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Title Account by Father Morfi of his expedition to the Provincias Internas [manuscript]: 1777 Aug. 4-1778 Nov. 9
Author Morfi, Juan Agustín (d.1783)
Document Type Travel Journal; Diary
Description From the Newberry Library Catalogue: Father Morfi’s diary account from August 4, 1777 to Nov. 9, 1778 of his expedition with Teodoro de Croix to inspect and report on the state of the northern frontier provinces of Mexico. As newly-appointed commandant of the Provincias Internas, Croix organized the expedition to gain a first-hand knowledge of the territory he was to oversee. The expedition left Mexico City on August 4, 1777, and headed northwest through Querétaro, San Miguel de Allende, and Durango, then east to the presidio of San Juan Bautista. They traveled as far as San Antonio de Béjar in Texas before turning west towards Coahuila. The ms. ends on Nov. 9, 1778, as the group arrives in Chihuahua. Morfi discusses the geography and terrain of the area, as well as its agriculture, livestock, cattle, mineral resources, flora and fauna. He describes each town along the route, the distances travelled, and provides details on the construction of the presidios, missions, and convents. He is particularly critical of the powerful, often absentee landowners of the great haciendas, whom he blames for much of the poverty and misery of the New World and the many abuses of the Indians in the fields and mines. He also discusses the Indians he encounters in the pueblos, their nature and customs. The ms. contains material not included in the published versions, such as a letter by Fray Juan Larios, a brief report on the province of Texas, and a detailed description of Chiguagua (Chihuahua), its geography, agriculture, and mining operations.
Names Croix, Teodoro de (1730-1792)
Places Mexico City, Querétaro, San Miguel de Allende, Durango, Coahuila, Chihuahua, Mexico; Spain; San Antonio de Béjar, Texas, United States
Keywords personal account, travel, travelogue, observation, expedition, frontier, Mexican, territory, New Spain, Spain, government, politics, colonialism, geographical survey, agriculture, livestock, cattle, settlement, landowner, cultural encounter, custom, mining, Mexican
Theme Indigenous Peoples of Mexico; Observation, Representation and Cultural Encounters; American Indians and the European Powers
Culture Area California, Southwest, Mesoamerica
Language Spanish
Additional Information BOUND WITH: Recommendations of Father Morfi concerning pacification and settlement of New Mexico [manuscript] [between 1776 and 1778] 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 1170 and Ayer MS 1171.
Library The Newberry Library
Copyright The Newberry Library
Collection The Edward E. Ayer Collection
Reference VAULT Ayer MS 1169
Catalogue Link The Newberry Library Catalogue