that in most cases he had
their writings at hand for reference. The documents not
only contain many verbatim quotations but have numerous
marginal notes giving author, brief title, or both, and fre-
quently the volume, chapter, section, or other appropriate
subdivisions of works cited to support arguments in the
text. Some of the books that he used may have been in the
library or archive of the Casa Real, but most of them are of

3. Vidania's opinions and letters are found in A. G. M., Inquisicion, tomo 595.
For an extensive account of Rosas' controversy with the friars, see Scholes, Church
and State, Chs. V, VI.


such character that they probably belonged to the library
of the Santa Fe convent.

Among the works quoted or cited we find Aristotle's
Topics (13), Caesar's Gallic Wars (20), and Ovid's Meta-
morphoses (36). The Church Fathers are represented by
St. Augustine's work, Contra Faustum Manichaeum (43).
The documents also contain references to St. Ambrose and
St. Gregory, but it is difficult to determine whether Vidania
had their writings at hand, or used references to them in
other works. St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa (44) is cited sev-
eral times.

Justinian (27) appears two or three times, and there
are numerous references to the Nueva Recopilacion and to
special royal cedulas and ordinances. Villadiego's In-
struction politica (55) and Hevia Bolanos' Curia philipica
(26), which deal with Spanish civil procedure and adminis-
tration, are cited, but it is interesting to note that Solorzano
and Castillo de Bobadilla are not mentioned. Politico-moral-
istic writing is represented by Fray Juan Marquez' Goberna-
dor christiano (30).

There are numerous citations to the Decretals and
other parts of the Corpus juris canonici, the decrees of the
Council of Trent, and various papal bulls. The references to
jurists and canonists cover a rather wide range. The Italians
are represented by Baldo (16), Bartolus (17), Bellarmine
(19), Cajetan (21), Panormitanus (37), and Silvestro
Mazzolini (48). Among the Spaniards we find Soto (49,50),
Suarez (51), Covarrubias (22), the celebrated Azpilcueta
Navarro (32) , and others of lesser renown. The Quaestiones
regulares (41) of the Portuguese Franciscan Fray Manuel
Rodriguez and his Aditiones to his treatise on the Bull of the
Crusade (40) are referred to again and again. Finally, we
have several citations to Fray Juan Focher (24), Fray
Alonso de la Veracruz (54), and Fray Juan Bautista (18),
well known for their services in Mexico in the sixteenth

BOOKS IN NEW MEXICO, 1598-1680 233

This is not the place to analyze Vidania's interpreta-
tions of canon law and his use or misuse of the authorities he
quoted or cited. Only a trained canonist would be qualified
for such a task. It will be interesting, however, to note what
his brother Franciscans thought of his learning, and what
he, in turn, thought of his critics. In a letter to the Fran-
ciscan Commissary General of New Spain, one of the friars
wrote :

This said Fray Juan de Vidania was the foun-
tain head and teacher of this conspiracy. He is false
in everything, and for the Latin solecisms in the
letter he wrote Your Reverence alone, he deserved
to be deprived of the service of the altar and divine
office. And for the falseness with which he cites the
sacred canons and holy scripture, he should be de-
prived forever of the opportunity to read sacred
canons and holy scripture, since he has so falsely
applied what he reads. 4

Vidania's contempt for his critics is reflected in all of his
writings, but especially in one of his letters which illustrates
his power of sarcasm, and, incidentally, provides interesting
side lights on his acquaintance with books and authors.
Referring to a certain friar who was especially active in
challenging the validity of his propositions, he said :

This grammarian ... is so ignorant that he has
not even read the Categories or Predicaments of
Aristotle, or the Perihermenias and Topics, or even
the common-places of Cicero. And so he frequents
the haunts of the vulgar and unlettered . . . com-
posing syllogisms to make it seem that what I have
done was fallacious and sophistries of little sub-
stance. . . . What an ignoramus I am, for I believed
that one could not know these things without know-
ing the philosophers! ... In vain I pondered the
commentaries of the philosophers, and without
reason did my teacher guide me through the cate-

