Fr. Eusebio Kino Report, 1699

Report of an exploration, written at Mission Dolores, Pimeria Alta, 1699

One of the prized possessions of the University of Arizona Library is a field diary of Eusebio Francisco Kino, written and signed in his own hand. It records his journey in 1699 from his base mission at Dolores, located some hundred thirty miles south by southwest of Tucson and San Xavier del Bac - both mentioned in the diary, northwest to the vicinity of the Picacho mountains, visible from Tucson today some forty miles to the north northwest; then back to San Xavier and westwards through the Papago country down to the vicinity of modern Lukeville; finally, completing the roughly triangular route by returning to Dolores via Magdalena. The months of October and November of 1699 were chosen for the trip to enjoy the optimum of desert weather.

The most important of Kino's companions on the journey - at least for the purposes of the moment - was Jesuit Father Antonio Leal. Leal represented the Jesuit Order as official visitor or inspector of the Sonoran missions. His recommendations concerning Kino's current and future plans for the Pimería Alta should carry great weight with the higher Jesuit superiors. Father Francisco Gonzalvo, a Jesuit missionary from farther south of Donora, accompanied the expedition as the prospective first resident missionary at San Xavier del Bac, a move which Father Leal was finally able to effect in 1701. The three Jesuits were escorted by Kino's long-time trail companion, Lieutenant Juan Matheo Mange, who in turn was accompanied by two soldiers of the Compañía Volante of Sonoran, the highly mobile cavalry unit headquartered at Fronteras.

The manuscript published here is a modified "field diary." Kino himself revealed the process, as readers will discover by perusing the postscript he penned after his signature. When the expedition arrived back at the Dolores headquarters on November 18, 1699, Kino asked Leal to read over and approve for accuracy his "relación original," as Kino referred to the unedited notes he had jotted down during the journey. It was only then, he himself tells us, that he made what we would call today "a clean copy," the manuscript now in our library.

The scene of Kino and Leal, sitting side by side in the mission residence at Dolores to edit the record of this historic journey, may in effect have mirrored the earliest beginnings of the immortal Favores Celestiales, Kino's major literary and historical work. Professor Hubert Eugene Bolton, Kino's famed biographer, assures us that around the time of this journey it was Antonio Leal who convinced Kino he should weave these smaller journals into an overall historical memoir, one which would eventuall both attract attention to and bring assistance for the Pimería Alta, Kino's new frontier (Bolton 1936: 424). Bolton entitled hiswell-known translation of the work, Kino's Historical Memoir of Pimería Alta (Kino 1919).

In the process of weaving the longer field diaries - such as the present one - into his Favores Celestiales, Eusebio Kino shortened his earlier texts for the new purpose. Although the shortened his now widely published longer work contain - through Kino's skillful abridgment - the essential information, interesting and useful data are added by longer text, published here for the first time in any language. This longer text is represented in the Favores on pages 75-79 of the Spanish publication (Kino 1913-1922) and in Volume I, pages 203-210, of the English (Kino 1919).

Further information of particular human interest was added by Lt. Mange, who also kept a record of the expedition, in his Luz de Tierra Incógnita, on pages 1322-149 of the English translation (Mange 1956). The present manuscript was acquired from a reputable purveyor in 1982 by the University of Arizona Library, and presently bears the Special Collections call number "AZ 438." It consists of eight half-folios written on both sides, thus constituting sixteen written pages. In order to economize on his scarce blank folios, Kino penned the final lines of his text, his signature, and his aforementioned postscript on the inner margins of the last two pages.

Finally, a comparative study can be made of Kino's 1698 expedition over some of the same ground only the year before. Occasional reference is made to it in the present diary. For that expedition and through exactly the same literary process, he left us another field diary much like our own, translation by Fay Jackson Smith on pages 8-34 of Father Kino in Arizona (Phoenix: Arizona Historical Foundation, 1966).

The present editor is indebted to Ms. Lilián Zaragoza of Obregón, Sonora, Mexico, who helped in every phase of the present project during a period of understudy in his office, particularly in the accommodation of fleshing out the many cryptic abbreviations.

The first-ever publication is dedicated in a very special way to the renowned Jesuit bibliographer, Ernest J. Burrus, S.J., for sharing with us his unparalleled knowledge of writings by and about Father Kino. Following Kino's own example, verified by his postscript to the present writing, of humbly submitting his perspective to the higher authority of Father Leal, I also appealed to the highest authority I knew for confirming the perspective of the present introduction. In his accustomed gentle and generous way, Father Burrus gave me the thrill of a lifetime and praise beyond merit with the reply: "Do not change a word of it!"

Kieran McCarty, O.F.M.
University of Arizona Library
Tucson, Arizona
1991