The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing
2014, Volume 35
Avisos a pretendientes para IndiasEdited by Clayton McCarl
My dear sir, I have received your letter of the sixth of July of the current year of 1694 with great pleasure at the good news you share of your health and that of your family, etcetera. And I am sorrowed by the bad luck our dear Spain has seen recently, since when we should be awaiting greater victories, we see that, as the enemy has his entire nation in a state of rebellion, he is—as you write to me—in a pugnacious mood, and with powerful armies on land and at sea. And this truth is clearer than ever on these American coasts, as this year the new American viceroy arrived with eight warships and with Lorencillo as their director, and having arrived at Petit–Goâve this summer, they joined with other French corsairs and pirates who equipped twenty–one more ships. And thus forming a body of twenty–nine large and small ships with more than 4,600 in this force, they set about sacking the island of Jamaica the first of September of this year, attacking the principal port, and, in various other places, the plantations and hunting grounds of the English. Knowledgeable sources in Cuba write to their correspondents who live in Mexico City that the French carried off more than 2,000 black slaves and other goods, and money that amounted to more than a million and a half pesos. And from information received from connections the French have in these Indies, having returned to Petit–Goâve, they are selling this booty as they are wont to do with the other effects that their correspondents and countrymen administer, because all the provinces of these kingdoms now belong to them, and the rest the nations of Europe, so common here now.
And with respect to Your Excellency's request that I inform you of all the news of this New World, I assure you in all truth that the task to which you put me is of greater consequence than it might seem. But as I still recall older conversations that we had over other matters in Flanders—in Brussels, Antwerp, and in Bruges—regarding the crudeness of those nations, and the weakness of European politics, I warn Your Excellency, as a great friend and companion, that the state of affairs here requires an explanation that is frank and without artifice, in order to better enable you to see matters as they are seen on these shores.
And seeking first to inform your esteemed protégé well by means of Your Excellency, in order to continue those sessions that we enjoyed in the court, in the gardens of the Buen Retiro and of La Florida on the banks of the celebrated Manzanares, so that Your Excellency and his friends can know what the Indies are like, and how men here are transformed, and not in a divine sense,[A] I will satisfy each of your questions in turn, serving in this your esteemed protégé and his[B] soldier friends, so that they do not trust the stories told by agents nor the promises made by members of the crown councils.
Your Excellency knows well that the first reasons that motivate men to serve their kings and princes are love, the defense of one's country, and the possibility of monetary reward, because the soldier that does not aspire to be captain never will be, not exposing himself to danger in order to prove himself, and well you know consequently through long experience that he who purchases for himself the insignias and other outward trappings[C] of a leader of infantry will never lead anyone but such persons as would serve under the direction of such a false commander.
With these principles established, Your Excellency should consider all the posts and ministries of these Indies as having been purchased, since those of us who here rightly enjoy some privilege as a result of our merits are few, as normally they give only the very worst and most miserable to us soldiers, because misery is what is most plentiful here, not for the first settlers but rather for those who come now to these parts. As everything now is for sale, all the most despicable[D] men buy up the best positions, and honorable men who have served his majesty all our lives are generally employed in the worst, and even then with such bad luck that the viceroys and audiencias of this New World do not even allow us to benefit from those posts.
I believe Your Excellency will remember the muleteer from Barcelona who, twelve days before our lady, the reigning queen, entered her royal palace, entered himself with a company that he recruited in the Red de San Luis, marching through the Puerta de Guadalaxara on their way to the palace, you and I being alone together in his coach, and with his stableboy[E] as its standard-bearer, and I know well that you will recall other similar monstrosities. Therefore, in view of these circumstances,[F] I ask you to remember going forward all that of which I advise your esteemed protégé and his[G] friends, because here we see muleteers, tailors, and barbers with posts of captain general, and other such people with those of alcalde mayor and corregidor. And the worst is that even with positions and robes[H] that they have bought, descendants of Jews come to these regions and mete out justice after having deceived His Majesty and his ministers, in order to destroy these kingdoms in which upstanding men[I] cannot live because everything is bought and sold, making us all equal like cards in a deck.
And with this New World being dominated and governed by such people, as will become clear to Your Excellency, for your own sake, and so that you might tell the others and their[J] friends, I say that by no means should they pass over to these realms with offices, unless they are those which I will now propose, and only so long as they are given exclusively upon the basis of their service, since even in these two circumstances it is necessary to abandon one's honor[K] in these regions. And for this I even believe that it would be better for everyone to remain in his army, to advance by merit,[L] maintaining one's own reputation, than to expose oneself to so many dangers, because all these provinces are worse than those of the Netherlands and Geneva, populated by adherents of false religions and atheists who infect them with their heresies, attracting them to the devotion of their princes, and in this way, all is reduced to a diversity of beliefs,[M] causing more confusion than the multiplicity of languages—which abound here—caused in the tower of Babel.
In view of all this truth, which those who do not believe it will end up experiencing for themselves, I would like to explain to each of our friends who seek positions as soldiers, by means of Your Excellency, one by one, just exactly what is each of the governorships in this New World. And in order to more clearly explain myself, I will begin at the end, in the most distant of His Majesty's dominions, in the Philippines, and I will conclude for now with that which pertains to the year 1694, because I received Your Excellency's abovementioned letter in December, and the enclosing paper[N] from your esteemed protégé on January 7, 1695.
The islands of the Philippines are so many and so powerful today that, whereas before the criminals and evildoers were exiled there—along with the husbands of women who did not enjoy their company, and who with the good favor of the viceroys and the audiencias in this way remain married but lived of their own free will—although all of this continues to occur, many in this kingdom of New Spain still desire to go to those islands. And thus it is seen that when levies[O] are conducted, there is an excess of people, and I have seen that some who have returned from those islands after completing the period of their exile went back again. And in my opinion there is nothing more fruitless than the expense to the royal treasury, with so little purpose, of raising these troops and transporting them at the cost of such great debt,[P] which this process, and that of the freeing of convicts pressed into military service, cause to the royal purse, because now in the present era the Philippines do not need troops recruited from New Spain, nor prisoners forced into service, because they are now sufficiently populated by Spaniards, and by the great quantity of riffraff that has already been sent there. And to govern them better and maintain order, it is very necessary that His Majesty issue clear and compelling orders that no more troops be raised, nor any more prisoners be condemned to the Philippines, but rather that the only ones to travel there should be government ministers, secular clergymen,[Q] military commanders, and officials who must go there to serve on and defend the ships, as well as the merchants and travelers[R] who should wish to go, since thus the bad habits that wicked and criminal people have introduced in those islands will begin to be extinguished, as so clearly experience has shown us in this Mexican Empire, and as the ministers of the Royal and Supreme Council of Indies have become aware with so many conflicts[S] arising in those parts that are so far removed.
And although His Majesty has provided these islands with an appropriation of 375,000 pesos every year and they regularly receive from Mexico City the greater part of the said quantity, and it would be fair that half of that were retained in the royal treasury in Mexico City,[T] since the Philippines have greater income by royal taxes, through having opened up once again general commerce with the nations of the Orient and Europe, in that part of the world. And therefore, and because such sizable debts[U]—as those which are occasioned by the recruiting of troops or impressing of prisoners into military service in New Spain—are not necessary, half the 100,000 pesos should be kept annually in the royal coffers in Mexico City. And if His Majesty were to heed the advice of[V] his loyal subjects, the shipping between New Spain and Philippines should and would be discontinued.
The primary cause of the ending of this navigation was noted by a certain modern author, and can be reduced to two points in practice. The first is that when there is a ship, or several ships, from the Philippines in New Spain, the commerce of the West Indies Fleet is detained. And on this point considering both interests, we must take note, clarifying matters, in order to come legitimately to the conclusion with just one premise. And with this argument,[W] we can see from these two points that, as some chatterboxes would have it, they do not boil down to the same thing, because they both have their own nature and are different from one another.
The first consideration with respect to the first point becomes evident because of that which pertains to the role[X] that the commercial community of New Spain has in the maintenance of the trade with the Philippines, because throughout these Americas it is no secret that the merchants of New Spain do not pay to outfit the China ships—which are the ones that go to the Philippines, with those that come back from there called the Philippine ships—as anyone knows, because it is our lord, the king, who alone readies these ships at the expense of his royal treasury, in order to send the appropriation[Y] and the military expeditions with their infantry and prisoners impressed into service, which are now so unnecessary and in need of being discontinued. From these clear and evident proofs, one can see that His Majesty alone is the one who bears the cost of the said trade, and that the only ones to profit from it are the viceroys, who along with their associates, in each journey now send 300,000 pesos in silver as part of their commercial dealings[Z] at the cost of the royal treasury, because they take the principal from the royal coffers in Mexico City,[AA] which they reimburse from the royal treasury, without thus actually paying anything back.
With points of light that are the viceroys' followers and some Mexican merchants who get onto the viceroys' lists by paying their customs duties to them, the commerce between New Spain and the Philippines thus operates behind a curtain of darkness,[AB] by means of which, and the profit[AC] on the silver amounting on each ship to two to three million pesos, there are usually between five and six million pesos in the bustling about of the two ships, and the benefit of this money is only for the viceroys and for other ministers, here unnamed, who get rich at His Majesty's expense.
It is well known that the products that are commonly transported from the Philippines to New Spain usually originate for the most part with the Portuguese,[AD] the French, the English, the Dutch, and other Northern nations, and also the Moors and the Mughals are interested in this commerce, as are the Siamese, the Chinese, and the Japanese, and that one and all of these nations approach the Philippines with greater or lesser frequency, according to the number of ships present in the Philippines with silver from New Spain, since if there is no news of the arrival in those islands of a ship or ships from New Spain, fewer foreigners gather as when one or two ships arrive with Mexican silver. Because Manila is for the Philippines what Cadiz, in Spain, is for Europe: the bridge to the Orient. And just as the custom of paying of ransom to free Christian captives[AE] in Algiers motivates the Moorish corsairs to arm themselves against the Christians, Manila is the refuge of the Moors and barbarians, redeeming with Mexican silver all the evil of the wicked deeds that she contains,[AF] since as the royal hand is so liberal, the soldiers of Manila are in her seaport left asking for charity from the abovementioned heathen nations,[AG] who gather in those islands with their ships to trade, in order to carry off the royal treasures of New Spain by means of such unfair commerce. And thus the said enemies take advantage, through their beggarly ways,[AH] of the generosity of the Spanish, taking the business of the West Indies Fleet,[AI] in which even though the European nations take an interest, they do not cause such notable and notorious damage to Spain's Catholic reputation. And this is the reason that the commerce of New Spain with the Philippines should be extinguished and be established anew directly from Spain via the austral Magallanic region, for the greater utility that would result from said trade, without the commerce and honor of New Spain depending on it.
The principal reason for the second point regarding the commerce of the Philippines, newly introduced through the Magallanic region, is that it will be of much usefulness to the Crown and the commerce of His Majesty's vassals, in part because the shipping from Spain to Philippines would produce greater profits for the merchants, and also because in such a case the trade with New Spain should be prohibited, and thus Spain's products will have more success in the Mexican Empire, while reducing the trade of our enemies in the Orient, whose continued presence in those parts is largely the result of the great amount of silver that passes from New Spain to the said islands, where experience has shown me that in a year when the ships from New Spain are absent, so too are the ships of foreigners from the Orient[AJ] and those of the Chinese, the Siamese, and the Japanese. And so Spain would achieve great profits in the shipments to the Philippines and even greater profits in their return, if from Spain only half the amount of resources in money and products went through the austral region each year, as was proposed in the year 1638 to His Majesty Philip IV, along with the policy of banishing foreigners from the commerce of the islands, because if those foreigners cannot trade with New Spain, they will not be continually present with their ships, nor will they desire to do so, since no foreign nation, if it had to maintain those islands in its dominions, could do so, as it is within their power only to rob from them.
Positions that His Majesty Appoints in the Philippines
The positions that His Majesty appoints to soldiers in those islands are, first, that of governor and captain general, with a term of eight years and with the responsibility to preside over the audiencia, and the authority of the governor is in all those islands as great as that of a viceroy, because he receives and sends ambassadors to diverse empires and very powerful kings, grants encomiendas and governorships, names generals of seamen and infantry,[AK] and fills other such posts in the military forces of those islands, in which there are more generals, maestres de campo, sergeant majors, and captains than in the entire army of Flanders with all its positions.
He also names generals of ships, and admirals and captains and all other commanders, and with all these prerogatives and powers, I assure your lordship and your esteemed protégé that this post is not for upstanding men, because it now is sold to persons who have not been soldiers, and because for many years now it has been occupied by very unworthy persons and haulers of commercial goods[AL] of the Indies route, and also because there is in the Philippines such a quantity of prevaricators, who have brought, and will continue to bring forth against those who govern, infinite numbers of false accusations, which have obliged the audiencia to commit many errors, and before they can be rectified over such distance as there is between those parts and the Council of Indies, the lives and reputations of men such as Your Lordship are placed in danger.
