The “Californios” versus Jedediah Smith, 1826-1827: A New Cache of Documents
By David J. Weber. Spokane: Arthur H. Clark, 1990. Map. Appendices. Index. 82 pages. $35.00.
Reviewed by Gregg R. Hennessey.
This slim volume adds new insights to the story of Jedediah Smith’s sojourn in Mexican California. David Weber discovered two groups of documents in the Mexican National Archives that reveal their side of Smith’s often told tale. The manuscripts, which have eluded previous biographers and historians, also puts new light on Smith showing him as more devious and much less innocent than he asserted in his journal. The documents include letters from Harrison Rogers and Smith to Mexican officials and correspondence among the officials themselves. Weber briefly retells Smith’s tale and includes the new material to give the Mexican version of events. This serves to remind us that this was their country and that misgivings about American trappers were rational and well founded. The volume is extensively annotated. An appendix contains the original Spanish text of the letter used.
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