Munoz, John Baptist

, a Spanish historian, was born in 1745 at Museros, a village near Valentia, and studied in the university of Madrid. From his earliest years he discovered a taste superior to what was inculcated in the usual course of academic studies, and made uncommon progress in the sciences and in polite literature. At the age of twenty-two, he wrote prefaces to the Rhetoric of Louis of Grenada, and the Logic of Vernei, in both which he displayed great erudition. He was afterwards, doubtless from having turned his thoughts to that branch, appointed by government cosmographer of the Indies, and | filled this office with distinguished ability, until the prime minister Galvez, by order of the king, employed him on a history of America. This undertaking he commenced in 1779, and obtained access, not only to all the papers and documents preserved in the archives of the India department at Madrid, and in the Escurial, but likewise, on a farther recommendation of his Catholic majesty, to all the public and private libraries at Simancas, Seville, Salamanca, Valladolid, Grenada, &c. &c. and even in the Torre di tombo at Lisbon, and other places to which preceding writers had not obtained access. This research occupied above five years, in the course of which he collected a vast mass, in one hundred and thirty volumes, of original and hitherto undescribed documents, letters of Columbus, Pizarro, Ximenes, &c. from which he composed his “Historia del nuovo Mondo,” published at Madrid, 1795, in fol. and which is known in this country by a translation published in 1797, in one vol. 8vo. This volume is divided into six books; in the first two the author describes the imperfect state of geographical knowledge among the ancients the accessions which it received in the middle ages the voyages of discovery made by the French, Portuguese, and Spaniards, previously to the time of Columbus, with the circumstances that produced his conjectures respecting the existence of a new continent, &c. The third and remaining books commence and continue the history of his discoveries to 1500. More of this work, however, has not appeared. The author, we are told, had finished nearly three books of the second volume, at the time of his death, July 19, 1799, and we do not find that he has had a successor, for which perhaps the subsequent political state of his country may account. Before this he acquired great reputation by his other works; namely, 1. “De recto philosophies recentis in theologia 'usu, dissertatio,” Valent. 1767. 2. “De scriptorum gentilium lectione, et profanarum disciplinarum studiis ad Christianaepietatisnormam exigendis,” ibid. 1768. 3. “Institutiones philosophies,” ibid. 1768. 4. “A Treatise on the Philosophy of Aristotle,” &c. 1768, &C. 1

1 Dict. Hist. British Critic, vol. IIL