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316 Western American Literature occupied with his own ill-health and with the primitive conditions in which the expedition had to toil. Robert Livermore was also an Easterner—a proper Bostonian in the adventure-seeking tradition of Richard Henry Dana. His family owned mining interests in southern Colorado, and around the turn of the century he spent eight years in the San Juan Mountains managing various mines. Livermore’s journal vividly details the avalanches, labor troubles and chronic violence which characterized mining towns such as Telluride. The journal, which actually ranges all over the West (including Mexico and Canada), is well-edited—the best of the bunch in that respect— and clearly and simply designed. (Perhaps I should say here that, so far as I am able to judge, the editing of all these works is excellent and worthy of commendation; it is significant, I think, that I finished the foreword to each volume and began the journal proper with profound regret.) Neither Kellogg’s nor Livermore’s journal is wholly without interest; as is the case with many books of this kind, however, one must hack his way through thickets of banality to gain an occasional glimpse of blue sky. Of the five books under consideration, Mary Austin Holley: The Texas Diary, 1835-1838 and The Original Journals of Henry Smith Turner are by far the most important historically. Mrs. Holley, a member of the hallowed Austin family, and Captain Turner, a participant in General Kearny’s 184647 expedition to New Mexico and California, knew people and witnessed events of no small historical significance. But as casual reading, their journals are all but impentrable, being mainly transcripts of the minutiae of their authors’ daily lives. Mrs. Holley’s diary especially is practically impervious to attempts at perusal, and despite an illuminating introduction by Dwight L. Clarke, Captain Turner’s is scarcely more yielding. Perhaps there is a kind of inverse ratio at work here: the more important the events and people described, the less readable the account. In any case, after trying to read Mrs. Holley’s diary, I remembered Nichols, Kellogg and Livermore with something like nostralgia. I was not, however, nostalgic enough to reread their journals. W illia m T. P ilk in g to n , Texas Christian University Spanish War Vessels on the Mississippi, 1792-1796. By Abraham P. Nasatir. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968. viii -f 341 pages, index. $10.00.) The treaties of Paris of 1763 and 1783 altered radically the imperial holdings of France, Britain, and Spain in North America. The overview of the change featured France’s relinquishment of Louisiana as well as Canada Reviews 317 and British withdrawal to Canada while Spain acquired Louisiana west of the Mississippi River and retained lands bordering the Gulf of Mexico into which this extensive river system drained. But the greatest changes involved the birth of the United States and the initial trans-Allegheny expansion of her peoples no longer restrained by French power or British politicians. Consequently, imperial considerations, notably Spain’s defensive policies, changed to meet the new conditions. Spain had to confront the powerful thrust of the American frontier toward the Mississippi knowing full well if the Yankees overran this communications system, the western prairies beyond offered an open avenue to Texas, Santa Fe, and north Mexico. Spanish officials, recognizing the need to bolster their control of the Mississippi, urged colonizing critical river locations, accomodation with Indians of the region, construction of forts such as at Barrancas, negotiation with American secession­ ists, and the formation of a river fleet to tie the salient features together. This volume, in Yale University’s Western Americana Series, concerns the creation, operation, and abandonment of Spain’s fresh water navy which was designed to patrol the Mississippi from New Orleans to St. Louis. Pro­ fessor Nasatir has organized it in two parts: the first half is a historical mono­ graph on the Spanish response to the American westward movement; the second is a collection of diaries by some of those involved in these river missions. As is typical of Professor Nasatir, the book is impeccably scholarly. His documentation from Spanish archives is thorough to the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 316-318
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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