Beyond all this, there is more, since for a governor just to pass from Spain to the said islands, he needs to have or to borrow from 16,000 to 18,000 pesos, in addition to which, counting the gratuity[AM] and the passage of both seas, a trip of more than 4,600 leagues, and the crossing of New Spain with a delay of some months, amounting to a total—including the gratuity[AN] and expenses, along with the principal amount—of more than 40,000 pesos, which is the minimum amount of debt a governor must take on before commencing his tenure in office, at the end of which, for the residencia and for his return to Spain, he has likewise necessity of another 60,000 pesos. As so with the amount he has to spend in order to return home to his country adding up to more than 100,000 pesos, imagine, Your Lordship, what a fortune is necessary for a governor of these islands to acquire for his departure from office,[AO] if he proceeds accordingly,[AP] and what will be the additional sum he will need to secure if they come after him with lawsuits, and how much more will be necessary for him to seek out, needing to buy his post, and what excesses he will commit to find money, for all of which I believe that anyone in Spain who has even just 6,000 pesos is better off not going to the Philippines through the purchase of such an office, since, as in the end the purchase is made with borrowed money, he who buys the post does not go for any other reason than to earn money for someone else, since today there is no such thing as a friend who loans money unless he is charging great interest, and it is too much for a poor gentleman soldier to get out from under all the necessary costs of his passage, especially when he should merit the post on the basis of his services and conduct[AQ] alone.
His Majesty also names in the said islands a maestre de campo of the soldiers[AR] of the city of Manila, and a castle keeper of the fort of Santiago in this city, in which all the rest of the military men are named by the governor, and His Majesty names the archbishops, bishops, the oidores of the real audiencia, and other ministers, treasurers[AS] who manage the royal treasury, and all others, except that the oidores name the interim governors in the case of a death, or any other accident, despite which it has occurred that the Real Audiencia has deposed some governors, one of whom was Don Diego de Salcedo, against whom they levied so many false accusations, even asserting, among other crimes, that he was a heretic, in order to separate him from his post and his money, because it was a lot that he left behind when they took him as a prisoner of the Inquisition to the inquisitors in Mexico City, and he died in the journey before arriving. And in another voyage the very judge and principal instrument of his persecution would later die regretful, declaring the notable damage that had been done to Don Diego de Salcedo, for which the Holy Tribunal, if it had known previously, would have severely punished those who were the cause of such wickedness, of which I became aware, in part, because rambling about the world, I found myself in the Philippines when they removed Don Diego de Salcedo from his post.[AT] But what is certain of this business is that his enemies made use of[AU] the abundant commerce that he had with the Dutch, who—as most of them are heretics and sail with many Jews who live in Holland—in order to attract the Sangleyes to their false religion and worship,[AV] the Dutch, using the commerce that they had with the Philippines during the tenure of this governor, introduced among the Sangleyes and other inhabitants of the islands some Dutch bibles and other items, which created suspicions, among the maligners who were set against the governor, that he was a heretic, although he was not, because Don Diego de Salcedo was the gentlemanly son of noble and devoutly Catholic parents, as Your Lordship well knows. But greed moved him to trade with the enemy in those parts, and this was enough reason for him to be beset with great calumny there, for which reason I warn our friends and companions of all the aforesaid, so that on the basis of merit they might seek the three posts I have pointed out, finding themselves in the rank of captain, in order to advance to that of maestre de campo or castle keeper, since he who finds himself in Europe occupying[AW] the rank of sergeant major will do very poorly in going to fill one of the two said posts, and for that of governor or captain general, the rank of sergeant major will be enough, since in order to be worthy of all three of these soldierly posts, it is enough to have the said merits, and that of doing so[AX] at such a great distance, in a journey as long as that of Spain to the Philippines—in whose islands, if they have been lost, as is said, all the efforts to solicit positions[AY] there will be avoided. But, according to news from Europe, for the bad treatment that the Count of Galve, being viceroy of New Spain, for his personal interests, gave to all concerned parties in the Philippines, wanting to deny the merchants of those islands the profit of their trade, I believe that no ship will go to New Spain during his tenure.
Superior Governorships and Military Posts in Peru
The vast kingdom of Peru is the most powerful in the world, and so apt for all that if His Majesty were at all times well served, this kingdom would be enough to surpass all others. But as the bad government of some ministers tends to corrupt the essence of things,[AZ] all that is possible is not achieved, especially since the practice of buying and selling political offices and military positions was introduced, because beyond doing great offense[BA] to truly worthy men with this policy of selling positions, His Majesty does not gain anything with the amount of the sale, first because the viceroys turn around and sell the political and military offices again, without regard for His Majesty's royal laws and mandates, nor the royal titles that are issued in favor of those who have been appointed, because here in the Indies the viceroys and oidores of the audiencias are very pretentious, and speak with all His Majesty's other ministers and vassals in such an arrogant fashion and with such disdain that they would seem to think there are no other persons in the world as great as they, whose presumptuousness should be understood[BB] in quite a contrary fashion from what they intend, because, in addition to the fact that we know many robed ministers in these parts who ignore the law as written in the civil and religious codes,[BC] there are many who do not even know how to read Spanish,[BD] and furthermore some are of very humble birth, and others quite suspect, as we are aware. And for these reasons many such robed ministers should be plowing fields, others steering mules and others learning to be more devout Catholics. And because of these defects, some companions who are good hidalgos and lettered men, seeing these realms become filled with filth and finding themselves alone with their votes[BE] and fewer in number, usually agree with the majority's view,[BF] because if they do otherwise, nothing comes of it for the good judges but the disdain of the viceroys and presidents. And thus as all are in agreement, they unite against the service of both Majesties and against the public good and remedy of these kingdoms, because in any place where viceroys preside over the audiencia, the viceroy will exile the robed ministers who do not agree, under the pretense of special judicial commissions,[BG] and this is the reason that all say fiat ut petitur.
Being viceroy in either the kingdom of Peru or New Spain, or in both, gentlemen who have been distinguished soldiers,[BH] any gentleman who serves in a military capacity under their government will manage to serve as a reward for his merits, for which reason, as I already began to say, with the profits from the sale of the office His Majesty gains nothing, because those who want to enter the posts given by His Majesty must buy them again here, and because he who does not have the means to pay a second time to the viceroy does not assume the office that the king has given him, unless, at the very best, the viceroy realizes that his term is ending, and then he tends to concede the offices to those named by His Majesty. And in this case, when the new viceroy enters, with or without whatever pretext, he takes these offices away again from those appointed by the king, in order to give them to his servants. And if the viceroys cannot do this, they take advantage of slanderers, who are seldom lacking, or the tax collectors or others who will intervene to provoke the corregidores and alcaldes mayores, and thus look for ways to suspend them or remove them from their offices, after they have been given these by His Majesty for their past service, or in the case of some, in exchange for money. And so, as His Majesty's word and bond[BI] are no assurance that in these Indies his vassals and ministers will receive what to them is due, it is thus the same to live in these parts as among the most cruel enemies of our lord, the king, since his own vassals who serve in the most important posts in this New World with their deeds[BJ] give the impression that these kingdoms do not belong to His Majesty, because here they pay no attention to his laws nor his royal titles, since when the appointed ministers that pass over to the Indies produce these documents, their superiors say with great boldness and contempt that these are as worthless as unconsecrated communion wafers. And if the supplicant replies by saying, "I appeal to Your Excellency"—or "to Your Highness"— "that His Majesty orders this and that," they answer him that the king is far away, that there are no kings here other than themselves, and that if the appointee makes a nuisance of himself,[BK] that they will lock him away in a military outpost[BL] or exile him from these realms—in New Spain, to the Philippines, and in Peru, to Chile. And in this manner letting pleasure rule,[BM] as the common people say, the poor individuals who come appointed by their king and natural lord bide their time, and meanwhile the servants and associates of the viceroys and presidents enjoy the posts they were meant to occupy. And seeing how far away any remedy lies, and the fact that the viceroys have people in Madrid to assure that news of their ill deeds does not reach the ears of the king or any ministers who are loyal to the Crown—because the grandees of Spain fill the viceroyalties with the second born of their houses, who never served the king, other than behind the curtains reading comedias and making jokes—having experienced all of this—the unlucky ones who find themselves there ridiculed and indebted from the seeking of office in the court in Madrid, and later with the additional costs of the journeys and the expenses they incur in the passing to the Indies, some with their families and others with their servants, and with the delays as they wait to occupy their posts, because they do not have money to pay their creditors, nor with which to return to Spain at all wealthier than when they left—some resort to trading with the foreigners who conduct their commerce on the coasts of these American regions, and others go so far as to serve foreign princes, as nowadays we are seeing certain subjects do. And with His Majesty in this way raising up soldiers and men experienced in matters of government that will serve him, after having spent on them many resources from his royal patrimony and having honored them with some posts in these parts in reward for their services, and in some cases, in exchange for their money, when our lord, the king, needs them as experienced men, so that they might continue on to better positions, they instead proceed—due to the said crimes and senseless acts that some viceroys and bad ministers commit here—into the service of other foreign kings and princes, leaving these provinces destitute through their secret dealings.[BN] And with the most able men in this way abandoning their service to the Crown and occupying themselves in activities that are different from those they outwardly profess, those who remain in service to His Majesty are ordinarily the most inexperienced, and the enemy is left to take advantage by both means of the most intelligent Spaniards, who commonly are those who most stand out amongst those of foreign nations.
In view of so many and such notorious disadvantages as Your Lordship can see from what I have written herein, and which you will be able to emphasize[BO] to your esteemed protégé, there are others which for their part require no less attention. And I refer to the fact that in order for His Majesty to maintain these dominions, it is necessary that no post nor judicial office in these Indies be bought or sold, unless they are those which the Council of Indies calls vendibles y renunciables. But to permit that the posts of governor, corregidor, and alcalde mayor and those of other robed ministers be sold is to desire that these kingdoms be finally and completely lost, and they will be ruined more quickly if it is also permitted that the viceroys, presidents, and audiencias appoint governors, alcaldes mayores, and corregidores, except in the case of interim appointments following a death or a vacancy due to promotion or forced removal. And for such cases there should be soldiers in Lima for the war councils,[BP] and a single asesor to make interim appointments of worthy men to military posts, with the viceroy presiding. And for governmental posts, the Real Acuerdo would be enough, with the most worthy candidates considered in both courts according to their qualifications and service, once the edicts are established. But leaving to the exclusive choice of an interim viceroy to fill the positions and offices is very much against the interests of both Majesties, and can only be done and permitted of the viceroys and governors who administer His Majesty's possessions in Europe, where this prerogative is not dangerous as it is in America, where it likewise is a monstrous thing to see that the military posts are filled by councils,[BQ] in which there is not a single minister with a military background, where only the judges vote and give their opinions, and even when doing so like qualified lawyers, seldom manage to see the truth of the matter or get things right.
It is also notoriously against the interests of the Crown and the preservation of these kingdoms for His Majesty to permit either the foremost grandees of Spain or those who have been ministers in the Royal and Supreme Council of Indies to cross over to the Americas to serve as viceroys, because ministers who belong or who have belonged to the body of the Council (except in the case of the War Council), who enter into the government chambers[BR] and in the cabinet gatherings[BS] which are a permanent part of the Council, should not be viceroys, because experience shows that viceroys of these two categories are not good for these provinces, because if they are great lords, they are very arrogant here and do whatever they like, without fear of punishment, confident in their numerous relatives and the privileges of their high social position,[BT] and therefore each viceroy of this sort is not content with pillaging four or five million pieces of eight[BU] from these Indies, which would be better employed in His Majesty's service. And so for these reasons leaving all these provinces destitute,[BV] and with impunity all those who commit crimes in them, the viceroys of this sort, as well as their underlings who occupy governorships, are never punished, because they have powerful relatives who serve near the king, since they are always in the court, and thus can obstruct the arrival of any news that speaks urgently to the Crown's interests, and they control the members of the Council of Indies, so that their relatives can remain as viceroys in the Indies, despite the destruction they notoriously sow.
The other reason that members of the Council of Indies should not go on to be viceroys in the Indies, nor to assume any other role than that of conducting one or many residencias of viceroys, robed ministers and presiding ministers, is double: first, because it is not reasonable that a gentleman who was a counselor in the Supreme Council of Indies should proceed afterwards to an inferior position and to have his performance judged there, and second, because if from the Council of Indies he goes on to be viceroy, as some have done, being a member of the body of the Council and the junta de cámara, he consequently will not be as effective[BW] in his governing than the viceroy who was a soldier and administrator[BX] in Peru or New Spain, because having been part of the said Council, he will do with liberty whatever he pleases, trusting in his friends and colleagues on the Council, where, since he was a member and all else that goes with it, they will always cover up his evil deeds for him and will seek to maintain him in his position, as they do for others. And even though an example was seen in the case of a certain viceroy that was removed from office in Peru, this seldom occurs, and in this case it was seen that despite his excesses he remained in his old post[BY] until he died in Madrid.
