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BOOK REVIEWS137 life in the early eighteenth century. McKnight has done an admirable job of illuminating the intricacies of women's writing while simultaneously introducing the reader to a complex and vital personality in Madre Castillo. Pamela Kirk St. John's University, New York Antigua California: Mission and Colony on the Peninsular Frontier, 16971 768. By Harry W Crosby. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. 1994. Pp. xvii, 556. $37.50.) Harry Crosby has written an intriguing and useful history of the Spanish development of Baja California (California Antigua) during the Jesuit period. Although at times he seems captured by an older narrative style of history, the compensating consideration of structural and social history makes this a very rewarding read. The book results from more than thirty years ofresearch on the topic and the utilization of an enormous array of archival and printed sources. Obviously, he relies heavily on traditional materials: Jesuit chronicles, as well as the reports, letters, and inventories found in the Mexican national archives, but he has gone farther afield to consult a variety of sources not usually explored. These include the notary archives of Guadalajara and various sections of the Archivo General de Indias in Seville and the Archivo General Nacional in Mexico dealing with personnel issues. Probably the greatest new insights gained from the study relate to the character of the community of the gente de razón who were employed by the Jesuits derived from these new sources. These men—and their families—played a major (and surprising) role in the acculturation of the Indians and the success (such as it was) of the Jesuit enterprise. The book is arranged in three parts: the first half-century the organization and operation of Jesuit California, and the decline and fall ofJesuit California. The first section is the most narrative of the three. The lobbying efforts to obtain crown approval for the venture, the political maneuvering surrounding Jesuit control of the effort, the travail of expansion, and the conflicts with indigenous cultures structure the narrative. In this section, Crosby uses archival material to expand upon, and critique the chronicles, particularly the work of Venegas, but he adds little that is surprising or unexpected to the picture. The emphasis here is on the Jesuit view of conditions and onJesuit aims. The author makes it very clear that it was the Jesuit goal to establish a frontier environment which isolated the inhabitants of the peninsula from the corrupting influence of all outsiders, but that the missionaries were as set on the Europeanization of the indigenous populations as they were on converting them to Christianity: indeed, the two objectives were inseparable in their minds. 138book reviews They succeeded in imposing isolation, in large part due to the absence of resources , particularly water and verified mineral deposits, which would have attracted a settler population. They also succeeded in destroying indigenous societies and culture; by the 1740's the surviving populations had become entirely acculturated. But the cost was enormous: a decline in Indian population and the condemnation of the indigenes to a marginal existence on the periphery of hispanicized life. Crosby does not deny the sincerity, courage, or dedication ofthe Jesuit missionaries,but there is a poignancy to the description given by one missionary, Father Francisco Inama, in 1755: "[the natives] entertain for us a deferential affection, a blind obedience, a child-like confidence, and are most concerned for our well-being. It is precisely these characteristics that cause us missionaries so much concern, work, poverty, and numerous privations in our vocation—and at the same time render it light and joyful. Here we must be, day and night,'all things to all,' as well for their body as for their soul, and sacrifice ourselves all the more because they receive no other help, counsel , guidance, or care" (p. 263). He had made himself a revered father by making the Indians beloved children. Nevertheless, Crosby's primary concern in this study is not for what the Jesuits destroyed,but rather for what they created. There is a supreme irony, given Jesuit emphasis on isolating their missions from outside influences, in his strongly argued position that most of the social and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 137-138
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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