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Juan José Eguiara y Eguren

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Born in Mexico towards the close of the seventeenth century; died 29 January, 1763. He received his education in the Jesuit College of San Ildefonso of Mexico and later was named rector of the University of Mexico. His learning was extensive, covering theology, canon law, philosophy, mathematics, and letters, to which was added an exceptional gift of oratory. Resenting the levity with which the famous Dean of Alicante, Manuel Martí, had characterized the attainments of the men of letters of the New World in his "epistolas latinas" printed in Madrid in 1735, denying them any merit, Eguiara, determined to vindicate the honour of his compatriots, began his work "Biblioteca Mexicana". He gave it this name because of his love of Mexico and thereby incurred the ill-will of the other Spanish-American provinces. He published the first volume, which comprised the letters A, B, and C, and left in manuscript many biographies down to J. In the preface he refutes the charges of Dean Martí with much spirit and patriotism. The "Biblioteca Mexicana" is written in Latin and, besides the fact that it is incomplete, a certain pomposity of style detracts from its merits. Notwithstanding this it has been extremely valuable, being the first work of its kind published in Mexico and perhaps in the whole of Spanish-America. Eguiara was elected Bishop of Yucatán, but resigned the dignity to continue his literary work. Besides the work already mentioned, the complete title of which is "Biblioteca Mexicana sive eruditorum historia virorum qui in America Boreali nati, vel alibi geniti, in ipsam domicilio aut studiis asciti, quavis lingua scripto aliquid tradiderunt. Ferdinando VI Hispaniarum Regi Catholico, Nuncupata Mexici 1755", he published "Panegiricos", printed separately in Mexico (1727-57); "Elogios fúnebres" (1755-66); "Praelectiones" (Mexico, 1746); fourteen volumes in theological and juridical questions; twenty volumes of sermons and instructions; and several other treatises.

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