It likewise does not serve His Majesty's interests to sell the offices and governorships in Spain nor in the Indies, because of the many reasons stated herein, and because in order to reward the soldiers and administrators who serve the Crown, His Majesty needs all the posts he has in the Indies, and even more so considering that the profits from the sale of offices has not been great. And for this reason, if our lord, the king, decreed that military and administrative positions were to be given to those who deserved them exclusively for their past service, it could be ordered in all these Indies that the salaries of the corregidores and alcaldes mayores be retained for His Majesty in the royal coffers,[BZ] and that they serve their offices in accordance with the law for the mere benefit[CA] that the said administrative offices produce through the exercise of justice and other emoluments, of which we have here sufficient experience, and we know with certainty that there will be many soldiers and men experienced in administration that will thus assume these posts without salary, giving many thanks to God and to our lord, the king, because in this way the alcaldes mayores and corregidors will not have to pay the media anata, nor will they have more debts than those of their passage to these parts, where it is rare for an alcalde mayor or a corregidor to collect the salary that His Majesty has designated for him. And if there are some who are paid in full, they are sycophants[CB] who return this money to their superiors in the form of gifts, and the few who ever receive their salaries get only half of what they should. And thus with the salaries of these ministers remaining in the accounts of the viceroys, presidents, royal officials, and treasurers, it is better to not sell those offices, but rather give them without salaries, and for only their utility, which is plenty for those who occupy them, since in the same way that ministers who have purchased these offices have served in them, and without a flurry[CC] of other ministers who have purchased them, others will be able to serve in them in the future. And thus the royal treasury will gain more than 1,200,000 pesos each year in Peru and New Spain, along with all the other kingdoms and provinces that in both of these empires depend upon the superior government of the two viceroys, as Your Lordship can better see from expense records[CD] of the positions that are kept in the offices of the chamber secretariats[CE] of the Supreme Council of these Indies, and even more by those of the posts of the secretariats of the viceroys and other presidents of audiencias, which positions produce more such reports, and which do not get placed in the secretariats of the Council because they are lesser positions, though all have salaries corresponding to them, just like the others.[CF]
To better achieve all that I have said regarding the keeping of the salaries of the administrative offices for His Majesty, and to deposit more each year, through the stated retention of funds, by means of the other amounts sent from the royal treasury[CG] that pertain to each province,[CH] urgent orders should be sent to the viceroys and to the audiencias that they allow the alcaldes mayores and corregidores to handle the initial round of court proceedings[CI] as regular judges,[CJ], as established in law,[CK] and that the many ministers that the audiencias and judges of the criminal court[CL] repeatedly allow to go with many orders to make trouble and cause unrest in others' jurisdictions not be permitted to interfere in this way. And in this fashion, with everyone keeping to his own jurisdiction, there will be more tranquility and better government in the service of His Majesty and his republics, and the residencias will be better conducted.
In the same way it will be fair to ordain, with respect to all positions in administrative and treasury posts, in the probate courts[CM] and other royal offices, that these individuals not deliver taxes[CN] to the alcaldes mayores and corregidores, because as they are serving without salary, there is no reason they should receive the large quantities that until now they have typically given, especially when His Majesty has the said treasurers and other inferior ministers paying them their annual salaries for this purpose.
As has been said, it is not in the Crown's interest that the viceroys and other presidents of audiencias fill offices, but rather that only His Majesty give them to whomsoever he chooses, rewarding those who conquer and populate this New World, since as that which His Majesty has ordered and commanded repeatedly is not carried out, such men find themselves here destitute and perishing in the very lands where they deserve to occupy positions of power. And given the way the provinces of these Indies are entering into secret dealings with foreigners,[CO] it likewise is not advisable that the viceroys and other presidents of audiencias fill any posts in the interior provinces of these realms, and even more so on the coasts and in seaports, because it is not right that in places so far removed from recourse to higher authority[CP] and close to enemies, these realms should be dominated by persons who are followers and hangers–on of the viceroys and presidents of the other audiencias, and because as such individuals are allowed to govern as they choose, they can in the seaports prevent His Majesty's subjects from sending news to His Majesty and his counselors in order to seek recourse, and intercept whatever responses might come back, as occurs presently here in New Spain, because although more than two years and seven months have passed since the riotous upheaval that took place in this city, there has not been in all this time assistance nor remedy, nor any more news than that brought by friar Joseph of Isazi, a Franciscan who had gone previously to Spain to conceal the upheaval and to hide various documents, as he did also when in 1693 he returned to New Spain and brought the Count of Galve some letters that had been written against him. And so for all these reasons, it is not advisable that the viceroys and presidents of the other audiencias be allowed so much freedom to operate as they choose,[CQ] nor that they should be of one of the two mentioned backgrounds, because due to the power and dominion that their fathers, brothers, and relations have, they conceal the letters that are usually sent with news to the king, our lord, and to his counselors. And here this is so common that the viceroys tend to show some ministers the letters those men themselves wrote to Spain, from whence we have had no news whatsoever since the West Indies Fleet[CR] departed more than nineteen months ago. And so when commerce and communication are the greatest reasons for the conservation and union of republics, with these lacking here for as long as they have, how should His Majesty hope to maintain these realms within his dominions, especially as experience and news show us that all the ports of these Indies are constantly frequented by foreign ships filled with clothing, with which they continually supply these provinces. And according to the news that I received a few days ago from some merchants who came from Caracas, two months ago they left on that coast more than 68 medium–sized and large ships trading with so much liberty that in all the ports of those coasts the Dutch and English were found selling their goods, wines and aguardiente, and other products from various parts of the world, which necessarily has the effect of causing to be lost more quickly these kingdoms, which miraculously remain in the service of His Majesty, may God help him with his divine providence against so many, and such notorious, enemies.
In addition to the viceroy of the provinces of Peru, ever since the Count of the Monclova became viceroy, there is likewise a maestre de campo general named by His Majesty in the person of Don Juan de la Resgada, who has served in Flanders with distinction,[CS] and it would be advisable that for this kingdom of New Spain another such position to be appointed, merely to oversee the military in a similar fashion and govern the political and military aspects of these provinces, only in the case of the viceroy's death, absence, illness, or any other eventuality, while another solution can arrive from Spain. And since there has not been such a soldier in this kingdom, there should be one, speaking from experience, for such cases in these realms, which were at the point of being lost on the eighth of June of the year 1692 on the occasion of the tumult, because the Count of Galve retired with his family to the convent of San Francisco in this city, in which he and the robed ministers spent twenty–four hours hidden in different convents and hospitals, all of them abandoning the government of the city, with the exception of one robed minister of whom I shall speak at another moment.
His Majesty also fills in Lima and in Callao the posts of maestre de campo of the fortress of Callao and those of the captains with their sergeant general, and the general, admiral, and captains of military ships[CT] of the armada of the South Sea, senior posts that may be applied for in Spain, with the stated post of maestre de campo general of Peru requiring one to have the current rank of[CU] maestre de campo of any infantry regiment who has served in combat[CV] or any gobernador de plaza of some enemy frontier or castle keeper who has a rank and reputation that merits the said post, because in a kingdom like that of Peru where it is necessary to have mastery of arms and give the audiences that correspond to a viceroy, it is essential that the maestre de campo general be a person distinguished in experience and demeanor.
In Callao, port of Lima, where it is necessary that there is a good solider, any sergeant major who has occupied that post in a known army will be suitable for the post of maestre de campo, which is elegant[CW] and has a very good salary. And for sergeant major of Callao, any captain will do, and for captains, any assistants[CX] or standard–bearers of the many who are to be found in Madrid seeking office, since by putting in the fortress of Callao another type of leader, His Majesty will not be well served, and will risk that port, which is one of the most principal strongholds and key defenses of Peru, whose coasts now are continually invaded by pirates.
For the good management of the South Sea naval armada, any captain of seamen and infantry[CY] who is a good soldier and sailor, from amongst those of the Royal Armada of the Ocean Sea, will be more than adequate to occupy the post of general of the armada, since this position is essentially that of honorary admiral, and because it should not be deemed any more important than such, given that it was created through an appointment by His Majesty in a separate squadron, and because previously the viceroys of Peru named such generals.
To occupy the post of admiral of the said armada of the South Sea, any captain of seamen and infantry[CZ] from among the most outstanding of the Royal Armada of the Ocean Sea will be sufficient, because it is necessary to reward them in places where there is such a need for good sailors, and also because good salaries correspond to these two posts and there usually is extra money[DA] to be made among the passengers in the journeys from Callao to Panama and from Panama to Callao. But for the posts of captains of seamen and infantry[DB] of the stated armada, naval standard–bearers[DC] of the Royal Armada of the Ocean Sea or of that of the Galleons or the Armada de Barlovento or of the South Sea will be sufficient, and if named by His Majesty, and if most of the stated posts are given on merit and to soldiers known for their valor and experience in Spain, His Majesty will be well served. But if these and other posts are sold, or if they are appointed by the viceroys, His Majesty will lose the good fortune and reputation of his armies, because here greed tramples everything and overcomes all with the indignity that it brings.
His Majesty also names soldiers in the powerful kingdom of Chile to be president of the audiencia, governor, and captain general, and when such a preeminent position should be occupied by a distinguished soldier, through the selling of the office, individuals who are not soldiers are introduced into this post, and it is right that a good soldier who has been maestre de campo with distinction in the armies be placed in these parts, where the enemy is trying so hard to establish a foothold. And for the governor of the port and the frontier post of Valdivia, which on these coasts is the key to the security of that kingdom, a good captain of armored cavalry soldiers, or a good sergeant major formed in the armies, is likewise necessary to occupy this post of such great fame, since if the selling of offices continues and the military and administrative posts of this kingdom are appointed by the governors, audiencia presidents, and captain generals, clearly[DD] this kingdom will be lost, because beyond being very threatened by the enemy, there are many secret dealings[DE] with foreigners. And thus it is in the interests of His Majesty, as he who exclusively wears the crown,[DF] to appoint the remaining military and administrative posts in the kingdom of Chile, giving the administrative corregimientos without salary, as I have said, and the military ones with salary. And by appointing to all of them men who serve in that kingdom, our lord, the king, will do what he should, and will be better served, because that army needs soldiers who can command[DG] and officers who know how to engage in combat with the Indians, mixing some good soldiers from Europe among the said commanders.
In the posts of the island of Chiloe, Arica, Guayaquil, Trujillo, and Paita, His Majesty should name for the government of each a capitán a guerra and should appoint to this post from among the infantry captains who have served in the armies of Europe, as each of these posts entails the military and administrative government, with the existing salary,[DH] which is sufficient along with the perquisites of the office. And for the defense of each of these posts, sixty soldiers and a captain, a standard–bearer, and a sergeant are necessary, paid to serve in each port guarding the governor and capitán a guerra, and covering the most dangerous positions, to defend with the militias these ports, opposing the frequent invasions by the enemies that infest those coasts, which so often they have robbed, carrying off great quantities of silver and causing significant damage.
The post of presiding governor and captain general of Peru, which should not be sold but rather given to soldiers with the superior rank of maestres de campo,[DI] and likewise the posts of sergeant majors and castle keepers of Panama and Portobelo, should go to distinguished captains. For both these posts, soldiers are needed who are good commanders, and for governor of arms[DJ] and lieutenant of the captain general,[DK] likewise a sergeant major or captain of armed cavalry[DL] who is experienced in the armies of Flanders or Spain, so that we do not see repeated in Portobelo what happened in 1670, when the pirates sacked that same port, the commander of whom, upon asking a certain castle keeper, after imprisoning him, why, being able to defend the fortress, he had sold it to the pirate so readily, was answered very perspicaciously by the said castle keeper, in the same manner as another previous castle keeper who had once said the same, that anyone could sell what he himself had bought, as it was rightly his, and that he himself had thus done so, because the president and other royal officials did not pay him his salary, and he therefore desired to avail himself of the money that was paid him for the castle, which he himself had bought for less.
His Majesty appoints in Charcas and in Quito ministers of these two audiencias, which have as presidents two of the more senior robed ministers,[DM] and the alcaldes mayores and corregidores whom he names in these audiencias should be appointed without salary.
His Majesty also appoints in his royal audiencia of Santa Fe in the New Kingdom of Granada a capa y espada president who is the governor and captain general of that kingdom, a post occupied by the count of Bornos and other very distinguished gentlemen. And because of the practice of selling offices, we have now seen as president of this Real Audiencia a Basque who after having been the servant of Lorenzo Peres de Leysa, prior of the Consulado of Seville who also was called by Don Bue de Otalora, oidor of the royal council of Castile, and by having navigated the Indies route selling laces for garments,[DN] he rose to the state office of president through the purchase of that position, which is the only way he could have thus been appointed, in which audiencia he is a quite superfluous governor and captain general, as at the closest point it is 250 leagues from the sea, and in order to oppose the enemy in Cartagena, in Santa Marta, in Maracaibo, in Caracas, in Cumaná, and in Trinidad and Guayana, His Majesty has a sufficient number of governors and captain generals who can prevent such invasions. And thus in the interior provinces there is no need of such a governor, especially if he is not a soldier, as he would need to be, if there were a necessity. And the most senior oidor is adequate to preside over that audiencia, as one who does not know how to administer or to be a soldier will be a bad judge.[DO] And so by ordering the elimination of this capa y espada president, since he is not necessary, the king, our lord, will also be able to retain for himself the right to name the corregidores and alcaldes mayores of the New Kingdom of Granada, who can serve in those positions without a salary, in the same way as the others.
In all the said posts of governors and captains general that have been bought and sold ever since a few years ago, those soldiers will be adequate who have been sergeants major of infantry regiments[DP] in Flanders, in Catalonia, in Navarre and in Milan, and who likewise have been the castle keepers and captains appointed by His Majesty in the stated presidios and fortresses, which need to be always well prepared against the invasions that our enemies are so accustomed to repeatedly making.
The provinces of the south and the entire central parts of the kingdom of Peru have administrative governors, as are the corregidores and alcaldes mayores in those places, where, more so than in other parts, they should serve in their offices without salaries. But the command of Buenos Aires, which has always been given to soldiers of the rank of maestre de campo after they have exercised this rank in the armies, is a post of the sort that must not be bought and sold, nor should it be given to men other than those of great bravery and good conduct,[DQ] especially in the present day, when our enemies are insinuating themselves into that region with many secret dealings by means of commerce, and the new city and fortress[DR] of Sacramento which the Portuguese have in the Rio de la Plata, only seven Spanish leagues distant from the City of the Most Holy Trinity of Buenos Aires.
In the said city, for the command of the cavalry and infantry, the king, our lord, should appoint to all the positions on the coasts soldiers who are very experienced and distinguished in the armies of Spain and Flanders, not naming any other type of men, due to the very precarious position in which that province finds itself.
