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Finding Aid for the Compuestas por Don Pedro Anselmo Chreslos Jache - Analysis of the social and economic state of Mexico, 1734
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Compuestas por Don Pedro Anselmo Chreslos Jache - Analysis of the social and economic state of Mexico
    Date (inclusive): 1734
    Collection number: 170/513
    Creator: Chreslos Jache (Don Pedro Anselmo)
    Extent: 155 leaves : paper ; 235 x 165 mm. bound to 240 x 180 mm.
    Abstract: This humorous and sarcastic mid-eighteenth century treatise attributes a heavily anti-Spaniard perspective to Mexico City's multiracial lower-class population, particularly in relation to themes such as peninsular privilege and racial discrimination. Taking the form of traditional Spanish legal codes, the text describes the nature, attitudes and material conditions prevalent in creole society, while ridiculizing peninsular or "Gachupin" tendencies through a collection of mock ordinances.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Formerly Phillipps Manuscript no. 21332.

    Processing Note

    Cataloged by Pablo Sierra with assistance from Kelley Bachli, May 2008, in the Center For Primary Research and Training (CFPRT).

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Compuestas por Don Pedro Anselmo Chreslos Jache - Analysis of the social and economic state of Mexico. (Collection 170/513). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4230403 


    Almost nothing is known about the text's purported author, Don Pedro Anselmo Chreslos Jache. Given the manuscript's extremely critical nature, Chreslos Jache was surely a pen name for a highly educated individual that was undoubtedly very familiar with the particularities of urban life in New Spain. Although the text takes on creole tendencies, several passages throughout the narrative (and the introductory letter) suggest that its author may have in fact been a Peninsular Spaniard. At one point, the "Ordenanzas" slip into first person in order for the narrator to admit his lower-class origins, when he declares "fui zapatero" (I was a shoemaker). Nothing else is known in relation to Chreslos Jachme, with exception of what can be gleaned from the manuscript.
    According to a nineteenth century catalogue entitled "Bibliotheca Mexicana," a copy of the "Ordenanzas" was put up for auction in 1869 by the London-based rare book traders Messrs. Puttick & Simpson. Listed as item #1958, the book was described as "an anonymous work full of humour and satire on the respective customs and relations between Spaniards and the native born Mexicans." At 310 pages long, the copy described in the catalogue coincides exactly in length with the current extant version.

    Scope and Content

    The "Ordenanzas del Baratillo", which has been described as Mexico's earliest major satire, is divided into three sections: an introductory letter, a prologue and a collection of ordinances. While the largest number of pages concern the latter section, a lengthy introductory letter and a shorter prologue provide dubious (albeit humorous) background information on its anonymous author. The letter, addressed from a Spaniard living in the Indies to one living in Madrid, makes several fascinating references not just to travels through Mexico and Spain, but to Peru as well (thereby explaining the multiple references to "peruleros"). The brief prologue contextualizes the introductory letter in relation to the ensuing collection of ordinances, while setting the tone as a sarcastic anti-Spaniard treatise.
    The bulk of the narrative consists of 377 decrees which enumerate the norms regulating the behavior of the lower-class brotherhood, "la Hermandad". Often quite vulgar, the "ordenanzas" nonetheless follow the formulaic and ostentatiously elegant format so prevalent in Spanish notarial documentation and personal correspondences of the colonial period. The text is thematically restricted to the general poverty, material culture, and political reality encountered by the kind of people that would frequent the "baratillo" (the notorious secondhand black markets of Mexico City and Puebla). As a result, those traditionally rejected by elite society (mulatto, black, and indigenous people) feature prominently throughout the development of the narrative. Underlying the entire text is a generalized sentiment of creole dissatisfaction with the status quo and in particular with the privileged Peninsular elite. In the words of Ilona Katzew, the text "describes and demythologizes the colony's social situation by inverting its commonly acknowledged power dynamic… and provides a fascinating glimpse into the mentality of the period regarding mixed-bloods and their purported negative effects on the Spanish body politic."
    Text in Spanish.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Genres and Forms of Material


    Related Material

    Bound Manuscripts Collection (Collection 170)  . Available at UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.