This is an abridgment of the classic Four Years Among Spanish Americans (New York, 1867) by the United States minister resident to Ecuador during the first years in power of Gabriel García Moreno. Hassaurek characterizes García Moreno as the would-be civilizer of his country despite excesses by the caudillo, several of which are related. C. Harvey Gardiner has appropriately retitled the work, properly deleted extraneous hearsay and historical material, and provided a useful sketch of the author in the introduction. He has not, however, added a badly needed map, glossary, or index. Selections from other travelogues on Ecuador, a few of which Gardiner mentions, may be found in the basic El Ecuador visto por los extranjeros, edited by Humberto Toscano (Quito, 1960), which he does not cite.
Hassaurek’s treatment of Guayaquil and the coast is scanty and misleading. He excels, however, in describing the hardships of internal travel in Ecuador which he aptly likens to “a campaign life” (p. 144). And he is at his best in portraying man and land in the sierra, especially in and around Quito. He found the upper class to be courteous but indolent. As a democrat imbued with “the Protestant ethic,” he sympathized with the Indian “serfs” whom he calls “the most useful members of Ecuadorian society” (p. 107). In brief, Hassaurek color fully and for the most part realistically depicts life in mid-nineteenth century Ecuador and the problems which its theocratic master faced.