It would be unfortunate if Latin Americanists did not note the appearance of this substantial work by Professor Dérozier of the University of Besançon. Although he played a leading part in Spanish history during the Napoleonic period, Quintana (1772-1857) is discussed usually in histories of literature, where his reputation is that of a patriotic, traditionalist writer whose Neo-Classicism seems stiff today. Few are familiar with the details of his political activity, and virtually no one has paid attention to his role in the Spanish American independence movement.

The first and principal volume of Professor Dérozier’s study is divided into two parts, each consisting of five chapters and a conclusion. The first part covers the period 1788-1808, when Quintana was concerned primarily with literature, combining a loving cult of the Spanish tradition with a suspect interest in the ideas which were at the heart of the French Revolution, so dangerously close to Spain. Part two covers the period 1808-1833, when Quintana was transformed by the Napoleonic invasion into a statesman who turned bitterly against the country whose revolutionary ideas he had espoused. Following the events of Quintana’s life, we see the disappointing sequence of events: the failure of the Cortes of Cádiz, the return of Ferdinand, the evanescent flash of liberalism after the revolt of Riego, and the last grim decade of Ferdinand’s reign.

The events in Cádiz are inextricably tied in with the development of the independence movement in Spanish America. The Regency Council which convoked the Cortes was afraid that the American colonies would proclaim themselves independent and place themselves under the protection of Britain. It was in these circumstances that Quintana wrote his famous manifesto El Consejo de Regencia de España e Indias a los Americanos españoles (1810). Copies of it were rushed to America as fast as ships could go. The Regency Council was pleased with this strong statement, but it was not well received. Quintana, like so many of his friends, had an ingenuous faith in Ferdinand VII. He said that the revolutionary government of Spain had always placed Spanish America on the same basis as the metropolis, as an integral part of the monarchy. He reproached the Spanish Americans for having failed to respond to invitations to participate in the activities of the Junta Central and of the Regency Council, and invited them to send deputies to the Cortes now being summoned. Dérozier has assembled the definitive text of the manifesto and the accompanying documents. The liberals represented by the newspaper La Triple Alianza wanted Spain to become a progressive country and accept the protection of England, but the conservative spirit prevailed. The Spanish press of the time is full of fascinating comments and news items about the developments in Spanish America. Poor Quintana, who was never a deputy to the Cortes himself, was caught between the conservatives and the liberals. He defended the colonial system and the integrity of the Spanish empire, but he wanted enlightenment and reform. He wrote for the government a series of manifestoes to the Americans, the last dated January 23, 1812. He mingles with words of affection such terms as “monstrous ingratitude,” “crime,” and “indifference.” The Cortes of Cádiz failed, and, in the light of Dérozier’s account, it is not hard to see why.

This volume is certainly not easy reading, but its merit is not only in the detailed telling of a story important for Latin Americanists as well as for Hispanists. It is also in the wealth of documentation which the author has obviously spent years assembling. The section “Sources et bibliographie” (pp. 665-699) will be of great interest to those with bibliographic or documentary concerns. The index (pp. 701-715) is only an index of personal names, so that the Latin Americanist who wishes to follow the New World threads is at something of a loss.

The second volume is a fat collection of “unpublished and forgotten documents.” It is divided into seven sections, of which III and IV, consisting of documents of political interest, are the most valuable for the historian. He will also find useful items in Section V, consisting of Quintana’s writings for the press. The apparatus of the work facilitates consultation. It consists of tables and indexes, including, in addition to a table of contents, a table correlating volumes I and II and an index of the individuals mentioned.