4. Fray Bartolome Romero to the Commissary General of New Spain, October 4,
1641. Archive General de Indias, Sevilla (cited hereafter as A. G. I.), Patronato, leg.
244, exp. 7.


gories of Porphyry 5 to the logic of Aristotle ! And,
leaving aside these humane branches of study, in
vain and without cause did I have for my masters
in holy theology the most learned Valencia 6 and
the greatly renowned Leiva, 7 not to mention others !
The erudition of my teachers and continual medi-
tation from my early youth up to my present age
upon the lesson to be found in various branches of
moral and scholastic learning and evangelical dis-
course has availed me nothing. There, indeed, have
we found a perfect and whole man without his
having been taught by anyone. This must be some
divine spirit or fantastic deity who surpasses and
conquers Tully in eloquence, Aristotle in argu-
ments, Plato in wisdom, and Aristarchus in erudi-

This outburst illustrates the invective power of Vidania's
pen and explains, in part, why Governor Rosas valued him
as an ally.

In the end Vidania suffered disgrace for his defense of
Rosas and his disobedience to the custodian's decrees. A
formal investigation of his conduct was made in 1641, after
Rosas had been removed from office, and he was sent to
Mexico City for trial by the Holy Office. One source states
that he escaped during the journey to New Spain ; 8 another
records that he was finally punished (penitenciado). 9

The documents relating to the Church-State controver-
sies of the 1660's also contain some information concerning
books in the possession of the friars, but it adds very little

5. Porphyry's Isagoge, or Introduction to the Categories of Aristotle, was trans-
lated into Latin by Boethius and had great influence upon the development of scholas-
ticism. Among the works of Father Pedro de Fonseca, a famous Portuguese Jesuit
theologian of the sixteenth century, whose philosophical writings were widely dissem-
inated and reached many editions, is a treatise called In Isagogem Porphyrii. Domingo
de Soto also wrote a treatise In porphyrii Isagogen Aristotelis, Venice, 1552.

6. Possibly Father Gregorio de Valencia, a prominent Jesuit theologian of the
second half of the sixteenth century. He was sent to Germany to teach theology and
to work against the influence of Luther, and later summoned to Rome by Clement VIII.
He died in Naples in 1603. He was the author of both controversial and scholastic

7. Probably Diego Covarrubias y Leiva (1512-1577), the eminent Spanish theolog-
ian and jurist, professor of canon law and author of books on a wide range of subjects.

8. A. G. I., Patronato, leg. 244, exp. 7.

9. A. G. M., Inquisicion, tomo 629, exp. 2.

BOOKS IN NEW MEXICO, 1598-1680 235

to the data found in the Vidania papers. We find numerous
references to the decrees of the Council of Trent and to vari-
ous papal bulls, especially the Ommmoda of Adrian VI on
which the custodians based their authority as ecclesiastical
judges ordinary, but citations to canonists are rare. In a
petition defending his jurisdiction as ecclesiastical judge,
the vice-custodian, Fray Garcia de San Francisco, cited
Baldo, Navarro, and Panormitanus. 10 We also have an
account of a theological dispute at the Santa Fe convent
during which a volume by the canonist Fray Manuel Rodri-
guez was taken down and consulted to settle a point at
issue. 11 All of these writers are cited in the Vidania papers
and these later references to them serve as additional evi-
dence that Rosas' advocate had his authorities at hand. The
only references to works not previously mentioned relate to
three books apparently owned by Fray Nicolas de Freitas,
director of the Santa Fe convent in 1622-1663, and Fray
Felipe de la Cruz, a lay brother resident at the convent of
Santo Domingo in 1662. 12 (See appendix, nos. 57-59.)

Finally, the journal of Governor Diego de Vargas con-

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