In the government of Paraguay, which corresponds to a capitán a guerra, likewise appointed by His Majesty, there should be a governor and captain general who is also very experienced, and a branch of salaried infantry for the defense of that frontier, through which so many foreigners introduce themselves into the kingdom of Peru, just as they do through Buenos Aires.
The Inquisition in Tucuman o Paraguay
In order to prevent some of the great damage caused to the providences of these Indies by the large quantity of heretics, Jews, and some moriscos and apostate Catholics[DS] who cross over to the Indies with the coming of the West Indies Fleet, the Galleons, the naos de registro, those of the asiento de negros, and those of the avisos and of war that sometimes frequent these shores, and since all those ships introduce into the Indies many foreigners, and many more who have insinuated themselves into all of America by means of more than 300 ships from France, England, the Netherlands, and Hamburg that every year frequent her ports, introducing through them their contraband goods and their compatriots,[DT] who give assistance[DU] to those who pass themselves off as Spaniards in these Indies, though they really are foreigners—since experience clearly shows us this, and because it was ordered by the concession that the Holy See made to the kings of Spain when it named them kings of the New World, that other kings and princes may not conduct commerce in the Indies without a license from His Majesty—with regard to all this, and on account of the said apostolic decrees and canon law, in regions in which the Catholic faith was recently established, and where it still was being promulgated, trade and communication with heretics, Jews, and the recently converted and followers of false religions[DV] are prohibited, and because all of this is likewise stipulated by the laws and royal ordinances of Castile and the special ones pertaining to the Indies, in order to segregate such seditious enemies from among long–established and recently converted Catholics, it will be of great utility to both Majesties and to the noble and Catholic families of the West Indies—since the Holy Tribunal of the Holy Office of Lima cannot in such a great distance correct, nor have knowledge of, the many foreigners and suspicious people who pass through Buenos Aires and through Paraguay and the kingdom of Chile, to the interior of the kingdom of Peru—that in Tucuman, or at least in Paraguay, a tribunal of the Holy Office be established, like that of Cartagena de Indias, with its ministers and commissioners of the Holy Office and a secretary with each commissioner, so that in the city of the Trinity of Buenos Aires there will be a commissioner with his secretary and ministers to conduct the inspection of all the ships that arrive in the Spanish ports, and of those ships that depart the said ports of the Rio de la Plata, to determine if Jews, heretics, or suspicious people enter or leave that region, gathering from all the passengers and unknown persons information on who they are and from whom they are descended, and all else that is conducive to knowing if they are Catholics and subjects of His Majesty, and not recent converts, nor suspicious persons, nor foreigners, because if they are, those who transport them should be apprehended, as well as those who receive them and conceal them, and those that have relations with such enemies, trading with them—because according to what the Holy See orders, and that which is established by religious and civil law,[DW] and knowing from experience that in the Indies they have committed and continue to commit infinite sacrileges, and that because of them all the provinces of America are threatened with manifest danger of being lost, because all her commerce has been overtaken by heretics and Jews of the republics of the North and others—in order to avoid such well–known harm, because those who have dealings with foreigners in the Indies commit a grave sin, it would be very correct, according to the law,[DX] that the Holy Tribunal declared to be guilty and excommunicated any and all inhabitants of the Americas who—without clear license from His Majesty, approved by his Royal Council, and his Supreme Council of the Indies, and the Supreme Council of the Holy Inquisition—detained,[DY] had commercial relations with,[DZ] or concealed any foreigner in their homes or outside of them, or who directly or indirectly give such a person any aid or assistance, themselves or through any other person, who with the same certainty should be punished, a policy that, if it were done through the Holy Inquisition, would be of such benefit that the most powerful squadrons of warships could not be called upon to produce such prodigious and profitable results. And in order to better achieve these ends, there should be another commissioner with his secretary and minister in Paraguay and another in the kingdom of Chile in the port of Valparaiso, to similarly inspect the ships that enter and depart due to the commerce and trade of that port, where, along with in all the other mentioned ports, it is of great utility to inspect and closely examine all the books from Europe that are brought to be sold, and others that are already in the Indies.
Another Tribunal of the Holy Office in Merida de la Grita in the Province of Caracas
The province of Caracas is a type of region and district that, since it was settled, that area began to be suspicious due to the quantity of foreign people who have always frequented it, since the year 1528 when foreigners began to govern and populate that land. And with these beginnings, and with foreigners now having on those coasts the most famous ports of Tierra Firme and of the Windward Islands and Curazao, populated with people from their provinces of the North, everything is in place so that on those coasts of the island of Trinidad and of Guayana and of the isle of Margarita and of the districts of Cumana, Caracas, and Maracaibo on Tierra Firme, and passing through many undefended ports, so that all types of foreigners, followers of false religions,[EA] heretics, Jews, atheists, and apostate Catholics[EB] may enter. Foreign ships at all times on those coasts manage to introduce all types of merchandise and people of their nations, and in this way advancing to the interior provinces, they pass on to those of the New Kingdom de Granada and those of Popayan, Quito, and Iquitos, and to the rest of those of Peru. And since by the relations they have built through commerce, they now have in all these parts many relatives and countrymen—fluent in Spanish and who can pass for Spaniards, who say they are Flemish, Basque, and Italian—and they remain with the ease of the principal residents of the Indies, forming ties of kinship with them in these parts.[EC] By marrying the daughters, sisters, and other relatives of these residents, these foreigners are acquiring such esteem[ED] that in few years their contingent will be greater than that of the Spaniards, in light of which in the city of Merida de la Grita of the district of Maracaibo, or in one of the cities of or Barquisimeto, which are close to each other, and are all three very pleasant[EE] and healthy—if in any of them were to be placed another Holy Tribunal of the Inquisition against the said enemies, in the same way as we have said of Tucuman or Paraguay, it would be likewise of such importance, or of even greater, because even though Tucuman is a vast region, as is the famous realm of Chile and the provinces and districts of Buenos Aires and Paraguay, which are the limits that Holy Tribunal should have, extending to the province of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the province of Caracas is so large and the commerce it has with foreigners so shameless—because each year more than 150 large and medium ships of said enemies approach its ports—that this province alone needs a Holy Tribunal. But since this province has many others adjacent to its coasts and that in different places share borders with it, if a holy tribunal were created in any of the three cities of the interior—where the enemy cannot presently enter with such ease as in other eras he entered those coasts, because these cities are in the interior, and because through Maracaibo the enemy can no longer enter because the port is now fortified—the tribunal of the Holy Office could have in its care the provinces of Caracas, Cumana, and Guayana, with the island of Trinidad of the Windward Isles,[EF] the province of the isle of Puerto Rico, the province of the isle of Santo Domingo, and the province of Maracaibo with Merida de la Grita, which is a district, and by placing a commissioner, with his secretary and a minister in all the principal ports of these provinces, the Holy Tribunal would have plenty to do, and these provinces would be better populated, with greater abundance and more quickly, because by punishing those who trade with foreigners, the commerce of Spaniards would without a doubt increase.
The ports that in this way need commissioners are on the margins of the Orinoco River, Barinas, Maracaibo, on the coast of Caracas, one on the coast of Puerto Cabello, another in the port of La Guaira, another in the port of Cumanagoto and Barcelona—two towns that together make one—another in Cumana, another on the island of Trinidad, another on the island of Margarita, another on the island of Puerto Rico and another in the city of Santo Domingo on Hispaniola, because even though in some of the said places there are commissioners, it is necessary that they be in all the said places, and that they should be very zealous in the service of God and the king. And even if they were to make enormous efforts to do so, the Holy Tribunals of Cartagena and of New Spain cannot tend to the inspections of so much consequence, because these provinces are far from them, and because all the seas of the Indies are full of enemies and undefended by naval forces, and in consequence the commerce of His Majesty's subjects is reduced, that of the foreigners who trade with and among the Spanish is increased, and only the Holy Tribunal can slowly extinguish, through the stated method, the presence of these foreigners from the provinces of the American Indies, which are persecuted by such impertinent enemies of our Catholic faith. And as such I assure Your Lordship that it is a very sad thing to see how this New World is beset by secret dealings[EG] with foreigners, and the most noteworthy on this point is likewise that the secular ministers that our lord, the king, has in these realms do not remedy the problem, because greed blinds them, as everything is for sale.
The other military posts that his Majesty appoints in the Windward Islands are those of the governor and captain general of the island of Margarita, and even though this post is of the rank of captain general, it can be given to any good soldier who has been captain of infantry in some army of Flanders or Catalonia, because even though poor, this island has been invaded many times by the enemy, and it is necessary to have better defenses in the port.
The famous island of Puerto Rico, which always has been well defended, is governed always by a governor and captain general, and for this post, which is elegant[EH] and of some practicality,[EI] any good soldier who is a sergeant major or cavalry captain—as Arredondo has been in Flanders, where he governs—can defend the island, having good commanders with their infantry.
For captain general, governor, and president of the Real Audiencia of Santo Domingo and the isle of Hispaniola, soldiers of good reputation have always been sought, until with the buying and selling of offices, the ports have begun to decline and the presidency of this Real Audiencia was given to a captain general who governs the island, after having been merely the captain of a merchant ship that traded in that port, selling products and goods[EJ] of Spain and other parts. And thus if this post were given—as all should be, as they are jobs for military men[EK]—on the basis of soldierly merit, any sergeant major or maestre de campo who is a good soldier could occupy this position, because it is an elegant post.[EL]
His Majesty also names in the fortress[EM] of the city of Santo Domingo a castle keeper, a post that an infantry captain can seek, and the companies of the fortress,[EN] which should be given to standard–bearers who currently do not exercise that post,[EO] and who have served well for a long time, of which there are some busy in Madrid seeking offices and withering away in corners[EP] due to the buying and selling of offices.
In order to pass over to all the places mentioned here, soldiers named to the said posts on the basis of merit for their services should be aware, first, that the costs of the passage from Spain to the Indies are many, and grow in proportion to the increase in ostentation and the large households[EQ] of servants that it is superfluous to transport, because in all these realms, except in the Leeward Islands, there are so many vagabonds and excess people in every city, that there are more than enough to serve, and even to enable the population of other provinces, and because bringing Spanish servants is only good for the merchants with whom some remain in order to ascend themselves to the higher rank of merchant and earn a good reputation through their perseverance. But any minister or military commander who travels to the regions of America with a large household[ER] of servants makes a grave mistake,[ES] because beyond spending at least 150 pesos on each person, and in some cases 200 and 300 pesos, and more or less according to the particular journey,[ET] on arriving in the Indies and seeing that white women do not serve there, even if they are mere washerwomen, the maids either try to get married or find some other way out.[EU] And thus excusing themselves from serving, making it clear that they are better than their masters, and that these masters fooled them, because these women did not come to serve, as they are descendants of Queen Urraca and of María de Padilla, they cease to work, and their masters are left without maids after having paid their journey, and they find themselves obliged to look for someone to attend them. And the male servants doing the same after coming ashore in these parts, some because of the abundance of wayward women[EV] and others because they believe they have encountered many advantages[EW] and that they will soon get rich from the large dowries, they take their leave or just depart, going wherever they please, without paying attention to the fact that to transport them to the Indies cost a great deal, and their masters find themselves without servants and without the money they spent, and they are generally lost and at best[EX] obliged to look for merchants who can supply them with ribbons and ties for garments, puntas, lace and other items in the streets. And he who encounters this advantage,[EY] which is like that of the French in Spain and like a cátedra de prima in Salamanca, since according to the way of thinking[EZ] here, he who attains this is very lucky, as in these realms nothing is given away for free, nor are the streets paved with bars of silver, because of which the poor usually wander the streets in pairs, lost, predicting the future in order to figure out[FA] how to make their way in life,[FB] and their masters do the same, seeking someone to serve them. And thus all those who pass over to these Indies with positions have no need to transport here so many types[FC] of vagabonds, who abandon Spain in order to not serve His Majesty, leaving unpopulated the places they abandon, and the worst is that their women generally stay behind. And for this reason the Council of Indies should order that the alcaldes mayores do not bring servants except for one, and for this they should demonstrate necessity, and all other minsters, excepting the viceroys and audiencia presidents, should be ordered to do the same, because beyond the stated disadvantages,[FD] many foreigners and suspicious people tend to embark for the coasts and provinces of the Americas, under the pretext of being the servants of the said minsters and of others who transport these people as such.
