Ernest J. Burrus has filled an important gap in the documentary history of Spanish California by publishing this 160-folio original diary of the administration of Governor Fernando de Riviera y Moncado (1774-1777) and a volume of related records. In a truly satisfying introduction the editor has described the manuscript physically, identified its four distinct penmanships, and traced the career of its author. Captain Rivera was born at Compostela, Mexico, in about 1725. He enlisted in 1742 and remained in the royal service for 39 years, with one brief retirement, serving as captain of the presidio at Loreto and as military governor first of Baja and then of Alta California. Later, while escorting colonists to the latter province, he was killed in the celebrated Yuma massacre on the Colorado River in 1781.
The diary itself begins in May 1774, with Rivera’s departure from Sonora to assume office at Monterey, and ends in January 1777, shortly before he left the governorship. It reveals an administration whose principal problems were associated with the founding of San Francisco and new missions. Rivera’s policy of cautious expansion brought him into conflict with the more zealous and optimistic Father Junípero Serra, and his relations with Lieutenant Colonel Juan Bautista de Anza were also unharmonious.
With characteristic erudition Father Burrus has collated the original diary with the previously known but still unpublished existing fragments and has provided elaborate annotations, an analytical index, and a highly selective bibliography. The only disappointment is the single map, which depicts the province of Alta California with only twelve place names.
Constituting volumes 24 and 25 of the Colección Chimalistac, this edition is limited to 250 copies.