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Title Recommendations of Father Morfi concerning pacification and settlement of New Mexico [manuscript]: [between 1776 and 1778]
Author Morfi, Juan Agustín (d.1783)
Date
Document Type Manuscript
Description From the Newberry Library Catalogue: Contemporary ms. copy, probably from around 1778 and possibly signed by Father Morfi, of his recommendations to the government for the exploration, pacification, and settlement of New Mexico. Using the diaries and reports of the expeditions of Domínguez and Escalante, Anza, Garcés, Juan Mateo Mange, Jerónimo de Zarate, and Padre Escobar and Juan de Oñate as the basis for his observations, Morfi points out that the lack of communication between Mexico and New Mexico hindered the success of the Domínguez-Escalante expedition of 1776. Had Domínguez and Escalante known of the findings of previous explorers, they could have adjusted their route and easily reached Monterey and San Francisco. Morfi also notes that the reports of exploring expeditions are often merely personal diaries, full of omissions, errors, and deceptive geographical descriptions. He criticizes the way in which missionary priests present themselves to the Indians as ambassadors of a great king who will protect them from their enemies, when, in fact, these missionaries are poor and weak, often dependent on the Indians for subsistence. Such misconceptions make unbelievers of the Indians and fuel their resentment and anger. Morfi suggests controlling the Indians through an accurate, more detailed knowledge of the terrain, and eliminating the two tribes hostile to the Spaniards, the Apaches and Comanches. The government should concentrate on developing the territory between the Colorado River to the west and the Rojo River to the east, where pueblos can flourish on the fertile land and the rivers create a natural line of defense for building presidios. Finally, Morfi proposes expeditions to be undertaken by Anza, Velez, and Garcés in order to improve relations with the Indians, locate the best sites for pueblos and presidios, and note the natural resources of the area.
Names Domínguez, Francisco Atanasio (fl.1776); Vélez de Escalante, Silvestre (d.1792); Garcés, Francisco Tomás Hermenegildo (1738-1781)
Places New Mexico, United States; Spain; Mexico
Keywords peace, Mexican, New Spain, Spain, government, government relations, expedition, observation, exploration, personal account, subsistence, missionary, hostility, territoy, pueblo
Theme Indigenous Peoples of Mexico; American Indians and the European Powers; Missionaries and Education
Tribe / Nation
Culture Area Southwest, Mesoamerica
Language Spanish
Additional Information BOUND WITH: Account by Father Morfi of his expedition to the Provincias Internas [manuscript] 1777 Aug. 4-1778 Nov. 9 and Summary of official recommendations and correspondence concerning the formation of volunteer militias for the defense of the Parral region of Mexico [manuscript] Newberry Library references Ayer MS 1169 and Ayer MS 1171.
Library The Newberry Library
Copyright The Newberry Library
Collection The Edward E. Ayer Collection
Reference VAULT Ayer MS 1170
Catalogue Link The Newberry Library Catalogue