The buying and selling of offices also should not be permitted due to the great damage it causes to the royal treasury, and the harm that is caused to private citizens who lend their money, because if those seeking office had 6,000; 8,000; 12,000; 20,000; 30,000; 50,000; 70,000; and the pesos that they seek to borrow in order to obtain different posts—setting aside the fact that those who are not qualified are made worthy simply through money,[FE]—anyone who had such quantities and could make a life for themselves entirely in Spain or acquire possessions with them in order to maintain themselves with dignity[FF] would be very ill advised to want to undergo constant danger on sea and land to travel to the Indies in order to seek out the notorious uncertainties[FG] that one suffers. For which reasons it being clear and evident, as it is, that those who purchase positions do so with borrowed money, and those who lend usually do so giving a certain amount as a donation[FH] and another certain quantity on loan, since on the amounts that are loaned to His Majesty, the creditors are paid 8 percent, it is clear that with the premio that His Majesty gives, a portion of the offices are purchased, and that with what they give as a donation,[FI] the merchants pay their creditors the interest, transporting their contraband in the Galleons and the West Indies Fleet, and on the return voyages, the unregistered gold and silver. And if they are governors, they later admit into their territories the merchants who make them the loans, with ships full of contraband and foreigners, which repeatedly are seen being received in the ports of the Indies, in which also, buying corregimientos and alcaldías mayores, others seek money among private citizens and look for merchants with whom they can do business and whom they can name as their deputies. And so with all these Indies governed in this fashion, if in Spain they rob you, here they take everything you're worth,[FJ] annihilating His Majesty's subjects at his own expense. And as there are some merchants who merely for modest interest and out of friendship tend to loan money to some of the said minsters for the stated purpose, it generally happens that later they cannot recover their funds, because the viceroys often detain many governors, alcaldes mayores, and corregidores, or they deny them the possession of their offices, and for not being in them, they cannot pay. And this amounts to a notable loss for private citizens,[FK] because in addition to loaning their money, they cannot charge it back, for seeing that this is not the fault of the borrower, but rather because His Majesty's orders are not carried out. For this alone, which is experienced against the king's word, and the general harm that is done to his royal subjects, the buying and selling of offices should be prohibited in all the Indies, where many go broke for these reasons, which, along with the everything else, your Excellency can consider and emphasize to your esteemed protégé.
In view of all these uncertainties[FL] in the present state in which these realms are now found, it is necessary, if His Majesty wants to maintain them within his royal dominions, that he appoint to all types of offices in them soldiers who have served him well, giving these posts on the basis of merit, as the presidents of Chile, the maestres de campo generales of Lima, and other such posts for Tucuman and Buenos Aires will do sufficiently to arrive with 8,000 pesos, which is the least one needs to pass over to the Indies, and more with a wife, if he were married already. Nor will it be any small achievement for the other governors and presidents of Panama and Santo Domingo to cross over just 4,000 pesos in debt, and the same applies to[FM] the governors of Cartagena, Santa Marta, Maracaibo, Caracas, Cumaná, Trinidad, Margarita, and Puerto Rico, since he who owes the least cannot pass over to his district without arriving 2,000 pesos in debt, and this is in the case of being appointed on merit.
His Most Excellent Majesty also appoints on the island of Cuba a governor and captain general in the city of Havana, with the grade of maestre de campo, which is given without more rank than sergeant major or cavalry captain, which is enough for this post, if he is a soldier known for his service in the armies, and as such Don Seberino de Manzareda serves this post. And for castle keeper of the El Morro fortress, a sergeant major is necessary in this rank, after having been captain, and for either of the other two fortifications, any standard–bearer of the army of Flanders or Catalonia will be enough for castle keeper of either, as this is a post for a captain.
In the port of Santiago in Cuba, His Majesty names a governor and capitán a guerra, and for the castle keeper of the Morro fortress of Cuba, a standard–bearer is enough for the post of captain, and it is in the interest of His Majesty's royal service that in all these strongholds[FN] he names for himself the other captains.
Commissioners of the Holy Office in the Ports of the Island of Cuba and those of New Spain
The island of Cuba is so large and so surrounded by well–known ports that many ships constantly bustle about in them, from the Canary Islands, from the coasts of the other islands and Indies, and all the nations of the North, who have contacts[FO] from throughout Europe all over the island, in order to introduce their contraband. And with many heretics and suspicious persons by these means managing to pass from the Leeward Islands and from Jamaica, Holland, France, England, and Hamburg to Havana and the other parts of that island, they have established trade and at all times have opportunities to pass over to the realms of New Spain through the various ports it has, leeward and windward of the port of Veracruz, and through the port of Veracruz itself constantly, as through Campeche, Puerto de Higueras, and through the port of Honduras, and others by way of the provinces of Guatemala, since in all these ports,[FP] experience shows that it is a rare place, however small it may be, that does not have one or several foreigners for inhabitants. And because the same is seen[FQ] in all the cities, villas, and settlements[FR] of New Spain, continually frequented by foreigners who trade in them, and many of whom marry there, in order to prevent the many damages that are coming about through these means, and those that will follow in the future, the Holy Tribunal of the Supreme Inquisition of the monarchy of Spain could order the Inquisition of Mexico City that in all the ports of Tampico, Veracruz, Tabasco, and Campeche, which are of New Spain, there should be—in the said ports where there might not already be one—a commissioner, with his secretary and minister, in order to examine all those who enter and depart in the ships and boats that trade in all the said ports, inspect the books that enter and leave through those ports, and likewise inspect the ships, with their commissioners of the Holy Office and ministers, that enter in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, and in all the provinces of Honduras and its ports of Realejo, Huatulco, and Guatemala, to the port of Acapulco. Since there is in all of them such continuous trade with the provinces of Peru and the stated provinces of New Spain, and in that trade many foreigners and unknown persons, it will be correct that in these ports, as in those of Panama and Portobelo, where the Galleons arrive—in these two ports, as in those of Paita, Trujillo, Guayaquil, and Lima through Callao and in that of Arica—that the Holy Tribunal should put commissioners with their secretaries and minsters, who would inspect the ships that enter and leave the said ports. And thus it will be of benefit to do the same in New Spain and in the island of Cuba, placing a commissioner in Havana, in Santiago de Cuba, and another in the port of Trinidad or in Puerto del Principe, due to the great amount of trade that foreigners have on these coasts, and especially Jews and heretics from Jamaica.
If all these resolutions were agreed upon by the Supreme Tribunal of the General Inquisition of Spain, for the reasons expressed when speaking of the tribunal that should be placed in the province of Tucuman, and the rest to which I have referred and above all those which such zealous ministers of His Majesty might have in mind,[FS] the results that this order will produce will in a few short years be such, and so notable, that with just this ruling these provinces of the Indies and the Catholic faith in them can be assured, because to wait for the secular ministers to provide a remedy is to await an infinite process, because here, although there may be a minister—or several—in agreement with[FT] the Catholic and royal laws, as those who only attend to their own current interests and not to those of His Majesty and his subjects are more numerous, nothing of what is ordered is ever achieved, because greed corrupts everything. And I assure Your Excellency that it is by miracle and the great virtue of the king, our lord, that these provinces remain in his dominions, since if we consider that the mode of governing, as here it is done, has no other finality than to more quickly bring about the ruin of these provinces, to which only His Majesty and his royal and supreme councils of State and Indies should look, applying these and other measures that I am proposing to Your Excellency, as one experienced in all manner of commerce and government and military and political matters of these and other parts, as Your Excellency knows, and as you will be able to emphasize[FU] to your esteemed protégé.
As Your Excellency knows, His Majesty also appoints in this kingdom a viceroy, governor, and captain general, who presides in the Real Audiencia, and with regard to this and other presidents of audiencias in the Indies, if the gentlemen of the supreme councils of War and of the Indies consider, as I hope they will, the very grave disadvantages[FV] that persist in these parts to the royal service of His Majesty and to all his vassals and dominions, they must necessarily resolve and establish by inviolable law that neither the viceroys nor other captains general preside over the audiencias of the Indies, and that they only see to the superior government of these provinces, in that which pertains to military policy, and the government with the superiority of the political administration over all the administrative and military ministers inferior to the viceroy, because with the occasion of the viceroys presiding here over the audiencias, they exceed them in power to such a degree that nothing is done but what they desire, and thus impeding the right to appeal—when the audiencias were created by His Majesty to give satisfaction, giving litigants a fair hearing—only on rare occasions is justice served if the viceroys intercede on someone's behalf, and that is what usually occurs.[FW]
And if a decision by a ruling viceroy[FX] is appealed to the sala del crimen or audiencia real, as we typically see, by the president merely presenting himself in either of these places, or even without him doing so, these courts confirm what he ordered out of respect for him. And with many being wronged for these reasons, because only he who has the most money is able to be heard, since with money, favor, and goodwill are won, and because correspondence from these realms to those of Spain usually is lacking for a period of one or two years, as now is seen in this Mexican Empire, with the aggrieved parties left with no recourse whatsoever, these individuals lose their wealth, His Majesty loses the income due his royal treasury,[FY] the merchant community loses their contacts, and foreigners achieve their own. And many of the audiencias, with the pretext that it is the will of the viceroys, and viceroys with the pretext that it is the will of the audiencias, all easily excuse themselves from blame, so that tyranny may persist.
For all these reasons, and for many others—which I do not express because not all may be written down, nor can the lack of decorum[FZ] with which actions are taken here be contemplated—His Majesty should rule that in Lima and in Mexico City the viceroys not involve themselves in the governance and exercise of justice of the audiencias, and that they should only preside them in public functions, for the dignity[GA] of the post, and in the prison inspections during the festivities at Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, because presiding and voting in the stated audiencias causes very notable harm and disadvantages, especially when the viceroys send out the oidores and alcaldes del crimen on various commissions, in order to leave the audiencias with just the votes of those who tend to be in their confidence and of their same opinion,[GB] and the viceroys usually intercede[GC] in the first instance in the cases of the jueces ordinarios, without permitting that they conclude many of them out of respect for their persons.[GD] And thus not punishing the guilty parties and with the fueros ordinarios and primeros conocimientos impeded, they contradict the summary and ordinary proceedings,[GE] and the subjects of the alcaldes mayores and corregidores lose respect for them and do not obey them.
Because the viceroys and some audiencias reales thus intercede in first–instance cases, it normally happens that with the least testimony[GF] given by an Indian, black, or mulatto, or any Spaniard, that right away—and without the accuser being obliged to prove the truth of his allegations, as is established in the law regarding libel[GG]—with whatever accusation or complaint, they order the corregidores and alcaldes mayores to be arrested, and conducting them publicly in custody to the public jails, if they do not pay,[GH] and at the least removing them from their districts in shackles, and carrying them to other jurisdictions, and then before the corregidores and alcaldes mayores can prepare[GI] their cases or rule on them, according to justice, these are reassigned to superior judges.[GJ] And in this way conducting summary trials, with witnesses who are never scarce, because the judges are hated and those who are mixed in with the Spanish[GK] are their worst enemies, especially blacks, mulattos, mestizos, Indians, and clandestine foreigners,[GL] which exist in these realms, and the naturally malicious actions of some restless individuals,[GM] who, because they have money, want to use it to overcome,[GN] as they do, protected by the audiencias. Seeing that they are thus mistreated by the viceroys and some robed ministers who turn against them,[GO] and that only after they are removed from their offices[GP] are they put on trial—like in Catalonia, as according to their adage, after they are hung, the guilty receive their sentences—regardless of how well they come out in their lawsuits, due to the large salaries of the investigators, scribes and other ministers and copyists, the judges—the corregidores and alcaldes mayores[GQ]—are all usually ruined. And this is all the more true due to the gratuities that have become part of the diabolical administration of this place,[GR] so against the royal laws and decrees of His Majesty, which even if they are obeyed in a ceremonial fashion, are not enforced, as if they were the rulings of an intruder king.
And so there being here, as there are, many alcaldes mayores and corregidores who, during the course of their terms in office, have seen more inspectors than years,[GS] in what condition would Your Excellency expect these realms to be found? Since in these of New Spain we still have alive the examples of which the Count of Galve gives a sufficient quantity, because when the West Indies Fleet of 1692 arrived, he discovered that many came with posts given by His Majesty, and in the instant that he understood this, he set about appointing his servants and confidants to those posts, and as the true owners were left destitute[GT] and indebted, some have died, others wander about on the streets[GU] begging, and some have found their way to other places.[GV] And those that have entered their posts have only been those who paid for them anew, as those who have not had money to do so have not been able to enjoy the favor done them by His Majesty,[GW] and the viceroy has beset all those who were named by the king with[GX] so many judges and officials with special commissions[GY] that in each position there are three or four, except in the posts that servants of His Majesty occupied or occupy, because beyond the fact that there are some who at sixteen, eighteen, and twenty years of age assume alcalde mayor posts—which they should not do, being so young, because he who still cannot by rights manage his own interests, how will he administer those of others, and in places where it is so necessary to know so much and have so much experience?—they pass with all these shortcomings and other ill qualifications[GZ] to other offices, without having ministers with special commissions,[HA] inspectors, or other overseers, nor conducting residencias as they should. And thus with all of these committing endless offenses[HB] in these realms, which are at such risk and so coveted by enemies, the viceroys should not be in any way permitted to fill the most minor office, especially as many examples show us that by having the viceroys put people of their own factions in the principal positions,[HC] ministries, and posts, these are destroyed, and that some kings have lost their kingdoms, and others their provinces, and this liberty is all the more dangerous when these territories are so vast and the distance so great, as is that which separates America from Spain, and so dangerous and slow,[HD] as Your Excellency can consider, with your long experience, because all is said without damaging the reputation of the viceroys and other ministers who serve His Majesty well, as they should.
For the greater security and better administration of these realms of New Spain, it would be very advantageous, as it has been said in particular of the viceroyalty of Lima, that in these realms the post of maestre de campo general were instituted, with this officer being the lieutenant of the viceroy and in charge of the arms of all the cities, villas, and ports of both the Atlantic[HE] and South Sea, and in the Atlantic[HF] beginning to inspect the state of the fortifications from Tampico and Veracruz, Tabasco, and Campeche, all along the coast until Honduras, Trujillo, and Nicaragua. And in the South Sea, inspecting the fortress of Acapulco and the smaller forts on the southern coast of Guatemala, he could see to everything himself, and in the places where he could not go personally, the maestre de campo of these realms or a lieutenant of the maestre de campo general could go, for which post will be sufficient one of the office seekers who have been maestres de campo in the armies or governors of these ranks in frontier zones.
