Author: Beaumont, Pablo de la Purísima Concepción (c1710-c1780)
Crónica de Michoacán
Publisher: Balsal Editores
Place: Mexico City
3 volumes. 607 pages with table, maps and index; 511 pages with native illustrations (some folding) and index; 494 pages with 2 coats of arms and 6 native illustrations. Royal octavo (9" x 6 1/4") bound in original wrappers. Introduction by Rafael Lopez. Limited to 1500 copies.
There are only meager biographical data about Pablo de la Purísima Concepción Beaumont, whose work is a major source on Michoacán. Despite its title "Chronicle of the Holy Apostles St Peter and St Paul of Michoacán," Beaumont's work in fact spans a much greater area, including much of western Mexico, northward to New Mexico, and tending toward a general history. It provides details to 1565. Beaumont divided his total work into tow major parts, the firs, or Aparato, intended to be introductory to the second or the Crónica proper. the first seems complete, but the second was never finished. The Aparato takes up fully a third of the extant Beaumont work, although nominally introductory. It deals with the discovery of America and the conquest of Mexico to the year 1521. It was twice published before appearance of the total work. Far more valuable is the Crónica. It consists of two books and one chapter of book 3. Beaumont drew on a wide variety of sources. He tell us us that he gathered a large quantity of manuscripts from various Franciscan archives as well as listing 30 standard writers in printed sources. He gives full copies of some of his documents, of which several have since disappeared. He speaks of obtaining a native painting, possibly from which his illustrations came. These paintings show incidents of the first visits of Spaniards to Michoacán, there reception by Tarascans, labors of the Franciscans, coats of arms of principal cities of Michoacán. It is usually through that Beaumont composed his work around 1777. That is the last date in the later copies of the original manuscript. Unfortunately his original manuscript is lost. It was copied in Mexico City around 1792 to for volumes 7-11 of a 32 volume Collection of Memories on New Spain, ordered by Viceroy Conde de Revilla Gigedo and compiled by Manuel de la Vega. Three partially complete sets of these Vega Memorias are known; from one or another of them come other recopied manuscript copies, as well as the printed versions. Editions of the work have a somewhat unfortunate publishing history. In 1826 Bustamante published an incomplete and useless edition of the Aparato, attributing it to Vega, who had owned the manuscript Bustamante used. In 1873-74 a five volume edition of both Aparato and Crónica appeared in Mexico; it lacks the Indian drawings, and was based on a secondary manuscript copy made b y J F Ramirez that then belonged to Alfredo Chavero. A three volume version was published by the National Archives of Mexico in 1932, based on their copy of the 1792 collection of Memorias; it contains the Indian drawings and an introduction by Rafael Lopez. The text seems slightly corrupt, but it may be near the original, as Beaumont said his Spanish was defective, owing to his Parisian rearing. This edition is based on the 1932 edition.