Description

    The first book written about the customs and language of the Indians living along the San Antonio and Rio Grande

    Fr. Bartholome Garcia. Manual Para Administrar Los Santos Sacramentos de Penitencia, Eucharistia, Extrema-Uncion, y Matrimonio:... [Mexico City]: 1760. First edition. Small quarto. [8 Leaves], 88 pages. Printed in double columns in Pakawan and Spanish. Contemporary velum.

    Considered to be the first book written on the language and customs of Texas Indians. A manual for administering the sacraments, in Spanish and the language of Texas Indians living along the San Antonio and Rio Grande rivers, by Father Garcia, who had been a missionary in Texas for twelve years. This bilingual work enabled the Franciscan missionaries from Queretaro to communicate directly with their Indian charges at the missions on the Rio Grande and San Antonio Rivers (from Candela in Coahuila to San Antonio in Texas). Pakawan was the language chosen since it was--in its several dialects--the most common language in the area. This is the only known work in any of the Texas Indian languages during the Spanish period, and the only work ever in Pakawan. In addition to its interest in the field of linguistics, the book provides considerable anthropological information of the tribes of South Texas (more than eighteen of them). Unusual for the time, Garcia makes particular note of cultural peculiarities of the language's speakers, and explains how their concept of large numbers is limited. He provides advice on how to proceed on the problem of determining consanguinity: "their way of explaining family relationship is very diffuse" (as was their sexual life, based on the wide variety of questions that are listed to be asked during confession). Other subjects described include the casting of death spells, the eating of peyote and frijolillo, cannibalism and pregnancy. In his introduction, Garcia states that he had worked in the Texas missions for more than twelve years and was currently at the Nuestro Padre de San Francisco de la Espada Mission, near San Antonio. Father Prado introduces and accords approbation to the work. His six-page "Sentir" is an essay on the language problems faced by the Texas missionaries. In two further pages of "Notas," he explains variations in pronunciation among tribes that users of the manual will meet, and he advises to teach doctrine that parallels with Indian thinking rather than by zealous application of the book at hand.

    Condition: Near fine. An extraordinary copy, internally bright and clean. Some professional restoration to the title page and following two leaves.

    References: Ayer Indian Linguistics Pakawan 1; Graff 1504; Jones 501; Palau 97779; Rader 1531; Sabin 26560; Wagner Spanish Southwest 139.


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