So that there may be the stated maestres de campo generales to serve in the case of the absence or illness of the viceroys, it will not be expedient to permit in such principal positions gentlemen who are merely administrators, nor sons nor brothers of grandees of Spain, because for the posts of captains general and viceroys, it is very necessary in these regions that they be very soldierly men who have risen on their own merits,[HG] so that the military arts are thus exercised and put into practice.[HH] And so that, in the case of some necessity, it be possible to quickly provide aid to counter the invasions that our enemies can and often do undertake in the ports of the Gulf of Mexico, it would be advantageous to his royal service and to all this kingdom that in the villa of Orizaba—which is a little more than fifty–two leagues from Mexico City and thirty–two leagues from Veracruz—that discontinuing the office of alcalde mayor, a governor be placed who would bear the title of maestre de campo of these realms, and captain general of the cuerpo volante and reinforcements[HI] for the Gulf Coast. And giving him as a district that of the said alcaldía mayor of Orizaba, with its entire territory, and the alcaldía mayor of Tehuacán and the alcaldía mayor of Xalapa and Jalatcingo—which are close to Orizaba and contiguous with its territories—along with all that belongs to these alcaldías mayores, with the salaries of maestre de campo of the realm with that of the three stated alcaldías mayores, and with a lawyer in the capacity of asesor in the administration to handle the cases of the stated jurisdictions, His Majesty could have a good plaza de armas, without increasing the salary of the governor more than that of the following captains with their companies, and that of sergeant major, as will be said later, and just in passing here, it will be advisable that the viceroy lives in Orizaba on the front lines of necessity.[HJ]
Because Your Majesty has this maestre de campo in this kingdom, and because in its court in Mexico City, which is in all parts more than eighty–three leagues from the sea in the part that is nearest, the said maestre de campo is not at all necessary, except to lead the company of infantry that guards the viceroy, since in Mexico City it is superfluous to have more government than the audiencia and the companies of the militia,[HK] given that for this purpose the sergeant major is sufficient, and that in the court of Mexico City no more defenses are necessary than to have a good administration and to serve justice to litigants, and because it is unnecessary to have the large expense of the two companies of cavalry and their inspector, as well as the other commanders and soldiers,[HL] without more than two other officials among all of them having been soldiers.[HM] And even if they were, as they should be, if they were needed to impose control[HN] and better government and security in all this kingdom, the said plaza de armas should be created in the said location of the villa of Orizaba, which is manifestly necessary for the following reasons.
First, because the location, air, pleasantness, climate, happiness, and healthiness of the villa of Orizaba make it one of the best of all New Spain,[HO] and all its territory[HP] is abundant in freshwater and saltwater fish, and consequently good meats, bread, and all types of fruits and produce are plentiful,[HQ] at very modest prices at all times.
Second, because if the enemy desires to rob again the port of Nueva Veracruz, or at sea by Veracruz Vieja—as he has done the eighth year after having robbed the two ports, and the year 1568 the Englishman John Hawkins sacked the port of Nueva Veracruz, as the pirate Lorencillo did in the year 1683—the enemy will in such cases be fearful, because having news that the plaza de armas is so near, he will not dare to do so for fear of the reinforcements,[HR] and if he were to so dare, if he were to enter through Veracruz Vieja, the reinforcements could be sent by way of Xalapa, which is equally distant from Nueva Veracruz, as is Orizaba, and if he entered through Los Sacrificios or through Medellín, reinforcements could arrive anew[HS] from Orizaba in two days, as they should.[HT]
Third, as the soldiers are in Mexico City, which is eighty–five leagues from Veracruz, or in Puebla de los Ángeles, which is sixty–one leagues from the port of Veracruz, when news of the enemy reaches these parts, as happened in the time of Lorencillo and Nicholas van Hoorn, the pirates will have already sacked the port.
Fourth, because nothing is gained by sending reinforcements from Mexico City or Puebla, because if they are infantry, across such a distance they will arrive late, tired, and at the most with only the eighth part of what is sent, thus spending the money of the royal coffers[HU] in vain. And if the reinforcements are cavalry, which has never happened, they will never arrive, because along the way each one goes where he will with his horse, mule, arms, and supplies,[HV] as we have seen, and as we see with the recruitment campaigns[HW] that have been conducted in Puebla and in Mexico City, and which are carried out in some years for the Armada de Barlovento, where out of fifty soldiers rarely more than twelve have arrived, because besides fleeing from the mistreatment and sudden change of climate, they die, an eventuality that could be avoided if being sent from the villa of Orizaba to Nueva Veracruz.
Fifth, because as the villa of Orizaba, with its district, is contiguous with that of Xalapa, the reinforcements could be sent in two parts[HX] through both places at once, or through either one of them, as were most convenient.
Sixth, because if it were necessary to quickly come to the aid of Campeche—which the enemy has on many occasions robbed—with ships loaded with soldiers and whatever else were necessary, from the said villa of Orizaba through that of Córdoba and San Lorenzo, populated entirely by blacks, the reinforcements could be sent via the river Alvarado, which empties into the sea.
Seventh, because if it were necessary to oppose the enemy by the Alvarado River or introduce the reinforcements to Tabasco,[HY] since the pirates also have robbed many times the port of Tabasco and many others of the coast, and the towns of Alvarado, the said villa of Orizaba is in the nearest and most opportune place to be able to do so. And if there were no ships from Veracruz by way of the river Medellín, once the ships are introduced, the reinforcements can descend from Orizaba to the town of Cotaxtla, and from there to the river Medellín in less time, and embark in order to introduce either of the said companies of reinforcements,[HZ] and also come to the aid of the fortress of San Juan de Ulua on occasion, if it were necessary, in the eventuality that the city of Veracruz were taken by the enemy, as happened in the time of Lorencillo, who was in Veracruz for some days, and the reinforcements can be the fortress by way of Medellín, without the enemy from Veracruz being able to impede this, as there are only three leagues of distance.
The eighth advantage of the said plaza de armas is that, if an uprising occurred in Mexico City or Oaxaca—which are equally 60 leagues distant, with very little difference—the soldiers on horseback and the nobility, with some commanders from the said plaza de armas and other parts, could pass in very short time from the villa of Orizaba to pacify and aid in punishing the guilty, in addition to the fact that the said plaza de armas being so independent of the principal citizens[IA] in that area, it will be a bulwark[IB] against enemies on the high seas, and against those who would cause disturbances[IC] in the republics of New Spain, who should not be feared, having such a governor and being divided in audiencia, viceroy, maestre de campo general, plaza de armas and good justice. And even though all the arms are in the control of[ID] the viceroy, His Majesty should place everything, and do so when he pleases, without any other having the power to fill any military post, not even in the interim, but rather a junta de guerra with only the viceroy, the maestre de campo general, the maestre de campo of the realm,[IE] the said general of the said plaza de armas, the governor of Veracruz, and the sergeant majors of the said plaza and that of Mexico City and the cavalry captain of Orizaba, with an asesor—the auditor de guerra—because it would not be just for them to fill a military post to the liking of robed gentlemen and accountants[IF] in the interim while His Majesty names or confirms another, since to measure the merits, the said subjects will be sufficient, along with the viceroy of the realm.[IG]
The ninth, that if there were any uprising in Tlascala, in Puebla de los Ángeles, or in any other area near the stated places, which is where they have happened, from the plaza de armas of Orizaba it will be easier to impose calm and carry out the punishments that are ordered.
The tenth, that if a large contingent of enemies tries or succeeds at entering the coast, it will be easier to gather the militias of Puebla, Tlascala, and the cities and villas of Tepeaca, Atlixco, Xalapa, and other towns with the aristocratic volunteers[IH] in the said plaza de armas—in order to form a respectable army[II] with which to punish the adversaries—as opposed to in Puebla or Mexico City, leaving those cities completely unprotected and without gaining anything, since before seeing the enemy, some will fuss over their appearance[IJ] and others will die, and if they are persons without discipline, the greater will be the cost to get them where they need to be.[IK]
The eleventh, that if the stated plaza de armas is created, as it should be, the merchants of the West Indies Fleet,[IL] of the mercury ships[IM] and the private vessels that approach the port of Nueva Veracruz with their merchandise, will have no need to remain in the unhealthy climate[IN] of Veracruz, nor to ascend the distance to Puebla, Oaxaca, or Mexico City to conduct their fairs, but rather to ascend only to the said plaza de armas of the villa of Orizaba to celebrate the fairs, avoiding the large expenses and dangers presented by thieves in such lengthy voyages, as all can be done in the said place, which is on the principal road[IO] to Mexico City and on the equally principal road to Oaxaca.
The twelfth advantage is that, with everyone having such an agreeable place, the residents of New Spain[IP] will enjoy not descending to the bad climate of Veracruz, and those from Spain will benefit from not having to experience the unhealthiness[IQ] of Mexico City, and from being able to take care of their business more quickly,[IR] and consequently, the West Indies Fleet[IS] and the other ships with their profits[IT] and his royal taxes[IU] will be better assured for His Majesty, since placing a customs house in the villa of Orizaba, and another in Xalapa, there will not be the many shipments of silver and merchandise that there currently are in Mexico City and in the other parts of the realm, since in order to enter in this realm from the sea, there are no other direct routes[IV] from the said ports of Campeche, Tabasco, and Veracruz and the stated rivers, because even though from Tampico it is possible to ascend to this kingdom,[IW] the roads are so bad and so many the dangers of returning by sea to Veracruz, and the expenses involved, that there is no advantage that makes this obligatory.[IX] And in order to ascend from Campeche and Tabasco to Oaxaca and the realm of Mexico or Guatemala, there are likewise bad and lengthy roads with great expenses.
All these are the advantages that are of great benefit in service to the Crown and the entire realm, and they can be achieved without indebting the royal treasury at all,[IY] nor placing an annual tax on the king's vassals,[IZ] because His Majesty will see to[JA] the expenses that will result from maintaining the said fortress by ordering the payment of the sums[JB] that will be discussed below.
It was said before relating these twelve advantages that the maestre de campo, who serves no purpose in Mexico City, nor in the courts is it beneficial to have many war commanders[JC] and officials, especially when this court is so far inland, where it is not necessary to have so many ministers and symbols of military authority.[JD] For all these reasons and because few courts in the world are plazas de armas, just as that of His Majesty is not, and that of the lord emperor of Germany was only so at times, nor are those of France or England—those of Sweden and Denmark are because they are in ports—nor is that of Holland nor the courts of the other republics that are in the interior of their territories[JE]—for all these reasons it should be considered, because the maestre de campo of this realm enjoys a sufficient salary, he should dedicate himself to military matters.[JF] And for greater relief and in order to maintain himself with dignity,[JG] if His Majesty were to be thus well served,[JH] the said plaza, augmented with the salary and advantages of the said governorship of Orizaba and Xalapa and the emoluments it brings,[JI] it will be a sufficient budget,[JJ] along with that which he already may have, to be able to maintain himself five years, which is all that he should serve in this post, so that another might enter, as is usually done with respect to other positions.
As Your Excellency knows, only the maestre de campo general and the viceroy should outrank an officer of this type, because all the other governors of New Mexico, New Biscay, Campeche, Veracruz, Tabasco, Tlascala, and other similar places[JK] cannot precede him in the councils and military actions,[JL] because this post would be[JM] among the principal ones of the realm, if His Majesty saw fit to create it,[JN] and because in such a case it would correspond to sergeant general of the army,[JO] because in large military actions,[JP] if it occurred that the enemy, with the strong arm of a monarch, advanced to these parts, attempting to land a true[JQ] army on the coast, then it would be necessary for a maestre de campo general, as commander in chief[JR] of the realm, to take charge of the army, issuing the necessary orders to all the commanders in all the battles.[JS] But when that were not the case, there would not be a necessity, since the maestre de campo alone, as captain general himself, if the need arose, could go to battle,[JT] if it were a medium–size force of enemies.[JU] And if it were nothing more than an invasion of pirates, a lieutenant general with an expeditionary force[JV] could be enough, in this way, to go about providing reinforcement with opposing force in the battles while the others arrived, in the case of greater enemy forces supported by a monarch.[JW]
In order to always more quickly introduce the said reinforcements and begin the formation of the said plaza de armas, two companies of cavalry, outfitted with all that is necessary for fifty horses in each company, will be of great utility. For these two posts, a cavalry captain of the armies of Flanders, Catalonia, or Milan for inspector general[JX] of the cavalry with 150 pesos each month—like a commanding captain, to avoid unnecessary salaries—which is enough salary in this place.
A standard–bearer with one hundred pesos a month for cavalry captain of the said armies is sufficient.
The salaries of two lieutenants of the said companies, at sixty pesos a month each, come to 120 pesos.
The salaries of two standard–bearers of the said companies, at fifty pesos a month each, come to one hundred pesos.
The salaries of a commander in each company to replace the lieutenant when the latter occupies the command of that company, at thirty pesos a month each, come to sixty pesos.
The salaries of the trumpeters of these two companies, at twenty–five pesos a month, amount to fifty pesos.
And the salaries of this high command[JY] amount to 590 pesos each month.
The salaries of both companies, for the ninety soldiers of the two companies, amount to 67 ½ pesos a day, on the basis of forty–five soldiers for each company at six reales a day, and as the year has 366 days, all the salaries of the said soldiers come to 24,705 pesos.
And as the salaries of the high command amount to 590 pesos a month, they come to 7,080 pesos a year.
