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ROYAL REGLAMENTO GOVERNING THE FRONTIER PRESIDIOS
293. [SPANISH SOUTHWEST]. SPAIN. LAWS. 1759-1788
(Charles III). Reglamento e instrucción para los
presidios que se han de formar en la linea de frontera de
la Nueva España resuelto por el Rey Nuestro
Señor en cédula de 10 de Setiembre de 1771.
Mexico: La Oficina de la Aguila, dirigida por Jos
Ximeno, 1834. 30 pp. Folio, modern Mexican tree calf over
marbled boards, gilt-lettered maroon calf spine label. Two
small, mild stains on title which has the slightest
marginal wear at top and lower right corner. These are
inconsequential flaws. Very
The first edition of this important and enduring borderlands decree was first published in Spain in 1772, followed by Mexico City editions in 1773 and 1790. Thereafter, the bibliography is a tad murky. Wagner, Spanish Southwest (159c) notes an edition of 1772 with 46 pages (one location) and comments: "This edition contains no imprint but has all the appearance of having been printed in one of the frontier provinces before 1825, very likely at Saltillo or Monterey." Wagners next entry (159d) is a Monterrey (Nuevo León) edition with 54 pages (one location), and he comments: "There is a notice in the catalogue of the Andrade sale of an edition in 30 pages folio, Mexico, 1834, and I have seen a notice of another edition of Madrid, 1822." Streeter (706B) notes the present edition, and locates no copies in Texas, only the Bancroft copy and his own (now at Yale). Streeter follows Wagners findings and adds two intriguing twists of his own: "Sabin 56262 records a Madrid, 1822, edition. In June, 1955, Dawson of Los Angeles quoted at $75 an edition published at Ures, Sonora, in 1855. Cowan, p. 526 (listing the Madrid 1772 edition and a 1773 edition without noting place of publication). Eberstadt, Texas 162:141 (the Mexico 1773 edition) & 142 (present edition). Graff 3913 (his entry 3912 is the Madrid 1772 edition.). Harper, Texas, Mexico, and the Southwest 12: "Of the most fundamental importance in the history and bibliography of Texas and the Spanish Southwest." Howes N225 (follows Wagner and adds the present edition without hesitation). Palau 254622. Tate, The Indians of Texas: An Annotated Research Bibliography, p. 218: "Rubí conducted one of the most important tours of Spanish Texas, and he concluded that because imperial troops were spread too thin to deal with Indians and European interlopers, a total reorganization was needed. Rubí called for the abandonment of the overextended East Texas missions and a strengthening of mission-presidio complexes around San Antonio."
Fascinating bibliographical complexities aside, this handsome imprint is of primary importance for the Spanish Southwest and the borderlands. "This Reglamento grew out of the tour of inspection of the Marqués de Rubí and contains the substance of the Instrucción which was prepared in Mexico and printed in 1771. It was in effect for a long time, as can be seen from the number of editions printed. The line of presidios marked out by Rubí formed a cordon of fifteen. It extended from Altar in Sonora to La Bahía in Texas and was maintained with a few exceptions until the Revolution, and in fact even later. The republican government in Mexico made a few changes in location, but generally speaking the system lasted until early 1850" (Wagner 159). Pingenot completes this picture by adding: The line of fifteen presidios extended from Altar in Sonora to La Bahía del Espíritu Santo in Texas and included presidios at Paso del Norte, San Vicente, Agua Verde, and Presidio del San Juan Bautista on the Rio Grande. North of this line was a presidio at San Antonio de Béjar and another at Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Reglamento goes into considerable detail as to the organization of each presidio and the policy of friendliness to the Native American tribes and the extermination of the Apache.