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Condition: Script: in a contemporary secretarial hand.
Title leaf unnumbered; remaining leaves numbered 1-155 in a contemporary hand.
Binding: bound in contemporary black and blue mottled paper over brown leather; gold-stamped spine title "Ordenanza del Baratillo de Mexico. Ms.;" small paper label at base of spine bearing manuscript number of the library of Sir Thomas Phillipps. Scope/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.
The "ordenanzas" are arranged in 377 numbered paragraphs, taking the form of traditional Spanish legal codes to attack and satirize creole society, and parody the verbosity, formal language, and bureaucratic protocol characteristic of 18th-century Spanish colonial documents. The author's strong anti-Spaniard bias is unmistakable in his description of Mexico City's multiracial lower-class population, particularly in relation to themes such as peninsular privilege and racial discrimination, and his ridiculizing peninsular or "Gachupin" tendencies through this collection of mock ordinances. The identity of the text's purported author remains unknown; given the extremely critical nature of the manuscript, Chreslos Jache was surely a pen name for a highly educated individual very familiar with the particularities of urban life in New Spain. The "ordenanzas" are preceded by a letter, supposedly written by a "peninsular Spaniard who had lived in Peru and was familiar with the people and customs of Mexico. The letter was supposedly written at the request of a fellow Spaniard living in Madrid, to whom the manuscript is addressed, eager to get a 'true' description of life and manners in Mexico. The desire to improve the colony's situation by identifying its maladies is clearly articulated in the letter" (see Katzew). Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], Ordenanzas del baratillo de Mexico Compuestas por don Pedro Anselmo Chreslos Jache. (Collection Number 170/513). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA. Biography/History: 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.
155 Leaves : paper ; 235 x 165 mm. bound to 240 x 180 mm.