All the stated salaries are sufficient for the said commanders and officials to maintain themselves with dignity, and in the same way, all[JZ] will need to maintain their horses and munitions, having received them saddled and bridled and with spurs, with the reins, pistols, and carbines, and the necessary gunpowder, all at His Majesty's expense, and according to the cost of the said effects, all is inexpensive in these lands, except firearms and swords, which as munitions will cost, at the most, five pesos each. And with the stated soldiers thus armed, along with their commanders and officials, they will remain in the said plaza de armas, because supplies are very inexpensive, and in the said villa, because it is very spacious and can allow for a growing population, in order to form a great city through this opportunity in a short period of time, because many soldiers will marry there, and because with the security provided by these defenses, many merchants will come to live there, and the other vecinos of this realm will do likewise.
To better provide reinforcements to any of the stated structures,[KA] or in the case of any of the state situations of necessity, it will be of great benefit to the service of His Royal Majesty to establish in the said plaza de armas two companies of Spanish infantry, each composed of eighty soldiers, in which the number of men in each comes to ninety, with the captain of each, with his standard–bearer, sergeant, and four squadron commanders and a drummer, abanderado, and fife player.
The salaries of each of the captains must necessarily be sixty pesos each month, and thus the two salaries will come each month to 120 pesos de oro común, as are the others.
The salaries of the two standard–bearers of the two companies, at thirty pesos each, come to sixty pesos.
The salaries of eight squadron commanders, or four commanders in each company, at sixteen pesos each come each month to 128 pesos.
For the salaries of two drummers, with one drummer in each company—a post in which slaves, or mestizos, Indians, or free blacks or mulattos can serve—twelve pesos each month each will be sufficient, with the salaries of the two drummers coming to twenty–four pesos a month.
The salary of two abanderados of the same background,[KB] at ten pesos a month, amount to twenty pesos.
The wages of two fife players of one of the same castes, at ten pesos a month, amount to twenty pesos.
The wages of 160 infantrymen for the two companies, at fifteen pesos a month per soldier, amount monthly to 2,400 pesos, and for all these 160 infantrymen each year, are 28,800 pesos de oro común, like the other salaries.
Together with the said total for the cavalry, the two sets of expenses of the cavalry and infantry come to 31,785 pesos.
For the armero responsible for the repair and cleaning of the weapons, 300 pesos a year, and free to do his work.[KC]
And because the said governor and captain general should have, by reason of his position, an asesor for the cases that arise in that which pertains to the administration[KD] and the military, this asesor cannot himself be also the asesor of the military court.[KE] To defend the soldiers, it will be advantageous to hire a lawyer for 900 pesos a year, so that along with the said governor and captain general, that asesor might rule in the military cases when these are contested.[KF]
And because there is in the said villa of Orizaba a hospital of San Juan de Dios, His Majesty could order that the said hospital be paid 300 pesos a year to cure the cavalry and infantry soldiers who fall ill.
And so adding up[KG] all the costs of the said plaza de armas, the cost of all the salaries of the two stated companies of cavalry and two of infantry amount to 62,085 pesos.
And for all the said commanders and infantry soldiers, the stated salaries will be sufficient. And for firearms they should only be given long rifles, as the muskets are very heavy for use in a hot climate, in which people are not as vigorous as they are in Spain, and the light rifles nowadays take as much shot[KH] as a musket, and they have a long range. Being of seven ranks,[KI] there will be in the sums that I propose sufficient resources to cover the cost of all, with their exemptions,[KJ] and the rest that is necessary.
Another Company of Cavalry in the Town of Xalapa
In this case, in the town of Xalapa, capital of that happy province, which has a good climate, another company of cavalry is necessary, under the command of a cavalry captain who has served His Majesty in the cavalry, and who does not have any other duty[KK] than that of being such a captain, because the post of lieutenant general for administering justice in that town should go to whomever the said governor and captain general of those provinces and soldiers appoints. And so adding up the total of the salaries of the said cavalry captain with his commanders, as in the second company of Orizaba with forty–five soldiers at 265 pesos each month, for the captain and said officers, the salaries each year come to 3,180 pesos.
For forty–five soldiers who earn six reales a day, in the 366 days of the year—adding[KL] a day—plus 12,078 pesos, which quantity, along with the total of the salary of the commanders with the captain of the said company, amounts to 15,258 pesos.
And so adding up[KM] all the stated salaries of the three cavalry companies with those of the two of infantry, the appropriation for all the said defenses will amount to 77,303 pesos, without the expense of oro común, the purchase of weapons and horses for all, as has been said.
These measures are of such importance for the security of these kingdoms, however one looks at it,[KN] that beyond the twelve advantages that I have proposed regarding the utility of the formation of the said plaza de armas, His Majesty will also have in advance the two necessary passages to Xalapa and Orizaba for the sending of reinforcements within or beyond these provinces, as need may arise, and with a customs house in Xalapa and another in Orizaba, he will have better assured the payment of the duties[KO] with which should be maintained the cavalry and infantry of the said plaza de armas of Orizaba with the cavalry company of Xalapa.
Beyond the mentioned benefits,[KP] His Majesty would always have in the infantry ready soldiers, in case reinforcements were needed from the said infantry in the Armada de Barlovento, the West Indies Fleet, the mercury ships, or the fortress of San Juan de Ulúa, as amongst the ranks of the stated infantry companies of Orizaba, Spaniards who can fill the needs of the said plazas will never be lacking, especially as this kingdom has an excess of people who do not have anything in which to occupy themselves.
Once the king, our lord, has the said plaza de armas established, with Xalapa and Xalancingo joined under one alcaldía mayor, as is now the case, and joining these anew with that of Orizaba, and having thus the two alcaldías mayores together in one body, in order to construct this new district,[KQ] there will be the advantage of being able at any time to bring together in Xalapa, with the said company of paid cavalry, more than 150 men more, with their weapons and horses, which at any time can descend to Veracruz Vieja or Nueva Veracruz against enemies in two days, because from Xalapa to the city of Veracruz there are only twenty–two leagues, and despite this short distance, this is not country suitable for infantry, because the road is very rough and bothersome for people on foot, and to not be able to deliver the reinforcements with infantry without a delay of five or six days, and in such a time the enemy can have sacked all the coast of Veracruz. And for this reason the cavalry is more useful, because, in order to have in Xalapa every day the news of happenings in Veracruz, the cavalry captain of Xalapa should send each week to the port of Veracruz alternatingly two soldiers from his company, so that they will be there, in order that one of them can take the first piece of news worth reporting to Xalapa, and another the next piece of news, with everything arranged in such a fashion that as soon as one soldier arrives to Xalapa from Veracruz, another should continue on with the news to wherever necessary, and another go to Veracruz, so that a member of the company is always present in that port, and in this way always being informed, and with this watchful care, His Majesty will be well served with quick reinforcements.
And so that by the villa of Cordoba and the town of San Lorenzo, populated by the nation of free blacks, and the Indian town of Cotaxtla[KR] the news from the port of Nueva Veracruz might likewise be known—in order to send reinforcements when necessary for the same reason, or for whatever other reason might arise in the service of His Majesty, if he were to regard this proposal[KS] as advantageous—every week two soldiers should be sent to the port of Veracruz in the same way—two, so that at no time should one or two soldiers be lacking in Veracruz who, as stated above, can receive, in writing, from the governor and castle keeper of that port the news they share, with the inspector of the cavalry of Orizaba later sending another soldier on horseback to Veracruz in the place of the one who arrives, so that there not be lacking in that port someone to whom the papers[KT] or whatever other news can be given.
By having in Orizaba the said infantry and cavalry, in the case of any military action, more than 300 male volunteers with their weapons and horses can be assembled in that villa and in that of Cordoba, who together with those of Xalapa, in an important battle, can descend to the coast against the enemy. And carrying before them all the other people who will join in, seeing the corps of infantry and cavalry marching, and encouraged by the Spaniards, a great many Indians with their arrows, and on foot, the rest with the infantry soldiers, they can all together form anywhere on the coast of Veracruz an army of more than 10,000 men, with the Indians whose homelands are in that country.[KU] And again, the men that the enemy could land, at the most, are 16,000, even if he entered the Gulf of Mexico with a powerful armada of sixty large ships to invade this coast, which inevitably needs to be able to take these measures[KV] because foreigners are becoming numerous[KW] on the Windward Islands, and the French in Saint–Domingue, as the English in Jamaica.
Despite the great distance of thirty–two leagues that separate the villa of Orizaba from the city and port of Nueva Veracruz, and though it would seem that in traveling such a distance the infantry would suffer,[KX] it should be noted that this same distance serves as an advantage, because with the infantry soldiers marching little by little, many Indians with their bows and arrows will go marching under the army's protection, seeking provisions for themselves and for the Spanish soldiers of the infantry,[KY] because the cavalry—in the way customary here—will maintain itself in the countryside with ease, and those on horseback, with the typical precautions of this place[KZ] and with the money advanced from their salaries, will not lack for provisions in a land so well suited,[LA] as without the mentioned precautions and money it maintains its inhabitants. And the number of paid infantry and cavalry is too small for the products with which they provision themselves to become absent or expensive, since they have never been lacking to the armed fleets of Barlovento, and such a quantity of ships as enters in the port of Veracruz, besides the fact that supplies are sent from the entire kingdom and there are many populated places in which to seek help[LB] at any time.
Rather than having the cavalry patrolling or exploring on the front lines and being surprised or attacked by the enemy, the infantry could better conduct the ambushes than if all the army or battalion were composed of cavalry.[LC] And with everything being thus, with all this kingdom[LD] so defended, great service will be done to both Majesties, and all the inhabitants of New Spain will have the safety of their homes assured, and the uneasy spirits of some will be soothed.
Occupation and Payment[LE] of the maestre de campo general of the Armed Forces[LF] of New Spain, with Sixty Paid Cavalry Soldiers
In order to have peace continuously throughout all this vast empire, in which, since the Spanish populated it, there have been three uprisings—one in the year 1555, another on January 5 of 1624, during the government of the Marquis of Gelves, and another on June 8 of 1692, the Count of Galve being viceroy—because these uprisings put these provinces in great danger and as of now, those who were the cause of the last revolt have not been punished, and given the audaciousness of events and the very large number of foreigners who frequent and inhabit these provinces, greater dangers could arise in the future, and so in order for reinforcements to arrive with promptness to remedy the situation and appropriately punish those guilty, it would be greatly in the service of God and the king, our lord, that the post of maestre de campo general be created anew for this kingdom, to command the armed forces,[LG] and to govern, as necessary, in the case of any eventuality in which the viceroy cannot, as has been said.
And because the salaries that His Majesty pays to different ministers in this realm are many and sizeable, and because the royal treasury is in debt due to the many ways in which it is dissipated,[LH] in order to maintain the stated maestre de campo general with dignity, without increasing any salaries for this reason, but rather decreasing them, given that Puebla de los Ángeles is a populous city and has an alcalde mayor with 400 pesos in salary, and in the city of Tlascala, four leagues away, a governor resides with 300 pesos in salary, as in the city of Cholula, which is four leagues from Tlascala, a corregidor with 300 pesos of salary, as in the city of Tepeaca, which is six leagues from Puebla, where there is another alcalde mayor with 300 pesos in salary, and in the villa of Carrión del Valle del Atlixco, which is another seven leagues from Puebla, where there is another alcalde mayor with 200 pesos in salary—considering that His Majesty has no use for any of these five posts, beyond the payment[LI] for which he generally gives them, as the sums that I have experienced and seen that the said five offices of alcaldes mayores of Puebla, Tlascala, Tepeaca, Atlixco, and Cholula have produced in five years, none of them have gone beyond [. . .] pesos, all the quantities that have been given for the said five offices, because the yearly salary that His Majesty pays to the said alcaldes mayores, by established custom,[LJ] the [. . .] come to only 1,500 pesos yearly, and now go beyond 2,000 pesos, according to modern style and ordinances. And thus it is seen clearly that—beyond the fact that with the sale of offices, unworthy persons are named to posts—the royal treasury is very much damaged and His Majesty is in the same way disserved, because even if they do not collect their salaries, the royal treasury[LK] pays them, because the more than 11,000 pesos which are paid in salary in five years for the said five posts do not equal the said 18,000 pesos, which at the most the sale of the said five offices supplies in five years. And so as they should not earn 18,000 pesos each year, more than today, at 5 percent, but rather only 900 pesos in profits, which in the said five years come to more than 4,500 pesos in income, and those who buy these posts are going to earn with His Majesty each year, with the said 18,000 pesos at 11 percent, 19,000 pesos, which in five years come to 9,900 pesos in profits, of which quantity it is seen that even with their money at 11 percent, and without credit for past service, they enjoy these five offices, carrying off unjustly the perquisites of exercising justice and the emoluments, with which until now only those who have served in the said offices without collecting the salary they offer have come out greatly ahead, as it is very rare for one to actually collect that salary. For which reason, if His Majesty were to confer upon the said maestre de campo general the stated salary of 2,000 pesos, which the stated five offices produce in salary each year, or only 1,500, reducing these offices to just one district with the title of capitanía general, so that he could govern it as such in administrative and military matters, with the emoluments and perquisites of all this district and the stated salary, the maestre de campo general will very much be able to maintain himself with dignity, in accordance with the status and reputation of his person and office, having an asesor for his lieutenant general, and at the head of all his principal cities, his lieutenants, with all the others that previously it was customary to have in each office, which is in accordance with justice, because in districts that are so near to one another it is not necessary to have so many jueces ordinarios, when just one can govern everything. And it will be achieved that, if there is an uprising in Mexico City or another part of the kingdom, the maestre de campo general, with the authority of his military position and that of administrative governor, can bring together in twenty–four hours, without great effort, 2,000 men with weapons and horses to aid him in whatever situation arises in Mexico City or in another place equally near. And in the same period of time, if by sea in the Gulf of Mexico some danger arose, simply by dispatching a written circular,[LL] he will be able to gather, in the name of His Majesty, more than 600 noblemen with weapons and horses, who will quickly answer his clarion call,[LM] and all without creating any debt for the royal treasury, beyond that which would be caused by a cavalry company which the said maestre de campo general should have, as will be said, so that with the said soldiers and the servants, the persons of high status and positions[LN] can form quickly a force sufficient to put down any rebellion, since more force will not be necessary to respond to any that might take place in the interior. And if many more soldiers cannot be gathered, as is possible, the military action will not be put in danger, nor will an opposing force be able to take shape, without the support[LO] that external enemies can provide[LP] on the seas, so that those already introduced in these realms, along with their contacts, give them a hand, which is what clearly puts these American provinces at risk, for which reason it is very important and beneficial that the viceroy, governor, and captain general of this realm attend and reside continually in the said plaza de armas, which should be in the stated villa of Orizaba, because in the said [. . .] paid and the rest that could be gathered together of this realm, to have with the presence of a viceroy the resistance necessary to impede invasions by adversaries, as we should only fear those who can enter New Spain from the high seas, because to secure the interior provinces, it is enough that His Majesty place ministers in his Royal Chancellery of Mexico who will administer justice and who can govern, and as the number of robed justices is four in these parts, in agreement with the institution, who change every five years and are promoted from other audiencias to the superior audiencias of these realms, in order to pass from serving in them to the Council of Indies and in the other councils of Spain, His Majesty will have these provinces safe and content. Because otherwise, if they marry here, they remain forever in office and without fearing God and their king, as they should, because they are surrounded by family members are excessively presumptuous. By interpreting the royal laws and His Majesty's orders, they are worse than the worst enemies that the Spanish monarchy has, because they do not administer justice, nor could all the judges who are most zealous of the interests of both Majesties conduct in twenty years the residencias, as they should be done, of just one audiencia in the Indies, because of all the misdeeds therein conducted. And thus it is not necessary for the viceroy to preside over the audiencia of New Spain, and only the number of oidores that compose the audiencia should be there to provide justice, with the most senior oidor presiding, as is practiced in the most peaceful audiencias of the Indies, in which viceroys are not needed, nor the other captains general who preside them, so that, excused by the oidores and with the arrogance of the presidents, tyrants make their power permanent, eternally delaying all proceedings.[LQ]
Returning then to the question of the maestre de campo general who should be placed in these realms, in the city of Puebla, with its company of sixty cavalry soldiers, any standard–bearer or lieutenant who has served His Majesty in the cavalry in any army in Europe will be sufficient to be the captain of the said company, which aside from the militias of the infantry of Puebla assisting the maestre de campo general to advance to any backup mission that might be necessary,[LR] the gentlemen and private individuals who might be called upon on such occasions will join the company of paid cavalry. And thus it will be sufficient that the captain of the said company collect one hundred pesos in salary monthly, which in a year comes to 1,200 pesos.
