Max L. Moorhead has written an important book which contributes substantially to our knowledge of Indian policy and to the military history of the Provincias Internas. He has skillfully interwoven a biography of a very able soldier on the northern frontiers with a detailed treatment of the history and problems of the entire Borderlands area from Sonora to Texas during the crucial years from 1769 to 1791. The account synthesizes publications, primary materials from the Archivo General de Indias in the ramo of the Audiencia de Guadalajara, and data from the Mexican archives in the sections of viceregal correspondence and Provincias Internas. Thus it provides the scholar with an overview of sound documentary history not available from other studies.
Moorhead is to be congratulated for his meticulous piecing together of sources into a very meaningful framework. The two chapters on Jacobo Ugarte as Governor of Sonora and as Governor of Coahuila are particularly noteworthy. Perhaps more attention to Nueva Vizcaya Province per se would have been desirable, but it was not really necessary for Moorhead’s biographical treatment of Ugarte. Certainly even more details on Ugarte’s career and on the problems of Indian policy and the Comanche alliance are available in Mexican archives. But he has selected his documents with care and has used them with controlled scholarly imagination. There is an excellent interpretive summary to the study.
The volume contains a beautiful series of eight maps which help the reader to place names, events, and presidios in proper perspective, as well as attractive and meaningful illustrations. The University of Oklahoma Press has presented Moorhead’s book in a handsome dress.