Antonio de Herrera, who was historiographer to the king of Spain, appears to have composed his work only a short time after the middle of the sixteenth century, as he continues the series of events no farther than 1554; though he incidentally alludes to one transaction which happened in 1572. The authenticity of his work is unquestionable, as the author assures us that it was composed by royal command, from all the best and most authentic sources of information which the crown could furnish, both in print and manuscript; and that he had carefully consulted and followed the original papers preserved in the royal archives, and the books, registers, relations, and other papers of the supreme council of the Indies, together with all the best authors on the subject then extant. As a literary curiosity of its kind, we subjoin his list of what were then considered the best writers on the affairs of the New World—Those in Italics have been already inserted into this work.
Peter Martyr of Angleria.—Diego de la Tobilla.—Motolinea.—Don Hernando Colon.—Olonsa de Ojeda.—Alonso de Mata.—Enciso.—Gonzalo Hernandez de Oviedo.—Francisco Lopez de Gomara.—Andres de San Martino.—Pedro de Zieza.—Alvar Nunnez Cabeza de Vaca.—Bernal Diaz del Castillo.—The Bishop of Chiapa, Las Casas.—The Dean Cervantes.—Francisco de Xeres.—Gonzalo Ximenes de Quesada.—Garibay. —Pedro Pizarro.—The relations of Cortes.—Nunno de Guzman.—Diego Fernandez de Palentia.—Augustino de Zarate.—The Pontifical History. —Don Alonzo de Ercilla.—Geronimo Benzon.—Theodore de Brye.—Jusepe de Acosta.—Father Augustino Davila.—Garcilasso Inga.—Gabriel Lasso de la Vega.—Don Antonio de Saavedra.
In the Catalogue of Spanish Books and Manuscripts consulted by our illustrious Historian of America, WILLIAM ROBERTSON, an edition of Herrera is quoted as printed at Madrid in 1601, in 4 vols. folio. We have used on the present occasion the Translation of Herrera into English by Captain John Stevens, in 6 vols. 8vo. printed at London in 1725. Though assuredly authentic and to be depended upon so far as it goes, the plan of this General History of the vast Continent and Islands of America, is exceedingly ill devised, and very troublesome for being consulted; as the author endeavours continually