The salary of a commander who could replace the lieutenant when the latter were in charge of the company, at thirty pesos each month, comes to 360 pesos.
The salary of a trumpeter, at twenty–five pesos each month—or the purchase of a black slave[LS]—comes to 300 pesos.
The wages of sixty soldiers, at six reales each day for each, come to forty–five pesos a day, and in the 366 days of the year, amount to 16,470 pesos.
And since there is not for the viceroy of New Spain more than twenty–nine alabarderos for the viceroy's guard, which at times has only twelve, the soldiers of the infantry company of the palace and the two companies could rightly be avoided in Mexico City. They come to 19,590 pesos.
So that they could be introduced since the uprising in Mexico City [. . .] occurred on June 8, for which reason passing the [. . .] for the defense of the kingdom to the villa of Orizaba will be avoided [. . .] salary of the maestre de campo and of the sergeant major of the realm, because with the maestre de campo acting as the governor general of the battalion of Orizaba, the salary of the alcaldes mayores of Orizaba, Tehuacán, and Xalapa, with the perquisite of naming lieutenants and the other emoluments of his office, this maestre de campo and the sergeant major of the two infantries companies would be occupied, and His Majesty would reduce the expenses of the infantry company of the viceroy's guard. With the two companies of infantry soldiers, the viceroy and the maestre de campo could conveniently be protected,[LT] and to maintain the said companies of infantry, as I have said, it will cost 33,704 pesos.
In addition, for a doctor, 400 pesos a year will be needed. For an armero, 300 pesos, at twenty–five pesos monthly. For an asesor of the militia, 500 pesos yearly will be required. For the Hospital of San Juan, 300 pesos.
In addition, for the cavalry company of Xalapa, according to the salaries of the commanders, officials, and soldiers, 15,258 each year are necessary.
And for the company of the maestre de campo general in Puebla de los Ángeles, 16,470 pesos will be needed each year.
The preparation[LU] of the arms, munitions, horses, and the rest necessary the first year will cost 20,000 pesos.
And so, if this expense is to be maintained each year, it will be necessary to have a general paymaster[LV] and two officers, and to have the said companies always with sufficient munitions, His Majesty will have [. . .] through these means always prepared for any engagement with the enemy[LW] [. . .] today eighty–two infantry soldiers and 218 cavalry soldiers in a battalion that will bring together, of paid soldiers, more than 400 men. This small corps of Spanish soldiers will be sufficient—and if well supplied with munitions and trained to fight,[LX] along with the soldiers of the coast and ports, and with the number of noblemen and private citizens who will join up to form in eight days an army of more than 4,000 men, armed against the enemy. And these will be able to come together in such a short time only from Puebla, Tehuacán, Xalapa, and the other cities and villas of the districts and those of the coast of Orizaba—go to where they are ordered, and in more days in the same way the necessary soldiers will join along. And so having made these preparations, the most powerful enemy of His Majesty who were to pass from Europe to America with a military force[LY] could never manage to get a foothold on the coast of New Spain, and only with difficulty could sack her ports, as has happened in the past.
In order to maintain the said cavalry and infantry always united and paid, it will be very important in the villa of Orizaba as plaza de armas to have always ready, aside from the other necessary munitions, one hundred quintales of hardtack,[LZ] which every two months can be renewed by selling off the old, so that if it became necessary to leave in order to provide reinforcements to any port, plaza, or place, each soldier could depart with the amount of hardtack, chocolate, and sugar—which is common here—corresponding to the number of days required, frequently and within six hours, to march in troop, because all other supplies[MA] are not lacking in this country, with the soldiers carrying resources with which to buy them.[MB] Besides taking this measure, the governors, alcaldes mayores, and justices should aid them, and so that they have means, the hardtack should always be ready [. . .] chocolate and sugar at all times, there are preparations [. . .] kingdoms and it will be more abundant in the villa of Orizaba, from where, with each horse carrying for its soldier his arms, and half an arroba of hardtack, and half an arroba of sugar and chocolate, he will be well able to march each day in his troop to any place, because here in these provinces the horses forage, and all types of horses always eat in the countryside. And thus with the food of the soldier becoming less each day, on all occasions he will be prepared, besides the fact that it is not unadvisable that for military actions—along with the cavalry that were necessary, and even with the infantry, as it will be necessary—some horses, mules, and beasts of burden[MC] be prepared to carry the supplies and pull the necessary carts, as is done in military campaigns and distinguished armies, especially when to this end there are in these Indies more advantages than in parts of Europe.
Extraordinary Measures to Find Means to Maintain the Stated Battalion
In order to acquire means each year with which to maintain the said battalion well prepared for the necessities that could arise, is it more than sufficient to place in the villa of Xalapa a customs house, and another in the villa of Orizaba, and in each a customs officer [. . .] a bookkeeper[MD] to be able to have the records contain the necessary entries, and a senior guard[ME] with his subordinate guards. To avoid expenses it could be ordered that in each of these two customs houses the cavalry soldiers serve as guards, alternating, so that all may have a chance to do so,[MF] since all the shipments that enter and leave New Spain necessarily will have to pass, as they pass now, through the two villas of Orizaba and Xalapa, because there is no other passage to enter into the kingdom than the two roads that ascend to Mexico City, which are those of Xalapa and Orizaba. With respect to this truth, and the fact that the roads through Oaxaca and Tampico are not routes by which one can ascend with mule trains from Veracruz nor Tabasco without double the cost, and in order to avoid them it would be necessary to impose many taxes and ones that would be far superior to that which now is beginning to be proposed,[MG] because experience shows that gentle measures bring more profit than severe ones.[MH] So that this end can be achieved through means of commerce, it would be greatly to the service of His Majesty that four pesos be charged on each load of clothing that enters through the seaports of the Gulf of Mexico—on each load of silks, linens,[MI] and each cargo of any other kind of merchandise, spices, and products from elsewhere—and another two pesos on every load of wine, aguardiente, and oil, and two pesos on every load of cacao, with all understanding that it is necessary to pay these quantities upon passing through the two customs houses of Xalapa and the villa of Orizaba, in order to avoid the dangers and losses that can be perpetrated[MJ] in the port of Veracruz, and in those of Tabasco and Campeche and other smaller ports.
And because it also will be just that the commercial community of New Spain do their part toward this end, it could be ordered that on each load of silver that descends to the seaports of the Gulf of Mexico, that for each one hundred pesos, one-half a peso be paid in the two stated customs houses, which comes to five pesos for each 1,000 pesos, which on a 4,000-peso load of silver will be twenty pesos; and on a 8,000-peso load, forty pesos; and in this way, more or less, depending on how many thousands of pieces of eight there are. But if the silver were not minted,[MK] because much tends to embark without the real quinto being paid, it should be seized to such an end, and if the royal fifth had been paid on it, one percent should be charged, with the benefit in view, and that it will not be just that, buying it at 6, 6½, and at 7 per marco the merchants should fail to contribute more, especially when by this new tax the amount still will not add up to more than half a real per marco, and in the same way, for each hundred gold pesos.
In a like fashion, four pesos per load should be imposed on each load of indigo and cochineal that leaves for Veracruz and for other ports, which similarly should be paid in each of the customs houses of the villas of Xalapa and Orizaba.
And because the other goods and products of the realms and provinces of New Spain are foodstuffs and items of little value, it will be sufficient that only four reales be paid on each load of any type of product or foodstuff that descends for the stated ports of the Gulf of Mexico, since all are for the purpose of maintaining the said battalion, and this contribution will not be excessive. And for this reason it being so moderate, we will enjoy the advantage of having this kingdom protected, and of having funds in the coffers of these two customs houses, in case it were necessary to build fortifications in the port of Tabasco and the Alvarado River, as might be beneficial, and to build a fortress and plataforma on the Medellín River, which is only three leagues from the port of Veracruz, and in Sacrificios, depending on the funds available. And all could be done by discontinuing in New Spain the Armada de Barlovento, which is always leeward of the winds in the port of Veracruz, and when it is windward, it is only to buy merchandise that they transport in this armada in order to sell to the merchants of New Spain. And thus it would be better that this armada returned to that of the Atlantic[ML] and that on the coasts of the mainland of Caracas and Cartagena and those of the Windward Isles there be, every year, three medium–size warships that would patrol them and return to Spain in such an arrangement that those that were in the Indies would not leave until three other ships first arrived. And to this end the city of Santo Domingo on the isle of Hispaniola should be the place where they should be present. And in this fashion spending fewer resources from the royal treasury, His Majesty would be better served, since the said Barlovento ships only serve the merchants and some superior ministers, who give posts to unworthy subjects, naming them as generals, admirals, governors, and captains, motivated by their own private interests, without attending to the principle that the orders of the king, our lord, should be carried out so as to guard the Indies route and to prevent the commerce of foreigners, since when this is by so many laws and apostolic decrees prohibited, we have seen in these years in New Spain that the goods[MM] of Curaçao and Jamaica, which by their nature should be confiscated, were pardoned, although they were the merchandise[MN] of enemies. And this decision was a well–known offense to all the commerce of His Majesty, since just for the indulgence[MO] of 70,000 pesos, which was charged to don Guillermo, and for what was found in his possession on four ships from Caracas under the title of cacao in the months of September and October of 1694, more than a million and a half pieces of eight, which was the amount of the profit, were allowed to go to Curaçao and Jamaica. And so considering merely the value of their merchandise at one million pesos, the said foreigners, in paying 70,000 pesos in indulgence to His Majesty, did not even pay eight percent in import duties, when Spaniards pay sixteen percent. And thus carrying off the silver at seven per marco, at fourteen percent they will earn, at the least, more than 140,000 pesos, and that which they received in advance[MP] against their merchandise so unjustly admitted, so that the poor vassal of the Crown is the one who always pays the bill,[MQ] as if he were French, for the profits that are made by those who issue such indulgences in the Indies, where at all times the commerce with foreigners is prohibited in all ways,[MR] and especially with pirates and smugglers who the law says should be hung and those who trade with them excommunicated [. . .] all is covered up in the interest of profits, in the Indies the king's ministers proceed in such a fashion in their wastefulness[MS] that, denying justice to us inferior ministers, and disdaining the royal laws and dispatches, and the decrees of the Supreme Council of the Indies, they treat us and the vassals of this monarchy as if we were subjects of the king of Morocco, since if we were vassals of the king of France, the king of England, or of the Dutch states, without a doubt we would be better treated, and this is so evident, as experience shows, in these American provinces, which are populated by foreigners from the North, who enjoy greater privileges than the Spanish. And in Mexico City, the Count of Galve maintained Louis, pirate captain of a French ship, for more than a year, in the communication and commerce of this city, in